On the 6th February 1952 we were gathered together – presumably at break time – in Room 17, the Science VIth Form Room at Sutton County Grammar School. We had a small radio, a one valve set I think, built by a boy called Mike Edser and installed “with permission” – never to be switched on except in off duty hours. Suddenly the programme was stopped and an announcement came out to say that His Majesty King George VI had passed away in his sleep at Sandringham.
After a moment or two of consternation, we were sufficiently grown up to realise that we were probably the only people in the school to know this, and so it was decided that the Head Boy, David Bellamy, should go down and see the Headmaster and tell him the news. This he duly did. He came back and reported that the Head, Mr. Cockshutt had said to him, “Bellamy, if this is another of your practical jokes I think it it is in remarkably bad taste”. However, Bellamy managed to convince him that it was true (or at least, worth cross checking) and in due course we were summoned to the school hall, told the news, and if I remember aright, given the rest of the day off.