As some of you may know, Kate Shepton, wife of Bob Shepton our first School Chaplain, has sadly passed away recently. Bob and Kate arrived at St David’s in 1969 and lived in a house in St Anne’s Gardens, handily not far from the end of the then school drive.
Whilst Bob was frequently to be found ‘on campus’ Kate was not so well known as she had a family to raise and a career in nursing of her own to pursue. No doubt work/life balance was as intricate and elusive an art then, as it is now. Being not only Chaplain but also Outdoor Pursuits Master meant that Bob inevitably spent a large amount of time away from home, either at school or out on training and expeditions.
Listening to his speech at last year’s Virtual Speech Day, and having heard him address the ODA Dinners on more than one occasion, it was apparent that this lifestyle continued to a greater or lesser extent throughout his life. It takes a very special person to be able to cope with that, and Kate was that person. She was capable, forthright, understanding, down to earth, but at the same time was kind and had a keen sense of humour. She also possessed a deep Christian faith.
Not long after they had arrived at school, Bob introduced a Sunday evening get-together for senior boarders at their house in St Anne’s Gardens. This was usually accompanied by coffee and cakes, a sure-fire hit, and something to look forward to at the end of a Sunday. Conversation was topical around current affairs and how they sat alongside Christian belief and thinking. As this was the Swinging Sixties and the slogan “Make Love not War” was very current, there was no shortage of lively conversation! I recall Kate joining in these conversations on occasion and it is her no-nonsense approach and views that I remember.
As Bob and Kate were at St David’s until 1977, some years after I had left, I asked one or two other Old Davideans, younger than myself, if they had any recollections of Kate to contribute. Paul Silvester, known to many of you, got in touch. To my amazement, it transpired that his father was very friendly with Bob in the 1960’s when they were both at Oak Hill Theological College in North London, and in fact, he was Best Man at Bob and Kate’s wedding in the early 1960’s. Another St David’s connection that no one could have foreseen, coming to fruition.
Richard E.B. Pinn
Head Boy 1971