Peter Waghorn (O 50, CR)

13 December 2023

OWs will be sad to learn of the passing of Peter Waghorn (O 50, CR) in November 2023, aged 91. PDW was at the heart of Wellington life throughout a distinguished teaching career.

This tribute comes from the Yearbook of 1992:

“Wellington has been the framework as well as the scene of almost the whole of Peter Waghorn’s life. He is the son of an O.W. and one of fourteen Waghorns to have passed through College. As a boy in the Orange from 1945 to 1950 he rose to practically all the major distinctions open to him: Head of The Orange, Head of School, winner of the King’s Medal. An outstanding all-round athlete, he was in the cricket XI for two years (Captain in 1950) and a member of the strong 1st XV of 1949. He left for National Service in the R.H.A., and thence to Cambridge to read Mathematics.

After a year’s teaching at Haileybury, he returned to Wellington, and has been there ever since – with the exception of a year’s Sabbatical in Industry in 1962. His total service was 36 years; he was the longest serving member of the Maths Department; he became Tutor of the Lynedoch in 1965 and then Housemaster of the Benson from 1972 to 1983. He also served 35 years on the O.W. Society Committee. These are the bare facts, and they represent a record of outstanding service to College.

But to understand Peter, and the strength of his influence, it is necessary to appreciate that so many of the facets of his character, and so much of the quality of the example that he set to others, sprang from his unshakeable faith and deep sense of Christian commitment. It was not only the work that he achieved over the years within the Christian Union, or the regular and trusting support that he gave to successive chaplains, whether they shared his Evangelical convictions or not, immensely valuable both to individuals and to the inculcation of Christian values throughout College as these endeavours undoubtedly proved to be. Equally impressive and influential has been the way in which he translated these Christian values into his work and approach, both as a teacher and as a housemaster. Every boy in his charge was a youngster to be valued for whatever his gifts might be, and however well-concealed.

Peter and Rosemary Waghorn, 1992

In his prime, Peter had been one of the most talented athletes on the staff until a back injury prevented him from any further active participation. In the Rugby term he could well, from his experience and seniority, have taken on a major coaching role with one of the top teams. Instead he chose, on two afternoons a week, to go out with the remnant of junior boys, who were not natural games-players and could well have been written off as duffers, to help them with basic skills and to do his best to give them an enjoyable and profitable afternoon’s occupation. He didn’t let them think of themselves as duffers. This was typical of a man who was ever a giver, and never a taker. It was Peter too who organised the O.W. Rugby matches for 28 years until they ceased in 1986”