18 April 2023
Reverend Michael Clarkson
We are greatly saddened to share news of the death of former Kirkham Grammar Boarding Housemaster and Head of RE Reverend Michael Clarkson, who has died at his adopted home in Sussex.
The word legend is perhaps over-used in referring to teachers, but in the case of “Mick Bat” it is entirely the right word. He was the embodiment of the spirit of KGS, and tributes from Old Kirkhamians have poured in on social media since his death was announced over the weekend, every one of them effusive and affectionate.
Michael’s irreverent persona and colourful turn of phrase were a front for a deeply caring brand of Christianity, indeed he was the epitome of Christianity as a way of life as well as a set of words and beliefs. He took over as Boarding Housemaster in 1976, in the days when the Housemaster was non-resident, sharing care for boarders with the Headmaster and his wife, who lived on site. He remained in that post until he left in 1990, when he moved to Sussex with his second wife Christine, a French teacher at KGS.
His time at KGS spanned the end of its era as a boys’ state grammar school and its early years as a co-educational independent school. He succeeded brilliantly in bridging the transition from state to private and single sex to co-educational: his robust and no-nonsense approach was very much the persona of the traditional boys' school master, yet in his case it was palpably backed by a genuineness of care for and interest in pupils of all ages, all personality types and both genders. He embraced every aspect of school life and gave freely of his time both within and especially outside school hours.
Truly an inspiration to countless others, whose work all those years ago lives on in the hearts of Old Kirkhamians all over the world.
We extend our sincere condolences to his widow, Christine.