Obituary: Bernard Black

Bernard Black
Bernard Black
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He was an ardent follower of politics who managed to get ‘The Iron Lady’ to speak to young people in Portsmouth.

He also contributed a political column to The News over some years, from the late 1970s until his retirement from St John’s College, Southsea, in 1999.

Born in Gravesend, Kent, in 1934 and educated at St George’s College, Weybridge, he came to teaching late.

He studied for his degree and Post Graduate Certificate of Education at Southampton University and travelled each day from his family home on the Isle of Wight.

After a successful teaching practice at St John’s he was offered a post in 1977 and stayed for 22 years, moving to Horndean in 1983.

The school community was saddened to hear of his passing and a piece was included in the school’s Politics Society newsletter.

Mr Black taught government and politics at St John’s College and was also head of the sixth form.

He founded the Politics Society in 1977 and worked tirelessly to build up a list of guest speakers, which, by the time of his retirement, 22 years later, had included Margaret Thatcher, Tony Benn and Enoch Powell.

He invited former Prime Minister Harold Wilson to become to act as President of the Society and after Lord Wilson’s death, arranged for his to be succeeded by Douglas Hurd.

This was considered a tremendous achievement.

He was described by another visiting speaker, constitutional historian, Lord Peter Hennessy, of London University, as ‘the most entrepreneurial teacher of politics I have known’.

He was a lifelong cricket enthusiast, playing to a good level with Gravesend Cricket Club and writing a book on his favourite cricketer Colin Cowdrey, which he published himself, as reported in The News on August 12, 2005.

It was a long-held ambition to write a book detailing Cowdrey’s entire 7,624-run Test career.

It took an enormous amount of determination to complete the project, which Bernard began in 1969.

After suffering a stroke in 1999 he was left paralysed on the right side, including his writing hand, but he doggedly carried on working on his computer by using just one finger on his left hand.

He supported Tottenham Hotspur all his life and when games were on alternate Saturday afternoons, had a season ticket at White Hart Lane and Arsenal’s then ground, Highbury.

He is survived by his wife, Margaret, three children and six grandchildren, who will bid him farewell at St Edmund’s Church, Horndean, tomorrow at 10.30am.

All are welcome to join them.

Bernard Black: Born on October 27, 1934. Died on December 17, 2013