David Barker (left) & Guy Vine, National Schools' Winners in 1957
David Barker (1939-1993)
For all those who knew, or knew of, David Barker his recent death will have come as a grievous shock. He attended Aldenham School from 1954 to 1959 and represented it at the highest level at Football, Cricket, Hockey and Eton Fives. It is perhaps for the last of these sports that he will be best remembered.
He won the Public Schools' Championships in 1957 and 1959 with Vine and Mohammadu respectively, and would undoubtedly have done so to complete a unique treble in 1958, had he not broken his leg playing hockey.
I encountered him at Cambridge during his years there, where he demonstrated not only that he was a peerless player but also that he was a matchlessly magnanimous opponent. As one of such gifts, he did not glory in them, which in some way was, perhaps, not unrelated to his decision eventually to take on the headship of the church school in Harpenden. Previously, during his eleven years as a school master at Aldenham five of which he spent as a House master, he ran Eton Fives and contributed to much else. There was never any doubting the warmth of welcome that awaited when one took boys to play against his teams.
He went to Clare College, Cambridge. which he undoubtedly civilised as much as it might have wished to enrich him. He then spent a period in Zambia in a teaching capacity which is one reason why the world of Eton Fives was denied his talents for so long.
Games, schools, standards of decency and personal faith can ill do without the likes of David Barker, taken from us by cancer at the age of fifty-four.
To his wife Daphne, and to their two sons we offer our sincere condolences and our gratitude for what David was.