Paul Dicker (1938-1994)
It is especially sad to record the death of Paul Dicker from a heart attack in June at the age of fifty-six after an early retirement. He had been the master-in-charge at Berkhamsted School for nearly thirty years, was a Jester and had been appointed recently Honorary Secretary to the EFA.
Paul Dicker first played Eton Fives at the City of London School where the master-in-charge, Tom Manning, encouraged his game to the extent that he made the 1st VI and played in the Public School Championships. After National Service he was an Exhibitioner in Modern Languages at Caius College, Cambridge where he made the 2nd VI of the University Eton Fives team. He helped form the backbone of the Old Citizens Fives Club during its Golden age of the 60s and 70s and weekend tours were as much a highlight to him as his company was to others who took part. He was a wristy and unorthodox player and was noted for his peculiar shot, the Dicker flick.
Paul Dicker's career was one of distinction at Berkhamsted School where his talents and achievements were in the best traditions of any schoolmaster. He became a housemaster, Head of German and inevitably master-in-charge of fives. In the latter position his dedication was rewarded with winning pairs in the Public School Championships in 1972, 1977 and 1981, as well as Old Berkhamstedian Champions in the Kinnaird Cup. Equally important to him was the sense of fun which he instilled in his proteges. He was noted for his quick sense of humour and the generous hospitality afforded to visiting teams. His devotion to Berkhamsted was total. He produced school plays, edited The Berkhamstedian, also coached rugby and cricket and organised trips abroad - Vienna for the academics, Holland for cricket, Zuoz for fives, and the Pyrenees for cycling. He also had a deep love of German literature and music, knew his subject well and inspired many of his pupils. He could also compete with professionals in musicology.
Many will say that his greatest achievement was what he did for and what he was to his family and friends, colleagues and boys. He was a much loved godfather. He always appeared at the right moment to give support. He cared deeply for those for whom he was responsible. He was very good at helping boys who had difficulties. He could always keep the lines of communication open when others might have lost touch.
Latterly he found a new outlet for his kindness and sensitivity. He became a volunteer helper at the local day centre where he was much loved and is sorely missed. He also taught German briefly at the Mount Prison as a part time substitute teacher.
Those of us who knew him will remember him and mourn him deeply but will be thankful that he passed our way.