Whitgift School offers tributes to former head David Raeburn

A private family funeral service is to be held at 3pm this afternoon for David Raeburn, a former headmaster at Whitgift School and Oxford University academic.

David Raeburn, 1927-2021

Raeburn died at Abingdon Hospital on February 1. He was 93 years old.

He was head at Whitgift from 1970 to 1991. Prior to taking charge of the South Croydon independent school, Raeburn had been head at Beckenham and Penge Grammar, and after he retired he spent nearly 20 years tutoring Classics at New College, Oxford.

The school reports receiving a large number of tributes from former pupils and colleagues who remember Raeburn with fondness and gratitude.

“David was held in very high esteem by very many of his former pupils and colleagues, of whom a small number are still here at Whitgift: many others followed him into teaching and indeed headship,” an announcement on the school website says.

“In his time, David expanded the school, overseeing the building of the science and design buildings. His close concern for and regard for pupils was evident throughout his life and retirement.”

One tribute paid at a class reunion held in 2018, and attended by Raeburn as the guest of honour, said, “The level of affection for him was a remarkable endorsement of the respect with which he is held and recognition of the rounded, liberal and ethical education that he sought for his students.”

There will be a memorial service to celebrate David Raeburn’s life arranged in due course.

But those wishing to view today’s service remotely can do so via www.obitus.com, logging in with the username Sove0366 and password 632170.

The service will be recorded and will be available online through the same link for 28 days after the funeral has taken place for anybody who may find the timing is an issue.

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