Professor Keith Hawton was a student at EBS (then EBGS) from 1954 until 1961, under our very first Headteacher, Mr Allan Clayton. After leaving EBS and after a year of casual employment and learning Latin (with Mr Gribbin – former EBS teacher), Professor Hawton attended Cambridge University to read Natural Sciences, moving on to medicine after three years to pursue a career in psychiatry. This path involved an extra year at Cambridge followed by three years of clinical medicine at Oxford. Professor Hawton is still working (just research these days), and is Professor of Psychiatry in the University Department of Psychiatry where he leads the Oxford Centre for Suicide Research. He is also a Fellow at Green Templeton College, where he was Dean for several years. Fast forward to today, and Professor Hawton has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in the delayed announcement of the list in October 2020 for ‘Services to Suicide Prevention’. Professor Hawton recalls his memories of EBS:
“I have extremely fond memories of my time at the school, which was of course in the days when Allan Clayton was Headmaster. Indeed, I have always been extremely grateful for the all-round excellent education and experiences I had at the school, not just academic but more generally, especially in how to get along with a diverse range of other people. I still remember well certain teachers who were really significant in my development. I was especially touched when I came back to the School Reunion about 10 years ago and Mr Hall immediately recognised me and greeted me as if I had never left!”
We are immensely proud of Professor Hawton, not just for his CBE and the exceptional academic and professional journey he has been on, but for the area in which he has chosen to specialise. One of the main focuses for EBS is the mental health of staff and students, so to know that a former student is focusing on suicide prevention is fantastic news. When the pandemic is over, we are hoping to invite Professor Hawton into the school to meet with some of our students. Once again, congratulations from all of us in the EBS community!