It was with great sadness that we learned this week of the passing of a giant of College and the MCOBA, Ted Reed, a man who was loved and respected by all who knew him.
In this past year two mighty oaks of the MCOBA have fallen. First, the giant lock forward Les Howard-Browne, and now, the nimble footed opening batsman, Ted Reed. Two very different men from different backgrounds but inextricably bound by the ties that tie us all to this great school- a school that is famed for its diversity but close bond of brotherhood. And so it was that these two great men of College who had joined forces in life to help build a legacy that is the envy of every school in this country, left for higher service soon after each other.
It’s not easy determining who have been the best serving and most influential members of the MCOBA, but for sure Ted’s name will be up there among those men who have unstintingly served College for decades, men who provided inspiration and leadership, whilst giving unselfishly of their time with no expectation of anything return but to serve the school they loved.
Ted joined the MCOBA executive soon after leaving school, and went on to reach the highest rank as President in 1989-1991. His successes along the way are too numerous to mention here, but his passion was the improvement of Goldstone’s and its precinct. A far more illustrious man than me in the great Skonk Nicholson detailed all Ted’s efforts in this regard in great detail on the very deserved occasion of Ted’s induction as an Honorary Life Member of the MCOBA in 1994, the highest award that our esteemed Association can bestow on its members, and my goodness was it warranted in Ted’s case.
Ted served the MCOBA in many capacities over many years, culminating in its Presidency. He served on the School Governing Body, the Grounds and Buildings committee, and was very instrumental in the establishment of the Goldstone’s Club, even serving behind the bar on many, many occasions and serving as Chairman in 1992. He remained an active source of wisdom and guidance to the MCOBA Exec as a much-respected Honorary Life member right until the end. A man who served College from soon after he left school to the day he died.
I first had the pleasure of interacting with Ted in the mid 1980’s as a young member of the Durban Branch of the MCOBA and a member of the MCOBA Executive. I was immediately struck by Ted’s passion for College, his quiet but determined leadership but most of all his ability to get things done without worrying about all the red tape and procedures.
Ted was always a doer, not a talker. He had dreams and he made them reality through sheer force of will and his passion for College. People bought into his dreams, and he made them happen. That was Ted. An earnest and engaging man who was able to get things done without ever alienating anyone, and this was the very essence of the man. He had the charisma and leadership qualities to encourage people follow his ideas and turn them into reality. Committee meetings under him were always light hearted fun occasions, usually accompanied by a braai and a few beers afterwards, and it was then that Ted came into his own. He was great fun to be with. Ted was a most likeable man in any social environment. Always willing to share his views, but more importantly hearing the view of others.
Ted will always be synonymous with the founding of the Goldstone’s Club. He and his two compadres, Les Howard -Browne and Ian Rogers conceived the idea of turning the Kent Pavilion into a facility for Old Collegians to come and enjoy fellowship at through a few pints of lager before and after games, and so they set about the first expansion of the Kent Pavilion by building the first facility on Goldstone’s for OC’s to come and enjoy an afternoon there watching the 1st XV or 1st XI, in so doing forever changing the face of Goldstone’s. Soon the Kent Pavilion become a very sought after venue in PMB for all and sundry to come an enjoy an afternoon of camaraderie and rugby.
How fitting and serendipitous it is that in the Kent Pavilion hangs an image of a very young Ted Reed accompanied by Tony Steward, striding out to open the innings for the College 1st XI on the very first occasion that the Kent Pavilion was opened, given that the Kent was to become one of the passions in Ted’s life. Who was to know then what was to follow?
Ian Rogers, one of Ted’s great mates in the early Goldstone’s days, always used the nickname “Vimba” for Ted, and I was never quite sure why, as Ted never stopped anything. He made things happen. There are so many other achievements for which Ted can be given praise, but sadly space precludes this being done. Suffice it to say they were numerous.
When it came to fundraising, Ted rolled up his sleeves and mucked in with the best of them and with great success. Although he had a busy life of his own, giving of his time to College was always done with grace and aplomb. His blood flowed red, black and white, and his sole intention was the improvement of College.
Ted delighted in his boys Grant and Charles, both primarily rugby players, and so his passion switched from cricket to rugby. I have long lost count of the discussions I was privileged to have had with him about College rugby usually on Sunday morning after a game.
Vimba, you were a giant of College. We shall all miss you and your wisdom and passion for College. I am sorry you didn’t live to see your grandsons run onto your beloved Goldstone’s, or that you did not live to see the rebirth of your dream, the OC’s pub on Goldstones, but when it is reborn, be assured that a number of mighty huzzahs will ring about the pub in eternal gratitude for the yeoman service you rendered to College.
Hambe Kahle, Vimba, most respected son of our great school. The old stones about our school will always echo your name. Thank you for a life of service to College and the MCOBA, Ted. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude we owe you, but at the going down of the sun, and in the morning, along with our other illustrious College departed, we shall remember you.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to your boys and your entire family at this sad time.
Peter Guy Rodseth.
Class of 1975.
Past President and Honorary Life Member of the MCOBA