Oliver Sharp was an articulate, polite and engaging member of our school community. He was an exceptional footballer, playing for both our under 16 school team, and our staff team in the local league, scoring for both teams on a regular basis. He was a talented businessman, owning his first limited company at the age of twelve, and he understood what it took to achieve in business. He was a good friend.Oliver joined the school in September 2017, at the beginning of Lower V, and made clear from the start his avid enthusiasm for football! Whilst he tended to shy away from photographs, we did manage to snap the odd one; on the front page Oliver appears on the right hand side. I tweeted this picture on 16th February 2018 with the following caption: “Congratulations to our U16 footballers on their convincing 7-0 victory over @RamilliesHall Sharp 4 Davis 1 Brocklehurst 1 Thornton-West (GK) 1 Always a genuine pleasure hosting this delightful and polite team”.
Oliver joined a large group of other seniors on our Sports Tour to London in March 2018 and, despite his own frustrations on the football pitch, made a significant contribution to our 5-0 win over Riverston School, and our ultimate clean sweep of victories in football, netball and volleyball. I understand, from speaking with his family recently, that he was amused at my own enthusiasm for the Six Nations rugby match, playing out whilst on our return train from Euston. It will always be rugby over football for me – sorry Ollie!
Like other colleagues and pupils, I was fortunate to have spent some significant time with Oliver during the last year and a bit. I was always struck by his candour, rarely reluctant to speak about what he thought about a variety of issues, both personally related and more global. He had very clear views on topics, and I enjoyed the fact that he could express these with coherence and eloquence. He could challenge, and always in the most polite fashion, and was emotionally intelligent enough to question the rationale behind people’s actions, thoughts and behaviours. Oliver was a thinker.
The day I informed the school of Oliver’s death – Friday 19th October 2018 – I couldn’t have been more proud of our school community. It is not a message that any Head ever wants to have to deliver to their school, although the manner in which every member of our community – pupils, colleagues, parents – showed unwavering support and respect was exceptional. Thank you.
Oliver's family have been touched by the friendship and support that Oliver had at Beech Hall, and would like in some way to give this back to our school community. This is why they have asked that, should you wish to make a donation in Ollie’s memory, you are asked to do so to the school Alumni’s “Beech Hall Centenary Trust”.
In the days and weeks following Oliver’s death, quite a number of pupils and colleagues have spoken to me about their desire to do something to remember him by. These thoughts have ranged from a plaque on our memorial wall, the planting of Ollie’s Orchard to conquering the Three Peaks Challenge and a Lower V Triathlon. There is a desire to combine our respect for Oliver with raising money for mental health, and there are already plans for a Celebrity Football Match later in the year. We will remain in close touch with Oliver’s family – his parents, grandparents and younger brother, Ben – as we work together to remember and to respect Oliver in the most appropriate way.
Mr J D Allen, Headmaster