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News > College News > Valete: Contingent Commander Colin Hearn (CR10-21)

Valete: Contingent Commander Colin Hearn (CR10-21)

8 Jul 2021
College News

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to College life, retiring CCF Contingent Commander Colin Hearn (2010-21) was presented on the final Thursday of the Summer Term by the Headmaster, Mr Thomas Garnier, with a pair of Oakley cycling glasses as a memento of his 10+ years at Pangbourne College. Well known for his latest hobby, long cycle rides, it is no surprise that when asked what he would like for a leaving present he chose this gift.

Corporal Dan McMeekin and the Sixth Form CCF cadets also purchased and presented Contingent Commander Hearn with some engraved port glasses as part of their appreciation for all he has done in their time at the College. Among recent highlights has been winning the drill section of the Sir Steuart Pringle competition at Lympstone.

Mr Hearn is a legend and has been a very popular member of staff. He has brought inspiration to all that he has done and has enriched the lives of so many Pangbournians in his time at the school. 

He has led expeditions to the Galapagos, Nabugabo, the Falkland Islands and the Alps in France. He has also overseen the school’s ceremonial tradition and created unique parades for Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh in May 2017 as well as Founders’ Day 2021, among others. He has organised the colour party at the Annual Seafarers’ Service at St Paul’s Cathedral. He has led mountain bike trips to North Wales. He has supported Mr Andy Crossley with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.

We invite OPs to share their memories of Mr Hearn by leaving comments below.

Thank you, Mr Hearn, for all you have done.


By Thomas Garnier

Mr Hearn joined Pangbourne eleven years ago after a successful career in the Royal Marines. One of only, I believe, thirteen Warrant Officers in the Corps, it became quickly apparent why he had been one of them. He is, I think, among the most ‘can do’ people I have ever known. Super reliable, impeccably organised, always ready to help, he has improved every area of College life with which he has been involved - the CCF, performing two people’s roles as Senior Staff Instructor and Contingent Commander; with Mr Crossley, developing our provision for D of E and the Llangorse experience; setting standards on the Parade Ground and introducing the march on from both sides for The Queen’s visit in 2017 and subsequent Founders’ Day parades. Those are just the things in his job description, but he took on much more.

He has played a key role in developing our links with the Nabugabo Community Learning Centre in Uganda and suggested that instead of very expensive World Challenge trips, which he had led to South East Asia, Africa and South America, he could organise our own at lower cost to Nabugabo but which would provide a much richer experience for our Sixth Formers and real benefit to the children there. They did, thanks to the rigour of his planning and his leadership. The ski trips, too, benefited from his organisation and commitment. I am told that on one occasion, when a pupil did not return with her group at lunch time and other staff started calling lift operators or planned to go up and ski back down the route, he ran up the mountain in his ski boots and was the first to find her. He is unbelievably competent, but also has a sense of adventure and fun.

He is constantly coming up with new ideas and initiatives which carry others along with him. Early morning runs for staff at 06:30 were surprisingly well attended, even in winter, and each week he would have worked out a slightly different route; more recently, he has embraced cycling and I don’t think it is any surprise that the number of cyclists in the Common Room has increased - most of us are left trailing in his wake and his regular weekend rides, several hours long and at an invariably high average speed, leave us feeling inadequate but aspiring to be as fit as he is when we retire.

He will be embarrassed to hear me say it, but Mr Hearn is someone who is inspiring. He was intending to retire last year but seeing that we had not been able to identify a suitable replacement, he offered to stay on. Such selflessness was typical of him. We are all glad he did so, wish him well as he retires and will be following his adventures on Strava!



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