Salisbury Saintes Twinning Association
Saintes Salisbury Twinning

Arthur Bowden

Arthur Bowden Memorial 

Jocelyn and I had the honour to attend, representing the SSTA, the memorial lunch for Arthur Bowden at the Salisbury Rugby Club on 5th March 2022.  This was a wonderful occasion with a large number of tributes paid by those involved in the many facets of Arthur’s incredibly busy and successful life.  These included his love of rugby football and his enormous contribution to the game, both in Salisbury, Dorset and Wilshire and nationally.  He was also remembered for his leading role in the Rotary Club, again locally, nationally and internationally.  Mostly, however, his time as an inspirational teacher at Bishop Wordsworth School was celebrated by teachers and ex students alike, the students’ memories being notable for the affection, but also awe, in which they held “titch”, as he was called.

Arthur’s love of France and his command of the French language was a constant theme and of course his contribution to the Salisbury Saintes Twinning Association, which began right at the foundation of the association 30 years ago.  There were many fondly told stories of the school trips he organised to France, some of which involved the ways he was able to outwit French bureaucracy.  

There were a number of stories illustrating Arthur’s self-deprecation.  My favourite was his comment as he began a speech: “Before anyone says anything, I am standing up!”.  His wife Joyce told a story which summed up Arthur’s modesty.  Shortly before he died, he turned to her and asked: “what have I done with my life?”  That from a man who in his life achieved more than any three of us combined.  Indeed, listening to the tributes describing his many interests and achievements gave one a feeling of embarrassment when comparing oneself to him.

After the celebration of Arthur’s life Joyce cut the ribbon on a memorial bench beside the Salisbury Rugby Club 1st XV pitch.  

Mervyn Pannett