George Young biography


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George Young – Teacher, Performer, War Hero and Friend


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I wrote this book because, like many others, I found George Young an inspiration. It seemed it would be valuable to share his story, using his own words, wherever possible. He was a man of many and varied talents. An exceptionally gifted teacher at Colchester Royal Grammar School – the book’s appendix consists of 36 individuals’ memories of his impact on them. They became his friends for as many as 60 years after leaving school and helped raise funds for a fine building as a memorial to him. Yet his influence and contribution extended far beyond the school. He had a distinguished career as an officer with the Green Howards during the Second World War and was awarded the Military Cross. Even after his retirement from teaching he continued to perform on the theatre and Music Hall stages until after his 90th birthday, receiving a national award at the age of 91 as the oldest regular amateur performer in the country. His huge contribution to the theatrical life of Colchester as an actor and director with local drama groups included raising funds to assist with the establishment of the Mercury Theatre. Open any page in this book for a fascinating insight into George’s character and wisdom, his wit and his accomplishments. It feels right to have a remarkable life such as his recorded for posterity.

About the author: Alan Sharp attended CRGS and University College London. After National Service in the Royal Artillery, he worked in the electronics industry in production and personnel management for 13 years. Subsequently he joined the Coverdale Organisation where he was a senior consultant and then executive director. Later he worked as an independent consultant. For a number of years he visited Harvard twice a year to join the Director and staff of the Harvard Negotiation Project in running negotiation workshops. He is co-author of two books. Manager and Team Development (Heinemann, 1990) and Getting it Done (HarperBusiness, 1998). The latter has been published in a dozen languages, including German, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

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Paperback, Hardback


  1. Geoffrey Hutton

    George Young attempted to teach me English at the CRGS circa 1964/5, and I remember him as a commanding but comforting presence in the classroom. He would use anecdotes from his army days to illustrate the finer points of the language – a fellow officer being bawled out by a senior officer and told to “Function, Warner, function!!” illustrated the meaning of the word! I think he was also involved in producing and/or directing the school play, but since I had no aspirations to become an actor that side of George’s input to school life passed me by. He did, however, try and teach us some aspects of athletics at the school playing fields at the end of Queens Rd. I remember him staring balefully at me when I made a mess of the triple jump once again. Out of school I think he had some involvement in children’s charities as he attended a fund raising event in my parent’s back garden in Errington Rd. I was probably unique in that I sometimes saw him in his pyjamas as I was his paper boy when he lived in Salisbury Avenue. Hearing me struggle to get both the Daily Telegraph and the Essex County Standard through his letter box on a Friday morning, he would open the door to save me shredding his newspapers on the edges of the aperture. My brother John was sixteen years my senior and had also been taught by George Young in the late 1940s. Leap forward to the first decade of the 21st century, and John and his fellow Old Colcestrians were still visiting GY in his retirement – indeed, the whole group would also have all have been retired!
    George Young was a teacher who inspired great affection amongst his pupils.

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