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Former physics teacher Keith Caulkin MBE celebrated his 60 years’ association with The Blue Coat School at a special event in his honour attended by more than 60 Old Blues, parents, staff and former staff.

The evening included Mr Caulkin demonstrating some of his favourite experiments, drinks from the Error Bar and physics-themed concoctions such as Mr C’s Quantum Theory Punch and Thermodynamic Tagine. There was also a Radioactive Raffle, which raised £355 for the new Learning Resource Centre Appeal. Congratulations went to ‘The Stupid Boys and Girls’ team, for emerging victorious from Mr Caulkin’s fiendishly challenging Blue Coat quiz.

Headteacher Mr Pennington warmly led the tributes and Mr Caulkin’s friend and former Head of Chemistry Mr Nick Cowan gave a well-judged peroratio, describing Mr Caulkin as “A physics teacher who is also a fine man” – a pun on the name of physicist Richard Feynman. Also included in his speech some of Mr Caulkin’s renowned and unique teaching method, which included leading sing-alongs to Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction to help students memorise equations.

In a Blue Coat School first, Mr Caulkin’s speech included an adaption of John Denver’s song This Old Guitar and, in a Rex Harrison-style talk-through to the backing track, spoke movingly that: “This old School gave me my living and all the things I love to do.”

The Caulkin story began in 1958 with the 11-year-old future physicist starting at Blue Coat School, along with his twin brother, Cyril, in Graham House. He left in 1965 to read Physics at Manchester University graduating with a BSc and a Masters. Since returning to Blue Coat in 1975 to teach and share his passion for physics with an estimated 5,125 students over the four decades, and can probably remember most of their names.

Mr Caulkin defied the laws of educational physics by continuing his career after retirement in 2016 and daily attends the School as Development Office Volunteer. He also organises the School’s British Physics Olympiad competition, with four Blue Coat Gold Award winners going on to read Physics at Oxford University and Callum Brennan-Rich joining the British Physic Olympiad Team for the International Physics Olympiad in Indonesia in 2017. Mr Caulkin ran the Photographic Society and still runs the Badminton Club.

Mr Caulkin said: “This evening was a happy and joyous occasion for everybody. I loved every aspect of it and was deeply touched by the big efforts of the Development Office team and everyone involved to organise it for me.”

A big red This Is Your Life book of memories to present to Mr Caulkin is still open for anyone who wishes to contribute. Please email: j.graham@bluecoatschool.org.uk

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