Walter Wigfield, who attended Godalming Grammar School from 1939 until 1945, died in Eastbourne on April 6, 2015, aged 87. Walter was the elder son of Mr. W.M. Wigfield M.A., the School’s Headmaster from 1936 to 1961. In his last year, Walter was Head Boy as well as vice-captain of the School’s cricket team.
Walter was born in Nottingham, where his father taught history at Nottingham High School. He grew up there and in Bedford before the family came to Godalming when he was eight. After leaving school he attended Cambridge University (Emmanuel), and the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, reading Natural Sciences and Medicine, and qualifying as a doctor. National Service followed, in which he was sent as an Army doctor to Malaya, first as a lieutenant and then as a captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps. Back in England he worked in preventative and community healthcare, mainly in Eastbourne, with assignments in Oxford, Middlesbrough and Coventry. His last role before retirement was as a Geriatric Consultant and Specialist in Community Medicine.
Walter married Mary Clothier, a fellow doctor, in 1955 and their marriage lasted 50 years until her death. They had four children. In 2007 he married Susan Hemsley, a retired geologist and science teacher. Walter’s children and Susan all survive him.
Walter’s enduring passion throughout his life was Christianity and he lived out his beliefs through helping people in need. He was generous with his time and contributed in a highly practical way. He volunteered with the St. John’s Ambulance, campaigned for improvements in public health (e.g. hearing loops and wheelchair access in town centres), and conducted church outreach work. He also stayed in touch with his great friends from Godalming Grammar School, in particular Geoffrey Hunt, Willy Norman, Morrice Worthy and Michael Ziegel.
Walter was a steadfast friend to many people he met throughout his life and had a lasting and positive impact on the communities in which he served. He will be greatly missed and is remembered with sincere fondness.