Malcolm Coe: A Character with a dry wit and
cynical sense of humour as well as an OG ‘Scholar’.
Chris Bull: He was a cheerful companion and
always fun to be with.Never vain but consistently modest.Lovely memories.
Trevor Lee: Peter was a classmate whom I
remember well. Sad news after his illustrious career and search for shared
solace with his second wife Vicki.
Chris Bent: Peter was always keen to revisit
our years as Grammarians; I remember him well but had no idea that he had
enjoyed such an illustrious career.
Rod Armitage: Pete was a great guy.At the
boarding house I recall playing cricket with him, unless my memory is
playing up. Wasn't he one of the funeral party that buried Mr Taylor's kit
.... Frost and Deasley?
Denis Wilkins: Always a better mind than the
rest of us, I recall. RIP
Alan Frost (see photo): I knew that Pete had
had a distinguished career but the information you provided filled in a
lot of details I was unaware of.
John Cornwell (see photo): Pete had a great skill at imitating teachers. I also remember him taking Alan Frost and myself around the Newmarket coffee bars. I think The Black Cat was one.
Here is an appreciation by Peter Bird and Ray Bolton, a small part of which appeared in the Newmarket Journal on 21st December 2017:
Peter passed away peacefully on 9th November 2017 after a long illness.
Born in Newmarket, Peter’s family ran the Grocers Store in Old Station Road. He attended All Saints Primary School and Soham Grammar School. Academic success led him to Jesus College Cambridge and Nottingham University where he gained degrees in Electrical Engineering. After a research post at Jesus College he joined PA Technology, working in Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, becoming fluent in German and French. Languages he enjoyed using both at work and socially.
While working in Belgium he met Irene and they married in 1985. Shortly after they moved back to England to live in Stretton-on-Dunsmore near Rugby, close to General
Motors where Irene was employed and to Cambridge Controls at Bourton Hall where Peter rose to become Managing Director.
In 1993 Peter became Professor of Mechatronics and Director of the Cranfield Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre. Since then he served as Chairman of the Manufacturing Division of The Institution of Electrical Engineers, was a founder member of the Cranfield branch of The Royal Aeronautical Society and a Regional Councillor of The CBI. He also served on numerous government committees for research and development [ed: mechatronics: “approach aiming at the synergistic integration of mechanics, electronics, control theory, and computer science within product design and manufacturing, in order to improve and/or optimize its functionality."].
Peter was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1997 and chaired their working group on Systems Engineering, actively promoting the participation of Industrial Visiting Professors in Universities as part of the Academy’s Industry-Academia Programmes.
On retiring from Cranfield in 2005 he was elected an Emeritus Professor of the University. He retained his interest in research and continued with Academy committee work and mentoring a PhD student until his illness in May 2016.
Peter retained a close attachment to Newmarket and to his relatives and friends in the area and he regularly attended reunions of the Soham Grammarians. At School he had been a keen sportsman, enjoying cricket and tennis. He enjoyed golf and was a member of Newmarket Golf club for many years.
He loved Stretton, supporting village activities, joining the choir and it’s History Society and became heavily involved in the Friends of Montbelliard exchanges started and developed by Irene. Peter was devastated when Irene became terminally ill and grateful for the help and friendship of his community in Stretton, helping him come to terms with her early death.
Vicky, a close friend of Peter and Irene had lost her husband Peter Lundberg a year earlier. Through their mutual support they found solace and happiness together, marrying in 2008.
Sadly Peter became ill in May 2016 with myeloma. As a devout member of the Church community at Stretton his deep faith enabled him to face his illness with hope and fortitude. His characteristic gentleness and dignity throughout his illness was an inspiration.
He will be greatly missed.
Here is a chronology of his remarkable school career:
1955 Speech Day: Divinity Prizes (given by Canon PF Boughey): Special Merit: PJ Deasley
He was in the 1957 Cricket U14 First team
1956 Form Prize 1S 2nd
1957 Form Prize IIP 2nd
1958 Speech Day Form Prize IIIL 1st
1959 Form Prize 1st IVL
The Cricket Box Incident is something once read, never forgotten - Edward Armitage included it in detail in his memories of his headship (scroll down that page for the Frost Report).
1960 Speech Day: Prizes awarded on the General Certificate Examination, Ordinary Level: PJ Deasley (8 subjects)
Cricket 2nd XI June 15th 1960, at Newmarket. Match drawn. School 67-7 dec. (Folks 23), Newmarket GS 48-9 (Allan 5-19, Deasley 4-13)
Twelfth Night December 1960 ANTONIO a sea captain, friend to Sebastian PJ Deasley
1961 Speech Day: English Speaking Prize - Senior: PJ Deasley; Parents'Association Prize: PJ Deasley
1962 Speech Day: County Major Scholarship: Suffolk PJ Deasley
Prize awarded on the General Certificate Examination, Advanced Level: PJ Deasley
Physics Prize: PJ Deasley
Chemistry Prize: PJ DeasleyPeter very kindly represented the Soham Grammarians at Mr Ted Quinn's funeral in Coventry on 7th October 2010.
If you can add further memories of Peter or provide photos of him, please contact the editor.
page created 5 Jan 2018: last updated 25 Feb 18