KEITH HAROLD MORRIS Keith Morris was a Handsworth man. He was born on 23rd October 1937 and sadly passed away on the 5th November 2017, having achieved his goal of reaching his 80th birthday. He lived for the first 18 years of his life in Ashwin Road, where from an early age he developed a bond with Aston Villa, which he carried for the rest of his life. Keith and his brother David attended local primary school, before passing their 11-Plus exams, gaining admission to Handsworth Grammar School, as much an honour in those days as it is now. Always an athlete, Keith joined in every sporting opportunity available, but did not do so at the expense of his academic work, achieving A Level grades sufficiently high to enable him to study Geography at Birmingham University. Having obtained his degree and subsequent teaching qualifications, Keith’s first position was to teach Geography at James Watt Technical School, saying later that this was the most fulfilling time he had in his chosen profession. Having gained experience, promotion beckoned with a move back to his alma mater in 1965, joining the Geography Department at HGS. This, in fact, was the last move Keith ever made, staying where he loved until his retirement in 1992. He was a diligent and hard worker, demanding the best from every pupil, with accuracy of facts being of prime importance to him. Progress to Head of Department followed and then, in 1992, to Head of Lower School. One of Keith’s proudest moments occurred in the mid 70s when, after a lot of lobbying, he persuaded the School to buy a cottage in Wales. The building was in a poor state of repair and many a pupil was taken there on a field trip, given a hammer or paintbrush and told to join in with the refurbishment. He became Warden and for the next 15 years took thousands of boys to explore the local countryside, gaining important knowledge about academic matters, but, just as important, gaining life skills to hold them in good stead for the rest of their lives. Keen sporting instincts saw Keith leading cricket and football teaching at HGS and he was usually to be seen after School, or on Saturday mornings, refereeing a football match, umpiring a game of cricket, or simply running training sessions. The organisation now known as Bridge Trust Society was another important feature of his life. This was the Old Boys network of the School. He joined once he had left University, becoming an active member of the Football and Cricket Clubs at the same time. Keith served on most of the Society Committees and indeed was Membership Secretary for many years, recruiting budding stars from the school, to play for Old Boys teams. When the Society celebrated its centenary in 1978, Keith was elected President, hosting a Gala Dinner in Big School. As a mark of respect when the Society built its sports pavilion in 2016, he was honoured by it being named after him. The Old Boys ground is located in Romilly Avenue, very near to the School fields; and Keith, always a worker, started looking after the cricket square in the 1970s, taking over responsibility for the rest of the ground in 1988, a job which he fulfilled until his retirement in 2003. During his time the quality of the ground as a whole, but the square and three football pitches in particular, became a byword for quality. Keith lived on the job: a back gate from his house led onto the car park, so Keith was able to go onto the ground first thing in the morning, after school and last thing at night, to tidy up, or get things ready for the next match. He had very little equipment; getting his first tractor was a big moment, so most of this work was done by hand, such was Keith’s dedication. Keith played cricket for the Old Boys team from 1965 for thirty years. On 1st August 1981, in a match against Catherine de Barnes, he claimed a ten-wicket haul with bowling figures of 20 overs, 6 maidens, 10 wickets for 41 runs. In 1981 and 1982 he played in matches against Argentina and Israel at Romilly Avenue, these being warm- up matches for the World Cup. He was also a member of the 1st X1 which won the Warwickshire League in three out of four years. Football was an equal love of Keith and he played for the Old Boys in their golden years. He was in the 1st X1 when it won the Senior Cup in 1958 and in subsequent League and Cup winning teams in the 10 following years. He was granted the honour of representing the Birmingham AFA both on the field and latterly in an administrative capacity; he coached the Villa boys team and was elected President of the Club 1991 to 1994. There have been a few giants in the life of the Society: Keith was certainly one of these. 38