Heath Old Boys Association


Obituaries


William Malcolm Bussey: [Heath 1952–1960]

September 1952 saw the usual intake of 60 or more boys to HGS, all with abilities later revealed, to greater or lesser degree, as they passed through school.

One such was ‘Buss’ as he soon became known. In the early days he was a small, wiry lad showing some promise both on the sports field and academically — promise that was well on the way to being realised by the time he left in 1960!

His parents, Willie and Ada, ran a coal merchants business in Ovenden. Holy Trinity School saw him through the 11+ and into HGS, where he soon began to display considerable confidence and competence. He was a good cricketer, but his enthusiasm in that area was overwhelmed by his development as a rugby footballer and as an athlete which was truly outstanding.

He played an increasingly influential role in each year’s XV, with his natural speed and amazing left to right sidestep — practised regularly as he made his way to school sidestepping lamp standards along Huddersfield Road. Buss was a member of the Yorkshire Schools XV for three years, graduating to England Schools in his final year whilst also breaking, and holding for many a long year after his departure, the Inter Grammar Schools quarter mile record and winning the England schools 440 yards championship in 1959.

In those times the School had a fearsome record playing Seven a side rugby and Buss was a member of each of the School’s Ilkley Sevens teams from 1958–60 and the winning Llanelli Sevens team in 1959.

His academic attainment saw him go up to Cambridge to read Natural Science and, unsurprisingly, to play rugby. He was in the 1st XV throughout his three years at Cambridge winning in each of his three Varsity Matches. The 1961 team was nicknamed ‘The Invincibles’ as they won every match they played leading up to and including the Varsity Match. He was selected for the Probables team for an England RFU trial but, unhappily, his wrist was broken in the Varsity match three weeks prior to the trial and his chance of International Honours slipped away.

Michele [née Rhodes] and Malcolm were married at All Saints Church, Halifax on and they were blessed with three children — Neale, Michael and Tracey — and five grandchildren — Nicole, Rebecca, Kate, Kameron and Tiger.

His future however lay in the Midlands; he began, and 42 years later, ended his teaching career at Uppingham School. He was a dedicated and inspirational Chemistry teacher, master in charge of rugby, Housemaster for 16 years and, finally, Senior Master until his retirement.

His reputation at the School was immediately enhanced by his rugby career with Leicester Tigers, where he was known as ‘The King,’ playing over 121 first team games between 1963 and 1967. His rugby career ended due to injury and, blessed with his fierce competitive spirit, his sporting prowess was invested, as was Michele’s, at The Luffenham Heath Golf Club where he again rose through the ranks to serve as Captain in 2013.

Sadly Buss was struck down with motor neurone disease; he bore the condition with fortitude and in the certainty that he had been worthy of great acclaim in his roles as son, husband, father, grandfather, sportsman, teacher, friend, Heath Old Boy and — throughout — as an archetypal Yorkshireman.

Our condolences go to all the family.

Grayham P Smith [1952–1959]

There are tributes on the Old Uppinghamians and Leicester Tigers websites.

Malcolm Bull [1952–1960] writes:

I met Malcolm at Trinity Junior Boys School at West Parade, Halifax and we both passed the 11+ to go to Heath, where we stayed in the same class and set right from 1B through to the upper sixth. From there, Malcolm went to Downing College, Cambridge, and I did another year in the 6th form, doing maths with Polly Hallowes before I went to University College, London.