College mourns Elliot

2014-10-03 00:00

MARITZBURG College was rocked yesterday by the news that former pupil and principal Ken Elliot had died.

The Maritzburg College Old Boys’ Association said in a statement that Elliot, the school’s 12th principal, had died after a two-year battle with cancer. His health had deteriorated markedly over the past three weeks “and, surrounded by his family, he lost the fight at 5.15 am on Wednesday morning”.

He was 62 years old.

Elliot was a College Old Boy, having matriculated in 1968 as a top academic achiever, a leader and an accomplished sportsman, the association said.

“Ken was also a first team tennis player and first XI cricketer and, capping his very successful final year, he was selected for the U18 Natal Schools’ side as a wicketkeeper/batsman.”

Prior to joining College, he served as principal of Wartburg Kirchdorf School, and at Kingsway and Westville Boys’ high schools.

He left College in 2003 to become principal at Durban Girls’ College.

Deputy principal Keith Guise-Brown described Elliot as an extraordinary individual who was possibly the youngest principal in College history, being only 42 when appointed.

“He taught mathematics. He easily taught both boys who were struggling with the subject and the boys who were bright … even as headmaster, he took up classes to help the boys who had been struggling.”

Elliot was a strong individual who respected others and was respected in turn.

“He was a tall man and had presence. When he walked in, people were drawn to him.”

Guise-Brown said Elliot was a fair and strong leader, and not afraid to take unpopular decisions.

Elliot was the driving force behind many of the school’s achievements during his reign.

“The matric results were superb, College sport went through a purple patch, a number of innovations took place and money was spent upgrading and creating new facilities, such as the hockey astro-turf and College House. The boys and the staff were productive and happy under his strong leadership.”

Guise-Brown said Elliot had grown up on a farm and could speak Zulu very well.

“He could go to the grounds and speak very well to people working there, and he could speak to politicians and even academics very comfortably.”

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