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News > Mill Hill Now > Remembering OM Andrew Welch (McClure 1975-80)

Remembering OM Andrew Welch (McClure 1975-80)

Tribute to Andrew Welch from his daughter, and Old Millhillian, Rosie Walsh (née Welch) – Weymouth 2005-10
Andrew Welch 1962 – 2020. Deeply loved and forever missed
Andrew Welch 1962 – 2020. Deeply loved and forever missed

On 2nd April this year, Mill Hill School kindly played host to a poignant event for our family. After a long delay due to Covid, we were finally able to hold a long overdue memorial service for Andrew William Welch (McClure 1975-80).

The service was held at Mill Hill School Chapel, followed by drinks and refreshments in the dining hall. There were over 200 guests in attendance, and we were honoured to see such a remarkable turnout which included family, friends, colleagues, governors, and staff members. Led by James Fields (Mill Hill School Chaplain 1998-2007), the service managed to be both light-hearted and deeply emotional, reflecting many aspects of Andrew’s life and interests. The brilliant eulogy, written by his wife Jo, captured his evolution from happy-go-lucky boy, to gawky, fencing obsessed teenager, to a man who dedicated a huge portion of his life to the service of his country.

An emotional and touching tribute from Jonathan Welch (McClure 1979-83), Andrew’s brother, celebrated their bond and reminded us of the unique experiences we share with our siblings, which are so precious and character forming. This was followed by a wonderful tribute from Elliot Lipton, Chair of Governors, who spoke about Andrew’s long-standing relationship with Mill Hill School as a former pupil, teacher, and finally as a well-respected member of the School Governors. Among the many poignant and reflective moments during the service, the ‘Dash’ poem (by Linda Ellis) read by Andrew’s close friend Tim Watkin-Rees, was impactful in its message to make the most of the time we have, whilst practising kindness and empathy with those around us.

A frank and revealing tribute from Clive Blackford, former Metropolitan Police Detective Inspector and Commanding Officer during Andrew’s early years on the beat, earned spontaneous applause, as he detailed the vital role Andrew played in foiling numerous terrorist plots throughout his time in the Special Branch, through his innate ability to win friends, foster loyalty and gather superior intelligence. These revelations were a surprise to many, in contrast with the humble, affable, and ever so slightly scatter-brained man we all knew. Whilst the nature of his career has never been a secret, the true scale of his contributions had always been downplayed by his natural self-deprecation and humour. It is a source of great pride for us, as his family, to know how loved and respected he was by all that knew him.

To see so many faces from all parts of Andrews life was immensely comforting and it was incredibly humbling to hear from people who worked with him and knew him so well throughout his life. We would like to sincerely thank all those who were able to attend, as well as all of those who held us in their thoughts on the day.

We as a family continue to be so touched by the wonderful support of the Mill Hill School community. We would like to say a special thank you to the Reverend James Fields, Foundation Organist John Evanson, Jane Sanchez, and Adèle Greaves.

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