Date Posted... Apr 23rd 2024




Legacy, Impact and Memories of the Truro School Workshop

In the heart of every school, there are teachers whose dedication and passion leave an indelible mark on generations of students. Such is the case for Mr Dennis Keam, a revered woodwork and metalwork teacher whose tenure at Truro School as Head of the Design and Technology department spanned from 1968-1998. As Old Truronians from far and wide reunited for an afternoon of nostalgia and reminiscence, the occasion served as a poignant tribute to Dennis’ enduring legacy and the profound impact he has had on countless students.

On Saturday 20 April we welcomed back over 90 Old Truronians for a reunion to celebrate this legacy. The reunion buzzed with excitement as Old Truronians, now adults with successful careers (many of which in engineering as a result of Dennis’ impact) and families of their own, made their way down to the quad to meet at the Sixth Form Centre, eager to reconnect with old friends and mentors. Welcomed back were OTs from 1963 to 2019, as well as former teachers many of you reading will remember: Alan Johnston (Teacher of French 1963-1999), John West-Letford (former D.T Technician) and Tim Tall CO72 (Teacher of D.T. 1980-2014).

Amid the laughter and nostalgia, there was a palpable sense of anticipation for the highlight of the event – honouring Dennis Keam, the man who had shaped their formative years with his expertise, guidance, and unwavering dedication to the craft.

Old Truronians gathered firstly for a walk and talk around their old D.T. classrooms, familiarising themselves with the space where memories of sawdust-filled workshops and the clanging of metal echoed through conversations. For many, Dennis Keam was more than a teacher; he was a mentor, a confidant, and a source of inspiration. His woodworking and metalworking classes were not just about mastering technical skills but about instilling a sense of pride and creativity in his students.

Old Truronian Jon Machell CO88 shared that, “…he was a wonderful role model to us, firm, fair and kind with a twinkle in his eye and an infectious sense of humour. He was very honest and importantly back then, he was not afraid to show his emotions in conversations with us. He taught us about life, woodwork and even described how to build a house. It is incredible to think that he orchestrated the design and construction of the design and technology complex and sports hall, rolling up his sleeves with fellow teachers and pupils to literally help build it.”

The reunion served as a poignant reminder of the profound impact Truro School teachers have on our students’ lives. Dennis’ dedication, expertise, and genuine care for his students had left an enduring legacy, shaping their careers, character, and values.

As the Afternoon Tea drew to a close, amidst shared memories and laughter, one sentiment rang clear – gratitude. Gratitude for a teacher who had not only taught them the intricacies of woodwork and metalwork but had also instilled in them a sense of lifelong learning. Dennis’ legacy lives on, not only in the furniture crafted and metalwork forged but in the lives touched and inspired by his teaching.

Chris Baker, who has since taken on Dennis’ role said: “It was such a pleasure to see the recognition and fondness for an environment that shaped and forged so many ex-pupils, inspired by the charismatic Dennis and Tim. A wonderful occasion that served as a fantastic reminder for the reach of inspiring teachers.”

The Development and Alumni Relations team are collating photos and memories of woodwork and metalwork lessons from Old Truronians, to be published in an article for the next edition of the Truronian magazine, to celebrate Dennis’ legacy and Design and Technology at Truro School. 

It’s not too late to send us something to [email protected] and we would be delighted to publish your memory and/or creation. 

Click below to see upcoming reunions and events in 2024.