John (David) Pierce was born in Cantley, a village on the Norfolk Broads, to a welsh speaking North Wales family. David went to Norwich School (Nelson’s school) as a boarder, which he describes as very similar to Truro School.
At the end of the war, having just left school, he was commissioned as an infantry officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, Wales’s Senior Regiment, serving in Jamaica, Bermuda, Germany, Malaya, Singapore, Cyprus (United Nations), then as second in command in Aden and Hong Kong. During this time, he met a Cornish girl by the name of Jeanette (Jean) Brewer. The couple married and had two children; Michael CO79 and Christina.
After 25 years in the army David went to teacher training college at St Lukes, Exeter. Having qualified, he was interviewed by Headmaster Alan Ayres at Treliske school (now Truro School Prep) in 1975, where he started teaching General Science and English. David’s wife Jean, a dance teacher, also taught the special needs programme at the school for around 10 years, and their son, Michael was a boarder at both Treliske and Truro School.
In addition to teaching General Science and English, David devoted much of his time to coaching sports and running sporting clubs and activities at Treliske, including cricket, hockey, squash and cross country, with successful cricketers Laura Harper CO02, (Treliske and Truro School) and Robert Malcolm Bell CO87) coming under his guidance.
Laura Julyen Harper CO02 played as a right-handed batter and right-arm off break bowler. She appeared in 6 Test matches and 25 One Day Internationals for England between 1999 and 2005, when she was also the youngest player to have played for England at her debut. She also played cricket for Somerset and Cornwall.
Robert Malcolm Bell CO87, is also a former England cricketer. He was a right-handed batsman who bowled right-arm medium pace. Born in Hugh Town on the Isles of Scilly, Bell made his debut in county cricket for Cornwall in the 1990 MCCA Knockout Trophy against Wiltshire. In that same season he made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan in the 1990 County Championship. He made two further first-class appearances, against Worcestershire in 1990 and Oxford University in 1991 taking 3 wickets at an average of 41.00, with best figures of 2/38. Bell continued to play Minor counties cricket for Cornwall until the 1993 season.
David also organised the inter-county cricket at Treliske for many years, including teams from Holland and St Stithians School, Johannesburg, taking the U/12’s county cricket team on a return trip to South Africa which included Laura Harper and James Frances CO92, as team members. He also introduced the Treliske school ski trips to Italy, France and Austria.
Another Old Truronian, Sir Ben Ainslie CO95, recently spoke of ‘his favourite teacher, Mr Pierce’ in the video message he sent to Truro School whilst in Auckland competing in the America’s cup sailing challenge, much to David’s delight.
Ben joined Treliske (and later Truro School) having moved from Cheshire and even at that early age David recalls he was ‘mad keen on sailing’. He also spent a lot of time at David’s squash sessions in the Truro School courts. Ben then went on to play cricket and hockey for the school and David recalls: “He loved cross country running in the woods around the school. He was a quiet boy but very determined. His fitness and intense dedication, which he shows now, were evident during his school days and he had some success representing the School teams.”
Following the video message, Chrissy Pierce (David’s daughter) contacted Nicky Berridge in the Development Office to see if it might be possible to pass on a message to Sir Ben. Soon after, Ben arranged a telephone call with David, and they chatted and reminisced. As a consequence, Ben has promised to visit David next time he is in Cornwall, although it may be a little time yet as he is soon to leave Auckland for Bermuda. We look forward to hearing more news after they catch up again.
Although David retired in 1995, he continued to coach sports, working with many of schools in Truro, including the High School, Penair and Polwhele House School where he remained coaching hockey and cricket for 12 years. Until the coronavirus pandemic struck in 2020, he was still coaching cricket in Treliske (Truro School Prep) sports hall on Saturday mornings throughout the year, helped by several Old Truronian boys. He still supports Truro hockey club when they are able to play.
Nowadays David enjoys following the cricket career of his grandson, Oskar Kolk (Chrissy’s son) who currently plays first class cricket for Mashonaland Eagles in Zimbabwe, the MCC and captains Landsown Cricket Club, Bath. (The Mashonaland Eagles is one of four Zimbabwean cricket franchises. They are based in the Harare Metropolitan and Mashonaland Central area and play both first-class and limited overs cricket.)
David and Chrissy hope to visit Truro School in June when the Lords Taverners visit for a game of cricket against the School team, and we look forward to giving them a warm welcome.
David celebrated his 92nd birthday on the 18th of April – 92 ‘not out!’ Not bad going!