1933 – 21 February 2022
David died aged 89 on 21 February 2022 after a short illness.
He was appointed to Stowe by Eric Reynolds in 1957, as the mysteriously named “Headmaster‘s Adjutant”, to teach French and Spanish. In the earlier of his sixteen years, he served as Under Housemaster of Walpole, was a member of the Army section of CCF and coached rugby and cross-country in addition to athletics. In 1967 he was appointed the founding Housemaster of Lyttelton.
On leaving Stowe in 1973, he was appointed Headmaster of Kimbolton School where he achieved independent status for the school following the abolition of the Direct Grant Scheme. He made the school co-educational and led the Eastern Division of HMC. He retired in 1987. He and Marian, who died eleven weeks after David, also aged 89, returned to their house in Padstow where they enjoyed a long and happy retirement, full of travel and friends.
In 1961, he was instrumental in reclaiming the land where the old kitchen garden had been at Stowe. The cinder track was opened in 1962 and replaced in 2009
by the eight lane, state-of-the-art facility that we know today. It is named in his honour, ‘The David Donaldson Athletics Track’. He was president of Cambridge University Athletics Club and immediately prior to arriving at Stowe, had captained the combined Oxford and Cambridge team on their US tour to compete against Yale and Harvard. David was quite simply the best schools‘ athletics coach of his generation, borne out by the number of school records that still stand from his time in charge.
He was my coach, mentor, friend and more than anyone else set me up for life after Stowe.
Nigel Rice (Chatham 64)