William Turner was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, in 1615, the third son of the Turner family of Kirkleatham. In 1632 he was apprenticed to Jerrard Gore, a draper in the City of London. William prospered in this business and became a prominent member of the City community.He was knighted in 1662 and served as Lord Mayor in 1668. He became a merchant banker, and was involved in the rebuilding of the City after the Great Fire of 1666. William never married and devoted much time and money to charitable causes involving education and care for the poor, such as Bridewell Hospital in London and the Almshouses in Kirkleatham, opened in 1676.He died in 1692 and in his will he left £5000 to establish a boys’ school in Kirkleatham. Called the Free School, this opened in 1709, and was the first in a series of schools bearing his name to be located in the Redcar area of North Yorkshire. His charitable legacy continues through the Sir William Turner Foundation.
This annual commemoration of Sir William Turner’s School old boys lost in conflict has continued uninterrupted since 1922.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, the customary Remembrance ceremony could not take place in 2020. Instead, students and staff of Redcar & Cleveland College arranged readings and wreath-laying at the bronze memorial in the Sir William Turner Lecture Theatre, while a small party commemorated at the Celtic cross now located at the corner of Locke Road and Corporation Road. The participants were Jason Faulkner (College Principal), Peter Chester (old boy and former Head of History), Cliff Hunt of the Cleveland Police Band, Eric Howden (British Legion) and Rev. Paul Peverell (old boy and Vicar of Great Ayton).
Both ceremonies were recorded by a College student, and an edited version can be viewed via this link:
An article also appeared in The Northern Echo newspaper: