There is no ‘bucket list’ - Lynne and I are both well, thank you – but we have arrived at a point in our lives where we have the time, the money and the good health to indulge in a passion for travel. We know how lucky and privileged we are to be able to do this, and we know it won’t last for ever, but while it does…..

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Francis Crane M.B.E.


Extract from this morning’s New Year’s Honours List

Doctor Francis Gibbs Crane. Head of Geography and Duke of Edinburgh's Co-ordinator, Stafford Grammar School. For services to Education.

You could have knocked me down with a feather – I never knew his middle name was Gibbs!

Francis Crane M.B.E. lunches at the Ship Inn, Danebridge
Francis is the originator and organiser of most of the walks posted on this blog; he is also the map reader who is never wrong. Above is a picture of Francis in the pub (not exactly alien territory) as it is one of the few I have of his face. I have, though, hundreds of pictures of his back as I plod along behind struggling to keep up.

Francis, rear elevation
Francis and I both arrived at Stafford Grammar School in August 1989. I have retired, he is still there. I do not know if he introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme in the school, but he is entirely responsible for the huge success it has become. SGS is one of the smallest schools in the Stafford area but regularly gains the highest number of gold awards - in some years as many as all the other schools combined. Enrolment for the bronze award in Year 9 is entirely voluntary, though it is never far off 100%.

Francis turns left - well he is a Guardian reader

The time Francis has devoted to the scheme is mind-boggling. From the endless but ever efficient organisation, through the pre-expedition checks, six or more weekends every year for the expeditions themselves and countless hours chasing up unreturned tents and incomplete record books. And he gets to camp out in the Peak District in March. The reward for all this? The satisfaction of a job well done, the knowledge that hundreds (maybe thousands) of youngsters have had experiences and opportunities they would not otherwise have had, and the chance to drive into a cow in a Dartmoor fog. And that was all – until today.

Francis on Bredon Hill
Congratulations Francis, a well-deserved honour.  You now, though, lose the title of Unsung Hero – you just got sung.



  1. I just googled Francis Crane MBE and this blog was top of the list. A good tribute. I'm not used to "sung heroes". It's good that it happens sometimes to people you know. Well done to the people who nominated him for appreciating him.

  2. Neatly done, David.
    Good, Welsh singing!


  3. Thank you, David, for your wonderful comments and pictures. I am humbled.

  4. Well done, Francis. Richly deserved, by the sound of it. (Gibbs? News to me. Where was that from?)

  5. Gibbo for the win

    From Jim Smith

  6. Well Done Craney :D

  7. Well done Dr crane from your old school!!!!!!!!!