Henry Rishbeth: a tribute from an old school friend

Henry Rishbeth (1931-2010)

Following a Google search for online references to his old school friend Henry Rishbeth, whose passing I noted in March of this year, John Harris wrote a few lines in memory of Henry, and offered the text for publication…

Henry and I were at were at school together in Cambridge from the age of about four till eighteen! First Nursery School and then Perse School.

He was always the brightest in the class, consistently winning prizes. I remember we had a teacher for maths (not a mathematician at all – these were the war years) who, at the end of a test, would ask: “Rishbeth, what is the maximum?” i.e., Henry always got all the questions right and the maximum possible marks.

I guess that in today’s (yesterday’s?) slang he would have been called a nerd or geek, and surely deeply into computers, etc. Not many interests as far as one knew outside study and of course railways (His house almost backed onto the Cambridge-London line). I was surprised to read that he was evidently a committed christian.

Just before he left school he began to be rather successful as a long distance runner – cross country I think. And then the tragedy of contracting polio during national service.

I continued to see him occasionally as an undergraduate, but then, as happens our paths diverged. I am pleased to know how much he achieved and the respect he earned.

John Harris