> Tributes Page
Cardiff Academy is sad to announce the sudden death of Ros Wilson, aged 64 years, on Sunday 17th August 2014 in St. Anne`s Hospice, Newport. Ros was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June 2014 and survived just eight weeks following this diagnosis. She will be greatly missed by all of us at Cardiff Academy and by the many hundreds of ex-students, teachers, musicians and friends who knew her. What follows is a personal tribute to Ros by Dr. Wilson; our Principal and Ros` husband.
Ros was one of four founding members of Cardiff Academy. The other three were myself, Mrs. Jenne Davies and her then husband, Paul. Under the most difficult possible circumstances and during a period of just two months, we four worked hard to enable Cardiff Academy to open for business on 4th January 1999. What follows is an account of the part played by Ros in bringing our enterprise to fruition and the contribution she made to the success of Cardiff Academy over the following fourteen years.
Ros was a pupil at Cardiff High School for Girls. This school, which is now owned by Cardiff University, was based in The Parade, Cardiff. By mid-December 1998, although our plans for Cardiff Academy were well advanced, we had yet to identify premises for our venture let alone convert these into a College with science laboratories. Given we were due to open on 4th January 1999 and were about to enter the Christmas period where such things as estate agents, solicitors and building contractors would be closed, this was cutting things very fine indeed. Because she went to school on The Parade, and because this was the kind of prestigious post-code we were looking for, Ros suggested we look there. Therefore, on a freezing cold day in mid-December 1998, Ros and I took a stroll down The Parade to see what we could find. And there it was; 40 – 41 The Parade was up for rent. Quite frankly, I just could not believe our luck. It was just perfect in every way for use as a private college. Following this discovery, Ros worked tirelessly day and night with both the agent and the owner to secure the building for us before Christmas. And she did it! So that, on 24th December 1998, the agent handed us the keys and we were officially in business. However, Ros` contribution did not stop here.
Especially in the early years, Ros` full-time teaching salary allowed me to accept very little in the way of income from Cardiff Academy. Without this, I would have had no choice but to look for work elsewhere and, no doubt, that would have been the end for The Academy. Over the intervening fourteen years, this pattern would be repeated many times over as we hit one financial crisis after another and my salary from The Academy fell once again. I can`t imagine there are many wives who would have put up with this. Indeed, most would have insisted I give-up Cardiff Academy as a lost cause and find a proper job in the state sector. Not so Ros. This, therefore, is one of the major reasons Cardiff Academy is still in business today.
At home, Ros and I talked about almost nothing else but Cardiff Academy; the students, the teachers, our financial worries were discussed on a nightly basis almost endlessly. Ros` insight was often crucial as regards the decisions I made in these matters. She always seemed to have the knack of finding a solution to every problem. In addition, because she taught in a state comprehensive I was never lacking as regards the latest initiatives in education and often put these into practice at The Academy.
Following her retirement from work in 2011, Ros dedicated herself to her grandchildren on an almost full-time basis. However, she soon began to miss the contact with teachers and students and so, in 2012, I offered her the position of Marketing Manager at Cardiff Academy. Not only did she accept my offer, she threw herself into her new role with enormous enthusiasm. In particular, together with her son Paul, she was responsible for completely re-vamping our website and bringing Cardiff Academy into the modern age of web-based marketing. By constantly monitoring the web-sites of our competitors in Cardiff, she also managed to keep our core message current and relevant to the needs of our student and parental market. In pushing our unique brand image in this way, Ros was responsible for raising the profile of Cardiff Academy in such a way that, today, virtually all students and parents in Cardiff know we are here and what it is we stand for.
In all these ways, therefore, Ros played a major part in the establishment and eventual success of Cardiff Academy, both as a business and as a college. Her legacy is all around us in the form of all those students we have helped achieve their academic and career potential over the years. This legacy can never be taken away. It is, and will remain, one of the major achievements of her life.
R.I.P Ros. I love you.
Dr. S.R. Wilson, Principal
Aamir receiving his debating award from Rhodri Morgan
Aamir was a student at Cardiff Academy for almost four years. On Sunday 11th April 2010 Aamir was stabbed to death on the doorstep of his home by two masked men. What made this murder all the more horrific was that it was witnessed by both Aamir`s parents who were themselves injured in the attack. On Friday 1st February 2013, Jason Richards, 38, and Ben Hope, 39, were convicted of Aamir`s murder and on 8th February 2013 both men were sentenced to a minimum of 40 years each. The pair were paid just £1,000 each to kill a different man in a nearby street. Sentencing them to life for murder at Swansea Crown Court, the Judge, Mr Justice Royce, said few would shed a tear if they died in jail. However, this was not the end of the suffering for Aamir`s family because, soon after they were sentenced, Richards and Hope were both granted leave to appeal against the length of their sentence. It took a further 18 months for both these appeals to be quashed so that, in July 2014, over 4 years after his murder, Aamir`s family could at last begin to mourn his passing.
Aamir was a loving, caring, outgoing student. He was a very big part of life at Cardiff Academy and is missed even today by all the staff here at The Academy and by his many friends and former classmates.
Cardiff Academy Tributes to Aamir
In the immediate aftermath of Aamir`s death I posted an open message on the many Facebook Groups set up in his honour and also paid tribute to him on behalf of Cardiff Academy when asked to do so by the BBC. Here are the transcripts.
CARDIFF ACADEMY FACEBOOK TRIBUTE
“Aamir was a student at Cardiff Academy for nearly four years from year 10 – 13. During this time he lit up all of our lives with his genuine humanity and grace. He had a gentle soul and an infectious enthusiasm for life that was entirely disarming. He was also extremely well-read with an encyclopaedic knowledge of issues and facts ranging from the mundane to the positively esoteric. His passing, especially its horrific nature, has shocked even those who did not know him. It is simply impossible to put into words how much Aamir will be missed by all his classmates and teachers. Finally, I must pay tribute to the dignity with which Aamir`s family have conducted themselves over the last few days. Their strength, courage and compassion shines through the darkness and gives us all hope that good will, in the end, triumph over evil. R.I.P. Aamir. We will never forget you”.
Dr. Stephen Wilson, Principal, Cardiff Academy, 15th April 2010
BBC WALES TODAY TRIBUTE
“Aamir really was the kind of boy who was a gentle man. He never had a bad word to say about anyone”
“In all the years I have been teaching I have never known anything as tragic as Aamir's murder”.
“This is a small and closely-knit school. More like an extended family really. Many of my staff have been on the phone to me in tears, to say nothing of the students”.
"Aamir is a major loss - a lovely, lovely boy. Very outgoing, very bright, he had a place to read Law at Cardiff University and was certainly on course for grade A`s at A-level".
"He was also a very eloquent boy. You only have to read the Facebook pages, the tributes to him, which say more than I ever possibly could”.
"In every way, this was such a brutal attack. No-one really understands what has gone on or why it happened?”
"Aamir really was the kind of boy who was a gentle man. He never had a bad word to say about anyone."
“His Muslim faith was very important to him. He kept his beliefs to himself but he lived by those beliefs. Everybody really loved him."
Dr. Stephen Wilson, Principal, Cardiff Academy - 13th April 2010