A Tribute to Martin Wilde

It is with great sadness that I have to inform the family that is Cardinal Langley of the passing of Mr Martin Wilde, affectionately known as “Wiggy” to generations of pupils from the early seventies to the beginning of this century.

Martin joined the staff of Cardinal Langley in 1970 as the Head of Physical Education and in the first ten years of his tenure he secured, through his talent and commitment as a teacher, a multitude of successes in the sport of Rugby Union and in the world of athletics.  Martin’s coaching abilities in Rugby Union established a small Grammar School in North Manchester as a force to be reckoned with and feared amongst the established Public Schools of the day. Amongst his many successes in Rugby Union was the winning of the Manchester Cup and on another occasion the Hereford Sevens, a win which allegedly elicited a complaint from a member of the public who was travelling on the M6 and observed the returning Cardinal Langley mini bus rocking from side to side as the players celebrated their success no doubt encouraged by Martin, whose exuberance could simply be described as infectious.  In the Area of Athletics Martin was no less successful, frequently fielding teams of athletes who went on to win the Greater Manchester Athletics Championships on many occasions.

Martin’s talents as a coach resulted in many plaudits for Cardinal Langley as a school but this was not what defined him as a teacher.  It is fair to say Martin was not an outwardly religious man but his moral compass was very much in tune with the philosophy which underpinned the Lasallian Teaching Order.  One of the foundation principles of the Lasallian Order was that all children should be treated as if they were the son of a king.  In his teaching Martin went beyond this principle and the children in his care felt they were the king himself and this is reflected in the many tributes that have been paid to Martin since his demise. Testimony to Martin’s impact as a teacher is evident by the presence of many past pupils at his funeral whose association with Cardinal Langley spans at least 50 years.

In addition to leading the PE department for 10 years Martin also taught Maths and his ability to make this subject come alive can be best summed up by a quote from Steve Coogan’s autobiography where he recalls from his diary as a thirteen-year-old,

“I love Maths with Mr Wilde because you can have conversations with him and beat him up and throw snowballs at him. He’s just great!”

Martin’s dedication and ability to inspire extended into the extra-curricular so much so that the impact of one of the many events he organised for his pupils was such that it inspired one pupil to pen a song about his experiences and this song will be sung at Martin’s funeral.  In the words of Mr John Durcan, retired Headteacher of Cardinal Langley, Martin was the sort of teacher who loved his pupils and a man who did everything in his power to ensure they all got the best possible start in life.

Martin may your soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, Rest in Peace.