It is with deep regret we report that, after a long battle with illness, Rod Ling died on 9th July 2015 aged 65.
As many will know he made an enormous contribution to, and was one of the back-bones of, the Moseleians Association, firstly acting as a very efficient school liaison officer then, after taking early retirement in 2009, continuing as an active member of the committee, taking a role in every event and continuing to organise Spring Hill College Heritage Open Day on behalf of the school and association.
Rod was genuinely interested in the human condition and could see an education angle to every activity, he was hungry for knowledge. As a keen gardener Rod was chairman of Billesley Lane Allotments Association and a champion of causes that he felt impacted on our daily environment. These were not necessarily the big environmental issues of the day, although these did concern him, but smaller local issues: hedgerows, grass verges, Moseley Bog, architecture, ancient buildings and our local heritage.
With his wry smile and gentle sense of humour, Rod will be sorely missed by family and friends alike. A deep thinker and a good talker his encouragement and support brought out the best in others, spurring them on to achieve their personal goals.
Born and raised in Norfolk, and hence a lifelong Norwich City supporter, Rod remained in Birmingham after graduating from the University of Birmingham in 1971 and maintained that he tried secondary school teaching while waiting for the right job to come along. Some years later, supported by a working wife, he thought he might better enjoy the life of academe. He completed a Master’s degree and then embarked on a PhD.
Having already faced problems of his own personal development, he had worked for some time as a volunteer counsellor. Now, failure to ‘follow through’ with his PhD and a new personal crisis led him to offer his services as a teacher-counsellor in a tough, north Birmingham, neighbourhood. This was a period in which schooling was freer to experiment than was, perhaps, appreciated at the time.
A new relationship and a new post at Moseley School, teaching PSHE, a unique educational and architectural heritage prompted further effort at poetry and other forms of writing, the culmination of which was a novel, published in 2014, for teenagers aged between thirteen and ninety-nine called ‘If These Walls Could Whisper’. This novel cleverly draws together Rod’s research into the history of Spring Hill College and its relationship with Mansfield College, Oxford through the eyes of a group of school friends following mysterious clues.
One of life’s gentle-men Rod made a difference to people’s lives. We offer our sincere condolences to Diana, Joe, Claire, Stephen and the rest of his family.