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NEWS > Obituaries > Andrew Welch 1962 – 2020

Andrew Welch 1962 – 2020

17 Oct 2022
Obituaries

After spending his early years at Goodwyn School (1966-70), Andrew started Belmont in 1970. He would always recall playing in the Belmont woods dressed in a boiler suit, making dens and keeping an eye on the time to be back for lessons. His school reports used to say that he struggled with Maths; a trend that seems to have continued through the family tree. 

He began at Mill Hill School (McClure) in 1975, followed by his brother Jonathan in 1979 (McClure). Andrew was involved in several extra-curricular activities, including the CCF Navy section, the modern languages film club, fencing team, farm society and even a short-lived career in the rugby team. 

After finishing school, and with the encouragement of William Winfield, he also spent some time teaching English at the Institution Join-Lambert in Rouen, France where he became fluent in French. He was still in touch with friends from his years at both schools, and always fondly remembered walking to school with Roger Perkins, to name one. Another of his school friends was the Rev. James Fields (McClure) who, in August 2019, conducted the marriage of his eldest daughter Rosie to Greg Walsh (both Old Millhillians) in the Mill Hill School Chapel. James also poignantly led Andrew’s funeral recently in May 2020.

In 1981, Andrew gained unexpected yet well-deserved entry to Keble College, Oxford to study Geography, following encouragement from Alan Prosser Harris (McClure Housemaster). Naturally unable to sit still for too long, he joined several clubs and societies including Territorial Army, rowing club and fencing teams (on which he achieved a half blue). Andrew always reflected on his time at Oxford with great happiness, as this was where he made life-long friends and brilliant memories as a student. Upon graduating from Oxford in 1984, Andrew spent a term teaching Geography at Mill Hill School. A few staff contemporaries include David Woodrow, Tony Slade, Dai Rees, Uschi Pullham and Tony Armstrong. 

Since early childhood, Andrew had always dreamt of becoming a police officer. This dream was finally realised in 1985, when having trained at Hendon Police College, Andrew started ‘on the beat’ in Golders Green. His career then took a unique and extraordinary turn in 1989 when he joined the Metropolitan Police Special Branch at New Scotland Yard. He held a wide variety of posts during this time, including work on Irish terrorism, organised crime intelligence and public order extremism at Heathrow Airport. 
This unit was later merged with the Metropolitan Police Anti-Terrorist Branch to form the Counter Terrorism Command in 2006. During this time he specifically dealt with many complex and protracted investigations into some of the most major counter-terrorist incidents in the UK, whilst also finding time to pass Part I of the Inspectors Exam. 

Andrew’s police career eventually culminated in his dream job in 2010 when he became the Counter Terrorism Police Liaison Officer (CTPLO) for the UK. This posting required him to relocate to Paris for six years where Andrew was able to build trusted and professional relationships with all forms of foreign police, government departments and intelligence agencies. Further using his linguistic abilities, Andrew became an invaluable link between France and the UK. During these six years in Paris, he became even further involved in many investigations into highly sensitive terror-related incidents, spanning across France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Tunisia and Algeria. Alongside working, Andrew also built many lasting friendships, often returning to Paris to meet socially long after his return to the UK. 
Andrew received six Police Commendations throughout his career in relation to the contemporary threats from International Terrorism, eventually retiring as Detective Sergeant with 32 years of exemplary service in 2016. The words most commonly used to describe Andrew in his professional career, and which feature consistently on his commendation certificates, are dedication, diligence and tenacity.

In testament to his hard-working nature, Andrew enjoyed only a very brief retirement, choosing then to fulfil another personal ambition of becoming a teacher. He chose to train with the pioneering organisation ‘Now Teach’, becoming a Geography teacher. He taught at Ark Globe Academy in South East London for a year, and gained his NQT status in 2019 whilst teaching at St. Mary’s and St. John’s CE School in Hendon. Whilst doubting he was any good at teaching, testimony from his pupils say that he was kind, patient and caring and even got some of them interested in pursuing Geography further into their school career. Andrew was always driven by a duty to put something back, believing that every pupil should have access to the same support and opportunities that he had enjoyed throughout his life. In 2008, Andrew was proud to be invited to join the Mill Hill Court of Governors by Dr. Roger Chapman and served nearly 12 years as a member. He simultaneously served on the board at Alford House Youth Club in Lambeth managed by 
a number of Old Millhillians, including Nigel Baker, having been a member since his school days. 

Andrew married Jo in 1990 and together had three daughters, Rosie, Amy and Eliza, all of whom attended Mill Hill (Weymouth). Constantly outnumbered in a house full of girls, Andrew found various forms of escape through sailing, gardening and adding to his legendary collection of model police cars. Modest and highly intelligent, (yet sometimes in need of reminding about the mundane matters of the day), he barely ever raised his voice, never spoke a forceful word and always took joy and appreciation from the simplest moments in life. 

He had a complete inability to throw anything away, treasuring his eclectic collection of French films and Blue’s CD’s, and always laughing and joking playfully whenever we were to point it out. Our merciless teasing of Andrew’s quirks was a source of endless fun for the family and will be so terribly missed. 

He brought calmness to our family of five, always reminding his daughters never to take life too seriously, through his advice to ‘only worry when it happens’. He encouraged the four of us to be confident in our abilities and to always be content with what we have.
Andrew’s death was a result of a sudden cardiac arrest on Easter Monday, 13th April 2020, during the peak of the 
‘Covid-19 lockdown’. He was only 57 years old, and his passing has snatched away all other ambitions we know he had. His proudest moments over the last few years were seeing all three of his daughters graduate from university after leaving Mill Hill School. Most recently, he was overjoyed to be able to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle in the Mill Hill School Chapel and dance on the Masters Lawn at the wonderful reception hosted on Belmont School grounds.

His legacy to his family, his parents David and Philippa, and to his brother Jonathan is immeasurable and simply beyond words. His sense of dedication, honour and duty is evident, not only in his proud service to Queen and Country, but also his commitment to child welfare and education. Andrew is loved, well-liked and well-respected and will be sorely missed by so many. We cannot think of a better tribute to a life well lived. 

Thank you for reading about my husband. I am so proud to be his wife. Our daughters are so grateful and feel privileged to have had such a loving, dependable and upstanding role-model for a father and for the quality time they had with him.
May I also take this opportunity to thank those who have sent such kind messages and cards that I haven’t 
yet personally thanked for, they are so appreciated by all of us. When conditions allow, we will hold a memorial service for Andrew where all his friends and family can finally attend. 

Joanna Welch

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