Obituary

3rd September 2010 at 01:00

Riedwart Bock, who has died aged 81, was a teacher whose work helped secure the place of Scotland as a major player internationally in the provision of care and education for people with special needs.

Bock was a pioneer in creating what is now Camphill School in Murtle, just west of Aberdeen. His calling in creating the Camphill concept worldwide and his knowledge of the movement saw him affectionately referred to as a "living archive".

When he, as a young German graduate, left his home city of Stuttgart in 1949 to study the methods begun at Camphill by the Jewish Austrian emigre, Dr Karl Konig, the place comprised three small centres. Konig had arrived in Aberdeen nine years before, along with a handful of fellow escapees from Nazi persecution.

Thanks to the work of Bock and his colleagues, Camphill marked its silver jubilee in 1990 with 72 communities across the globe, while Bock drove forward Konig's message of a village community based on love and trust. Camphill now operates in more than 100 centres in 21 countries, with Aberdeen seen as the "capital". Bock proved inspirational in creating the worldwide Camphill movement.

Author, writer and passionate campaigner for education and care for youngsters with special needs, Bock helped widen the scope of Camphill to cater for adults. He backed his writing on anthroposophy and spiritual science with lecture tours and teaching across the world, promoting holistic care and total involvement within a caring community for those with learning difficulties.

He had been the longest-serving member of staff at Camphill, having worked for the community for more than 60 years. A long-time member of the management team, he also took a keen interest in the history of the place, editing the book The Builders of Camphill: Lives and Destinies of the Founders.

Laurence Alfred, co-ordinator for Camphill School, said Bock had been "instrumental" in the development of Camphill School. "It is a totally international organisation, and he has been central in bringing that about.

"He knew of the work of the founding group, and was interested in finding out more about it. Teaching was his passion.

"Because he had been at Camphill for so long, he was a living archive of its history."

Bock never retired, and continued to teach and mentor co-workers until he was taken to hospital with heart problems. He died in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary from heart failure just a week before the 70th anniversary of the foundation of Camphill. By his own wish, his funeral was held in a hall on the Murtle campus of Camphill.

He is survived by his wife Nora, and two sons and a daughter.

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