Claude de LaPeyre

Claude de LaPeyre was born on 3rd June 1949 and died on June 7th 2008 in Mauritius, aged 59 years, after being murdered by an employee who was burglarising his home.

Claude is survived by four sons and a daughter, Boris, Thierry, Nicolas, Gregory and Elodie,  and  eight grandchildren, Amelie, Yurika, Thea, Chan, Emanuelle, David, Ciara and Tyron.

Claude's family came from Mauritius to the UK in  October 1962 and he was  brought up in the Finsbury Park area of north London.  He attended Holloway School where his overwhelming passion was biology. 

The  head of the biology department, Darrell Kay, was a larger than life character who encouraged open conversation with his 6th form students.  This created an atmosphere where students were encouraged to talk and discuss all matters, the news, biology... everything..  The biology lab became a haven and none of the class had ever experienced anything like it before.  He and Alan Massey taught the then new Nuffield 'A' level syllabus which encouraged students to develop their own research projects. Students also had free passes to London Zoo, so Claude and his classmates spent many hours with the animals without any distraction. A hospital even gave the department a dialysis machine. Claude responded splendidly to this approach to teaching, as did his fellow classmates Craig Hinkins, Stavros Kallis and I...   

After the 'A' level exams Claude and I went to Finland to spend the summer with my relatives.  We had never reckoned on the fact that people in parts of rural Finland had never seen a black man before.  Everywhere we went  people would stop and  look at Claude,  and especially the children.  They would  stop, often sit down and stare open mouthed and after a pause their parents had to tell them to move on.  The Finns are very polite so it is very innocent. They had never seen a man like Claude before.  Claude soon got used to it and took it in his stride.  We had a great time in the forests and on the lakes, exploring, boating, fishing, swimming, having saunas and enjoying the friendship and hospitality of the Finnish people.  We also taught the Finns to play cricket.

 He went on the study and be awarded a degree in zoology at Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1971. After working in a number of  UK laboratories, in 1975 he moved  back to Mauritius, something he had spoken about many times to his friends, Craig Hinkins and myself. 

 He worked for a time on government research projects  on toxic poisons, but after a few years ventured into agriculture establishing a small farm with livestock. Claude was later to say that it was his experience in Finland that led him to want to become a farmer.

Claude slowly developed the farm specializing in the breeding of quality pigs, cows, chickens and he was the director of the Glenside Meat Processing Enterprise, in Pailles. 

Claude  lived  modestly and  did everything with  passion and love.  He  applied his  knowledge of biology to become an innovate and successful  breeder.  He was a lover of the land and enjoyed nothing more than spending  his time  on his farm with his animals.  People who came to the farm often  confused him with a gardener and he had much  fun playing this role.

Claude was a modest, kind and gentle man who quietly helped many people without making a fuss.  He was devoted to his children and he had even assisted his would be murderer by helping with the funeral of his father and later his younger brother.  

 His passing leaves a hole in the hearts of many people who had the privilege of knowing him and being his friend.  His family are heartbroken by his passing.