Aerial view of Brockwood Park School, Hampshire, UK

BROCKWOOD PARK SCHOOL

A Tribute to Carvalho

Long-serving Brockwood Park staff member, Ildelindo Da Silveira Carvalho, died while scuba-diving in Dorset, on the 7th August, 2021.

Carvalho used to enjoy sharing the story of how he first became interested in Krishnamurti’s teachings. He was a young sergeant doing mechanical maintenance on F-5 fighter planes in the Brazilian Air Force and went to a library to find books on the subject. He spotted a book called The Flight of the Eagle, thought it was about aircraft design and checked it out of the library. Reading Krishnamurti didn’t improve his skills as a mechanic, but it meant he was never quite the same again. That library book fairly quickly led him to board a flight to London, en route to Brockwood for the first time.

Carvalho was born in Rio de Janeiro, on 3rd March, 1962, the eldest sibling in a family of four boys and one girl. His father was a public administrator, an intellectual, a radio broadcaster and aficionado of old cinema. His mother was a full-time homemaker. She tells the story of Carvalho, as a small boy, creeping from the house before dawn and heading towards a train station. When questioned by a passing police patrol, he replied, ‘I’m going abroad’. He was returned home, but his adventurous, determined nature was apparent from childhood, as was his curiosity and fascination with mechanical things: having received a large electric toy ship for Christmas, he chose to disassemble it, rather than play with it. In adolescence, he swam, ran, climbed mountains and weight-trained. Before leaving Brazil, his love of scuba diving had taken hold and he dived off the beautiful north coast of Rio, in places such as Búzios and Arraial do Cabo.

It was late one night in 1987, as former staff Lucio recalls, that a young man with very poor English knocked on his door at Dell Cottages, Brockwood. Carvalho, then just 25 years old, had turned up unannounced from Brazil, determined to be in the place inspired by Krishnamurti’s teachings, in the company of those living and working there. Harsh, then Maths teacher and maintenance man (classic Brockwood combination), says, ‘It was immediately obvious that he had a rare human quality and the ability to communicate, despite his broken English. So we took him on and included him in the community. He was willing to do anything and worked in the garden and in maintenance, for which he had an aptitude. Always helpful and willing to shoulder responsibility, he would take on the most demanding and unpopular tasks, small or large, without complaint.’

At Brockwood, Carvalho was a ‘working visitor’ for a year and during this time he met Helena whom he married and settled in Germany with. He took what work he could find, learned German, studied English and French, improved his IT skills and embarked on a distance learning course with the Open University, in Environmental and Earth Sciences. Surrendering his Brazilian nationality, he adopted German nationality, but both he and Helena retained an interest in Krishnamurti’s teachings and became regular guest helpers at Brockwood and visitors to the Centre.

In 2001, Carvalho reapplied to Brockwood and completed a prospective week. Handwritten notes from the meeting in which his application was discussed, reveal that despite it being ‘hard to get a word in with him’, he was ‘potentially a good tutor’ who had offered an introduction to Geology in a Science class and ‘wasn’t put off by the lack of interest in students. He was very good with them and captured their interest.’ Furthermore, though ‘overwhelming at times,’ he was ‘very kind, open and generous’. This was all Brockwood needed to know; Carvalho was offered a place and began work at Brockwood in the spring of 2002. Not long afterwards, Helena came to work at the Krishnamurti Centre.
Those scribbled notes from his prospective meeting encapsulate Carvalho’s personality, his spirit and his contribution to Brockwood over 20 years. He began work in IT and maintenance, but fairly swiftly decided that he wanted to teach. He saw that he would need to complete an Open University degree in order to be able to offer something of substance. He came to an arrangement in the School where he could have the mornings to study, but would work from 3pm to 10pm doing Duty, Study Hall, assisting with Science classes and locking up the house. Without duress, he willingly moved into the small apartment at the entrance to the Cloisters. Many former students will remember him for his firm but affectionate approach to getting everyone to their rooms at the day’s end: ‘Good night, sirs. It’s time!’ He also had remarkable hearing and a sixth sense for after-hours activity, enabling him to suddenly appear at any hour after bedtime when the gaggle of offending students least wanted to see him. Carvalho was not just firm but stubborn at times, occasionally to the chagrin of his colleagues, but one always knew where he stood on something and what he felt about it; there was no subterfuge or deceit in him.

Besides spending hours in the school, Carvalho also found the energy to regularly volunteer in the Krishnamurti Centre, which he had great affection for. He would often be seen washing dishes, cleaning floors, hauling firewood in the winter and taking time out with guests over meals, or coffee in the sitting room. Coffee, however, revealed another side of him, as his normally moderate nature became a tad fanatical in pursuit of it. You could set your watch by his 11.00am ritual in the school preparing it, strong and black.

Carvalho secured his BSc after just three years and, fizzing with energy and ideas, threw himself into teaching, which over the years included Physics, Chemistry, Foundation and GCSE Maths, Geography and Geology at AS and A Level. Since his death, there has been an outpouring of appreciation from current and former students, for the person he was and the patience he showed. Maggie, a former student described him as ‘the first Maths teacher to take my fear and trauma [of Maths] away’, while Henry wrote, ‘I will never forget the efforts he went through to try and teach Maths to me. I remember him crying with laughter when he found out that I was turning the hands on the clock forward so as to end the class quicker. I would do anything to go back and be in his class’. Former colleague, Willeke, recalls, ‘He organised a Geology trip to the Isle of Wight one weekend. I’ll always remember his infectious enthusiasm when looking for fossils on the beach’.

Unflagging in his willingness to organise field trips, Carvalho would always turn up perfectly attired for the occasion, often in a fedora with his generous moustache freshly combed. He never ceased giving individual attention to students, going above and beyond the call of duty; not just in the academic and pastoral fields, but also socially where they welcomed and enjoyed his playful nature. US alumna, Claudia, recalls: ‘[On] my last night as a student he made coffee with us while dancing in the kitchen and eating pasta all night’. Carvalho was her tutor, and after leaving Brockwood the relationship remained important. ‘Every trip I was able to make back as an adult was equally meaningful, going back to this beautiful place with the excitement of seeing ‘Sir’ again and sharing more stories and lessons and laughter.’ She adds, with feeling, ‘Every single memory I have of him is clear, powerful and fills my heart with joy and gratitude.’

Our hearts, too, are filled with joy and gratitude for the dedication, generosity and spirit of this marvellous man. Goodnight, Sir. We shall miss you!

Brockwood Park School will be holding A Celebration of Carvalho’s Life on Sunday, 12th September at 4:00pm BST. This event will be live-streamed to the School’s facebook page and will be recorded for viewing at a later time.

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The Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd. is an educational charitable trust located in Brockwood Park, Hampshire, UK. It consists of the Krishnamurti Centre, the Krishnamurti Foundation Trust, Brockwood Park School and Inwoods Small School.

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Brockwood Park School

Brockwood Park

Bramdean, Alresford

Hampshire SO24 0LQ

United Kingdom

Telephone: +44 1962 771 744

Company Registration No. 1055588

Registered Charity No. 312865

© 2022 Krishnamurti Foundation Trust Ltd

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