Young Richard and the Woman of Great Influence


That's Miss Pat, founder of Pattison College on your right. Recognize the tall, lanky, smiling student in the center? Yep, that's young Richard.

A good teacher can make a great difference in a young person’s life. He or she can inspire, encourage and instruct about more than the subject matter at hand. Good, caring teachers can share important life lessons, too, that stick with their pupils long after they’ve left their classrooms.

The lady known to Richard in his teen years as “Miss Pat” made that sort of strong impact on the budding peformer.

The following is an excerpt from an article on Annette’s site,  For those of you who are educators who may sometimes wonder if all your efforts and hard work are worth it, know that it is. Who knows–one of your students might become as stellar a human being as Richard Crispin Armitage . . .

Between the ages of 14 and 17, Richard Armitage attended Pattison’s Dancing Academy in Coventry (now Pattison College), a stage school where he learned dance, drama and music.

In September 2010, the founder of the college, Miss Betty Pattison, died at the age of 90.

The Coventry Telegraph (25th September) reported her death, and quoted from a letter that Richard had written to her family, “I think it’s safe to say that it was the most influential time of my life and really laid the foundations for, not only my subsequent career, but also my character. At the beginning I was afraid of disappointing Miss Pat. But by the time I left I was concerned about disappointing myself.”

A memorial service was held in Coventry Cathedral on Friday 19th November 2010.

Richard was one of many past pupils and colleagues who paid warm tribute to Miss Pat, as she was known. Although unable to attend the service in person, he had recorded an audio tribute. He began by quoting from one of his old school reports from 1986, which commended him for gaining a distinction in his Grade 5 Speech examination.

A pleasing examination report. Richard has gained confidence, and should now widen his sights by doing more acting.

He continued, “Well Miss Pat, you were right, and the reason that this tribute is being delivered in a recording is because I’m sitting in traffic on the M6 after a day of acting at Shepperton Studios, where I’m lucky enough to be filming Captain America. But I wouldn’t be doing that if it hadn’t been for your school report.

“Miss Pat, you were the most influential teacher I ever had, apart from my parents. You didn’t just teach me to sing, dance and act, but you gave me discipline, self-respect, tenacity and stamina. I feel very privileged to have been one of your students.


“From the freezing kitchen on a winter morning at Beechhurst, forcing down lumpy porridge, to the opening night in Showboat at the Butts Theatre, speeding up the motorway, terrified of your driving, to demonstrate the IDTA syllabus, passing my own driving test, my A levels, my cello exams – you made sure it was all there.

“And on behalf of myself, and all the other students you have nurtured over the years: thank you.”

He finished, “Oh, and by the way – you still owe me six quid for playing an elf in The Hobbit at the Alex Theatre in Birmingham, in… I think it was November 1986. But we’ll call it quits.”

He then read an extract from An American in Paris, one of her favourite musicals.

”]Cover of "An American in Paris [Blu-ray]&...

16 responses »

  1. This moved me to tears… What a fantastic human being Miss Pat must have been..And what a beautiful soul Richard has. If there is a heaven, I’m sure she’s beaming down on him pleased by what he’s achieved and how humble he remained. Thank you for sharing this Angie.

    • You’re welcome. I think it’s good to revisit these moments and be uplifted by the beautiful spirit we see in RA and the forces that have shaped him. I doubt any student could make a former teacher any prouder than Richard made Miss Pat.

  2. That’s so wonderful! I’m sure she is looking down and feeling incredibly proud of Richard! Any teacher worth their salt wants to inspire their students to do well in life! It sounds like Miss Pat was one of those teachers! I’m glad Richard got to experience that. If he hadn’t had Miss Pat he probably wouldn’t be where he is today!

    • You are so right, Laurie. 😀 A worthy teacher wants to see her students go on to achieve and be successful and certainly Miss Pat had a lot to be proud of in her former pupil, Richard. And who knows? Were it not for her influence, we might very well NOT have this beautiful, talented, dear man as our collective object of affection. 😀

  3. I think you must be psychic Angie as I was looking at the Pattison College website only the other day!! I think it is lovely that Richard’s tribute to her is still on their website.

    From the things he wrote it’s clear that she was a very special person in his life and one amazing teacher. She obviously found something unique in him too which she seems to have nurtured. She must have been so proud to see him become the wonderful man and incredible actor that he is. It’s rather sad she isn’t still around to see him become even more famous, but she helped lay the foundation of his career.

    Even in the top picture at the young age he must have been, he already has those broad shoulders and that lovely long neck which in later years would wreak havoc on the hearts of females of all ages!! 😀

    • Madame Angie knows all . . . sees all . . . 😀 I think it was reading those quotes at the tumblr site that got me to thinking about Richard and the influences that helped make him into the wonderful man he is today. And then I found that photo that was used in the program for Miss Pat’s memorial service and knew it all merited a post. I think having people like his parents and Miss Pat to nourish and nurture him in those important years has allowed Richard to in turn become that generous, thoughtful human being who himself believes in mourishing and nurturing.

      And yes, I confess one of the first things that jumped out at me in that photo was that swan-like neck that would become a major erogenous zone for so very many women. 😉

  4. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if he is ever going to get an Oscar or BAFTA or whatever award, he’ll remember to thank Miss Pat in his acceptance speech…

    • Oh, yes. I have a feeling he will take notes and do his best to make sure he doesn’t leave out any of the important influences. That’s the sort of man he is. 😀

  5. *sigh* I just keep luving him and luving him.

    Thank you Ms. Pat. We are greatful to you for nurturing such magnificient talent.

  6. What a lovely tribute! It sounds like Miss Pat was a real treasure. How wonderful that RA had such an influence at that time of life.

  7. Writing to Miss Pat’s family as well as recording a tribute for the service is testament to Richard’s thoughtfulness, decency and graciousness, and the esteem in which he held her.
    As has been said, thankyou Miss Pat for nurturing such a wonderful talent. He is doing you proud.

    • Yes, he is such a well-brought-up gentleman. Once again I think how I would love to tell John and Margaret Armitage just how much I appreciate them for raising such a fine son and for the other teachers and mentors such as Miss Pat who provided him with support, guidance and encouragement. All of them have reason to be so very proud of Richard. Heck, I am so very proud of him and he doesn’t even know I exist!

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