THE EARLY LIFE
My early memories of
Sundeep are of a reserved, intelligent young man who always gave his best
shot at everything. Being of such similar age we spent a lot of time
together, leading to a healthy sibling rivalry, which in turn helped us both
to strive to be the best at whatever we did. As we grew older we developed
different friendship groups and hobbies and, although the rivalry between us
lessened, Sundeep's general competitive drive and will to succeed never
By the time Sundeep had reached Sixth Form College he had truly found himself as a person, arising from relative obscurity to become one of the most talked about and well-known faces around. At the age of 17 he captured the U18 Jersey Open Tennis Championship, thanks in part to a Nadal-like determination (Nadal was incidentally Sundeep's favourite tennis player) and a talent for the sport. Deep was also an accomplished pianist and flautist, but as he matured I began to realise that perhaps his greatest talent lay in his ability to entertain. At a more formal level he achieved 119/120 in the practical part of his GCSE Drama and a distinction in Grade 8 Public Speaking. However, it was what Sundeep did outside of his compulsory commitments that most people will remember him for.
From his outrageous fancy dress costumes and Michael Jackson dance moves; to his infamous speech on child abuse in the States Chamber broadcast live on Radio Jersey; to being caught by Tim Henman rummaging through Henman's tennis bag; to writing off three cars at one sitting; Sundeep was always making the headlines. And, by the time he left College, he was no longer known only for his intelligence, sporting endeavours, musical talent and fierce determination, but also his wit, charm and outrageous individuality.
However, despite his many talents and remarkable character, the two things that I will most remember Deep for were his kindness and a unique love of Africa. One would have had to have met him in person to understand what a genuinely nice guy he was, but there is one short story which I feel aptly sums up the kindness of his character. It involves the late Mrs Blake, a maths teacher at Victoria College. It was her very last lesson before retiring and Deep, being Deep, thought it was only appropriate that she should be given a good sending off. Accordingly, he and a friend spent all their free lessons that day buying a big novelty card (and getting the whole class to sign it), a huge cuddly bear (clearly Deep's idea) and a bouquet of flowers. I've been told that when he wandered in late with the three gifts Mrs. Blake was completely lost for words.
Deep's kindness always became particularly apparent when we visited Kenya as a family. I've never seen him as happy as he was when playing with the local children, laughing with the safari guides and trying his very best to learn Swahili. Although he always used to have so many aspirations and dreams, one that consistently used to crop up in our conversations was that of helping the needy in Africa. And it is due to his obvious love and concern for the people of Africa that we, as a family, thought that a foundation should be set up in his name directed towards building schools and other basic facilities. In this way we can try and give people who are not so fortunate as us the chance to dream and reach for the stars; just as Sundeep did.
Exeter College played a small, but significant part in Deep's life, suddenly and tragically taken away at the age of 19, in the fifth week of Michaelmas term of his first year, reading BA Jurisprudence. Nevertheless 'he had already made an astonishing number of friends, more than many students make in their entire time there'. He is still sorely missed. The Rector of the College and her staff have been very caring and understanding to grieving Neera, Swaz, Sunny and Rooney.
EXETER COLLEGE ASSOCIATION, REGISTER 2008:
"Sundeep Watts (1988-2007)
Sundeep Watts was one of life's more colourful characters. He was born on 11 November 1988 to Swastik and Neera Watts. He had elder and younger brothers (Sunny and Rooney) and for most of his life he lived in Jersey, where his parents are doctors.
'Deep', as he was known to his friends, attended Victoria College, Jersey, where he was an energetic and popular presence, a student with many gifts. As a sportsman he excelled, particularly on the tennis court, becoming the U18s Island Tennis Champion. His talents were also made manifest as an accomplished musician; Sundeep was a master class pianist and an excellent flautist, playing in house music competitions and the orchestra. Further, as a budding scholar he invariably finished at the top of his class at school. Victoria College recognised his diverse contributions, making him both school and house prefect. Elsewhere he took part in the Young Enterprise Scheme, being the MD of his company and giving a particularly humorous and controversial speech on local radio during the course of the Jersey Youth Parliament programme.
Deep came up to Exeter in Michaelmas 2007 and was immediately immersed in College life. He revealed startling potential in his short time as an undergraduate in Jurisprudence, but also became involved in drama and rowing, where he won a place in the Men's Novice 'A' boat. It is a credit to such a capable young man that his modesty frequently belittled his flourishing talents. Above all, it is Deep's quick-witted nature and magnetic personality, which is sorely missed. Empathetic and charitable, his dedication to friendship was as intense as the drive which flung him wholeheartedly into all aspects of life. Sundeep's positive spirit was exemplary and his charm remarkable. He died during his first term at Exeter and our lives are greatly impoverished without his ever-present spark and fire.
Sam Falle (English, 2007)"
Events at Exeter since Deep's death :-
There are 15 buttresses on the Chapel, with two grotesques on each and all were replaced during the course of the restoration project. The old ones had simply disintegrated and it was difficult to see any detail in what was left. There is only one gargoyle on the Chapel and that is on the vestry roof; the difference between a grotesque and a gargoyle being that the latter has a spout through which rainwater flows.
Joslin Construction provided a book of suggested styles for the grotesques, but the form and detail came from the imagination of the carvers. Included among the figures are a ram, a dog, birds, a lion, a lizard, the devil and a variety of mythical winged creatures. Traditionally, the purpose of grotesques is believed to be protective: they ward away evil spirits from buildings and their occupants.
Near to the end of the project a rather unusual grotesque arrived on site. It had been carved by a French apprentice and was different in style to the others. It was originally carved as a Norman soldier but, as that would have been so out of keeping with the rest as to be impossible to use, it was adapted. The end product was not quite what anyone had expected: a skeletal figure gripping a sword and looking like a harbinger of death. There was some debate about whether it should be fixed to the Chapel at all, but the carving was so fine it seemed wrong to waste it. Moreover, it was felt entirely appropriate to have a symbol of suffering and death erected on the Chapel, which is a place where such things are faced. We had in mind, particularly, the tragic deaths of two of our students, Sundeep Watts and Olly Tucker, in 2007. To honour them we felt that we should not shy away from the harsh reality of death, but that it should be represented in a building where we remember them. However, to balance this a new design was decided upon for the grotesque which would face the skeleton: a phoenix, which is an ancient symbol of the resurrection in the Christian faith – of new life springing from the ashes. These two grotesques sit above the east window in the sanctuary, in which the crucifixion is depicted. Thus death and the defeat of death face each other over the place where the crucifixion and resurrection are remembered each time the Eucharist is offered.'
Due to the remarkable generosity of Mr Alun Watkins Headmaster, Victoria College, some of Deeps family, friends and teachers meet on the College Lawn on 14th April 2012 to plant a Pedunculate Oak tree in his memory.
A few weeks after the tree planting a tree bench is assembled around the young oak.
The remaining quarter of Deep's tree bench at Faldouet house:
Recent pictures taken in Oxford: