For All The School Community . Pupils . Staff . Parents . Old Birkonians . Friends . Visitors
Perfect Pitch, our outdoor concert with fireworks, held on Saturday 18th June, was a magnificent end to a year of celebrations marking the School’s sesquicentenary year. For many of those who made up the audience of 3,000, it seemed incredible that the world-class Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and their Principal Conductor, Vasily Petrenko, were actually performing on our School Field. After well over a year in the planning, it really was a dream come true! The success of the concert was, in large part, due to a super team of support staff - estates, catering and admin - which, especially in the final days leading up to the concert, worked tirelessly to make sure it ALL went all right on the night. The weather had been pretty dismal from the beginning of June and, with heavy hearts, we watched an unchanging longrange forecast - ‘cold for the time year’ and ‘blustery with heavy showers’. On the day, bright sun in the early morning soon became hidden behind a blanket of cloud, following the pattern of the preceding days. Late in the afternoon, people in Heswall, Bromborough, Chester, Hoylake, West Kirby started reporting deluges of biblical proportions and all round the School Cricket Field dense black clouds hung low and threatening. But, above our Perfect Pitch, there was a clear window of blue sky and sunshine and it remained firmly in place for the rest of the evening. A stiff breeze also threatened the fireworks but, on cue, just after 10 pm, the wind dropped, only returning as the last notes of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture died away. We had been truly blessed.
The stage, an immense domed tubular steel structure, took the best part of a week to erect. Originally designed as a portable aircraft hanger during the Cold War, the construction is now used at outdoor events all over the UK. Only the previous weekend, Eric Clapton, Lulu and Brian May had performed on the same stage at a private concert. Our concert was also an opportunity to show off the School’s musical talent in an hour-long programme before the RLPO took to the stage. The Big Band, under the leadership of Alan Davies, got the audience in the swing with renditions of Get Happy, Little Brown Jug and some favourite Beatles’ numbers. Cameron Donaldson and Tom Jarvis were in fine voice for Coldplay’s What If and Caro Mio Ben respectively. Serpentia, playing heavy metal, and the Acoustic Band woke e v e ry on e u p wi t h so m e t h i n g completely different, though no less skilled. Bar-Line, our A Capella group, also impressed with their harmonies, singing a number of popular old-time songs like Why do fools fall in love? and Goodnight Sweetheart. With so many mums and dads in the audience, you would expect enthusiastic applause but it was actually really well-deserved and people without a vested interest commented on the high level of musical accomplishment among the ‘support acts’ and a sure sign of audience appreciation at an open-air concert is when people stop talking and picnicking to listen!
Perfect Pitch pages 1-5
School Drama pages 18-20
Cricket pages11-12 and 56
Birkenhead School Foundation Trust page 26
Senior Prizegiving 2011: The Headmaster’s Speech pages 48-51
CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHS by Peter Lovatt Continued on page 2
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
The RLPO programme included such well-known classics as Elgar‘s Pomp and Circumstance, Strauss‘s Emperor Waltz, Dvorak‘s Slavonic Dance and Holst‘s Mars and Jupiter suites from The Planets. Although familiar, the pieces seemed to take on a special vibrancy and richness of tone under Vasily Petrenko‘s baton. The soloist - the young, fast–rising mezzo soprano from Liverpool, Kathryn Rudge - filled the night air with her beautiful, rich, clear voice. She sang favourite arias such as Softly awakes my heart from Saint-Saens‘ Samson and Delilah, Vilja from Lehar‘s The Merry Widow and songs from the musicals - I dreamed a dream from Les Misérables and Richard Rodgers‘ With a song in my heart. Everyone rose to cheer and sing along to the encore Rule Britannia. A real ‗last night of the Proms‘ moment to end a wonderful 150th Anniversary Finale.
Day 1: constructing the stage
Day 2: constructing the stage
Kathryn, Vasily and the RLPO in rehearsal on Saturday afternoon.
Day 3: constructing the stage
Day 4: constructing the stage - nearly there!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
People arrive. Some had booked a gazebo pitch in case it rained - ha! ha!
It was a excellent excuse for a picnic and great fun.
If you would like a copy of the souvenir Perfect Pitch programme, please call the School Office on 0151 652 4014
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
1: Acoustic Band plays to the crowd; 2: Big Band a big sound for a big stage; 3: Bar-line pitch it just right 4: Cameron Donaldson is a hit with the crowd; 5: Alan Davies gets into the swing; 6: Tom Jarvis in fine voice; 7: Serpentia pose for their album cover.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Vasily with the Headmaster
Photo: Steve Gibson Above: Kathryn sings and Vasily conducts. Below: Spectacular fireworks. Photo: Steve Gibson Above: Vasily takes a bow. Below: Everyone takes a bow.
Photo: Steve Gibson
Photo: Steve Gibson
Photo: Steve Gibson
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
You may already have read the Headmaster‘s report in the last In Focus about my election as Chairman of the Governors. It is a pleasure and honour for me to take on this role and I am delighted that Julia Moore will serve as Vice Chairman, as well as lead the Finance and General Purposes Committee, and that Lorraine Dodd will continue to chair the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust. I would like to thank Tony Mathie, the previous Chairman, for the support and counsel he gave to the School over the many years he was a governor. We wish him well with his continuing responsibilities, particularly as president of the European grouping within the World Organisation of Family Doctors. The last year, the School‘s 150th, has seen a wonderful variety of events and productions. I would like to thank all those – staff, pupils, parents and friends – who have made these so successful and special. Andrew Sutton An Old Birkonian, Andrew Sutton went on from Birkenhead School to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge. He joined Price Waterhouse and pursued his career there, mostly in London but also in New York and Melbourne. He retired in 2003 after 25 years as a partner. He lives with his wife in Dorking, Surrey, but is a regular visitor to the Wirral (his mother lives in Oxton) and to the School. He joined the Board in May 2005, became Chairman of the Finance and General Purposes Committee in December that year and has been Acting Chairman of Governors since the start of January 2011. Dr Julia Moore is a consultant anaesthetist at Wirral University Teaching Hospital. A Senior Medical Officer at the Department of Health since 2000, she works for half of each week in London and her current remit is the development of e-learning to support education and training across the healthcare sector. She has been a Governor since 2005. Her son, Greg, attended both Prep and Senior School and is to be married in the School Chapel in July. Julia is also a member of the Birkenhead School Choral Society. Lorraine Dodd is an investment director with Rathbone Investment Management (Rathbones), with over 30 years' experience managing investments on behalf of private clients, trusts and charities, particularly in the area of ethical and socially responsible investment. Lorraine is a trustee
L to R: Dr Julia Moore - Vice-Chairman, Andrew Sutton - Chairman, Mrs Lorraine Dodd - Chairman of the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust.
of the Rathbone 1987 Pension Fund and represents Rathbone Greenbank Investments at the Liverpool office. She is a non-executive director of the Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust, and a trustee of a number of local charities.
We wish Birkenhead School a celebratory 150th birthday! Two Rivers Festival was created in 2008 by Andrew Thomson and Peter Davison to bring musical performers of international quality to Wirral. Since its inception the festival has gained a reputation for presenting informal concerts in intimate settings, attracting artists such as The Tallis Scholars, Natalie Clein, Dame Emma Kirkby, Craig Ogden, Martin Roscoe, Kathryn Rudge, Noriko Ogawa and Piers Lane. Many of the festival’s concerts take place at Bushell Hall on the school campus, and we are grateful to the Headmaster and his staff for their unstinting support.
Look out for our 2012 concerts to be announced this autumn. Join the mailing-list by calling (0151) 651 3007 or e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
PV Report It is just three months since we installed the array of photo-voltaic panels on the roof of the Sports Hall – as reported in In Focus in April. Electricity generation to date is 3000kWh or ‗units‘. To put this in context, that‘s about half of what many of us would use in our homes over a year. Over a full year, the installers forecast generation of around 8000 units which would allow us to claim around £3000 under the Government‘s Feed In Tariff, as well as saving on the electricity we buy from the grid. Our CO2 saving will be around 4.5 tonne. Our panels were installed by Barrier Energy who will offer a special price to any member of the School community for the installation of a domestic PV system. Barrier Energy can be contacted on 0800 458 2627. C Button, Bursar
On Wednesday 8 June, Mrs McGoldrick, who is a member of the Birkenhead Rotarians, and Miss Mason invited pupils, who had participated in the Rotary Club‘s Youth Speaks competition, to dine with other members of the Birkenhead Rotary Club at Prenton Golf Club. This included an informative talk on the Rotary Club‘s involvement with the local fire service, during a delicious meal - quite a civilised affair, rather than the L to R: Ciaran Anderson,Ciara O’Sullivan, Sparsh Garg, usual hectic scramble during a School lunch break. It gave us India Collister, Rotary President David Faulkner, Safiya a very interesting insight into a Rafiq, James Green, Ben Appleby, Sebastian Mactaggart, charitable organisation that Ms Mason English and Mrs McGoldrick. operates in the background with little fuss. Often you can see Rotary Club members outside local supermarkets, collecting for certain causes, but, like me, will barely remember they were there! We were even lucky enough to witness entry into the Club for two members – and, no, it is not at all like a cult with initiation rites and incantations! Those pupils taken were Ciaran Anderson, Sparsh Garg, James Green, Safiya Rafiq, Ciara O‘Sullivan, India Collister, Ben Appleby and Sebastian Mactaggart. Our thanks to the Birkenhead Rotary President, David Faulkner, and to Miss Mason and Mrs McGoldrick for the wonderful opportunity! James Green, Publicity Unit
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Working together - our Early Years provision in the Nursery, Pre-Prep and Reception. In April 2011, the Nursery proudly achieved Health Promotion in the Early Years status. This was in recognition of our knowledge and application in Personal Social Education, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity and Active Play and Emotional Health and Well-Being. Many thanks to Jenni Pizer, the School Nurse, the Catering Team and to all our parents who have supported us with this award.
Puppies come to play
Puppies come to play Fun in the Baby Room
Nursery fun carries on at home
Toddlersâ€™ story time
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A caring toddler
Hide and seek: fun in the outdoors
Picnic time: fun in the outdoors
Building blocks: fun in the outdoors
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Mrs Spring leads the children in a merry dance.
Above: Ready to do some planting. Below: Mrs Spring lends a hand
On a â€˜Spring Awakeâ€™ trip to Croxteth Park, children in Reception helped Mrs Spring, Mr Grub and Mr Dibb to wake up the garden ready for the year ahead. George and Julie (RGM and RJM)
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
School teams make the most of the opportunity to play against each other. Results up to 20 June 2011: P W D L 10 6 1 3 Although it is only 2 weeks until the end of term, the cricket season is only half-way through, with 2 regular season fixtures, 3 Festival matches (at home this year) and 6 tour games still remaining. So far, it has been an encouraging season and the squad have managed to win 2/3rds of their matches. With half of the squad made up of U6th students, there has been more experience than in recent years and the camaraderie and togetherness of the squad has been evident throughout the season. Although we have more depth of talent this year, there are no star performers, and this has meant that everyone has to pull their weight and different players have made match influencing contributions at different times. There are a number of destructive batsmen within the team and this has enabled us to rack up some impressive scores against the weaker bowling attacks. However, flaws in defensive techniques and a lack of patience have cost us when confronted by more skilful, disciplined opponents. This was certainly the case against Cheadle, where, after a disciplined display in the field, a series of poor shots saw us bowled out for 126, with 6 overs remaining, chasing a paltry 148 on an excellent batting track. Injuries to key bowlers (Patrick Benc out for the season, Nick Hearn and Harry Sturgess for a few weeks) have reduced our options in the field and I was initially concerned that we would struggle to bowl teams out. However, astute captaincy, committed fielding and intelligent bowling have turned us in to a cohesive unit and we started to force errors through creating pressure. Highlights of the season so far include: The leadership and tactical acumen shown by captain and wicket keeper Will Lamb. The calm, sensible top order batting of Ollie Hearn (251 runs), most notably with his century against Arnold and 67 versus Cheadle, despite the chaos around him. The powerful hitting of Alex Hind (216 runs), Joe Hillyer (252 runs) and Will Lamb (303 runs). The control shown by bowlers Nick Hearn (13 wickets), Mike Talbot and Alex Griffiths, allied to Alex Watkins‘ variation at the end of an innings and Dan Quinn‘s (10
wickets) ability to bowl wicket-taking deliveries even to batsmen who seem well set. Joe Hillyer‘s fielding in the deep, which has set standards that others are now matching. The way in which we turned the match on its head against King‘s Chester. With the openers going well, an instinctive leg-side stumping (Lamb), followed by a low catch at midwicket (Benc) was then followed–up with as good a display of fielding as I have seen at this level. Quinn and Watkins took the last 6 wickets between them and team unity and desire to win was a pleasure to watch and made all the difference in a 20 run victory. This competitive spirit and fine fielding is a result of cricket coach Graeme Rickman‘s hard work and instance on high standards at practice sessions. Both the lads and I are very appreciative of his enthusiasm and expertise, as well the contribution of Stewart Pilley, who has helped with the coaching (and tested the batsmen with his left-arm quick bowling) each Tuesday evening. In addition, Mr Roden has organised the second team squad and helped to keep them enthused about their cricket, despite the number of cancellations they have had this season. With 11 scheduled fixtures still to come, there is much to look forward to over the next month, particularly the two week tour to Barbados, where we will take 2 squads to play 6 games each. P Lindberg, i/c 1st XI Cricket
Callum Gorman a left-arm bowler for the U12 s in the Cheshire Cup 2nd round against Christleton High School, which BS won
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Dominic and Alex
Year 8 boys Alex Mason (Back row, 2nd from the left in the team photo) and Dominic Smith (Front row, 2nd from left) played starring roles for West Cheshire in the annual Cheshire District Cricket competition. The team (above) won all three of their matches against East Cheshire, North Cheshire and South Cheshire during the Whit Week holiday. Alex scored his first ever 50 (53*) in one game and 22 in another, while Dominic opened the batting in two games scoring 12 and 10. Both boys also took seven wickets between them. Alex said: ―It was a great three days playing against some of the best players in the county and even better that we won all three games.‖ The team was managed by Cheshire and Wirral coach Owen Williamson.
Graeme outside the Pavilion on the last day of term watching the match below - also the last day of a 3-day festival with teams from Abingdon School, University College School, London, and King Edward VII and Queen Mary‘s School.
Professional Cricket Coach, Graeme Rickman, joined the School on a part-time basis last season. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, and moving age five to Zambia with his family, he was later sent to a boarding school in England, where he grew to love the game of cricket. He played for Devon‘s U19 team and later played for the MCC and has been on some of their tours. For 16 years he was employed in the offices at Lord‘s Cricket Ground, managing MCC games and tours. For the last 5 years, however, he has been based on the Wirral. He was the Wirral Development Officer for Cricket but now works for the Cheshire Cricket Board as their Coach Education Manager. As a Level 3 coach himself, he trains Cricket coaches to Levels I and 2. As school cricket has waned in the state sector, children have turned to local clubs - some local clubs have more than 200 U18s on their registers - and there is a growing need for Cricket coaches who can train them. Incidentally, Graeme is a great admirer of the England Cricket coach, Andy Fowler, and the former Surrey and England player Grahame Thorpe. Living in Parkgate, he is a member of nearby Neston CC though he finds he has less time to play there these days. His first love, however, is his 4-year old daughter Rose and he enjoys playing golf and following rugby when he gets the chance! Graeme is now looking forward to working with the 1st XI on their imminent tour to Barbados and in practice next winter. He has been impressed with their work ethic and says they try hard, are receptive to new techniques and embrace new challenges - what more could a coach ask?
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Not all of the Big Band musicians who took part in Perfect Pitch had t heir names in t he souvenir programme. Below are a list of its members with apologies to those who were missed off. Apologies are also due for arguably the biggest oversight, the omission of the Band‘s leader, Alan Davies! The Band gave a great performance with some favourite numbers such as Get Happy and Pennsylvania 6-5000, really getting the crowd in the swing.
Confirmation Service Sunday 6 November One more step along the world I go, One more step along the world I go. From the old things to the new Keep me travelling along with you. And it's from the old I travel to the new, Keep me travelling along with you. All over the country pupils will be practising this hymn, preparing to sing it at services and assemblies to mark the end of a school year, or even to mark the moving on from one school to another. It is certainly a hymn that is familiar to our Prep pupils and it illustrates beautifully the idea of life as a journey – a theme which should be familiar to older pupils as it has made more than its fair share of appearances in Chapel talks, even if the hymn itself tends not to be sung as you go further up the school. As we grow and learn, we travel through many ‗olds‘ , on into many ‗news‘. We pass many milestones, some of which will be remembered, many of which will be forgotten. For many, Confirmation marks a significant milestone in their teenage years. If you were baptised as a baby, your parents and godparents will have made several promises on your behalf. As we grow, we ask questions, we learn and we begin to decide for ourselves what our position is regarding our faith. Confirmation marks the point in the Christian journey at which you can affirm for yourself the faith into which you have been baptised. It marks the passing from the ‗old‘ way of believing because parents want you to, into a ‗new‘ way of believing for yourself, in your own way. The Right Reverend John Hayden, Honorary Assistant Bishop in Chester Diocese and Mount Kilimanjaro, will be visiting School on Sunday 6th November in order to conduct a Confirmation service for members of the School community. Confirmation is open to anyone from Year 6 upwards through the School so please think carefully about whether you would be interested. A preparation group will meet in School from September onwards. Please contact me if you would like to be included in the group. If you are not sure whether confirmation is for you then why not come along to the group and find out? We can travel along together and if you decide to take a different route then that‘s fine ! With every blessing for a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing you in September. Lesley Rendle, Chaplain email@example.com
Conor Samuel Jack Alexander Thomas Sam Philip Samuel Marco Edward Oliver Edward Thomas Joshua James Thomas Samuel Gwilym Joel Max Tommy Zack Neil Jenny Bronwen Christopher James Ciara Andrew Thomas Constance Curtis
Ainsworth Berkson Billington Campbell Cornall Davies Eakins Edwards Galvani George George Gibbs Gibbs Gibson Green Jarvis Johnson Jones Keeling Keeling Keenan Kirkman Lawrence Moore Morris Morris O'Neill O'Sullivan Sherman Simpson Sturgess Wright
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
OUR TIMETABLE Cubs: Meet every Wednesday in the playground after school until 5.30pm Beavers: Every Monday 4pm until 5.15pm Scouts: Every Thursday 5.30pm until 7.30pm. WHAT WE DO! There are always exciting things to do! We have many trips away and here are examples of the different challenges and competitions we experience throughout the year. Geoffrey Beavan Challenge – Hiking, canoeing, shooting, first aid, low ropes and initiative. This is a 2-night stay away from home at Forest Camp, Sandyway, Cheshire and is great fun and a great team event. Great Escape – at The Merseyside County Camp site, Tawd Vale in Lancashire, another 2-night trip away and is a competition between Scout troops and consists of challenges of all types – one of the best camps of the year (according to one scout). Lord Derby – Scouting skills, district representatives at County Competition. A great day away, fun experience again at Tawd Vale. Equinox Challenge – Orienteering and evasion. One day of evading capture and point gathering, exploring Delamere Forest. District Scout Camp this year at Hadlow Fields County Guide Campsite Willaston – Hiking and scout skills. Not for the faint hearted! Plus Camping Competition – develop camping skills and be the envy of your friends! The BALA Canoeing weekend is just what it says on the tin, a full weekend canoeing! The D.I.Y Camp is just that, the scouts run their own programme and look after themselves for the weekend at Tawd in competition with teams from the County. For the Cubs and Beavers we have a trip to Gilwell, the National Scout Camp in Essex, for a dun day of adventurous activities followed by a sleepover at our own hut. Then there is Wingding, a fun camp at Tawd Vale for the Cubs. The Beavers visit for the day and they are currently District tug-of-war champions (held for the last 15 years) and also the County Champions. The County tug-of-war championship is contested at Wingding.
Birkenhead Gang Show‟s 50th anniversary was one of the most exciting and exhilarating things I have ever done. It is still unbelievable how we moved the whole cast and crew over 180 miles to London‟s West End. On the night of the West End show it was absolute chaos, nobody knew where anything was and there were lots of mistakes and missed cues! Gang Show is an amazing family where everyone knows everyone else. We always do really well and this year was no exception. (How on earth are we going to beat this show next time?) Daniel Gaskell 20th Birkenhead Scout Group Seven months of rehearsal, over a year of planning and finally, after four shows in the Gladstone Theatre in Port Sunlight, the 50th Birkenhead Gang Show went to London! The trip down was long and a bit boring but when we saw the Bloomsbury Theatre we all cheered for joy. The stage rehearsal was funny as the whole way though all we could hear was the sound technician shouting ―one, one two, two, two three, check‖! The show was fantastic and felt like it only lasted two minutes, because time definitely passes faster when you are having fun. We slept that night in the old Sea-Scouts‘ naval boat berthed on the Thames and the next day we took a tour of London by boat. The long trip back seemed to take half the time for some reason and I got home to see the whole event on TV as all our performances had been followed by the BBC and recorded by my mum! The whole experience was unforgettable and I was delighted to be a part of the 50th Birkenhead Gang Show. Finlay Gordon, Yr 7 (note no ‗D‘ in my name, although I bet In Focus can squeeze one in somewhere!)
We have hikes, cinema trips, conker competitions, swimming galas, art competitions, scouting skills competitions, cook outs and campfires and lots I did a double-take at the schedule: leave Wirral at more. There is always something new to learn and do. This year we are hoping to add a sleepover at Warwick Castle to our calendar in 10am arrive London 3pm, leave theatre 10pm arrive home 3am – yes, that was definitely what was September. written! Gang Show this year was very special as we celebrated 50 years of Birkenhead After months of rehearsals leading to watching the Gang Shows. Lots of our Cubs, Scouts and Leaders were involved. We rehearsed performances in the Gladstone Theatre, I was from September for our show in February, running for four shows at the uncertain what a change in venue could bring, but Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight then after the Saturday afternoon show moving any fears of repetition faded with the rise of the the whole show and 156 cast and support team to London to open for one night curtain. only on the Sunday evening at the Bloomsbury Theatre in the West End. The plan to run a 5th performance in London within If you would like to come to a taster session, please get in touch with Mrs 24 hours of the last performance on the Wirral was Hazlehurst (aka Akela) who is the 20th Birkenhead contact for all sections courageous, and much rested on the planning and and also in charge of Cubs. You can reach her on 07971268592 or 652 3737 preparation. But scouts are made of stern stuff and, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org You may also contact Mrs Christine of course, are always prepared, so the whole event Winn in Little School for Beavers, or Mr Kelvin Britton in Senior School for not only happened, but happened spectacularly. I cannot really do justice to explain what efforts went Scouts. into making such a great Gang Show, but I can say I WHY NOT COME AND JOIN THE ADVENTURE! really enjoyed the whole experience and the trip down to London too as I got to know some really
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
nice people. I loved the performance and I did not mind getting home at 3.30am! Well done all of you. Thank you for giving our cubs and scouts such a wonderful opportunity and thank you too for your all year round hard work and commitment. Gang Show is special but you all made sure that this yearâ€˜s Gang Show really did come home! Jane Gordon, Mum
It was with an open mind that I agreed for my 8 year-old "cub" Adam to audition for a part in the 50th Birkenhead Gang Show, not really knowing anything about Gang Shows up to this point. He was delighted to be selected and then the fun started! Leading up to Christmas, the young cast were sounding good but far from perfect. The crew worked patiently to bring the group together, always with a sense of fun and with a level of enthusiasm beyond the norm. If at any time we felt that we had a lot to do for Gang Show, you could multiply this by at least 20 for the organisers. New Year came and the countdown really began. More rehearsals, costume fittings, theatre visits, more rehearsals, more costumes ...... but the singing and acting was getting better week by week. The Cubs were so excited and a little nervous as the weekend before the gang show rapidly approached. A day of rehearsals on Saturday (day and night), final costume fitting on Sunday and a full dress rehearsal on Sunday night. The highlight of this for me was as Adam walked into the dressing room and started a normal conversation with his friend, suddenly he stopped, looked quizzically at his friend and with a frown on his face said "Are you wearing makeup?!" And then, before we knew it, it was opening night at the Gladstone Theatre, Port Sunlight. The atmosphere in the dressing rooms was electric and it was truly difficult to leave our children, but the opening curtain was less than a hour away and we went off to mingle with other nervous parents. The show was fantastic, with a few minor hiccups on the first night, but it went from strength to strength as the nights passed by. And then came Saturday matinĂŠe. After three late nights at the Gladstone, and still managing to get up in time for school each day, Saturday was the last day at this venue. This went without a hitch and the cheer from behind the curtain after the final act was fantastic. The big finale was now less than 24 hours away as a truly amazing crew packed up an entire set, including costumes and
All scouts on stage - well, most of them!
Cubs in the Gang Show overnight bags for the cubs and scouts, and moved everything to the Bloomsbury Theatre in London. Very tired Gang Show cast members arrived early on Sunday morning to travel by coach to London - the next time we would see our little stars would be on stage in London!! The Bloomsbury was a sell out and, although the stage was a completely different size and shape to the Gladstone, the performance was perfect - I can honestly say there was hardly a dry eye in the house during the finale and such a feeling of euphoria for every single person involved that Gang Show had pulled it off, and in such style. Some questions you may ask if you ever consider Gang Show: "Is it hard work?" Definitely, "Is it enjoyable?" Absolutely, "What will my child gain from it?" Teamwork, confidence, hard work, commitment and how to work with people of all ages and from different groups and different backgrounds and different schools. "Would Adam do it again?" 100% YES!! Denise Durband, Mum
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
We are delighted to have secured a talk from Adrian Ferraro, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a regular RGS speaker. Managing director of the Specialist Travel Consultancy, Adrian has a particular interest in youth development, both in his everyday work and within the RGS in the South West. He is also a geography ambassador within the Action Plan for Geography. In A journey through Africa‟s „Heart of Darkness‟, Adrian will describe the trials and tribulations of five weeks in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) as part of a six month Trans-Africa GAP year expedition. The talk is set against a backdrop of historical expeditions to the region and a country blighted by brutal dictatorships, civil war, the plunder of vast natural resources and deadly viruses. Tickets are £8 for adults, £5 for U18 and Senior Citizens, £25 family ticket (2 adults plus up to 4 students) and are available from our website at www.birkenheadschool.co.uk Just click on the advert. Or call Yvonne on 0151 651 3095; or send a cheque payable to Birkenhead School, enclosing an sae. Refreshments will be available at the interval. Proceeds will go to the School‘s 150 Anniversary charity the Rock of Joy Trust. th
Adrian said ―I am delighted to support the Rock of Joy Trust, which is doing such good work at the Masaka School in Uganda. My time in Africa was very special and reinforced for me the crucial role of education in driving change.‖ During his visit to School, Adrian is also going to speak to the 6 th form about careers in travel.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Back row left to right: Oliver Subhedar, Josh Black, James Green, Andrew Hoyland, Rhiannon Frostick, Tom Dodds, David Boffey, Bruno de Blaquière, Neil Lawrence. Front row left to right: Tom Feeny, Sparsh Garg, James Ralston, Ben Cornford, Sam Davies, Andrew White, Curtis Wright. In June Andrew White was named of Head of School. He managed to work his way up the ranks from lowly street urchin and ousted his rivals (Sparsh Garg and David Boffey) in a ping-pong tournament, which decided who became Head of School. I quote, ―Nobody can physically handle Dewie‘s topspin.‖ He is determined to prove himself in this role as ping-pong mentor to the rest of the School. In the future he aims to study Medicine, regularly performing open heart surgery on one of the Sixth Form pool tables. At the moment he is enjoying his studies in Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths, and regularly participates in school sport for hockey. His favourite film is Gladiator, which gave rise to his favourite quote (as everyone in the Sixth Form knows): ―Are you not entertained?‖ Andrew‘s close connections to the School have made him very enthusiastic to take up the mantle of Head of School, hoping to do his duties to the best of his ability. He is, I quote, ―very grateful‖ to be Head of School. David Boffey has become a Deputy Head of School, having been in the School since Year 7. He is a veteran of the 2 nd Team and a minnow in the 1st team Rugby squad. Some have said that he spends too much time on FIFA, but David insists that this is a real hobby. At university he wishes to pursue the line of Geography or Economics, studying History and Biology at A-Level as well. His favourite film is Twilight, because he has always regarded the romance between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan as one of the best in literature. He is also currently very involved in preparing debating topics for the School‘s European Youth Parliament team, which goes to Durham in July.
L to R: Sparsh Garg, Andrew White and David Boffey Becoming Deputy Head ―really means a lot‖ to David, and, I quote, ―I am very appreciative of this great opportunity. I look forward to being one of Mr Clark‘s and Mr. Hopkins‘ minions, and hope to use my newfound powers responsibly for the benefit of the School.‖ Veteran of Kingsmead House plays and a crucial member of the 3rd XV Birkenhead School Rugby Team, Sparsh Garg has become a Deputy Head of School. He has many aspirations for his life, but realised fairly late that ‗Football Manager 2011‘ and knowing the capital city of Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou for those who are interested) would not get him very far. Now he plans to do Law, because his favourite TV programme is Kavanagh, QC. In ten years he sees himself still constantly studying and reading books. His favourite films are Inception, The Damned United and Valkyrie, of which he knows every line of dialogue (just ask those in Mrs Holgate‘s form). His hero is Benjamin Disraeli, because, in his own words, ‗he managed to break through the Anti-Semitic sentiment of the Victorian era and became one of Britain‘s greatest Prime Ministers. Becoming Deputy Head of School, he says, ‗is one of the proudest moments of my life, and I will do my utmost to maintain the proud traditions of the School.‘ Well, he does do History A-Level, as well as Chemistry, French and Maths. He likes to be approachable to all members of the School community and hopes that the youngest pupils will not be put off by his fierce demeanour. James Green
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Robin Hood captured There was a shiver of excitement in the air as the curtain opened on the first night of Year 6‘s production, ‗Robin Hood‘. The first victims of Robin‘s robberies were Lord and Lady Muck, who opened the show spectacularly. Their parts were played by Laura Downham and Sebastian Wilkes. Throughout the whole show, there was laughter and enjoyment from both performers and the audience! The costumes were all made by one talented lady, Mrs Lynch, and looked fabulous. The band was also full of energy thanks to Mr Davies, Sam Davies and Gwilym Jones. Nothing would have been possible without the fantastic Mr Stockdale, who ‗tweaked‘ the script and also directed the whole show! We would also like to thank Mrs Keating, (music direction) Mr Corran and Mrs Relph (backstage directors) and Harriet Feeny for helping with the drama. The amazing Mr Blain and Mrs Smith created the props and set design. Thanks to all who performed and made the show a great success! Phoebe James & Lisa Roettchen
Maid Marion’s ladies
The Sheriff's men find out the password
Robin’s Merry Men
Ambushing the Friars
Robin’s men share food with the villagers King Richard
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Robin Hood: Matthew O’Hare The Sheriff: Theodore Roberts Maid Marian: Phoebe James Deputy: Jordan Haywood Narrator: Bethany Taylor Narrator: Alexander McIlroy Collins Announcer: Jamie Johnston Richard the Lionheart: James Hennessy Will Scarlet: George Last Little John: William Reay Lord Muck: Sebastian Wilkes Lady Veronica: Laura Downham Friar Tuck: Edward Azurdia Able:: Joe Grimshaw Bernie & Geoffrey Archer: Hal Collins Charlie: Harry Newton Jones Dan: Edward McIntyre Ed: Tom Parkes Frank: Nicholas Morgan Gad & “Bullseye” Baxter: Daniel Walker Harry: Alexander Mazhindu Ivan: George Wild Jake: Nikolai Baron Friar Scoff: George Fraser
Friar Nosh: Elliott Casey Friar Gulp: Talha Ebrahim Friar Guzzle: Thomas Walker Friar Gorge: James Taylor Friar Swill: Alex Forbes Friar Snaffle: Ben Gavin Pitt Friar Slurp: Paul Keenan Friar Guts: Daniel Evans Leader: Armand Rabot Zak: Christopher Lansdown Wally: Charlie Brown Vernon: Jack Pritchard Sarah: Lauren Price Jane: Laura Hughes Lucy: Lisa Roettchen Mary: Ishani Mohan Helen: Georgia Varey Emma: Jessica Basnett Bella: Gina Ellis Claire: Caroline Hurst Turnkey: Shikhar Kumar Clinky: Azaan Hafiz Clanky: Matthew Randall Town Crier: Charlotte Steere
We are proud of our co-curricular science programme and the experiences available to our students to assist with their UCAS applications. However, we are keen to increase this provision by identifying:A greater range of Nuffield Bursary placements. Projects for our new international research initiative. Work placements. If you work in the scientific community, you may be able to help by considering whether your organisation could provide any of the following;A Nuffield Bursary is a 4-6 week research project for 1 or 2 students in the summer break between the Lower and Upper Sixth years. All the external organisation and finances are looked after by a very supportive team based at Liverpool John Moores University. Please see http:// www.nuffieldfoundation.org/science-bursaries-schoolsand-colleges or talk to Phil Boon, a parent who has provided these opportunities in the past and is happy to give you his thoughts on 0151 350 6983(w) or (Phil.email@example.com).
Director: Musical Director: Stage Manager: Musical Accompaniment:
Costumes: Set: Props: Lighting and sound:
Programme and tickets: Photography: Choreography: Sourcing: Stage hand:
Mike Stockdale Sue Keating Nick Corran Alan Davies Sam Davies Gwilym Jones Gaynor Lynch Alan Blain Harriet Feeny Irene Smith Josh Beaumont Tom Beaumont Neil Frowe Freddie Gollins Allan Lowey Chris Morris Peter Sinclair Philippa Relph Neil Frowe Hayley Sewell Louise Smeaton Bronwyn Morris
Our new international initiative will involve a 2 week research project for 2-4 European students, to work with one of our students, in the autumn half term. This arrangement will be simultaneously reciprocated in other countries. Here again all the external arrangements would be looked after for you. Work placements: can you offer an A level student a couple of days‘, or a week‘s experience to help them make the right choices? Clearly the more opportunities we can provide the greater our students‘ prospects become in what is becoming a far more competitive process. We have good evidence that it is these types of experiences that are making the difference and yet they are becoming increasingly difficult to arrange. If you would like more information without any obligation feel free to call or e-mail me. Mike Hayward Head of Science Many thanks. 0151 651 3031 Yours sincerely, firstname.lastname@example.org Mike Hayward
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
1 From 24 to 26 March this year, Bushell Hall was temporarily transformed into a misty forest clearing. This was not the result of a particularly disastrous Big School assembly, but was the set for this year‘s 150th anniversary extravaganza production of Shakespeare‘s much-loved play A Midsummer Night‟s Dream. Directed by a veteran of Birkenhead School plays, Mr Smale, with the assistance of Harriet Feeny (OB) who dreamt up the stunning set. The play chronicles the events that surround King Theseus‘s marriage to Hippolyta, including a play within the play (wouldbe actors rehearsing a play for the King), and the entanglements of two pairs of lovers in the King‘s court. The magical world of fairies intrudes and complicates the plot because of the jealous King Oberon‘s tempestuous relationship with his wife Titania. The play incorporated a wide age range of actors, from Year 6, through Senior School, to the Sixth Form. The main parts were: Tom Feeny as Oberon, Siân Round as Titania, Bruno de Blaquière as Demetrius, Rachel Burdett-Smith (from our neighbours, the High School) as Hermia, Grace Keenan as Helena, Nick Gill as Lysander, Ciaran Anderson as Theseus, and James Green as Bottom. The cast list was extensive, including fairies, various members of King Theseus‘s court and a troupe of the worst actors in the world! As a result, it required a Sisyphean amount of effort to organise it all. To make a list of honourable mentions seems unfair considering the fact that someone is bound to be upset, and it can safely be
2 said that every cast member acted superlatively. However, perhaps special mention should be made of Tom Feeny‘s Oberon, which was described by one audience member as ‗sinister and brooding‘, the four lovers for their comedic timing and sheer entertainment value and Siân Round as Titania, whose School Shakespearean debut was superb. There was student input behind the scenes as well, from Chris Morris and Sam Berkson, who coordinated a complicated and impressive light show, making the play veer from the bright clarity of an everyday world to the psychedelic and eerie atmosphere of a forest peopled by fairies. Another outstanding contribution came from Marco Galvani, who wrote and performed original music for the play, along with other musicians, including, among others, Gwilym Jones (who also acted) and Sam Davies. As in the production of Alice in Wonderland, the costumes for A Midsummer Night‟s Dream were stunning and worthy of the professional stage. The School is lucky to have the services of Gaynor Lynch who dedicates hours and hours to creating these amazing creations. Further honourable mentions should go to those who gave up their time to put up the elaborate set, and Mr Allister, who once again managed the front of house. The play opened to an overwhelmingly positive reception, the audience mostly commenting on the acting ability of those involved and the atmospheric production. It only remains to be seen what will conjured up for the 151st anniversary. James Green
L to R 1: Gwilym Jones (Quince), Danial Alam (Snug), Finlay Gordon (Flute), James Green (Bottom), Ben Hillyer (Snout), Bronwen Morris (Starveling); 2: Tom Feeny (Oberon), Siân Round (Titania); 3: Ciaran Anderson (Theseus), Edward Sherrard (Philostrate), Alex Scott (Hippolyta), Sam Gavin-Pitt (Egeus); 4: Rachel Burdett-Smith (Hermia), Nicholas Gill (Lysander); 5: Bruno de Blaquière (Demetrius), Grace Keenan (Helena); 6: Tom Feeny (centre) with from the top clockwise - George Last (Adder), Georgina Varey (Shadow), Harri Jones (Puck), Charlotte Steere (Ebony) and Gina Ellis (Raven).
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Right: Timur Alcock Year 3, pointing to his pencil study of Tulips. We recently held an Art Exhibition in the Prep for all children from Pre-Prep to Year 6. It was staged by Images. The company framed the children`s work and set up the exhibition. They transformed the Prep Hall into an art gallery for the day. The children and their parents were invited to view the work and purchase their child`s mini-masterpiece. It was a huge success, and a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the work of such talented artists in the Prep. Irene Smith, i/c Prep Art
Earlier this year the Unicycle club organised and rode a marathon to raise money for Comic Relief. It took place on the hockey pitch at Mac Field where the pupils completed a total of 132 laps to reach the marathon distance of just over 26 miles. It was a fantastic effort from all involved and they managed to raise a total of ÂŁ475. Well done to Jack Billington, Oliver George, Stan Billington, Edward George and George McGee. S. Guinness
Natalie Jones, Year 9, (right) and Alice Sherrard, Year 8 (left) were both selected to play U14s hockey at county level for the 2011 season. Natalie played in three tournaments for the West Cheshire and Wirral JAC (Junior Academy Centre) squad but, disappointingly, Alice broke her ankle in a School netball match on the eve of the first tournament, forcing her to miss her county debut and the rest of the season.
Max Keeling, James Kewin and Bruno de BlaquiĂ¨re manned the stand publicising our outreach activities at the Big Bang Science festival at the World Museum Liverpool on Wednesday 5 July 2011. M. Hayward, Head of Science L to R: Mr Guinness, Jack Billington, Oliver George, Stanley Billington, Edward George and George McGee
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Prep Sports Day went extremely well and many parents and grandparents came to watch the children enjoy an action-packed and competitive afternoon. Victor Ludorum winners for each year group were: Year 3 – Joint winners were Thomas Smith and Abi Saverimutto Year 4 – Winner was Adam Durband Year 5 – Winner was Will Haydon-Wood Year 6 – Winner was George Wild, joint runners-up Hal Collins and Thomas Walker Overall winner in the Year 3/4 competition and Year 5/6 competition was Tollemache. N. Corran
All Year 7 students have completed a series of lessons on ―The Environment‖ as part of their Beyond the Curriculum programme. At the end of June, we were fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the Eco Schools Show 2011, which was held at the Bolton Arena. There were a range of activities and workshops during the day which kept us busy and gave us some good ideas. We were also entertained by X-Factor contestant John Adeleye! Some of the comments about the trip: ―It was crowded. I walked around the stalls so many times my feet hurt.‖ Jack Billington 7SEB ―We learned a lot about how we can make our environment a better place to live.‖ Alexandra Williams 7SEB ―I enjoyed walking around the stalls and seeing lots of different ways to save energy and make the world more eco-friendly.‖ Safiya Rafiq 7SEB ―Visiting the show made me realise how important the environment is to us.‖ India Collister 7SEB ―The trip to Bolton made me think about how much rubbish we waste every day and the things we could do with it.‖ Callum Gorman 7SEB ―The trip to Bolton was very informative. I especially liked learning about the different companies and what they do.‖ Finlay Gordon 7CR ―The trip was good. I thought that the monkey made out of old jeans and t-shirts was very imaginative.‖ Fiona Burns 7CR E Reeve, Librarian
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
The Design and Technology department recently held an exhibition of GCSE and A-level pupil work. There was an impressive range of projects on show, from iPod docks to coffee tables. GCSE Systems and Control pupils have to complete a controlled assessment task in 30 hours which involves designing and making an electronic product from start to finish. Along with the finished product, they have to submit a written design portfolio. They develop their ideas both on paper and using a variety of different computer-aided design programmes. Printed circuit boards have to be planned, etched and soldered, and the product casing is made using both traditional skills and modern techniques such as laser cutting and dye sublimation. There was a great variety of projects produced this year showing imagination, application of knowledge and practical ability. The AS Product Design students have taken things to a new level this year by designing iPod docks for their major project. Each student selected a company that they found inspirational and, after analysing the market needs, trends and demands, they designed and manufactured an iPod dock that represented the company and their global ethos. Each iPod dock was fully functional and the students used a vast array of materials and manufacturing processes from carbon fibre, glass fibre, acrylic, aluminium, laser cutting and spray painting. The photos above show the i-pod docks for ‗Beats by Dre‘, ‗Lamborghini‘, ‗Rolex‘, ‗Def Jam Records‘ and ‗X-Box 360‘. At A2 level Product Design the students have a more open choice of what they can design and make. They have to make a link with a professional client, and produce a comprehensive design portfolio, showing detailed and perceptive understanding of the design process, an extensive range of investigative techniques, an imaginative range of ideas, and meticulous plans for manufacture. The coursework project requires enormous levels of commitment in terms of both time and motivation. This year all the pupils should be congratulated on their final products which show fabulous creativity and skill. A new course for us this year, the AS Systems and Control students also applied their knowledge to solve problems they themselves identified. Felix Dawes designed and made a guitarmounted effects ‗pedal‘ to help his band become more portable (photo), Alex Macaulay made a machine to catch and count discharged bullet casings from a .22 rifle to help him on target shooting competitions, and Alex Davies wanted a metronome that he could hear over his trumpet! His solution was to use an offset rotating flywheel to vibrate much as a mobile phone does, but he then incorporated an LCD display to show how many beats per minute it was set to. The A2 electronics projects are a chance to put into practice the 2 years of accumulated theory and always produce interesting and diverse products. Most impressive was Alex Cattrell‘s remote wind direction indicator which he designed to use at his sailing club. An optical shaft encoder changes the wind direction into a 3 bit binary number, which is then processed by a series of chips and is eventually displayed as a moving display arrow on a dot matrix board (see photo). Ben Attwood designed an emergency system for the hard of hearing, where a broken laser beam triggered a loud alarm and a holographic message display using a rotating LED display. Richard Benc made a radio controlled anti-misfuel device where a petrol pump would only be able to dispense the correct fuel thus eradicating expensive mistakes! S. Guinness, Head of D&T
WJEC GCSE Systems and Control: Controlled Assessment Task
AQA A2 Level Product Design Coursework: Tables and Lamps
AS/A2 level Systems and Control and Electronics Coursework
AQA AS level Product Design Coursework: i-pod dock projects
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
MAYOR’S HONOUR FOR ALEX MACAULAY WELCOME RETURN TO UNIT To be diagnosed with cancer is the worst news a person can hear, particularly a young person. For those who know them, and know them well, it is a great shock. Short ly after the Contingent‘s annual c a mp la s t J u l y, Birkenhead School CCF was saddened to lear n t hat Cadet Corporal Stacey Dobbs had been diagnosed w it h Hodgkin‘s Lympho ma. A condition similar to leukaemia, it affects the lymph nodes found in the body‘s lymphatic system which contains white blood cells - the body‘s natural defence system. After spending the last year undergoing treatment at Alder Hey Hospital, Stacey has finally been told her cancer is in remission. She is getting her life back to normal now, although she will be closely monitored for a few more years. We are pleased and happy to welcome Stacey back on parade with us - albeit in a wheelchair for the moment. We look forward to getting her back fully into the action!
The prestigious ‗Good Schools Guide‘ to which a school is invited to be inspected for inclusion recently informed the Headmaster that Birkenhead School had won the 2011 Good Schools Guide A Level Award for the best point score at an English independent school for Chemistry A Level. These awards are made on the basis of the data underlying the performance table of results for the last 3 years — 2008, 2009, 2010 combined, and in particular on the basis of the popularity of each subject relative to similar schools. They also take into account the success that pupils achieve relative to other examinations that they take. They aim is to highlight excellent teaching in individual subjects.
Good Schools Guide certificate
Every year, the Mayor of Wirral accepts nominations from local Cadet Forces for the post of the Mayor‘s Cadet Representative. The post, open only to exceptional Cadet NCOs, involves a lot of public duties, ceremonies and engagements where the Cadet Representative is the face of the local military for the Mayor. This year, we took great pleasure in being able to nominate Colour Sergeant Alex Macaulay for the position. Alex, who has been in the CCF for almost four years, attended an interview with the Mayor at the end of last month, before receiving the news that he had been awarded the honour. Alex took part in his first official engagement last week when the Mayor of Wirral hosted a flagraising ceremony in celebration of Armed Forces day, and he will also be assist ing the Mayor in presenting Operational Service Medals for Afghanist an to volunteers from 75 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers. 2Lt James Barnes
If you are a sportsman or sportswoman, getting to the top of your game is what everyone dreams of and Leo Westbrook has done just that! A keen trampoliner for several years, Leo has already won many competitions but when the letter from the English Gymnastic organisation dropped through the letter box, he was very excited. The letter advised him that he had been chosen for the 20112012 England Squad in the DMT - Double Mini Trampoline - category. CONGRATULATIONS, LEO!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Y7 Beyond the Curriculum – Etiquette and Public Speaking This course (one period a week for eight weeks) has now been running for three years, so perhaps it is time to take stock. What is the course about and how relevant is it to today‘s students? When I introduce the course to Y7 students, I give it the subtitle „Getting an advantage‟. Life seems ever more competitive, and whether it is university entrance or securing employment, we know that Birkonians will have to compete with equally well-qualified students from elsewhere. I know from my experience of recruiting graduates in industry that once candidates have made it to the interview, making a good impression, face to face, is all-important. Our sessions on ‗courtesy and good manners‘ and ‗first impressions‘ give students some of what they will need. To quote from the course booklet, „Good manners‟ does not mean learning 500 dreary and outdated rules, but is mostly an attitude of mind. Learn the background or principles and good manners will (mostly) flow automatically! Relaxing a little, and moving to less overtly competitive situations, we cover social niceties such as letter writing and responding to formal invitations. Here I share with students the power of a ‗thank-you‘ letter. A few well-penned lines – perhaps to parents of a friend who have taken you out for the day – create a good impression out of all proportion to the effort involved, simply because so few people take the trouble to do this. I try to cover some of the basics of public speaking, because at some time this is something that we all have to do. I have always been astonished at how many adults have a mortal dread of public speaking. Starting young is the way to avoid this. We cover some theory, including the use of notes, and then students practise delivering a short talk. Increasingly, job interviews involve a presentation element, and more generally, the ability confidently to address an audience, whether to inform, persuade or entertain, is one of life‘s skills. Our end-of-course treat – though a treat with a purpose – is a formal six course lunch hosted by the Headmaster and with at least one guest. Students will have replied to a formal invitation to this lunch a week or two before. In an increasingly casual world, many Y7 students find formal dining alien or even intimidating, so in the week before the lunch we cover issues such as how to cope with a bewildering array of cutlery, how to drink soup, and what to do with your napkin. At the start of the meal, one of the students will have introduced him or herself to the guests and then introduced the guests to the other students; at the end of the meal, one will give a vote of thanks to the Headmaster. So, whilst at first glance some of what we do may seem quaint and perhaps irrelevant, the course is designed to give an all-important edge or advantage to young Birkonians as they start to enter the competitive adult world. In this season of prize-givings, I can do no better than to quote from a prize I received in 1969, ‗The book of etiquette‘, by Lady Troubridge, „etiquette may be defined as the technique of the art of social life. CF Button, Bursar Guests are also encouraged to at least taste dishes they may not have encountered before and there are always helpful descriptions of less common foods or recipes on the table. At the last Etiquette lunch, Kopi Luwak coffee was served - one of the most expensive, low production coffees in the world - a gift to the Catering Manager, Keith Watson, which he generously brought in to share with Kingsmead’s Year 7s and their guests. Several were a little sceptical about the veracity of the
description of Kopi Luwak coffee: It is made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets, then passed through its digestive tract. A civet eats the berries for their fleshy pulp. In its stomach, proteolytic enzymes seep into the beans, making shorter peptides and more free amino acids. Passing through a civet's intestines the beans are then defecated, keeping their shape. Local farmers then sort through the cat droppings to retrieve the beans Kopi luwak is produced mainly on the islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, and also in the Philippines.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
I‘m sure you will agree that the taxman gets more of your money than you would wish! Well, if you‘re a higher rate taxpayer, you can get some of it back by making charitable donations via Gift Aid. For a gift of £500, a 40% taxpayer gets £125 back, and a 50% taxpayer gets £188 back. At the same time, the taxman gives the charity an extra £125 too,
so it‘s a ―win, win‖ situation. If you are also at risk of losing your personal allowances, a Gift Aided charitable donation can have even more significant tax advantages. If you are considering charitable giving this year, you might like to support the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust, described below by Lorraine Dodd, BSFT Chairman.
How many people know about the role of the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust, the charity set up over 13 years ago with the specific aim of assisting and supporting Birkenhead School? Funds originally came from the sale of land, combined with donations. One of the main objectives at the time was to provide money for bursaries following the end of the Assisted Places Scheme, as it was recognised that this change would have a significant impact on the School and its pupils. The BSFT receives a steady income from its investments and also receives donations and legacies, some of which are given for specific purposes. In addition to bursaries, the BSFT supports the School by providing finance for special projects, whether as gifts or loans. In recent years, with capital arising from asset sales, money has been reinvested in the School via the BSFT. Support has been given to some of the projects you can see around you, including the Prep extension and the new Sixth Form building. As well as bricks and mortar, the BSFT has helped to buy musical instruments and, this year, has funded the photovoltaic panels on the Sports Hall Roof, resulting in energy saving for the School and some income for the Trust. The close relationship between Birkenhead School Foundation Trust and Birkenhead School provides welcome stability in difficult economic times and allows flexibility and opportunity for developments – either pupil support or improved facilities – in the future. For further information about gifts to the BSFT, please visit the School’s website and under ‘About the School’, follow the link to the section on the Foundation Trust, where you will find a Gift Aid form. Alternatively, please contact the Bursar, Clive Button, on 0151 652 2435 or email@example.com
As the School continues to enjoy a sustained period of growth, the BSFT has helped to fund major new developments - e.g. the Sixth Form Centre, McAllester Pavilion and new Prep building.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
As I grappled with my recent tax return and realised, yet again, that my savings can‘t keep pace with inflation, I wished I had known about the fees-in-advance scheme. I therefore asked the Bursar to explain. ―Many parents are aware that it is possible to pay a year‘s fees in advance - that is pay for all three terms at the start of the year - and that the School offers a £125 discount for doing this which is equivalent to investing the Lent and Summer fees, until they are needed, at around 5%. However, it is possible to pre-pay beyond 2011/12, paying for any number of future years. This can be very tax-efficient, with an effective return for the highest-rate tax payers of 6.5%.‖ So how does the scheme work? As a charity, the School cannot do a ‗fixed price deal‘ on future fees, which would involve speculating on what fees will be in future years. However, parents can pre-pay future years at current fee levels, so that all they pay ‗in-year‘ is any
The U16 VIIs team and Cheshire Champions: Back row L to R: William Gollins, Tom Jarvis, Luke Naylor, Mike Doneo, Joe Doyle, Jack Walker, Jake Jackson Front row L to R: Andrew Crosby, Harry Sturgess, Nathan Demetrios, Alex Watkins, Jamie Russell This Sevens season has been one of the most successful for many years with no less than three different year groups winning trophies and medals and the U16 VIIs reaching two cup semi-finals and two cup quarter-finals in the four tournaments in which they played. At our own tournament, held in early March, the 1st VII won their group with victories over Cheadle Hulme School, St David‘s College, Altrincham Grammar School and Hutton Grammar School which put them through to the quarter finals of the cup against Bishop Heber High School. A convincing win put the team through to the semi-final against St Edward‘s College and in a tense, close game, the School lost by one score.
fee inflation since the payment was made. The School recognises the time-value of money by discounting back the prepayment to the present time using a rate of 3.25%. This means, for example, that £10,000 of fees for 2015/16 can be bought now for a payment of £8,800. The effect is the same as investing the funds at 3.25% - in a tax-free environment. For a 50% tax-payer the effective rate of return is therefore 6.5%! If you would like to explore the ‘fees-in-advance’ scheme, please contact the Bursar, Clive Button, on 652 2435 or firstname.lastname@example.org Julia Moore Chairman, Finance and General Purposes Committee
Confidence was high for the prestigious North of England Invitation 7s tournament with 40 of the top rugby schools from the North of England and the Midlands. Victories against Manchester Grammar School, Arnold School and Rushworth qualified the team for the quarter-final against Hymers College, Hull. Despite the team‘s most valiant efforts, a narrow defeat was incurred. The team were playing their third tournament in a week when they went to the Cheshire 7s and, with hindsight, this was probably their downfall. Once again, they won their group and then beat local rivals Calday Grange Grammar School in the quarter-final. In the semifinal, they met Bishop Heber School, a team they had beaten convincingly at our own 7s. However, our team never really got going and it was the most disappointing defeat of the 7s season. Two weeks‘ rest meant the team travelled to the Stonyhurst College 7s refreshed and, once again, the School qualified for the quarterfinals from a difficult group. However, with the top U16s in the side unavailable because they were playing in the U16s tournament, the team struggled against a very well-organised Giggleswick team, losing 14-12. The U14 7s struggled for both size and speed against the very best sides but became ‗plate‘ specialists, first of all reaching the Plate Final at the Rydal 7s before losing to St Ambrose College, only to gain revenge against the same opponents in the Plate Final at the Wirral Grammar School 7s, just reward for their hard work and commitment. The U13s reached the cup final at the Rydal 7s with victories against Manchester Grammar School, Rydal Penrhos and St Ambrose College. They then reached the Plate Final of our own 7s only 48 hours later but fatigue overcame them, losing narrowly to Wilmslow High School. The highlight of the U16s campaign was their excellent win in the final of the Cheshire U16s 7s competition. In their group, they had victories over Bramhall, St Ambrose College and Bridgewater which put them into the quarter-final. A convincing victory saw the team into the semi-final and an incredibly close match against Wilmslow High School which went to sudden death extra time. Victory put the team through to the final against Bramhall and an excellent 22-7 win. R. Lytollis, Head of PE & Games
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
On 1st April (no joke) - twelve keen linguists climbed aboard an Easyjet plane and set out for Paris from Liverpool John Lennon Airport. I think it‘s fair to say that all of us weren‘t quite as fluent at French as we‘d have liked to be, so a heavy French revision lesson took place on the one-hour flight to Paris. We were all quite nervous to meet our partners and I found myself greeting my exchange partner‘s family in German! That evening, after a long drive to the centre of Paris, I was very tired and fell a sleep almost instantly (I blame the lengthy one-hour jet lag!). The following day I was woken up very early by my partner, not knowing where on earth I was. I was soon cheered up by a croissant and found I was looking forward to the day ahead. I later met up with a few of my friends with their partners on the Champs Élysées and we visited many shops with famous brands including Häagen Dazs! I also had the privilege of visiting the Arc de Triomphe and see the amazing views around Paris. I had a fantastic day and was truly looking forward to what the rest of the week had in store for us. Throughout the next few days, our small group of English enjoyed the likes of go-karting, in which, I‘m disappointed to say, Andrew Sherman crossed the line first. We also visited the Parc Monceau in the centre of Paris where we all had a memorable picnic, with a sharp focus on pizza and a distinct lack of anything healthy. On Monday, we experienced a variety of French lessons, which were very interesting as we tried to showcase our French accents and vocabulary. We were also surprised to make a visit to Montmartre, a small classic French town at the highest point in Paris with its beautiful church, famous for its bell tower. On Thursday, our last day, we had a fantastic final trip around Paris. The weather was very much on our side and a few of we Brits turned pink, as it was far hotter than in Birkenhead. We took a boat on the River Seine, stopping at the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame. It has to be said, without naming names, this wasn‘t a great idea for people with a fear of heights (me). Joking aside, it was the experience of a lifetime with spectacular views of Paris. That evening, sadly, we said goodbye to our partners and boarded our flight back to cold, wet England. Our parting would not be for long as we were to welcome our French Exchange partners to Wirral in a few weeks time. I‘d just like to say a huge thanks to Miss Moore and Mr Turner for enabling us to visit this fantastic city. Finally, I would like to recommend a foreign exchange to any Birkenhead School pupil as it is great fun and my French has improved tenfold. Au revoir! James Mitchell, 9SG
Place de la Concorde
The Golden Gates at Versailles
Congratulations to the following who have represented the county: Annie Mills
Oliver Mills Alex Barria-Norton Charles McCulloch Edward Thomas Tom Weller Ian Loch Matthew Rogers
Cheshire U15 Rugby Wirral & West Cheshire JAC U13 Hockey Cheshire U13 Cricket Wirral & West Cheshire Junior Academy Centre (JAC) U16 for Hockey JAC U16 Hockey JAC U16 Hockey JAC U16 Hockey JAC U16 Hockey JAC U17 Hockey JAC U17 Hockey
On our way to the top of La Tour Eiffel!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
This has been a quieter year for the Parents' Association as we were aware that the focus for the year would be on the 150th Celebrations and we have been happy to pool our resources to help out at these events - for example the Wirral Way Wander and Perfect Pitch which have been a huge success. We began our activities very early in the School Year with the 150th Party which included a tasty Hog Roast Buffet and dancing to Paul Pashley in the Sports Hall Marquee. The feedback was very positive and many of you enjoyed the informal style of the evening. Throughout the remainder of the year we have continued with our ever popular Prep School Discos for Year 3 to Year 6. The Children really enjoy these events and it is a joy to watch them having so much fun. For our Summer Disco, Year 2 were invited to join in the fun, in preparation for them moving into the realms of the "Big Playground". Despite the threat of poor weather, the Annual Bonfire party was well attended and the fireworks, soup and hot dogs were enjoyed by all. We held a very successful Prep School uniform sale just before Summer Term began which gave parents the opportunity to sell or buy good quality used School uniform with a small donation going to PA funds. As this was so successful, we aim to repeat the sale at the Bazaar and again at the end of Lent Term 2012. Despite our quiet year, we have still had funds to spend and this year have contributed towards the following: Commemorative 150th Pens for all pupils Football Kits and Netball Bibs for Prep A Pool table for the 6th Form Kit for the Cricket and Netball Tour to Barbados.
New Sixth Form Centre with the Pool table in the background
We are looking forward to an eventful year next year and hold our first meeting on 5 September 2011. Everybody is welcome to attend or if you have any ideas for fundraising events, please contact us via mail Kate Eugeni (President) & Denise Durband (Vice President)
Scenes from the Wirral Way Wander
As we start our well earned summer breaks, the last thing on your mind will be Christmas! However, after we return in September, there will only be 10 weeks until the Bazaar. This is always a busy, fun event and we are always looking for new faces to help with organising and running stalls. For those who helped last year and would like to help again or for any new volunteers, the first Bazaar Committee meeting will be held on Monday 12 September. Please come along to help us make this another successful year; you will receive a very warm welcome. If you cannot help with organising the event please remember us if you are having summer clear out as your donations will be gratefully received during our collection days in November. If you would like any further information or would like to confirm that you can help please contact me on 07718 584575 or email@example.com Denise Durband, Bazaar Committee
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
A Year 7 art project based on natural form observation influenced by the work of American Artist Georgia Oâ€˜Keeffe. E Wilday
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Saturday 17 March 2012 7.30pm Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Edward Elgar Give unto the Lord Edward Elgar Cello Concerto Karl Jenkins The Armed Man
Birkenhead School Choral Society Birkenhead School Chapel Choir Birkenhead Cantata Choir Birkenhead School Prep Choir Liverpool Sinfonia Conductor Graham Jordan Ellis Joyce Tildsley - mezzo soprano Alice Neary - cello
Tickets will be available after the October half-term either from the School or direct from the Philharmonic Box Office. This is the Birkenhead School Choral Society's annual concert in a series which goes back to 1980. All of them have been held in the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall since 1988.
The girls teams have once again excelled in the three winter sports: Hockey, Netball & Lacrosse. Nearly every single girl in the Senior School has represented the School in one, two or even all three sports! Notable successes: U13 Lacrosse team are North of England Champions and have been undefeated all season. U12 Netball team finished runners up in the Wirral Schools Netball tournament out of 14 schools. U13 Hockey team finished runners up in the regional round of England Hockeyâ€˜s 7-a-side competition. U14 Netball team had their best run of results since joining in Yr 7, only losing twice all season. U15 Netball team finished in the top three of Wirral Schools Netball tournament and missed out on goal difference by one to qualify for the North West finals. U16 Netball team qualified for the North West Netball finals. U16 Lacrosse team were undefeated all season. The girls have trained hard, often three times a week and then played nearly every Saturday, all with a smile on their face and a determination to do well L. Alford-Swift
Injuries and illness meant the School could only muster a team of 11 instead of 12, for the U13 Northern Lacrosse Tournament. Only nine of the Year 8 key players were available and had to be supplemented with a Prep School pupil and another girl from Year 7. Ten schools from Cheshire to the Scottish borders had qualified for the tournament, held at Queen Margaretâ€˜s School, York. The Birkenhead team defeated such strong opposition as Withington High School, Manchester, and Bolton School, also beating the host team 2-0 on their way to becoming the Northern U13 Lacrosse champions.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Birkenhead School Year 6 Orienteers became the Merseyside & Cheshire Primary Schools Winners for the second year running and Armand Rabot and Elliott Casey won a silver and a bronze medal respectively in the Championships. In the senior events, Edward George was awarded a bronze medal in the individual Boys 8 ranking, placing him above 24 other competitors from schools across the area. Tom Wimpenny just missed out on a medal, as he finished 4th on the individual rankings for the Yellow course. The final position of Birkenhead School‘s Senior team was a creditable 13th, out of 23 teams. The first event of the season was held at Calderstones Park. There were some impressive runs from our orienteers taking part in the Orange course, as they held the top seven positions. At Eastham, Sam GavinPitt came 3rd in the Yellow course, and John Warburton achieved a very impressive 2nd position out of 43 competitors on the Orange course. To say that this was also the first competitive fixture for our juniors, they ran with great confidence and Daniel Evans came 1st in the White category, Armand Rabot 2nd, Tom Parkes 4th, Joe Grimshaw 5th and Elliott Casey 6th. At Hightown dunes, one of the most technical and challenging venues, Oliver George came 10th of 33 runners in his category, and our Year 6 boys held the top 5 positions on the White course! The ―George brothers‖ continued to impress at Pettypool, holding 6th and 7th positions ahead of 35 other competitors in their category. As did Sam Gavin-Pitt, finishing in 2nd position out of 42 runners and Daniel Gaskell, who came first in the Yellow course. Our Prep children were at this stage holding the Primary Schools top positions. In the Primary Schools Championships held at Marbury Park, Armand Rabot, Elliott Casey, Tom Parkes and William Reay became the winning team and ran in the Yellow category, a step up in difficulty from the one they had run this season. Congratulations to them all! The season ended with a very enjoyable relay finale fixture for all participant Schools. This event was held at Sutton Manor. Mrs T Washington, i/c Orienteering
Andrew Clarke, OB, was called to the field in a recent test match against Sri Lanka at Lords. Now in his third year with MCC‘s Young Cricketers‘ squad, Andrew Clarke is continuing to make his mark in top level cricket. Andrew was recently 12th man in the England team, coming on for a brief spell as a substitute fielder in the test match against Sri Lanka. Andrew‘s career with MCC is also going from strength to
Photo top: the School teams at Pettypool Photo bottom: Orienteering event at Calderstones Park
strength. With the encouragement of the club‘s coaches, he is bringing a new dimension to his ‗all rounder‘ abilities. Already an acclaimed batsman and seam bowler, he is now adding spin bowling to his talents. It‘s not unusual to find him in the honours as a batsman, seam bowler and spin bowler, all in the same match, for MCC Young Cricketers. Known to everybody in the sport as ‗Clarkey‘, Andrew joined the MCC from the Lower Sixth. He was taken on by the world‘s oldest and most famous cricket club after succeeding in a highly competitive trial at Lord‘s cricket ground. At School, Andrew was renowned for his cricketing abilities, joining much older boys in the School‘s 1st X1 during his second year. When he was only nine, he was spotted by County coaches and joined Cheshire Schoolboys‘ squad. Andrew, who trialled for Gloucester last year, hopes to be selected for a County side and ultimately would like to follow in such famous footsteps as Ian Botham and Phil Tuffnell, both of whom are former MCC Young Cricketers. For his England test match appearance, he arranged for his granddad to be in the crowd. ―He‘s mad about cricket and has always been my biggest fan,‖ said Andrew. ―It was a terrific occasion. I was really nervous at first but I got a touch of the ball almost immediately which helped me to settle down. ―I‘m really enjoying my time at MCC. It‘s exciting to be encouraged to expand my bowling skills. If I can manage to be really proficient as a batsman and as both a spin and seam bowler it will make me pretty unique in the game.‖
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Page 33 up Mr Blain, Head of Bidston House, to apoplectic proportions, much to the delight of the Common Room. As middle managers we are often quick to accept the praise given for successful departments. However, it is perhaps no coincidence that the Chemistry department, which has been very strong for a long time, has had the constant factor of Graham Melville teaching the subject. His contribution to the School and his extraordinary good humour are all the more remarkable in the light of the tragic death of his son Tim, soon after he left School in 2002. Tim had inherited his father‘s likeability and great love of cricket and his passing shocked and saddened us all deeply. My personal favourite moments are when Graham, with his characteristic sense of mischief, pushes the politically correct boundaries by allowing female students to leave the lesson before break slightly earlier than their male counterparts so that they can make the tea. Or when he accidently slipped-up when a particularly able girl was absent and he commented that ―the set lacked talent today‖. I once asked him how his wife Pat was, following a hip operation, to which he replied, ―She is easier to chase around the bedroom!‖ Graham, you will be a difficult act to follow and we wish you and Pat a long retirement filled with as many giggles as you have given us. M. Hayward, Head of Science
When we see Graham ―power-napping‖ in the staffroom, it is easy to overlook his impressive military credentials. Who else could have escaped across the desert from marauding Arabs, with a bomb improvised from an empty tin can and a flatulent camel? His heroics continued in Vietnam where he escaped using only his legendary rubber fingers. Upon leaving Her Majesty‘s Services, he had a short spell with the Metropolitan Police where he worked undercover in the ganglands of London, in the Anti-Meanie squad. Unfortunately, his cover was blown and he was faced with imminent death by being forced to drink poison by his captives. However he used his vast chemical knowledge, a 50p piece and cigarette lighter to extricate himself from the situation. Such utterings of self-delusion or imagination (which Graham refers to as a trilogy in five parts) have entertained pupils at Birkenhead School for the past 20 years, many of them dreamt up as he stares into the far distance during Chemistry department meetings. Graham is adored by all, if not immediately, then certainly after being bribed with Uncle Tom‘s Mint Balls and the odd Fisherman‘s Friend. His teaching oozes tranquillity, indeed much of it is done seated. From this position, he manages to convince even the most reticent and struggling pupils that they are actually ―young chemists‖. For a vast majority of his time, he has run the junior cricket, been a Junior School (now Overdale) Form Tutor and served on the Health and Safety Committee. His effectiveness and popularity can be gauged by the number of presents he receives at Christmas, which has little to do with the outrageous hints he drops in the weeks leading up to the festive period. His less fictitious military career did involve a long stint in the School‘s CCF Naval Section but it was as a Housemaster that he really excelled. Leading Kingsmead with its topical rallying cry of ―Go Green‖, Graham was inspirational and competitive but above all he had the much-appreciated ability of winding
Adam joined the School in September 2007. He very quickly adapted to the academic side of school life and participated fully in all aspects of the physics courses in their delivery and development. In more recent times, a rugby tour for less fortunate pupils from Thailand was organised and partially funded by monies raised by activities organised by him. This tour proved to be highly successful. At all times he has proved himself to be a confident and knowledgeable teacher, whose examination results are second to none. He also became a rugby coach for one of the junior rugby teams and quickly learned that the attractive all-inclusive tour package to exhilarating and exotic places for junior teams was not all that it appeared to be when touring such places as Leicester, Scarborough, Newcastle and Croydon. Still this disappointment did not prevent him from having his legs waxed to raise money for the tours; an experience I don‘t think he will forget. This removal of hair, clearly affected him deeply as his Jesus lookalike image was banished and replaced by a new persona: that of a clean-cut, well-groomed individual. However this image, too, has been recently superseded because his razor only works for two weeks in any given month. Maybe he is slowly returning to type? He will also be sorely missed in the physics department by Ken Jones, who will no longer require the enigma machine to crack the code for ordering apparatus, and by Barbara O‘Brien who will have no need of the skip to contain his documents whilst cleaning his laboratory. Steve Clark and I will miss the decisive way in which he changed the mutually agreed delivery of the course within days. In closing, all the physics department wish Adam every success in his new post. He has been a pleasure to work alongside and we wish him every happiness for the future. Bon voyage! D. Highcock, Head of Physics
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Sam Keenan, Year 7, has an abhorrence of cruelty to animals in all its manifestations, and particularly when it is to satisfy man‘s greed. He cites, for example, whale hunting using grenade harpoons which lead to a whale‘s slow and agonising death, and points to poachers, who are still killing the endangered rhino for its horn and then selling the ivory for vast sums on the black market. Closer to home, Sam felt he could at least do something about the continuing plight of factory farmed chickens. Despite wider campaigns, there are still many battery farms because there is still high demand for the cheap eggs and chicken they can produce. In fact, there is one such farm near to where Sam lives and so strongly does Sam feel that keeping livestock under such conditions is morally wrong that one day he made up his mind to ‗rescue‘ some of them. Sam now has 50 chickens ‗under his wing‘ which are beginning to grow back their feathers and enjoy a greater freedom in his care. If anyone reading this would like to give a chicken (or two) a good home, Sam will sell you one for £4. He then uses this money to ‗rescue‘ more chickens from the factory. When it was suggested that his efforts could only touch the tip of the iceberg, Sam argued that you have to start somewhere and that at least 50 chickens now have better lives. In a bid to reach the ears of those at the top who are able to alter the rules, Sam decided to write to the top person in the country - Her Majesty the Queen. He presented the damning facts to her and, a few days later, Sam received a letter from Buckingham Palace (see top right). We hope Sam‘s campaign gathers momentum and that everyone is persuaded to pay a little more to ensure that the food on our table comes from animals which at least enjoyed their short lives in the fresh air.
Practising putting up their tents on the last day of term, 47 students set off for Malham on their Duke of Edinburgh Silver Expedition at 7am on 7 July. With them will be Graham Hill, in charge of the Duke of Edinburgh‘s award scheme, Kelvin Britton and Stephen Clark, and, of course, driving them, as he has for the past four years, will be Trevor Roberts. Pray it doesn‘t rain on them!
Sixth Form Leavers Graham Williams and Ben Attwood sport their newly acquired Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold badges! Well done to both - Gold D of E is no mean feat! In the last IF, we reported that Graham had taken up curling for his new challenge required by the physical recreation section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold award and he appears to be doing rather well at it!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Bottled water is up to 2000 times more energy-intensive than tap water, and it is crazy to be transporting water and its packaging over long distances. In 2008, the Daily Telegraph newspaper claimed that the oil used to produce plastic water bottles in the UK alone would be enough to run 17,000 cars. Switching to glass bottles is no better because they are heavier to transport and, in percentage terms, you save more fuel from recycling a plastic bottle than a glass one. So School has decided to go green and to stop using bottled water. Instead we are investing in high-quality re-usable bottles, which will be freshly filled from our filtered cold water dispensers. The option to move away from branded bottled water will also be offered to anyone booking an outside function at the School.
20th Birkenhead Cub and Beaver fun day
Perhaps you might consider switching too? This isn‘t just a lifestyle choice, it is a choice for a healthy planet. Keith Watson, Catering Manager
Drama Full Senior Tom Feeny Marco Galvani James Green Half Senior Thomas Beaumont Sam Davies Bruno de Blaquière Nicholas Gill Gwilym Jones Christopher Morris Edward Sherrard Full Junior Trystan Jones Siân Round Half Junior Benjamin Hillyer Grace Keenan
Cricket Full Senior Nicholas Hearn Oliver Hearn Joseph Hillyer
Alexander Hind William Lamb Alistair Stokoe Half Senior Thomas Bainbridge Patrick Benc Alexander Griffiths Thomas Roden Harry Sturgess Michael Talbot Alexander Watkins Full Junior Benjamin Unsworth Half Junior Alexander Saverimutto Daniel Walker
Athletics Half Senior Charlotte Lytollis Half Junior Amy Durband Oliver George Francis Good
There are, of course, the Sunday Times and the Forbes Rich Lists but now there is the Eureka 100, published by The Times newspaper last year - a list of the 100 most important people today in British Science. Old Birkonian, and former President of the Old Birkonian Society (2007-2009), Professor Graham Richards CBE is on the list! His inclusion follows a number of awards for his contributions to science and its commercial application - the Lloyd Kilgerran Prize, the Mullard Award from the Royal Society, the Italgas Prize and the 2004 Award from the American Chemical Society for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research. Founder and Chairman of InhibOx, the Oxford-based computational drug discovery specialists, Professor Richards has been a leading pioneer in the field. He founded Oxford Molecular Ltd, a result of his research at the University, co-founded Isis Innovation which generated significant funds for the University, Oxford University‘s Chair of Chemistry from 1997-2006, is a Non-executive Director of IP Group Plc, with whom he forged an innovative investment deal, and is a Council Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry and The Royal Institution.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Old Birkonian Society
SUMMER 2011 Issue No. 53
The Lodge . 58 Beresford Road . Oxton . Wirral . CH43 2JD. Tel: 0151 651 3015 www.obs.org.uk
2010 marked the sesquicentennial of the foundation of Birkenhead School. The Society marked the opening of the year with our Annual General Meeting, followed by a dinner dance in the Sports Hall which was well attended by Old Birkonians and their partners spanning ages 18 to 80! It is very difficult to hold an event that spans such age ranges in a way that caters to all tastes, whether it be the food, drink, atmosphere or entertainment. It was good to get a lot of positive feedback and to see the age groups mix so well. The sight of Alan Hanson dancing the feet off many a third of his age will long remain in the memory! John Clark has organised year group dinners at the School at regular intervals during the year, mainly focusing on more recent leavers, which have met universal approval and will hopefully give further impetus to those groups to maintain the links with their contemporaries and the School for the long term future. The celebrations ended in June with a fabulous open air concert on the School Field which featured an array of musical talent from the School performing The Headmaster and the OBS Chairman in live to an audience of 3,000 people and culminated in a performance by the conversation after Senior Prizegiving 2011 Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra in a varied programme. The 1812 Overture and accompanying pyrotechnics set off from the top of the science block provided the finale to a marvellous evening. Again, it was a great family occasion when the whole School community came together for an informal picnic. It made a fitting end to the last 150 years and great start to the next 150 years of Birkenhead School. The Society is holding its AGM on Saturday 3rd September in the newly refurbished Sixth Form block. It is part of our recent programme of showing former pupils returning to the School the fruits of recent developments. Whilst we are all suffering in the current economic climate, it is encouraging that the School is continuing to strive to improve its buildings and amenities ensuring that it remains at the competitive edge, in terms of both its academic achievements and its facilities. The Leavers of 1981 are also organising a reunion and dinner at the School on the same evening. This may be a model for other year groups who may wish to mark ‗mass‘ 50th or other similar birthday celebrations. If the Society can help at all in any planning of this nature please get in touch. Finally, I would like to pass my thanks to those many who freely volunteer their time to support the Society in so many ways: those who organise the many sporting events; our dedicated archivists; our honorary secretary and treasurer; the London Branch committee; the Liverpool Luncheon club attendees (who may still be there!) and many others. Mark Feeny
David Hallatt (first left) and friends at the 150th Anniversary OB Dinner
John Clark , Headmaster (second from left) with Andreas Whittam Smith, President of the OBS on his left.
L to R: Rev’d Murdoch MacKenzie Bishop David Hallatt, OB (1944-1956)
David Hallatt and I particularly wanted to come to the OB 150th Anniversary Dinner last September because we were responsible for starting the OB University Dining Club. I left school in the summer of 1957 and began my National Service in the Royal Air Force. Soon after that, possibly in January 1958, I attended an OB Dinner in the School dining hall. I was the youngest person there by a mile. Shortly after that I went to RAF Andover for the Command hockey trials. One spare afternoon, I visited (Bishop) David Hallatt and Tony Land who were both studying at Southampton University. I told them about the OB Dinner which I had attended and suggested to them that we start an OB University Dining Club to encourage younger OBs to come to that and to the main dinners. David contacted Wally Rice, our former Geography Master, to enlist his support. Thus it was that the OB University Dining Club was launched with a dinner attended by Mr Bushell, Hon Graham White PC and other notable Old Birkonians. The Dining Club continued for many years and there are photographs of the first dinner in the archives. Murdoch Mackenzie, OB (1949-1957)
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Left: Ken Ellerton (1935-1947) standing behind the beautiful pair of processional candlesticks in the School Chapel which he donated in memory of his brother Philip. When not in procession, the candlesticks stand on either side of the eagle lectern. Above: Ken Ellerton and his wife on the bench dedicated to the memory of Roy Ellerton. There were three of us at Birkenhead School. My elder brother, Roy (1935-1946) and myself joined the Prep in Beresford Road in 1935 and Philip (1948-1961) joined the Prep in 1948. Having been a member of the Chapel Choir in the early 1940‘s under Mr Sandberg-Lee, I was very pleased to donate the new Processional Candlesticks to the Chapel in memory of Philip who died last year at the age of 67. There is a bench alongside the Cricket Pavilion in memory of Roy, who died in 1991 at the age of 61. I have very happy memories of my time at Birkenhead School, particularly the war years. I was one of the Prep pupils to be evacuated to Whitchurch in 1939, but we returned just as the real war was starting. I believe most young boys in the Prep and Junior School enjoyed the war. We used to rush around on our bikes to bomb sites and particularly to aircraft crashes, collecting souvenirs. We used to like seeing OBs visiting in their uniforms and hearing their war stories. There were a number of occasions when the School was ‗buzzed‘ by OBs who were pilots. On one occasion, one of the boy‘s brothers flew his Lancaster bomber at very low level over the School. Miss Bendall was a very popular Headmistress of the Prep. Apart from normal lessons, we had allotments at the rear of Beresford Road where we learnt to ‘dig for victory‘! We also had cookery lessons.
As a Chorister in the 1940s we attended School seven days a week, with school on Saturday mornings. Mr Bushell arranged black & white silent film shows on Saturday evenings which many of us attended. He was a great headmaster, and I recall how he used to carry his morning post inside his mortar board which he read during the Morning Service, often shaking with laughter whilst we were trying to concentrate on the Service. I remember the First World war cannon which stood in front of Big School being taken away for scrap metal and being replaced with a Fairy Battle Bomber which was used by the ATC. Roy left School in 1947 and, after National Service in the Army, he joined the family business of Slate Manufacturers in North Wales, eventually becoming its Managing Director. Philip left the School in 1961 to join the Royal Insurance in Liverpool as a trainee and spent over 40 years with the Company in Liverpool and London in various senior management roles. He retired to the Isle of Man where he joined the board of a number of companies with operations based there. On leaving School in 1947, I joined the Ellerman Hall Line as a cadet, but after three years decided to take a different course and joined Associated Iliffe Press in London which eventually became Reed Elsvier, working on a range of magazines from Autocar to World Fishing, Hospital Doctor and many others. I retired to Heswall in 1996.
Jonathan Lawrence (2000-2007) finished his BEng in Mechanical Engineering at Durham University in June last year and should have gone straight to Sandhurst. Unfortunately, he had to defer for a year whilst he waited for a sporting injury to heal - he damaged his acromioclavicular ligament and displaced his clavicle playing rugby. At university, he was First Team captain, then Club Captain and also coached the women‘s rugby team. Whilst at School, Jonathan was a keen member of the CCF and was sponsored by the Army through Sixth Form and university. He is hoping eventually to join the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). In his year off he has done a variety of jobs - childcare, waiting on in restaurants and playing his trumpet whenever possible. Those who were there will remember the clear, bitter-sweet notes of the Last Post which Jonathan played at Remembrance Day Services when he was at School. He is a member of the Liverpool Sinfonia and has come back to play at several of the School‘s popular annual Jazz evenings. We wish him well as he starts his training at Sandhurst.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
John‘s widow, Isobel, wrote to inform us of her husband‘s death in June last year. She wrote: John excelled in English and History and he and John Pelling vied with each other each year for the History Prize. He left School in about 1936 when his father died and, instead of going into the Law as he‟d hoped, joined Martin‟s Bank in Liverpool. During the Second World War, he served in the Royal Engineers in bomb disposal, later transferring in 1941 to Egypt to serve in a transport unit. After four and a half years in Egypt at the end of the War, he returned to banking , later opening a Martins Bank in Holloway Circus, Birmingham, before becoming the Manager of the Sloane Street branch, later taken over by Barclays, in London. He retired in 1977. He was interested in all forms of history but his main interest lay in vintage motor cars. He was a commentator for over thirty years at numerous racing events, mostly for the Vintage Sports Car Club (VSCC) and Bugatti owners‟ Club. Extracted from his obituary in the September issue of ‗The Automobile‘: He became a member of the VSCC in 1960 and began commentating soon after. Many readers will remember John and Bunny Tubbs ensconced in the startline box at Prescott doing dual commentary as the entrants shot off up the hill, or at Silverstone, when the tannoy clicked on and a familiar voice said “Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen”, one knew exciting things were about to happen. His association with The Automobile began in 1989 when he became „our expert‟, contributing „Under the Hammer‟ each month. His comments were read avidly by enthusiasts, dealers and auction houses alike. He had an encyclopaedic memory when it came to Veteran and Vintage cars. For example, when viewing a Rolls Royce at Bonhams auction one day, he quickly commented, “The last time I saw that car was in 1938 in Birkenhead when it was blue and driven by the local bookie.” He is remembered as a quiet, gentle man with a dry sense of humour who was most at ease in his den at home where he had a comprehensive library covering all types of motoring. His own cherished car was an Alvis 12/60 tourer and he had a share in an Amilcar. He was an honorary life member of the Bugatti Owners‟ Club, the Alvis Register and VSCC.
Sally Whitelaw, the daughter of Harold Jerrett OB, recently donated two Magazines of the Second Form from 1899 and 1900, written by members of that year. They are a fascinating insight into both life at Birkenhead School and life in general over 100 years ago. What is also striking is the command of language at that time in boys so young. With only 22 boys in the Second Fear, it seems that it was usual to compete against the younger and older forms - First and Remove, and Third: Directly after the match was over, the Shield was handed over to the winners (Third) and then McNaught (Captain) and his noble followers promptly marched off to Big School with their prize (the Great Shield), which they hung up behind Mr Finn‟s desk. And: The Summer Term was very enjoyable and rather eventful. We had a scare about scarlet fever, but good management prevented a case of scarletina going any further. We had some good cricket but, above all, was the glorious relief of Mafeking. We shall never forget the night of Friday, May 18th, 1900, when the news came that Baden-Powell and his brave garrison had been relieved. We all went half crazy with delight. Everybody made as much noise as possible with trumpets, dinner gongs, bells and anything else which would sound as loudly as possible. There are articles which describe in glorious detail Oberammergau‘s Passion Play, an otter hunt, a stag hunt, a visit to Biscuit Town (Reading - the home of Huntley and Palmer‘s biscuit factory) and Christmas holidays in Switzerland. However, Harold Jerrett had probably kept the magazines because his 2-part description of ‗My trip round the Mediterranean‘ was published in the magazines. His daughter says that he would have liked to have been a journalist but, to his lasting regret, he had to go into his father‘s shipping business. The business was eventually lost and Harold was sent out to Burma and, on his return, eventually ended up in the brewery business. Some extracts from his trip: My brother, a friend and I sailed from Garston on the Mersey in June 1898, in a steamer belonging to my father‟s firm, which was called the „Frutera‟. Our parents and relations were there to say „Good-bye‟, a proceeding not so very pleasant when sailors are looking on. Later ...When we got on deck, we saw a most delightful scene, for we found ourselves going gently into Port Empèdocle. ... Here we stayed for a week, discharging our cargo of coals and taking sulphur on board. ...Sulphur is very bad for the eyes, and I suffered very much from the dust which got all over the ship. In Marseilles … at the Museum is a magnificent fountain or rather waterfall, which flushes the drains of the city; an excellent arrangement, which Liverpool would be glad to have, if it were not such a big place. The Cafès are most superb, and everything in them is carried on in the most tip-top style imaginable. Palermo … Hearing that there existed some famous catacombs in this city, we asked the Captain if we could go. He said, “You had better not go there. You‟ll be scared out of your senses, if you have any.” …We saw hundreds of skeletons hanging on the face of the rock. .. Some had patches of skin on them, others had half of their beards left. …There were special chambers for monks and priests. In the mouth of one of these priests, his tongue hung out. This is quite true. We felt it ourselves; and took good care not to use that finger with which we touched it, for about a month after. We were told that the relatives of the skeletons take them down and dress them once a year. Pompeii … At the present moment they are excavating it. ...Here you can see the stalest bread in the world. It was found in the ovens, just as it was left when that dreadful time began. ...Then there are casts of men and women, all drawn up in pain, who were not able to escape. .. I am told that Lord Lytton‟s „Last days of Pompeii‟ contains a splendid account of those days, and I am going to read it as soon as I can. The magazines are now lodged in the School Archives.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
In last year‘s Bulletin, there was an article about Lawrence Churchill, CBE, OB 1958-1965, who was about to become the new Chairman of the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). Too late, Lawrence emailed with some memories of his time at Birkenhead School:
Joyce Whitworth contacted the Alumni Office some months ago on behalf of her husband - Roy Francis Whitworth OB (1921-1926). He wanted us to know he had reached his 100th birthday in May 2010 and received his congratulatory letter from the Queen. He now lives in a Nursing Home and, although very frail, his mind is still active. He was in the OTC at School and, when he left School, was commissioned in the Royal Artillery. He spent some of the Second World War defending Liverpool and the Mersey. After the war he went to work for British Reinforced Concrete.
John Edmund Fairbrother, known as Ted, died on 1 October 2010. He represented the School at athletics, rugby and hockey. After Army service, he went to St Andrews University and gained a BSc in Chemistry. There he was awarded a hockey blue and was trialled for Scotland.
In last year’s bulletin most of the Masters in the Common Room photo c1961 were identified but one name was missing. In August, John Parke OB wrote to say that the unnamed Master was H G (Gordon) Ward L to R: M J W Smith (PE &Rugby) seated, E L Woof (German and French), W O Rice (Geography) at back, J W R Taylor (PE & Rugby), C K Stevens (English), F E Wakelin (French & Rugby), I M Murray-Rust (Chemistry) at back, G H Gilliland (Maths), J M D Harrison (English), H G (Gordon) Ward (English), W T Weatherhead (Latin) at back, J F Austin (History & Rugby) seated, E S Smailes (English & Divinity), J E Lyon (Modern languages).
I really enjoyed my time there but like most boys didn‟t like work too much. I was told, if I didn‟t stop playing so much rugby and concentrate on my studies, that I‟d never get in to Oxbridge. I remember getting dropped off from the School rugby coach at the Caernarvon Castle for a thirst quencher before going home to do homework! When John Gwilliam arrived as Headmaster (he had captained Wales when they won the triple crown in the Fifties), we local “hardknocks” decided to teach him a thing or two at rugby training. We didn‟t teach him a thing, but boy we learned a lot!! More seriously, my time at BS told me it was OK to do your best, or even excel and this is an important lesson in life. I came from a working class background – my Dad was a docker – so BS and the direct grant system allowed me to get an education, which might be more difficult for kids nowadays.
Peter Webster and his wife visited the School last October on a trip from their home in Williamsburg, Virginia. Peter was at the School from 1952-1957, the only one from his year at Cole Street Primary School to be given a place here. In 1962, according to his record card, Peter let us know he had moved to the USA to work for the American Telephone and Telegraph Company, and has lived there ever since.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Three Birkenhead School Headmasters L to R: John Gwilliam 1963-1988; Stuart Haggett 1988-2003; John Clark 2003- . Three generations of headmasters attended Birkenhead School‘s 150th anniversary Commemoration Service at Chester Cathedral. The service was one of a host of events to celebrate this key moment in the rich history of the School. Present Headmaster John Clark was joined by his predecessors Stuart Haggett (1988-2003), who was until recently Head of the British School in Cyprus, and John Gwilliam (1963-1988), the former Welsh Rugby Captain who led Wales to their grand slam victories of 1950 and 1952. In 2005 he was inducted into the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame. During his time as headmaster of Birkenhead School the Welsh Captain had a reputation as a strict disciplinarian but clearly had another side to him, as was revealed to the congregation of over 1200 by a former pupil of his, the Rev‘d Stephen Ridley. He told the story of Headmaster Gwilliam coming into School one day carrying a kitten which he had rescued and asking his secretary to hide it in case the boys saw him and thought he was ‗going soft‘! The School was also delighted to welcome Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, who is President of the School, and Old Birkonian Andreas Whittam-Smith, co-founder of The Independent newspaper and former President of the British Board of Film Classification. The service was attended by the Right Rev‘d Dr Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester, who pronounced the blessing. Members of the congregation found the service both majestic and moving as they watched the choristers, clergy, pupils and Headmaster and Headmistress of the Prep process up the magnificent aisle of the Cathedral to the hymn ‗All creatures of our God and King‘. In a series of readings, the service reflected on the School‘s past, present and future and gave thanks for the traditions we have inherited, the community we share today and the values we hold in trust for future generations. The quotation Mr Clark used from T S Eliot‘s ‗Four Quartets‘ to open his reading ‗The Future‘ best sums it up - Time present and time past are perhaps both present in time future. In his reading, the Headmaster explained the principles which will guide our School in the future, ‗It will be a School which shows its pupils that knowledge without wisdom is of little value, that the pursuit of learning is unlikely to bring fulfilment unless it is accompanied by the search for goodness. It will be a School in which selflessness rather than selfishness is valued and a sense of community is created through a willingness to serve others rather than oneself.‘ It was a lovely moment in the service when the sweet voices of the Prep Choir sang ‗A New Commandment‘, by Roy Crabtree: A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you. By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, If you have love for one another. If you would like a copy of the Order of Service, please call 0151 651 3007 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On an overcast Tuesday morning, a motorcade of buses left for Chester, carrying the youngest children from the Prep to the oldest Sixth Former. This was not an average Birkenhead School trip, but transport to the Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving for the sesquicentenary of the foundation of our School. The service included three meditations inviting all present to reflect on the Past, Present and Future of Birkenhead School. They were read by Mr Smale, Mrs Skelly and Mr Clark respectively. The Service included words taken from the School‘s Centenary Service held 50 years previously, with ‗100th‘ replaced with ‗150th‘ in strategic places for The Bidding, read by our new Chaplain Mrs Lesley Rendle. Pupils from all Years read short prayers which were delivered in authoritative, clear tones. This was very impressive considering the daunting occasion, the magnificent setting, the huge congregation and the important guests. The Chapel Choir, led by Mr. Ellis, Venice Brass, led by Miss Baker, the Prep Choir and the organist Mr G. Eccles, enhanced the wonderful atmosphere of the Service with their music. There were readings from the The Rt Hon. The Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead, who is School President, Dr Tony Mathie, the Chairman of Governors and Harriet Feeny, representing Old Birkonians. The sermon was given by the Reverend Stephen Ridley, who is an OB and was Chaplain from 1990-1996. Everyone was relieved that, after such formal proceedings, he chose a more informal tone and even slipped in a joke at the end. In case you want to know, it even raised a slight chuckle from me. To conclude the proceedings, the Bishop of Chester himself gave the Blessing, and, by the recessional hymn, it was clear that this event was cemented in Birkenhead School‘s history. Proceeds from the collection were shared among the School‘s sesquicentenary charities: Charles Thompson‘s Mission, Home-Start Wirral, So the Child May Live and Rock of Joy Trust. Contact details for these charities may be obtained from Mary Butterworth at the School. James Green and Gwilym Jones
A souvenir DVD of the wonderful Service of Commemoration to mark the School’s foundation 150 years ago which was held at Chester Cathedral on 2 November 2010 is now available from the Headmaster’s PA, Mrs Debbie Roberts - price £4.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Page 41 insects (so watch out next time you eat a tomato!!). We demonstrated that the trigger for this is the electrical signal described above - contrary to assumptions made by other researchers in the field. I moved to the University of North Carolina as department head and we successfully obtained a $5m grant from NASA. I was given directorship of this grant and the research it funded and we published a series of papers on "tomato wound genes", gathering further evidence for the fundamental importance of electrical signals in plants. We formed a new scientific society, the International Society of Plant Neurobiology and I agreed to be on the Executive Committee. During this time, collaboration with a French University led to the discovery that one of the wound genes we had identified was triggered by low energy electromagnetic fields, for instance from cell phone irradiation. I also became involved in gravity research (of primary importance to NASA since they needed to know how to grow plants in places with different gravitational conditions). We made significant progress until the funding came to an end and wasn't renewed. The work in that time had led to an understanding of the self-righting capabilities of plants like corn, which when blown over can grow to become upright again. Stress & pressure in the horizontal stem triggers RNA formation, causing protein synthesis whose rate is gravity specific and which distorts the plant stem to effect vertical growth again.
Emeritus Professor Eric Davies (1951-1958), on a visit to England in October last year, enjoyed a tour of the School with 2010-2011 Prefect Nicholas Hearn. The following is extracted from Professor Daviesâ€™s account of his career and research work. The complete document is lodged with the School Archives. I obtained my PhD in Molecular Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. This work was the first instance of research in which synthesis of a specific enzyme was accomplished in vitro (in test tubes) using plant microsomes (ie plant membranes to which protein-synthesising units called polysomes are attached). Soon after this, I got my first job as an Assistant Professor at the University of Nabraska. Our work here focused mainly on developing methods to isolate the functional units responsible for protein and enzyme synthesis in plant cells. Further work involved the in vitro production of proteins using RNA (the protein encoder) isolated from pea stems. Proteins were also studied in vivo (in living tissue) using radio-labelling experiments. Our most important discovery was the rapid acceleration of polysome production when plants are "wounded" (eg when the growing tip is cut off), which had to be triggered by an electrical signal travelling through the plant. Two of my post-doctoral students developed a successful system for measuring these electrical signals in plants. Using this technique, we were able to show that gentle wounding evoked a genuine electrical signal similar to that found in the heart and other organs (though not the nervous system). More drastic wounds evoked an almost instantaneous loss of tension through the plant, causing local electrical charges. Further work demonstrated the importance of the cytoskeleton (a network of filaments found within cells) in supporting polysome and RNA function & transport. Previous studies with tomato plants had shown that mild wounding in the form of insects eating part of a leaf can cause a response in the plant generating new proteins which kill the
I am now retired, living near the beach on the Pacific coast of Mexico. This fulfils a dream I always had when I was at Birkenhead School - retiring close to the Ocean, mountains nearby, lots of sunshine and good, cheap local wine. Obviously it couldn't be England! The only alteration I had to make was to substitute tequila for wine! It is fascinating to look back and see the course my education and career took. Up till the 5th form at BS I studied languages because I believed one of the world's biggest problems was (mis-) communication. Having to write an essay on "world population & food supply", however, brought me to the conclusion that this was a much more important topic and I switched to sciences at A level, so I could save the world that way instead! Maybe I've made some small contribution with my research, but in the meantime I've certainly increased the population (2 sons) and decreased the food supply (I've a healthy appetite)!! P.S. Eric attended an OB reunion in Florida about 1995 - is anyone else who attended that reunion reading this?
In November last year, the Frigate HMS Argyll sailed into Liverpool for a fiveday visit under the command of Paul Stroude, OB 1984-1991. The ship, commissioned in 1991, had just had a ÂŁ19m refit in Rosyth, Scotland. It now boasts the most advanced command and control computer system in the Navy, a new medium-range gun capable of firing on surface targets up to 15 miles away, a new flight deck and two new automatic cannons. HMS Argyll has served in the North and South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. This year she was being deployed for 7 months to the Middle East.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Earlier this year, Old Birkonian Michael Small (2000-2007)wrote to the Headmaster and to Andrew Thomson and Peter Davison, founders and directors of The Two Rivers Festival, to update them on his musical career. I'm about to graduate from the Royal Northern College of Music this June and I've got a number of very exciting things coming up. Firstly, I've been offered a place at Cornell University in America for a 4 year D.M.A. (Doctor of the Musical Arts, same as a PhD but for musicians), studying under Steven Stucky. I'm delighted to have been accepted, since its a very competitive degree to apply for and because, whoever gets admitted, receives a full scholarship, healthcare coverage, and a yearly stipend of $27,000! I was also informed that they received a huge number of applicants this year, but they were permitted by their Graduate Council to admit only one composer me! I'm very much looking forward to studying over there, and being an American citizen will make things even easier, since I'll be able to go for various competitions which are for U.S. citizens only. The size of the stipend will permit me to travel regularly and continue to have work performed in the U.K. as well as the U.S. - this is one of the reasons I applied. Cornell University is in New York State and within easy reach of New York City and other hubs of musical activity. Despite being an ostensibly academic degree, there is a still lot of focus on composition. Each year, I will submit a half-hour‟s worth of music, as well as a couple of essays. In the end, I will do a sort of double-thesis comprising a dissertation on some subject relating to composition, and a final 30 minutes of music for small orchestra which I have to rehearse and perform myself (as either conductor or concert-arranger) on which I will later be grilled by a doctoral committee. I'll definitely have the opportunity to have many performances outside Cornell while I'm there - there are even opportunities to receive commissions from the New York Philharmonic or Chicago Symphony Orchestra. My future tutor, Steven Stucky, is a very well known composer (a recipient of the 2005 Pulitzer) and has a lot of important connections, including being the programming director for the L.A. Philharmonic. The size of Cornell's stipend is obviously generous, and is meant to facilitate international travel, so I'll still be able to have pieces done in the U.K. I must say my German A-level will come in handy, since a second language is required for study. There are many musicological tomes in German which we'll need to be able to reference as part of the course.
In January, the Society received a letter from Peter Tarrant, OB (1942-1949), who was prompted to write on the occasion of his 80th birthday. Now disabled and unable to travel far, he enjoys reading the magazine and wishes he could attend some of the OB events where he might meet some of the people he knew. Peter also wanted some information on the house where he was born in Conway Street, Birkenhead. He found this out only recently because his real mother
Secondly, I have my first international commission coming up in Hangzhou, China, this summer. Song Jia Ming, a composer/ conductor from Hangzhou visited RNCM this year and, whilst here, met me and heard a piece of mine - a large-scale Cello Concerto which happened to have been inspired by scenes of Chinese landscape. He asked me whether I would like to write for a group of musicians he conducts in China. The piece he's asked me to write will be pretty substantial- in fact, it will be the longest piece I have written since my work for Two Rivers in 2009 - about 18 minutes. It will also be in 3 movements (curiously, also a form I haven't written in since the „Three Studies‟ for Two Rivers) and will be for 15-16 players in an ensemble made up of Western and classical Chinese instruments. This will be quite a puzzle, since not all of those Chinese instruments will have the fully-chromatic capabilities of Western ones, but I believe I can use that challenge to spur on my creativity and "write" my way around it - this is something my tutor David Horne at the RNCM has taught me to think about very carefully. However, despite the fact that their methods of producing sound are very similar to those used by Western instruments (bowed and plucked strings, wind instruments with bore-holes like the oboe etc.), their tone and colour are drastically different, and will lend the piece quite a bizarre flavour! It will be performed by local professionals this October in Hangzhou as part of the region's three-yearly music and dance festival. I've been invited to attend the première and help out in the rehearsal process. I've also been asked to give a lecture on my music, which is quite an unusual opportunity for someone my age. However, it provides a good "hook" for funding bodies to help me pay for an air ticket, particularly the RNCM who are keen to raise their international profile, build ties to China, and have had a lot of success resulting from a burgeoning relationship with the Shanghai Conservatoire. Many thanks again for giving me the opportunity to begin writing at a professional level - please extend my thanks to the Rushworth Trust also. I'll continue to keep you all updated on how things are going. Michael Small
left when Peter was a baby and he was brought up elsewhere by his policeman father and stepmother. He enclosed the photo of himself in the School Hockey team (Peter is on the back row, second from the left) taken in front of the old Boarding House door. He became a boarder some years after joining the School during the time WF Bushell looked after them and was one of the ‗lucky‘ boys the Headmaster invited to use his outdoor swimming pool. The only other School photograph of him which Peter remembers is when he was a Drum Major, swinging his mace and leading the band and corps round the School and onto the Cricket Pitch. After finishing his National Service, he married an Austrian girl and they subsequently had two sons. Upon his retirement, he bought his quaintly-named ‗Dormouse Cottage‘ in Norwich. He named it ‗Dorm(h)ouse Cottage because it has dormer windows at the front and is built in the style of a cottage with low ceilings. Sometime later, he joined the Dormouse Society (part of the Mammal Society) and says - ‗although they are very rare, live mainly at the top of trees and are found predominantly in Dorset, I have, nevertheless, been privileged to see one or two.‘
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
To commemorate the School‘s 150th year, we are launching an appeal to raise money to commission a sculpture in bronze, incorporating a water feature, which will be sited in the area in front of Bushell Hall. Alan Blain, Head of Art, has made a series of drawings using different ideas and design suggestions put forward by staff, students and Old Birkonians. Opposite is just one of the drawings which depicts figure in reflective pose sitting on a pathway encircling a globe. The globe is etched with a bird‘s-eye view of the School campus. The pathway is inscribed with the School Motto and the 150th year. There have been appeals in the past where Old Birkonians have been able to mark their affiliation with the School the teak benches with the brass plaques round the Cricket Field and, many years ago, the oak chairs in Bushell Hall were inscribed with their donor‘s name and dates at School on their backs. Old Birkonians who subscribe £250 or more will have the opportunity to have their name and dates inscribed on the sculpture itself. Donations, of course, may be gift aided. More information, a donation form and Gift Aid form may be downloaded from our School website at: www.birkenheadschool.co.uk - just click on the advert on our home page. Alternatively, please contact the School for further information and forms. Donors will be kept informed on a six-monthly basis about the progress of the appeal and the final design of the statue. The Appeal has already been kick-started with a donation of £1,000 from Dr David Cooke OB (1957-1970) who lives in Fremantle, Western Australia. An avid art collector, he works at Fremantle Hospital and runs a luxury Bed and Breakfast Fothergills, a heritage listed building which also houses his art collection.
Preparation for the publication last September of Birkenhead School Pictorial History 1960 to 2010 has kept the Archives team (a dozen enthusiasts) well occupied for some considerable time and since then there has been the opportunity to concentrate on new projects. Book sales have been going very well! A summary of the book is being prepared in the George De Ritter Gallery in the form of 50 large display panels, one for each respective year. This will be available in future years as an immediate visual display of the School‘s history. On the staircase approaching the Archives Department it is planned to produce a similar display devoted solely to the 150th celebrations. Much of the information now received in Archives is in electronic form and most of our photograph collection has now been scanned. Starting from the records for the year 2000 we are planning to store this information so that cross referencing of names and events will be possible – clearly this will be a
challenging project Some material we have is not directly linked to the School and we plan to sell such items on ebay possibly in the near future For those who remember Charlie Jones, PE teacher from pre-war to the late fifties, we have recently received from his family a large and most fascinating collection of photographs and documentation associated with his time at the School. This will take some time to analyse and store. We deal with a regular stream of enquiries concerning Old Birkonians of all ages. We welcome visitors any Monday morning 10am to 1pm except Bank Holidays – there will always be a coffee and a biscuit to welcome you!
Alan Hanson email@example.com
The complete accounts of the Old Birkonian Society for the last financial year will be available at the AGM on Satu rd ay 3rd September. After this date, they will be available to view or download from the Old Birkonian website. Those who do not have Internet access may apply for a copy from The Old Birkonian Society, Alumni Office, Birkenhead School The Lodge 58 Beresford Road Oxton, Wirral CH43 2JD
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
by Bishop Colin Bazley Scripture Text:
I Kings 3:7-15 and 4:29-34.
I wonder if you would like to see King Solomon on the staff of our School. They tell us that with every year that passes, exam results are improving. They also tell us that that is the fruit of steadily improving standards in teaching. So, good teachers are important, if not essential. Looking at Solomon‘s c.v., if you wanted someone to teach Science across the school, Solomon‘s your man. If you needed a Biology or Zoology teacher at A level, you need look no further. Solomon described plant life, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the walls. He also taught about animals and birds, reptiles and fish. If the Headmaster needed a punch-line for his addresses to School Assembly, Solomon could supply it. He was quite prolific when it came to proverbs. He produced 3000 of them, some preserved in the Bible. Or should the School want to put on a poetry and music evening, Solomon could produce some original stuff. He had over a thousand of his own songs to choose from. He was certainly an extraordinarily gifted man, and gifted people become well known. But it might become somewhat embarrassing should the Head, from his office window, see President Obama‘s advisers crossing the School Field with their security men, and some days later, the advisers of the President of Argentina, later those from Uganda and Japan, who would then interrupt Solomon in the middle of a class to ask his advice on some matter of home or foreign policy. But that was King Solomon in his day. His fame spread…. men of all nations came to listen to Solomon‟s wisdom, sent by all the kings of the world, who had heard of his wisdom. What’s the secret behind this man? Where did it all come from? King Solomon inherited the throne of Israel from his father David. David had been ―a man after God‘s own heart‖. He had had a long and generally successful reign. So he was a very hard act to follow. Right at the start, he did the right thing and went to worship God at the place of sacrifices. There God spoke to Solomon. Ask for whatever you want me to give you. Solomon‘s answer showed he had got his priorities right. Give me a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. That‘s the kind of prayer that God will always say ―Yes‖ to. I„ll give you a wise and discerning heart. But God didn‘t just leave it at that. He went much further. Moreover, I will also give you what you have not asked for both riches and honour – so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings….I will give you also a long life. All that was a bonus, over and above what Solomon had asked for. And that came out in the second Scripture lesson. Seek first the kingdom of God, said Jesus, and all these things will be given you as well. This is a universal Christian principle. Get your priorities right and everything else will fall into place along with that. And Solomon began to display this amazing wisdom for which he became famous. This was seen, not just in his understanding of human nature. He was into international politics. People like the Queen of Sheba went to consult him and, as she left for home, she declared, Not even the half was told me. In wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard.
First things first. That‘s why today I thank God for the rhythm of work and worship built into the timetable here at School. I didn‘t appreciate it at the time. But hearing God‘s Word here day by day helped me later to come to faith in Christ and find my way in life. Wisdom is God‘s gift. If any of you lacks wisdom, says St. James, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, or reproaching. In other words, wisdom is given in answer to prayer. When you pray, God doesn‘t reprimand us because we got something wrong last time. Nor does God say, ―If you‘d asked before you would have received it. But now it‘s too late.‖ We‘re to ask straightforwardly or an unwaveringly generous God. He will give that practical insight into God‘s will and the way it applies to real life situations. Because God‘s wisdom deals not so much with abstract values, but with everyday conduct in business, in family and social values, or in basic morality. Sometimes amusingly: It is better to live in a corner of an attic, than share a whole house with a quarrelsome wife! At other times, God‘s wisdom is penetrating: Rebuke a wise man and he will love you, or The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded that the shouts of a ruler of fools. With humility comes wisdom, says the Lord Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. True, we don‘t always get it right. Not even Solomon did. In later years, his desire for political advantage over his enemies, both within Israel and beyond its borders, plus his life-style, where he was deceived by his wealth and by his women - all that caused him to lose than fine discernment that had previously been evident. And that‘s true with us: The fear of the Lord is still the beginning of wisdom”. Solomon was a pointer forward to Jesus Christ; Christ is the wisdom of God, says the Apostle Paul. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And in Christ there is forgiveness, pardon and a new way forward when we do get it wrong. And that is true for us as a nation. As the law-giving machinery becomes influenced more and more by modern-day philosophies, the bedrock of JewishChristian values is gradually eroded away, almost without our noticing. Truth itself becomes relative; integrity is less important; morality and ethics are devalued; even human life itself becomes undervalued. But what does God‘s wisdom say; Fools die for want of knowledge Money seems to rule. But wisdom says; Gold there is and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak wisdom are a rare jewel. So was it wise to permit Sunday trading, and take away the opportunity for families to spend a day together and to worship God together should they choose? Was it wise to make alcohol so cheap and accessible? Was it wise to plunge our country into debt to the tune of £2500 per head? Was it wise simply to throw money at a problem to solve it? We leave outside the door those values we have inherited through the Christian Gospel. The result is that the banking system and the police, the MPs with their expenses, cricket, even rugby, with so many of the pillars of our society become contaminated. Then there‘s the matter of our employment. Why do we go out to work? We do it to earn our living, perhaps to follow our vocation and gifts and render service to the community. But our goal is to get and higher and higher standard of living for ourselves. But what is God‘s wisdom‘s view of work?
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011 Let a man work, he says, doing something useful with his own hands that he may have something to share with those in need. So, it can only be right for an individual to create wealth. But wisdom must dictate how it is spent. It can only be right for a nation to create wealth. But wisdom, aligned with love and compassion, will gladly ensure that a decent proportion reaches Pakistan – and very quickly. And that more gets to areas of Africa and China – and very quickly. And that we do not forget those in serious disadvantage here in Britain. We cannot separate out employment from a concern for the needs of others. They tell us that people today suffer an information overload. Many people‘s work-demands and spare-time activities involve that – perhaps in universities and schools too. Obviously there is a massive place for information as such – we could not do without it. But we also need an excess of wisdom, God‘s wisdom, to use that information well. It‘s there for the asking. It‘s simply a question of priorities – first things first. As we noticed before, we may get it wrong, even though we‘ve asked God for wisdom, as Solomon did. But there always is a place for a re-think, a re-orientation – what the Bible calls ―repentance‖, and bringing God and his Word of wisdom back into our lives and into our nation. It‘s a question of re-discerning the relative values of the objects within our grasp. Of making Christ rather than self our centre; or making others rather than ourselves our focus; of making eternity rather than time our goal. Seek first, says Jesus, the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and then there‘s no need to worry, for all these things will be given you as well. The divine Son of God, who spoke these words, is himself the King of that kingdom. He is, the wisdom of God. Wisdom is supreme, declared Solomon, therefore, get wisdom. Be thou my wisdom; be thou my true word; I ever with thee and thou with me, Lord;Thou my great Father and I thy true son; Thou in me dwelling and I with thee one. (From ―St. Patrick‘s Breastplate‖)
Above: Pete, Claire with Arabella and proud grandparents, Christine and Arthur Winn Inset: Peter with Arabella. Grandma, Christine Winn is, of course, a teacher in the Prep.
Bishop Colin Bazley, OB 1946-54 Arabella Avideah Naomh (pronounced Neve) Winn was born 19th March 2011 at 7.16 am weighing 5lb 1 oz to Flight Lieutenant Peter R A Winn (OB 1993-2000) and Claire H Winn (nee Irwin) at Basingstoke General Hospital Hampshire. Peter reports that Arabella is already starting to sleep through the night. Since leaving School in 2000: The Royal Air Force sponsored me through university, and on completion of my degree I joined the RAF in November of 2003. After completion of Officer training, I was posted to RAF Shawbury to undertake helicopter pilot training. I completed this in June 2006 and was posted to the Chinook helicopter force in October 2006. Once I had completed my conversion I undertook my first deployment to Afghanistan. I have now completed five Afghanistan detachments, amassing some 500hrs of combat flying. During this time I have been involved in numerous medical evacuation missions and led many deliberate operations. The most significant of these was the formation lead on Operation Moshtarak, the largest aviation operation in Afghanistan to date. I am now about to undertake the Qualified Helicopter Instructors course at RAF Shawbury after which I will return to teach future front line Chinook helicopter pilots.
Above: Pete (seated front left) with the crew of the Chinook on a mission in Afghanistan.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
As previously mentioned in these columns, a group of Old Birkonians meet each Wednesday at The Wheatsheaf Inn, Raby. ‗Founded‘ by Neil Gracey and Eric Roberts nearly 20 years ago, this gathering has grown steadily and between 6 to10, out of a group of over 20, regularly attend each week. We arrive at 6.30pm, enjoy great fellowship for an hour or so, and always leave by 8.00pm. Over a quiet drink (some are teetotal!), stories are told of OBs and School events, past and present, as well as generally putting the world to rights! In August, a Summer Supper was held in the Cowshed Restaurant at the Wheatsheaf which was attended by 16 members who enjoyed a splendid evening. Regulars and occasional visitors to The Wheatsheaf include: David (DW) Allan, Peter (PJ) Ascroft, Brian (BK) Boumphrey, Eric (EA) Roberts, Tom (TJ) Minnis, Alan (AJ) Hanson, Peter Crook, Ted (EF) Clarke, Len (LO) Kirkham, Nick Abakhan, Tony (AH) Evans, Roger (WR) Ewing, Brian (BN) Jones, Brian (BE) Jones, John (JMT) Rogers, Peter (PS) Rogers, David (RD) Cockram, Michael (MAH) Taylor, Peter (PL) Canevali, Michael (MP) Burrell, Rod (RJM) Delf, Malcolm (DM) Kaye, Mike (MR) Toon, Bob (RR) Treasurer and sundry others. Mostly we are leavers from the 50‘s and 60‘s but any OB will be made welcome. If you would like to meet up with any of the above, just turn up any Wednesday or for more info, call Len Kirkham 652 8118 (email firstname.lastname@example.org) Len Kirkham
During the School‘s 150th year, the Headmaster has hosted a series of ten Welcome Back Dinners for the Leavers of the last 20 years. Although some dinners attracted smaller groups than others, there have been glowing reports from everyone who went. The tours of the School brought back ‗fond‘ memories and ‗The Way We Were‘ displays of old photos and comments from report cards were the focus of much laughter - or groaning. The gourmet meal and a bar, provided by Keith Watson and his catering staff, was enjoyed by all and created the convivial atmosphere where Old Birkonians, staff and former staff could relax and catch up on the intervening years. Despite the many changes which the School has undergone in recent times, many commented that it still felt the same that indefinable ‗something‘ which is Birkenhead School. Welcome Back Dinners will become a regular feature on the School calendar, so keep an eye on the School and Old Birkonian website to make sure you don‘t miss yours. The Headmaster will be sending a letter to invite you to your Dinner and, if you are reading this, you will no doubt receive your invitation. Sadly, however, we don‘t have current contact details for a great number of our former pupils. We will be relying on you to let others from your Year, with whom you are still in contact, know about your Dinner. We look forward to welcoming you back in the not too distant future!
We were all at School during the period 1949-1960 and ‘boys’ in the photo include: John Rogers, Eric Roberts, Brian E Jones, Bob Treasurer, Tom Minnis, Pete Ascroft, Malcolm Kaye, Peter Rogers, David Cockram, Tony Evans, Brian N Jones, Alan Hanson, Roger Ewing, Brian Boumphrey and David Allan (Len Kirkham took the photo)
OFFICERS OF THE OLD BIRKONIAN SOCIETY PRESIDENT: Andreas Whittam Smith COUNCIL: Chairman: Mark Feeny MEMBERS: John Elliott
John Cushing Brian Boumphrey Phil Rees-Roberts Nick Tappin Alan Hanson William Nute Graham Hurton Russ Oakden Anthony Birley Hon. Treasurer: Trevor Mathew-Jones
Independent Examiner: D.S.Griffin
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
The 2011 event will take place at Royal Liverpool Cheque in advance, made payable to the Old Birkonian Golf Club on Friday 7th October 2011. The tee is Golfing Society. Send to: booked from 12.50pm – 2.10 pm (sandwiches available in the bar beforehand - not included in price below). Meeting at noon before play is always a good start to the day so it would be best to convene around noon if that is possible . This event is open to all Old Birkonians. The Hoblyn Trophy, the main event, is played as a Stableford competition (7/8th handicap allowance) and the Hoblyn Prize is for golfers with handicaps of 14 and over. Dinner will follow in the clubhouse at 8pm (dress code: jacket and tie) With the support of RLGC for the OBs we have been able to keep the cost at £90.00 for the last 3 years, including green fee, dinner, wine and prizes (£50.00 for Members of the RLGC). OBs who wish to take part in the dinner only are welcome. The cost is £40 per person. The Club‘s reputation for quality at every level is welldeserved and the dinner is an integral part of the day.
On 29th June Howard Smith wrote: I am writing to you with regards to my father, Michael 'Bill' Smith, to let you know that sadly he passed away at his home on the Island of Majorca on 26th May at the age of 78. I know he had many fond memories of teaching at the School plus I believe he also played rugby for Old Birkonians RFC. He moved out to Mallorca many years ago, having retired from Cranleigh Preparatory School, but continued to follow rugby and always looked out for the Gloucester result. I'm not sure if anyone will remember 'Bill' from those days in the late '50s but thought it best to let you know anyway. If the school does have any record of his time spent there, or even know of possible contacts with regards to his time at the rugby club, then anything would be greatly appreciated by his family. Michael J Smith joined the School staff from St Luke‘s College, Exeter, in September 1955. He was appointed to teach rugby and Junior Mathematics.
Philip Rees-Roberts Boot Magna 88b Downham Road South Heswall Wirral CH60 5SQ Following the practice of recent years, in fairness to the Club, we cannot accept bookings for the golf only. I look forward to seeing you on 7th October. It is some years since the name of Douglas Hoblyn appeared on the cup so it seems appropriate that it now bears the name of his son,Tim Hoblyn, who won the trophy last year. I have provisionally booked Friday 5th October 2012 for next year‘s event. P. Rees-Roberts
Whilst at college, he had played full-back for Devon. Here, he played football regularly for the Old Birkonian RUFC and, in 1956, was selected for the Combined Merseyside XV in a match against South Africa. He left Birkenhead School to take up a position at Pinewood Preparatory School, Shrivenham, in 1960.
Kenneth Roy Edmondson (1925-1929) died in July last year aged 97. After he left School, Ken started work with the shipping company Cunard-Brocklebank, rising to become Personnel Director. He retired in 1971. He was a keen golfer and was a member of both Wallasey Golf Club and The Royal Liverpool Club for most of his life. He was also involved for some time with TS Indefatigable - a training ship in Anglesey - until it closed in 1995. He lived in West Kirby and was married to Jean (née Pepper) for 52 years until her death in 1994.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Chairman, Governors, Vice-Presidents, honoured guests, colleagues, students, parents, friends: welcome to our 2011 Prizegiving. Anniversaries are strange things: whilst we have just been celebrating our 150th anniversary, by my calculations we are now actually about to embark on our 152nd year, although no-one seems to be entirely sure when the first school in Park Road North first opened its doors. Some say the middle of August 1860, which must have made for a very short summer holiday for those joining that year! Starting in March last year with that memorable visit, in glorious sunshine, of the Earl of Wessex, it has been an extraordinary year, during which the School has opened its doors to numerous visitors and welcomed back hundreds of former pupils, none more eminent than our prize-giver this evening, Rear Admiral Philip Jones.
Oxford University. He saw active service in the South Atlantic during the Falklands war, and in the Gulf in 1987 during the IranIraq War. For a period in the late 90s he was based at the Ministry of Defence, but in 1999 he returned to sea in command of the frigate HMS Coventry, which included a successful deployment to the Caribbean, conducting Counter Drug Operations in 2001. In 2006 he was appointed Commander of the Amphibious Task Group. Promoted to Rear Admiral in 2008, he was Operational Commander for the European Naval Force (EUNAVFOR, leading it s a nt i-p irac y operations off the coast of Somalia. In the past year or so he has been closely invo lved in t he Government‘s Defence Review which seems to have hit the Navy particularly hard. I hope this evening provides so me relatively light relief. Philip, welcome back Rear Admiral Philip Jones, RN to your old school – for the first time since you left, I regret to say. We are delighted that
I should explain how I first met the Admiral. A couple of years ago, HMS Manchester was briefly docked in Liverpool and one Friday evening I was invited on board for drinks and to attend Beating Retreat by the band of the Royal Marines - one of the perks of being the Headmaster of a school with a CCF contingent. Having been given a tour of the ship, I joined a crowd of other guests on deck for a rather long official welcome, at the end of which a visiting Admiral was introduced. I confess that by this stage in the evening, at the end of a long week and after a couple of glasses of wine, I wasn‘t listening terribly carefully, until I caught the name of Birkenhead School and pricked up my ears as Rear Admiral Philip Jones stepped forward. I honestly had no idea that we had an Old Birkonian who was an Admiral – much to my shame. I later discovered that Philip had the warmest of memories of his days at Birkenhead School, which he left in 1978 and where he was a keen member of the CCF Naval Section (of course!), played for the 3rd XV and, according to his record card at the age of 12, collected model soldiers. His Form Tutor and Latin teacher when he was 15 wrote of him ‗He is conscientious and unobtrusive‘ and his Headmaster‘s reference for entry to the Royal Navy concluded with the comment ‗Slightly shy – very polite and obliging; not especially assertive or forceful.‘ His distinguished career seems to have belied most of those comments and I can mention only a few details. There are some which I don‘t even understand – the Navy has the most impenetrable acronyms (at least to an ignorant outsider like myself). Does anyone know what you would be doing if you were FOSNNI? Answers to Admiral Jones at the end. He joined the Royal Navy in 1978, and after training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, took a degree in Geography at
The Rear Admiral and the Headmaster with L to R: Paul Gogerty (Yr 7), Victoria Wilkinson (Year 8), Eleanor Hilton (Yr 8), Ben Appleby (Yr 7) you can be here to present the prizes. I trust you will find everything ‗ship shape and Bristol fashion.‘ And, if any of the students here tonight can tell me the origin of that saying, with iPhones switched off, there will be an extra prize available. To return to our 150th celebrations, of which so many of you have been a part. This year has been an opportunity to celebrate both past and present – and it was very moving to see that current pupils seemed just as fascinated as former pupils by the publication of the second volume of the Pictorial History of the School, produced by our archives team and given by the Old
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Birkonian Society to every member of the School from the age of 3 upwards. A number of events have deliberately echoed the past, such as the Prep pageant in October – there was one in 1960, fondly remembered by many pupils who were here at that time. We have also held a number of Welcome Back Dinners for former students and these will continue. It has been fascinating to see their reactions to the changes, to hear them acknowledge the improvements – not least in attitudes and ethos - and yet all have acknowledged that it still feels like ―their School‖. On one occasion the leavers of 1990 shared a dinner with the leavers of 2000 which I thought might be a social disaster. When I enquired of one of the older ones at the end whether he had found the presence of the young thrusters rather annoying, he commented that it had been wonderful experience to listen to them talk about their school with the same warmth and enthusiasm that they too felt and to experience a strong sense of maintained tradition. The 150th Year ended, of course, in the most spectacular fashion with the open air concert a fortnight ago. I was immensely proud of our pupils who performed to such an excellent standard on that night and the range of music they offered us from jazz to classical, from barber‘s shop to heavy metal. That concert was also attended by many former pupils, quite a few of whom commented – using almost identical words – ‗this wouldn‘t have happened in our day‘. But, interestingly, every single one of them meant it as a compliment. If I was proud of what was happening on stage and of the extraordinary efforts of our support staff and Estates Team in making it all happen, it was the audience side of things which perhaps most struck me as reflective of today‘s school: a diverse yet cohesive community mingling happily together: current pupils and former pupils, boys and girls, young and old, parents and grandparents, current staff and former staff, old Old Birkonians and young Old Birkonians , all with a sense of shared experience and a shared pride in our School. I am always touched when a parent says to me in September not ‗you did very well in the A levels this year‘ but ‗we did very well this year‘ or at some other time of year not ‗I think you should improve this‘ but ‗what can we do to ...?‘ It reflects a sense of shared mission – School, parents, pupils - which is perhaps particular to a school of our size and ethos. I have seen it again in the last few days: at our Infants‘ Sports Day last week, I was touched to see the real loving care shown by our Year 6 girls and boys as they looked after the much younger children – holding their hand, praising them for a race well run, helping them fight back the tears after a tumble. Or again this week when I discovered that two former students, home from university, have come back and given hours and hours of invaluable help with the technical side of the Prep production of Robin Hood, just as another OB, Harriet Feeny, recently graduated from St Andrews, has devoted this year to sharing with pupils of all ages her enthusiasm for drama. Where else would you find that I wonder? Schools can be very hierarchical places. Birkenhead School isn‘t, and nothing gives me more pleasure than seeing the mutual respect, care and affection evident between younger and older pupils. David Cameron‘s Big Society in miniature, if that‘s not a contradiction in terms? However, it was the Service in Chester Cathedral which was for me the highlight of the Year when we looked not only to past and present but to the future and rededicated ourselves to our core values, summed up perhaps best in words spoken by a young Year 6 pupil: ―Lord, make Birkenhead School a place where love of learning and love of neighbour may forever flourish.‖
So, let us look ahead for a moment. At a very practical level, in an age of uncertainty, I believe as a school we have a very secure future and at this point I must pay tribute to our governors under whose guidance the School has, in the past few years, re-modelled itself, not only in terms of extending our provision at the younger end of the School and the successful move to co-education, but also financially, allowing us to look forwards with confidence. Major projects such as the new Prep building, the much improved facilities at McAllester Field and, this year, the wonderful new Sixth Form Centre have all been achieved without borrowing a penny and you will not find too many schools – especially in the current climate – which can do that. It‘s a stability and a sense of certainty which I believe we and you - parents and students - need more than ever in uncertain times. I believe we also look to a secure future because people value the quality and reliability of the education we offer. And here I must thank the staff, both teaching and support staff, for their dedication to high standards, their readiness to go the extra mile, both inside and outside the classroom, and their commitment to support and encourage each individual pupil, whatever his or her strengths or weaknesses. It would be pure fantasy to imagine how the School and education might look in another 150 years‘ time or even when we – I mean they – celebrate the 200th anniversary. In fact, I wonder whether we can say with any confidence what we can expect in even 10 years‘ time. What sorts of knowledge will be important, for example? Fortunately we have moved away from the once fashionable belief that all that mattered was skills, but I still think there is a rather cavalier attitude to knowledge. Sometimes I am surprised more by what students don‘t know than what they do know, by the pragmatic ‗what do I need to know?‘ approach which is fostered by our exam-obsessed culture and which risks driving out the thirst for knowledge and understanding for their own sake. True, we are told that a significant number of you sitting over there will work in jobs which have not yet been invented or that jobs which you think you may be preparing yourself for may not exist in 10 years‘ time. Who knows what you will need to know to do those jobs. However, knowledge is important. There can be no sound judgement without knowledge – and we seem to live in an age when opinion reigns supreme and yet how often do we hear even quite intelligent people arrive at judgements without the requisite knowledge. If knowledge will remain as important as ever in the Birkenhead School of the future, I believe the three R‘s will also have an important role to play in the School‘s success. No, not reading, writing and arithmetic, although those will be important too. The first two of my three R‘s will be all too familiar to those of you over there. The Headmaster has an annoying habit of starting the school year by reminding you of them as he flashes the Rolls Royce logo up on the screen in front of you. I suspect my assemblies are not a prominent topic of conversation at the dinner table, so I‘ll explain. The two R‘s emerged from a discussion which teaching staff had a couple of years ago when we tried to identify key things which would improve pupils‘ learning and allround educational experience. Initially we came up with a list of do‘s and don‘ts. We then concluded that they could all be summed up in two words: Respect and Responsibility – hence the Rolls Royce logo. Interestingly, I received an email recently from a parent enthusing about a presentation he had heard at a conference from a primary school headteacher, which he described as inspirational. She had talked of her own three R‘s: RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY and
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011 RESILIENCE. Whilst I was pleased that we were already there with the first two, I decided that perhaps the third was worthy of serious consideration. Of course, there has been much in the educational press in the last year or so about resilience and wellbeing. Wellington College last year ran a six day course on ‗Developing Resilient Teenagers‘ – it struck me that one would require a good deal of resilience to survive the course itself! As we look ahead to the future, a future where higher education is likely to be associated with life-long debt, where economic and job security may no longer be a given, even for students who have been through the best schools like this one, where environmental and global issues may change the shape of the future quite dramatically, it strikes me that resilience may be one of the most important qualities which we can foster in our children – not least in a school where success is so often the norm. As a school and as parents, it is our natural instinct to want everyone to succeed and to shield our children at all costs from failure. We view failure as bad. But is it? I always say to my 6th Form language classes that it‘s good to make mistakes – if they are not making mistakes, they are not learning, because they are not taking risks. If children fail, how often do we seek to blame someone else and in so doing perhaps deprive them of the energy and potential to get up and move on. In other words, we fail to equip them for the future. You may remember last summer when Gary Lineker publically blamed his son‘s school Charterhouse for the fact that George had not got the 3 B grades that he required for a place at Manchester University. The newspaper I read pointed out that just weeks before his exams George had been spotted on a week-long holiday in Tenerife and had been photographed on nights out with ex-Big Brother contestant, 22-year old Sophie Reade. Now I‘d be the last one to believe everything I read in the papers and young George may have spent every moment he had with his nose in a book, but the scenario is not unfamiliar to me at least. Resilience means not giving up at the first sign of difficulty, resisting the urge to belittle oneself by seeking excuses, being prepared to be self-critical because that‘s the first step on the way to self-improvement, and thereby giving oneself the power to bounce back from failure and prepare for future success. However, please don‘t misunderstand me: resilience is not about being macho or toughing it out on your own or pretending life doesn‘t hurt sometimes – it can be about recognising when you need help, support or advice in order to move on – from friends, teachers, parents or professionals. In the USA resilience has become a whole science in itself and maybe we should know more about it. In the meantime, look out for a Rolls Royce logo with three R‘s in September. Those of us in the hall this evening will not meet many finer examples of resilience than a member of staff who retires this term. Graham Melville has been a teacher of Chemistry here for the past twenty years. Graham is a Wallasey boy through and through, having been educated at St George‘s Primary School and Wallasey Grammar School, as it then was. He took degrees at both Liverpool and Salford Universities, worked in the real world for 6 years before becoming a teacher and in 1991 Birkenhead School was lucky enough to recruit him to teach here. If, during those 20 years, the Chemistry department has consistently been one of the strongest departments in the School, the one constant throughout that time has been Graham! It seems a remarkable coincidence that I should have received a letter this morning to say that Birkenhead School has won the 2011 Good Schools Guide A level Award for the best point score at an English Independent School in Chemistry. The award is based on results
Page 50 for 2008, 2009 and 2010 combined, so a reward for constant achievement, not just a flash in the pan. And ‗constant‘ is one of the words that for me best describe Graham. Graham absolutely hates being observed teaching and yet, whenever I have seen him teach, I have been impressed by the constant quality of his teaching, his constant good humour – Melville banter is legendary – his constant care for the pupils he is teaching or mentoring. As well as teaching Chemistry and Junior Science, Graham was for many years in charge of Junior cricket and an officer in the Naval Section of the CCF. In recent years he has made his mark as Housemaster of Kingsmead House and he has played a crucial part in reviving the House system. Kingmead‘s famous subliminal advertising campaign – Think Green, etc – and Graham‘s fierce rivalry with Mr Blain and Bidston House and the endless banter between the two have added
Graham and Pat Melville a new and above all thoroughly entertaining dimension to the House competitions. Despite all that life has thrown at him, Graham is an extraordinarily positive man, someone who sees the glass half full, not half empty; cheers you up when you meet him; an energy giver not an energy taker. Graham, for all you have given to us as a school community over 20 years we thank you, and wish you and Pat a happy retirement in Wallasey, Wales or wherever the fancy takes you. May I ask you to come up on stage and collect a small token of appreciation from the Governors. Parents visiting the School for the first time often ask me about staff turnover and I‘m never quite sure what answer they are looking for. However, this year we have just two members of staff leaving us and the second is Adam Sheldon. An able physicist, he has taught for four years in our Science department. Adam also brought youthful vigour to our rugby coaching and has run teams in both Year 8 and Year 9. Earlier this academic year he masterminded our participation in the Touraid programme which brought a team of young rugby players from an orphanage in Bangkok to stay with families of our Year 8 pupils and to play some very competitive rugby. It proved to be a uniquely worthwhile experience for both visitors and hosts and we are most grateful to Adam for the determined way he rose to that challenge, which he tells me was the most stressful experience of his time here, closely followed, I suspect, by having his legs waxed in public on this very stage for charity. This has been Adam‘s first post and he now leaves in the desire to broaden his experience by moving to our rivals Wirral Grammar School. We wish he luck in his new post – but not too much luck!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
I conclude by congratulating all our pupils for their achievements during this special 150th year, be they prize-winners or not. I also take this opportunity to express my appreciation to all of you who make up the Birkenhead School family - pupils, parents, staff, governors, Old Birkonians, and friends of the School, both inside and outside the hall tonight. Thank you for your many and varied contributions to the rich life of the School. It is through you that we will continue to prosper and move forward into the fourth half century of our existence. Returning finally to my theme of resilience, I leave you with a quotation from the nineteenth century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche – not someone to whom I would generally look for inspiration. Nietzsche wrote:
"There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how we use them." However, I hope that, in the holidays ahead, you will encounter nothing more challenging than pebbles on a beach. Thank you for listening. John Clark, July 2011
Congratulations to Greg Moore, OB 1998-2005, who recently graduated BA(Hons), MB, BChir from Cambridge University. A choral scholar at Fitzwilliam College, Greg is returning to Merseyside to start his postgraduate training at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in August – hopefully, we can entice him back to the Birkenhead School Choral Society, too.
Please stay in touch and let us know how you are getting on. COMEDY: As part of the double act, Max and Iván, I took up a show (aptly named 'Max and Iván') to last month's Edinburgh Fringe - it was hard work but we somehow managed to sell out the entire 25 day run, which was nice! We've also set up a monthly comedy night in north London called The Roffle Club which has received many lovely reviews including Time Out Critics' Choice; here we've been able to try out new sketches and the like, whilst performing alongside some of the country's finest alternative comedy acts. We're currently in talks with some agencies/PR companies and are looking to bring back the show for a couple of dates in London before working on our next piece. THEATRE: Whilst at university, I co-founded the theatre company 'non zero one' as part of my practical dissertation module. The six of us devised an interactive theatre performance called Would Like To Meet?, which, owing to a mixture of dedication and good luck, we managed to transfer to the Southwark Playhouse. It was there that we somehow convinced a producer from the Barbican (Europe's largest multi-arts venue) to come and see it, and luckily for us she fell in love with it which resulted in a commission! The piece itself was fairly well received and, thanks to the Barbican, had national exposure. The story was covered in the Guardian newspaper. Here are some of my favourite links to features/reviews: The Times feature by Brian Logan, 27.04.10 http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/stage/theatre/ article7108762.ece Theatrevoice feature, 15.04.10 http://www.theatrevoice.com/listen_now/player/?audioID=839 Evening Standard 4* review by Henry Hitchings, 27.04.10 http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/theatre/review-23828630-creative-instincts-in-the -inner-circle-in-would-you-like-to-meet.do The Guardian 3* review by Lyn Gardner, 29.04.10 http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/apr/29/would-like-to-meet-review We were also featured on BBC Radio 2 The Claudia Winkleman show and BBC 2's The Culture Show.
In the Autumn last year, Iván Gonzalez, OB 19972004 (right in the photo above) wrote: Many thanks for the invitation to the Welcome Back Dinner. However, I am performing at the Newport Comedy festival over the weekend of the 9th and 10th and, sadly, will not be able to attend . I'd love to do another lecture, either as part of my comedy act or with my theatre company (see below). I think we'll be performing in Liverpool sometime in the future so if that falls close to a Friday then I will I‘m sure Iván has done lots more in the intervening months! be in touch! So, this is what I've been up to...
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Following the recent death of Charlie Jones's daughter, Angela, Archives received a variety of artefacts relating to the School including: sports day programmes from 1906, letters from parents [some requesting their son to be excluded from boxing!], other ephemera and over 300 photographs of School showing pupils, teachers and events during Charlie‘s long association with the School. Charlie Jones served as a Company Sergeant-Major in the Welsh Regiment during the First World War and was capped three times playing rugby for Wales in 1920. He joined the School in 1932 and was the PE master until he retired in 1958. He was able to bring the best out of the able boys, many of whom represented Cheshire in the National Athletics finals, with some becoming National champions. He also encouraged the less sporty boys and introduced ‗Standards in Athletics‘, whereby all boys were motivated to do their very best.
2 The photographs from the Charlie Jones‘s Archive on this page: 1. Two boys competing in the 1957/8 School Boxing Tournament - this was the last year of the event and was held in what is now the Prep Gym. Note the boys seated in the background - all forms in Senior School took it in turn to watch. 2. The 1957/8 School Athletics team with seven of their trophies included - JR Grundy, N Killey, BD Hancock, MAH Taylor, T Mason. I Dalziel, M Emens, P Bradshaw, RWF Mander, DS Maclennan, PMW Stafford, A Parry. 3. Prefects 1948/9 including 3a Harold McCready sitting next to the Headmaster. 4. A group of masters and wives at an unknown presentation 1952/3 - including Charlie Jones, Tom Weatherhead and Tom [Tappy] Pringle 5. Athletics on the School Field 1950/1 with hurdlers watched by athletes with javelins. I Boumphrey, Archivist
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Hockey McAllester Field Archives Top Floor, 44 Bidston Road AGM & Buffet Lunch The new Sixth Form Centre School v OB Rugby Noctorum Field
Cricket School Field Choral Evensong Service School Chapel
10.30 am 10-12.30 pm
1.00 pm 2.30 pm
1.00 pm 6.30 pm
The 18th March 2011, saw another successful OB Society lunch at the Liverpool Artists club (on Eberle Street), with 23 old boys in attendance.
The London Dinner will be held on Friday 11 November at the Army & Navy Club, Pall Mall. Old Birkonians who are interested in going should contact either Jonathan Bradshaw or Andy Jones (joint London Branch Secretaries) - email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com In the past , the London Dinner has attracted large numbers of Old Birkonians - both young and older members. It has always proved to be a most convivial evening. You do not have to live in London and its environs to attend - all Old Birkonians are welcome! And, if you are a student, there is a concession on the price of the dinner!
The twice yearly lunches are organised to enable former pupils, working in or around Liverpool to For the second year running, the Boxing Day Fixture 2010 at New meet on a relatively informal basis Brighton could not be played on Boxing Day due to a frozen over a good lunch, and the ground. It was, however, played on Sunday 2 nd January. optional glass or two of wine! Unfortunately, this was in front of a very sparse crowd because we We meet at between 12.30 and were unable to notify many OBs of the new date at such short 1pm, with lunch then served at notice. The match was enthusiastically contested and the result was 1pm. For those on a tight time in doubt until the final whistle. Happily, the result was a win for schedule, lunch is usually finished OBFC by 15 points to 12. The Jack Smith Memorial Trophy was by 2pm, and for those who have a presented to the OB captain and the Sandy Carmichael Moment of little more time available, further the Match tankard was presented to George Sturgess for a fine try which helped the Club to the narrow but, on balance, deserved wine and good company continues into the afternoon. victory. The cost for lunch is around £20, and usually this includes wine. Apart from the fact that this fixture has been affected by weather The next lunch is on Friday 11 November 2011. for the last 2 years, it is becoming increasingly difficult for both For further details please contact John Elliott (email: sides to raise teams of a reasonable standard who are willing to turn firstname.lastname@example.org tel: 0151 236 6161) out on Boxing Day. There has also been a considerable reduction in the number of spectators mainly due to increasing family commitments. It is therefore with regret that the Committee has very reluctantly Eric Roberts, as he has for more than 20 years, made his routine decided that the fixture will be discontinued. We are, however, call to the Heatherlands the week before to confirm provisional looking at a possible alternative - perhaps a match against a local numbers for the Hot Pot in early March this year; only to be representative side to be played at the end of the league season at advised that they had no record of our booking……..(the mistake one of the local clubs, coupled with a barbecue or other social was entirely theirs) event. Phlegmatic Eric, balanced precariously on top of a Welsh FURTHER DETAILS TO BE ADVISED IN DUE COURSE. mountain, rang Len ‗Laid-back‘ Kirkham who had the problem We look forward to the usual large and enthusiastic crowd sorted within hours. New Brighton Rugby Club and, in particular, enjoying the annual feast of good open Rugby on Saturday 3 Peter Torgersen responded magnificently and hosted an excellent September . Brian Boumphrey Hot Pot. Presided over by our President, David Ewing, 60 OBs and guests were treated to very entertaining speeches from David HOT POT 2012 Cheyne, erstwhile OB scrum half and little Frank Rogers, a Provisional Date - Friday 2 March. regular on the dinner circuit. A few of us old soaks kept the Bar busy until later to ensure that New Brighton made a goodly Venue to be advised. We will NOT be returning to the Heatherlands. profit.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Joseph Woods Kenneth Roy Edmondson John F Willis WAM Kearsley Peter Quaile Capt Geoffrey Thomas Davis John Edmund Fairbrother JR Cain Winward Peter Carden Philip Ellerton DR Povey GA Butler
1920-1925 1925-1929 1929-1936 1931-1939 1939-1942 1939-1944 1939-1945 1943-1948 1943-1955 1948-1961 1949-1954 1959-1987
d. 2006 d. 2010 d. 2010 d. 1999 d. 2011 d. 2008 d. 2010 d. 2006 d. 2010 d. 2010 d. 2011 d. 2011
The Rev‘d Murdoch McKenzie OB, 1949-1957, wrote to tell us of the death of his friend Stephen Rider Smith, 1934-2010, who taught Geography at Birkenhead School for a short while. Born in India, Stephen attended boarding school at Eltham College, which was evacuated to Taunton during WWII. He went there a year earlier than several of his childhood friends in India so, when they arrived a year later in September 1946, Stephen made them feel less homesick by recruiting them into his activities, particularly the 15th Royal Eltham Scout Troop. Being the Patrol leader of the ‗Kingfishers‘ was the first of many leadership roles in his life - he went on to Captain the Cambridge University Rugby team and also played for England for a couple of seasons. He was probably the best-known sportsman from Eltham College since Eric Liddell in the 1920s. Stephen was for many years the Headmaster of the independent Christian foundation Caterham School in South London (1974-1995), prior to which he had taught at Birkenhead School.
In January, David Haywood wrote from Seattle asking whether his father Frank Sothern Haywood, known as Bill, had been a pupil at BS. Indeed he was, he entered the School in 1925 from Rock Ferry High School and left in 1931. His occupation is recorded as being an Accountant. David is writing a biography of his father, who, it seems, led a fascinating life. He was in charge of accounting with Compagnie de L‘Afrique Occidentale 1935-40, travelling extensively in the former French colonies of West Africa by steamship and canoe. At the end of the phoney war, he got stuck in the Cote D‘Ivoire and with a chum walked 750 miles down the coast to Ghana. He fought in Burma with the King‘s Own West African Rifles and then went on to found the Nigerian Breweries in Lagos, which is today one of the largest brewing companies in Africa.
Earlier this year, Peter Quaile‘s son, Andrew Quaile FRCS, also an OB, 1959-1972, and now a consultant orthopaedic surgeon in Hampshire, wrote to inform us of his father‘s death in February this year. He wrote: Peter had packed a great deal into his life which I will attempt to do justice to here. He was born in 1927. His schooling was interfered with by the war and his father got him employment in the insurance industry in Liverpool. I see from as letter of 15 February 1943 that he was employed as a Junior Clerk by the Alliance Assurance Company for £52 a year! He joined the Fleet Air Arm in November 1944 and flew Seafires from converted merchant ships, due to the lack of aircraft carriers. A Seafire was a converted Spitfire. He claimed he could fly before he could drive! In 1947, he was demobilised and returned to insurance at the same rate of pay. He worked his way up the insurance ladder winning the Rutter Gold Medal for his insurance exams. He was an active member of the OB RUFC and a selector for some of the teams. I can remember the boards at home with various names on to be picked, dropped or promoted. In business, he was the Chairman of Liverpool Underwriters, on the Executive Committee of Lloyds Register and on the Executive Management Committee of Liverpool School of Tropical medicine. He was also a Justice of the Peace for Birkenhead, which he found a challenge. With the School, he was an Honorary Secretary of the OBS and its President from 1990-1992. He moved south in 1973 with the Sun Alliance Insurance Group, rising to become Deputy Chief General Manager in 1975. He eventually retired in the south of England, pursuing his interest of fishing, travelling, battlefield history, shooting and advising referees on various aspects of their performance. History was particularly important to him and my mother has a large collection of weapons as a result! He will be enormously missed by his family who will remember him for his wisdom and far-sighted views. He educated his two sons at Birkenhead and was always keen to hear of any Birkonian activities and successes. In his memory, the family wish the School well and hope it continues to provide the sort of inspiration we have all enjoyed. Peter Quaile is survived by his wife Eileen, his son Andrew and two daughters Helen and Penelope.
Please send your news, any contributions to the magazine, information, amendments or updates to: Mary Butterworth Alumni Office The Lodge 58 Beresford Road Oxton Wirral CH43 2JD Email: email@example.com Tel: 0151 651 3007
Apology: In the 150th Anniversary Brochure, Headmaster WF Bushell was called Warin Franklin Bushell. He was, of course Warin Foster Bushell.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
Birkenhead School: Pictorial History 1860-1960 and 1960-2010 Each volume of 128 pages is a photographic record and commentary of each decade in the life of the School from our Archives. Volume II, covering the last fifty years, was published to coincide with the commencement of the School‘s 150th Celebrations in September 2010. A limited edition of silver-plated cufflinks engraved with the School crest (very elegant!) in a presentation box, also engraved with the School crest. £20 (plus £1.50 p&p)
£10 each (plus £3.50 p&p)
Pavilion notelets £5 for a pack of 20 with envelopes (£1.50 p&p) A limited edition of our refillable roller-ball pen (a great writer!). £5 (plus £1.50 p&p)
OB TIES CENTENARY - SILK OBFC and CITY Christmas cards - 3 views of the School campus. Packs of 10 A5 assorted cards and envelopes bearing the message ‗Season‘s Greetings‘ £5.75 per pack (plus £1.50 p&p)
POLO SHIRTS SIZES: L & XL COLOURS: RED,WHITE & BLUE £5 for all three SWEATERS SIZES: XL COLOUR: NAVY £15 VIDEOS SEVEN DECADES OF BIRKENHEAD SCHOOL ONE IN HEART - OBS IN THE 1960S £10 EACH
All merchandise is available from: 1. Our on-line School Shop at www.birkenheadschool.co.uk . Just click on the advert on the School‘s home page which will take you to the School Shop where you can pay securely on-line. 2. The Alumni Office, Birkenhead School The Lodge, 58 Beresford Road, Oxton, Wirral CH43 2JD Send a cheque made payable to Birkenhead School in an envelope marked ‗School Merchandise‘ 3. Yvonne Burgess on 0151 651 3095 and pay by debit card
For ties, polo shirts, sweaters and videos, look on the OB website under merchandise. If you wish to place an order, contact Brian Boumphrey directly on: 0151 632 5674 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2011
From our own correspondent on the Barbados Tour, Graeme Rickman (the School’s professional cricket coach): Birkenhead School 158 - 9 (35 overs) Joe Hillyer 39 Xenon Academy 146 all out Tom Roden 3 - 33 Ollie Hearn 3 -17 Birkenhead School won by 12 Runs Friday 15 July 2011 After long periods of heavy rain, the 1st XI's first game was moved to St George's Park where the groundsmen had done sterling work preparing a new pitch. Although the outfield was wet in places, the hot Caribbean sun quickly set about making the ground playable. Will Lamb loss the toss and the School were invited to bat to what turned out to a challenging wicket with variable bounce. Will Lamb, Ollie Hearn and Tom Roden went cheaply, leaving the School side 28 for 3 before Patrick Benc (17), Harry Sturgess (20) and Joe Hillyer formed important partnerships to ensure the school had a competitve total of 158. Xenon Academy, through some wayward opening bowling, got off to a flier scoring 51 runs off 10 overs with the loss of one wicket. Not dispirited, the School kept their disciplines in the field and with some fine spin bowling from Tom Roden (3-33) and Ollie Hearn (3-17). The match was finely in the balance right up until the closing overs. With 18 needed in the final 5 overs, Dan Quinn took the match‘s winning wicket by uprooting the off -stump off the number 10. Jubilant with their first win, the 1st XI look forward to possible tougher challenges in the next series of matches. Sunday 17 July 2011 The Lodge School - (35 overs) The Lodge School 130 all out (Dan Quinn 2-7, Mike Talbot 226, Tom Roden 3-29) Birkenhead School 135 - 6 (Ollie Hearn 23, Tom Roden 35, Alex Hind 25 not out) Birkenhead School won by 4 wickets Following on from their initial win against the Xenon Academy, the boys were eagerly awaiting their next fixture against a highly competitive school, The Lodge. On a beautiful hot day, Will Lamb lost his sixth toss in a row and was duly asked to take the field on a what looked liked a batsman friendly wicket. The School‘s opening pace attack of Sturgess and Quinn quickly set about bowling a tight a line and length, leaving their opponents 12 for 3 after 6 overs. Dan Quinn took the prize wicket of the Bajan team's U19 batsman and went on to finish with a fine spell of 2-7. Similar to the first game, spinners Roden and Hearn created additional pressure and set about taking a number of key middle order wickets. Tom Roden was again successful with a spell of off-spin, taking 3-29. The Lodge School finished with a
below par score of 130 off their 35 overs. This represented another excellent fielding performance, with wicket keeper Will Lamb leading by example. Birkenhead School's innings got off to a solid start with Ollie Hearn standing firm against a hostile attack, contributing an important 23. Tom Roden took charge of the middle of the innings taking the score up to 96 for 3. Enter the fray Alex Hind, who proceeded to hit his first two balls for six, releasing any pressure in the away dressing room. Along with Alex Watkins, showing increased maturity, vicecaptain Hind saw us home, with 5 overs to spare. Barbados Netball Tour report to follow in next term’s IF
The School's magazine for July 2011.