In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Mallory, made an ill-fated attempt to climb Everest in 1924, nearly 30 years before Sir Edmund Hillary. I say ill-fated because both of them lost their lives, not necessarily because they failed in their attempt to reach the summit – there is much debate as to whether they died on the way up or on the way down.
myself: that was utterly pointless. And again that’s my point. It’s good that there’s no point. It’s good to engage with learning just because it’s there. Just like it’s good to want to climb the highest mountains because they are there. When did you, when did we, when did I last do that?
In recent years education has become more and more driven Another link, this time with by extrinsic motivators. The the seven continents, is a financial crisis has made that relatively recent leaver, even more the case. Education Jack Jones. Jack left is about getting the exam School in 2001, having results, to get to the university, Rebecca Stephens with l to r: Lucy Rogers, Will Griffin, made his mark as a pretty Elliott Kirkbride-Wright, Max Shah and James O’Neill - all in Year 9. to get the degree, to get the good golfer but, by his own job, to earn the money, to pay admission, pretty the school fees, to get the unremarkable in other respects, and children to get the exam results, to get to yet in 2009 he became the first Briton the university, to get the degree ... well to complete seven ultra-marathons on you get my drift. But what if, along the seven continents in seven days way, we never actually experience the (actually 6 days, 23 hours and 35 joy of learning for its own sake? Whilst minutes), and raising money for much that the Secretary of State for Hoylake Cottage Hospital in the Education, Mr Gove, says seems to be process. So there is a very real made up on the spur of the moment, I connection between this school and have been genuinely heartened by some serious mountains, between this of the changes in education over the School and serious challenges. I past couple of years. Those of you who wonder whether our prize-giver this have heard me before will not be evening ever thought she would L to R: Ms Stephens, Paul Gogerty Yr surprised to hear that I am pleased that achieve what she has achieved when 8, Mr Higginbottom and Oliver Jones the modular GCSEs have gone. And she was sitting where you prize- Yr 8. Paul and Oliver are keen yes, I understand all the arguments in winners are. But maybe more of that climbers and have already had lots of favour of them and I know that, as a practice on the Sandy Irvine climbing school, we have actually done rather later. wall. well out of them because I have to say I admire from the start we were very people who climb adept at using them to get the mountains. For one thing, best possible grades for our because I know I couldn’t. students – why wouldn’t we? Two summers ago I got But the impact of modular vertigo having my exams on education in its photograph taken on the top mountain climbing sense has of the science block. And for been really quite depressing. another thing, because Short-termism became the climbing mountains is utterly watchword. Stress became pointless. And that’s my part of every student’s life point. People climb from the middle of Year 9. mountains because they are The culture of re-sits created there. Not because it earns a completely distorted view of them a lot of money, In the classroom: l to r Harley Price, Charlotte Lytollis and real life. Real life doesn’t do although some perhaps do. Ashley Williams - all in L6th. re-sits. The big picture was Not because it makes them lost in favour of bite-sized famous, although some are. chunks of learning. And above all, the question “Is this on Not because it’s good for their UCAS form, although no specification, sir?” became the stultifying question on many doubt climbing Everest would look quite impressive on your a student’s lips, much to the dismay of every teacher who UCAS form. Climbing high mountains seems to me to be an had ambitions not just for his or her students to pass exams example of a pure activity, done for its own sake. Why do but to get them climbing mountains (to return to my people compose music? For the money? For the fame? For metaphor). the UCAS form? No, because they have an irresistible urge to compose music. At least one of evening knows exactly what I mean. who study maths. When I go and Edmunds’ U6th pure maths lessons, I
you in the Hall this I also admire people observe one of Mr come away saying to
The reform of A levels is on the way too. No retakes in January. Hurrah! AS possibly decoupled from A2. Why not scrapped altogether, I ask? Oh the joy of two years of 6 th Form with just one exam at the end. When I was at
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 university, I took an exam at the end of my second term (not even at the end of the first year), just to check, I suppose, that they hadn’t picked a dud and then, not another exam for over three years! Yes, there was the risk of one or two people losing their way, but for the A Level results Day 2011 rest of us, what joy! We were reading books because they were there, not because someone was going to test us on them at the end of term. We were talking about ideas because they were there, just like Mount Everest. Let me move on to my second but not unrelated theme, which at first may seem a little controversial. I do wonder whether the greatest danger that faces pupils in schools like ours is that they are too happy. In a highly supportive environment like this, where no-one is allowed to fall through the net, how easy is it to think that doing well at Birkenhead School is as good as it gets. Students measure themselves against the person next to them and set their ambitions within the context of this School without thinking too much about what lies beyond. To return to my mountain metaphor, they think that Snowdon or even Moel Famau are the highest mountains there are to climb. It’s rather easy in a School like this to become complacent, not to realise that out there here are thousands of people as bright as or brighter than the brightest pupil here. Not to realise that the challenges of GCSEs and A levels, with your teachers right behind you, are as nothing compared to what faces you in the real world of university. Those of you who have visited my office in the Lodge will know that outside it there are 7 rather striking modern representations of the Seven Deadly Sins – pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, sloth ... to which I would like to add an eighth: complacency. The Chaplain selected, earlier this year, as her Thought for the Week this quotation from that great Italian artist Michelangelo: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” I wonder whether great mountaineers ever think ‘the second highest mountain is good enough for me’ or whether Sir Ranulph Fiennes would ever have been heard saying ‘two thirds of the way to the north pole is just fine’. And yet, my colleagues and I do hear ‘all I need is a B’, as someone explains why this week’s homework has not been done. I don’t know whether you know the Faust legend. Faust really existed and was a magician-cum-scientist living in north Germany in the Middle Ages. I know him best from Goethe’s famous play, where he is involved in all sorts of dodgy experimentation which would certainly get him locked up today. Totally dissatisfied with life, he is in search of new knowledge and new experiences. One day, he is thoroughly bored looking for some new excitement in his book of spells, when in walks a poodle. No ordinary poodle. This poodle quickly transforms into Mephistopheles, the devil himself. Faust enters into a pact with Mephistopheles, that if he can bring Faust total satisfaction, then the devil can take his soul. Faust is pleased with the deal because he is
Page 3 convinced that it will be impossible for him ever to be completely satisfied. Well, Mephistopheles tries pretty much everything, from politics and power to sex and alcohol, but Faust is still not satisfied. Until some 12,000 lines later (this is a German play!) the devil plays his trump card and conjures up for him Helen of Troy, the face that lunched a thousand ships, the personification of beauty. And Faust is lured into thinking that this is the peak of human happiness, the moment of total satisfaction, and at that moment the Devil seizes his soul. In fact, Faust is rescued in the end and, drunkard and lecher though he has been, all his mistakes are forgiven, as he is carried off to heaven by a flight of angels who declare (in German, of course): “Wer immer strebend sich bemüht, den können wir erlösen” somewhat less poetically translated: ‘Whoever strives with all his might, That man can we redeem’. The key German
Beyond the Curriculum: Year 7 Etiquette lunch
word is STREBEN – it conveys rather more than striving, it has a sense of stretching oneself to one’s personal limits. The message is a simple one. It is that complacency, passivity, satisfaction, the decision to stop striving and moving on, in medieval terms puts man’s immortal soul in peril and in modern terms stops us fulfilling our potential or, to use this evening’s metaphor, stops us wanting to climb mountains. And, of course, it’s not only students who can become complacent. Schools and institutions can too. I hope as you look at what we have achieved here in recent years that you have some sense of that ongoing process of striving and innovation. Our best A level results to date, with 84% and then 81% A* to B. In the curriculum this year, students in the 6th Form have had the opportunity to learn Mandarin, and next year we will be teaching Mandarin in Year 6. Two new examined subjects on the curriculum next year – A level Business Studies and GCSE PE, with all our traditional subjects still in place. And in our Beyond the Curriculum programme, we will be introducing cookery in Years 7, 10 and 6th Form – very much by popular demand. In terms of facilities, the newly refurbished Bushell Hall has become a brilliant venue for theatre and concerts; we have just opened our superb new artificial pitch at McAllester Field; and next year we are looking to start introducing significant improvements to our catering provision. I have been delighted this year to be able to find business and individual sponsors to launch our 6th Form Access Scholarships Scheme. We are exploring with Old Birkonians the viability of a similar scheme at age 11. You will have noticed that we have refined our assessment and reporting this year – and thanks for your input on that – and next year will see this move another step forward.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 Outside the classroom, one of the exciting innovations of this year has been the European Research Project, enabling motivated 6th Formers to undertake serious scientific research in industry and universities, working alongside students from our partner schools in Spain and Germany. Next year we will involve more students and include Economics in the programme. I was delighted to hear from Mr Hayward this morning that, after a very laborious application process, we have received European funding for this project to the value of 25,000 Euros. Again outside the taught curriculum, I have been delighted with the outreach work that our science groups and our a capella group BarLine have been doing in primary schools this year, and next year we will extend that to sport. There has been much development in careers, with an extended careers programme in School and a new careers room; next year we are looking to develop a post-GCSE work experience programme in Year 11. I am sure there are things which I have missed, but I hope this gives a flavour of the innovation which is going on and, as you would expect form a school of our standing and tradition, it’s evolution not revolution. Much of it made possible, I have to say, by the very sound finances which underpin the school and all its activities. All this makes me unreservedly confident about the school’s future as a genuinely independent school. ———
Page 4 immediately recognised his expertise in these areas, and warmed in particular to his cheerful, friendly and informal style. In 2000 he successfully applied for the post of Head of Physics and went on to lead that department for eleven years. In his time many students have gone on to read physics and engineering at the top universities, well prepared by the teaching of Dennis and his colleagues in this very strong department. Soon after the 6th form had become mixed, we had our first two girls going off to read aeronautical engineering, both now with impressive careers in the field. One of his own enthusiasms was astronomy and he was always happy to share that enthusiasm with interested pupils, running an astronomy club for several years, and taking one pupil to a GCSE in Astronomy in his spare time. For almost all of his time here, Dennis willingly ran a rugby team – union, I’m afraid, despite his own passion for league. He was a Housemaster for a while and, for many, he was Mr House Five-a-Side Football, flying the flag for the alternative game. Passionate about his subject, he has no time for what he perceives as trivial or superficial. He won’t mind me pointing out that he and I have not always agreed on matters of routine and detail, but it’s literally impossible to get annoyed with Dennis. He has always been the most genial and relaxed of colleagues. And I am slightly ashamed to say that I gave up on trying to get him to do up his top button and tuck his shirt in. I am hoping that, as I invite him on stage to receive our appreciation and this token of the Governors’ appreciation, he will do his very best! Dennis, thank you and, to both you and your wife Carol, all the very best for a long and happy retirement. ——
Dennis Highcock with colleagues and former colleagues at the opening of the new Physics laboratories 2006. Photo L to R: Dr John Holt (former Physics teacher), Mr Harold McCready (retired Physics teacher and Deputy Head), Mr Donald Cameron (retired Physics teacher), Mr Bob Birrell (retired Head of Chemistry), Mr Dennis Highcock (Head of Physics), Guests Professor John Dainton (Director of the Cockcroft Institute of Accelerator Science and Technology and Sir James Chadwick Professor of Physics at the University of Liverpool), Mrs Josephine Dainton and Mr Keith Hawkins (former BS Physics teacher and now Deputy Principal, The Hammond School, Chester)
I am not sure whether retirement gives you permission to stop striving, but two members of staff this evening may with some justification lay claim to that right, for we have two long-standing members of staff retiring this year. Dennis Highcock arrived in 1997, amidst a certain amount of discussion, as I remember it, about how his name should be pronounced, someone on the staff claiming it should be Highcoh ... I can’t think why it was an issue. He started as a teacher of both Physics and Design and Technology, with a particular focus on the electronics aspects; pupils
GJ Ellis rehearsing the Chapel Choir on the tour to Barcelona 2009.
Thirty-three years in one School is no mean feat, thirty-three years as Director of Music at Birkenhead School has become the stuff of legend. I first met Graham Ellis or Graham Jordan Ellis, as he is known to his wider public, on the steps of the Lodge some time after my appointment as Deputy Head in 1996. His musical reputation had preceded him, not least because he had just conducted an apparently stunning performance of Belshazzar’s Feast with the Birkenhead School Choral Society at the Phil in Liverpool. Graham was hobbling because earlier that year he had suffered the most horrendous injury to his ankle. 16 years
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 later, I think he is still using that as an excuse for going to the Headmaster’s Monday briefing, assembly, morning break and even cover lessons in his rather smart car. Graham joined Birkenhead School as Director of Music at the age of 26, when he already had quite reputation locally as an organist and trainer of choirs. I suspect he may have been the youngest Director of Music in the country at the time. It was an inspired appointment since, thanks to Graham, the School has gained a superb reputation for its choral music. Whilst I think it is fair to say that music for him has above all been about performance, he has been more than capable of teaching music to the highest level academically too. When Graham started, as he fondly recalls, the Music Department was in a single room above the toilets in what is now the Prep. The then Prep was sited off campus in splendid isolation on the other side of Beresford Road. When the Prep moved out, the Music Department moved in. I think it fair to say that Graham and his department rather enjoyed their splendid, indeed palatial isolation, until the building was condemned in 1996. It was another 7 years before the Music Department moved into its present accommodation and once again it was a case of ‘when the Prep moved out, the Music Department moved in’. So much for Graham’s various moves. When he arrived 33 years ago things started to happen in a big way. The first of 39 Choral Society concerts took place, including from 1995 onwards a series of Gala
Page 5 these have taken place every year – only once being cancelled on account of war in the Balkans. Fair enough, I suppose. And this typifies Graham Ellis’s unswerving commitment to an area of school life which has enriched the lives of countless former and current pupils. The same has been true of Choral Evensong every Sunday, when Choir and congregation are treated week in week out to what is in essence a cathedral repertoire. Never one to settle for the mediocre or undemanding, Graham has always been determined to stretch pupils musically and they have responded, not only in their music making but by turning out week after week and developing a fierce loyalty to the Chapel Choir, carried along by Graham’s interest in them as people and entertained by his verbal dexterity and iconoclastic wit. Old Birkonians come back simply to sit in the Choir stalls which for them evoke one of the most formative experiences of their lives. A rough estimate tells me that Graham has prepared and conducted well over 1000 services of Choral Evensong, working alongside six Chaplains and under three Headmasters and training some 270 choristers. I gather we are now unique amongst day schools in this country for having a Chapel Choir which sings a Sunday service. The Chapel and its Choir is one of the great riches of this School. If you have never attended a service of Choral Evensong with Graham Ellis conducting your last chance is at 6.30 this Sunday. I could say more; but Graham you have left your mark not only on the school and its musical heritage but on generations of Old Birkonians who have you to thank for the lifelong gift of music. There can’t be many better legacies than that. We can but say thank you and wish you all the very best in what I know is going to be a musically busy retirement. Please come forward to receive our applause and this token of the Governors’ appreciation. ——-
With the Chapel Choir outside Wells Cathedral, Tour 2008
Charity Concerts which over the years have raised many tens of thousands of pounds for local charities. Above all, these concerts have given hundreds of young people memorable opportunities to perform challenging works to a high standard in a major concert hall before a large audience. Graham’s management of those concerts both behind the scenes, in rehearsal and on the podium has been masterful. For me these concerts have also been something of a microcosm of what the School is about: staff, pupils, parents and friends of the School all working together in a common purpose.
And now a few final words of thanks: to the Governors, as always, for the time they give to the School and for their wise counsel; to the staff - both teachers and support staff - for their commitment to the welfare and success of our pupils and their remarkable readiness to go the extra mile; a personal thank you to my senior colleagues who work many long hours and give me infinite support; and to those with responsibilities at all levels in the School who do so much to ensure we are providing the very best in terms of education and pastoral care; to you our parents, as always, for your support, for entrusting your children to us (and for paying the fees!); and to our students for being the reason we are all here and in the end for making it all worthwhile. Finally, if you have been listening to what I have been saying and want to act on it this summer, don’t think you have to spend your holidays up a mountain; even on a beach you can find your own mountains to climb. Oh, and do enjoy yourselves. but just one word of advice: whatever you do, watch out for suspicious looking poodles. DJ Clark
In 1982, the Steinway grand piano arrived and that summer also saw the first in a long series of Chapel Choir tours – first to English and indeed Scottish cathedrals and then in 1991 starting to alternate these Cathedral weeks with tours abroad – Normandy, Venice, Vienna, Prague, Barcelona – gathering an increasingly large following of Choir parents; I think something like 70 parents came on the last tour to Prague. I have personally have had the pleasure of accompanying the Choir on every tour and Cathedral week since 1997 and it has been an absolute privilege. Like the Choral Concerts, School Chapel: the School motto ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Reception recently enjoyed a wonderful day out to Chester Zoo. We began our day with a tour around the park and were lucky enough to see many of the young animals who have recently been born, as well as exhibits such as ‘Dinosaurs bite back.’ After lunch, we completed our visit with a discovery session at the Education Centre. An expert helped us to examine animal artefacts, as well as looking at live animals, to show us how those that are alike in important ways are grouped together and this is called biological classification. Then it was the children’s turn to become detectives as they solved the puzzles to identify and classify the five vertebrate groups. We would like to thank all the parents who accompanied our trip for all their help and support. G. Mudge
Congratulations to Year 7 student Jamie Johnston who is celebrating after passing his first degree black belt in the Korean martial art of Tae Kwon-Do. Jamie travelled to Bristol in April to take his grading at the Taekwondo Association of Great Britain's headquarters. The grading took a total of four hours during which time he was required to perform a variety of techniques, including free-sparring, self-defence, pattern work and a verbal exam. The grading was judged by a panel of six 9 degree black belts and committee members of the Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain. A Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea, Tae Kwon-Do loosely means ‘the way of the hand and the foot’. It combines combat techniques, self-defence, sport, exercise, and sometimes meditation and philosophy. It has been an Olympic sport since 2000.
Jamie holds up his certificate proving his is now a first degree black belt. The trophies are for North Wales Champion 2008, Student of the Year 2009 and Best in Grading 2010 in Tae Kwon-Do.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Page 7 and Sonya has already started to play, perhaps anticipating that it will be the best way to see him. She is also wellknown for her love of animals and is the proud owner of a beautiful, stripy cat named Tiger (think golf not feline attributes!). Her elder daughter, Lucy, lives near London, so retirement will also enable Sonya to visit her more regularly. Her younger daughter, Vanessa, is about to get married, a very happy event which Sonya and John are looking forward to. With her wide circle of friends and many interests, I am sure Sonya will have no trouble at all in filling this new part of her life. I wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement. Pam McDonald
Prep Sports Day 2009 - Mrs Sharman cheers them on.
Sonya Sharman joined Birkenhead School in January 1992. We were already acquaintances, but during our time in School we forged a firm friendship. Sonya began by teaching a Reception class in what is now the School Nurse’s room, at a time when space was at a premium. The following September we both moved into the brand new, state of the art, Little School to teach Year 2 children. Sonya was, and still is, a ‘cup half-full’ person! Her positive personality and cheerful manner have made her a joy to work with. My abiding memory from that time is of her laughter echoing around Little School and the great times our pupils, the other infants and staff in Little School had together. We would all gather together at the Mrs Sharman in costume at the School’s 150th Anniversary end of the day to finish marking and do our preparation as we Pageant in October 2010 waited for mums and dads to pick up their children. I think that Sonya would say that a memorable moment in her career was when we took part in a coaching session taken by John Barnes for the Year 2 children and we still have the photographs to The Headmaster is pleased to announce the list of prove it! Senior Prefects who have been chosen to serve in Later in our School careers, we both moved up to Year 3. We the next academic year: spent much of the summer holidays immersed in sorting out our Sarah Bibby stockrooms. In the process, we created such a pile of rubbish (Deputy Head of School) that Carl Williams was heard to say that he would soon have to Nathan Demetrios hire a skip. During this period in our teaching, we both recall with Marco Galvani great affection occasions such as dressing up as Romans for Nicholas Gill The Millennium pageant and our numerous Caribbean fruit Alice Hancock tastings. Callum Hepton Sonya has supported and helped with many extra-curricular Ian Loch activities. She is well-known for her after-school Cookery Club. Charlotte Lytollis Each week delicious smells would emanate from the kitchen. Charles McCulloch She is a proficient cook but her great gift was to imbue her sousChristopher Morris chefs with great enthusiasm and pleasure in learning how to Matthew Rogers cook. Swimming has also been close to her heart and is one of Jamie Russell her personal pastimes. She ran a thriving and successful Edward Sherrard Swimming Club which competed many times in the AJIS (Head of School) Swimming Competition. Harry Sturgess Throughout her School career, Sonya has always shown great (Deputy Head of School) dedication and loyalty to both the School and to her pupils and Jack Walker has always been prepared to give that bit extra. Consequently, (Deputy Head of School) pupils and parents have always held her in high regard. She will Ashley Williams be sorely missed. Tom Woollons She is now looking forward to spending more time with her husband John and her two daughters. John is a dedicated golfer
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
In Design Technology pupils in Year 3 have enjoyed designing a Caribbean-themed logo for their t-shirts. Let us hope they get to wear them at some point this summer! Irene Smith, Art & Technology BPS days. Dad was also really pleased to see that George was treated like an equal actor right from the start by the other actors which was really nice to see. George has been taking drama classes since the age of four. There were a number of boys lined up for the part but George was chosen to have a telephone audition with the BBC Radio 4 drama producer back in February one evening after school and was offered the job! ‘One Hot Summer ‘, a play for BBC Radio 4 by By Juliet Gilkes-Romero
George Long from 4C landed a leading role in “One Hot Summer”, a BBC Radio 4 drama. George and his Dad spent two days in London during May during which George had two full days of recording the radio drama which was aired on the afternoon of 30 May on BBC Radio 4. On day one they were given a quick tour of the recording studio, followed by an introduction to the rest of the cast and crew. All were experienced actors — Susi Riddell who regularly featrures in the Archers as Rose and Don Gilet, who played George’s Uncle Ibrahim, and also pla yed Lucas Johnson, the preacher, in EastEnders. Other members of the cast have been in various West End Shows. George worked really hard and had lots of fun as well as an amazing experience. George said he thought Don was a real joker and kept everyone entertained with his antics over the duration of the two
Scenario: Liverpool 1919. In desperate times, with high poverty levels and spiralling unemployment, tensions are rising between the different ethnic groups in the city, and for Jamaican soldiers Johnson and Charlie and their mixedrace British friend, Sam, life is getting much harder. Based on real events, ‘One Hot Summer’ tells the story of the race riots which occured in Liverpool in 1919, when desperate times caused divisions across ethnic lines which exploded into full-blown riots with tragic consequences. The forgotten piece of British history dramatised in this play has been carefully researched by playwright and journalist Juliet Gilkes-Romero and includes verbatim newspaper reports from the time. Cast and crew Sam Lloyd Thomas Johnson Ben Bennett Ibrahim Don Gilet Charlie Richie Campbell Rose Susie Riddell Ahmed George Long Liverpool Courier/Rioter Patrick Brennan Liverpool Echo/Drunk Joe Sims Evening Express/Barman Robert Blythe Drunk/Rioter Harry Livingstone Crew Director Mary Peate Producer Mary Peate Writer Juliet Gilkes-Romero
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Our interest in taking science beyond the School perimeter to a wider audience was sparked by the discovery, several years ago, that many coordinators of science in primary schools rarely had a science background and were struggling to deliver the content of the national curriculum, let alone deliver any enrichment activities.
A “rainbow” collection of pupil presenters during a colourful Chemistry Road Show.
Initially, BS’s Science Department brought together a small group of our 6th Form pupils to develop a Road Show which introduced the topic of forces. This involved taking resources into schools and running demonstrations of practical experiments designed to engage the interest of Year 6 pupils. This proved very popular and soon the group added Biology, Astronomy and Chemistry Road Shows to its repertoire over the following two or three academic years. As the primary school science co-ordinators gained confidence, they decided they would like to set up their own extra-curricular science clubs and came to us for ideas. By this stage, our presenters of the Road Shows had formed groups which met once a week under the rather unimaginative title of Science in the Community. They proceeded to put together ten science activities, including the resources each required, in ten large plastic containers and the Science in a Box project was born. These boxes initially went out to just a few schools but the scheme quickly proved very popular, particularly as it came with an award scheme for participating pupils. It soon became apparent that we would not be able to cope
with the work load. At this point, one of the participating teachers introduced Mike McManus, the primary science project manager at our local Discovery City Learning Centre, to the scheme. He took on the boxes and has now introduced them into more schools and their popularity continues to grow. Mike has also worked with our Science in the Community Year 11 and 6th Form pupils to provide an after school science club for six schools, which takes up to 30 pupils in each session. Whilst these projects have enabled many primary pupils on the Wirral to experience the fun of science, our own pupils have also benefited. As a direct result of our pupils’ involvement in these activities, numerous British Association of Young Scientists certificates have been awarded, including thirty-five Gold Crest Awards. A further twenty-five students have participated in the Nuffield Bursary Scheme in which Sixth Formers undertake paid research during their summer holidays. A number of students each year participate in the Science Olympiads and in recent years six have been selected for the national finals Young Scientists of the Year Award. The Science in the Community project has attracted several awards and featured in an HMC Publication which highlighted our initiatives in taking science into local schools. Each year for many years now, our Annual Science Fair fills Bushell Hall to the brim with exhibitions and interactive demonstrations and experiments. More than 400 Year 5 and 6 primary school children and their teachers are eager to come to be entertained and informed. “We liked being taken around by the older pupils because they knew what they were doing and we could ask these questions as we went round” and “Amazing and should be rated 10 out of 10!” These two comments from our visitors, two of many we receive after the event, show that we were on the right track. The day itself, in early March, sees over a hundred of our
The Science Fair - attentive pupils are entertained by the things going on around them.
own pupils, from Year 6 to Sixth Form, volunteer to demonstrate and explain the variety of scientific activities going on in the Hall. Our Prep Science Club is also involved and, last year, presented a terrific project on food science. Junior Science Club amazed the audience with over 30 activities including an individual hovercraft ride, secret messages and blasting any visitors who came within range with the vacuum bazooka! The Senior Science Club hosted an impressive ‘pops and bangs’ demonstration, featured the continued on next page
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 new ‘Elephant’s Toothpaste’ and ‘Igniting Hands’. We also showcased our new Year 9 Biology Club, nicknamed the Solar Group, which presented a convincing psychological demonstration of a hand seemingly being hit by a hammer! It was also interesting to see some cutting-edge electric/hybrid vehicle technology, courtesy of two local firms - Smart cars, Liverpool, and Honda at Two Mills. The Beyond the Curriculum group featured extensions to our outreach activities which have catered for an increasing range of customers, including two cub groups and their Science Badge activities, a nursing home and, most recently, a class of Year 3 pupils. In the future, we will still put on a series of one-off science displays for younger pupils but the School’s own science website at http://science.birkenheadschool.co.uk is proving a very useful way to get pupils to explore the theory behind the exciting activities. Other schools access the site for ideas for activities to pass on to their pupils and our pupils can show their parents what they have been doing. More recently, we are particularly pleased with how our local success has encouraged us to apply for EU Comenius funding. The aim of Comenius is to help young people and educational staff better understand the range of European cultures, languages and values. Sixth Form students and their language exchange partners in Spain and Germany have already been involved in our pilot scheme. They have spent two weeks each working on research and development projects with companies both at home and abroad. This is a unique multi-national project whereby teams of students from different countries work together to research solutions to problems. M Hayward, Head of Science STOP PRESS Comenius awards BS 25,000 Euro grant - see page 17
On Thursday 21st June, Mr Hayward, Dr Hughes, the School technicians and nine Year 9 volunteers visited Our Lady of Pity Primary School in Greasby to teach young children some basic science, whilst keeping them fully entertained and happy (easier than it sounds!). We set up several science stations including a Van der Graaf generator, a giant bubble maker, a hovercraft and some exploding coke bottles. The children got extremely excited about the activities, some a little too excited. They squealed as they slid around in bubbles and fairy liquid! After a couple of hours demonstrating the different experiments, the children started to lose interest in our displays and turned their attention to the shiny balloons and flames being set up by Mr Hayward. Everyone gathered round to see the next experiment. It was
Left: Mr Dyson carries the Olympic torch through London as part of the torch relay in preparation for the 2004 Summer Olympics which were held in Athens. Right: Eight years on, son Sam proudly holds Dad’s torch, the photo on the left and a poster advertising the relay.
Sonny and Agatha Boardman hold aloft the 2012 Olympic Torch that their dad carried. All children in Prep were given a turn at holding the torch throughout the day.
halted for a while when the the loud bangs caused screams and jumps, but after Gaby had calmed down they were restarted. A huge display of exploding mentos and coke followed the fire display. The pupils from Our Lady of Pity showed amazing enthusiasm and attentiveness throughout the day and there was never a lack of volunteers from the audience. I hope there will be a lot more of these mini science fairs in the years to come, because both Birkenhead pupils and the Our Lady Pity pupils learnt a lot from the visit! Alex Scott, Year 9
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
forward to this summer as I am going to Mongolia on the School’s World Challenge expedition. Sarah Bibby, Deputy Head of School
L to R: Harry Sturgess, Edward Sherrard, Jack Walker and Sarah Bibby.
My name is Edward Sherrard, otherwise known as Shed or Shedward (along with many other variations!). I am studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths and German for A level and when Birkenhead School finally gets rid of me I hope to become a dentist. The main reason is because I see myself as a ‘people person’ who is also reasonable at DIY. I like the idea of talking to patients, as it will make me feel as if I have friends. I also think the drills look pretty snazzy. I see them as a symbol of power in a ‘dog eat dog’ world and I’m pretty sure I could handle them after using my Dad’s Black and Decker. Some people would say my favourite pastime is eating, which I must admit, I do about every twenty minutes. However, I would see this as more of a necessity to reach my goal of becoming the tallest Head of School ever (I’m currently creeping past 6ft 5in). I enjoy playing low standard hockey, failing to increase my body mass in the school gym and a rare lucky victory at the pool table. Another of my interests is music. I am currently working towards my Grade 7 clarinet exam, but still manage to play the lowliest part in the School band. Naturally, classmates often wonder how I managed to bribe my six previous examiners. I have lived in Heswall all my life. I attended St Peter’s C of E Primary School up until the end of Year 6, thereafter discovering the wonders of the Birkenhead School bus. On a cold September morning, I embarked on my journey (via the B bus) to Birkenhead and I have not looked back since. I have had six fantastic years at Birkenhead and am honoured to have been appointed as Head of School. Edward Sherrard, Head of School I joined Birkenhead School in Year 9, hating to watch football, ignorant of the ‘offside rule’, not really knowing the difference between a PS3 and a PSP and thinking Cod was just a type of fish. Three years later I’m actually watching the Euros, I understand the offside rule and, having suffered endless conversations about video games, I now know that COD stands for Call Of Duty and I can understand if someone is talking about ‘Skyrim’. However, whilst I would say I have been fairly tolerant of these alien topics, I draw the line at pretending I am in Lord of the Rings on D of E. I am currently studying Chemistry, Maths, Spanish and History and I am hoping to study Chemistry at university. In School, I am a member of the Netball and Lacrosse first teams. Outside of school, I play more lacrosse at Liverpool Lacrosse Club. I also referee lacrosse and have recently done a coaching course. Last year I did the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award and this year I am participating in the Gold award. I am looking
I joined Birkenhead School in Kindergarten at age 3 and have lasted all the way through to Sixth Form. I am currently studying Maths and Further Maths (‘sums and hard sums’, as Mr McGrath likes to call them), Chemistry and Physics, which in my opinion are the most captivating subjects I could have chosen, though others rarely seem to agree with me on this. These are taken with the hope of studying Engineering at university. Aside from my sums, most of my time is taken up by sport. My favourite is rugby, which I play for the 1st XV and Caldy Rugby Club, whilst in the summer it is cricket for the 1st XI and Birkenhead Park Cricket Club. The highlight of my time at the School has to be last summer’s cricket and netball tour to Barbados, which for me was an amazing trip, involving a lot of successful cricket, experience of a very different culture and, of course, some sampling of the Barbados nightlife (the ‘Reggae Lounge’ was a favourite haunt). My love of sport has fuelled my passion to become Deputy Head of School, so I can read out the Monday morning sports results, which I cannot wait to get started on. When I am not carrying out my duties, I look forward to playing as much pool as possible in the Sixth Form Centre. Harry Sturgess, Deputy Head of School I came to Birkenhead School in 2006 as a small, chubby Year 7 pupil, and had no idea that one day I would be offered the position of Deputy Head of School. I would like to think I do my bit for the School, having played my part in rugby and been a member of the European Youth Parliament team. This year saw my debut in the House Drama which also happens to be the first year in a long time that the mighty Shrews have won the House Drama Trophy. Probably all because of my part as Sherlock Holmes’s dog. I am studying Economics, Maths, History and Physics at A level and hope to go on to study Economics at university, with the eventual aim of dragging our country and the rest of the world out of recession and installing a sustainable economic model for governments to follow in the future. In the meantime, my aim is to launch a coup d'état against Ed Sherrard and take power myself. Aside from my academic and wider political ambitions, I spend a lot of time either on the rugby field, pretending to lift heavy weights in the gym, or losing myself in an epic movie or book. This is where my obsession for The Lord of the Rings has come from and I pride myself in knowing almost every single line from the movies and every obscure detail about the characters. My favourite character, of course, is Samwise Gamgee. It is an honour to be Deputy Head of Birkenhead School and I will put 100% effort into the role and I’ll try to keep Mr Clark and Mr Hopkins happy. Hopefully Ed still isn’t aware of my plot to take over his position, but don’t be surprised if, by September, it is announced that Ed is no longer at the School and I have taken his place. Jack Walker, Deputy Head of School
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Another outstanding year for girls’ sport, where we continued to punch well above our weight at both county and regional level. Following on from the successes of the previous year, the U14 lacrosse team retained the North of England Schools title, albeit the hard way – extra time and golden goals just to add a bit of drama to the day! I think it was the promise of Cadbury Mcflurries all round if they won the trophy so, with Mrs Alford-Swift’s purse now £15 lighter, we look forward to entering the nationals in London in March 2013. Goodness knows what the price of a national title will be! The U13s almost emulated the U14 success by reaching the semi-finals of the North England of Schools, but lost by one goal. They did, however, maintain a 100% domestic record over all local opponents, as did all our lacrosse teams. The hockey season brought much success with the U14s once again performing well in the crunch moments. After a disappointing national schools tournament early in the year, they were determined to put right a few wrongs against schools that had beaten them. In the county round of the Cheshire Cup, they destroyed every team they came up against, including Queen’s, Chester. This may have had something to do with the home advantage effect or, as the girls put it, picking the end of the astro every game that didn’t have the bump at the top of the shooting circle! However, with our newly laid surface, we’ll have to come up with a different tactic next year! They reached the county finals and came runners up. Meanwhile, our younger teams had a mixed season with about 50% win-loss ratio. The U13s have a great deal of promise as a team, especially with their scary goalkeeper who seems to have watched the New Zealand rugby Hakka one too many times as she chants at opposition when short corners are about to be taken! Last but not least, the netball season. The seniors enjoyed a joint tour to Barbados in the summer and, despite the cricketers complaining that the girls spent more time working on their tan than their game, they ended up with 7 wins and 2 losses during the 2 weeks so all that mental preparation on the beach was clearly an integral part to their success. Once back on British soil, the girls adjusted well to the different climate and even without the important sports psychology sessions on the beach / Caribbean Sea, still went on to win 6 out of their 8 fixtures in the year and qualified for the North West finals. All of our younger teams participated in the county finals, with the U14s qualifying for the North West finals also – unfortunately this already clashed with the Hockey finals - a date we had already committed to. What a dilemma….this is what happens when your sports teams are so successful in so many sports!
The U13s and U12s both reached the county finals, after topping their groups, but both lost in the semi-finals, finishing 3rd in the county, albeit without their coaches in the crucial game as Mrs Alford-Swift and Mrs Salter had been banished to other courts to umpire different semifinals. I mean you wouldn’t let Liverpool FC play without King Kenny hollering on the sideline……..oh wait a minute……. L Alford-Swift, i/c Girls’ Sports
A new year, a new coach, a new pitch, a new era for Birkenhead hockey? Who knows, but the early signs are good, with the 1st XI winning the Wirral League Shield for the first time in 8 years. Participation levels are also on the increase, including more parents attending matches. The Headmaster is often in evidence to cheer us on with a smile, and not just because the boys are wearing the right kit ! As well as winning the Wirral League Shield, the 1st XI won 13 and drew 1 from the 18 matches they played this season. Top goal scorers were Matthew Rogers with 16 and Andrew White with 15. The 2nd XI had a mixed season, winning 4 and drawing 2 out of their 14 matches. The U16s made progress throughout the season, winning their last three games comfortably, the final game being an outstanding 8-0 victory against Rydal Penrhos. The U14s won 2 games, drew 6, and lost 2. The U14 squad also increased in size from 13 at the start of the season to 25 at the end, with all involved getting an opportunity to represent the School. James O’Neill, Captain, Edward George, Sam Gavin-Pitt and Kyle Ho were all selected to play a game for the U16s. Competition amongst all BS teams has been high, but not always for obvious reasons. Ed “Princess” Thomas, L6, won the esteemed “Falling Over More Than Bambi” award with his hockey-on-ice performances at virtually every match and training session. Dominic Smith, Yr 9, left everyone behind in the punishment press-ups stakes. Oliver Gilding, Yr 11, was dubbed the “Great Debater” of the season, honing his skills on numerous occasions by insisting on holding an in-depth review with Mr Aldred and Mr Edmunds after every match. James Knight 1stXI Captain, won the m athem atical challenge.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Question: ‘17 of the 24 players going to South Africa have turned up for training. How many are missing?’ Answer, ‘5, er no, 6, I think.’ Fortunately, his maths exam was the day before.
Alex Davies, 2nd XI Captain, won the prestigious “Where’s Wally?” competition. Directions to McAllester Field are in the post to him. Oliver Mills, L6, had no challengers in the longest
A young 1st XI ready to on the challenge of the MCC team. Back row L to R: Will Brewster, Joe Doyle, Alex Watkins, Oliver Mills Middle row: Oliver Hearn, Nathan Demitrios, Dan Quinn, Tom Swift Front row: Ben Unsworth, James O’Neill, Dominic Smith, Callum Rooney
distance from which to miss an open goal - a massive 15 feet. Unfortunately, this distance was an accumulated distance from 15 games. And finally, Sam Gavin-Pitt, Yr9, won the “Pretty in Pink” award by insisting on having a pink stick, pink shin pads and who knows what else. With the senior squads going to South Africa this summer, I’m sure there’ll be several more awards handed out before we come back for the Michaelmas Term. Mind you, we have to manage players’ expectations - Tom Beaumont, U6th, thinks we’re going on a Stag fortnight! On a serious note, this has been a fantastic year. The enthusiasm, dedication, maturity, team spirit and unity of all players has been excellent, which has made the coaches’ role both easy and pleasurable. The support of the parents has been brilliant. The laying of the new astro means we have unrivalled facilities and it is a testament to the School’s investment in its pupils. Finally, congratulations to James O’Neill, Yr 9, Harrison Catherall and Jack Redhead, Yr 10, who have been selected for England Hockey Performance Camps this Summer. The future’s bright, the future’s Hockey! A Aldred, Head of Hockey
This has been a difficult season, both in terms of the performances on the field as well as the constant battle against the wettest summer on record (5 matches cancelled due to rain). With so many of last year’s successful squad having left, we knew that we were likely to be outmatched in some games. So it has proved, with heavy defeats against Cheadle, Ellesmere and King’s Macclesfield. However, we have had enough quality in the side to win more of our matches and have let ourselves down with loose bowling, sloppy fielding, lazy running between wickets and a poor mind-set when batting. This was particularly evident in the match against King’s Chester, where we dropped their opener four times (he scored 80) and from a position of needing 9-0, from the last 20 overs, with 9 wickets in hand, we managed to lose by I run, despite scoring 15 off the last over (4 run outs!). Some of our more experienced players have had rather inconsistent or disappointing seasons and the younger lads have too often found themselves having to perform under pressure. Equally, some of our opponents import talented cricketers into their Sixth Form and this can make a big difference to the overall strength of the team. Notable batting performances have included Dan Quinn’s destructive 112 (78 balls) versus St Anselm’s, Alex Watkins’ half centuries against King’s Chester and the MCC and the promise shown by young students Will Brewster (3 scores of 30+) and Dominic Smith. With 15 victims, opening bowler Dan Quinn is comfortably the leading wicket taker, with no-one else close to double figures. However, Tom Swift, Yr 11, has bowled with great consistency, as well as contributing some runs in the lower order, and in his two appearances, Callum Rooney, Yr 9, has demonstrated that his left arm spin will be a real asset next season. There is a significant amount of talent in the U14 and U13 School teams and it will be interesting to see how many of these boys will be able to progress in to the 1st XI next year. P Lindberg, i/c 1st XI
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
On 18 March 2012, Laura and Neil Frowe became the proud parents of Astrid Lindsay Mary Frowe, who was born at Arrowe Park Maternity Unit and weighed in at 9lb 14oz. We welcome Astrid to the School family - her daddy has taught English, Drama and Modern Languages here since 1990 and is currently Contingent Commander of the CCF.
Andy and Sarah Rymer were proud to announce the arrival of their twin sons in May. Jude William (L) and Silas John (R ) weighed in at 5lb 8oz and 5lb 6oz respectively. Andy teaches Maths at BS.
Friends and colleagues united - Sonya (L) and Pam (R) take a moment to relax in the sun. Pam McDonald began teaching at Birkenhead School in September 1991 in the Prep. She had a dramatic start to the year: playing tennis, she broke her wrist and was incapacitated for some time. She never played tennis again! After a year in Year 5, she moved to the new Little School building and together we happily taught Year 2 classes for many years. We then both taught in Year 3 and have many happy memories of that time too. We have many shared interests; our families, the countryside and a love of cooking. Exchanging recipes was a common lunchtime activity. Responsible for running Junior Quiz Club for many years and taking teams to take part in the A.J.I.S. tournaments, Pam led the team to win the North West trophy in 2009. Pam is a well organised, highly motivated teacher, who always promoted high standards and good manners. She strived to bring out the best in each pupil and I`m sure her past pupils will always recognise and appreciate her care and dedication. Always open to new ideas and techniques, she became a well-respected member of the staff and its younger members greatly benefited from her knowledge and expertise. I wish her well in her retirement and I know she will look back at her time teaching at Birkenhead School with many fond memories. Sonya Sharman
The popular BS a capella group BarLine has just made its first CD and copies are selling fast. It is a collection of 20 of their favourite songs, both popular and sacred, including Mr Sandman, Coldplay’s Fix You, What a Wonderful World, Goodnight Sweetheart and Thomas Tallis’s The Lamentations of Jeremiah. An ideal Christmas present. Priced £8. Proceeds will go towards funding the group’s trip to London for the UK Voice Festival 2013. Available to buy online from our website: www.birkenheadschool.co.uk or Call: 0151 651 3095
Collect your copy from: The School Office, The Lodge, 58 Beresford Road, Oxton, Wirral CH43 2JD.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
L: Sam Corlett and R: Oliver Hearn picked for the Independent Schools Barbarians RC
L to R: Dominic Smith, Ben Unsworth and Will Brewster represented Cheshire West U15's cricket team. They will play in a match on the 9th July at School against Cheshire North.
West Cheshire U13 team in which Callum Andrews, Elliot Bainbridge (back row 2nd and 3rd from left) and George Wild (front row 2nd from right) played.
Above: Some of the members of Gardening Club eating cake with Gary Bowden. Right: Learning how to prick out seedlings earlier in the year.
After 5 years of martial arts training twice weekly, Luke Crocker of 4C has been awarded his Junior Black Belt in mixed martial arts at the Family Martial Arts centre in Prescot. His road to black belt involved many interim coloured belt gradings that finally culminated in him being tested at a two day “boot camp” in May at the FMA headquarters in Speke. The Saturday was an exciting day that involved three seminars, including a lesson from the famous Muay Thai Grand Master Sken. The Sunday commenced at 6am (yes 6am!) with a two-mile run, step climbs and circuits. Then it was continuous testing throughout the day until 4pm of self defence moves, sparring, school principles (all the attributes a martial artist should demonstrate, such as, courtesy, integrity, honesty and self control), kickboxing, pad work and weapon form (Bo staff, kamas, nunchucku and the samurai sword. Students learn the history of these weapon and then a sequence of moves that demonstrate the power of the weapon). .Luke then had his final test on Sunday 17th June in front of a panel of judges that finished with him having to break a board with a flying side kick! His instructor, Mr Matthews of FMA Wirral, presented him with his belt and his board – which is now in two pieces!
The Prep Gardening Club held a party at their last meeting to celebrate a successful term, before they hang up their trowels for the Summer holidays. Gary Bowden from the Estates team, a trainee nurseryman and one of the Club leaders, will look after the plants whilst the children are away. The Club’s work has contributed to the many colourful hanging baskets around campus, the Jubilee Woods scheme and the ‘Welly Road gets the Boot in’ Community Project. The School, 20th Birkenhead Scouts and the Gardening Club all helped to plant up the hundreds of old Wellington boots which are now on display along Wellington Road and around School. Thousands of people saw the Wellies when the project was o f f i c i a l l y launched at Oxton Secret Gardens Festival in May. In the au tum n, t he Gardening Club w i l l b e concentrating on growing winter vegetables.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Graham Jordan Ellis (1979 - 2012) Supporting the first national Wear a Hat Day for charity 2006. Photographed in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead L to R: the RT Hon. Frank Field, MP, Graham and Patricia Routledge, CBE. The phrase ‘end of an era’ is a rather tired cliché, but its use is surely appropriate as the school prepares to say farewell to Graham Ellis, Director of Music for the past 33 years. He has held the reins during a period of great change: one only has to recall that when he was appointed in 1979 there were four lessons on a Saturday morning (and Saturday afternoon games), masters wore gowns, not a female teacher or pupil was to be seen and there was a flourishing boarding house. Graham was educated at Wallasey Grammar School and St Katharine’s College Liverpool, now part of Hope University, where he was much influenced by Noel Rawsthorne, a lecturer and at the time organist of Liverpool Cathedral. As Director of Music (anyone calling him Head of Music receives an icy stare) he has been responsible for the teaching of music throughout the School, as also for the organisation of instrumental tuition and the administration of Associated Board examinations. On one occasion his penchant for devilment led him to pin up a regulations notice upside down on the exam room door. A gentle rebuke, which was taken in good part, had to be administered when a Board inspector visited the School later the same day! By his own admission, Graham never wanted to confine himself to academic music teaching and the activities of the classroom, though he can analyse a Bartok string quartet with the best of them. His main interest has always been musical performance and particularly the encouraging of pupils to make music and perform in public. In the Birkenhead School in which he found himself, that has entailed particularly his direction of Chapel Choir and the Choral Society. Very much his pride and joy, Chapel Choir is unique for a day school in singing regular Sunday services in the Chapel. Graham, very much a cathedral organist manqué, has relished the opportunity to run a cathedral-style operation (ironically, his background was in the United Reformed Church – he metamorphosed with ease into a proud Anglican): as well as accompanying daily morning services, he expanded the repertoire and raised the bar by insisting on the highest standards of rehearsal and performance. Settings for the Evensong canticles (rather
than mere chants) became de rigueur and an anthem was always offered. When competent pupil organists were available they would accompany the services; more recently a cathedral organist has usually been invited to play. The standard of singing has always been impressive, the highlight of the year being the Advent and Christmas carol services. At the latter the carol ‘Past three o’clock’ often memorably involved a treble leaving the Chapel while singing and walking outside until just out of earshot, leaving those in the congregation beguiled by the Christmas atmosphere engendered. In 1982 Graham took the Choir to Ely Cathedral to sing a week’s services. In most years since then a summer cathedral week has been organised (Chichester, Exeter, Norwich and Wells have featured among many) and from 1993 European cities have welcomed the Choir – Barcelona, Prague, Venice and Vienna, among others, have provided wonderful venues for music making of the highest quality. When congratulated on the choir’s receiving a standing ovation after Mass in St Mark’s Venice, Graham retorted: ‘It had to be so – there were no seats!’. In an age when a plethora of activities is available to young people it is remarkable that such loyalty has been shown by members of the Choir to what is a voluntary activity. From relatively modest beginnings, with a concert in St Saviour’s in 1980, the Choral Society has grown into a substantial organisation. A number of staff had always sung with the pupils (boys only in the early days of course); Graham quickly decided to encourage warmly the participation of parents and friends, so that the choir became very large. In 1988 for the first time, with a performance of Handel’s Messiah, the concert took place in the Philharmonic Hall. To date, 32 concerts have been held there, most of them with the participation of girls from the former Birkenhead High School and recently with the Prep School choir making a major contribution. The first Gala Charity concert was at Christmas 1995, with Patricia Routledge as guest presenter. With further Charity Concerts every two years (other presenters have included actress Jean Boht, Liverpool-born poet Roger McGough Continued on next page
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
and Knotty Ash legend Ken Dodd), a total of over £80,000 was raised to support a number of national and local charities. For over 20 years the orchestra has been the Liverpool Sinfonia, which Graham founded in 1990; this has ensured a high standard of playing to accompany the choral offerings. The success of the Choral Society has been very much down to Graham’s drive and sheer energy. We can look forward to his final appearance with the Society in the Philharmonic Hall on Sunday 2 December, when, with delightful symmetry, our guest presenter will be – yes, Patricia Routledge. Graham quickly mastered the art of managing large numbers at rehearsal and performance. His clear, firm beat, allied to a strong sense of rhythm, made him popular with musicians of all ages. His jokes at rehearsal (some of them quite funny) could always be relied upon to lighten the atmosphere. His alertness and verbal fluency were important in his establishing and maintaining his authority at all times. Despite the ease and panache with which he handles large groups of musicians, Graham is essentially a private man. No technophobe, he has embraced every gadget known to man. Not a regular visitor to the gym, nor often to be seen out jogging, he is rather a bon viveur, a gastronome, even an epicure. He is keen to continue his music making locally and will no doubt be playing the organ around Wirral – he can offer a mean Widor Toccata at any wedding and his fee is modest. If he is espied while driving round the locality in his beloved S11 GJE he will always reciprocate a friendly wave, probably not with two fingers. It IS the end of an era and he will be sorely missed. We all wish him a long, fulfilled and happy retirement. Michael Hudson, friend and former colleague
Tom Swift Yr 11 bowls to a burly MCC batter.
The Under 12s and Under 13s were both undefeated until half term and the Under 12s are in the quarterfinal of the Cheshire Cup, whilst the Under 13s are in the semi-final of their competition. The Under 14s’ only defeat was at the hands of a very strong Manchester Grammar School side. Victories included a win against local rivals King’s School, Chester. The Under 14s are in the quarter final of the Cheshire Cup. The Under 15s have had wins against King’s School Chester, Cheadle Hulm e Sc hool and Tarporley High School (Cheshire Cup). Alex Watkins scored 52 in the School v MCC game
Photo L to R: In the Unilever Research Laboratories Two Unilever researchers, Edward Sherrard and Harry Sturgess, (Birkenhead School), Dominic Gargya (Geschwister-Scholl-Schule, Tübingen), Pablo Zulet (Colegio Santa Teresa, Pamplona)
BS has just won a 2-year 25,000 Euro grant from the European Commission, Education and Training, to further its unique multi-national project begun last year, whereby teams of students from different countries work together to research solutions to real problems. Living independently in a foreign country for two weeks also helps students develop their language and social skills, fosters greater self-reliance and promotes a deeper understanding of other cultures. The first teams on the pilot were involved in science-based research but, because the idea has been so well-received, Mr Clark and Mr Hayward, the project instigators, are expanding the programme to set up research teams in Economics. Harry Sturgess and Edward Sherrard, going into the U6th in September, and Dominic Gargya from Germany and Pablo Zulet from Spain spent two weeks in the Unilever Research Labs in Port Sunlight last October looking at the extraction of substitute polymers from waste products to reduce the use of crude oil in a range of Unilever products. Other students worked in similar multi-national teams - in the public health labs in Pamplona looking at contamination in foodstuffs and water supply, at the University of Pamplona looking at obesity and with Siemens, near Stuttgart, working on robotics. Those involved from Birkenhead were: Jack Granby, Neil Lawrence and Curtis Wright. The School applied for funding from the Comenius Programme which aims to improve and increase the mobility of pupils and educational staff across the EU; to enhance and increase partnerships between schools in different EU Member States and to encourage language learning. Mr Hayward says the EU application forms were inordinately long but they were completed during a very pleasant train journey through Germany. The award will be used for the travel and accommodation involved with the exchanges. The first meeting of our students and their exchange partners will take place in September at a retreat in Cheshire. Here they will work on their economics and science skills and enjoy some team building activities, all in preparation for their research projects in business and industry during the coming academic year. BS Publicity Unit
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
During this summer term, the CCF have been very busy. We attended Easter camp at the beginning of April for four days and nights, camping out in the open and putting into practice the military skills the cadets had been learning over the last year. During the latter part of the exercise, however, there was a torrential downpour and the cadets were taken back into camp for their own safety and to dry off. They had to retrieve their abandoned equipment the following morning. Next, we attended the County of Lancaster target rifle shooting competition held at Altcar, also in April, where the cadets proved to be formidable shots. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to win any silver this year. In preparation for the Olympics, an ex-cadet was invited to carry the Olympic torch just outside Wrexham and Captain Joseph and Lieutenant Barnes were asked to escort her. This was a great honour for all three. The CCF also applied for a beacon to be lit on Noctorum Field on 5 June to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. We were given the go ahead by the Pageant Master to carry out this task at 10.10 p.m. Wing Commander Frowe, and officers and cadets of the CCF attended, together with Squadron Leader Chris Teggin, Upton Hall Girls Grammar School, parents and friends. Bega Banga took place at St Bees School, Whitehaven, Cumbria in the middle of June. Again, we encountered atrocious weather. We managed to muster ten cadets, who made up a team with a few reserves. The cadets carried out military skills - patrolling, weapon handling, shooting, mountain biking, first aid, tug-of-war and observation stands. We arrived on the Friday evening and, after travelling four hours, the cadets had to erect their tents in pouring rain and the weather pretty much stayed the same through to Sunday. Their spirits were not dampened by this and in fact a senior RAF officer commented at the time that he had witnessed more stamina in them than some of the RAF pilots on escape and evasion exercises. Now we are looking forward to our annual camp when we go to Wathgill, North Yorkshire, for a week at the end of the academic year. Once again, cadets will be able to practise their military skills, drill, patrolling, shooting, signals training, Canadian canoeing and kayaking, archery, raft building, hill walking and climbing. During the time we are there, we hope to visit some of the local sites, one of them being the largest garrison to be built since Aldershot, Catterick. We
Navy Training Christopher Chan, Year 9, 2nd from left.
The CCF were granted a warrant to light a beacon in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at Noctorum Field on Monday 4 June. After the National Anthem, the beacon was fired at precisely 2210 hours.
will then do a quick changeover and the next day our shooting team of eight will be making their way to the prestigious shooting ranges at Bisley to take part in the National Target Rifle Shooting Competition. We will re-form in September when the biennial inspection by a senior RAF officer takes place in order to confirm that the Contingent is working to the standards that are required for funding by the MOD. Captain Alan Joseph, BEM, CCF Contingent Commander Army In June, 10 junior cadets from both the Army and RAF sections of Birkenhead CCF took part in a military skills competition at St Bees School in Cumbria. Upon arrival late Friday evening, the cadets had to swiftly construct their tents to get out of the rain as quickly as possible. Rising early on Saturday morning to get started on the day’s activities, their spirits were not dampened by the persistent rain. The two teams performed well in tasks including: shooting; first aid and mountain biking, with the A Team coming second at the patrolling stand and third in Skill at Arms. The torrential rain let up in the afternoon, giving the cadets a welcome chance to dry off. After a final night in their tents, Sunday morning saw another early start, followed by a tug-o-war competition between all teams in attendance. Our B team performed well here, beating numerous tough opponents to the Plate Award. After the presentation of awards, they returned home, exhausted but still smiling after an unforgettable weekend. 2nd Lieutenant Sophie Macaulay
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Photos: 1 the Cadets outside St Bees Chapel, 2. On exercise ‘enemy observation’ in the foreground cadets Otto Dawes, Ali ElSheikh, Lance Corporal Patrick Doyle 3. Second Lieutenant James Barnes, OB, Cadets’ Officer, Lieutenant Libby Anderson (now with the Intelligence Corps in York) and Alan Joseph at the torch relay through Wrexham.
‘Rain, rain go away’ and please save Mr Lytollis from any more headaches! Like many other clubs and schools, the cricket season has been decimated by rain in biblical proportions. As a result, numerous Saturday fixtures have been cancelled, causing Mr Lytollis mobile practically to overheat on match day mornings and even the day before. In the Cheshire Cup, most matches had to be re-scheduled but, at the time of writing, both the U13s and U14s had reached the semifinals. The U12s, led by the School's cricket professional, Graeme Rickman, lost just one fixture by only 3 runs, which was at the quarter-final stage of the Cheshire Cup against an evenly matched King's Chester. The team was well led by Armand Rabot, who also won selection into the Cheshire West U13's squad along with George Wild. Again, the U13s had a successful season winning all of their matches. They played some attacking cricket and showed the importance of having a strong fielding game. Proudly, the team this year featured three representative players with Ashley Watkins selected for Cheshire U13's, and Callum Andrews and Elliott Bainbridge for Cheshire West. Mr McKie's U14s again played consistently well, astutely led by Dominic Smith. Will Brewster’s promotion to the 1st team gave the opportunity for others to perform; among them were James O’Neill, Max Shah and Callum Rooney. Both Dominic and Will Brewster were selected for the Cheshire West U15s team, managed and coached by Graeme Rickman. What was forecast to be a challenging year for the U15s, turned out to be far more successful than expected with more matches won than lost. Notable performances came from captain Ben Unsworth, Dan Walker, Tommy Keenan and Thomas Cornall. Ben was also picked in the District U15s team alongside Dominic Smith and Callum Rooney. All three were later selected to play against the MCC, as well as James O’Neill from the U14s. On a June day, the School was blessed with rare sunshine as it hosted its annual fixture against a strong MCC XI captained by Phil Davis, father of former pupil Ashley Davis. Ashley has recently been selected to play in Somerset's 2nd XI. As is expected, the MCC batted first and posted a
School 1st XI v MCC total of 215. Pick of the School's bowlers were Dan Quinn, Callum Rooney, Captain Ollie Hearn and Tom Swift. In reply, the School started well with a fifty from Alex Watkins (52) and 26 from a watchful Dominic Smith, belying his 14 years. Ollie Hearn made a fluent 36 and, in the latter part of the innings, Dan Quinn hit a quick-fire 40 as the School settled for a draw just some 30 runs short of their target. Despite all the frustrations with the weather, the School can be extremely proud of the efforts made by all the teams, and especially the 11 boys and 1 girl who have won representative honours. In the Prep, three boys won full county honours with the Cheshire U11s - Jack Corran, Dan Cooke and Toby Brown; we look forward to watching their progress as they come through the School. It was noticeable that the 25 boys and girls who attended Cheshire Cricket Board training in the winter regularly put in some excellent performances for the School. Ashley Watkins was selected to play for Cheshire Under 13’s, Annabelle Mills was selected to play for Cheshire Girls’ Under 15’s, Ben Unsworth, Dominic Smith and Will Brewster were selected for West Cheshire Under 15’s, Armand Rabot, George Wild, Callum Andrews and Elliot Bainbridge were selected for West Cheshire Under 13’s. Particular thanks most go to the Estates staff for their continued hard work in ensuring the best possible wickets and outfield - despite all the rain. We were grateful that neither the covers nor sight screens sailed away never to be seen again! Graeme Rickman, Cheshire Cricket Board Coach Education Manager
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
From the Rugby Tour to Namibia 2010 2011-12 was a very successful season for many of our rugby teams and indeed our individual players. The 1st XV led by example, winning well over half of their matches. There were many highlights, including excellent Daily Mail Cup victories against local rivals Wirral GS and St Anselm’s College. The team’s success was based on a fast, mobile pack and ‘fleetfooted’ backs, who moved the ball well in attack and generally defended soundly. The side was inspirationally led by hooker Oliver Hearn, ably assisted by centre Sam Corlett, both of whom were selected for England Independent Schools; the latter also being a North of England trialist. Several other players gained county recognition which bodes well for next season. Competition for places for the 1st XV is key to having a successful team and this comes from having a competitive 2 nd XV. Whilst unable to repeat the results of the previous season, the team fared well, particularly early on, before injuries in both 1 st XV and 2nd XV depleted the ranks somewhat. Amongst the junior sides, the Under 13s must take pride of place, winning all but two of their matches. Rarely have I encountered a team with so much passion for the game. Many of the players appear to live and breathe rugby during the winter terms, before turning their attention to cricket in the summer with the same degree of enthusiasm. It is also rare for the School to have such a
Photo l to r: Sophie Hatherly, Ellie Durband, Millie James and Lucy Rogers.
Page 20 physically large and powerful side, something that the team used to their full advantage against many opponents. Perhaps the highlight of the season was the victory against St Ambrose College, as they were the only team to beat us at Under 12 level. As befits such a strong side, several players gained district honours and congratulations go to Will Grabe, Gabriel Johnson-Aley, Tom Cottier, Oliver Pearson, Elliot Bainbridge and Aaron So. The performances of the Under 12s surpassed expectations, particularly during the early part of the season. Victories against Hutton G. S. and St Anselm’s College gave the team great confidence as it approached its nemesis, Merchant Taylors’ School, a team which defeated them by more than 60 points in the Prep. Playing away from home, the team played magnificently to triumph 22-14. Without doubt, the highlight of the season. As is often the case at Under 14 and Under 15 level, our teams discovered that size really does matter. The Under 14s generally coped well with opponents who were often much bigger and stronger than themselves and won half of their matches. However, the real disparity occurred at Under 15 and our boys spent most of their season tackling opponents who were often 15-20 cm bigger, a task they did with great determination. Victories were few but always well deserved and, in time, many of the team will go on to play 1st XV rugby. Both Patrick Doyle and Dominic Maddox are to be congratulated on their selection for Cheshire Under 15s as well as Ben Unsworth, Tom Cornall and Dan Walker who played for West Cheshire under 15s. Owen Morris, Will Brewster, Max Shah, Josh Gibson, George Kirkby, Tom Simpson and Ben Corlett were all selected for West Cheshire under 14s. All in all it has been a most enjoyable season for all of the coaches. For those players moving on we wish you every success and for those returning in September remember to return faster, stronger and fitter than ever before ! R Lytollis, Head of PE and Games
MetroGirls Lacrosse was established in 1996 for the purpose of organising tours on a multi-club basis and strengthening the game and playing skill in the North of England. Girls spend time in the summer in the USA, specifically Annapolis in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on an exchange basis. The girls are chosen from various Lacrosse Clubs across the North of England. Sophie, Ellie, Millie and Lucy have been chosen to go from Wirral Lacrosse Club for the 2012 Tour to Anne Arundel County. Throughout the 2 weeks MetroGirls will be playing a full schedule of lacrosse at the invitation of local community teams who will also host them. This will be interspersed with some pleasure! - group visits to Washington, Annapolis, the Navel Academy and Hersey Park, as well as enjoying activities with their host families.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
1 For three days in May, the newly refurbished Bushell Hall had another ’makeover’; this time it was transformed into the magical island of Never Land. With the newly installed ‘black box’ in situ, the stage was set for the latest in the School’s series of dramatic productions - J M Barrie’s Peter Pan, directed by Ms Smeaton and Mr Smale, with the assistance of Harriet Feeny. The play tells the story of Peter Pan, a mischievous little boy who can fly, and his adventures on the island of Never Land with Wendy Darling and her brothers, Michael and John, the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, the Indian princess Tiger Lily, and the pirate, Captain Hook. The cast was taken from a pool of BS talent ranging in age from Year 7 all the way through to Sixth Form, and also included an outsider from a separate species. The main roles were: - Ben Hillyer as Peter Pan, Phoebe James as Wendy, Matthew Oulton as Michael, Theodore Roberts as John, Alex Karus-McElvogue as Captain Hook and Sam Davies as Smee. The large cast list contained varied roles ranging from mystical mermaids to Tiger Lily’s tribe of Indians and Captain Hook’s fearsome pirates. To pick out single performances from such a strong cast would be wholly unfair. However, a small number of acknowledgements should be made - Ben Hillyer and Phoebe James, for example, whose interaction on stage was a joy to behold. Ben, who has become a regular figure in School plays, was Peter bringing to the role a character brimming over with fun and enthusiasm. Phoebe performed superbly in her Senior School debut. A particular mention must also go to Fred, the Sturgesses’ family dog, who played the role of Nana with the ease someone born to lap up the limelight on stage. The penultimate contribution to School drama by the self-proclaimed ‘Dream Team’ (Tom Beaumont, Sam Davies and Chris Morris) once again yielded high quality musical and technical performances, whether that be the ‘confident and assured’ performance of Tinker Bell, the soaring ad lib piano and clarinet solos or the atmospheric and ‘impressive’ light show. Playing the part Noodler in the play, Luca Galvani (following in the footsteps of his brother) had also composed an original score for the play, which he performed accompanied by Sam Davies and Tom Gibbs (both also had parts in the play).
Photos:1,2,3: In the nursery; 4: the Indian tribe and 5: the lost boys.
Once again Mr. Blain and the Art Department dedicated hours and hours to the production of the mesmerising set, along with the D.T. Department who constructed the ferocious, mechanical crocodile. As in many other School productions, the costumes were truly spectacular and were designed and created by Gaynor Lynch, whose expert costume-making services we are so lucky to have available to us. Thank you too to Mr Allister for once again managing the front-of-house and the tickets, and to those who assisted with stage management and the construction of the set. The play was extremely well received, with audiences on each night describing the whole thing as ‘magical’ and ‘enchanting’ and commenting on the high quality of acting, as well as admiring the wide range of ages working together. It is safe to say that the future of School drama is in safe hands with over 50% of the cast in Years 7-9. Chris Morris, L6
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Each year the Art Department exhibits students’ A Level and GCSE work and each year there are some exceptional pieces. This year Mr Blain, Head of Art, held an exhibition of some of his own work. A percentage of his sales were donated to ‘So the Child May Live’, the Liverpool charity supporting Kanti Children’s Hospital in Kathmandu.
1: Newspaper Waterfront - Aran Byers GCSE, 2: Bridge - Deven Darshane GCSE, 3: Olympian - Michael Canner A2, 4: Composition - Marco Galvani AS, 5: 9/11 - Tom Dodds A2, 6: Green Landscape - Stanley Billington GCSE, 7: Church - Marco Galvani AS, 8: Woods - Jamie Russell AS, 9: Thorn - James Knight A2
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
I’d like to say that on the morning of our Prep pageant to celebrate 60 glorious years’ reign of Queen Elizabeth the sun shone brightly, but unfortunately that would be gross exaggeration! The day dawned grey, miserable, cold and damp and it didn’t get any better with torrential rain reaching us just in time for our parade and tree-planting ceremony. But the show went on and, despite being soaked, we all managed to have a great time and the celebrations went with a swing. Games, party tea and six massive Union Jack cakes ensured that a good time was had by all. And in true British spirit, the Queen herself soldiered on down the Thames, in equally adverse conditions, on her own special day - so I felt truly royally connected. Many thanks to you all for your participation in the event with excellent costumes and scrummy party food. The day was memorable and I know will be remembered long into our children’s future. Janet Skelly, Headmistress of the Prep
The wet weather didn’t dampen staff spirits!
The Biology Department were pleased to announce the medal winners of the BioChallenge 2012. Over 30,000 pupils nationally took the test from Year 9 and 10. A number of the award winners were invited to a ceremony in London.
Isabelle Brown Amy green Ross Hepton Thomas Keenan Siân Round Andrew Sherman Matthew Williams
Undeterred by the weather, Mrs Skelly plants the Diamond Jubilee tree.
Prep girls in the pink!
Which is the cardboard cut-out?
AnasAhmed Charlotte Dowling Sam Gavin-Pitt Harri Jones James O’Neill Max Shah Lewis Tran Dan Walker
Matt Corlett, Jed Coughlan, Patrick Doyle, Daniel Formston, Jordan Hart, Kyle Ho, James Hussey, Owen Morris, Harry Knowles, Ece Mert, James Mitchell, Thomas Wood, Ben Unsworth, Rebecca Goodall.
Casha Anderson, Natalie Jones, Maro Kyriacou, Ben Lawrie, Charlotte Major, Dominic Smith, Matt Wright
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Pictured are some of our talented pupils who have passed examinations of the Royal Schools of Music during the 201112 academic year. We are delighted to report a 100% pass rate in a wide variety of instruments at levels ranging from the Preparatory Test (pre-grade 1) to Grade 8. Congratulations go to the following: INSTRUMENT
Photo L to R: Young Musicians who have been successful in their ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music) examinations during the 2011-12 academic year. L to R: Christopher Lansdown, Yr 7, Matthew Oulton, Shikhar Kumar, George Wild, Adrian Dyu and, playing the violin, Armand Rabot. (In the table opposite, column 3 refers to the Grade and column 4, the level of pass - pass, merit or distinction.) P= Preparatory test. I Nolan
Congratulations to Ralph and Elizabeth Barlow on the birth of their son. Joshua Paul Barlow was born at 5am on 10 July, weighing in at 5lb 5oz. A brother for twins Lucy and Oliver who were born on 31 August 2010. Mum and second son both doing well. Ralph Barlow is Deputy Head (Academic) and Musical Director of BarLine and Chapel Choir.
GRADE (P = Preparatory Test)
B FLAT CORNET
B FLAT CORNET
B FLAT CORNET
B FLAT CORNET
E FLAT HORN
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Batman splits from Robin! Dennis Highcock, Head of Physics, and Ken Jones, Physics Technician, first started working together in 1979 at Wirral Metropolitan College at the Carlett Park site. After a short break when Dennis moved to the School in 1997, the d yn a m i c duo were reunited when Ken joined us in 2000. Just like the fearless crime fighters, their everyday personas belie the true qualities which lie beneath. Dennis may appear to be a silly old bumbler, whilst his side kick is horizontally laid back, but the truth is that they are an excellent team. Ken’s lightening efficiency is the perfect match for Dennis’s knowledgeable, thoughtful and pragmatic approach. As the partnership comes to an end when Dennis retires this summer, we can look back on his achievements through comments made by his loving colleagues. As a younger man, Dennis played football (badly), rode a BSA motorbike (that frequently wouldn’t start), and fell off a ladder breaking both his wrists (causing difficulties with personal hygiene). He has coached Rugby Union (using Rugby League tactics), been a form tutor (to tutees that were frequently in the wrong place at the wrong time), made outrageously provocative sexist statements (at a time when co-education was being established) and refereed House 5-a-side football (and, as one pupil put it “he cannot be serious!”). It is clear that Dennis is not one to ‘toe the party line’ so his appointment as Head of Physics was a surprise to some. However, he quickly proved that he really ‘knows his stuff’, and delivers it in a unique style that challenges students to think for themselves. Above all, he has the personality to work with a range of colleagues, both giving and accepting advice without causing or taking offence, a remarkable skill. Physics teachers are notorious for their eccentric ways and Dennis has allowed them to flourish to the benefit of their students. We say farewell to a fine teacher and good-humoured colleague whom I feel fortunate to also call a good friend. But the friendship is not good enough to resist one more humiliating story! As part of the Professional Review, teachers have a lesson observed by their line managers. Dennis was demonstrating an induction coil’s ability to heat an iron nail to red heat. He did so brilliantly and, with his usual infectious enthusiasm, then went on to pick up the nail which by now was no longer red hot but far from room temperature. Dennis continued his lesson with a fixed smile but a smell of crispy bacon wafted round the room. The students were unaware of his suffering but we who were observing realised his plight and chuckled quietly! Dennis, thank you for making us laugh and may your glass always remain half full. M Hayward (Head of Science)
Bushell Hall has already been the venue for several productions and events since its refurbishment was completed earlier this year. Photo above: the very successful Sportsman’s Dinner, with special guest Bill Beaumont (inset) was held there at the end of March, raising £9K for the Hockey tour to South Africa this summer.
20 of the 21 students who began their education in Reception 14 years ago and who will leave Birkenhead School this summer at the end of Upper Sixth paid a nostalgic visit to Little School just before they went on study leave. On their last day of formal timetable before the countdown to their A2 examinations next month, they went on a trip down memory lane with their teachers from Prep – Mrs Winn, Mrs Belchier, Mrs Mills and, of course, Mrs Skelly. Revisiting their old classroom, they did some phonetics practice with Mrs Winn and donned Prep caps which were lent to them by boys currently in Year 6.
The survivors with Mrs Winn and the ‘new kids’ outside Little School.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Craft work: l to r Elliott Casey, Nikolai Baron and Jamie Johnston - all in Yr 7.
The last two days of the summer term saw Mr Blain’s legendary Inter-Form Competition make its return to Overdale. For the last few weeks of term, Years 7 and 8 have been raiding recycling bins at home and gathering together all the cardboard, paper, sticky tape, wood, plastic and tools they could find. On Monday morning, the two-day competition started with a rally in Bushell Hall. Mr Blain explained that each form would have to make and demonstrate a moving vehicle and a flying craft, design a Form coat of arms and create a paper tower on which a tennis ball would balance. In addition to these practical tasks, each Form would need to re-write Coat of Arms the lyrics to a pop song and prepare for a talent contest which would take place in the Prep Hall on Tuesday afternoon. Throughout the competition, Mr Blain visited each Form Room and assessed how well each group was working, awarding points for things such as organisation and teamwork. In spite of the chaos and excitement, it was clear that most Forms were working well together and organising themselves successfully to complete all their tasks in the allotted time. 7SNM were preparing well for all aspects of the competition and we were particularly delighted that Elliott Casey was able to join his Form, making significant contribution to that Form’s moving vehicle and impressive coat of arms. Having said that, one of the most striking coats of arms was produced by 8SWC (see photo). On Tuesday morning outside Overdale, there was a queue of pupils waiting to put the finishing touches to their inventions. The most popular source of fuel for the moving vehicles was Coke and Mentos, but our advice for any budding inventors is that this does NOT work, and we have video evidence to prove it! By 9am, everyone was ready to demonstrate what their vehicles could do. There were a few question marks over whether 8REL’s shop-bought boomerang should be allowed, but everyone was certainly impressed when their rocket flew beyond the playground’s fence. In spite of some good efforts from 7MAT, their flight craft ended up getting stuck in the trees. Tuesday afternoon’s talent competition got off to a similarly flying start when Tom Wimpenny treated us to a rendition of recent chart hit Firework to gain points for 8LDS. The
The Magic Show: Jonathan Mansfield, Yr 8, and Alex Gazvani, Yr 8.
Britain’s Got Talent style judging panel was particularly impressed by his confidence. Other highlights included a sketch called Finlay Gordon Hotel Washington, in which Finlay Gordon Yr 8 played a Spanish hotel manageress called Teresa Washington. Finlay was really rather convincing in his kitten heels and curly wig, and seemed quite disappointed that there would be no opportunity for another drag act on the final day of term. Jordan Hayward bagged a good number of points for 7SEB when he made some impressive shapes in an amazingly energetic and accomplished street dance performance. Despite this being a competition and the excitement being cranked up ever higher by the ebullient Mr Blain, it was good to see Jordan Hayward’s, the inter-form support. You could almost Yr 7, amazing street dance. feel the collective goodwill of the audience toward their classmates in the spotlight on stage. At the end of the competition, the judges made their final calculations and Mr Blain announced the winners of the 2012 Inter Form Competition and Mr Lytollis (8REL) and Miss Mason (7SNM) were delighted as their forms were announced as winners. C Rimmer
Mr Blain presents the prizes to the winning act - l to r: Theodore Roberts, Charlotte Steere and Grace Edwards all in Yr 7.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Waiting to go in outside Bushell Hall.
Little School concert ‘The Olympic Adventure’ was a great success. Despite having to practise inside various venues because of the bad weather, we had a superb performance in Bushell Hall. Children from Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 travelled ‘back in time’ to 776BC when the first Olympic Games took place in Greece and learnt about the origins of some of the games. We then returned to modern-day London where we witnessed the 2012 Olympics. Even the ‘Queen’ came to open our Olympics. The dancing, singing and acting by children aged only from four to seven years-old was fantastic and made us very proud of our children. C Winn and the Little School team
The tortoise and the hare. Tabitha Bevan and Sam Dyson
Master of ceremonies, Oliver Griffiths, awarding the laurel leaves.
Competitors: Max Hendry - football, Freddie Spooner canoeing, Agatha Boardman - cycling and Ewan Duncan - tennis.
HM The Queen Amy Hope-Thompson
Kareem Ahmed, Alexander Williams and Sophia Campbell sing the National Anthem. Olympic ring dance
Sasha Seppi - oath reader
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
The Parents’ Association is a group of parents who meet each term with the purpose of organizing fun events that also add to the community spirit of School life and ultimately raise funds to buy additional items which will benefit our children. As we come to the end of the School year, we would like to update you on what we have done over the last 12 months and the events we have planned for the coming academic year. 2011 was a low-key year for the PA. We did, however, continue with our smaller activities, which are becoming regular features in the School calendar. These have included Prep School Discos, the Bonfire Party, Christmas Bazaar and a recent addition to our activities, the Prep School Uniform Sale. Despite organising fewer events, we are proud to report that we have, nevertheless, managed to raise enough funds to make significant contributions towards the following items: A greenhouse and equipment for the Prep Gardening Club Stage curtains & stage lighting for Bushell Hall Playground equipment for Little School Kit for the Hockey Tour to South Africa Summer 2012 A TV Display Screen for Overdale Benches for McAllester Field A Baritone Saxophone The Parents’ Association AGM is held in January and this year we said goodbye to our Chairman, Kate Eugeni, and our Treasurer, Stuart Pilley, who have stepped down after several successful years. We would like to thank both of them for their hard work and for helping to build the PA into the success that it is. We are always looking for ways to improve the activities that we organise and to ensure that these are the type of events that you want us to hold. To this end, Mr Barlow kindly helped to produce an online survey which was sent to each family via email in April. Thank you to those who took the time to complete the survey. Overall the responses were positive and we have been given some new ideas to work with over the coming months. We are always looking for more ideas, more help and for you to come along and support the events we organise. All parents are welcome to attend any of our meetings, details of which can be found in the School Diary. Dates for your diary 5 October - Prep School Disco Years 3-6 12 October - Social Evening McAllester Pavilion 5 November Bonfire Party - Noctorum Field 17 November Christmas Bazaar Full details of these events will be published in one of the following ways: Letter in School bag for Prep School Emails to Senior School Notices on Playground Notice Boards in Prep On the School website - dates will be in the Diary and copies of the letters can be found in the “For Parents” Section. We hope that you can join us at one of these events or at our next meeting on Tuesday 11 September 2012 at 7:30 in the Meeting Room above Senior School Library Denise Durband Chair
2012 has been a year of celebration with both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London 2012 but the events don’t stop there. On 17 November, Birkenhead School and the 20 th Birkenhead Scout Group will hold their 60th Christmas Bazaar and we hope to make this even better than before! The Bazaar is one of the biggest events on our fundraising calendar and pulls together parents, staff and pupils from the whole School community to create a fun day for all. All donations are always appreciated and the profits from the Bazaar are split 50/50 between the Parents’ Association and the 20th Birkenhead Scouts who are based in the Scout Hut at McAllester Field. Anything we do not sell is passed to other charities and in 2011 we helped to raise funds for Claire House, who had a stall at the Bazaar; 10th Birkenhead Scouts, who took our unsold books; and Stick and Step, a local charity for children with Cerebral Palsy, who had our unsold toys and bric-abrac. Unsold cuddly toys were sent to a charity providing Christmas presents for children in Eastern Europe. We are always looking for new ideas and for willing helpers to assist with either setting up the Bazaar or running a stall on the day. If you cannot help on the day, we will be asking for items to be donated during November. Please would you also bear the Bazaar in mind when you are sorting through your cupboards and storage spaces this summer? If you own a business and would be willing to donate a prize for our Grand Raffle, it would be a great help to us. We will hold our first meeting on Monday 17 September in the School Library and thereafter on a fortnightly basis until the date of the Bazaar. We would love to see you at any of these meetings or to hear from you via email, if you have any ideas for fundraising or you would like to offer your services or help. Denise Durband
Yvonne Hazelhurst email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Bazaar Committee
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Did you know, many of the resources we use nowadays create a dangerous and unsustainable amount of pollution and that trying to dispose of them in a way that doesn’t damage the environment is becoming more difficult? Taking this as our theme, Year 10 students (those who were not away on the battlefields trip) took part in a Dragons’ Den day; Mr Rule set us the task of inventing a piece of technology to make our homes more environmentally sustainable. We were split into two groups and had to come up with a piece of technology that could reduce household waste and contribute towards sustainable development. Then we had to produce, present and market it. We could create a completely new product or alter and improve an already existing one. The morning was spent on researching the types of waste in the home, using the Library’s resources. Then we had a brainstorming session and discussed how our ideas might be put into practice to create potential products. Once the team had agreed on their product, it had to split into three sub-groups with one focusing on creating the prototype, another focusing on an advertising poster and the remainder working on the presentation. The second phase of the task was budgeting for our product and ordering basic equipment and materials, such as felt, fabric, paper and cardboard, in order to make our prototypes. Taking a rest from the main task, we all took part in the ‘great egg drop’. For anyone who hasn’t done this before, it is a challenge that involves creating a contraption which protects an egg when it is dropped from a height, such as the top floor of a building. We were allowed to use everyday materials such as balloons, lollipop sticks and sellotape. There were some very original and inventive creations that seemed to work very effectively, including James Mitchell’s ‘suspension system’, with the egg cocooned inside a heavily sellotaped cup surrounded by impact zones in the shape of balloons. After the drop, the contraptions were judged by Mr Rule, and his score for each would be added to the scoring for our new environmentally friendly products. After lunch, we got down to making our posters and prototypes, polishing up our presentation scripts. The presentations incorporated the key elements of the products’ marketing and demonstrated the ‘Four P’s’ -
price, product, placement and promotion. All these tasks had to be completed before the deadline of 3 pm, when we had had to present our products to the Dragons: Mrs Reeve, Mr Barlow and also ‘Lord Rule’. Both teams concentrated on reducing water wastage, because research shows that, in the UK, approximately 160 litres are wasted per person a day, adding up to a massive 58000 litres each person wastes annually. One team came up with the idea of a ‘green gutter’, a mechanism that catches and collects rainwater then uses it to turn small turbines inside the gutter to generate electricity. The other team ‘pitched’ their aqua-converter to the Dragons. It was a device with the potential to be built into a water system which again uses the kinetic energy of water to produce electricity. Both products were manufactured very well and showed potential in the marketplace. By 3.30pm, it was up to the dragons to decide which team would be crowned the winner. After a rigorous evaluation of both projects which was based on feasibility, the quality of work from each sub-group and the teamwork within the groups, the ‘Aqua-Convertor’ came out on top by a four-point margin. The winning team’s prize was a large box of ‘Celebrations’, whilst the runners-up received a smaller box of ‘Heroes’ for their efforts. The great thing about this challenge was the fact that splitting us into sub-groups allowed everybody to focus on their strengths but re-forming into a bigger group also gave everybody a true sense of teamwork. The Dragon’s Den challenge was run as a trial this year but, since it was very enjoyable and whetted our appetites for Economics and Business Studies at A level, I think that it is safe to say that it will be repeated for next year’s Year 10. We would like to thank Mr Rule for organising such an inspiring and successful event, Mrs Reeve for helping throughout the day and Mr Barlow for contributing with constructive criticism about our products. Anas Ahmed and Andrew Sherman, Year 10
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Old Birkonian Society
SUMMER 2012 Issue No. 54
The Lodge . 58 Beresford Road . Oxton . Wirral . CH43 2JD. Tel: 0151 651 3015 www.obs.org.uk
Taken during the recent match 1st XI v MCC
The Old Birkonian Society, through its officers, acts as Trustee of the Birkenhead School Endowment Fund. The Fund has provided many grants to the School over the years to assist in structural renovations and improvements although, with the abolition of Assisted Places, the focus of the Fund has moved towards providing bursary and scholarship support. Whilst the Endowment Fund is a separate registered charity, its prime purpose is to support the School, which itself has charitable status. Many of you will appreciate that there has been a lot of public debate over the last few years as to whether schools which only offer privately funded education can truly be said to be charitable. The loss of charitable status to most public schools would be catastrophic and would be likely to lead to a very significant increase in fees and possibly closure. The knock-on effect would mean that the Charitable Trusts which were created to support the School would no longer be able to do so! Most public schools have been addressing these issues in a number of ways, but the main litmus test being used is the percentage of pupils who obtain some form of bursary or scholarship support. The Endowment Fund is playing an important role which adds to the support from the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust.
This is a theme that John Clark addressed when I attended a recent Welcome Back Dinner hosted at the School. Whilst it was fascinating to catch up with people you have not met for 40 years or so and indeed mix with a number of people from other years who also attended the same event, the common underlying factor was a great belief in the quality of education the School has consistently delivered. Many of those attending had the benefit of either a Direct Grant or Assisted Place and felt that as much encouragement as possible should be given to ensuring that the Schoolâ€™s long-term future remains secure. Many Old Birkonians have left generous legacies to both the Endowment Fund and the Foundation Trust and the School and the Society will be taking further measures in the near future to celebrate existing support, and encourage and educate people to help support the Schoolâ€™s future. On a personal note, this is a time for reflection. My younger child has just completed his A levels, having started at the school 14 years ago. During that time, I have seen the school maintain its high academic and pastoral standards and, with some parental support, develop a constant stream of well rounded and well educated and balanced individuals! Many challenges lie ahead for both my son and the School but I am certain that the grounding and support the School has offered will leave him in a far better place than many others to pursue his future career options and all that life will throw at him. Mark Feeny
OBS The spiralling costs of postage have led the OB Society to review the distribution of the magazine to its Members. Next year, we are considering an E-version available on the OB website instead. Please let us know if you prefer to continue receiving a printed copy by writing to the Alumni Office at The Lodge, 58 Beresford Road, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 2JD, telephoning O151 651 3007 or emailing email@example.com.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
At the WBD for the Leavers 76/77 & 86/87
A group of 70/71 and 80/81 Leavers on the tour before the WBD The Headmaster’s Welcome Back Dinners are proving a great success. So far, the fifteen Dinners held over the last two academic years have brought back about 400 former pupils and staff and prompted others who were unable to attend to get back in touch with the School. Spanning some 40 years, the Dinners have sometimes been a long trip down memory lane for those who have not been back since they left. John Clark’s tours have been one of the highlights - revisiting old classrooms, well-remembered landmarks, as well as forgotten corners of the campus. There were preconceptions about how the evening would be, a definite hesitation about coming, even a lack of enthusiasm.. It has been heartening that the response afterwards from those who have come back has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether it is the fine quality of Keith Watson’s catering, the bar, the good host or the general company which engender such successful evenings, it is hard to tell. However, some comments from those who were there may help to define it:
I did go and found it a surprisingly pleasant evening and I was glad to have gone, in spite of previous misgivings. Can we do it again, please? Alan Piper 1971 The photo walls are pure genius. This evening, I met my 17 year-old self again and it was strangely emotional. I think I located my School report comment. Brian Scoffield 1981 John Clark was a superb host and it was very good of him to indulge some of us in a trip down memory lane: I haven’t sung Jerusalem so loudly in years. Iain Brew 1986 I had a lovely evening and the food was sublime (we didn’t get dinners like that way back when). David Bolitho 1987 I think everyone agreed the evening exceeded all expectations. Michael Levitt 1987 and many, many more…
Stuart Haggett at the WBD for the 02/03 Leavers.
In 2012-2013 the Headmaster will invite Leavers from 1947-1967 to his Welcome Back Dinners. Dates will be posted on the School and OB websites.
At the first WBD in May 2010 for the Leavers 88/89
Former staff with the Headmaster at the 70/71 & 80/81 WBD. L to r: Keith Stevens, Harold McCready, Mike Hudson, Bob Birrell, John Clark and Jeff Millington.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Braving the cold at John O’Groats
It’s about 18 months since I had a notion: my sister and I would drive in my old MG from John O’Groats to Land’s End AGAIN, having done it already in 2008 and 2010, to raise money, and awareness, for the School’s 150th anniversary charities, and one more. I visited the charities and School several times, which made it so much more relevant somehow – to see it all happening first hand. You may recall from the letters we sent out, that these charities, all local, were: Save the Family Charles Thompson Mission Home-Start Wirral So the Child May Live A lot of the preparation involved countless letters and emails and phone calls to potential sponsors, including commercial organisations. Having done this side of the preparation, the car needed some attention. For those who are interested, it’s a 1969 MGC GT, the 3-litre version of the MGB, of which only 9,000 were made. Over the winter, it had its engine and gearbox rebuilt and then it had to be run in, so we went to all sorts of exotic places: Cleethorpes, Rhyl, Walsall – oh, we know how to live! Eventually, the time came for me to leave home! No, my wife, Kath, hadn’t kicked me out, though she’d had a lot to put up with during my preparations and was a tremendous help in the background. I left home in Bakewell for Poulton-le-Fylde, near Blackpool, where Gill Ward, my sister, lives. An ex-HighSchool girl, she would accompany me on the JOGLE. The car was going beautifully and it was a lovely sunny afternoon. Next day, after a final check – oil, water, tyres, etc. – we set off for the frozen north. Well, not actually frozen but very soggy north, I should say! It rained almost all the way to Inverness. We changed drivers at Tebay, then on via Penrith for a fill up. At 11.30am, as we entered Scotland, we had to put old towels in the front footwells because the car had started to leak in the heavy rain – part of the joys of owning an old car! This is what motoring used to be like nearly half a century ago – leaks, too much noise to hold a normal conversation, no dashboard clock, thermometer, cruise control, etc. - not even a radio in this one! Continuing over the Highlands, we stopped for a luxurious cuppa at House of Bruar, an up-market retail therapy place north of Pitlochry. Then we got stuck behind a Caledonian Sleeper carriage on a low-loader for miles and miles. We eventually passed it, only to get stuck again behind a yacht on a trailer – we decided it was the Boat of Garten, no doubt owned by Mr McNoah, bearing in mind the weather at the time! We dropped down from the mountains and the Moray Firth
Page 34 came into view, followed by Inverness itself. W e w e r e welcom ed at “Kemps” B & B – a lovely place to stay, which we would highly recommend. We walked into the city centre for a Driving through beautiful bite to eat and scenery on the Black Isle were surprised by the number of people out on a wet Thursday evening. Inverness is a lovely city and I made a mental note to come back to stay for a more relaxing visit sometime. After a hearty breakfast, we continued north to Chanonry Point on the Black Isle to watch the dolphins; it was pretty bleak, but there were dozens of them leaping around and about 20 hardy souls in anoraks braving the elements to watch them! We carried on to Dornoch, an attractive little town, for our picnic lunch. Dornoch has the smallest cathedral in S c o t l a n d , Outside the old jail in Dornoch apparently, but we couldn’t look round it because there was a wedding in progress. We then had a 2-hour drive through some wonderful scenery - except when we were up in the mist! – and stopped briefly in Wick to buy supplies for the big day. After a last 17-mile drive through a bleak, misty landscape, we arrived at John O’Groats at 4.30pm, only to find that the “official” photographer was not there. We took plenty of our own photos, then checked in at the Seaview Hotel. We got the start stamp on our log sheet which will enable us to get a certificate from the Land’s End John O’Groats Association in due course. After another check round the car - just a wee drop of oil and a bit of air in the tyres - we set the alarm for 3.15 am and got an early night. So, this was it! Before the crack of dawn in light drizzle, we drove along to the start point . With nothing else to do, we set off at 3.53am as a pair of curlews flew over to bid us farewell. Shortly after, we were lucky enough to see several deer, including two young stags, hopping over the fence and dancing across the road in front of us. A real treat. 6.25am saw us in Inverness for a quick fuel and comfort break and driver change. Gill steered us womanfully south through mist and drizzle then, after half an hour, we saw 10 minutes of blue sky. The weather really cleared just before 8.00am and we were already a quarter of the way there. We had a packed-breakfast stop just outside Perth, thanks to the Seaview Hotel. Another driver change and we came into awful torrential rain and spray until south of Glasgow. At 11.05am we passed Gretna Green and were
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Continued from previous page back in England. Have you ever noticed that, as soon as you come south over the border, the traffic gets much denser. Or is it the drivers?? Penrith was our next fuel stop, then on past Junction 37 for Kendal, our half-way point where it was dry but windy. A bit further on, Gill’s husband, Bill, along with their daughter and grandson, were on a bridge near Garstang, to wave us on our way. It bucked us up tremendously. Taking turns to eat while the other drove, we eventually cleared the jams on the M6, got onto the M5 and stopped in West Bromwich to refuel. Gill took over the wheel and, at 4.07pm, arrived at Michaelwood services, north of Bristol - our three-quarter marker. Hey, we’re doing OK! On down the M5, with a driver changeover at Taunton - there was no time to linger - we carried on in hot sunshine (hooray!) towards Cornwall, or Kernow in Cornish. As soon as we entered Kernow, the weather changed for the worse and got VERY WET! Then a fuel stop near Truro (each time we stopped for fuel we got our log sheet stamped). Sightseeing in Charlestown We drove on through the rain, past Truro, through Penzance (what a big county Cornwall is!) We were nearly there now, just keep going and…..wow!.....there we were in a howling gale and driving rain but we’d made it in 3 minutes inside 16 hours! My best time yet! Funny thing, through Devon and Cornwall we had been leapfrogging a motorcyclist who, we guessed, was doing the same as us. Indeed, we both arrived at Land’s End at the same moment – he had set off at 4.00 am as well. We got the last stamp on the log at the Land’s End Hotel, and checked in at our lovely B&B, Sunnybank in Sennen, where Eleni gave us a tremendous welcome. We had a celebratory dram of malt bought in Wick, ate our sandwiches and fell into bed, with the rain lashing on the windows. Next day, contrary to the forecast, was warm and sunny. We had
We made it! The picture everybody wants.
lunch with our cousin, Jane, in Truro, then had a look at Charlestown, near St Austell, and took pictures of the sailing ships in the harbour, then on to friends in Devon for the night. Monday was another sunny day and we made our way back up north for a family tea. After the rush-hour had died down, I bid them farewell and got home about 9.00 pm. The car went to bed in the garage and had a well-earned rest for the next week. It was really successful trip, in spite of the elements. The car went beautifully, with never a hiccup, returning over 30 mpg – not bad for a 43-year-old 3-litre car that the magazines say only does 17 mpg! The proceeds from sponsorship are not as high as I had hoped but I want to say a huge THANK YOU to those who have supported us so far. Thus far, I think we should end up with about a thousand pounds for each charity. But, please, if you have enjoyed reading about my trip and would still like to sponsor us, and provide muchneeded support for our School’s charities, it’s not too late! You can either use the form and prepaid envelope we sent out, or cut out the attached form and send it, with your contribution, to: JOGLE 2012, c/o the Lodge, 58 Beresford Road, Oxton, Wirral, CH43 2JD. Alternatively, pay online or at your local bank, using the following account details – but please, complete the donation form and return it, so we can reclaim the extra 25% tax back: Sort Code: 60-01-33 Account No.: 51126508 Account Name: JOGLE 2012 Rick Naylor, OB (1956-66)
JOGLE - supporting families everywhere Sponsor’s name:__________________________________________________ Address:_________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ Postcode:_______________
Cheques payable to: JOGLE 2012
Please tick if you are a taxpayer and would like us to claim tax from HM Revenue and Customs
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Matthew Alexander and his brother David visited the School in February to bring School memorabilia which his father had preserved to deposit with in our Archives. Matthew Alexander wrote: I attach a short biography of my father, who died three years ago. The School was a formative influence on him, and he described the moment, in the school library, that he realised the power of Dr Ken Alexander DPath FRCP literature and wished to FRCPath spend his life with it. (23 October 1921 - 28 August 2008) However, he had to content himself with a distinguished career in clinical medicine. Before he died, I recorded him recalling memories of his life: the schooldays among them. He played rugger to a high level and even boxed, but he was too slight a figure to have made much of an impact in either. One point is that one of the masters advised him to take a morning run each day. This he did for the rest of his life, and was 'jogging' long before the fashion started. While christened Matthew Kenyon Alexander, he was always known as Ken. His father was a Birkenhead dentist and his mother a flamboyant Australian, the widow of the captain of a sailing ship. Her tales of an outback upbringing and her life on board ship made a lasting impression on her son. She was a deeply moral woman, though not a religious one. It was as a schoolboy at Birkenhead that he first realised the power and the pleasure of writing, and formed the idea that he might spend his life in the academic world of literature. History, of course, had other plans for him. Soon after he left School, the Second World War broke out. His first instinct was to volunteer for the Air Force. Perhaps providentially, the RAF had already too many applicants and he was asked to come back later. His mother, however, insisted that he enrol as a medical student at Liverpool University. This would prevent him being called up for the armed services and she could keep him safely at home. In the event, not only he, but the entire city was threatened with violent death from German bombing. The first time the young medical students went off on the back of an army lorry to assist at the sites of bomb incidents, they sang frivolous songs as they rode along. The songs faded from their lips when they saw the destruction and the tears of those searching the rubble for the bodies of the dead. It was during this time that he first came across Pegi, a nurse at the Liverpool Royal Infirmary. The war was entering its final stages when Ken completed his medical studies. It seemed a natural progression to join the Royal Army Medical Corps and he was drafted to India as the war in the east was ending - though not before he had earned the right to wear the medals of those who had defended the free world from tyrants. By coincidence, Pegi also served in India, though they never met there. It was only after he had returned to England that they met again. Pegi was his Ward Sister at the Chester Military Hospital, and Ken realised that he was in love. He left the army and they
Page 36 married. They lived in Cambridge at first, where Ken trained as a pathologist, and there their first son, David, was born. Then Ken returned to the United Liverpool First left Ken Alexander on the 1937 Hospitals until the mid Coronation (George VI) Whole School 1950s, when he was photograph. appointed a consultant pathologist to the South Warwickshire Hospital Group. The family, now also including Matthew and Siân, moved to Stratford-uponAvon. His work involved most aspects of pathology, including post mortems, which he approached with professional detachment and his own gentle levity. His real specialism, though, was haematology. He did valuable research in this field, and was a pioneer in introducing computer techniques into laboratory procedures. Having said that, he was far more devoted to poetry, Labrador dogs, long walks and close friends. He liked people, and it was ironic that pathology is to a large extent medicine without patients. Haematology at least gave him access to real people, and his anticoagulant clinic was notorious for the overrunning of appointments as he chatted to his patients. By now, Mark, Laura and Lucy had joined the family, and he had struck up friendships among the Shakespearean actors and bohemian scholars who shared his enthusiasm for fine writing and the public houses of
A booted Brigadier F Latham, DSO, in the front left of the picture, watching the Birkenhead School team as they fired at the Annual Public Schools OTC Shooting Competition at Altcar Rifle ranges. Ken Alexander is the first in the foreground shooting.
Stratford. He discovered, perhaps belatedly, that he had a talent for writing verse. His poetry attracted critical attention, winning prizes and being published in anthologies. It reveals a humane mind, articulate and compassionate, but painfully aware of the transient happiness that is all that our mortality will grant us. His words remain as a testament of the curiosity he felt for the world around him, and the awe and the humour which it inspired in him. KEN ALEXANDER RECALLS HIS TIME AT BIRKENHEAD [Transcribed from a recording shortly before his death in 2008] I went to an infant school round the corner from our house – I’ve forgotten the name of the lady who ran it now – but then I
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 went to Birkenhead Preparatory School in 1929 when I was, what, eight I suppose and spent ten years going through from the Preparatory School to the Junior School to the Senior School. At that time, Birkenhead School was a small public school founded in the 1860s, I think. The Senior School, as I recollect … there were only a hundred and fifty of us - although now I gather it’s grown out of all proportion, a thousand or more (sic) - although our teaching was good. …. The only game I was any good at was rugby, simply because I had no co-ordination between ball and – you know, I couldn’t play tennis or golf; anything that involved your arm, your eye and your hands I was useless at. I don’t know why, but rugby you see was fine because it was a big ball: you couldn’t possibly miss it. … I did quite well actually; well, I got into the First XV, I got a trial for North of England Schoolboys (although they took me off at half-time). My main trouble was that I never grew big enough. I was what they called in those days a wing forward, so, I never grew much beyond five foot six and bit, and ten stone at best. Had I wished to continue my career in rugby, I’d have had to become a scrum half, I think. I probably would have made a reasonable scrum half, but I mean, all that went up with the war, of course. I didn’t play rugby … I played one match for the Old Birkonians when I was a medical student, but apart from that my rugby career finished in 1939. When I was fifteen, up to which time I had shown no interest in literature whatsoever, I was standing in the School library and I remember picking a book off the shelf and looking at it and it was The Decline and Fall of the Romantic Ideal by F.L.Lucas and I remember standing there and opening it and experiencing a, well it was a transforming experience… I can still see myself - I can still see the bookcase, and see where I was standing in relation to it - and I was spellbound and I realised that literature in a general sense, English Literature, was going to be a very important part of my life… In fact, when I eventually went up to read Medicine at Liverpool in September ‘39, I wasn’t particularly interested in what I was doing. Instead, I devoted myself to the study of English Literature and History, and Greek, oddly enough. At School, I had done Latin up to Fifth Form standards, but no Greek, and it was only in my third year of Medicine I thought, I’m missing something. So, I went back to my old Classics Master, Mr Hebblethwaite, who brought me up to about Fifth Form standard in Greek, and in fact a copy, the rather battered copy of Liddell and Scott; he gave it to me… Nearly everybody in my form - it was customary to join the OTC when you were about 13 or 14, but my mother was dead against that, but that was one thing that I really put my foot down about and eventually I did join the OTC. Our School Sergeant Major was a man called Charlie Jones, formerly of the Welsh Regiment, who’d been at Mons – he had the Mons Star, I remember. He was full of stories about the retreat from Mons. He was also a remarkably kind man. I went to two OTC camps and, I remember, at one of them I had a bout of gastroenteritis, I think. Of course, we were all tented; there were eight to a tent, I think. I remember Charlie Jones making bread and milk and coming along and feeding me, spoon-feeding me bread and milk, which I thought was a remarkably kind gesture on the part of a savage-looking creature with a great big scar down his cheek. Ken Alexander
Old Birkonian Society via our new website For a number of years now, you have been able to keep in touch with the School, the Old Birkonian Society and other Old Birkonians through Birkonians Connected, our Web Alumnus service. When we introduced this, social media were at an early stage of development and Friends Reunited was the dominant system with some 2000 OBs registered with it. It was hoped that these people would also sign up to a dedicated OBS site, and others, who felt Friends Reunited was too public, would join a secure OBS site. Initially the take up was good but since that time social networking has flourished and there are now many options to choose from. Recent school leavers are not signing up to the Web Alumnus service, preferring Facebook and LinkedIn, to mention but a couple of the options. A review of the web alumnus service has concluded that it is not providing the service anticipated at its onset and found that a better, more cost effective solution can be provided "in-house" and developed as the digital world changes. This has been made possible as part of a redesign of the OBS website using open source software. The site will allow users to submit news content with a photograph, via a moderator, and e-mail contact details etc. to the alumni office where the information can be added to the existing School management programme on the School's computer system. The site should also be accessible from various web enabled devices such as phones and tablets. This will allow the Society to contact members individually or as groups wherever they are. There will also be a facility on the OB site where members can list links to their social networking pages, should they wish to do so. It is hoped that this will be flexible enough to cater for existing and future sites. The new OB site has been launched at www.obs.org.uk You can update your details and you are welcome to add news items you think may be of interest to other OBs. This is your website and is there to keep you in touch with other Old Birkonians, the Society and the School.
Alumni Office The Lodge 58 Beresford Road Oxton Wirral CH43 2JD 0151 651 3007 firstname.lastname@example.org
Examining the targets after Cross-country: the shoot. negotiating the wall above Chapel
Teaching the boys Swedish drill
The start of a cross-country run
A gameof fives in progress.
A couple of boxers showing the younger end the finer points of the game whilst the Headmaster acts as critic.
From the Memorabilia of Ken Alexander, a cutting from the Sunday Graphic of 1 Feb 1931 entitled ‘The present trying to emulate the past at Birkenhead School’ . The text reads, ‘A School which has produced a Lord Chancellor and men successful in almost every profession has reason to be proud of its tradition, but the boys of Birkenhead School are not content to rest on the laurels of the past and to boast of them, but are ever striving to emulate the old boys. In the world of sport too Birkenhead boys have made their mark and 77 have represented their county.’
L: Captain of School N Marston and R: Captain of Rugby G H Jones
OTC on the rifle range.
Turning out for a game of rugby.
W F Bushell
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012 Page 38
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Laurance Ivor (Laurie) Rimmer, OB 1945-54, died on 31 May 2012, the day of his 77th birthday. He was a larger than life character from his early days at School where he excelled in all sports, was a Prefect and went on to Corpus Christi, Oxford, to read Geography He excelled particularly at Rugby, winning a Blue and subsequently playing for England five times. He became Headmaster of Framlingham College at the age of 35, overseeing many changes and improvements during his 18 years at the helm. He will be remembered affectionately by many OBs and, although living in the South of England, he was an active President of the Old Birkonian Society from 1996-99. Leonard Kirkham
Taken from Framlingham College news He was educated at Birkenhead School and as a young man did National Service in Cyprus, where he held a commission in the Intelligence Corps, before going up to Corpus Christi, Oxford, to read geography. He was outstanding in all ball games, but excelled most spectacularly at rugby, in which he won an Oxford Blue and was capped five times for England. After Oxford, Laurie was Senior Geography Master at Dauntsey’s School and Housemaster and Master i/c rugby at the Royal Grammar School, Lancaster. He was thereafter appointed Headmaster of Framlingham at the age of only 35, and his task was to modernise the College which had largely ignored the 1960s. The Labour Government’s policy on comprehensive education forced the College to surrender Direct Grant status, and the brave decision to go fully independent in 1974 was followed by a policy of full co-education, unusual at the time. An extensive building programme was undertaken and much of what the College takes for granted these days was part of Laurie’s vision. His four children, Shane, Drummond, Daniel and Arran were all educated at the College, and, with their mother Gillian, all enjoyed the period of Laurie’s headmastership. Since retiring, Laurie spent much of his time at Thorpeness, retaining much of his ebullience and charm until his later years were clouded by Gillian’s death and his own ill-health. Laurie will be remembered with affection by many generations of past College pupils, parents and staff, as well as many other friends in Suffolk and beyond.
Photos: 1. Going out to bat from BS Pavilion c1951; 2. c1951 boxing tournament against David Hope - LIR is on the right; 3: Laurie on the right at the England trials 5 December 1959, 4: Fives in the 1950s - standing are l to r George Porteous, Colin Cashin, Laurie Rimmer and Ken Abrahams, Centre is TIV Thomas, Captain; 5: Photo on his School record card; 6: Athletics - Laurie centre in conversation with Charlie Jones on the left and D Nesbit on the right; 7. England Rugby Team vs South Africa 1961 (Laurie is circled).
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
On 23 July 2011 Gregory Moore, OB 1998 - 2005, married Lisa Martin, a BHS girl, whom he met when they were both in the Sixth Form at their respective Schools. Greg went on to read medicine at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He was also awarded a Choral Scholarship, having been a stalwart of the Chapel Choir during his years at School. Apart from his studies and choral commitments at University, he was a member of the popular Fitzwilliam Barbershop singers. He is remembered at BS for his part in the first Jazz Evening, an event which proved so popular it has been repeated nearly every year since. He also acted in several his Collegeâ€™s spoof medical drama productions, as well as rowing in the Fitzwilliam College Eight which won the Bedford Head Race 2006. He graduated MB ChB, BA in 2011 and started working as a Foundation doctor at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in August 2011. Ultimately, Greg hopes to follow his Mum, Dr Julia Moore, one of the School Governors, into anaesthesia as a career. Lisa graduated from the University of Nottingham, also as a doctor, in 2010. The pair had spent five years commuting between Cambridge to Nottingham whilst undergraduates. Lisa too started working at the Royal Liverpool Hospital as a Foundation doctor and, after their marriage, rented a flat in Aigburth, to be near work. When Lisa starts GP training and Gregâ€™s training programme is also confirmed, they hope to move back to the Wirral. Then Greg may be enticed back to Andrew fielding for England v India Andrew Clarke, OB 2002-2009, is enjoying an unprecedented 4th year with the MCC Young Cricketers. Again, he was chosen as England's 12th man for the first test match against West Indies at the home of cricket, Lords, 17th - 21st May this year. He was selected because of his fielding abilities and has previously performed this role against Sri Lanka and India. This year, having earned his reputation as a fast bowler, he has turned his hand (literally) to bowling spin and spent a couple of weeks in Pune, India, during the winter to assist in the transition. He is developing several varieties of ball he can deliver but, owing to the atrocious summer weather, he has had little opportunity to put these into practice. The only way for a bowler to improve is to bowl in match conditions, but damp wickets and cancelled games have hindered his progress. His best performance so far this season was against Sussex, gaining 4 wickets for 22 off 4 overs.
Bowling spin against Essex
Belated congratulations to Andrew Lloyd, OB 1996-2003 and Anne Dickson, OB 2001-2003, who were married last summer. Andrew and Anne are not the only couple to meet at BS when they were students but are, perhaps, the first to marry. Annie wrote: We have both changed since our time at Birkenhead, but I'm sure that the two years that we spent together there gave us the strong foundation that enable us to grow and change together, and that has led to this long anticipated wedding (at least by our parents, after our nine years together!). I'd like to thank the members of staff who knew us while we were at Birkenhead for the support they offered us both. Since leaving BS their lives have been pretty varied. Andrew did a year in industry with Halcrow in Swindon, followed by an MEng in Engineering with Aerospace at the University of Nottingham. Annie did a BSC in Maths and an MSC in Elementary Particle Theory at the University of Durham. After university, they moved to Preston where Annie worked for BAE systems as a software developer and Andrew worked as an engineer for JBA Consulting in Warrington. They both moved south to Greenwich in November 2011 and now Andrew works for KMPG as a consultant and Annie for Autonomy as an IT consultant in London.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Paul Briscoe returned to School for his wedding to Hannah Beswick in Chapel last September. It was something of an OB reunion with four School friends their to support him on the day. In the photo above from left to right: Daniel and Dean Beswick (brothers of the bride), followed by Paulâ€™s friends from BS OBs Ian Reynolds (1989-1996), Paul Briscoe(1989-1996), Rob Hillock(1989-1996), Tegid Lewys-Lloyd (1991-1996) and Rob Oâ€™Keefe-Wilson (1989-1996). After Sixth Form, Paul went on to gain a 2:1 in History from the University of Liverpool in 2000 . He came back to School as a sports coach whilst completing his degree and stayed until he began his career in 2001 with Budweiser UK as a Territory Sales Manager. In 2005 he moved to Heineken UK as a National Account Manager and in 2008 to GlaxoSmithKline as a Sales Development Manager. Now he is Head of Customer Marketing at Halewood International, producers and distributors of wine, spirits and soft drinks such as Crabbies ginger beer, Lambs navy Rum and Tsingtao Beer.
Hannah and Paul leave Chapel after their marriage.
Captain Alan Joseph attended the passing out parade of Craftsman Matthew Swift, OB 2002-2010, recently. Matthew had just completed Phase One of his military training at Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, formerly an airfield. During World War II it served first as an RAF station and then as a bomber airfield of the USAAF Eighth Air Force. Now known as Bassingbourn Barracks, it functions as a Phase One recruit training camp and is home to Army Training Regiment Bassingbourn. A member of REME - the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers - Matthew now embarks on his Phase Two technical training at Allenby Barracks, Bovington, Dorset. Photos Above: Passing out parade Matthew circled; Right: Matthew with Captain Joseph.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Above: School 1957 Left: Dr Moreton today.
Dr Michael Moreton has spent well over forty years of his career working abroad, latterly as the International Medical Coordinator at the Bangkok Hospital Medical Centre. On completion of his medical training on Merseyside, he moved to Canada in 1966 for specialist training. He meant to stay for 3 years but ended up staying for more than 30. He specialised in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Montreal and spent more than 27 years in practice in Canada and the US. In 1997, quite out of the blue, he was offered the position of Chief of Women’s Health Care at a hospital being built in Beijing. He was the first foreign doctor to be licensed to practice freely in Beijing since the revolution 49 years earlier. He helped to create a clinic and hospital dedicated to providing medical care to the expat community. Previously Western mothers had left China to give birth in Hong Kong, which divided families at a crucial time. There were also many foreign men who had married Chinese wives and 20 per cent of births were cross-cultural babies. He became Dr Mike the Baby Doctor and travelled extensively in China lecturing and teaching in government hospitals or to deliver women with complications in pregnancy. He also headed a WHO project in Central Asia. In 2004 he was persuaded to move to Shanghai to repeat the experience. It is work Dr Mike finds hugely challenging but also immensely rewarding. The School caught up with him speaking in Shanghai at a meeting of British Medical Insurance people and persuaded to share some of his memories of his years at School. My family lived in Anglesey and I came to Birkenhead School in the Second Form. I was of course a boarder and lived in School House for six years. There were about forty boarders and, compared to life in many boarding schools, it was not a bad place to grow up. There was good comradeship and very little bullying. We were almost entirely self-regulating and rarely saw the House Master or Tutor. The food was surprisingly
Page 42 good but short in quantity; this was the 1950s when British food was often bland and tasteless but the House food was neither of those things. We spent far too much time in Chapel. Two Houses went each morning for twenty minutes, that meant each House went twice a week, there were evening prayers every night Monday to Friday and Matins on Sunday morning. Over three hours a week in Chapel! The School’s Masters were for the most part enthusiastic teachers and I remember many of them with affection and gratitude. There were two who had a profound affect on me and they were men who were diametrically opposed in their personalities and approach. I was fortunate that Arthur Green taught me History in the Second, Fourth and Fifth Forms. He taught History, not as a recitation of Dates Kings and Wars, but rather as a study of human behaviour. He did not lecture but rather taught by a system of discussion, questions and answers. He was provocative, challenging and was successful in his efforts to make us think and to form our own opinions about the accepted facts. It was essential to prepare before class, as you were expected to know the facts before the class began and to spend class time arguing about political and personal motivations. In the Sixth Form, he taught a hugely popular 'option' - Historical background to the News" and to this day, whenever there is a story from a foreign country, I go to the net and scan the history of the region for the last several hundred years, knowing that that will clarify understanding of the events of today. Arthur told us repeatedly -"if you don't know where you have been, there is no way you can know where you are going". He awarded me the Brassey Prize for History in the Fourth and Fifth Forms and nothing since has made me more proud. Charlie (The Yob) Jones was the Physical Education Master. As was the case in most schools then, he was a retired Sergeant Major from the Army - in his case, the Welsh Regiment. He was tough, demanding and at times brutal. School had very successful athletic teams and his technical coaching was superb. In my last two years, I ran the 220 yards (now 200m) and 440 yards (now 400m) for the School, the Town, and the 400m for Cheshire Schools and eventually the 800m for my University team and Northern Universities. I had some natural ability but it was the Yob who made me realize my potential. When he saw a boy running laps in the evening, he would shout, "Don't race, run with good style". We took this to mean that we should not concentrate on speed, but rather on the technical correctness of running. Later, on reflection, I realized that it had a deeper meaning. When you are racing, you are concentrating on the efforts of the other athletes; when you are concerned on running with good style you are focussed on your own performance. I have taken this as my life motto and have a sign in my medical office with those words written on it. To me it has meant practising good medicine and putting the care and safety of my patients before all other considerations. I also have good memories of George Willan, Geography; Joe Yelton, Biology; Les Hargreaves, English and Harold McCready, Physics. There is one School House memory. Every February, there was a Boxing Tournament. Every fit boy had to find another boy of the same height and weight and box a three-round match with him. Points were awarded for each match and they were added up and the average points obtained calculated to determine which House had won the Boxing Cup. School House won the cup every year but in my last year we had no option but to win because we had lost the Boxing Cup. So, on the Friday night, the show night, when all the psychopaths were fighting, we showed up with the Swimming Cup or the Long Jump Cup (I can’t remember which), handed the substitute to the Headmaster who promptly handed it back to us and we were safe for another year. The House would sit there shouting H-O-U-S-E- House, H-O-U-S-EHouse, all night. One year Headmaster Robinson handed us the cup and said, ‘The boys of School House have tonight showed us two of their abilities, not only they can box but they can also spell simple words.’ Michael Moreton, OB 1951-1957
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Page 43 suggested that this is where the name came from. Norman celebrated his 100th birthday on 1 April 2012 with a party at his home in Bertram Drive, Great Meols where he entertained his family and friends, including his M.P. Esther McVey, clad in a golden smoking jacket and a birthday cake hat. He will tell anybody who will listen - quite forcibly - that he is fine from the neck upwards but is in not such good shape below the neck. Colin Mawby
Dr NORMAN EARL MAWBY The School sends its good wishes to Dr Mawby, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Norman was born on 1 April 1912 at the home of his parents on Storeton Road, Prenton. He started school at Winchester House, Prenton, and in 1921, he went for an interview by the then Headmaster of Birkenhead School, a Mr Griffin. As he was only nine, he was given an oral test and was then admitted to the Big School – the only pupil in short pants! Kennard Davis was the Headmaster when he started at the School. His progress at the School was ‘scholarly’. He admits to being on the small side and a quiet lad and never took any leadership roles, nor did he excel in sport. He left the School in 1928 and, as he was too young to be admitted to the Medical School, he undertook additional studies in Physics at Liverpool University. In 1930 Norman was accepted at the Liverpool Medical School and, after time off to care for his father, he qualified as a Doctor in 1936 He joined a practice in Beaumaris, Anglesey, where he worked until being conscripted into the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Captain in 1941. He served in Malta for 3 years as Staff Surgeon Malta Command during the time of the convoys which were attacked by the Luftwaffe and U-boats, leading to many casualties. In 1944 Norman was posted to be the Medical Officer at the Advanced Handling and Fieldwork Training School at Llanberis where he served until de-mob in 1946. After a month in Beaumaris he accepted an appointment at a practice in West Kirby, where he quickly became a partner and spent the next 31 years caring for patients in the area. It is understood that he is responsible for delivering many of the babies born during this period in West Kirby. After retiring from the practice in 1977 he continued to practise medicine for a further 24 years – until the age of 89! In 1973 Norman and his wife Elizabeth, who died in 1998, established The Earl Mawby Trust in memory of their son David, also a medical student, who was killed in a car accident. The Trust makes some 70 donations a year to a wide variety of Charities. It has also funded a stained glass window in St Stephen’s, Prenton; Lady Chapel pews in St Andrew’s, West Kirby; and a carved doorway leading into the Lady Chapel at in St Hildeberg, Hoylake. How his second name ‘Earl’ arrived he is never sure. His father was in America shortly before the birth and it has been
The mid-morning break was occupied by a form of exercise and drill. One morning the last command was ‘Form Fours’. My companion on the left, Richards, should have moved, but he didn’t stir. I alerted him by tapping him on the leg with my right hand. As we walked away a Prefect named Noakes, a notorious bully, approached me and said: ‘Do me 100 lines for fooling on parade’. I explained my actions but he did not listen and instead proceeded to hit me about the head. Later in the morning, I received a message to report to the Prefects’ Room at 4 o’clock. At lunchtime, I told the story to my mother and found her waiting for me after School. She demanded an interview with the Prefects and then took me home. The Head Prefect, F.D.E.Smith, nephew of Lord Birkenhead, was seen rushing to the Headmaster’s house. Next morning, the Headmaster, Kennard Davis, came and told me that I must do 100 lines for disobeying a Prefect’s order. At that stage my father took charge. At a meeting with Kennard Davies my father said, ‘When my son hands in the lines in punishment, I will take legal action for assault on him.’ The lines were never done. NE Mawby June 2012 aged 100 years.
John Vater, OB 1982-1989, has been appointed to Queen’s Counsel this year. His School record card says he was a ‘decidedly buoyant’ character. Throughout his time at BS, he was a member of Chapel Choir and joined the Debating Society in the Sixth Form. After BS, John went up to St Peter’s, Oxford, to read Law. He received the Lord Justice Holker Scholarship for admission to the Hon Society of Grey’s Inn in 1992. Today John is a member of Harcourt Chambers and has established himself as one of the leading Juniors in the country in children’s law. Queen's Counsel (QC), are lawyers appointed by letters patent to be one of Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law. Queen's Counsel is a status, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the Bar of court. As members wear silk gowns of a particular design (see court dress), the award of Queen's Counsel is known informally as taking silk, and hence QCs are often colloquially called silks. Appointments are made from within the legal profession on the basis of merit rather than just a particular level of experience.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Steven Green (1967-1974) couldn’t make the Headmaster’s Welcome Back Dinner in May for the 1974 Leavers and sends his best regards to those who can still remember him from those days.
Steven 2 years ago when he was working in Lokichoggio, Kenya, on the Sudanese border. Steven and family in the mid-80s when he was a MAF Engineer in Dodoma, Tanzania.
I don’t think it is just nostalgia that the more distant my memories of Birkenhead School become, the more thankful I am for my time there. That is not because school days were ‘the best days of my life’, as people sometimes say. I came from a very ordinary working-class background, my father being a police constable. I found it hard to be isolated from my old friends, seemingly the only one in Bebington travelling up to ‘the posh school’. Of course, that was a naive expression, because it was not simply a ‘Privilege-Only-SomeHave’ because of the Direct Grant system. It was an opportunity which leaves one with a sense of responsibility towards society and the wider world. May I share with you some of my most vivid memories, which might resonate with some boys from my era? I was one of those who would rush out at Junior School break times to get the best hacker-sticks. I dreaded WTC Rankin’s science lessons, among other encounters with him. On one occasion, it was deep snow and, since the buses were not operating, I phoned the School to ask what I should do. WTCR said: ‘Walk!’ (from Bebington!?) When I eventually arrived at School, he told me off for not wearing my cap! ‘I didn’t want to get it wet, sir’. ‘But what if you get cold and die of pneumonia, boy?!’ In later life, he became a friend, and source of great encouragement to me! I remember Rev’d Ted Smailes, spectacles perched on the end of his nose, trying to teach us whilst lying prostrate on a desk because of his bad back, and then seizing us by our sideburns if we couldn’t answer a question. In Jock Austin’s lessons, you’d be more concerned to avoid a blast of his smoky breath, rather than his ‘Clear about that?’ interrogation. I seemed to be ‘Mr Average’ in most academic departments at School, but was a bit better at sports. Breaking my arm playing away for the school at St. David’s College in North Wales didn’t put me off rugby and I eventually made the 1 st XV, as open-side wing-forward. I recall feeling quite important boarding the plane at Liverpool Airport to go and play King William’s College, Isle of Man, but being brought down to earth by the spartan dormitory facilities, and eventual defeat.
We had some fantastic extra-curricular activities. Who can forget the sense of freedom on orienteering trips in North Wales? Or the exhilaration of experiencing, for the first time, the breathtaking beauty of Carnedd Llewellyn in Snowdonia? As I was already part of an Air Training Corps unit near my home, I joined the Naval section of the CCF. This would also mean I could go to the fullyfunded camps at Naval Air Stations, where we had helicopter rides, and were winched up in mock-rescues, and simulated, in a swimming pool, being ditched in the sea. Would these things get beyond risk-assessment today?! As was often the case in those days, I was the first from my family to go to university but, for various reasons, didn’t want to be too far away from home. As you may have gathered already, I was very interested in aircraft, so when Hawker Siddeley Aviation (before it became British Aerospace) offered to sponsor me through a 4year Undergraduate Apprenticeship at Chester and the University of Salford, I seized the opportunity. After 5 years, I qualified as an Aerospace Production Engineer and was put on the fast-track management programme. However, something else was ‘calling’ me. Just after my ‘O’ levels, I began thinking about deeper things and asking questions like: ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘Is the complex beauty all around us simply random?’ I began studying the Bible and I embraced the Christian faith in a personal way. It changed my life radically. Eventually I was led to an organization called Mission Aviation Fellowship, which involved 5 more years of aircraft maintenance training and Theological College. MAF is a Christian organization, operating 135 aircraft across 30 countries in the developing world. I went with my wife, Jane (a nurse), to Tanzania, where I became Chief Engineer, and also a Chartered Engineer. It was humbling to see the way aircraft could be used to bring so much material and spiritual help to so many people. Of course, I felt keenly the responsibility of signing an aircraft as ‘airworthy’, knowing that people’s lives continued on the next page
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
School Archivists Back row L to R: David Rule, Brian Dunn, Leonard Kirkham, Alan Hanson, Ian Boumphrey, Donald Cameron, Roger Ewing. Front row L to R: Rob Montgomerie, Michael Hudson, Graham Hurton and William Nute. Missing are Jeremy Eyre and Brian Jones
The sales of Birkenhead School Pictorial History Part 2, launched in September 2011, have gone well and we have now covered our costs. With roughly one large picture frame dedicated to each School year, the main features of the book are displayed in two rooms (named the George de Ritter Gallery) in 44 Bidston Road, enabling any visitors easy viewing. The School recently helped by upgrading the lighting for our display.
Continued from previous page depended on that decision. Living conditions were sometimes difficult for us. People ask whether it was a sacrifice to go there, away from home and family, but I have to say that it was a wonderful experience, and a joy to serve the God who has done so much for me. During this time, I experienced a growing sense of the spiritual needs in the UK. So in 1990, we returned to Wales with our two children where I undertook further theological training and I became Pastor of a Baptist Church in North Wales. I was called to my present ministry in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, where I have been Pastor for 15 years. Missionary work is still ‘in my blood’. I lecture in a local Missionary Training School, and I have undertaken preaching/teaching/ lecturing trips to India and Africa. Both of my children are teachers, and are married to teachers. What an influence teachers can have! The influence Birkenhead School has had on my life cascades down the generations. I do feel privileged – really blessed! Steven Green
An ongoing project is a display of photographs covering the 150 years celebrations of the School. A series of display cabinets is also being developed to show OB memorabilia more conveniently The displays of Cricket, Rugby and Hockey first team photos are in the process of being updated and it is hoped that future displays can involve the wide range of sports on offer at Birkenhead School, including in particular those taken up by the girls. Lists of the names of past captains of the major sports have been prepared with a view to having these lists available on display boards in the pavilions. The Archives team now have available six computers most connected to the School network. Team photos have been scanned and names recorded some time ago. While recent publications and form lists have been passed on electronically, earlier versions of these are in the process of being scanned. There is now a program available which will allow a specific name to be entered and all references to that name in our electronic records will be revealed. One computer will be used for e-bay sales – there are many duplicates of documents/ publications which are not needed plus other material which is of interest but not directly linked to Birkenhead School. The Old Birkonian website is being upgraded and some of the Archives Team are involved in its development The portraits in Bushell Hall are under review. In the last twelve months collections of photographs and documents related to the School have been passed on by relatives of Charlie Jones (PE master 1932 – 1958) who died in 1960. This collection includes a six -minute silent black and white hurdles instruction film which was backed by the AAA and widely available to other organisations – this film, probably made about 1956, involved up to 40 pupils and Charlie on the School field and two of those participating identified as Arthur Chow and John Brown. We also received material from the collections of Frank Ellis (Physics master 1949 – 1982), who died in 2008 and Paul Quaile (pupil 1949 1955). who died at the end of last year. Paul had been Hon Treasurer for the OB Society and some of the Society’s earlier records have been received. Archives is open on Monday mornings from 10am until 1pm during term time. At other times, by appointment. We advise that, if you wish to visit our Archives Department, you ring or email us prior to your visit. We will then have time to retrieve and prepare any materials you wish to see. Our number is 0151 651 3076 or email: email@example.com Alan Hanson, OB 1952-1959, Archivist
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Left: David with Princess Alexandra at the awards ceremony. ago with the support of Badminton England. Many badminton enthusiasts in Cheshire and especially around Wirral will be aware of the enormous contribution David has made to his club, to more than one League and to Cheshire County in so many different roles. Roger Ewing said "This presentation was a worthy acknowledgement of David's exceptional commitment to badminton over several decades." The Torch Trophy Trust has its origins in the 1948 Olympics held in London. Before every Olympic Games a torch relay is organised from Athens to the Host City. Following the 1948 Games, the Torch designed for the last leg of the Relay into Wembley Stadium was presented to the Trust. David Spencer, OB 1952 - 1958, was one of 19 recipients at the 49th Annual Torch Trophy Trust Awards. It is the objective of the Trust to support and promote the work of volunteers across all sports and recreation activities throughout the United Kingdom. The event was held at The Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall, London on the 30th November 2011. David received his award from HRH The Princess Alexandra KG GCVO (the Queen's cousin) and enjoyed a chat with the Trust's President, Sir Bobby Charlton CBE. David and his wife Pat thoroughly enjoyed the day. They were accompanied by the President of Cheshire County Badminton Association, Roger Ewing, who nominated David some months
The Trust provides small bursaries to assist volunteers in sport and presents awards to individuals who have been identified as making an outstanding contribution as a volunteer in their chosen sport. For the Torch Trophy Trust, the flaming torch symbolises its dedication to helping and recognising the efforts of volunteers in sport. The Trust is entirely run by volunteers, and its Trustees are some of the best known names in sport. Bobby Charlton is the current President of the Trust. Roger Ewing, OB 1950–1956, Archivist
L to R: Frank as a young man, in Austria in 1986 and with his sister in 2006 Jennifer Milnes contacted us to inform the Society about the passing of her father on 10 February 2012 at the age of 91. Throughout his life he carried a great affection for the School and much admired the legendary Headmaster WF Bushell. On leaving School in 1938, he joined the Royal Insurance Company in Liverpool but his career was interrupted by the war. He went into the Army serving with the Engineers. He fought at Remy but was actually injured whilst on training for desert warfare in Boston, Lincolnshire.
He carried shrapnel in his back for the rest of his life. After the war he resumed his career with the Royal Insurance Company, spending the next 40 years of his working life there. Before retirement, however, he moved to work with the solicitors Bremner, Southern and Corlett, Liverpool, dealing with matters of insurance. In accordance with her father’s wishes, Miss Milnes has donated a sum from her father’s estate which will be put towards the 150th Anniversary sculpture.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Adam on the left in the School production of ‘Toad of Toad Hall’, December 2003.
During my time at Birkenhead I was fortunate to be exposed to a large amount of drama. Beginning in Year 9, I acted in productions of Toad of Toad Hall, The Browning Version, The Merchant of Venice and The Comedy of Errors, to name but a few. I also had the chance to direct two plays for myself, The Lion in Winter and Antigone, not including Kingsmead House’s House Play in my final year. I then went to the University of Nottingham to study English and, like many students, I was reluctant initially to push my love of theatre any further, largely due to anxiety at competition from the enormous number of students to whom I thought I couldn’t compare. However, this changed in my second year when I joined the University’s theatre group in a production of Hamlet. Immediately I met an incredible group of people, started acting at a higher level than I had at school and had the best term of my University so far. Looking to build on this, I continued to audition for productions in my next two terms, and as well as acting I had the chance to help out with lighting, sound and set building. What I really wanted to do though was to get back into directing and, having begun writing plays of my own, in January 2011, I finally got my chance. I directed a production of Deus Vult, a play I had written myself, and had the satisfaction of having the best time the theatre had given me yet, as well as fantastic reviews from the people who came to see it. From then on I continued writing; that summer the University took two plays up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August, one of which I had written. The following year, I put on another of my own pieces, The Off-White Horse. The play revolved around a family with a heavily autistic daughter and the feedback we received from it was staggering. Not only were the reviews overwhelmingly positive but, for my work directing and writing the play, I was offered a place in the International Student Drama Festival 2012. The Festival presented me with so many fantastic opportunities; I attended workshops held by professional writers and directors of both theatre and television, including the third most performed British playwright, John Godber. I saw numerous plays during the week, and even got the chance to talk to Alan Ayckbourn, the most performed living British playwright. My University experience is now drawing to a close, but I have one last show to go. For a second year running, one of my plays has been picked by the University to travel to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where we hope to
Page 47 build upon the success we achieved last year when we received 4 and 5 star reviews and make a profit. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the most fantastic month that anyone involved in drama can experience and I am hugely excited to be writing and directing for it in 2012. So, to anyone who has been involved in drama at school, or who wishes they had taken the chances that were on offer, I have this to say: find the dramatic society at your University and get involved on your first day. Try everything – I had never built a set before I came to Nottingham, nor had I written a full length play, nor had I been to the Edinburgh Fringe, nor had I even heard of the International Student Drama Festival, and I am so glad that I took the opportunity to get involved. My time in the theatre has given me the best three years of my University experience, from the plays I have done to the lasting friendships I have made in the process. I hope to go on to work in theatre professionally. One of my scripts is currently being read by The Royal Court Theatre in London. All it took was the decision to get involved in the first place and the determination not to let an opportunity slip by once I had done. Adam Wells, OB 2001-2008
Saturday Hockey match OB XI v School 1st X1 McAllester Field 10:00am Archives open 10:00am -12:30pm - coffee available The AGM, followed by a buffet lunch Bushell Hall, 12.30pm The OBFC v School 1st XV Noctorum Field, 2:30pm.
Sunday Choral Evensong Service School Chapel, 6:30 p.m. Preacher: Rev'd Rob Saner-Haigh, OB 1984-1991, Priest-in-Charge Holy Trinity, Kendal Parish Church.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Puppets for sale
Mr Punch with James Arnott, OB 1997-2004 In the same way as TV’s ‘The Simpsons’ cartoon series often includes topical real-life characters, Punch and Judy shows have always included personalities on the political stage or well-known in popular culture. More recently Darth Vader from the Star Wars series has made guest appearances, as has Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, alongside other perennial characters including ghosts, skeletons and the devil himself. This year, Mr Punch is celebrating his 350th birthday and taking his place with Punch and Judy master puppeteers from all over the world is former BS student James Arnott James who once saw a Punch and Judy show as a child and was hooked. When he first became interested in puppets, he made his own and some were more successful than others! Today, James has a collection of more than 100 puppets – not all of them from the cast of Punch and Judy. He works with stringed as well as hand puppets too and current productions include Pinocchio and a puppet variety performance. The cast includes Shirley Bassey and Liberace – these last two were made by a former member of Jim Henson’s creative team and cost between £1,500 and £2,000 each because of the number of Swarovski crystals on their costumes. But James loves Mr Punch and his prized Mr Punch was made by Fred Tickler, most famous for making TV’s first celebrity puppet, Muffin the Mule. James thinks it is because Mr Punch’s is a great story that has endured for 350 years. James says, “Punch is a character with everything going against him and he does everything people would like to do but can’t.” James also knows a lot about the fascinating history of puppet theatre. Traditionally, for example, the Punch and Judy show is performed by a single puppeteer inside the booth, known since Victorian times as a "Professor" or "Punchman," and assisted sometimes by a "Bottler", who corrals the audience outside the booth, introduces the performance and collects the money ("the
bottle"). The Bottler might also play accompanying music or sound effects on a drum or guitar and engage in back chat with the puppets, sometimes repeating lines that may have been difficult for the audience to understand. In Victorian times the drum and pan pipes were the instruments of choice. Today, the audience is also encouraged to participate, calling out to the characters on the stage to warn them of danger, or clue them into what is going on behind their backs. Also nowadays most Professors work solo since the need for a bottler became less important when busking with the show gave way to paid engagements at private parties or public events. James’s first Punch and Judy engagement, for example, was when he was just 15, at the School’s Christmas Bazaar. He thinks puppet theatre is still so popular with children, despite technology and the rise interactive computer games, because of the bond a puppetmaster can establish between his puppets and the audience. The puppets can ‘hear’ what children say and ‘see’ how they react to the unfolding drama. The puppets can then respond and make the show a unique, close and personal experience for each child. Also, adults are always present in the audience and, as they are paying, puppet masters make sure there is plenty in the show to appeal to them too. Punch and Judy in particular is enjoying a revival today. There are around 200 Punchmen performing across the UK, with many more abroad. Rather than staking their traditional plot on the sands at the seaside, they have now moved inside to shopping centres, private children’s parties and are even getting into the corporate market. The show can trace its origins to the Commedia dell’ Arte street theatre of 16th Century Italy and most probably goes back even further. However, the earliest recorded evidence of Punch in England is from the 17th Century diarist Samuel Pepys, who recorded enjoying a show while on a visit to Covent Garden, on 9th May 1662. Mr Punch’s birthday is taken from Mr Pepys’ dated account. Mr Punch is married to Judy and they have a young baby. There are many variations on the plot and a long list of supporting characters who come and go through the ages. Joey the Clown, a regular, was based on the real life 18th Century ‘super clown’ Joseph Grimaldi. Another popular addition in the 17th Century was ‘The Hangman.’ The character was based on real hangman Jack Ketch. As you could be hanged for relatively trivial crimes 300 years ago, the audiences particularly
Continued on next page
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Continued from previous page enjoyed Mr Punch besting The Hangman. Regulars in the cast today include the Constable and the Crocodile. Asked how Punch fares with his disregard for political correctness, James is quick to spring to his defence: “When Mr Punch throws out the baby, Judy is the first to raise the stick to him. Children love it because it is all very simple – like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, badness is swiftly dealt with, good order is restored and no one is harmed in the process”. He adds: “In fact the sticks the characters use to bop each other about the head gave birth to the expression ‘slapstick’. They are not one but two sticks joined together so that when the connect they make a loud slapping sound...hence the birth of slapstick.” James took Theatre Studies at BS and went on to study drama and theatre at the University of London. Today James is a theatre designer in residence at a school in Wandsworth but he also has a successful puppet hire company, servicing film and TV production companies. He produces and performs in puppet productions too, alongside his touring work with Punch and Judy. Performances at Buxton Opera House, Manchester’s Royal Exchange and the Sunderland Empire have played to packed houses.
After Prep Prizegiving 1994 L to R: Mrs JA Skelly, Headmistress of the Prep; David Fletcher, OB 1940-1947; SJ Haggett, BS Headmaster 19882003; Jeremy Eyre, Deputy Head of the Prep 1981-1994; Rt Rev’d Michael Langrish, Bishop of Birkenhead 1993-2000; Elizabeth Mackay and His Hon Judge David I Mackay, Chairman of Governors1991-2001.
We are sad to announce the death on Friday 20 April of David Mackay. An Old Birkonian, he joined the School as a pupil in 1950, leaving in 1965 to go to Brasenose College, Oxford. Having become a Governor of Birkenhead School in 1979, he served as Chairman of Governors from 1991 to 2001. He remained Chairman of the Birkenhead School Foundation Trust, which was his brainchild, until 2004. He leaves his wife Elizabeth and children Emily, Harriet and James. Our deepest condolences as a community go to his family. We will remember with fondness and gratitude his selfless dedication to the School over so many years. D J Clark
Dr Adam Boddison, OB 1993-2000, a passionate a d v o c a t e o f mathematics, who has led programmes to promote the teaching of Mathematics in Coventry, Warwickshire and Africa, has been given a global platform with his appointment as the Academic Principal of IGG Y ( International Gateway for Gifted Youth). Dr Boddison is a graduate of the University of Warwick and he also taught Maths at Coventry’s Finham Park School. He completed three degrees in all at Warwick and has been part of the Residential Life Team for almost 10 years. In 2010, Adam was seconded from Warwick to the RSA Academy in Tipton, one of the University of Warwick’s Trust Schools, to support their vision of transforming learning and raising standards. His passion is to ensure that all young people receive every chance to excel at Mathematics, which is why he took on the role of Area Coordinator for Coventry and Warwickshire for the Further Mathematics Support Programme. Its aim was to give teaching support to Warwickshire schools which otherwise would not have the resources to deliver Further Mathematics A Levels to all the pupils who wanted to take the subject. He was then offered the opportunity to become the Course Director for the teacher training component of the University of Warwick’s ‘Warwick in Africa’ programme which gave professional assistance to mathematics teachers in African Schools. Adam was also a Lead Practitioner for the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust and a Mathematics Advisor for the National Challenge Programme. Adam says of his new role: "I am very much looking forward to working with some of the brightest young people across the world. I am confident that my role as Academic Principal will allow me to have a significant impact in the development of these students, giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential." ‘Strangely,’ one of Adam’s other great interests relating to mathematics is magic, or rather Mentalism. This is a branch of magic focussing on the mind. It includes mind reading, cold reading, hypnosis, illusions, ESP, body language analysis and mind control. Probably its most famous practitioner is Derren Brown, who coincidentally happens to be a former pupil of the Headmaster, John Clark, when he was teaching at Whitgift. Derren Brown also visited BS to thrill the Sixth Form with his Friday Lecture last year. Adam also gave a Sixth Form Lecture based on one of his interactive talks which use a combination of mentalism and hypnosis to create illusions which aim to bring new and exciting dimensions to maths in the classroom. He is a qualified clinical hypnotherapist from the Institute of Clinical Hypnosis, part of King’s College, London. His dynamic book ‘The Maths behind the Magic’ explores the beauty of Fibonacci sequences, The Golden Mean, Möbius strips, matrices, algebra and probability, often illustrating the maths with card and number tricks.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Paul on the right with Brian Boumphrey (OB 1945-55) at an Old Birkonian Society Council meeting.
Paul Quaile (1943-2011) joined Birkenhead Prep in 1949 and left Senior School in 1960. He trained as an accountant with Dolby and Co. in Liverpool, ultimately becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. In 1990 he became Treasurer of the OB Society and its Endowment Fund, fulfilling these duties until 2002. A keen Old Birkonian, Paul enjoyed his rugby with the Old Birkonian Football Club but throughout his time at School, Paul was heavily involved with the scouting movement. He became a cub scout in 20 th Birkenhead at the age of 8 and went on to become a Queen’s Scout. On leaving School, his interest continued as Assistant Venture Scout Leader and he took on the responsibilities of District Secretary for the area. Paul and Joan were involved for many years with the School Bazaar, which was organised and run by the Scout Troop. It was Paul’s father, along with Freddy Wakelin, who set this annual event in motion. They also had considerable involvement with the annual Curry Supper, run by 20th Birkenhead, where funds were raised to supply Christmas parcels to a carefully selected list of worthy local recipients. Having developed a love of sailing as a youngster, he gained qualifications to teach both sailing and power boating. This enabled him to pass on his skills and love of boating to his scouts, as well as a wider public. In the Scouting movement, he became Assistant District Commissioner for Activities in 2001 and was awarded the Bar to his Silver Acorn. Paul joined North Wirral Rotary Club in 1983 and in the wider context of Rotary, he was involved in the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians. He was honoured to hold the role of Vice Commodore at the time of his death and, sadly, was to have become its Commodore this year. Alan Hanson
Kenneth Wu OB 1990-1992 wrote to inform us of the tragically early death of his friend Dr Rahul Dwivedi, OB 1981-1992. Both went on to study Medicine at Liverpool University and it says on his School Record card that Rahul was ‘An excellent pupil. He always has a smile on his face and is always willing to help’.
The first Welcome Back Dinner for the Leavers of 1988 and 1989, 1 May 2010. L to R: Keith Stevens, Bob Birrell, Harold McCready, Chris Townsend, Mathan Satchithananthan and John Griffith.
We are very sad to report the death, after a short illness of John Griffith who taught at School for over 25 years. A graduate of Liverpool University, John was appointed Head of Biology in 1969 and ran a successful department at a time when large numbers of pupils took Biology A Level prior to reading Medicine, Dentistry and other related subjects at university. He retired in 1994 but recently came back for the Headmaster’s Welcome Back Dinners, until he was taken ill. He was persuaded to come back for the first of the Dinners in 2010 at the start of the School’s 150th celebrations, saying he would see how it went before he signed up for any more. He enjoyed the occasion so much, particularly catching up with former pupils, that he promptly signed up for the subsequent dinners.
Dave McGovern died in April this year after a short illness. He left School in 1962 and went on to work in the brewing industry. Before his retirement, he was with Whitbread and, following his retirement from industry, ran Kendrick’s newsagents in Woodchurch Road until 2004.
Christine Vidal, the daughter of Robert Hedley Bell, wrote to tell us of his death in Australia on 23 October 2011 after a long battle with cancer. “He was always very proud to be an Old Birkonian and had many happy memories of his days at School under Mr Bushell. He was an amazing father to my brother Gordon and me, with a wonderful zest for life and happily married to my mother Betty for 58 years.”
Beryl Mallalieu wrote to inform the School of her husband’s passing in 2010 at the age of 81. She told us that he led an active life, still playing tennis and croquet until he was 80. Friends from his School days were at his memorial service, including John Ellison who has sadly since died. Mrs Mallalieu remembers how fondly he spoke of his time at BS and she will place the 150th Anniversary brochure in the family archive. DL Fraser (1943-1947) wrote to inform us of the death of his friend DA Mason (1943-1947) in November 2011. Mr Mason had enjoyed a long and distinguished career in banking, both at home and overseas.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
I first came to know Bunty (1927-2011) and Michael Harrison in 1968 when Michael and I were in Euripedes’ ‘Trojan W olf’ together at Poulton Hall. He played Aeneas and I was j us t a c h or us member, although I Bunty with her daughter Libby, did have the first line who lives in New Zealand. of the play! They had Below with grandson David, now a tall 17-year old been living at Poulton Hall until the mid-sixties when they moved into a School house. Bunty taught in the Pr e p as M is s Roberts from 19481949 and again from 1976, wh e n I became her colleague for the last six years until her retirement in 1976. She took our elder son, when he was in the Prep, for Nature for which he won a prize in 1978. I was interested to learn that she had once been a pupil at the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Rickmansworth; I had once taught at the Boys’ School in Bushey for a year. Bunty was a lively teacher, who is also remembered for her pottery and beautiful paintings. We have one of her paintings and several of them were on display at her service of thanksgiving in September last year. This took place in the School Chapel and was conducted by the Rev’d Richard Bolton. Bunty’s three sons and two daughters all took part, including Libby, who had come from New Zealand to see her mother but had, sadly, arrived in England just after she died. The service also included a reading by June Lancelyn Green, an appreciation by one of Bunty’s friends, Meg Woodgate, and her favourite hymn ‘God is working his purpose out’. The Choir, under Graham Ellis, sang beautifully the medieval ’Ubi caritas et amor’, the plainsong arranged by Maurice Duruflé. The School was represented at the service by Mr Clark and Mrs Skelly. Many of her friends and members of the School community who had known her, including former Prep colleagues - Catherine Berry, Joan Lockhart, Evelyn Hall and Audrey Clare - also attended the service and reception afterwards in Big School. It was a wonderful tribute and send-off for a lady whom very many people remember with great affection. Jeremy Eyre, former colleague Bunty was a keen beekeeper who often took groups of boys into her garden for nature lessons - what to-day’s health and safety might think I can’t imagine! I must have
Des with his wife Margaret
Desmond (1918-2012) or Des, as he was better known, lived most of his childhood years in Rock Park, Rock Ferry. He was a pupil at Birkenhead School from 1929 to 1935. On leaving school, Des worked for a while with Martins Bank. During the 2nd World War he served in the 6th Tank Regiment and, during a posting to North Africa in 1942, was badly injured. After recuperating, he was posted to France. On leave in 1943, he met Margaret and they were married in 1944. In due course they had four daughters. Des felt unsuited to life in the bank and the family moved to Kingston-upon-Thames, where they ran a restaurant for some years. Des’s parents were still in Birkenhead and the family moved back to the Wirral, where he joined the family firm, Morris and West, paint manufacturers. He also became very involved with many aspects of the Old Birkonian Football Club, though sadly he was unable to play rugby due to his war injuries. Des was chairman of the Birkenhead Horse Show committee which the Club ran for many years Eventually, when he retired, he was able to become involved with his great love, the theatre. For several years, he was front of house manager at the Liverpool Playhouse. During this time, he was one of the Founding Six who set up the School Archives in 1989. A keen Birkonian and a gentleman, he will be missed. Alan Hanson expressed an interest and, some time later, she brought me a pile of elderly looking planks with the instruction that my two sons would have no difficulty turning them into a beehive. When the beehive was almost finished, she rang through to the Prep office to say that her bees were swarming and that I should make immediate arrangements to transport them to my home in Liverpool. Luckily one of boys’ fathers was a beekeeper and helped to contain the swarm in a cardboard box which we wrapped in a sheet and drove gingerly through the Tunnel. Once home, we introduced them to their new home and thus began my 30-year love affair with apis mellifera – the honey bee. Evelyn Hall, former colleague
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
1st Rugby team c1962. Centre with the ball SA Martin, KD Robinson and John Taylor. Some while ago John Taylor, OBE, got in touch to share some fascinating memories from the time when he was Director of Physical Education at BS, 1958 - 1966. Now in his eighties, Mr Taylor lives in Looe, Cornwall, in the house of the title. In his letter he recalls: KD Robinson first interviewed me at the old Euston Hotel, London, in November 1958. He was not in the lounge when I arrived, so I paged him which obviously impressed him! We spent the next 2 hours exchanging rugby stories and one week later, I was summoned to Birkenhead School. A very heavy snowfall had hit the Wirral overnight but KDR personally walked me around the School and then, borrowing Mrs Robinson’s Wellingtons, I walked with him down to McAllester Field and on to Noctorum. Whilst at Noctorum, KDR offered, and I accepted, the post of Director of Physical Education. The next 7 years were undoubtedly the most enjoyable and satisfying years of my teaching career. Our two children were born in Birkenhead, there were good friends and splendid social activities and it seemed I would stay at BS for the remainder of my career. However, KDR left to return to his beloved Bradford. I lost a friend but the School lost an outstanding and distinguished Headmaster. In 1966, I accepted an appointment with the Sports’ Council working on the development of sporting facilities in the West Midlands but I found it too political and returned to training teachers at Birmingham College of Education. As the years slipped by, I moved into administration within the College and for a short time became Dean of Women Students. I took early retirement in 1980 but was almost immediately offered a job with the Royal Life Saving Society, a Commonwealth charitable organisation. I became its Chief Secretary a year later and had the pleasure of visiting and working in many Commonwealth countries and was proud to have my work recognised by HM The Queen in 1990. Last year’s magazine sparked a flood of memories: WTC Rankin - ’Daddy’ always made a point of welcoming new staff and, discovering that I was an amateur ornithologist, we spent many hours on Hilbre Island netting and ringing warblers - a wonderful experience. Tony Butler - a good friend and colleague, he brought a refreshing new direction to Art at BS. He had a relaxed swing at golf and at one staff golfing day he partnered George Willan (Head of School House and Geography). At one of the short holes at Royal Liverpool, George recorded a 26. It says much for his determination and also Tony’s
patience. Sad to note the passing of Peter Quaile and Bill Smith. I did not know Peter well but my son Bryn was friendly with Peter’s son Andrew in the early years at Prep. Andrew is front row 3rd from right and Bryn is next, 4th from right. Bill was a friend and colleague - we both came from that rugby factory - St Luke’s. He was an excellent Maths teacher and an outstanding rugby coach - we were sorry to lose him to Pinewood Prep.
Prep Sports Day 1965 - Bryn front row 4th from right and Andrew 3rd from right
The photo of the Masters’ Common Room produced a chuckle or two. A small smoke-filled room with tea usually provided by Ted Smailes in not the cleanest of mugs. Rugby was very important at BS in the 50s and 60s and the OBRFC was one of the leading clubs in the northwest. There developed a ’purple patch’ with the achievements of Rimmer, Slater, Stafford, Martin and many other outstanding players of county and good club standard. Jock Austin had maintained many successful years but, when he handed over the reins, we ensured our leading position in a very strong northwest schools group was continued. We had a dedicated team of coaches. Jock Austin ran the U14s, Fred Wakelin (Sale and my scrum half against the School) the U15s, Chris Trewhella always produced a frighteningly aggressive pack of U16s and Bob Collard (Somerset cap for rugby and cricket) supported me with 1st XV practice. Perhaps, however, the outstanding School sport during this period - as far as representative honours was concerned was athletics. Ex-Army PTI Charlie Jones - a supreme motivator - had developed a width of participation that was nothing less than remarkable. It was only necessary to finetune, introduce new techniques and training procedures to
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Continued from previous page ensure something special would emerge - and it did! Merchant Taylors’ and Manchester Grammar were always demolished in the annual triangular meeting in the Spring Term. We were undoubtedly the best school in the north and, for a year or two, there was sufficient evidence to claim we were the best in the country. I still tingle with pleasure at the memory of Stafford, Perry and Winskill’s remarkable performances in the high hurdles; Martin surging round the bend in the 220; Berry’s magnificent high-jumping - always over 6 feet; Hancock’s pole-vaulting (especially him trying to persuade London Transport to let him carry his pole on the bus to the London Athletic Club’s Schools Meeting); many winning relay team combinations; Solly, Bathgate, Irving and Corscaden for their determination at middle distance and cross-country. There are many more examples I could mention and I trust they all still look back on their former achievements with pride. I enjoyed very much Richard Castle’s writing regarding ‘Afterglow: the Boxing Tournament (2010 OBS magazine). I remember Richard well as a determined sprinter and elusive speedy wing threequarter. He may not know that I was the person responsible for removing Boxing from the PE syllabus with the full support of the Headmaster and Governors. We gave the gloves to the Birkenhead Boxing Club and had a ceremonial burning of other equipment. Caernarvon Castle and Lawrence Churchill: during even the most crucial moments in a rugby game, Lawrence was always able to smile which had an infectious influence on fellow pack colleagues but opponents found it somewhat unnerving. I must be the member of staff who allowed him to drop off the coach at the Caernarvon castle, probably responding to ‘I can get home more easily from here, Sir’. Congratulations on your CBE, Lawrence. I was teaching at BS when the School celebrated its Centenary. My most vivid memory is that both Chaplains Ted Smailes and Dick Holman - broke bones when attempting to ride penny-farthing bicycles. The last fifty years have brought massive changes in the School I loved and respected. My last visit was in the early 80s when my son was studying at Liverpool University and it must be time to return to view and admire the new buildings, facilities and the general ethos of the School - is there likely to be a Welcome Back Dinner for those of us who worked and played together in the 50s and 60s? I enclose a book on the history of the RLSS published in its Centenary Year - a dedication perhaps to Des Bower and Tom Pringle who devoted much time to teaching swimming and water safety during their years at School. I enclose a Three Wise Men couple of photographs - one is ‘Three Wise Men’ Bushell, Robinson and Gwilliam, sent to me by KDR one Christmas and the other is my favourite and most gifted rugby team captained by Alan Martin. (SA (Alan) Martin, OB 1954-1961) played in the Cambridge XV which was proclaimed the finest ever Varsity match side in 1961 and set a record which remains unbroken to this day. The team were treated to a reunion at the Savoy Hotel London in December 2011. See The Guardian article of 6/12/2011)
Desmond G West 1926 - 1935 Raymond Watson Smeatham 1927 - 1935 Frank Geoffrey Milnes 1928 - 1938 Peter Nelson Wood 1938 - 1943 Robert Hedley Bell 1939 - 1944 Elwyn D Jones 1939 - 1945 John Graham Mallalieu 1939 - 1946 Derrick A Mason 1943 - 1947 Ronald Woodley Jackson 1943 - 1948 John Ellison 1939 - 1947 Arthur Langley Leyland 1943 - 1950 Robin Woodall 1946 - 1950 Derek Danford Jones 1945 - 1951 Laurie I Rimmer 1945 - 1954 Paul Quaile 1949 - 1955 David L McGovern 1956 - 1962 Timothy John Tetlow 1959 - 1963 Jeremy Scudamore 1958 - 1965 Andrew F Brack 1963 - 1968 Peter C Simcock 1967 - 1974 Chris Bird 1969 - 1976 Rahul Dwivedi 1981 - 1992
The Headmaster wrote to Peter Simcock to invite him to the Welcome Back Dinner for the Leavers of 1974, which was held in May this year. The letter went to his parents’ address and his mother, Freda Simcock, rang to inform us of his tragically early death at the age of 55 in June 2011. She was kind enough to send us the obituary which appeared in Keble College’s magazine: After leaving School in 1974, he went up to Keble College, Oxford, to read Physics. After obtaining his degree, he worked for nineteen years in the UK Defence Industry, including Marconi, Plessey, Scicon and EDS. He worked on modelling and simulation of underwater systems, acoustic propagation, analysis of sonar trials, operational effectiveness and project management. In 1996 Peter moved to Spezia on the west coast of Italy to join the NATO Research Centre. He worked for five years as Senior Scientist, then Principal Scientist in Operational Research and then for three years as Head of the Operational Research Department. After his contract with NATO ended, he moved to Belgium as a freelance IT Consultant, still working in the defence industry. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and fought the disease with great courage, keeping fit by working on the renovation of his house, dog walking and yoga until four days before he died. Peter is survived by his wife Fay whom he married in July 1983. They had no children.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Ten years on from its first 6th Form girls’ intake leaving to pursue their careers, the School’s co-ed pioneers were tracked down for their feedback on breaking a 150 year all -male mould. Four 16-year old girls made history when they stepped through the doors of Birkenhead School at the start of a new school year in 2000. For the girls, stepping into a previously all-male domain had a positive effect, even for those who joined from single-sex schools. All say that being ‘the first’ made them try harder. They wanted to prove that the School had made the right decision and, above all, they didn’t want to let anyone down. Nor did they; today all four have thriving careers and retain close bonds of friendship with their Old Birkonian brothers as well as that tiny knot of sisters who rushed to embrace an old school defined by its enlightened thinking. One of the first old girls is a BAFTA-winning television news reporter, one a senior teaching professional (Head English Language at a co-ed school in Newbury), one a lawyer and the fourth an aeronautical engineer. Samantha Parker is now a journalist with Border TV. Ten days into her broadcast career, having worked for some years in print media, Sam was part of the team that covered the horrific multiple shootings in Cumbria carried out by taxi driver Derrick Bird. The team won a BAFTA for its coverage. “Since the age of eight I’d been in single-sex education. I knew I wanted to move to co-ed. My parents wanted me to continue with private education and the courses at Birkenhead School matched for me. I suppose joining the School I didn’t really know what to expect – possibly some opposition – but it wasn’t like that at all. We were such a small group we made friends for life. We didn’t have any issues, we stuck together, and we made friends outside the group. “As well as these important relationships, my years at Birkenhead School led me to graduating with a 2.1 in English Literature and Language at Leeds University. I’d always wanted a career in broadcast media and after studying journalism in Newcastle I worked for a number of newspapers until landing the job at Border TV. At school I loved English Literature, Economics and History, and I really enjoyed my Sixth Form.” Pippa Ewing will walk down the aisle this summer with a former Head Boy from Birkenhead School – and many of the original Sixth Form will be at the wedding. A former Deputy Head Prefect, Pippa is looking forward to marrying the Head Boy from the year above, Andy McKeown, now a GP. Pippa looks back on her sixth form years at Birkenhead School with fondness, and, she says, she saw the value in switching from her single-sex education at Upton Hall to join her brother at the School when it first opened its doors to girls. “I wanted to go to Birkenhead School because it was running German A level. We already had family ties there, my brother was at the School and my Dad was an Old Birkonian. “I think going co-ed was a bit of a shock to the system for everyone. It made the girls closer because we were a new group at a boys’ school, and the boys were, I think, just curious really. They were happy to chat to us and we were something of a novelty.” Looking back now, as a teaching professional herself, Pippa added: “At the time it represented a massive choice
Page 54 and I wanted it to go well for the school and for me. I wanted to do my best to make sure they never regretted that choice. It was a very traditional school, but one which I felt made me recognise my responsibilities and one which gave me opportunities. “The girls – and boys – from school are still our closest mutual friends – and our best friends. I think in terms of all round education, co-ed was a much more balanced and relaxed learning environment with the genders balancing each other out.” Caroline van Ingen is now an aeronautical engineer for Rolls Royce and Charlotte Rowley, the fourth original old girl, is now a lawyer in the south. In the decade since all four girls became the first female intake, Birkenhead School now has well over 200 girls, aged from three to 18.
Theo Theobald, OB 1969-1976, recalls the journey from English lesson to Performance Poet I’m not going to name names, it wouldn’t be fair, but in the early seventies a former English teacher almost unwittingly strangled my poetry career at birth. Truth be told, it wasn’t his fault, a purist would have judged him to be right. I was in 2 Romans at the time and it was our first foray into the world of verse. We’d been asked to write a short poem about who knows what? (it was a long time ago). “The last line doesn’t scan”, he said, looking over my shoulder, “do what you can to re-work it”. If you counted the syllables he was correct, but when it came to reading our work aloud, I shoehorned the last line in, unchanged and was commended on my effort. The lesson it taught me was that performance poetry was very much different to that on the page and I have been taking ever increasing liberties with the language since, bending and straining it to fit my needs. In recent times this has landed me several Poetry Slam wins and the title of Worcestershire Poet Laureate, the county’s first. All that performance practice nudged me towards comedy and I now teach ‘stand-up’ to adults at a number of local theatres. Although it was long ago, I still carry the educational legacy of the School with me, but more than this, as with many of my peers, the ability to laugh at the world and more importantly, myself! Theo recently returned to School for his Welcome Back Dinner. Afterwards he wrote: :
I would simply like to say thank you for organising a great night for a crowd of us 'old boys'. I had not set foot in the school since the day I left and found it to be an emotional experience, especially the tour and most particularly re-visiting the parts which have remained unchanged since those days.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Photos L to R: On holiday in Alaska 2009 - Kerry, Kerry with his wife Karen and his sons, and with his parents. Below: Kerry as he was at School. He was a Prefect and Captain of House Swimming. His record card describes him as ‘very sharp and diligent, shows lots of initiative’.
The Welcome Back Dinners have enabled us to re-connect with a number of Old Birkonians. We caught up with Kerry Powell 19801987 living and working just outside Washington DC . He wrote, ‘It is good to see Birkenhead School going from strength to strength through difficult times. I will always owe Birkenhead School a debt for the splendid education it gave me and the values instilled that guide me while I practise and teach emergency medicine with Virginia Tech School of Medicine in Virginia USA. I wish Birkenhead School well in the next 150 years and would not have hesitated to have my own children go if it had been possible’. ‘At the time I left Birkenhead School in 1987 I had been accepted at The University of Leeds School of Medicine. I found the study of medicine everything I thought it would be: fun, challenging and at times very hard work. During my last year at medical school all of us took an elective, often in foreign countries. I went to Washington D.C. to study trauma surgery. There I met an American woman whom I left England for and married in 1993. My first year in the United States was in Bridgeport, Connecticut. I had been accepted in an Internal Medicine Programme Internship for one year but my interest in Emergency Medicine (A & E) was reignited so I applied for a residency in this specialty. After a bit of a struggle in this competitive specialty I was lucky enough to land a spot in Brooklyn, New York at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, a small hospital close to the Brooklyn Bridge. This residency was four years long and led to some of the most exciting and fulfilling times of my life. I lived in a small apartment in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, close to the Verrazano Narrows Bridge and where many scenes from the film Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta were filmed. I would ride the subway each day to work and oh, the tales I could tell of the characters and people on the subway! I fell in love with the city and remained there until 1998 when my residency was completed. My time in New York City was unforgettable. The city holds a special place in my heart as my two children Andrew (‘96) and Brendon
(‘98) were born there. Opting to move to American “suburbia”, I got a job as an E.R. attending physician at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, which is forty miles North of Washington D.C. Johns Hopkins is one of the premier medical schools and hospitals in the United States. We moved to Severna Park, Maryland which is located between Baltimore and Annapolis. Our hospital contained the regional burn center. I was working on September 11th 2001 and upon news of the Pentagon being hit we evacuated half of our emergency department in anticipation of receiving burn patients. This was a day that changed America and taught me much. Sadly, my marriage ended in 2000 and in 2003 I left Hopkins to pursue different experiences. I joined a firm which supplies physicians to different hospitals to fill gaps in their schedules. The majority of the hospitals I worked at were in southwest Virginia but twice I had a unique opportunity to work in Caribou, Maine. It is a very small town in northeastern Maine near the Canadian border from where one could literally walk, or step, into Canada with only a small concrete pylon separating the two countries. Nine years ago while working for this firm in Roanoke, Virginia I was offered a permanent position at Carilion Medical Center. It has grown over the years now having both a medical school (the first new one in twenty years) and our own residency programme. So once again I am teaching residents and medical students. Truly something I have come to enjoy greatly. I met my wife Karen, a nurse, in 2001 in Baltimore, Maryland. We married in New Mexico in 2008 and split our time between Maryland (where my children live) and Virginia. We are avid travellers with plans to see as much of the world as we can. My parents still live in Birkenhead while my brother Martin, who also attended Birkenhead School, lives in New Zealand. Since leaving Birkenhead School, I have had the opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, to practise medicine, and explore a small part of the world. In the future I hope to continue to teach and give a little back by perhaps working for Doctors Without Borders. I would also welcome the opportunity to work in the UK and may do so as soon as my boys are off to university in a few years.’ Kerry A Powell
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
James demonstrates a some dance moves with Connie Sturgess, Year 8.
Invited back for a second series broadcast earlier this year, OB James Wilson (1994-2001) is one of the professional dancers on the Turkish version of ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ - the most popular TV show in Turkey with over 17 million viewers a week. During a few days off from rehearsals at the end of last year, James called into School to say ‘hello’. He said, “I have really fond memories of my time at School. It was great to see what’s changed and what’s still the same. I was given a very warm welcome and was especially pleased when I went into the Bushell Hall to see a picture of my 11-year-old self taking part in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. James is proud to say he took part in most School plays and musicals during his years at BS, for example, Unman, Wittering and Zigo and Coriolanus. Whilst at School, James danced and was already representing England in national and international ballroom and Latin American competitions. After Sixth Form, however, James went to Liverpool to take a degree in Drama and Spanish. In his 3rd year at university, he was fully expecting to become a Spanish teacher once he’d graduated. However, he was sitting with friends one day, listening to them discuss ’the future’, whilst he flicked through ‘The Stage’ magazine, bought on a whim that day. Suddenly, he saw an advert for a new musical extravaganza, a stage version of TV’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, to be produced by Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag and hosted by Jane McDonald and Lionel Blair. Auditions for the roles of the professional dancers were to be held the next day. James decided to go and, after auditioning, was almost immediately handed a 3–year contract to be one of the 8 professional dancers in the show. His degree finals have been on hold ever since! He toured much of the UK and the world, taking the ‘Strictly’ show to a new venue every week - from the King’s Theatre, Glasgow, to the New Theatre in Hull; from the USA to Dubai and Johannesburg. There were guest spots on TV on ‘This Morning’ and in the series ‘Loose Women’. The show was a great success and, above all, proved a wonderful training for James in the world of professional entertainment.
Since then, James has, among other dancing jobs, been in ‘Dirty Dancing’ at the Aldwych for a year, was appointed dance captain for a pantomime starring comedians Cannon and Ball and joined the West End show ‘Latin Fever’ for sixth months. It was whilst he was choreographing the dance routines for a show on a cruise ship that Lilia Kopylova, the dancer who had partnered Matt Dawson, Darren Gough and Aled Jomes on ’Strictly Come Dancing’ and also knew James from working with him in a show in the West End, contacted him to say she had recommended him to be one of the professionals on the Turkish ‘Yok Böyle Dans’. He got the job and became something of a favourite with Turkish audiences in the 2010 ‘Strictly’ competition. Despite having virtually no knowledge of the language, he managed to communicate well enough with his partner, singer Burcu Gunes, to make it to the half-way mark in the show. The second time round, with a lot more Turkish under his belt, James was paired with ex-model and TV presenter, Ozlam Yildiz, and was hopeful of progressing even further. “It’s fantastic fun and it’s becoming easier now I have a much better grasp of the language,” he said. “It helps that I can understand the judges’ comments properly. There is more talk on this than in the original British version and the show can last up to four hours depending on the number of Saturday night commercial breaks.” Like the British show, however, it can be incredibly tense for the celebrities taking part. James thinks, “Being a choreographer and dance teacher comes second to being a therapist, confidence booster and best friend!” James took a key role in launching this year’s Turkish show with a special dance sequence he had choreographed for international super model, Adriana Lima. He was flown over to Miami to tutor Adriana then took to the stage as her partner to start the new series of the Turkish competition. Even if James and his partner are voted out before the final, he is now also the professional dancers’ ‘Captain’ and acts as a consultant on choreography and music for the show. BS Publicity Unit
James on the front page of Günes, a Turkish newspaper, after opening the new series of ‘Yok Böyle Dans’ with s u p e r m o d e l Adriana Lima. James had choreographed their dance and flown to the USA, where she was working, to rehearse the routine with her.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Photos of James on ‘Yok Böyle Dans’ with Series 2 partner Ozlem Yildiz. The pair came sixth in the end but the production company were reluctant to lose James so they asked him to choreograph and stage the Voice of Turkey or O Ses Turkiye as it's known so he ended up in Istanbul for 2 more months after ‘Strictly’ finished! For the moment he is back in England and managing to keep his diary full teaching, doing the odd show on cruise ships and representing England again as one of our professional Latin American dancers in international competitions. He believes a third series of ‘Yok Böyle Dans’ is on the cards but he has also had interest from the Spanish and French versions of ‘Strictly’.
and Wirral. He became a Trustee of the Diocesan Board of Education for eight years and made a significant contribution to Diocesan Board of Education policies including the launch of joint Anglican-Catholic Schools and new Church Academies. He became a member of the General Synod in 2005 and was appointed to the commission drafting legislation relating to the consecration of women as bishops, serving until it delivered its proposals in 2008. He was a strong supporter of the University of Chester Chaplaincy before his appointment as Bishop of Peterborough in 2010.
The Rt Rev’d Donald Allister, OB 1963-1970 - L: at School in his CCF uniform and R: Bishop of Peterborough
The Right Revd Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough and OB, has received an honorary Doctorate in Theology in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of Christian Education in the Diocese of Chester from the University of Chester. He originally read Medical Science at Peterhouse, Cambridge before switching to Theology. After graduation, he undertook further study for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. A curacy in Hyde was followed by another in Sevenoaks, where he was consultant editor for the Church of England newspaper. He moved back to Birkenhead as Vicar of Christ Church and was part-time Chaplain of the newly opened Arrowe Park Hospital. Whilst Rector of St Mary’s, Cheadle, he supported the launch of a number of initiatives including the Message Trust, the Christian Schools Trust and the Bible Encounter Trust, all working with young people. He also wrote extensively for Christian journals and spoke at many theological conferences, chaired the Council of the Church Society and served as Rural Dean. In 2002 he was appointed Archdeacon of Chester with responsibility for the Anglican Churches in West Cheshire
The account of Eric Davies’s visit to the School, and the mention of OB reunions in the US, in last year’s magazine prompted contemporary Dave Burton (1952-1959) to write: I was there in 1997 for the last OB Florida reunion which was held at Gord Ratcliff’s place in St Petersburg. There is a photo on the OB website. For a number of reasons, these reunions no longer take place but we do keep in touch. I should tell you that, in April 2010, I showed my daughter (36) round the School - she was impressed. I must say School looks in much better physical shape than when I was there. In the 3rd Form we inhabited the basement of the now gone, but not lamented, so-called ‘New Schools’. One classmate, Peter Canevali, passed out one day from the fumes coming from the furnace in the adjacent room! I left the UK in 1965, immediately after completing my PhD and getting married. After three years in the US, we came to Winnipeg where I worked at the University of Manitoba until retiring 10 years ago. All three of our children and grandchildren were born over here so our lives are firmly fixed in Canada. We do get back to the UK once in a while and I always try to get to the Wheatsheaf or the OBFC Hot Pot, if I am in the Wirral.
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
I was lucky enough recently to return to BS. I met the Headmaster, various Staff and was given the tour and I take this opportunity to thank all those who made the time for me. The fee for this was to write an article for this publication! A small price to pay. I walked into Junior Scott Plimley with a Gazelle helicopter School (now (Photo reproduced by kind permission Overdale) on a fresh of AgustaWestland). September morning in 1983, knowing absolutely no-one and having no idea what was expected of me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t intimidated. However, within a short time that close environment felt very comfortable. This was helped by the ever-comforting presence of Mrs Hardy, whose household remedies I have used on many an occasion. During my time in Junior School, I was introduced to the stage by Mr Downes somewhere in the archives are photographs of me dressed up as a cleaning lady complete with duster, in a play produced by him. For me, it started a hobby that I have continued ever since - thankfully backstage, rather than in front of the lights: I spend some of my spare time working as a technician in the local Octagon theatre. In Senior School we all were taught RE by Mr Gwilliam, which consisted of memorising and reciting the Sermon on the Mount, followed by a reading and discussion of “A Pilgrim’s Progress”. During these lessons, it was clear that, as well as teaching us, the Head was measuring us up; he never forgot a name or a face, or a bad exam result! I don’t think that I ever really troubled the PE Department, although I did turn out for the 2nd XI cricket on one occasion. When I say turn out that is a little bit of exaggeration: I had been taken to an away fixture in order to keep the score book, but due to a team mate having an extreme case of travel sickness, it became necessary for me to actually play; my tally - no runs and no wickets! Nor, for that matter, was I noticed in Modern Languages. I do remember a teacher who earned the nick-name ‘Binhead’ which came from his habit, if you made three obvious mistakes in a row, of emptying the contents of the bin over your desk. Unacceptable in this day and age I know, but it was a very effective technique for those of us in the bottom set and he always applied this rule fairly. So much so that during one lesson, upon writing “la chat” on the board and realising he had the wrong gender, he duly emptied the contents of the bin on his own head! It quickly became evident that I was much more suited to Mathematics and the Sciences and, having joined the CCF, I managed to get a ride in a Wessex helicopter as part of one of our field days. From that point, my mind was made up about my future. I wanted to work with helicopters. On leaving School, I took up a place at Southampton University to read Aeronautical Engineering – Aerospace Systems. In my final year, I specialised in rotorcraft. Upon graduating, I applied to what was then Westland Helicopters now AgustaWestland. They offered me a job within their avionics department and I accepted. The photograph attached was taken at that time as part of a young graduate’s activity ... I can guarantee I don’t look like that anymore! At AgustaWestland I have always worked within Avionics, but in many different roles. As an equipment engineer I worked with suppliers to ensure their equipment meets the specification and integrates correctly with the other parts on the aircraft and, ultimately, does the job required. This can involve many hours first to understand the equipment, then watch it being tested, followed up by more trials on our test rigs. Once fitted to the aircraft, it needs support from engineering through its flight testing. A requirements
Page 58 engineer establishes a customer’s requirements for an aircraft, which, with specialist engineers, are translated into requirements and algorithms for the design departments, the production line, the safety teams, the support teams and the equipment suppliers. When it is all drawn together, it allows the overall performance of the final product to be estimated. As job satisfaction goes, it is very rewarding to see the helicopter powering up on the pad knowing that in a very small way you were involved in getting all that technology to work safely and efficiently. I have worked on many of our products, starting with the EH101 and going on to include Lynx, Sea King, Apache and others, and have been involved in the development of the avionic systems - navigation sensors and the communications suites, as well as with more mission orientated systems including Radar, Electro-Optics and equipment such as the Radar and Missile Warning Systems. Variety is certainly the spice of life. My numerous roles have given me opportunities to visit and work with both suppliers and customers across Europe, America, Africa and Asia. I recently returned from a long term assignment overseas, passing on knowledge and experience to a partner company which was a challenging and rewarding experience. Keeping abreast of new technology is a challenge. Whilst at university, I joined the Royal Aeronautical Society and became a full member after gaining my chartership. It has given me access to a whole professional network of experience that shouldn’t be underestimated. Either way, I never stop learning. The challenges are always there too. Sometimes the challenge is in making sure that every last ‘i’ is dotted and ‘t’ is crossed in the paperwork so that the relevant safety authorities are happy to give the aircraft flight clearance ... and there is such a lot of paperwork! How much of what I learned at BS do I still use now? The answer is a lot more than you’d think, but it isn’t always from the classroom. Yes, there is a lot of the Physics and Maths I was taught at BS that I still use and I owe my gratitude to the staff in those departments. However, a lot comes other people at BS who added something to the pot - their wisdom, experience or enthusiasm - and it seems to have stuck for life because it resurfaces every now and again. I was travelling near the Alps recently and heard myself saying “Look, drumlins!” much to the amusement of my colleagues in the car. Thank you, Mr Gill, for that, who was also the teacher, if I remember correctly, whopromised us all a can of coke if the café was open on “High Street”, unfortunately it wasn’t. But the beauty of the Lake District on those field trips can’t be denied, with or without refreshment. Mr Davies occupied a room, not unlike a dungeon, deep in the science block, where the school IT network of BBC Micros resided. His determination in instilling in us that computers would change the world was not lost on me. The discipline in defining and writing software is something I still use every day. I’m not sure he ever appreciated the large rubber “magnet” we put on the hard drive storage device one April 1st though. Then in the Sixth Form, I was taught by Mr Smith who would never allow you to simply express an opinion, but insisted that you could support your case. These “cross-examinations” prepared me well for many meetings with various customers over the years. The need to think before making a statement. The list could go on, but what is in common with all these anecdotes is that fact that the people who taught me went beyond the classroom and passed on more than just the curriculum; School was not just 8.30 to 4. I hope I have put these experiences into good practice. Looking back whilst visiting the School, so many things have changed yet so much has stayed the same. There is a “chill out” area where once was Mr Gilliland’s office. He was a larger than life character who drove a VW Beetle; arranged a vintage transport trip to see the Blackpool illuminations and acted as our bus conductor; and who seemed to run a printing business from the cellar. He also entered into the spirit of things with
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In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Continued from previous page enthusiasm; I remember a non-uniform day where he was in a Michael Jackson T-shirt and attempted to moonwalk whilst wearing his carpet slippers - no small feat for a man of his build. The New Hall is no longer “New” but is renamed “Bushell Hall”. As well as being the site of my debut acting performance and home to the film society where we watched “Ghostbusters”, it was also where speech night was held which, of course, included the singing of the School song. It was the place where I sat my GCSEs and A-levels, bringing back many mixed memories. Of all these things though, it was also home to the WaterClosetGate incident, where somehow a sound effects tape seemed to have been left on the PA system and mysteriously played a long, loud flushing sound during one School assembly. The aftermath was felt for weeks. The science facilities have been improved no end but I can still recall the time we were allowed to abseil down the building as part of a CCF demonstration. The best we could do in the absence of a climbing wall. The addition of an excellent gym and new teaching block adjacent to the Hall has changed the look but not the character of the grounds. However, I am glad to say that K-block is still K-block; this is where, as an 11 year old, I sat with the Deputy Headmaster invigilating and took my entrance exam. It went on to house my form room for 3 years and, as it also held the staff room, was one of the busiest places in the school. It is clear from conversations with others who shared my time there, that Birkenhead School was a place you either loved or hated. In my case I really enjoyed it; my memory is of sunny days and of smiling faces. The School is continuing to progress and grow, adding facilities with the range of opportunities for pupils growing with it. This is very heartening to see. It is nice to be part of the history of such an establishment; however what I will take away from my visit, is once again, a memory of a sunny day and many, many smiling faces. Scott Plimley,1983-1990
OB (1946-1950) Robin Woodall’s last command was aboard the QE2. The man who steered one of the world’s most famous ships into the River Mersey has died at the age of 78 after a long illness. Capt Woodall, of Hoylake, began his career at sea with Cunard when he was only 16. He rose through the ranks until he was put in charge the of the QE2, which was the flagship of the Cunard Line for more than 30 years. His son Richard Woodall, who lives in Saughall Massie, said he remembered the day his father brought the QE2 down the Mersey to celebrate the owner’s 150th Anniversary in 1990 . It was the first time the QE2 had visited Cunard’s base and decades since a liner had graced the Mersey. Richard felt immensely proud of his father. In the wake of Carol Thatcher’s book on the QE2 in 2007, Capt Woodall recalled seeing the ship for the first time in 1968 before she was completed at John Brown’s shipyard on the Clyde - she was a beautiful ship. At first Capt Woodall was 2nd Junior Officer and Bill Warwick, a famous Cunard figure and OB 1921-1926 (d. 2004), was the Captain. Capt Woodall became Captain of the QE2 in 1987 which, he said, was - “the end of all my ambitions”.
AC Sprigings circled in the 1943 School photo.
Captain AC Sprigings asked us to look into his records. He wrote from his home in West Sussex: It was fascinating to see my name amongst all the others in Form IV back in 1943. Of all those listed, the only one I know is still alive is FR Hampton, who still lives in Thurstaston. That is not to say all the others are dead, but FR Frampton is the only one with whom I have kept in contact. To put some ‘flesh on the bones’, I joined BS in 1939 and completed my formal education in July 1944. I then joined Thos and Jno Brocklebank Ltd as a deck apprentice and sailed on my first voyage from Birkenhead on 30 October 1944. In July 1955, I obtained my Master’s (Foreign Going) Certificate and in September 1964 was given my first command. After 22 years at sea, in 1966 I was promoted to Assistant Marine Superintendent at the Master of his ship 1965 Head Office of Thos and Jno Brocklebank Ltd. The following 23 years consisted of various appointments culminating in 3 years in Jeddah as General Manager (Middle East) for CAMEL, the euphemistic title for Cunard Arabian Middle East Line, a subsidiary of Cunard-Brocklebank Ltd. At this time the shipping industry was beginning to suffer cutbacks and building new ships was practically at a standstill. One take-over followed another and by the time I retired in 1989, the British maritime industry had virtually ceased to exist. I did not achieve great academic success at Birkenhead School but, in my chosen career, I did finally make good! At home 2011
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
On 13 May, after an expansive lunch at Royal Liverpool Golf Club to celebrate the OBs success at the Grafton Morrish Public Schools Old Boys Golf Association Tournament win by the School, John Hargreaves offered some comments about the Tournament and golf at Birkenhead School. These included the fact that during his days at the School, whilst golf was seen as a fringe sport, there were nevertheless some fine players who were pupils. Reference was made to the triumphant Aer Lingus Team of 1979 which had included the McBurney twins pictures of whom were strategically placed on the table perhaps to remind all assembled of their days of slim waists and flared trousers. Reference was also made to Robin Biggs (Geography master and supreme golfer) as an inspiring figure in School golf and this was enlarged upon by Andrew Cross who also read a letter from Robin which all present were pleased to hear. The talk then passed on to the tournament itself and it was noted that two of the 1972 team (Andrew Wawn and David Hughes) were present. 1972 was the first year when a team from the School had qualified for the finals and it started a sequence of consistent but not particularly successful participation in the latter stages of the competition. The 80s enabled us to report some success in the plate competitions (for those who lose in the first round) but the 90s were mainly disappointing. John then moved on to the emergence of new young talent in the form of Stam, Shields, Boys and others and suggested that this was the reason for our success. After describing some of the more notable ‘near misses’ of recent years, he handed over to Marcus Stam to give an account of the 2011 victory. The Public Schools Old Boys’ Golf Association’s coveted Grafton Morrish Trophy is now on display in the foyer of the Lodge. For the first time in the history of the Competition, a team from Birkenhead School’s Old Birkonian fraternity has won it.
Photo right: the 1972 BS Golf Team Standing L to R Robin Biggs (Geography), Tony Butler (Head of Art) Seated L to R: Martyn Williams 1964-1973, Andy Cross 1966-1973, Charles Grimes 1965-1972 Jim McBurney 1966-1973, John Hughes 1967-1974, and standing is David Marcks 1970-1973.
Team captain Marcus Stam, OB (1993-98), hands over the impressive Grafton Morrish shield to the Headmaster, John Clark.
Aer Lingus Schools Golf Competition Final 20 May 1979, County Louth Golf Club, Baltray. L to R Neil McBurney (1974-1979), Keith MacLaverty (1972-1979), Robert McBurney (1974-1979).
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
John Hargreaves 1973-1980
Phil Whitehurst 1977-1984
Team Photo: Top Row left to right. John Hargreaves, Carl Adams, Kris Archer. Bottom Row left to right Phil Whitehurst, Marcus Stam, Anthony Shields. BS is celebrating the prestigious national golfing success of a group of Old Birkonians – after 45 years of trying. The Grafton Morrish is a major amateur golf tournament open to former pupils of all schools who are members of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference. The quality of players taking part is high with former professionals and England amateur internationals in the field. Birkenhead School, which first entered in 1966, has charted its progress in the competition each year with a special scrapbook handed down to the following summer’s competitors. The victorious players were: Carl Adams (Heswall Golf Club, plays off two); Marcus Stam (Heswall, scratch, team captain); Phil Whitehurst (Caldy, one); Kristopher Archer (Royal Liverpool, scratch); Anthony Shields (Worplesdon, scratch); and John Hargreaves (Worplesdon, one). Match Report The format is scratch foursomes match play with each team comprising three pairs. Birkenhead have been playing in the tournament since 1966 and in total 28 OBs have represented the School in the finals. Birkenhead were runners up in both 2004 and 2008, being edged out by KCS Wimbledon and Solihull respectively. For the OBs involved in the Grafton Morrish Trophy, it is very much the flagship event of our golfing year and one we all thoroughly look forward to and enjoy This year, 109 schools competed in pre-qualifying rounds during May with the field being reduced to 48 for the finals in October which are held in Norfolk, on the wonderful links courses of Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk. Birkenhead successfully negotiated the qualifying stage at Fixby Golf
Carl Adams 1987-1995
Marcus Stam 1993-1998
Kris Archer 1997-2002
Anthony Shields 1991-1998
Club in Huddersfield which is always a nervy affair on a very tricky course Unfortunately, Stuart Brown was forced to withdraw due to injury, so our team for the finals was Carl Adams, Kris Archer, John Hargreaves, Anthony Shields, Marcus Stam and Phil Whitehurst. This collection of OBs ranged in age from 26 to 49 and all had handicaps of 2 or lower. On paper, this meant we were competitive but certainly not favourites. The finals are over three days and require six matches to be played. Our place in the draw was difficult and reaching the final required victories over Aldenham, Lancing, Cheltenham, Solihull and last year’s winners Clifton. After some very close and nerve-wracking games we found ourselves playing Merchant Taylors’ (Northwood) in the final. With three holes to play, the position was not encouraging, as we were two down in one match and level in both the others. Our young guns (Archer and Adams) then used their considerable power to record a 2 and 1 victory which changed the momentum in the other games. Both the remaining matches went down to the final hole at Hunstanton with all to play for. The use of a new tee, lengthening the hole to 440 yards, made for an extremely challenging drive into a stiff breeze. In the event this proved to be to our advantage as both Birkenhead pairs, first Hargreaves and Whitehurst and then Shields and Stam found the fairway. Merchant Taylors’ were then under considerable pressure and this manifested itself in wild tee shots and some over ambitious recovery play. In both matches, Merchant Taylors’ were forced to concede the hole and the final score line was a deceptively easy 2.5 to 0.5 victory to Birkenhead, the halved match being that of Hargreaves and Whitehurst. The team were mentally and physically tired but the sight of our captain, Marcus Stam, placing the Birkenhead School Shield on the clubhouse wall, looking down on those of all the other schools was truly memorable. The trophy is quite unusual and we plan to display it at the School before returning to defend our title in 2012. John Hargreaves
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
One the great f o r m a t i v e influences of golf at the School and for many of us as individuals was Robin Biggs. Robin joined the staff as a young geography teacher in 1970 and, as a number of us were fumbling our way through our adolescence at that time, Robin was someone we came to strongly identify with. He was my Sixth Form teacher and also taught me Geography. The culture of the School in the late sixties and early seventies reflected something of the “revolution of the young”, an inter generational challenge going on in society at large between the older and younger generations. This was post hippy, post Woodstock, post Vietnam, and some of our contemporaries were wannabe Bohemians, following local poets such as Adrian Henri and Roger McGough, and we tended to think of ourselves as “free thinkers”, railing against the disciplines of School (and the ban on long hair !). Robin appeared superficially to be a conformist - always collar, tie and jacket - but underneath there lay an eccentric, absolutely his own man. The signs of this established themselves quickly. I first remember an event that Robin took at Big School. On alternating weeks, because the Chapel wasn’t big enough to hold everyone, masters were required to give quasi religious 15-minute talks instead of Chapel, typically readings from Christian apologists like CS Lewis. Robin turned up one morning and got out a vinyl record and announced to the assembled ‘this is really good stuff’. Out blasted ‘Tommy’ the Rock Opera by The Who - this caused a wave of excitement - the shear anarchy of it - but also we wondered what the quasi religious connection was? I still remember the first line of ‘Tommy’ – “Captain Walker didn’t come home, his unborn child will never know him.” Yes, the story of the deaf, dumb and blind kid, the undefeated pinball wizard who ends up having millions of followers worldwide and forms his own religion. Was this Robin’s message? Form your own religion?? Robin was his own man. Robin as a teacher exuded passion, made isostatic and eustatic change fascinating and he talked and engaged with us about painting, Mozart, politics, stamp collecting and the meaning of life. Amongst the many things Robin did brilliantly was play golf. At the time of his arrival in 1970 there was no significant track record at the school of golf. Tony “Arty” Butler (our Art teacher) had an interest in golf (Arty was also on the non conformist fringe) and told us that Robin was a really good player and anyone interested could go down to Mac Field for a bit of
coaching with him. A few of us (by now his followers) trouped down to see what it was all about. Robin had set up a coaching area and, still in his shirt and tie, he began to inspire us. Robin talked about the American dominance of the game and the shift of golfing power to the US from GB in the early part of the century. He then demonstrated shots he said the Brits had to get better at to beat the Americans: the 40 to 60 yard range, the floater as he called it, and compared this with the links chip and run shot - he demonstrated both shots exquisitely. After this, as far as he could, given that he was still a teacher, he became our golfing friend and we had a number of golfing trips to local courses with him. He had an odd swing (he was called the ‘Farmer’) - a scythe-like action with a flying right elbow, a great chipper and putter, and wonderful timing. And, above all, I remember his support and encouragement to us golfers. How good a golfer was he? The best ever golfer connected with the School. In his day, for example, he won the President’s putter (the Oxbridge former Blues annual event) and the Cheshire County championship. However, the time we best remember was the 1975 Amateur Championship at Hoylake. This is one of the world’s oldest most prestigious tournaments. The 1975 Amateur had an incredible field with many famous names from golf: Nick Faldo (three Opens, three Masters) Nick Price (one Open, two US PGAs), Curtis Strange (two times US Open champion), Jerry Pate (US Open Champion), Sandy Lyle (a Masters and an Open) Craig Stadler (‘the walrus’, a grizzly US tour player), Mark James (Ryder Cup captain) and a hatful of players who later became outstanding professionals. Into this lofty company came Robin – Schoolmaster, Birkenhead School. Robin reached the last eight – the quarter finals where he was eventually put out by the then Great Britain Walker Cup captain Geoff Marks. Through his teaching, his style and sheer brilliance of play Robin inspired many of us and became truly one of the formative influences of golf at Birkenhead School. Andy Cross, OB 1966-1973
The London Dinner will be held on Friday 23 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
Wirral Schoolsâ€™ Golf Championship 1995 Back row L to R: Rob Smillie (1991-1998), Michael McGrath (1991-1998), Andrew Bousfield (1990-1997) Front row L to R: Sandeep Grewal (1993-1998), Chris Lovell (1989-1996)
Golf 1985 Back Row L to R: ?, Russell Embery (1982-1989, Adam Foster (1981-1988) Front Row: L to R: Gregory Roberts (1979-1986), William Twidale (1979-1986), Andrew McCall (1979-1986) (Can you help with the missing name?)
Golf 1984 (Front row, 1st on the left is William Twidale but who are the others? Can you identify them?)
Golf 1987 (Similarly - Back row L to R: ?, ?, ? Front Row L to R: Adam Foster (1981-1988), ?, ?)
OFFICERS OF THE OLD BIRKONIAN SOCIETY PRESIDENT: Barry Owen, OBE COUNCIL: Chairman: Mark Feeny MEMBERS: John Elliott
Brian Boumphrey Phil Rees-Roberts Nick Tappin Alan Hanson William Nute Graham Hurton Will Roberts
Hon. Treasurer: Trevor Mathew-Jones
Independent Examiner: Duncan Sheard Glass
In Focus/OB Bulletin Summer 2012
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. £10 each (plus £3.50 p&p) 150th Anniversary cufflinks sold out. New Birkenhead School silver-plated cufflinks engraved with the School crest in a presentation box, also engraved with the School crest. £20 (plus £1.50 p&p)
Our classic 150th Anniversary roller-ball pen £5 (plus £1.50 p&p)
Christmas cards - 3 views of the School campus. Packs of 10 A5 assorted cards and envelopes bearing the message ‘Season’s Greetings’ £4.75 per pack (plus £1.50 p&p) 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. Ring Yvonne Burgess on 0151 651 3095 and pay by debit card.
Pavilion notelets £5 for a pack of 20 with envelopes (£1.50 p&p)
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
The School's magazine for July 2012.