Issue 44 December 2010 www.ocsociety.org
The OC Dinner
The OC Interns and Nick Meyer
Mel Williamson The first lady chairman of an OC Dinner
Mike Payne, Cranleigh School 01483 274406 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cranleigh School, Cranleigh Surrey GU6 8QQ
History made at OC Dinner
Martin Williamson (2&3 South, 1980) writes: One hundred and eighty people attended the 118th Old Cranleighan Society Dinner at BAFTA in London where Mel Williamson (1 North, 1984) made history as the first female chairman of an event first held in 1882. Guests ranged in age from several members of the current sixth form to Derrick Carter-Clout who left in 1938, and also included a healthy contingent from the Common Room, past and present, as well as some who had made exceptional efforts to attend, especially Kofo Majekodunmi (who had flown in from Nigeria), Eds Copleston (New York) and Rob Merry (Australia). A raffle for Red Arrows packages kindly donated by Zane Sennett raised £1,415 for the Friends of Tim Evans Trust. The winners were Anna Lewis and Tristan Rosenfeldt.
Friends of Tim
Caroline Jackman (1 North, 1994) writes: Tim Evans (2&3 South, 1994) was treated to birthday celebrations at Jack’s Bar in London on 14 October. Tim is very special to us all and some of us wanted to make sure he celebrated his 35th Birthday in style! Using the powers of OC contacts and social media networks we gathered over 40 of our comrades from Cranleigh days, and the Reverend Andrew Keep, to join us for what was a lovely evening. Tim had a great time and thanks to Tony Ho (2&3 South, 1997) we were provided with excellent platters to celebrate the night away. It was great to see so many old faces, sharing stories of the past and rejoicing in successes of our present. For those of you who don’t already know, Tim suffers from an aggressive form of MS. That there is so much goodwill out there has been proved by the amazing response to the Friends of Tim Trust which has been able to transform his life for the better.
For more information about Friends of Tim, or if you would like details so that you can contact Tim directly, either email email@example.com or call Caroline on 01483 527688 PS: The six tickets for a day with the Red Arrows, arranged by Zane Sennett (2&3 South, 1994), raised a brilliant £2,165 for The Friends of Tim Trust.
January 15 and April 9 Golden Oldies at TD (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Zane Sennett and Tim Evans
March 5 Ken Wills’ Memorial Service in Chapel at 11.15 am April 6 Armed Forces Reunion at RAF, Hendon (email@example.com)
May 8 Over 70s Reunion at the School (Brian Cole - firstname.lastname@example.org) May 13 South-West Lunch at Ilminster (email@example.com)
June 18 Summer Ball at Prep School (Foundation Office at the School)
July 3 OC Day and Speech Day at the School (firstname.lastname@example.org)
John Bain reunion dinner
A group of former members of 2&3 South held a dinner for their housemaster John Bain and his wife Cynthia at the Caledonian Club in London on October 20.
John wrote to Jaime Stewart (2&3 South, 1976) the next day: “Many thanks to everyone for your kindness and generosity; to you, Matthew [Pragnell] and Carrie [Swanson] for initiating the idea, and to you for all your hard work in organising the event. The years rolled back very easily, essence of personalities intact, conversation fluent and easy. Such a civilised bunch you have turned out to be. You gave us a wonderful evening, and gifts into the bargain - more than we deserved.”
Advertising The late Ken Wills and Ben Chamberlain (1 North, 1958) See above for details of Ken’s Memorial Service (please let me know if you plan to come)
Please get in touch with me if you would like to consider advertising in ‘Contact’. I can’t promise there will be space immediately, but I plan to change advertisers periodically to give others a chance.
Old Cranleighan Lawyers’ Society
Alexi Dimitriou (1 North, 1996), the organiser, writes: The Old Cranleighan Lawyers’ Society is exactly what it says on its tin: a society of Old Cranleighans who work in the legal field. The objective of the Society is to act as a fun and informal forum for Old Cranleighan lawyers to meet up with each other. It is also hoped that the Society will be beneficial to new graduates interested in the law by facilitating opportunities to meet experienced lawyers in an informal environment. The Society is currently in its second year and meets every six months where one of its members gives a talk on a legal topic followed by drinks and socialising. Its last meeting was held on September 22 at Blackstone Chambers, the venue and generous spread kindly arranged by Stephen Nathan QC (Cubitt, 1964). Special thanks also go to Alice Newton at Blackstone Chambers for helping to organise the meeting and to Paul Maxlow-Tomlinson (2&3 South, 1949) for running the evening.
‘The Psychology of Spirituality’
Larry Culliford (East, 1967) writes about his new book:
None of my family were very interested in religion. Despite this, loving Bible stories, I gravitated decisively towards Christianity at Prep School and later at Cranleigh. I also loved science, studying physics, chemistry and biology in preparation for medicine at Cambridge. Somehow, I already knew that there was no fatal incompatibility between science and religion, and that both contributed to a wider form of wisdom and truth.
Later I became interested in psycho-somatic illnesses, in how mental distress seems to cause or contribute to physical symptoms. After qualifying as a doctor in 1974 and working for a year in the NHS, I went to New Zealand and Australia. Some stories from my life at that time are in the book. I worked as a GP and then trained to become a psychiatrist. A number of experiences convinced me that the art of medicine involved healing people, rather than simply suppressing or removing symptoms. It was more than simply the application of science. I liked to take my time with patients, ask questions and really listen to the answers. Psychiatry allowed me to do that. Psychiatric patients also brought with them a whole new set of conundrums.
I started to think, and started to write to help me make sense of my thoughts. I realised, still in my twenties, that physics and chemistry did not explain life fully, and biology (including the biology of the brain) did not explain consciousness and the mind fully. It struck me then that personal psychology didn’t explain interpersonal and group interactions fully, and that social psychology had limitations too. To complete the picture, these four (physical, biological, psychological and social) required a vital fifth, ‘spiritual’ dimension. You cannot understand anything properly until you take all five into account. According to the holistic paradigm, connections between the five dimensions are seamless. The boundaries between them are more apparent than real.
Rather than abandon the secular scientific model of understanding how things happen in the universe, I found myself extending it in a way that allowed answers to ‘why’ as well as ‘how’ questions: questions about finding meaning and having a sense of purpose in life; questions about values and morals, about how to be and behave; questions that lead to wisdom, in addition to facts. I learned a lot about holistic (as opposed to dualistic) ways of thinking, years ago, from Eastern faith traditions and practices, particularly Buddhism and Zen. I have had my thinking cap on ever since, and this book is my best attempt so far to make a coherent narrative of it all.
The Society has over 70 members, but we would love to see it grow further and we therefore welcome new members, whether qualified or aspiring lawyers in training. Any Old Cranleighans who wish to join the Society should contact Alexi Dimitriou at Alexi.Dimitriou@ashurst.com
Rubik’s cube master breaks own British record
Daniel Sheppard (Cubitt, 2007) finished third recently in a competition for solving 10 Rubik’s cubes in one hour while blindfolded. He competed against more than 200 people from 26 nations in the European Rubik’s Cube Championship in Budapest, winning 100 euros and beating his own British record at the same time. His event, the Rubik’s cube multiple blindfolded, saw competitors nominating the number of cubes they would attempt to solve in the time limit, memorising them and then putting on a blindfold to solve them. “It’s difficult to explain how I work it out,” he said. “I use a lot of coding and decoding. I code the pieces into letters and make stories in my head, and once I’ve memorised the stories I can solve it. You already know how fast you are so you can judge how many you can do in the hour. I went for 11 cubes and at the end I had solved 10. The winner got 11 out of 11 so it was all very close.” Daniel first realised his talent for the puzzle when he was doing his A-levels at Cranleigh; he then studied Maths at Oxford. He holds national records in six events, including three blindfold competitions and the Fewest Moves challenge. He is ranked seventh in the world for the 5x5x5 cube blindfold event. A normal 3x3x3 Rubik’s cube takes him about 15 seconds to solve; his fastest ever time for one cube was 9.66 seconds. He also took second prize in Budapest for the Rubik’s Clock challenge, a puzzle similar to the cube involving moving the hands of 18 clock faces to point to 12 o’clock.
North to South - a special Adventure
Last year Ric Hill (Loveday, 1996) set off with his fiancee Emily for an epic motorcycle journey which included the northernmost and southernmost roads on continental mainland. Here’s Part One of his brief account of what happened. He writes, superbly:
First we flew ourselves and our BMW motorbikes to Anchorage, Alaska. We headed North as far as we could go, up into the Arctic Circle and to the shores of the Arctic Ocean. Quite unexpectedly the biggest problem we faced in the Arctic, where the sun never set, wasn’t the cold (it was actually 30C!), nor the roads (although there was some 700 miles of dirt to cover), but the mosquitos! Thousands of hungry blighters would descend within seconds of stepping off the bikes, to the extent that we had to pitch our tent in full motorcycle gear, and even this wasn’t always enough to keep us bite-free.
At the top of the world it was an about turn, and a southern bearing was on the GPS for the next 6 months. Our route took us through the immense wilderness of Alaska and Canada’s Yukon Territory, where the bears significantly outnumber the people, into the relative civilisation of southern Canada and a brief respite from our tent staying with some relatives.
We were sad to leave Mexico, but we’d overstayed our visa (accidentally, they let us off) and there was a long road ahead. Over the next few weeks we blitzed through the borders, bureaucracy and occasional corruption of Central America: Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and into Panama where the road ended. It’s rumoured to be possible to cross the Darien Gap into Colombia, but it’s not mapped, safe or legal and there isn’t anything even approaching a road, so there was no way we were about to try it. We were about to resign ourselves to flying over The Gap when we had a chance encounter with the captain of a boat On ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Road’, “The Fantasy” (of the in Bolivia semi-cult US TV show “Fantasy Island”!) who was sailing to Colombia the following day. After a quick decision and a handshake we found ourselves setting sail the next day, bikes strapped to the deck after a nerve racking manoeuvre to get them on board. We sailed through the stunning San Blas islands, fished for tuna, snapper and shark, and eventually landed in Cartagena. Colombia was another very pleasant surprise, with more beautiful scenery and incredibly friendly people, and also where we hooked up with some fellow adventure bikers for a while: an English couple riding from the USA on a Harley, and a French couple who also started in the USA and were on a sensible bike (a BMW). And so it was with them that we started our long ride down the spine of the Andes and headed into Ecuador.
“Full biking gear”
We continued down the Rockies, through National Park after magnificent National Park (Yellowstone, Arches, Bryce and The Grand Canyon to name a few), and spilled out into the intense heat of Arizona - I can tell you that 46 degrees C in full biking gear is pretty stifling, especially when there are no clouds or shade to be seen for hours on end!
All through North America the motorcycling locals warned us about Mexico, exhibiting a deep-seated fear of a naughty neighbour that few of them had dared cross into. However, once through the hectic border town I was delighted to discover an incredible land, full of rich history, natural beauty, and some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. In a traffic jam in Mexico City a local rider got off his bike (also a BMW), gave me his card and insisted on guiding us to our hotel: “Everyone needs a friend”, he said. I called him later and so started a train of events of supreme hospitality; being taken out for dinner, toured round town, and put in touch with some other biking friends in another city who we later visited and who insisted on putting a roof over our heads and treating us as part of the family. We had our hardest riding road in Mexico, through the Copper Canyon, spending two long days in the heat, standing on the pegs and riding the clutch in first gear to bounce our heavy hulks of metal over rocks and through streams - tough, but ultimately rewarding. But we also had some of the best food we’ve ever eaten, saw more medieval Spanish towns and ancient Aztec ruins than you could shake a stick at, and had some seriously relaxing downtime on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
Crossing the equator was a big milestone. To celebrate that, and the fact that it was my birthday, we got a last-minute deal to go to the Galapagos Islands, and what an excellent idea that was. The landscapes and wildlife there are both other-worldly, and snorkling and diving with the sea lions, turtles and rays was totally exhilarating. Back on the continental mainland we pushed on South and into Peru. The roadside rubbish and poverty couldn’t eclipse the country’s wonders like the Nazca Lines, Machu Picchu, the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca. We had some more difficult roads but also experienced a new kind of obstacle: local strikers had blocked roads causing people to be stuck for days in towns where there was no way out. Fortunately the bikes were nimble enough to get through the piles of rocks pulled off the mountainside and the locals had no issue with us, so we managed to slip through the blockades, the angry crowds and the burning tyres in the streets. I just had to keep reminding myself that it all adds to the adventure!
After Peru came our biggest challenge yet: Bolivia. The very basic facilities and chaotic lack of traffic rules we could handle, but there were other issues. On an attempt to climb a peak over 6,000m Emily fell ill at the high camp and couldn’t continue with me to the summit. It turned out to be a bit more than altitude sickness, but after a few days resting back in La Paz and a good dose of antibiotics I persuaded her to get on the back of my bike to confront “The World’s Most Dangerous Road”, and then we were off and heading south again. [In one year the ravine claimed 25 vehicles.] (To be continued…)
Will and Rosie - The Interns’ report
Message from our Interns, Will Graham-Rack (Loveday, 2010) and Rosie Smith (South, 2010), who are employed for most of the year to further OC and School projects:
Having spent a combined total of eighteen years at Cranleigh and the Prep School, it seems strange to be finally on the 'other side', living life as an OC, albeit stuck in an office in the Bursarial Corridor. In only two months, we have experienced many aspects of OC life, ranging from the OC Dinner to a Saturday afternoon at Thames Ditton, met a wide variety of OCs, and have come to understand the strength of the Society Our day to day work sees us performing a number of tasks, the most important of which is the consolidation of data into a central database that will allow the Old Cranleighan Society to contact its members more effectively and efficiently, and help to provide them with the best possible experience as a member, with events tailored to their interests and needs. We are working closely with Rick Johnson, Andy Houston, Mike Payne and Martin Williamson as the 'Projects Team'. We may be contacting you in the New Year to ask for some details so if you get a call, please be nice!
By Bike to Barcelona
Joel Richards (Loveday, 2004) writes: After a cycle to Paris and back two weeks earlier as a practice run for Barcelona, on 11 August we set off from Guildford aiming to get to Barcelona in 10 days. Cycling via Portsmouth to Caen, then on to Toulouse, Carcassonne, Girona and finally Barcelona, the distance ended up being 1,443k. Unfortunately my friend picked up an injury just before Toulouse and had to cut his ride short. I continued on to Barcelona alone and ended up finishing a day early giving an extra 24 hours to relax in Barcelona. We ended up raising £1,580 for the Dunsfold-based Jigsaw Trust. [The Jigsaw Trust is a registered Charity set up in 1999 by a group of local parents with autistic children. Through the Trust, The Jigsaw School opened in 1999 with six pupils. It has now expanded and provides a primary and secondary resource for up to 44 pupils from 5 through to 19 years of age. Caspian Robertson (East, 2003) and a friend recently created a sensory garden there for the children; it includes fruit trees and a vegetable plot, as well as plants that appeal to all the senses.]
Database Search Facility
If you haven’t got them, ask me for your secure Username and Password. You will then be able to access the Search from the Home Page of the OC Society site. Click on ‘OC Database’. You can alter your contact details yourself, or search for lists of all your contemporaries, or just those in your House, or just those who live in Hong Kong, or OCs who follow particular Careers, or combinations of these. [The database is secure within the Society. If you do not wish other OCs to see your contact details, I can hide them for you.]
To change your Password on the database, click on ‘My Profile’ when you get your name up via ‘Search’. A ‘Change Password’ option appears.
Always willing to embrace new media, the Old Cranleighan Society can be found on Facebook and Twitter where we flag the latest news, events and photographs. We hope to use the interns to expand what we can provide to users in the coming months. Just search “oldcranleighans” on Facebook. There are also Facebook pages for the OC Hockey and Cricket Clubs.
In the summer Jim Allpass (West, 1982) competed in Ironman Germany in Frankfurt. He finished the 2.4 mile swim, 115 mile bike and 26 mile run in a total of 13 hours 51 minutes, and raised £3,00 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
We are sorry to have to record the deaths of Julian Armfield (1&4 South, 1945-49), Nick Henderson (2 North, 1970-75), Ian Morton (2&3 South, 1951-56), Hugh Robinson (East, 1973-77), Anita Staines (1 North, 1976-78) and Sir Peter Wakefield (2&3 South, 1939).
A School Report: “When the workers of the world unite, it would be presumptuous to assume that he would be amongst them” Surely not an OC’s
Tony Price (Chairman) writes: OC rugby is having a great season – well almost! A very talented young team is tantalisingly close to hitting it off but has only clicked properly in a couple of games so not quite there yet.
Stuart Meaker (North, 2007) has been named as the first recipient of the Harold Larwood Fast Bowling scholarship to Australia. Seven players are participating in the England Cricket Board’s Fast Bowling Programme this winter. Stuart took 28 County Championship wickets at 32 apiece in nine games for Surrey last season, helped by a tip from the legendary Dennis Lillee during the previous winter which helped him to swing the ball both ways. He’ll be hoping to spearhead the county attack in 2011.
Sarasota Six a side Tournament
Alan Cope (Cubitt, 2006) writes: A group of OCs have just flown back from Florida after having competed in the 17th annual Sarasota Sixes tournament. The 7th visit by an OCCC touring side to Sarasota consisted of Henry Watkinson (Captain and organiser), Eds Copleston, Alan Cope, Rick Johnson, Jonny Gates, Sam Langmead, Matthew Crump and Will Howard.
They played five games, and finished 3rd out of six, winning three, losing two. The wins came against The Greenies (Cayman Islands), Salty Dogs (Sarasota) and the Anzacs (Antipodeans based in America), and the losses against Houston and Nashville (the eventual finalists).
Outstanding performances on the field were sporadic and well spread out amongst the team with the surprises emanating from the economical bowling of the slower bowlers Gates and Copleston, aided by Watkinson whose experience in the conditions and format of the game helped. Crump learnt the hard way and at times was expensive, at one point going for 18 off 2 balls during one of his overs. Cope also found the going difficult when he went for 30 in the very first over of the decisive match against Nashville. The younger duo fared much better with the bat and were aided ably by Copleston and Watkinson who all played important innings. Rick Johnson played a strictly managerial role whilst promoting the OC and Cranleigh ‘brand’. Performances off the field were far stronger.
Under the leadership of captain Dom Hammond and vice-captain Steero such OCs as Jumbo Jupp, Tom Garland, Dan Howden, Tom Rose, Alan Cope, Tim Sefton, Tommy Tippetts and Simon Tyrrell have joined the regular ranks, along with some of their mates from uni. With contributions still from the ‘older’ guard of Darcy, Brownie, Baz Anayi and Mark Colgate (and even Will Fawcett) when it works it is superb, but the team hasn’t quite settled yet into the dominant force it is surely destined to become. So all is there to play for and plenty of room for more players at TD.
Martin Williamson (2&3 South, 1980) writes: It’s been a mixed season for the OCHC, and one brought to a premature preChristmas halt by the freezing weather which meant only a handful of games could be played after mid November. The 1st XI started strongly before losing three in four – our 19-month unbeaten record going in spectacular fashion – but a late bounce back means we go into the winter break in third place and still pushing for promotion. The Ladies have also impressed, sitting in joint second in Surrey Division Two after six wins out of seven, with several recent leavers making their mark in the team. The 2nd XI have struggled to replace several stalwarts who have retired and face a tough relegation fight, and the same can be said for the 4th XI who have been rather unfairly handicapped by being promoted two divisions in a league re-structuring. They are now in the same division as the 3rd XI who have started well but have been affected by inconsistent availability. The Veterans’ problems have been more regarding endless hamstring pulls, but they sit in second in their division nevertheless. A reminder that all OCs of any standard are welcome down at Thames Ditton.
The OC Netball Team is proudly top of its league with 7 wins out of 7.
Gav Adair (right)
Russia Today Following in Napoleon’s Footsteps
Alistair Stobie (West, 1984) writes: I have no recollection of Russia’s (sic) October Revolution, which in true Russian style actually happened in the West’s November, being taught at Cranleigh; it is unlikely that the failure was the School’s. Despite, or in spite of, a course in modern Soviet politics at University I was woefully unprepared for the country that was to be first my workplace and subsequently my home as well from October 1994 until 23 December 2008. A decade and a half, give or take, in post-Soviet Russia and the ‘stans [bordering countries ending in ‘stan’]. Two years after a swift British Airways facilitated variation on Napoleon’s retreat I hope that enough time exists to scribble some thoughts on my time in Moscow without a fulsome outpouring of bile.
The best part of a decade and a half included two major bubbles, two major financial crises and a whole host of minor ones. It included both Chechen wars and any number of terrorist attacks; most pertinently the attack on the Nord-Ost Theatre in Moscow. The humane response by the authorities resulted in 129 hostages dying. We also provided food and alcohol to a journalist friend on her return to Moscow from covering the Beslan school hostage crisis in which over 300 people died following a botched rescue attempt. Russia is not a country whose authorities want it to be loved, however unsurprised they are when they are not. Among other lowlights was a year leading the fight to prevent the government (sic) renationalising the Lomonosov Porcelain Factory. It was a pyrrhic victory; the insight it provided into the machinations of the Chinovniki (literally a bureaucrat, but with so much more disrespect than we have for our own pencil pushers) and the use of government office to increase personal wealth either poisoned my view of doing business in Russia or removed the scales. Seven years later and a post-Khordokovsky’s arrest descent in to utter venality and now we decided it was time to witness Russia’s 2009 crisis from the safety of West London.
The good times of 1995-98 and 2001-08 coincided with rising oil prices; and it was fortunate that for the majority of the boom times I had a more than passing interest in the oil business in the Former Soviet Union. I had the fortune to spend time in Turkmenistan securing oil fields, eating the freshest of fresh caviar and the toughest goat since bidding farewell to Fontebasso’s offerings (it was definitely goat), and experiencing long lazy summer days and crisp, clear winter ones doing business up and down the Volga river, with vague Rockerfellian thoughts of controlling the transport of oil and products. All of which was accompanied by the obligatory bottle or two of vodka. Which is something of a meme. My business card described me as a Partner in private equity firm; the truth was that I drank, or sought to avoid drinking, for a living. On finding that my 07.30 flight to Saratov (just north of Volgograd on the Volga river) was fogged in both in Moscow and Saratov my Russian business partner announced that it was too early for vodka – waiter cognac please – the vodka came later. Within a year of arriving in Russia I could match the old Soviet factory Red Directors at an evening with a small amounts of food and large amounts of vodka. The trick was to drink considerably less than was put in front of you whilst ensuring that the obligatory toast was honoured in its entirety. Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors.
No one goes to Russia for its food, climate or the quality of the driving. Work dominated the lives of the early arrivals who were generally not of the corporate variety but know-nothing chancers enjoying the fast life and the opportunity to make money in a tax friendly environment. Clearly this does not apply to our own Andrew Staples, sometime of the rugby pitch, an Army donkey and various Moscovite incarnations. The good thing about being a know-nothing chancer in 1994 is that there was a good chance that it made you the most knowledgeable man in the room. By the time the 1998 crisis had run its course and the light at the end of the tunnel had been switched back on again sometime in 2001, knowing nothing no longer worked as an approach to doing business; except for the ever growing Russian middle class who would occasionally take a break from taking a smoke break to drink tea. Anything but work. And in that complacency the seeds of the 2008-09 crisis were sown. Inflation was rampant. It was most obvious in the price of food at the checkout of the Finnish supermarket that ended up closing because the landlord thought that they were paying too little rent. A contract after all being just the opening of a renegotiation. Worse was wage inflation and its inverse competence deflation. And worst was the “rent” being demanded from an ex-FSB employee to do his job. In the spring of 2007 on leaving a Moscow restaurant, eye candy heavy and flavour lite, I met a Russian acquaintance who had been a cofounder of a reasonably successful investment bank in the early 1990s. He was now a Chinovnik – way more profitable. And so in mid-2008 my wife and I decided to end our lives in Moscow before the next crisis overwhelmed us and we had to start all over again. I now work in West Africa – much simpler. The theme that runs through this piece is of a fundamental change in the risk reward balance from the 1990s to the late 2000s that made making money and hence enjoying Russia a governmental prerogative. My cognac-drinking friend above worked for the KGB until just before the collapse of the Soviet Union. He provided a krysha, or a roof, so that we could do business in the early days. But as he was from the MI6 side of the house he was powerless to provide protection against Putin’s mob in the post-Khodorkovsky days. Which is a shame because there are an inordinate number of incredibly well educated, decent Russians who if the strong arm of the state was ever lifted might just create the basis of an economy that was not blighted by oil.
In thinking about this piece I found some old pictures of me postcross country skiing at the dacha. In the middle of winter it was -25 and cloudless; that evening it would drop to -30. I recollect that later an eclectic group of Russians and expats from the UK, US and Scandanavia would drink a glass of wine too many and tell tales of improbable events, deals done and traffic policemen bribed. The following morning with mildly sore heads we would drink coffee with the best croissant found outside France; which is how I would choose to remember my time in Russia A scale model of Moscow, but it exceeds 400 sq.ft. It’s an epic from USSR times.
The Benefits of Landfill Sites
Archives Landfill Sites
Carymoor Environmental Centre is sited on 135 acres of Dimmer Landfill Site on the edge of Castle Cary, which is 12 miles from Bath. It was set up in 1996 by a small group of enthusiasts after the founder, Hamish Craig (East, 1952), was involved in re-homing some Great Crested Newts at the landfill site. Until recently Hamish was chairman of the trustees. Where most people would have seen only acres of grey clay capping a slice of rotting household rubbish 15 metres deep, Hamish and his wife Gill saw the potential to create a sustainable environment where they could teach about biodiversity and environmental awareness. Hamish
They gained the support of Wyvern Waste Services Ltd who used to run the site and, funded through the Landfill Credit Scheme, the Carymoor Environmental Centre started its existence in a portakabin.
The trust aims “to provide an education programme that encourages environmental responsibility and the desire to help create a sustainable future” and works with schools, volunteers, universities, wildlife groups and charities. ‘Wild Wednesdays’ aim to introduce children to some of the insects, birds and mammals at Carymoor. Vast heaps of green waste surround the giant shredders. This is where cuttings and weeds from your garden are transformed into rich, black compost. Methane is used to produce electricity and the liquids, called leachate, are purified through reed beds before being released into the local water courses. After the stink and the noise of the landfill site, the Centre, with its sustainable building set in wildflower meadows, is another world. Wind turbines silently produce electricity, waste from the composting loos is purified in a reed bed, rainwater is harvested from the reclaimed tile roof, and solar and photovoltaic panels provide energy. The main building is timber framed, doubleglazed and uses recycled and sustainable materials. Nearby, a strawbale building sitting on foundations made from old tyres provides further teaching space. Hamish is a passionate promoter of biodiversity. He defines biodiversity as providing the widest possible spread of
indigenous life as possible to create interdependent food webs. The wider the variety of plants, the more insects, reptiles, birds and mammals there will be - each species depending on others to thrive. He cites the decline of the bee as an example of the importance of biodiversity and he is in agreement with Albert Einstein who observed, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four Hamish is a passionate promoter of biodiversity. He defines biodiversity as providing the widest possible spread of indigenous life as possible to create interdependent food webs. The wider the variety of plants, the more insects, reptiles, birds and mammals there will be - each species depending on others to thrive. He cites the decline of the bee as an example of the importance of biodiversity and he is in agreement with Albert Einstein who observed, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.” The meadows at Carymoor are full of colour and movement. They contrast with the silage and wheat fields surrounding them almost as much as with the muck and mud of the refuse site. Among wildlife that flourish, as well as the bees, are voles, shrews, wasp spiders, grasshoppers, deer, badgers, barn owls, hornets, birds, butterflies, ducks, swans, moorhens, bats, moths, glow worms, and foxes. And the wild flowers are another story.
A Stunning Mid-Life Challenge
John Crosse (2&3 South, 1974) has re-launched his athletics career after 32 years police service by tackling his version of the well known Yorkshire Three Peaks: Everest Base Camp/Kalar Patar, Mont Blanc, and Kilimanjaro. Over three weeks recently he completed the first ‘peak’. He writes: I returned having had a great experience with great people, gained chest and gut
cooking, driving the yaks, carrying loads. Only small planes can land at Lukla, so all other supplies (including beer for the trekkers) are carried in on a 6-8 day walk into the mountains. This really is an unspoilt and beautiful area at the ‘Top of the World’! There are few outward signs of modernity in daily life, save the mobile phone, appreciated and used by local yak herdsman and trekker alike. The Khumbu glacier flows from the shoulders of Everest and, lower down, melts to form the Khumbu River, carving the valley in its wake. Smoke from basic fires, coupled with damage to the lining of the throat and lungs from the thin, cold, air, means that all develop the characteristic ‘Khumbu cough’. The lucky ones have the pure form; the unlucky ones succumb to a superimposed viral or bacterial infection. This affliction is universal. The highs? The first sight of Everest through the trees; playing cricket (of sorts!) at Base Camp; Everest aglow at sunset; Everest ‘smoking’ at sunrise; and the faces of the children – all of which are in the online photo-record. Also a great group of trekkers who got us all to Base Camp and most of us up Kalar Patar at 5554m, for an enormous sense of personal achievement.
Sunset on Everest
infections, taken some 690 great photos, and having lost a stone! I prepared in the UK and the Alps, with acclimatisation to altitude a priority. There is a balance to be struck – longer in the mountains means being better acclimatised, but each extra day at altitude leads to a further loss of muscle bulk and weakening of the body.
Next? I plan to climb Mont Blanc next August and Kilimanjaro in September. Maybe someone reading this would like to join me on one of next year’s Three Peaks Challenges! JPCrosse@aol.com
Only home matches listed. For more details see www.ocsociety.org and www.cranleigh.org or ring Thames Ditton (020 8398 3092) or the School (01483 273666)
OC REUNIONS - See page 2
SCHOOL EVENTS March 8-11 – School Play March 20 – Verdi Requiem Tickets from email@example.com or 01483 273666 OC RUGBY – see www.ocrfc.com OC MEN’S & LADIES’ HOCKEY see www.oldcranleighan.org.uk/ochc OC GOLF - April 7-10: Halford Hewitt (Deal and Sandwich) OC FOOTBALL - January 8: v School (2pm) SCHOOL HOCKEY January 15 v Eastbourne (2.45), February 5 v Charterhouse (2.45), February 12 v Reed’s (1.30), March 5 v Eton (2.00), March 12 v Tonbridge (2.00) Vallee Blanche in the Alps
The scenery in Nepal is dramatic, vast and beautiful. The trek reveals the most amazing views not only of Everest but also of other famous peaks such as Ama Dablam and Lhotse. Deep ravines with glacial rivers, a wide variety of vegetation, and glimpses of eagles and wild animals add to the wonder of the mountain setting. There are no wheels at all above the airport at Lukla, except prayer ‘wheels’ (ie no bikes, scooters, cars, lorries. Nothing). Everything is dug, hewn, carried and built by hand, with yaks as the ubiquitous beast of burden. Everywhere are signs of the Buddhist faith. Young and old alike join the effort for survival; planting and drying crops, seeking firewood,
SCHOOL GIRLS’ NETBALL January 8 v Portsmouth Grammar/King’s Canterbury, January 22 v Hurstpierpoint, February 5 v Wellington, February 12 v Sevenoaks THE COPY DEADLINE for the next issue is Wednesday March 16 (please note that I will be away from March 1-16) Many thanks to
John Sandford (designer/typesetter), Maurice Drake, Mark Tomlin and Paul Chapman (‘Flipside’)
New to ‘Contact’, two pages featuring recent school highlights
Guy Waller on the Michaelmas Term
This term has seen Memorial Services held for two much-loved Cranleigh figures – Vivian Cox and David Bluett – both of whom gave so very much to the School over the years, and who will be sorely missed by all those who knew them.
They were a reflection of the deep and lasting bonds that those who attend Cranleigh tend to form – something of which we are very proud, and which is a feature of the community spirit of the School. Even after pupils leave here, those bonds tend to remain for a long time – often a lifetime – and it is surprising how many Old Cranleighans in fact end up married to each other! And little wonder, looking back over this term and given the relative intensity of the time we share together, packing so much into just twelve or so weeks. The hard work, the dedicated sport, the inspirational music, the spell-binding drama, the extraordinary number of activities available each week, and even the downtime – from snow fights to the Christmas Fair. It has been another incredibly rewarding term on all fronts.
Tim McConnell-Wood (Common Room) on Sport
RUGBY Independent Schools Barbarians Trials: Josh Hughes, James Cordy-Redden, Matthew Gillott, Seb Sharpe
HOCKEY National representation at the UK Schools’ Games: Tom Batchelor and Jonny Gall (England - Gold medal winners) and Ollie Davies (Wales) CRICKET Surrey U15 Cricketer of the Year: Jack Scriven Surrey U14 Cricketer of the Year: Nathan Thorpe
Peter Longshaw (Common Room) on Performing Arts
James Copp’s production of Hamlet was a very significant landmark in the distinguished history of Cranleigh School drama, with Tommy Lister’s Hamlet of such stunning quality (at the age of 16) that we can only wonder what he might achieve in future years. He created a disturbing sense of the supernatural through the lighting, movement and, above all, the music. A full review of this and all events mentioned here is on the website.
With a great sense of anticipation, the Rugby Club welcomed Mr Andrew Houston (Cubitt, 2001) as Director of Rugby, and his impact on Cranleigh Rugby has been wide-ranging: there is a sense of excitement amongst both players and staff for the future. As for the season, the 1st XV won eight out of 11 matches, including achieving a great victory against Epsom and putting 41 points on a very strong RGS Guildford side. The team’s hard work has resulted in eight players being selected for various counties this season.
The Girls’ Hockey Club had a good season, although the 1stXI was very much a young and developing side. They were unlucky to lose by only the one goal on a number of occasions when, with a bit of luck, they might have won or earned a draw. Katie Batchelor (S) was selected to be a member of the England Elite U17 Development Group. The Girls’ Lacrosse 1st XII were also young but played with developing confidence and in Netball the U15s and U16s both qualified for the Surrey finals next term.
Of particular note at the beginning of term was the Golf Club, where both boys and girls had great success, winning the West Sussex Schools’ Cup and Epsom College Invitation Cup respectively. Our athletes are also doing tremendously. Ben Allon-Smith (C) set an incredibly quick half marathon time this term of 1 hr 27 mins.
Seb Sharpe with the ball
Scarlett Rudd as Ophelia
In October a large audience were treated to a stunning display of the extraordinary qualities and versatility of the School’s new Mander organ. The concert (following an earlier private recital in which the world-renowned Thomas Trotter also played) contained a recital by the School’s new organist-in-residence Philip Scriven (recently organist of Lichfield Cathedral), whose programme displayed the organ’s full range of sonorities. In Zadok the Priest by Handel and I Was Glad by Parry the combined sound of the large Chapel Choir under Marcus Pashley, organ and brass was splendidly powerful; in Rejoice in the Lamb by Britten its delicacy was more to the fore.
The Big Band
School News In July the Chapel Choir tour climaxed in their singing in St Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, and in October they had the honour of again singing Evensong at St George’s Chapel, Windsor. The School Big Band under Bob Wilson was honoured to be asked to perform a concert to the in-pensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea in September.
A special evening earlier in November saw the return of David Rees-Williams (1&4 South, 1978), one of the UK’s most respected jazz musicians, who started his jazz career here as a pupil and who was now jamming with Phil Lockhart (still teaching drums here nearly forty years on).
When is the first trip out to Zambia, and what will the pupils be doing? The first trip is planned post A-levels in August and September 2011, for current members of the Upper Sixth and OCs, to start building much-needed classrooms at Kawama School, Kitwe. The school, currently consisting of 220 pupils, is run from a single building where five classes are taught simultaneously. Imagine over one third of the Senior School pupils, of varying ages, all being taught together!
Following this, in the Michaelmas Long Leave, a group of current Fifth and Lower Sixth Formers will head out to finish the building and paint the classrooms, ready for use in January 2012.
As usual, the Christmas Concert, Advent and Christmas Carol Services and the Dance Show were at the heart of the end-ofterm festivities and remind us of how vital all the performing arts are at Cranleigh.
What are the longer-term plans for ‘Beyond Cranleigh’?
What excites staff and pupils alike about the Kawama School project is that rather than a one-off trip, as in the case of those mentioned above, this is going to be a continuous project, building a strong and long-term relationship with one school and community. Pupils will have a significant build-up to their trip to Zambia, helping to fundraise and learning basic skills that they will need on the trip, such as teaching, sports coaching and building. They will then be able to keep in touch with developments, and the personal stories of those they meet there, in the years to come. In addition, we are hoping to put together a Gap Year programme that we’d like to link to existing work in Kenya, to where David Waters (former Cranleigh Foundation Director) has recently returned.
Stuart Block (Common Room) on ‘Beyond Cranleigh’ What was the idea behind ‘Beyond Cranleigh’?
On Speech Day, the Headmaster outlined the broadening of the Cranleigh Ethos to include the wider provision of opportunities for service away from the local area, including more chances for pupils to do service in communities in the developing world. We already have existing connections in the Lebanon and Kenya. To complement these, Cranleigh is now partnering with ‘Beyond Ourselves’ (www.beyondourselves.co.uk), a London-based charity that works to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people in both London and Zambia. Why ‘Beyond Ourselves’ in particular?...
‘Beyond Ourselves’ is a charity based upon similar principles to Cranleigh. We liked the fact that ‘Beyond Ourselves’ offers opportunities to help people both in the UK and in Africa; it underscores the need to be aware of people less fortunate than ourselves in a wide variety of backdrops, and it offers pupils the chance to get involved on both fronts, depending on where their personal interest lies.
You personally have your own partnership with ‘Beyond Ourselves’. Tell us what you are planning?
I am planning to ride a tandem bicycle from Cape Town, South Africa back to London in time for the 2012 Olympics, via the Copperbelt region of Zambia – a fundraising initiative we’ve called “Beyond the Bike” (www.beyondthebike.org). I plan to depart next summer, and en route join the first Cranleigh building trip to Zambia. The ride will be raising money for the ‘Beyond Ourselves’ project – and also for other charities such as Right to Sight (helping to eradicate preventable blindness in Africa, working with schools in the process) and Alive & Kicking (a social enterprise with links to Cranleigh that manufactures sports balls, in Africa for Africans). I hope to be able to buy Alive & Kicking balls for each school visited en route. Why the tandem?
Beyond the Bike is about partnership, helping to build links between two specific communities in two different continents. Doing the cycle on a tandem can be seen as a travelling microcosm of this broader goal. On top of this, it allows lots of different people to get involved personally, as it allows them to join for sections along the route, as well as locals/travellers that I meet. If you’re interested in joining for a section, please get in touch!
The Cranleigh Foundation
At Long Leave we wished David Waters MBE a fond farewell as he left to take up his new appointment as Director of the Gallmann Foundation in Laikipia, Kenya. His contribution as Director of the Cranleigh Foundation has been significant, and we have continued to build on his good work over the course of this term. The arrival of the second Foundationer at the Senior School was a rewarding moment for all those who have shown such commitment towards ensuring that we are able to offer such places year on year. Progress on the new sports pitches continues, with the 1st XV pitch now under seed and the fundraising for the project receiving a real boost from the Memorial Service and Golf Day held in honour of David Bluett. The Governing Body have agreed to name the pitch Bluett's. We have more work to do and a little more to raise, but are confident that we can complete the project in time for next season.
The Inaugural Concert on the Chapel's new Mander organ at the beginning of term represented a defining moment in the Chapel project, with many friends and families of Cranleigh School gathering to listen to Philip Scriven, the new organist in residence, work his magic on this magnificent instrument.
Early in December, a group of Old Cranleighans met at the Chilgrove Estate for a day's shooting courtesy of Nigel Smith (2 North, 1985). Steve Bailey, Neil Bolton, Giles Griffiths, Julian Brynteson, Rick Johnson, Nigel Smith, Laurie Smith and Jim Turley spent numerous cartridges on fewer pheasant. All in all a great day at a special place. A focus of the Foundation is to bring OCs together to perpetuate a sense of belonging. Events such as the shooting day are seen as an investment in continuity which provides us with heritage, something important to many of us. Another was the Foundation Christmas Fair – a huge success, with over 60 stallholders, 500+ visitors, £8,000 raised and a great deal of Christmas cheer felt in the process.
In the same vein, a number of lunches were held in the Memorial Pavilion at School. Lunch and wine were provided for a very modest sum before the start of a rugby match and afterwards mulled wine next to the fire back in the Pavilion. Kids in tow or not, a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon, whilst staying in touch with old friends. If any groups would like to organise a similar lunch around a sports match or perhaps an evening supper then please contact the Foundation Office on 01483 542061 for more details. Please remember to mention that you are an OC. The enclosed Midsummer Ball application form represents an historic moment as it marks the first jointly organised event between the School and OCs. This 500 seat extravaganza will be the event of the year.
Finally, the Trustees would like to thank everyone who has supported the Foundation over the past year - and to wish you all a Happy and Prosperous 2011. For further information regarding the Foundation's current projects, please contact the Cranleigh Foundation on 01483 542061 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The David Bluett Memorial Golf Day
A beautiful sunny day among a week of rainy ones did justice to an event at Kingwood Golf Club, organised by Andrew and Sally Cronk, to raise money for the new rugby pitch at Cranleigh which will be named ‘Bluetts’. Attendance: about 60 OCs or friends of David. 18 holes of golf were followed by dinner, prize-giving and auction, and a cabaret of a six-verse Tribute to Blu which all sang to the tune of Land of Hope and Glory! The proceeds: nothing less than £11,900.
Work in progress