OTA Magazine 2021

Page 1

Fulmerstonian

2020-2021

the OTA


2 Welcome

the OTA

Fulmerstonian

Welcome from the Editor and there will not be one this year in 2021. I hope normal service will resume in 2022! Meanwhile, there are photographs of some members having a Virtual Toast on the day that the dinner should have taken place.

Thanks go to everyone who has contributed to this year’s magazine which contains a good variety of articles but sadly a large number of obituaries. As usual, I am sure readers will be particularly interested in Stuart Wright’s ‘Thetford Update’. I would like to thank Jessica Shingfield for doing such a great job as our Chairman but more importantly to congratulate her on having her first baby ‘Jasper’ who was born in March 2020. I would also like to thank Sally Highfield for continuing to do such an excellent job as Secretary. Unfortunately, the Pandemic meant there was no annual dinner in 2020

Please continue to send me news for the magazine; I would really welcome news from younger members saying what they have been doing since leaving TGS. Alana Wilson and Grace Todd who left last year, have kindly sent articles so I look forward to more like this! Jessica Shingfield has written to TGS’s 2020 leavers explaining the benefits of joining the OTA. If anyone knows anyone who left TGS in recent years then please ask them to contact Sally Highfield and join!

Ben W il liamson Ben Williamson Editor

OTA Officers Chairman Mrs Jessica Shingfield 4 Stuart Drive Thetford Norfolk IP24 3GA 07725 878992 jls60@hotmail.co.uk Hon Treasurer Mr B Lawrence ‘Ronola’ 12 New North Road Attleborough Norfolk NR17 2BJ 01953 454635 brian.r.lawrence434@btinternet.com Hon Secretary & Membership Contact Mrs S Highfield 15 Hammond Close Norwich NR7 9HT 01603 460780 / 07827 239150 otasecretary@virginmedia.com OTA Magazine Editor Mr B Williamson 1 Harry Daniels Close Wymondham Norfolk NR19 9HX 01953 859823 benwilliamson@btopenworld.com


3 Contents

Contents Editor’s Welcome

2

Who’s Who in the OTA

2

Headmaster’s Report – TGS in 2020

4

Chairman’s Report - Jessica Shingfield

6

Presidential Thoughts – Jo Pearson

8

Report from School Captains

10

What has the Committee been up to during Lockdown?

12

Virtual Toasts

14

Notes from the OTA Secretary

15

News and Diary Dates

16

Memories of Thetford Boy’s Grammar School 1943-1949

17

Thetford Update

18

Recent Leavers

20

Letters received by the Editor

22

The Forgotten Soldiers

26

Photo Memorabilia

27

Obituaries

29


4 Headmaster’s Report

Michael Brewer

headmaster’s report

TGS in 2020 Back in early March 2020, a time that now belongs to another age, it seemed at the very least a bit odd to be preparing for the possible closure of schools but staff took to the task with the fortitude that would be expected of our school. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, by the time that March 20th arrived, Thetford Grammar School had moved from Bridge Street to the internet. We took every class online ready for day one of the national lockdown and I can proudly say that whilst we might have been ordered to close the site, our school remained open every day during that period. Indeed, we looked after the children of key workers and vulnerable pupils in person throughout. None of us could truthfully say it was what we would have preferred, but looking back on those weeks, we can say that the school’s spirit remained undimmed and even that we found genuine moments of joy in the camaraderie between staff, pupils and parents. Like all schools, homes and business, life has not yet returned to normal. We try to ensure that necessary safety measures do not disrupt our pupils’ ability to learn

and enjoy learning. More often than not, school does feel remarkably close to the experience we hope for in the best of times. I doubt we will ever get used to the sight of staff and pupils going about the site in facemasks, but perhaps that is a good thing. Our community, as so many others, has felt first-hand the painful effects of the virus on loved ones and livelihoods. We remain united in our determination to continue providing the best possible support for the children of Thetford Grammar School and, of course, for one another. A school of our vintage has seen many much worse situations come and go; if our buildings could speak they would tell us that better times are not so far away.


5 Headmaster’s Report

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the OTA Committee for their foresight and continued support of TGS.

OTA Invests in the future of the Sixth Form In amongst the challenges we have all faced, it has been an exciting year for the Sixth Form at TGS. Back in September, we ‘re-launched’ our post-16 offer, building the Sixth Form around what the school has historically done best: preparing young people for the highest levels of academic success, helping them gain entry to the best universities in the country and towards fulfilling life opportunities beyond. Students are now guided towards a choice of ‘Pathways’ – groups of A levels that show the links between these subjects and the degrees and careers they facilitate. Linked to this, we also unveiled our new Pathway Scholarships, a sweeping programme of scholarships aimed at giving bright local pupils the opportunity to study A levels at TGS, a process already well underway. Adding to these substantial developments, I am delighted and honoured to announce that the OTA have offered to help the school further invest in Post-16 education through funding for a substantial

refurbishment of Cloisters, our Sixth Form study and social area. With a very generous donation of £10,000 the OTA has committed to helping provide the kinds of facilities that our diligent and determined students thoroughly deserve. An OTA working party is now liaising with a school committee to ensure that these much-needed improvements meet our aspirations and can be carried out as swiftly as

possible. Central to this project is a desire to establish close and lasting links between the OTA and the Sixth Form as the next generation of OTA members. We have a lot of planning still to do, but works are underway and we should be able to share more details and pictures with you very soon via the OTA Facebook page. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the OTA Committee for their foresight and continued support of TGS.

r Michael Brewe Michael Brewer Headmaster


6 Chairman’s Report

Jessica Shingfield

chairman’s

Report

Happy New Year to all of our OTA members. I sincerely hope that our 2021 issue of the magazine, and our first electronic issue, finds you all healthy and safe in what has been a very difficult past 12 months. In my Chairman’s report, I would usually include a few updates and key events that have taken place at the school and in the local area. The main event for the OTA, the annual dinner, was the first casualty of COVID-19 as the difficult decision was made to postpone the dinner and unfortunately, we have taken the decision to do the same for 2021. It was certainly the right decision to take last year as the country was in lockdown when the dinner would have been held. Although there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ towards the Easter break, I have no doubt that restrictions on larger social gatherings will still be in place by the time we should have our annual dinner this year as well. As mentioned in the Newsletter, the OTA Committee hope that we will be able to organise something for later in the year. This also meant that we were not treated to the excellent speeches

from the Head Boy and Head Girl which offer their own insights into the TGS experiences of younger generations. Their year group, along with those doing their GCSEs, faced disruption to their education and their final months at TGS and were not able to sit the exams they had spent so long preparing for. Fortunately, all pupils were awarded their predicted teacher assessments in the summer after what must have been a considerable time of uncertainty. As we were unable to meet the school leavers prior to the end of the school year, I wrote a letter to them wishing them all the best from the OTA and saying that we looked forward to seeing some of them at future events. A copy of last year’s magazine was included as well. It was also very disappointing that the country could not commemorate the 75th anniversary of V.E.Day in the way that was planned. TGS has always celebrated Remembrance Day and other occasions to commemorate the efforts of those in the two World Wars; this certainly instilled a sense of the

importance of continuing to do so in myself as I am sure it has done for many other OTA members, so it was a shame that this very special anniversary could not be celebrated in the way the country had intended. Hopefully, you were able to mark the occasion in some way – many people decorated their front gardens and had their own socially-distanced picnic outside their front doors with their neighbours. In Thetford, we were treated to wartime music as local haulier, Chris Riches drove one of his lorries around all the residential areas in the town. The summer gave us a little reprieve from the strict measures that were enforced in the first lockdown and I hope members were able to enjoy the good weather and see some friends and family during this time. Unfortunately, with the return of the


winter months and the emergence of a new variant, Christmas and the New Year may not have been as we had hoped and we are back to a stricter lockdown. TGS, like all schools, has had to adapt quickly to ever-changing guidance and teach in a way which we have never experienced before with remote teaching and ‘live lessons’ online as well as teaching some pupils face-to-face in school as well. Perhaps this new way of learning, and for many people new ways of working from home, will become more ‘normal’ in a future with reduced carbon emissions, equal opportunities without geographical limitations and perhaps even a better work/ life balance? 2020 (and it seems 2021) will certainly not be a year like any other. It will add to another piece of living and social history and the history of TGS. But hopefully, we will be back to ‘normality’ by the time I write my next Chairman’s report! I look forward to being able to see you all soon. Keep safe.

ld Jessica Shingf ie Jessica Shingfield Chairman

OTA Champions – We Need You! As part of the OTA’s continuing commitment to support the school in its role to expand, diversify and improve its offer to existing and prospective pupils, we are searching for members of the OTA to get involved in the school’s new Pathways Scheme. The Pathways scheme, introduced in the Sixth Form department this year, supports pupils in realising their university and career goals. The four ‘pathways’ are: Arts and Humanities; Health and Life Sciences; Physical Sciences, Design and Engineering; and Social Sciences. Using an individualised approach, the Pathways Scheme helps pupils to identify the subject choices which will support their university application and ultimately give them the best skill-set to enter their chosen profession. We know that OTA members have a rich and varied set of experiences and careers which would prove useful for current and prospective Sixth Form Pupils. You may be able to offer advice on degree courses and perhaps wider skills which would be useful for a chosen career path as well as what opportunities there are within a profession. We are asking members to contact the OTA to begin setting up these links with the school. Initially, we envisage asking members to answer a few questions about their career path which will form a catalogue of information for pupils to access. There may be further opportunities for members to contribute further so that we can strengthen the link between the school, its pupils and the OTA. Members are asked to contact the OTA Secretary Sally Highfield (OTASecretary@virginmedia.com) to indicate their interest.

Jessica Shingf ie

ld

Jessica Shingfield Chairman

7 Chairman’s Report

I sincerely hope that our 2021 issue of the magazine, and our first electronic issue, finds you all healthy and safe in what has been a very difficult past 12 months.


8 Presidential Thoughts

presidential thoughts

No, not DJ Trump’s… or Jo Biden’s… But Jo Pearson’s…!

So here we are 12 months later with the world all but in a Covid Coma… We are all the subjects of a grim statistical world with, shockingly over 100,000 dead and, hopefully at the very low point of this dreadful pandemic. There appears though to be some light at the end of the tunnel now and the vaccinations are rolling out pretty quickly, even in Thetford, Norfolk. It is perhaps difficult to think about the positives a situation like this brings forth but there are many. The reaction of the Third Sector, the world of Philanthropy and Charitable help and giving has all but exploded during the past twelve months. There has been an outpouring of care, concern and financial support from all sectors and levels. From some of my own positions as Vice Chair of Trustees at both the Norfolk Community Foundation and the Zoological Society of East Anglia, both organisations with very different remits, both have been very, very busy organising and handling a dramatically increased workload exacerbated by many people wanting to help and be

involved in doing good. It has been a wonder to witness and huge thanks must go of course to the staff and volunteers of these organisations and many others too. In Thetford some of this work has resulted in the formation of a new Social Supermarket… a much needed and appreciated asset for the folks struggling with food poverty. I am also happy to assure animal lovers that full care of all the species and animals at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive continues throughout lockdown aided by many donations from the general public along with help from DEFRA too. Both organisations have a remit for and with Mental Health too and we look forward to expanding those programmes further this year as we hopefully emerge from the Pandemic. Coming closer to home at TGS…. as well as the OTA we now of course also have the Thetford Educational Foundation Trust, to which I currently serve as Trustee

and Treasurer. TEFT was formed by former Governors following the sale of the School in 2017 . TEFT now administers a fund from which we award Bursaries and Grants on an annual basis, ‘For the education of Boys and Girls in/from Thetford’. These Grants can be awarded to pupils who might otherwise be unable to study at TGS or other educational offerings and can also offer one time grants for other educational purposes. We were pleased last year to be able to offer support to four students on their TGS journey and also awarded gifts and grants to both primary school pupils in the town and pupils from the Academy who had gained university places during the year. Our eyes and ears are open for further opportunities of educational support into 2021/2. All of these organisations exist of course by the generosity and charity of others. Please take a moment to think about , or to explore the websites and opportunities available to help these organisations either by


one off donations or perhaps by discussing setting up an ongoing fund or a legacy bequest in your Will. Only by ongoing funding can these valuable works continue. There is also of course, the opportunity to volunteer in one of these organisations or to become a Trustee. I would be quite happy to discuss details of any of these organisations further. Please email me on jo@pcp-ltd.com, or otherwise click on these links for either; Norfolk Community Foundation-: https://www.norfolkfoundation. com/ Or Zoological Society of East Anglia-: https://www. banhamzoo.co.uk/zsea/ for more information. It is, for me, a continued pleasure to remain involved with TGS, along with both my sisters, Linda Steeds, (Pearson - class 81’?) now teaching at TGS and Fiona Glade (Lesley Pearson - class 77’ ?) now Dean at Montgomery College, Washington State University and a current Patron of TGS……and also my niece Eireann Alderson who also is currently on the teaching staff at TGS. Members of the Pearson generations have attended TGS for the last 100 years. As we

all know TGS just has a magnetic field which keeps us all attached… one way or another. Long may that continue. In the meantime… stay safe and best wishes.

Jo Pearson Jo Pearson President

9 Presidential Thoughts

As we all know TGS just has a magnetic field which keeps us all attached… one way or another. Long may that continue.


10 Report from School Captains

report from

School Captains Dear OTA members, Unfortunately, we are unable to talk to you this year at the OTA dinner as it has been cancelled, but we are delighted to have the chance to communicate with you through the OTA magazine. Liz Wright, School Captain: My time at TGS started out as a keen Year 7 with a rucksack twice the size of me, studying everything I could from Latin to music. Now I still carry my rucksack of books but study a mere four subjects: maths, further maths, chemistry, and physics. I also have the privilege of carrying the title of being School Captain. Whilst in previous years the heavy duties of this have included eating a three-course dinner with you, and actively taking part in school wide assemblies each week, my time as Captain has been anything but stopped by the pandemic. In this role, I have created the Buddy system for our school, where kind members of each year sign up to offer a listening ear to their peers. It hasn’t gone swimmingly – our first meeting had to be cancelled due to the Sixth Form having to selfisolate - but what has stood out is the kindness of our students and hopefully, a system that will continue for years to come. Olly, Kate and I, as well as the other senior prefects, have also had the

challenge of organising COVID secure events for the sixth form. I think the lasting memories of these are that, despite all the uncertainty, what was certain was that we wanted to spend time together. Nothing beats laughing at each other when playing charades, or even going through the madness of acting out all twelve days of Christmas. Next year, I am hoping to go on and study Mathematics at Murray Edwards College, Cambridge. Whilst it will be a completely different environment, I’m sure that TGS will have stood me in good stead; with each cup of tea I make, I’ll hear my maths teacher saying ‘milk’ in her South African accent, and with each event I attend, I’ll remember the joy we had of organising our own. I hope that the TGS I leave behind will continue to be full of the kind hearted and wildly enthusiastic people I know (students and teachers alike), and that the sixth form will make good use of the new Cloisters which I’m very jealous of!

Kate Shelton, School Vice-Captain: Over the years, I have heard the Year 13’s farewells thinking, I’ve still got a couple of years left, it’s fine. I don’t think it has sunk in yet that this is my final year and, like the rest, I too must write about my time at TGS, the school that has cared for both me and my education for the last six years. As I arrived at the school, having just moved from a small preparatory school, daunting was an understatement - although I had to adjust, the welcoming environment allowed this to be a brief process. I fondly remember my previous headmistress saying that the school is the perfect secondary school and I can confirm this. As someone who stresses easily, GCSEs were not easy – I remember my teacher shouting across the car park ‘get some sleep’ at the end of the first week, and when it came to results day, I was forced to open my results as I was convinced that the letter had to stay sealed. Not only has the school supported me with my education, but also with pursuing my aspirations of doing my Gold Arts Award, and with the help of


Kate Shelton School Vice-Captain

Olly Peace School Vice-Captain

my friend Sophie, raising £2000 for Alzheimer’s related charities. Moving into Sixth Form, the support only grew stronger, with small class sizes, and already knowing my teachers, meant that the step-up to A-levels was lessened, meaning I could quickly get to grips with the increasing workload. I find no shame in saying that the kitchen was a sort of sanctuary, with (very) frequent cups of tea fuelling my motivation. Something that also led to the milk supply swiftly diminishing, which was, in all honesty, entirely my fault. Becoming Vice-Captain, and head of charity, environmental, and wellbeing endeavours allowed me to give back to the community that has helped me flourish academically and in my self confidence. For example, the new Wellbeing Champions scheme will help to promote mental health, something we can all agree is paramount, particularly in the current situation. As well as this, when at school, I have enjoyed assisting in Junior School, which has helped me confirm my decision to pursue a career in teaching. Reflecting my wish to read English next year at York, I was appointed to the role of English sixth form tutor; a scheme established to help unite the Sixth Form and Senior School. Although my time at the school is coming to an end, my memories of my time at Thetford Grammar School are invaluable, and I very much appreciate all of my teachers and friends who have helped to make these six years so enjoyable.

Olly Peace, School Vice-Captain:

house events, we have worked hard to keep spirits high and endeavour to do so throughout the rest of this year. To aid the integration and the welcoming of our international students, we have planned a celebration of Chinese tradition to celebrate Chinese New Year on the final day of this half term. Enlisting the help of some international students, I have learned about their culture and hope to transfer this to the rest of the school through engaging activities and assemblies. In the second half of this school year, I intend to help to bridge that gap between the top end of junior school and the youngest of the senior school to make the transition between key stages much more fluid. Although this has been difficult so far this year due to Covid restrictions, I am determined to find a way! Alongside my vice-captain duties, I am the DT subject mentor and I have found the experience of supporting younger students invaluable. I am now looking forward to starting university and studying Product Design in the next academic year. This is an exciting next step in my journey through the education system and with the knowledge that TGS has imparted to me, I feel more than prepared to make this leap.

Joining TGS in Year 5 was a nervewracking but exciting experience, after all, it was a new school in a new county, but looking back in my 9th and final year here, I can confidently say that it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I quickly felt welcome and over the years I have been presented with some of the most amazing academic, creative and extracurricular activities that have undoubtedly led to my decision to study Design and Technology, Biology and Geography for my A-levels. Alongside the academic opportunities that the school has provided me with, I have also found a love for music. I have played in the school band and performed at all house and school music events and some of my fondest memories come from the experiences I have had here. Most importantly, all of these experiences have led to my desire to give something back to the school that has done so much for me, hence my decision to apply for school vice-captain. More specifically, my vice-captain responsibilities focus on integration and events. Despite the Covid-19 situation that we currently face, I have still tried my hardest alongside my fellow prefects to bring about as much normality as possible and to keep us together when we must keep our distance. Through events such as well being days and virtual

We hope to be able to meet you all at OTA dinners in the future – when we’re one of you! Best wishes Liz, Olly and Kate

11 Report from School Captains

Liz Wright School Captain


12 Lockdown

what has the committee

Been up to during Lockdown? Jessica Shingfield Life in Lockdown Life in the Shingfield household changed dramatically days before the first lockdown in March 2020 with the arrival of our first child! Jasper came into the world on Friday 20th March at 5:33am, weighing 7lb 6oz. The initial first few months of lockdown were very different to what we had envisaged our son’s arrival would be like; there were no visits from any friends or family, but at least there were plenty of opportunities to chat on FaceTime. Thankfully, my husband was able to work from home although technology hasn’t always made this easy. By the end of June, with restrictions eased slightly, we could enjoy a Father’s Day barbecue as a wider family unit with grandparents. There were also some opportunities during the summer months to finally meet outside with friends and for Jasper to meet his aunt, uncle and cousin. Fortunately, a change in the support bubble rules in December meant that we

could form a support bubble with my parents so Jasper has been getting to see his grandparents on a more regular basis – and crucially, getting cuddles too! My maternity leave has certainly not been what I had expected – however, I also count myself very lucky that we have been able to isolate ourselves during this past year and keep our family as safe as possible in these very different times.

Ed Dennis Whilst it has been some months since the first lockdown back in March, I do remember a strong sense of pride at witnessing some of the British engineering skill and resourcefulness as we heard of numerous companies offering to, and successfully building ventilators. It seemed, at the time, like some of the greatest engineering minds were in a race against time, and it was uplifting to see industry rallying together for a common cause. I think some of this must had rubbed off on me, as I stumbled across an old sewing machine that has been in the family for many years, which no one knew how to use. Having never used a sewing machine before and having an interest in how things worked, I decided it couldn’t be that difficult, so with the modern wonders of ‘YouTube’ I set about seeing if I could get it to work. To

my surprise, after an hour or so, I successfully joined two pieces of material together. Wondering what I could do with my new skill and with plenty of time on my hands, not wanting to take PPE away from those that needed it, I decided that we needed face masks. So, I made them for the family. I’d like to say I went on and made them for a wider audience, but I’m afraid they wouldn’t have fully passed quality control, although I certainly enjoyed learning a new skill and making something in a strange time.

Mike Williams So, 2019 ended with me finishing working after 45 years. Time for me to take stock, decide what I want to do and plan to enjoy retirement. This could easily involve a bit of travel, playing golf and many other things that the working life doesn’t normally allow the time to entertain. The new year started well in February with a trip out to Portugal and then we heard about


2020 ended up being a year of staying at home, not playing golf, decorating the house from top to bottom (the house is definitely now smaller with all the layers of paint!!) and spending a great deal more time in the garden. During the first part of the year, during the nice weather, it was actually quite relaxing to be at home and enjoying doing things in a thoughtful manner rather than rushing through and fitting jobs in and around work. However, as the weather deteriorated through the last quarter of the year, we longed for a return to normal. Sadly, this has not happened yet (at the time of writing) and doesn’t look like happening for a few months but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are very positive that we will make the most of it when we are allowed to.

Sally Highfield I spent some time during lockdown making cushion covers using material I had acquired over a number of years. Also made a few face masks, thinking I would never use them, how wrong was I on that one!

Ben Williamson I took early retirement in April so started my new life of idleness in lockdown! No retirement booze up for me and I had to make do with a virtual do on Zoom. I’ve managed to see some friends, when allowed, and even ventured as far as Essex when it was permitted, in my new Mazda sports car which was a retirement treat to myself. Like most people, I have kept busy doing some boring painting and gardening jobs plus getting out on my bike. I have tried to pace myself as I don’t want to get everything done too quickly leaving me with nothing to do! I have to remember the comment made by my father’s cousin ‘Don’t go to the Post Office and the Hairdresser on the same day’! Like everyone, I hope that COVID will soon be a distant memory so that I can travel more and get to see places I always intended to go to but never had the time.

Brian Lawrence What have I done over the past year to try and keep myself sane? Watching Norwich City during the summer was not an enthralling experience but things are now looking up again. I have been up early to watch the cricket from South Africa and Sri Lanka. I first decided it was time to catalogue my library. My main interests are travel, World War 1 and 2 history. My problem is that I have started many books but not finished them. Must find the time! My library also includes many DVDs with a similar theme. I have been on many battlefield tours to France and Belgium with the Western Front Association (WFA) and my friends but obviously these have been postponed to later in the year. I am a committee member of the WFA, which meets on Mondays in normal times at the White Horse at Trowse near Norwich.

I am pleased to see that TGS has taken an active interest in WW1. I cannot recall whether research was done on TGS old boys and girls who served in the conflict? I seem to recall a magazine article. I belong to Attleborough Heritage Group and serve on the Committee. Two years ago, we decided to adopt the Railway Station to maintain the gardens. So fortnightly, a sub group have met to carry out gardening tasks. If you are travelling back and forth to Norwich by train keep a lookout for the lupins and bulbs in springtime. We are not alone as many stations have been adopted by volunteers in East Anglia including Thetford and Eccles Road, where the tubs on display are looked after by Peter Lotarius 1964-71. I have for several years, been a member of the Attleborough and Thetford Ramblers groups. Normally, we walk on Mondays (Attleborough) Tuesdays and Fridays (Thetford). However, in lockdown only walking with a friend is allowed. When in tiers, we are allowed to have up to 20 walkers. Household matters: No excuses so Baxi boiler serviced, blinds purchased and fitted. Front wall replaced but then demolished by next door neighbour with his car. Repairs pending. New garden fence installed at the rear garden. Cookhouse: Usually, I have been an expert with the slow cooker and microwave but I have now ventured forth with some baking. My problem with the slow cooker is my ingredients change each time! Nevertheless, my chilli meals are great. Perhaps I ought to write the contents down. I am now very good at making quiches using Sainsbury’s pastry cases and different varieties of scones and tarts. I have not yet baked a cake. If I run out of things to do there is always the TV especially Father Brown, Escape to the Country, Homes under the Hammer etc etc.

13 Lockdown

this problem in Wuhan, China. Two weeks later and that was it.


14 Virtual Toasts

virtual toasts

on Saturday April 18th 2020

The day when the dinner should have been . . .

The dinner had to be cancelled due to COVID but several people got together on ZOOM to raise their glasses to Absent Friends at 9.45pm.


OTA Secretary Welcome to your OTA Magazine online Until 2013, the school produced the magazine which included a section for OTA members; this meant the bulk of the cost was borne by the school. However, the school no longer produces a magazine on a regular basis and the timing, when one is produced, does not work well for the OTA. This means that for several years the OTA has paid for the complete cost of design, production, typesetting and printing using a local media company. The cost per magazine last year, including postage was approximately £4.00 per copy. With more and more people having access to the internet and communicating with friends and family online, together with the ever increasing costs of printing and postage, the committee felt the time had come to ‘go digital’. We hope you are enjoying your online magazine and look forward to hearing your comments. To give those members who do not have access to the internet, or where we do not have an email address, ‘for this year only’ we have arranged for a small number of magazines to be printed and

posted to members. In 2022 the plan is to go 100% online, so if you have received a printed copy and have an email address, please send your email address to otasecretary@virginmedia.com. I would also encourage you to take a look at the online magazine, using the link in the flyer that was sent with your magazine. Again ‘for 2021 only’ there will be a small number of printed magazines that can be requested from the secretary. If you have not been sent a printed copy and would really like one, please email otasecretary@ virginmedia.com to request one. These will be sent out on a ‘first come first served basis’.

OTA Donates £10,000 to the School to help improve the 6th Form study area At last year’s AGM, the decision was taken to donate £10,000 from OTA Funds to the school. As you will see from the Head’s update, this will be used to help update the 6th Form provision. It is hoped that this will lead to a closer relationship between senior pupils and the

OTA and, hopefully, in time lead to increasing numbers of leavers choosing to join the Association. This needs to happen to ensure the OTA continues to thrive.

Donations to the OTA The OTA would like to support the school more often financially, but with very limited funds, this is not currently possible. Please consider donating to the OTA if you are able to. Many current members joined when life membership was as little as £10. This has been spent many times over producing and posting out Newsletters and Magazines. The more donations we receive the more we can support the school. Donations can be made by cheque payable to Old Thetfordians’ Association and sent to: Sally Highfield (Hon Sec OTA) 15 Hammond Close, Norwich NR7 9HT or paid directly to the OTA Bank Account (Lloyds TSB, Sort Code 30 98 58, Account Number 00456111)

15 Notes from the OTA Secretary

some notes from the


16 News and Diary Dates

Class of ‘75 Reunion A reunion was planned for Saturday June 6th 2020 but due to COVID it had to be cancelled.

news and diary

Dates GDPR The new GDPR regulation came into effect in 2018. If you no longer wish to receive communications from the OTA please advise Sally Highfield at otasecretary@ virginmedia.com and you will be removed from our list of members.

Please let us know if you change your email or postal address Please send your mailing and e-mail address updates to our Secretary, Sally Highfield, so the database can be kept up to date. otasecretary@virginmedia.com

School Website The school website has been updated and Ed Dennis kindly updated the OTA section. The new information can be seen at https://www.thetfordgrammar. co.uk/46/old-thetfordians

OTA Annual Reunion Dinner Please note that due to the pandemic there will NOT be a dinner in 2021. Please note for your diaries that the dates for the 2022 and 2023 Dinners will be as follows: Saturday April 23rd 2022 Saturday April 15th 2023 The Dinner is at 6.15pm for 7.00pm.

OTA on Facebook We have an OTA Facebook page which was kindly set up by Corinne Fulford and Stuart Wright. Please visit (and ‘like’). The page needs to be developed so if anyone is willing to help with this please contact us. http://www.facebook.com/pages/ Old-Thetfordians-AssociationOTA/218370798293248

Instead, some of the girls from the Class of ‘75 got together online on the night of the dinner (Saturday April 18th) to raise their glasses to absent friends. Terri Harper said ‘Thinking of you all, OTA members and school friends...in absentia! Stay safe, everyone!’ Liz French observed ‘White court shoes must have been the in-thing in 1985! It’s sad not to be catching up at this year’s OTA dinner, but we’re with you all in spirit, nonetheless.’

Pictured, clockwise from top left: Gail Dorman, Liz French, Terri Harper, Norma Blackith (Cleare) and centre, Debbie Adams (Jones).

Help us recruit more members to the old Thetfordians’ Association (OTA) Please encourage any old school friends that you are still in contact with, to get in contact with Sally Highfield so that we can continue to build up our database with as many members as possible. If you could all think of just, say, one person and let Sally have their details (with their permission of course), that would be a great start. Ideally, new members should provide an email address. We only charge a one-off fee of £50 to join the OTA or £30 for those over 65 years. We have also introduced a 5-year membership for £20.00. Even in this day of Social Media, there is something special about keeping in touch with your old school and school chums. By being an OTA member, you will be able to:• Attend the annual OTA dinner (always the first Saturday AFTER Easter) • Receive the on-line OTA magazine • Receive regular on-line newsletters, which include:• Updates on school news and views. • Where are they? • What are they doing now? • General information on old friends and teachers (Subject to GDPR). Please contact Sally Highfield at otasecretary@virginmedia.com with your email address, if she has not already got it and details of potential new OTA members.


Thetford Boy’s Grammar School 1943-1949

Michael Adcock kindly wrote the following on the date of his 89th birthday (February 8th 2021): I was a day boy arriving on the Watton train for my first term, which was at the end of 1943, and became a boarder at the beginning of 1944 during the war. My mother took me to the shop in White Hart Street, where I was fitted out with a school uniform including short trousers in those days. The ‘Watton Boys’ had to leave before the end of afternoon lessons in order to catch the train, and as I had no watch to tell the time, I once remember asking if the Watton boys could go about half an hour too soon, much to the amusement of the other boys! As a boarder, I only went home at half term and at the end of term. I hated having to go back to school at the beginning of each term, but I soon settled down again. We boarded in the headmaster’s house opposite the boy’s school, in two dormitories each sleeping about twelve boys, and some of the older boys slept at ‘Losinga House’ next to the school. The dining room had two long tables, the headmaster (Charles Watson) sat at the end of my table (we always sat in the same seats) and his wife at the end of the other table. The food was brought in by maids from the kitchen. My favourite meal was on Thursdays,

sausages and baked beans, and my worst meal, usually on Sundays, was mutton, nearly all fat and other bits which I didn’t like the look of, so I used to slide it off my plate into my handkerchief when no one was looking and put it down the toilet after the meal. We spent our free time in the Common Room next to the house, a wooden building which is still there. We had an appointed hour in which to do our prep, and the rest of the time, we could do our own thing. I made several model aircraft, the solid ones had to be shaped from balsa wood (not in kit form as they are now) and some flying models which we used to take up to the playing field to fly. On Sundays, we all went to St. Mary’s Church on Bury Road, where the organist was a Dr. Adcock (no relation), who also gave me piano lessons on the grand piano in the school gymnasium. I remember he used to put his hand on my bare knee when I was in short trousers! I never knew why… There was an upright piano in the dining room in the headmaster’s house, where I used to practise during the week. Wednesday afternoon was always sports afternoon, where we played

football and cricket, and in my final year played tennis with some of the girls from the Girl’s School (which was quite separate in those days). One of the girls was my sweetheart since the age of 15 and came from Watton. We were at Watton Junior School together. We married eight years later, and had three sons, and lived in Watton, where we both worked. I became interested in playing the guitar while at school, and after learning a few chords, I played in a school Christmas Concert, with about 5 other boys in my form, singing along. I played the guitar in a local dance band in my last term at school, but only on Saturdays, as I had homework to do on Wednesdays. They gave me 5 shillings the first time I played and 15 shillings after that. It progressed to a pound in the next band and I played in the REME dance band during my National Service from 1953 to 1955. On the whole I enjoyed my years at Thetford Grammar School, and I am quite proud to be an ‘Old Boy’, possibly the oldest? Who knows!

TGS Boarding House If any OTA members were boarders and would like to share their memories, then please write to the Editor.

17 Memories

memories of


18 Thetford Update

Thetford

Update Stuart Wright has written the following: The 2020 pandemic meant that most events and projects were put on hold or cancelled; however, Thetford still had a number of stories to tell. Thetford Town Centre continues to adapt to the national decline in high street retail with uncertainty over shops such as Peacocks and Edinburgh Woollen Mill and the closure of Nat West and HSBC banks in the town. On a brighter note, a new independent bookshop, Not Just Books opened in late 2020 and seems to be well supported. A new Costa and KFC restaurant are also scheduled for the Forest Retail Park. The clearance of the Ark site has allowed the rare Type 28A Pill Box to be visible from Norwich Road. Whether this 80 year old silent sentinel will survive the redevelopment of the site is uncertain. The Black Horse’s plans for expansion were put on hold with the need to provide further Covid secure spaces. Four outdoor cabins have now been placed in the garden with the addition of a wooden gazebo and patio area. The cabins have been themed around three former

Thetford pubs the Anchor, the Trowel and Hammer and the Plover with the fourth named in honour of the late Thetford historian and author, David Osborne. The Guildhall is undergoing major works to provide step free access inside and out as well as modern toilet facilities. Internally, the plan is to make more of the history of the building and provide a dedicated room to display some of the Duleep Singh connections with the town. In addition, there will be a display about Dr Allan Glaisyer Minns who was the country’s first black mayor and whose five children attended TGS; including his son Allan Jr, who was one of the first black officers in the British Army winning the Military Cross and DSO in WWI. A planning application to redevelop the Cottage Hospital site to provide housing in the same style as the adjoining terraced houses in Earls Street has been approved and the site will be developed by those responsible for the conversion of the old Snooker Club in the Oddfellows Hall next door. The £3.5m Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers project which will see projects celebrating and conserving

the landscape and heritage of the Brecks’ Fen Edge and Rivers over a 5 year period from January 2020. www.brecks.org/BFER One of the projects is the provision of a boat house in the gardens of Riversdale and a jetty to allow boat and canoe hire in the town centre. A circular sculpture trail is also planned, which will link the Little Ouse riverside to the line of the Thetford’s old Viking bank and ditch. Thetford’s significant Viking past was heavily featured in the Assassin’s Creed Valhalla video game which was released during the year. The Charles Burrell Museum was unable to open during 2020 but works continue to identify funding for the restoration of the exterior of the Breckland owned listed building. The Dad’s Army Museum had limited opening during the summer of 2020 with fully booked walking and coach tours having to be postponed. One of the Dad’s Army locations used, Brandon Station, had been threatened with demolition by Greater Anglia; fortunately, this vernacular building has now been saved by getting the unique flint building listed. The flints used


19 Thetford Update

comprise of cores left over from the knapping of gun flints and these can still be seen in exterior walls of the structure. The Ancient House Museum has remained closed for the majority of the year but continues to engage online with its social media. The daily tweets from @AncientHouseMus provide an interesting snapshot of the museum’s collection and Thetford’s history. During 2020, Ancient House was able to complete the purchase of the late David Osborne’s collection of 1,155 postcards. It is hoped that an exhibition of some of the cards will be put on display in the near future. The Thomas Paine Statue was regilded with gold leaf which restored the bronze figure of the TGS old boy to its former glory, although work is now required to restore the Portland stone plinth.

It is hoped these works will be carried out in 2021. The second phase of Thetford’s Sustainable Urban Extension known as Kingsfleet - www.kingsfleetthetford.co.uk is planned to start in 2021. This latest phase of 130 houses adjoins the first one of 343 houses along Norwich Road east of Joe Blunt’s Lane. The 5,000 home expansion of the town is being overseen by the Greater Thetford Development Partnership - www. gtp.org.uk which seeks to coordinate the process and bringing investment into the town. In order to facilitate the growth, a new electricity supply will be required. This will see a cable buried from Barnham across Thetford to a substation near the A11 Bypass / Norwich Road roundabout. To facilitate these works, 2021 will see weeks of disruption including a 10 week closure of Nuns Bridges where the cable will be tunnelled under the rivers. The Facebook groups Thetford, Norfolk - Down Memory Lane and Brian Mace’s Thetford Past continue to share pictures and memories of Thetford over the years with a number of former TGS pupils featuring. I cannot finish the update without mentioning the floods that affected the town at the end of December. I think the overriding image will be

of poor old Captain Mainwaring, sitting like King Canute as the waters rose around him. However, the Daily Mail seemed a little confused with its geography when they captioned his photo! The floods were caused by heavy localised rainfall which soon caused the river levels to rise to those not seen for 30 years or so. Thetford Garden Centre was inundated with water but thanks to a community effort, damage was minimised. Thankfully, after a few days, the levels subsided. Just one more event to make 2020 a year, that most of us will want to forget.


20 Recent Leavers

recent leavers

“Since TGS” Alana Wilson who left TGS in 2020, has kindly written the following: After a unique end to our school career, I knew I needed to keep my brain active during the summer. When school officially finished and I left TGS, I undertook a weeklong virtual, summer internship with Operation Wallacea, which is a network of academics from European and North American universities who design and implement biodiversity and conservation management research expeditions. In better times, we would have been working in South America! The work I completed opened my eyes to the statistical and analytical skills needed to be a marine biologist and I made connections with other Marine Biologists, Primate specialists and Coral Reef experts.

and fortunate I had been to have been a pupil at TGS. The first month showed that I had a greater understanding of the topics and experience of using the equipment in the labs than many of my fellow students. Whilst being at university, I have been diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia, which came as a little bit of a surprise. I was a frequent visitor to the office for first aid while I was at TGS so the Dyspraxia explains that at last!

In October I finally started my four year bachelor’s degree on Marine Biology at the University of Essex. The first term was certainly intense with up to five lectures a day plus coursework. I was fortunate to be able to go into the university a few times in person to do lab work which was really fun until COVID restrictions stopped it.

I know for a lot of people, the past year has been really hard, but lockdown has provided me with many good things. It allowed me to take a trip to the North Norfolk Coast during the summer, when lockdown was lifted, to do lots of macrophotography of the local marine inhabitants of the coastline and explore the chalk reef at Cromer which is now a Marine Conservation Zone and was created 100 million years ago. It has one of the most diverse communities of sea life around the UK.

As soon as I started lectures and lab’s, I realised how well prepared

With the inevitable transition from school pupil to university persona I

also coloured my hair very brightly, first to half-and-half neon pink and purple and then to a mixture of bright blues, so I’m now known to look like the small invertebrates that I love to study – Nudibranchs! I am loving my studies and hope to get the chance to actually get out into the water with my studies as soon as I can. I definitely made the right choice with the University of Essex and will be grateful for TGS in preparing me for this.


21 Recent Leavers

Grace Tod who left TGS in 2018 has kindly written the following: Upon leaving Thetford Grammar in 2018, I went on to study A-Levels at Wymondham College. The transfer from such a small school to a large college took some readjusting. At first it was strange walking around the school and recognising very few of the faces, even now I couldn’t tell you the name of everyone in my year group. However, it didn’t take long to identify similarities between the two schools. Although Wymondham is vast, it puts a lot of emphasis on 6th form / main school links through schemes such as Prep Help, creating a real sense of community much like at TGS. Another new experience, that took some getting used to, was the large class sizes. Going from a history class of around 10 to a class of 25 was a shock. Being used to the exemplary support provided by teachers such as Mr Ward and Mrs Beukes, it took a while to adjust to a more independent style of learning. However, I cannot fault the teaching of Wymondham College staff, whilst the pastoral care makes a large school feel a lot smaller, with formidable but kind figures within the boarding staff

reminding me of people like Mrs Settle, Mrs Salt and Mrs Eden from my time at TGS. When I moved to Wymondham, not only did I change schools, but I also started boarding for the first time. This has been an experience I have enjoyed so much. Living in Ely, it has been a dream not having to travel to school every day, but what I enjoy the most is living with my friends, there’s always someone to chat to or something going on. Last year we did many activities such as pumpkin carving, Christmas decorating and movie nights. However, undoubtedly the Winter Formals were the most memorable activities of them all. Just like my time at TGS, I have continued to sign up to just about everything I can squeeze in to my schedule. I have particularly enjoyed the Politics Society and the Debating Society which is completely student led and often causes a fair bit of controversy. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to become ‘The Ages’ History Magazine Co-Editor, with the theme this year focusing on equality, which we felt was apt in light of recent events. One

of my proudest moments at Wymondham, however, was being elected JCR chair. This opportunity has forced me to take on challenges that I wouldn’t have dreamt of. Often, when chairing meetings or organising other students, I have realised how much I benefitted from holding The Evening of the Arts at TGS for my Gold Arts Award. Without that prior experience, I am sure I would have struggled a lot more with confidence and knowing in myself that I am capable of leadership and taking control of a situation. This also gave me the confidence to successfully apply for the Head Teacher’s Council, responsible for working with Mr Browning, the Head Teacher, to ensure the student voice is heard. I am currently awaiting responses from my application to study History and English at university. As with all my contemporaries, the pandemic is having a huge effect on my sixth form years and we can only hope that the repercussions going forward will be limited. Until then, all we can do is sit tight and try to make the most of the extra time spent at home with families.


22 Letters received by the Editor

letters received by

The Editor Gordon Carter writes from Bury St Edmunds: What I did to keep going in ‘Lockdown’ in 2020?

I am writing this on Blue Monday, said by some to be the most depressing day of the year. I don’t feel depressed, rather I feel elated by the good news about Covid-19 vaccinations and the fact that I was fortunate enough to have had both jabs early on - one of the very lucky ones! Ben Williamson asked me if I would pen a few thoughts about what I did in 2020 to keep going during Lockdown. Immediately, I said yes, but later regretted it, thinking I am over 80 years old and having been retired for 20 years, what difference is lockdown from a retired person’s normal life? Before lockdown I had been volunteering at the Oxfam bookshop in Bury St. Edmunds, an activity I had done for 14 years for 3 mornings a week. I retired from

this as lockdown arrived, thinking it would be too dangerous to continue, but of course, it left quite a hole in the week. Initially, our dog enjoyed it greatly since she was getting longer and more frequent walks and enabling me to clock up in excess of 25 miles per week! My extensive book collection, with numerous volumes as yet unread, has seen me find amazing reads I didn’t know I had, like for example, John Steinbeck’s ‘Travels with Charlie’ and H.V. Morton’s ‘England’, both excellent books. Add to that some recently published works like Captain Tom’s autobiography, The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (of ‘Pointless’ fame) – which I thoroughly recommend, and ‘All Among the Barley’ by Melissa Harrison, a wonderful read about 1930s East Anglia, which could appeal to many of our Old Thetfordians, and, a Christmas present which should keep me busy during the present lockdown with its 700+ pages, Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’. Music has always been a passion – listening to rather than playing (which I don’t do) – so I have been able to indulge in Classical and Jazz, two genres which I love but which my wife hates, so only to be played loudly when she is out at work! I have recently discovered Haydn’s String Quartets and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the young cellist from Nottingham who comes

from a very musical family.Jigsaw puzzles have also kept us going during the dark days of winter, but my wife is much better than me in finding where ‘all the black bits’ go. Lastly, although my stepson has been doing much of our shopping, it takes time to prepare an online supermarket order for home delivery (when you can find a slot to book). It seems here, that things have come full circle, since it was not unknown for some of our grandparents to have deliveries from the butcher and the grocer, before the growth of supermarkets. What have I missed during lockdown? Well, meals out for one, and a good holiday, although we were fortunate enough to have travelled much of the world before lockdown. All in all, lockdown has not presented the long periods of inactivity it could have done, rather we could ‘catch up’ and enjoy a slower pace of life.

Michael Adcock writes from Watton After reading the latest OTA Fulmerstonian, I thought you might be interested to know I was a boarder from 1943 to 1948 (when it finished) in the Headmaster’s house, opposite the boys’ school. Mr C. H. Watson was the head all the time I was there from 1943 t0 1949. Some of the older boys slept at Losinga House, next to the school. I remember that Harrold, Wright, Potter,


Sue and Ivan Godfrey write from Tiverton: Looking back on the strangest of years, which for many has been desperately sad and traumatic, we feel so fortunate to live in a beautiful rural area and enjoy good health so that we could take advantage of local opportunities. Like most of us, we had to cancel several planned travels and activities, but our large productive garden has benefited from the extra time we could devote to it. We love walking and had to content ourselves with local routes and what a joy this was! We discovered local gems we didn’t know existed. During the summer easing of lockdown, we joined many thousands in Cornwall – not on the beach but continuing the long distance South West coastal footpath – not many miles to go now before we finish it. We were reminded that one doesn’t have to travel abroad to enjoy fantastic

scenery and wildlife. We’ve been enjoying the Couch to 5K programme (at our own pace) and hope that Park Runs resume soon. Zoom has opened so many opportunities to maintain and resume friendships across the UK and the world. This is one of the plusses of the lockdown – we have had regular chats with previous TGS staff many will remember including John and Jill Vincent (living in Australia) and Colin Orbell. Also – we have taken advantage of some of the many zoom presentations offered by the National Theatre, University of Cambridge, Rotary Club and other interesting organisations. It’s refreshing to note how creative many people have been during this difficult time. Like many people, we have been reading lots of the books on our shelves which we had forgotten about. We have been able to keep regular contact with our family using WhatsApp, Zoom and Teams even playing silly games such as Jackbox TV – try it, it’s such a laugh! But it goes without saying

that we are longing to meet them again face to face. When the first lockdown was eased last year, Sue was able to hold small informal clarinet sessions in the garden with lots of chat, tea and cake. This was fun and clearly appreciated especially by those members who live alone. The Tiverton Concert Band, of which she is chair, with nearly 40 members has been unable to meet for nearly a year. Sue’s part time teaching at the University of Exeter as part of the Primary Enrichment Scheme has been on hold since last March although she did manage an inschool science day in Plymouth last October with full PPE – not easy for a science day! Ivan has been a torch bearer for Zoom. He eventually persuaded our local Rotary Club to embrace this new technology and weekly meetings on Zoom have been a great success – he has provided guidance and support to many members who hardly knew how to turn on a computer, including some over 90 years old, with the result that ‘attendance’ has been better than ever! A recent highlight was the fund-raising evening with Simon Reeve which raised over £7,000 for local charities. One of the most difficult things for us has been that we are now too old to volunteer to help locally during the pandemic but, on the plus side, we should receive our jabs in the next few weeks! Ivan and Sue have sent the following photographs. The first photo was taken during their

23 Letters received by the Editor

Scott, Binney, Wood, Youngman, Hanton, Adcock, Allen, Randell, Nunn, Page, Webb, Reeder and Williamson were all boarders. I was a day boy for my last year, arriving on the Watton train each day. I vaguely remember Philip Yaxley who arrived in 1948 (although there was another Yaxley who would have been older and it might be him). I knew John Barnes quite well, he mentioned the names of 3 boarders, all of whom I knew, John Wright, John Page (who was killed in a flying accident in his 20’s) and Peter Reader.


24 Letters received by the Editor

letters received by

The Editor cont’d ‘staycation’ in North Cornwall, walking the SW coast path near Port Isaac – the wonder of nature! The second was on the coast path near Sidmouth in East Devon.

Megan Ryan - 1944 to 1950 writes from Bath I worked for the NHS as a nurse, midwife and health visitor from aged 18 years to 64 years when I retired. I really enjoyed my time at TGS from 1944 to 1950, taking a pre-nursing course in the 6th Form. Megan kindly sent a donation to the OTA.

Steve Tennant writes from Hong Kong I hope that this finds you well and surviving the Covid situation in the UK. I have written previously to you about Dr Dan Waters, an Old Thetfordian, who did some remarkable things during his life in Hong Kong. Dan Waters and I only knew each other here in Hong Kong and he actually lived a few hundred metres away from me, on the same road. We, together with Paul Kent, another Old Thetfordian, even on one occasion had our own reunion dinner here in Hong Kong, in the Hong Kong Club, to coincide with that held by yourselves in the school. Because of the time difference, it was held seven hours before your own dinner. Whilst I shared with you previously Dan’s obituary, I have come across

an article on the internet which actually represents Dan’s memorial, namely the work that he did on technical education in Hong Kong and, in particular, his involvement with the Government Trade School. After a degree of “academic drift”, as Dan put it, and with which he was very much involved, has now become the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and is currently ranked 91st in the QS World University Rankings 2020. As TGS is now owned by a Hong Kong company and, as I believe that, it is now possible that some of the school students and some of the newer old Thetfordians, may have family connections back to Hong Kong, I hope that at least some people will find this link between the school and Hong Kong dating back to 1954, of some interest. As a new boy in Hong Kong, I only arrived here in 1980! I can well identify with Dan’s comment “If one cannot live with change, Hong Kong is not the place to be” particularly as professionally, I have played some small part in that change, which continues at breakneck speed, even today. Here is another interesting tribute to Dan. For those who may remember me from school, you may or may not be interested to know that my wife and I are one of the 81 couples in Dan’s book entitled “One Couple Two Cultures: 81 Western – Chinese Couples Talk about Love and Marriage”.

I commend the book to anyone who is dealing with cross-cultural differences. Steve has kindly provided the following links to Dr Dan Waters and his remarkable long life and career in Hong Kong: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/cpa/ profile/02apr/Profile3.pdf https://www.hkhistory. net/2016/02/25/in-honour-ofdan-waters-1920-2016/

Graham Bowers Jolley writes: I am writing about the 1959 /60 School Year photograph in the 2019/ 2020 magazine. I can help with part of the name for the pupil standing next to Glyn Walden, which will probably support the numerous respondents who have let you know the full name. His surname was Jolley and the reason I remember, is that in 1960 I was allocated to his dining table at school and we were both surprised when he asked my name and I replied ‘Jolley’. I lived in Thetford and I seem to remember he was from Attleborough. I am ashamed to say that I don’t remember his first name. He was a prefect the year I joined in 1960. He’s an old man now I guess, at least 78 if he is still around!

Anne Fuller (Pearson) writes from Thetford: Thank you for another interesting and informative magazine. It is good to maintain contact with


Mike Palmer writes from Felixstowe: I was at TGS from 1941 – 1950. I lived in Brandon and travelled by train to school. It was wartime and very different. I started in the Prep Forms 1 and 2; my parents paid fees until the 1944 Education Act began. I went on to get my Higher School Certificates (A Levels) in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. I won the Gold Medal for Scholarships in 1950 and went to UCL (London University). I qualified in dentistry in 1955 and had my own practice until retirement. I married my wife Lola Hilda Scott in 1955; she was at TGGS. I am now 88 and have a wealth of memories and joy from my days at TGS. Mike kindly sent a donation to the OTA/

Chris Garrod writes: The Bush family have kindly sent some photos showing Betty Bush (Hilda Mary Bush her full name, Newton was her married surname). Betty went to Thetford Girls’ Grammar in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s and taught locally retiring from her role of Head Teacher at Thompson Primary in 1975.

Betty in the Tug of War on the original Girls’ Grammar School playing field, with the Thetford Roman Catholic Church in the background.

TGGS Form 5 1929-1930, with Betty on the bottom right.

David Creasy writes from Grantham I was at TGS from September 1942 until August 1950. I joined the Royal Navy and did 12 years regular service until 1963. I served on minesweepers during the war. I now live in Grantham after living in Kent for many years. I attended the OTA Dinners continuously for approximately 60 years. Ann, my second sister, was at Thetford for 4 years and on leaving she moved to Brentwood. She has recently left Brentwood to live in Derby. Her married name is Russell. My youngest sister, Jill was also at Thetford for 1 year and now lives in North Carolina in the USA.

Letter from California, USA: Pandemic in the California Supply Chain – Martin Wuest

My last letter ended with the expectation of keeping busy until I resumed full time work in the nearby Silicon Valley area. Nobody thought the pandemic would ‘stress-test’ the quality processes of the largest supply chains of consumer goods (especially the food and durable good categories),

This has resulted in a number of interesting quality consulting jobs, keeping me busy working from home during our lockdown, with some of the largest Californian and US companies in the last year. The most interesting job was an issue with the largest sandwich franchise restaurant in the world, with headquarters in eastern USA. They were having claims from their Californian customers, that their tuna sandwiches did not contain tuna or for that matter, any fish whatsoever. One of my cats, who is an aficionado of real canned tuna (but not partial to a probable substitute like chicken), was employed as an additional quality inspector and we set about sampling the tuna sandwiches from two of the same company’s restaurants in my town of Los Banos. Both I and my cat gave the sandwiches a “thumbs up” (or a paw up in his case) and hopefully have helped prevent a class action lawsuit against this favourite UK and US chain. My cat is now fully retired, but I remain semi-retired to keep my mind active on various consumer product quality issues.

25 Letters received by the Editor

friends. I was at TGGS from 195459. I was one who ‘joined for a fiver’ so I am now happy to redress the balance with the enclosed donation.


26 The Forgotten Soldiers

the forgotten

Soldiers Corinne Fulford has kindly written the following Local community interest company Leaping Hare, which provides Thetford with its tourist information centre, co-ordinated the National Lottery Heritage Funded project ‘Peace Comes to Thetford – The Forgotten Soldiers’. The project focused on the men that survived the war and returned home. As the Commonwealth War Graves Commission dedicated war years are 4th August 1914 until 31st August 1921, those who died after that date, even as a result of the war, are not classed as war deaths and are not officially commemorated. Part of the project involved plotting the locations of the graves; some having no markings at all. Neil James Media used drone photography to help us make our locations map as accurate as possible. The project took on a whole new meaning for us when local historian David Osborne passed away. David was a key part of the project and passionate about the Forgotten Soldiers. Thanks to donations, assistance from local business and the permission of Thetford Town Council, we have been able to include a special

memorial garden within Thetford Cemetery, which will have an information panel detailing the graves located to date and a dedication to David. It will also highlight some of the soldier’s stories. One such soldier was Allan Noel Minns, son of Bahamian-born Allan Glaisyer Minns and Emily Minns (née Pearson), who was born on 23 March 1891. He attended Thetford Grammar School and won a Junior Science Scholarship. Like his father, he went on to qualify as a doctor in 1914. Despite the First World War British Army regulations prohibiting anyone not of pure European descent becoming an officer, he served for six years in the Royal Army Medical Corps, gaining the Military Cross for his bravery at Gallipoli in 1916 as mentioned in the London Gazette. The official citation refers to: “His gallantry and devotion when attending to the wounded under heavy shrapnel fire. Another officer who was assisting him was killed. Lieutenant Minns later returned to the dressing station, took out 12 stretcher squads and bought in 24 wounded men”.

Allan went on to win the Distinguished Service Order later in the same year. After surviving the war with only minor injuries, Captain Minns was involved in a dreadful car accident with his close friend Captain Robert Charles Burrell. Captain Burrell died at the scene and on the day of his funeral, Allan Noel Minns succumbed to his injuries and tragically died at the age of 30. Although delayed by Covid 19, it is hoped that the information panel and memorial garden will be completed in time for Peace Day on 19th July 2021. There is a ‘History and Heritage archive housed at www.leapinghare.org covering Thetford’s wide and varied history. Plans for the Forgotten Soldiers to be added are underway. This will also allow any updates to be added.

Thetford Grammar School 1907 Football Team. Allan Noel Minns is second from the right in the front row


Memorabilia Cricket Teams

Football Teams

Mike Williams has sent the following photos:

Mike Williams has sent the following photos:

1964/65 Back Row left to right: Beverly Steel (scorer), Robert Handley, Keith Harvey, David Smith, Barry Fox, Graham Norman, Johnny Mikulik, Paul Gardiner, Chris Upstone, Mr C.W. Orbell.

1963/64 Back Row left to right: Mervyn Self, Graham Norman, Richard Glover, Roger Large, Barry Irving, Chris Wright, David Smith, Malcolm Page, Mr C.W. Orbell.

Front row left to right: Keith Banham, Robert Simpson, Mike Williams, Ian Bowles, Graham Jolley, Kevin Cardy, Tony Greenhough.

Front row left to right: Tony Greenhough, Mike Williams, Rodney Dodman, Tom Walshe, John Woolsey, Keith Banham, Paul Gardiner.

1962/63 Back Row left to right: Nigel Dodman(scorer), Johny Mikulik, Nigel Greenacre, Mr C.W. Orbell, Martin Reed, Stephen Brown, Peter Norton.

1964/65 Back Row left to right: Johnny Mikulik, Paul Kent, Nigel Dodman, Phil Macer, Chris Jones, Malcolm Page, Martin Reed, Nigel Greenacre, Mr C.W. Orbell.

Front row left to right: Paul Kent, Paul Gardiner, Mike Williams, Keith Banham, Ian Bloom, Gary Parfitt, Jeremy Scott.

Front row left to right: Paul Gardiner, Malcolm Blain, David Smith, John Woolsey, Mike Williams, Gary Parfitt, Keith Banham.

27 Photo Memorabilia

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28 Photo Memorabilia

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Memorabilia cont’d

1913-1914 Photograph Maggie Hall has recently moved back home to her family home in Caston where she lived whilst at TGGS. She discovered a large framed photograph of staff and pupils at TGGS, including her grandmother Dorothy Eliza Pryer Larwood, which she thinks dates back to about 1913-4. Early photos of the Girl’s School are very rare so it is quite a find! Maggie has kindly donated it to the school. We hope to have a photograph of Maggie handing it to the Head in the next issue.

Chess Team Mike Williams has sent the following photo: From left to right: John Scarborough, Mike Williams, Brian Lawrence, Clive Copeman, Jimmy Thomas, John Reeve, Michael Legge, with Brian Neve standing to the right.

OTA Past Presidents (1978 – present day): 1978-79 1979-80 1980-81 1981-82 1982-83 1983-84 1984-85 1985-86 1986-87 1987-88 1988-89 1989-90 1990-91 1991-92 1992-93 1993-94 1994-95 1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-20 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 2017-19 2019-22

Gordon Parker Malcolm Frost Alan J Davison Glyn Walden Neville Snelling Sandra Phipps (Walden) David Creasy Ysolde Thorpe Ted Fowler Betty Brady (Miss H B Wroughton) Glyn Walden Liz Brown (Chapman) Colin Watson Christine Ince (Gray) Chris Garrod Yvonne Vincent (Priestley) Michael Moore Kathleen Beart (Debenham) Vera Summers (Stammers) Philip Poel Gordon Carter Sue Priestley (Sheldrake) Steve Cole Peter Bowes Jean Nixon (Campbell) Russell Foster Ben Williamson Brenda Downie John Nickalls Brenda Garrard (Pye) Robert Kybird Brian Cooper John Weeks Joan Gowing (Eady) Stuart Wright Robert Walden Sue Rudling (Lloyd) Richard Scase Mike Williams Jim Bacon Jo Pearson


Christopher John Banham Mike Williams has written the following: Chris was a Wymondham resident, but he was actually born in County Durham on May 29th 1949. He attended Thetford Grammar School from 19601967. After leaving school his first main place of work was at the Norwich Union in Norwich. It was whilst working there that he met his wife, Sheila. Chris worked mainly in computing whilst at the NU. Chris and Sheila did not have any children. He stayed at Norwich Union for many years before moving, with Sheila, to Edinburgh for a few years (about 1996 - 2010) They returned to Norwich, with Chris doing some consultancy work. Chris was a keen supporter of Norwich City FC and was a regular season ticket holder, travelling to some away games as well as attending new premier league grounds. He was, also, very interested in horse racing, both flat and national hunt. As a result, he enjoyed attending major meetings at Ascot and Cheltenham. He was also an annual member at the Fakenham Racecourse. Chris became a follower of England’s cricket fortunes, particularly against Australia. He went to Australia with Sheila twice for two whole series and, also, saw three English series versus Australia with his brother, Keith (TGS 1962 – 69), at Edgbaston, Trent Bridge and Old Trafford. Chris was a member of CAMRA and a keen supporter of all the local beer festivals, which included working ‘behind the counter’ at Norwich and elsewhere. Chris passed away peacefully at his home in Norwich on March 8th 2020. The funeral directors were Terry Allcock and Family - the same Terry Allcock who played for Norwich in the famous 1959 FA Cup run. Chris would have been pleased. Terry Froud Joyce Froud has written to say that her husband Terry died in January 2020 at the age of 90 years. He attended TGS from 1940-49 and was a lifelong member of the Association. Joyce has written the following tribute: Terry was born in Brandon in June 1929 and went to Thetford Grammar School at the age of eleven. He met Joyce when her family moved to Hockwold in 1946; they travelled on the school bus together and became friends. When he was seventeen, he became very ill. The local doctor failed to diagnose his problems. He lost a lot of weight, he always felt weak and tired and was very thirsty. In those days tuberculosis was a serious illness, so the doctor concentrated on his lungs, which were perfectly healthy. Eventually he read the Doctor’s Diary in a Sunday Newspaper. He recognised that the symptoms

described were exactly the same as he was experiencing. He returned to the doctor with the newspaper and said, “This is what is wrong with me!” The doctor did a further test and ordered him straight into hospital with diabetes. At that time all young men had to do two years National Service. Terry decided that he would sign on for seven years, with the hope of gaining a place in the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. The interview was arranged for the same day that he was admitted to hospital. Because he didn’t attend the interview, two military policemen were sent to the hospital to check that he hadn’t gone absent without leave. So, his military career ended before it had begun! When he recovered, he returned to TGS to complete his A-Levels. He then decided to train as a teacher and went to Culham College near Oxford. Once qualified, Terry returned to teach at Brandon School. In 1952 he was joined by Joyce, who had trained at a London College. They married in April 1955. Terry’s career took him to schools in Sedge Fen, Feltwell, Weeting and finally he was appointed to the Headship of Boughton School, where he spent many happy years until his retirement. He had a wide general knowledge and was particularly keen on art, architecture, archaeology, music, history and geography. When our daughter, Julie, posted news of his death on Social Media the response from friends and former pupils was overwhelming. A small selection of these tributes: “A lovely gentleman and a fantastic teacher.” “I first saw him at Sedge Fen School over sixty years ago, when I was five. I had never seen anyone so tall and I was terrified. Then he smiled – and I knew that I would be OK”. These tributes prove what a successful teaching career he had, but he was also a great family man. He supported Joyce through her long career and doted on his daughter Julie. Their granddaughters, Francesca and Isabella, brought him great joy and kept him very busy in his retirement. Terry’s ashes were interred in Brandon Cemetery, within half a mile from the house where he was born in Church Lane. He always liked to attend the Reunions and did so regularly until his health deteriorated and made this impossible. Harry Astill Bev Parker has written to say that her Uncle died in October 2019 just before his 90th birthday. Michael John Bloomfield Megan Ryan (nee Bloomfield), who was a pupil at the Girls School contacted us to say that her brother Michael (known as John at school), had died; he was pupil from 1948-1954. She has written the following: He was a shy child, short sighted and lacking confidence. However, after taking his ‘A Levels’, he sat an open examination for entry to the

Executive Grade in the Civil Service. He then worked for the Metropolitan Police and eventually became Principal and later Deputy Director of Operations (Grade 6) before retiring. After retirement he enjoyed travel, Ramblers Association, foreign holidays and music concerts. He learnt Swedish and Welsh (we have Welsh ancestors). When my daughter and I cleared his house in Blackheath (where he lived for 50 years), we found lots of poems which he had written, and we had them self-published in a book entitled ‘Selected Works of M J Bloomfield’. The first poem in the book was published in the Fulmerstonian in 1954. We had no idea he wrote poems although he sent some to his long standing friend Shelley now and again. Megan kindly sent Sally Highfield a copy of the book which has been given to the school library. If any OTA members are interested, then the book can be ordered from Brown Dog Books. A copy of the poem from the 1954 Fulmerstonian and the back cover of the book showing a photo of John is shown below:

He Who Walks Alone Who walks alone? Beneath the trees, rustling with autumn breeze, Upon some peaceful eve. Who walks alone? Neath moon on high, riding through cloudless sky. Who walks alone? ’Tis I. I am he who walks alone, Down dim-lit street, echoing with tramp of feet Of people long departed. Or sometimes down A country lane, flooded by recent rain. Walk I alone. Yes I am he who walks alone Yet walk I not alone; for He Walks by my side. He will ever be my guide. My greatest friend. Even to the end He’ll walk with me Who walks alone. (Published in Fulmarstodean 1954)

29 Obituaries

Obituaries


30 Obituaries

Obituaries cont’d Patricia Poel Died April 2nd 2020 aged 94 years Virginia Kearton (Poel) writes on behalf of the Poel Taken in 2017 family: We have just received the list of donations made by people to the Alzheimer’s Society. We would like to thank the OTA for their kind donation and know that it will help research into the disease that made her last years difficult. She was well cared for by her live-in carers and thankfully escaped any Covid infection and at 94 years old had had a good life until the last few years. She loved Thetford and the Grammar School and was a huge support to our father when he was Headmaster. Unknown to us when we came to Thetford, Patsy’s mother had attended the Girls’ Grammar School, taking her School Certificate there in 1919. Patsy’s two uncles had been weekly boarders at the Boys Grammar School too. They came into Thetford each Monday by horse and cart from Stoke Ferry where Patsy’s grandfather was the Methodist minister. Grandma lodged at Spring House in Thetford during the week with Mrs. McTaggart and two other girls from the school. I hope our family will continue to have contact with the school at the OTA dinners etc and that the school will prosper, when normality returns. Sarah Wilson (Poel) has written the following obituary: Patricia, known as Pat or Patsy to family and friends, was born in Leighton Buzzard on 5th March 1926 but spent her early childhood in Worthing and went to school in Littlehampton. The outbreak of war brought many changes to her life. Six evacuees joined the household of her parents, her sister and two brothers and by 1940 her family had left the south coast and were living in various places around the Midlands, her father having joined the RAF and her mother working for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. By 1943, at the age of 17, Patsy was working at TRE (Telecommunications Research Establishment) in Malvern, where she met her future husband, Philip, then 21, who had been sent there by the Royal Navy to do a radar course. After the war Patsy moved to London, working as a news researcher at the BBC. They married in London in 1949 and Patsy later trained as a teacher and taught in a secondary school in East Ham. Patsy had four children, the first three being born in Ludlow and the last in Gravesend then in January 1963 they moved to Thetford, where she took on the role of headmaster’s wife, living in School House until 1970 when they moved house but remained in Thetford. When her children were older, Patsy once let slip in conversation that she had been a teacher and this led to her being persuaded to do the odd day

of supply teaching at Queensway Junior School in Thetford, which eventually led to her working at Eriswell Primary School and, when that closed, at Elveden Primary School until her retirement in 1986. Patsy had many interests over the years and these varied from brass rubbing to transcribing old records from churches all over Norfolk, to doing all the house decorating and much of the gardening, to patchwork, knitting, crochet and tatting. She was a member of the Thetford Historical Society and Thetford Business and Professional Women’s Club. In her retirement she and Philip were able to do some of the travelling they had always wanted to do and she also learnt Spanish at evening classes and took her GCSE. Even in her later years she had boundless energy and enthusiasm for most things - apart from housework and cooking that is! After a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s in 2016 and a fall in the same year, defying medical predictions, Patsy regained most of her strength. She recovered again after breaking her leg in a fall in 2019. She eventually succumbed to infections and died on 2nd April 2020, just after her 94th birthday. Although she had suffered from Alzheimer’s for four years and lost her short-term memory, she retained a sense of humour and always expressed contentment at having had a good and happy life.

Taken in 2018

Gordon Butcher Died March 28th 2020 Anne Butcher wrote to say that her husband, Gordon Butcher, died on March 28th 2020 at home. He enjoyed keeping up with the news from TGS and had happy memories of his time at the School. Sport, especially cricket, was a passion of his and he continued to play well into his seventies but it started at the school with the encouragement of the staff. Joan Gowing (Eady) Died January 13th 2020 The following is from the 2011 Fulmerstonian when Joan was President: I am a true Thetfordian although I cannot match the 60 years of Mr. Weeks. I lived in Norfolk for ten years and spent six of those between 1948

and 1954 at Thetford Grammar School. I still believe these years to be the most important in my life. Three weeks after a weepy departure from the lower sixth, I commenced Orthopaedic nurse training at The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Middlesex. General nurse training in a London teaching hospital followed. These five and a half years gave me the professional skills which I used in various guises until retirement fifteen years ago. Life in London allowed me to pursue interests triggered at school. There was free access, important on a nursing salary, to so many beautiful buildings and exhibitions. A regular haunt of mine through the years, the British Museum still offers free admission. A member of the museum, I enjoy excellent lectures and guided tours in small groups, through the year. At school, drama was a passion, I loved the participation in a number of school plays and the acting opportunities in class with Miss Jukes. Love of theatre has stayed with me; it cost half-a-crown to go to a Shakespeare performance at The Old Vic. Younger folk should ask your grandparents about that coin. Nurses were also privy to free theatre tickets for many London shows. At school I had plans to train for and teach P.E. Possibly due to sport and drama, I was not scholarship material and settled for the second choice. However, thirty two years ago, when my daughter joined a girls’ gymnastic class, I was able to become involved in this sport. I joined the coach training programme and coached girls through to elite levels and novice boys. Coaching is a hands-on activity so six years ago it just got too hard and I retired. However, I also learned to judge and continue in this capacity for my home county and around the region. For judging we must retrain and complete theory and practical exams every four years so I may also decide this is too hard in 2013 when I must re-qualify. A few school friends are lifelong friends, their company and support much valued over the years. Now President of O.T.A. what a privilege and a wonderful way to close the last school book! Thank you to those who considered me ‘fit for service’. Diana Adcock Malcolm Page has written to say that Diana Adcock died on October 5th 2020 at the age of 83. Diana lived in Attleborough and was known to him through mutual friends in a walking group. She was a regular at OTA dinners which she attended with some of her contemporaries. Colin Bunn Graham Bunn has written to say that his father Colin Bunn, died on December 21st 2020 just before his 92nd birthday. Graham said ‘Dad died of old age – his body was literally worn out’. He was an OTA member of very many years standing and he made a point of attending the OTA dinners every year that I can recall, until he was no longer able to get there. He kept in touch with several other members – pals from his school days, but I fear that he was the last man


John Barnes 1933-2019 Anne Barnes has written to say that John died peacefully at home on 19 October 2019 just short of his 86th birthday. He had a diagnosis of non-smoker’s lung cancer earlier in the year and after a good summer on immunotherapy, declined rapidly in the autumn. Anne says that John kept in touch with his sixth form year group including Geoff Dye and also with Charles Taylor and Eddie Maeer amongst the staff. He always valued his time at TGS and went on to become a dedicated and respected teacher himself. Several old pupils were in touch when he died to say how much his teaching had meant to them. David Seymour has kindly provided the following information about John from the School archives: John Barnes was the son of H J Barnes, a baker, living at Caston. He was born on October 28th 1933. He attended Caston Council School before joining TGS in September 1945. He left TGS in July 1952. He sub-edited ‘The Fulmerstonian’ of July 1952. He was one of three House Prefects for Millington’s House in 1951-52. He was Secretary of the joint TGS/TGGS Debating Society in 1951-52. He wrote the Society’s articles for ‘the Fulmerstonian’ in both July 1951 and July 1952. He won the Reading Prize (presented by the Masters), at the Speech Day held on November 6th 1952. Editor’s Note: John was a regular contributor to the magazine providing many articles and was also the source of much information over the years. He sent information for last year’s magazine about TGS boarders. Roy Melton 1928-2020 Roy Melton died in hospital on December 12th 2020 aged 92 years. David Seymour has kindly provided the following information about Roy from the School archives: Roy Melton was the son of A L Melton, a farmer, living at Attleborough. He was born on November 19th 1928. He attended Great Ellingham Council School and joined TGS in September 1940. He left TGS in November 1945. He played for the First XI Football team, being awarded full colours. He opened the batting for the School in the OTA Cricket match on 21/7/45 (scoring 7). John Reeve 1952-2020 Sally Highfield has written the following: John was a pupil at Thetford Grammar School from 1964-71 and sadly passed away on 1st December 2020 as a result of contracting COVID-19. John and I were two of seven pupils from Attleborough Primary School who passed the 11+ and caught the train from Attleborough station to Thetford for the first time in September 1964. The others were Brian Lawrence the current

OTA Treasurer, Paul Sturman, Linda Webb, Sari King and Teresa White. John was a good athlete and David Seymour found the following in the school records of 1971. John was, indeed, Victor Ludorum, in 1971. ‘The Fulmerstonian’ records a tight contest running down to the last event, the 1500 metres, in which John came second but this gave him the one point he needed to secure the overall competition from Robinson. He and Robinson had dead-heated the 200 metres, showing the stiff nature of the competition that year. John also came first in the Long Jump and second in the 400 and 800 metres, and the Triple Jump. If I remember correctly John was a good chess player and very good at various card games. After leaving Thetford, John went on the qualify as a teacher and worked at Sprowston High School, in Norwich, for 40 years, teaching French for many years. He taught both my children French, but parents’ evenings usually meant bad news as neither of my children showed much talent for languages. Recently, we had been in contact a little more often having linked up via Facebook, meeting in Wymondham for a chat and a drink or two. John had a developed a love of gardening and had produced some beautiful flowers and hanging baskets for The Green Dragon in Wymondham, which meant they won the Wymondham in Bloom competition. I spoke to John and wrote an article about this in the 2018-19 magazine. John’s younger brothers Keith and Philip were also pupils at the school. John had friends all over the world, and in recent years had found his own small piece of paradise in Vietnam, which he visited as often as he could. The following is taken from The Green Dragon Facebook page which I think is a fitting tribute to John. “It is with heavy hearts & great sadness that we let you all know our amazing friend and gardener John Reeve sadly passed away on 1st December 2020 having lost his battle with Covid-19. John was part of our Dragon family for many years. Some of us have known him most of our lives. He was an award winning gardener and transformed the beer garden into the haven that it is now! He was always a kind and patient man who is irreplaceable to us all. Our thoughts and love go to his beautiful family at this difficult time. Rest now in Peace John” John’s brother Keith has added the following: Further to being Victor Ludorum in 1971, John was also Victor Ludorum in 1969 which was the same year as his younger brother Keith who was the Intermediate champion, ironically beating John Robinson by one point!! A very good year for Cronshey’s, for whom John was House Captain (Lent and Summer terms in1971). John was good at chess, representing both TGS and Norfolk schoolboys. An ironic part of school tradition was that our father, Harold Reeve, also attended TGS, but was a member of Millington’s, a fact obviously missed as John was allocated to Cronshey’s, along with Keith and Philip.

John was also grandfather to the children of his daughter, and had two step daughters. He also had a great love of greyhounds and took many retired greyhounds under his care. James Pattinson 1915-2009 James Pattinson who lived in East Harling died in 2009 but Sally Highfield was only made aware of his death this year. By the oddest of coincidences, Sally was given a book of short stories as a birthday present and one of the authors was listed as James Pattinson, who was a pupil at TGS. He volunteered for the Royal Artillery in 1939 and, in 1941, was transferred to the maritime arm to serve as a gunner on DEMS. He served on convoys to Russia, in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. After the war he returned to poultry farming in Norfolk and began work on his first book in 1950. According to Wikipedia he wrote more than 100 thrillers. It would be interesting to know if any members are aware of James Pattinson and his connection with Thetford? From Wikipedia he wrote;• Soldier, Sail North (1954) • Last In Convoy (1958) • Contact Mr. Delgado (1959) • The Rodriguez Affair (1970) • The Murmansk Assignment (1971) • The Sinister Stars (1971) • Watching Brief (1971) • Ocean Prize (1972) • The Marakano Formula (1973) • The Petronov Plan (1974) • Special Delivery (1976) • The Honeymoon Caper (1976) • The Spanish Hawk (1977) • The Courier Job (1979) • Lethal Orders (1982) • Obituary For Howard Gray (2003 • The Unknown (2008) Judy Wilson Mrs Judy Wilson who was a pupil from 1945-52 and who latterly lived in Merton, died in 2020. Unfortunately, we have no further details. Leslie Hardwick Leslie Hardwick who was an English teacher at the Girls School for many years, died on June 30th 2020 aged 83years. He lived in Weeting. Fellow teacher Sue Godfrey remembers him as Head of English at the Girls’ School in the early 1970s. She regarded him as always well dressed and he was very particular about where he parked his car. He would move it during the day to keep it in the shade! She remembers that his wife also taught in the English Department. Hazel Body Hazel Body’s husband David has written to say that his wife died in 2020. Laurence Poel Laurence who was at TGS from 1969 to 1976 and who was the son of the late Philip and Patricia Poel, died on Sunday February 28th 2021 aged 62 years. A full obituary will be included in next year’s magazine.

31 Obituaries

standing in that group. Colin was an active member of the OTA and sent several articles for the magazine over the years. In 2017 he wrote a very interesting account of his life entitled ‘Travelling Hopefully March 1929 to November 2015’. An extract about his days at TGS was included in the 2017 magazine.


Old Thetfordians Association c/o Sally Highfield 15 Hammond Close Norwich NR7 9HT Tel: 01603 460780 otasecretary@virginmedia.com