Page 1



From the President

As I write this message half way through my year as President, bunting is going up for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the Olympic flame is on its way round the country and it feels like summer has finally arrived. What a busy 2012 for the Society so far, with some very successful dinners both at home and abroad, special reunions, lots of golf days, Regatta and Founders’ Day weekends and more to come. The dinner in Cambridge was a personal pleasure for me to organise, seeing nearly 50 guests enjoying themselves in the beautiful surrounding of Jesus College. Feedback has been such that a return in the future may be possible, provided Oxford alumni don’t get put out!

Members of the Society are spread all over the world now and with their help we can arrange dinners across the globe, like the one in Hong Kong in February which attracted over 25 members. If there is a dinner or event that you would like to organise in your locality then please contact Sarah Ritchie for assistance. Her innovative idea of hosting reunion lunches and tours of the school site for certain decades of leavers got off to a great start with over 100 attending from the 1950s and next year we move on to the 1960s and 1970s.

The Society is run by a committee and we are now looking for new committee members to join us from November. Duties are not onerous and we meet only twice a year but it is a great way of being involved and keeping in touch. If you feel you would like to make an important contribution to the running of the Society or find out more about this then please let Sarah Ritchie know. None of these events could happen without your support so, on behalf of the Committee, I thank you for this and we look forward to seeing you in the future.

Diana (Wildblood) Smith, PC 61-67

From the Headmaster

The school has joined in the Olympic spirit throughout this summer term in various ways. The Prep school held a combined Olympic and Jubilee celebration day, and the whole school was divided into national teams from around the world for a series of competitions. Canada won, closely followed by Russia and then Japan.

As a result of various connections with individual torchbearers the Olympic torch was paraded on several occasions, at the Prep speech day, in morning chapel in St John’s, and it was given a lap of honour by each house team at the start of the Methodist Schools Marathon, which we held on 20 June. This was an event in which all twelve of the Methodist Independent Schools have participated this term; each of our four houses put up two relay teams that each completed a quarter marathon through the combined efforts of the pupils in each team, and the staff also fielded teams. In slightly over 2 ½ hours the school ran three complete marathons. Unusually for this summer, the sun came out, and even calls for suncream and water were heard!

The weather has not been kind to us, and the sports fixtures have suffered badly as a result, though as I write this, the Dolphins cricket week has started in sunshine. From a Head’s point of view, bad weather should improve the public exam results, as the pupils have no excuse for lazing around outside, and can concentrate fully on their revision.

As you can see from the reports in the pages that follow, the Society is flourishing, and there are more and more opportunities for members to meet informally or through events organised by Sarah and individual members. Do please join in any events that you can, particularly Founders’ Weekend in September, and I look forward Would you like to join the Rydal Penrhos Society Committee? to meeting plenty of new faces in the The Society is run by a committee of members - it really is run by you, for you! We have vacancies for new committee members to join us from coming academic year. November this year. If you would like to be considered, and can meet with us twice a year in Colwyn Bay, please contact Sarah Ritchie by 1 September 2012. Patrick Lee-Browne



July 2012 (Issue 20)

From the Alumni & Development Director

July sees the first anniversary of my move to North Wales, ready to take up my new role at Rydal Penrhos in August. It is hard to believe that a year has gone by already – and what a busy year it has been!

During that time we have managed to find 151 ‘lost members’ who we had completely lost touch with. We have been able to update the contact details for 699 members, and we have 610 more email addresses on record than before. Of these, 429 people have requested that they receive email copies of the newsletter only. This is up from just 20 people last year! We have also welcomed a large number of former pupils back to Rydal Penrhos. Whether you have popped in because you are in the area, have arranged a tour as part of your own reunion, or have attended an event such as Speech Day or the 1950s Reunion, it has been a pleasure to meet so many of you and to hear your recollections of your time at school. I hope to be able to meet many more of you, so please do get in touch if you would like to come and see us, and don’t forget to check out the events list on the back page of this newsletter.

July is also the month where we see the opening of the Olympic Games. You will notice that our tagline for this issue is ‘Inspire a generation’ which is the official motto of London 2012, and is also something that I feel is particularly relevant to the relationship between the Rydal Penrhos Society and the School. There are many ways in which you can inspire the current generation of pupils, as well as each other. Perhaps you would consider becoming a Careers Mentor, sharing your experiences with pupils through the Careers Department. For more details of this scheme and other ways that you can support the school, please see page 17.

The cover image shows current pupils running alongside Rydalians from 1951 – they are quite literally following in your footsteps, and we, as a Society, can support them through their journey.

Please continue to inspire each other by sharing your news and stories through the newsletter. It is always great to hear from you, so please do get in touch. Sarah (Somerville) Ritchie PC 92-99

Do you have an email address? Please help us to keep in touch with you in the most cost effective way, and do our bit for the environment. Email Sarah at with your details. You will then have the option to receive either a hard copy or electronic version of the newsletter.


Welcome Reunion News Future Reunions New Alumni Website Speech Day & Leavers Ball Sport News Alumni Authors The Spiritual State of the School Olympic Fever Founders’ Weekend Alumni News School News Notices Supporting Rydal Penrhos Obituaries

2-3 4-5 6 6 7 8-9 10-11 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18-19

A full list of Society events is available on the back cover.

Please contact us if you would like more information or if you would like to book. Places at the dinners are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. The next newsletter will be published in January 2013. Please submit any copy for entry into the January issue by 1 November.

Contact Us

Sarah Ritchie Alumni & Development Director Rydal Penrhos, Pwllycrochan Avenue, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, LL29 7BT 01492 539736 Rydal Penrhos Society @RP_Society Rydal Penrhos Society

Reunion News

Former pupils of Rydal Penrhos have been continuing to meet up across the world. Here are just some of the reunions that have taken place recently...

Hong Kong Dinner


The Rydal Penrhos Society Hong Kong Dinner took place on Wednesday 22 February, with 20 former students enjoying a delicious meal at the Hong Kong Club. Rydal Penrhos Headmaster, Patrick Lee-Browne, spoke briefly at the dinner and pointed out that every year from 1957 to the present (except for 1995) was represented by someone in the room! Thank you to everyone who attended and to Gareth Williams RS 57-66 for organising this successful event.

Leavers of the 1950s

On Sunday 15 April the School welcomed back over 100 former students who left Rydal School or Penrhos College between 1950 and 1959.

The day started in the Memorial Hall where an impressive collection of photographs and material from the 1950s was on display, including uniforms, letters, play and concert

Cambridge Dinner

programmes, and sports equipment. There was also the chance to watch film footage taken at both schools during the 1950s. Visitors were able to explore the school as it is today, with Rydalians reminiscing in their familiar buildings, while Penrhosians were able to view the spectacular stained glass windows which were moved from the Penrhos Chapel and are now displayed around the current school buildings.

On Saturday 12 May former pupils of Rydal School, Penrhos College and Rydal Penrhos gathered at Jesus College for the Cambridge Dinner. The evening began with a drinks reception in the Prioress’s Room before guests were escorted upstairs to the Upper Hall where they enjoyed a delicious three-course meal.

Following the meal, Valerie James PC 65-72 spoke about her time at Penrhos, as well as her connections with Rydal both whilst at school, and throughout her career. She then proposed a toast to the Rydal Penrhos Society. Society President, Diana Smith PC 61-67 replied on behalf of the Society and updated guests on recent Society activities before proposing a toast to the School, to which Rydal Penrhos Headmaster, Patrick Lee-Browne, replied.

The Cambridge Dinner was enjoyed by almost 50 attendees of varying ages (ranging from a leaver of 1942 to a leaver of 2007!) making the dinner an ideal opportunity to meet up with old friends, as well as to form new connections.


The group then enjoyed a delicious three-course Sunday roast which was served in the Dining Hall. 10”x 8” gloss copies of the above photograph are available to purchase for £6.99 + £1.99 P&P. Contact Sarah Ritchie in the Society Office for details. (Please note as the image is panoramic there is a white border at the top and bottom. Actual image size is 10”x 4”)

Penrhos School Certificate 1950

Last summer Chris (Gething) Brown and I decided it would be wonderful to have a reunion with our classmates of 60 years ago – but we had to decide how to contact them and where to meet. Our search coincided with the arrival of Sarah Ritchie as Alumni & Development Director for Rydal Penrhos – and what a wonderful job she did. First she printed off a list of names and when we had identified those in our form, we composed a letter inviting each to a reunion, seeking a response regarding interest and venue. These letters were sent to Sarah who kindly posted them on. It was wonderful to hear back from so many people, who also added names to our list. Finally we reached 30 classmates and established that we needed two venues, one in the north and one in the south. Sarah had offered Rydal Penrhos as a venue for the north. Meantime, whilst we were still making contact and assessing response, Sarah sent out an invitation to all who left Rydal and Penrhos from 1950-59. We sent this option to our contacts and also proposed a reunion at the Charing Cross Hotel in London for southerners.

Much to our delight 14 enrolled to attend the reunion at Rydal Penrhos, whilst nine enrolled for London (four of us did the two!). Both occasions were a huge success. It was very emotional to meet after 60 years and share memories of our precious years at school. Huge thanks to all who made the effort to travel for these occasions, and warm greetings to those who responded but were unable to attend either through health or other reasons. We missed you! Also sincere apologies to any classmates with whom we failed to make contact. Sally Shand PC 41-52

Photo: L>R back row: Sue (Pilkington) Bowers, Mary Lloyd Owen, Chris (Gething) Brown, Isobel (Hesketh) Waddington, Sally Shand, Jenny (Sleigh) Oldham. L>R front row: Lisbeth Adams, Hilary (Baines) Abbott, Jennie (Platt) Covell, Val (Francis) Andrews-Jones

OPA Branch News Manchester


As we go to print the Manchester Branch are due to meet for lunch on Thursday 5 July at Dunham Massey,

Bristol and SW

On 9 May this year five OPs – Mary (Couse) Bosworth PC 47-52, Christine (Gething) Brown PC 43-50, Mary Lloyd Owen PC 45-53, Pauline (Blyth) Rawson PC 38-42 and Stella (Woodhead) Worrall PC 47-52 – had an enjoyable meeting at Athelhampton House in Dorset. We were also pleased to have Stella’s husband with us. Good wishes were received from our Sec./Treasurer, Muriel (Crowther) Hackett PC 44-50, and we were sorry she was not able to join us. Our next meeting is planned for Wednesday 8 May 2013. We hope to meet at Bowood House, near Calne in Wiltshire. This will be confirmed with more details in the January 2013 Newsletter. North Wales On Thursday 24 May members of the North Wales branch met at the Pen y Gwryd Hotel in Nant Gwynant where they held their AGM before enjoying a delicious lunch. Patrick Lee-Browne and his wife, Nicky, also attended and were able to update the group on school news.

Are you organising a reunion?

If you are thinking about organising a reunion of your own, please do let us know. We can help you to promote your event through our website and social networking sites, and can forward invitations on to people who you may have lost touch with.

If you would like to return to Rydal Penrhos for your event we can usually arrange for you to receive a tour of the school. Please contact Sarah Ritchie for more details.

Naming the newsletter

Thank you to everyone who responded to our appeal for a name for the newsletter. We had some fantastic ideas, however most of those who got in touch suggested that there is actually no need for a name, and that having a strong cover image with a tagline is enough. So we have decided to go with the majority and stay as we are!



Future Reunions... 1963 On the weekend of 11-12 May 2013, Chris (Manson) Mullings, Avis (Cassidy) Taylor and Margaret (Bithell) Ozols are planning a reunion for those who left the Upper VI at Penrhos in 1963 (1962 for Lower VI or 1961 for Upper V). This celebration is to be held in Llandudno at the St George’s Hotel on the prom ( A special price of £90 per person has been negotiated to include dinner, bed and breakfast. At the beginning of May 2012 there were already have 14 ‘old girls’ signed up. Why not join them? If you live nearby, you may just want to join them for dinner on the Saturday. If you are interested, please contact Chris (Manson) Mullings on for further information.

1972 1974 The Rydal leavers of 1974 Reunion is taking place at the Abode Hotel, Chester, on Saturday 22 September 2012. If you would like to attend please contact Simon Hughes RS 69-74 on 1982 Penrhos leavers of 1982 would like to organise a reunion to coincide with the Yorkshire Dinner, which is being

The Rydal leavers of 1972 are having a reunion on Saturday 15 September at the St Georges Hotel, Llandudno. For more information please contact Gareth Jones at

held on Friday 10 May at the Holiday Inn, Brighouse. For more information please contact Ruth (Johnson) Roche at (Please note that the Yorkshire Dinner is open to all former pupils of Rydal Penrhos and all places should be booked through Sarah Ritchie at the Rydal Penrhos Society. Further details can be found on the back page of this newsletter.) In the last issue of the newsletter we published a report on the last leavers of 1982 reunion which was organised by Carrie (Godber) Smith. If you would be interested in receiving information regarding future reunions for this year group please contact Carrie on

Sweden Jane Shelbourne PC 85-92 was a day pupil in Mack House. After 33 years in North Wales, she moved

to Sweden in July 2007. She initially settled in Gavle before moving to Kungsgarden in June 2010. Jane enjoys country life and winter sports. Jane also spends time in Stockholm where she has an apartment. She would be interested to meet up with any Society members who are in Sweden, and can be contacted on

If you do not have access to email and would like to get in touch with any of the above regarding future reunions, please contact Sarah Ritchie on 01492 539736.

Log on to our NEW Society Website!

We are now ready to launch a brand new interactive area of our website! This is a fantastic area for those of you who are online, and includes the following features:

Event booking:

same time!

Online profiles:

Donate online: Merchandise:

Not only can you view details of our events online, you can now book and pay for them at the

We now have a secure area online that is just for our alumni. All you need to do is register your details (free of charge) and you will be able to create a profile and keep your contact details up to date. You will also be able to search for other members in our online directory. You control your own privacy settings so you can choose how much of your information is visible to other users (remember we will never share your contact details without your consent). You can also indicate whether you are interested in taking part in our Careers Mentoring scheme within your profile.

Would you like to make a contribution to the School or the Society? You can do this online as well!

You can now view our collection of available merchandise online.

The success of this website really does depend on you, so please take the time to register online and use the site to connect with us, and with each other.

To access the site, simply visit our website at and click on the Sign In button in the top right-hand corner. We hope you enjoy this new feature - please do let us know what you think!


Speech Day & Leavers’ Ball

On Saturday 2 June, students, staff, alumni and guests gathered in the marquee on New Field for Rydal Penrhos Speech Day. The Guest of Honour was Sarah KearsleyWooller PC 66-72. Here are just a few highlights from her speech:

“When the Headmaster kindly invited me to address you here today, he asked me how I was going to entitle my few words and I have chosen Change – Love It or Hate It, Let’s Embrace It. Speech Day for many of you marks the end of your time here at school or a change in stepping out in to the wider world, so it seemed relevant to you all. As I began to think ‘where shall I begin with my words’ I thought where better than life in a boarding school, as from the age of 11 to age of 18 I attended Penrhos College.

An excerpt from the Penrhos College Rule Book reads: • A television is provided in the Singing Room for the use of girls, which may be used on Saturday and Sunday between the hours of 2pm and 8pm only. There will be no viewing outside these times. • Three-weekly outings – girls may go into Colwyn Bay every third Saturday – but it should be noted that Lansdowne Road, Queens Drive, Pwllycrochan Avenue and Combemere Road are out of bounds. • Communication – there is no public telephone within school. Girls may use the Public Telephone boxes next to Colwyn Bay Post Office when in town on their threeweekly outings. I shall leave it to you to see if life in a boarding school has changed.

Whilst some of the rules sounded almost redolent of Victorian times I would stress that I attended Penrhos College from 1966-1972 when the separation between pupils of Rydal School and Penrhos College was closely monitored – hence the forbidden roads I mentioned earlier! I have witnessed some obvious changes in Rydal Penrhos as my daughter Gemma was one of the final school years to move from Penrhos College to Rydal Penrhos in 1999 and my daughter Katie’s education was entirely at Rydal Penrhos. That might sound like a lot of change but some of you will remember Miss Potter who, despite all the upheaval and change, managed the unenviable task of teaching German to all three of us!

In terms of employment opportunities, my professional life has been very varied. I started my working life in the corporate world of IT, enjoyed lecturing in the Business School at Coleg Llandrillo and never imagined that I would end up in charge of a team raising £4 million a year!

And how did that happen? As many of you will be aware our family life changed when our son Matthew was born and diagnosed as having a terminal illness – he was cared for by Helen House in Oxford, the world’s first children’s hospice and following his death we founded a charity to provide similar care for families in North & Mid Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire. Hence our two children’s hospices, Hope House in Oswestry and Ty Gobaith in Conwy, were born. I can vividly remember the day we reached our first £1 million milestone but compared to our current fundraising target that seems to fade into the background! Both our children’s hospices are places that families can come to be supported by caring staff – where unique karaoke, water fights and wheelchair races are quite the norm – be supported by us and enjoy the opportunity to spend time with all of their children. We continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of communities, corporates, individuals and schools from across the area, who together have helped us raise more than £35 million to ensure, with the help of more than 100 employees, we continue our care of terminally-ill children and their families.

When I was sat in my final Speech Day I don’t think I would have considered employment with a charity. This type of change in people’s lives is more and more common as in the current economic climate we are all having to think more creatively, to make us more employable and also be more flexible in our possible career paths.

I know that Rydal Penrhos is justly proud of its fundraising efforts, with support including fundraising days for Jeans for Genes, Children in Need and Sport Relief. From Fashion Shows to Summer Fayres, over the last 15 years your support for Hope House and Ty Gobaith has been nothing short of fantastic.

Following Speech Day members of the Society joined the Year 13 leavers at the annual ball. After a delicious meal Society President, Diana (Wildblood) Smith PC 61-67 spoke and welcomed the leaving students into the Rydal Penrhos Society.

Sarah (Adams) Kearlsey-Wooller PC 66-72

Ben Griffin RS 88-98, Beth (Adams) Griffin PC 88-96, Nicola (Payne) Rutherford PC 86-93, Mark Rutherfod

Lewis Barker RPS 10-12 and Matthew Bennet RS 88-94

Thomas Warrington RPS 05-12 and Catherine Davies RPS 05-12

If I would like to leave you with one thought it would be: grab every opportunity as it arises and never be frightened to consider re-routing your life, as nobody knows what is round the corner.

In conclusion may I wish you all well in your next challenges – whatever opportunities they present. But remember as you embark on your new life, change will not only be something that naturally happens to you, but something you too can bring about – how exciting is that!?”


James Duncalf RS 90-98, Ben Roberts, Nathan Blanchard RS 86-91

Just a few of the Class of 2012!


Sport News

Rydal Penrhos Society Golf Apology We are sorry to report that in the last issue of the newsletter we made an error in the results of the Pochin Trophy. The leading scores were in fact: 1st Ian Murray, 34pts, 2nd Steve Garge, 33pts, and 3rd= Guy Watson, Richard Watson and Mike Wood, 32pts.

winner as he scored an excellent one under par gross 71 at Maesdu. We were grateful to John McDonald for organising the dinner at the Esplanade Hotel. Thanks to the generosity of those playing over £500 was raised for the local branch of the NSPCC.

Marsden Trophy: 18 May 2012 Twelve ORs enjoyed another successful day at Brocton Hall GC in Staffordshire. It was a fine day but the course was playing long in testing blustery conditions. This year there was another first time winner for the trophy which dates back to 1932. Tim Williams put his local knowledge to good use and won by two strokes from Dale Bulmer. The leading scores were: 1st Tim Williams: 84-14 = 70, 2nd Dale Bulmer: 83-11 = 72, 3rd Andy Hurst: 81-8 = 73 Many thanks to Tim for helping organise the day and for providing steaks for the winners. We return to Brocton Hall in May 2013.

Silcock Salver: 19-20 April 2012 We had another good attendance for the Salver and were blessed with a warm sunny day for the first round at Maesdu. The leading scores were: Dave Abraham – 42 points (hcp 5), Guy Watson – 36 points (hcp 6), Steve Garge – 35 points (hcp 18). Unfortunately on the second day at Conwy persistent and heavy rain left several greens under water and play was reduced to 10 holes. The leading scores at Conwy were: John Millington – 19 points, Andy Hurst – 17 points, Richard Watson – 17 points, Dave Abraham – 17 points. The overall winner of the Silcock Salver was Dave Abraham with 59 points. Dave was a very worthy

Guy Watson

Golf Diary 2012

Pochin Trophy: Friday 21 September at Delamere Forest Golf Club Edward Harris Tournament: Friday 5 October at Southerndown Golf Club

If you would like to be involved with the Golf Society, or would like further details of these events, please contact Society Golf Secretary, Guy Watson RS 57-66 at or 01492 532230.


Rydal Dolphins v the School

to accelerate the scoring with a revised total of 300 in mind. Pat Leach lashed a Following the generosity of the Old Boys brutal 50 whilst others fell around him last year they felt the need to stamp their and a total of 308 was reached at the authority this year, so having won the toss completion of the 35 overs. they elected to bat. The match was limited to 35 overs due to the Leavers’ Ball that No doubt somewhat deflated, the evening, and after a chat in the dressing School set about their innings with room it was decided that 250 should be the courage and held out for 13 overs target. before openers Harrison Holmes and Andrew Welden succumbed, both At 20 for 2 in the 6th over the School having done the hard work getting to started well, with Will Cowden picking up 20. Despite a couple of moments of the two early wickets. Hamish Brown and resistance during the next 11 overs the Matthew Bennett then consolidated the School failed to survive and found innings for the Dolphins, putting on a themselves all out for 80 in the 24th solid 200-run partnership before retiring over. to give those chomping at the bit a chance



The next Vikings match will be taking place on Sunday 16 September at 1pm as part of Founders’ Weekend.

The Vikings will be playing the North Wales President’s XV for the Bleddyn Williams Trophy. Bleddyn Williams attended Rydal from 1937-41 and was Captain of the 1st XV. He had already played for the Welsh Schoolboys in 1937 when he was recommended for a scholarship at Rydal by legendary rugby player, Wilf Wooller RS 28-33. During his time at school he played outside half and was one of the school’s star players. He played for Cardiff Athletic during the 193839 season.

Bleddyn went on to become a Welsh Rugby Union centre. He played in 22 internationals for Wales, captaining them five times and winning each time. He captained the British Lions in 1950 for some of their tour of Australia and New Zealand. Bleddyn was often referred to as the ‘Prince of Centres’.

The Bleddyn Williams trophy commemorates the outstanding sporting talent that Bleddyn displayed both during his time and school and throughout his life.

Hockey & Netball

‘Old Girls’ hockey and netball matches will be taking place during Founders’ Weekend on Saturday 15 September.

Hockey will be played at 11.30am and will be followed by a buffet lunch in the Ferguson Centre before the netball match begins at 2.30pm. The ‘Old Girls’ will be competing against the Rydal Penrhos 1st teams for the Natalie Moss Trophies.

Natalie Moss RPS 96-03 started at Rydal Penrhos as a boarder in Year 7 and stayed until Upper Sixth. She led a full and happy life at school, was in all the sports teams, Captain of the 1st Netball team (captaining the team on their tour to Australia) and Vice Hockey Captain. She was a Prefect and a real team player both in and out of school. On leaving Rydal Penrhos she took a gap year travelling through Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji after which she went on to Manchester University where she gained a degree in Textile Management. Natalie established a successful career with Karen Millen and had just moved to London to further that career when she sadly and unexpectedly passed away due to a brain haemorrhage.

The Natalie Moss Trophies are to commemorate Natalie's life at Rydal Penrhos and her love of sport. This is the first year that the ‘Old Girls’ will be playing for the Natalie Moss Trophies and we hope that you will support these matches.

Her family are setting up the Natalie Kate Moss Trust in her memory. The purpose of the Trust is to support undergraduates at Manchester University who suffer from brain injury related conditions. If anyone would like to make a donation in her memory, please contact Sarah Ritchie at the Rydal Penrhos Society.



Alumni Authors

Since selling Filoxenia, a tour operation organising holidays to Greece, in 2004 and effectively retiring, Sue (Drake) Stembridge PC 47-56 has been writing novels. These are being published on Amazon Kindle (although they can also be read on a smartphone or computer through a Kindle app). She is now on number eight, with six of them published. The early premise behind the novels was to bring history to life. A further aim was to publish a book which as well as being a good story, would also act as a travelogue, particularly with the Greek Letters series. The Coming of Age series features mid-twentieth century challenges; life as an air-hostess in the 1960s, marriage, alcoholism and lost identity. For further information about Sue’s novels, please visit her website at Rev. John P Atkinson RS 59-67 graduated in Behavioural Science in 1971, studied Theology in Manchester obtaining a Bachelor of Divinity, and has worked as a Methodist Minister for 27 years. He has two adult children, three grandchildren, and has been married to Lynda for 42 years. John is also currently a Governor at Rydal Penrhos, as well as being Chair of Churches Together for Healing and the British Methodist Churches Connexional Advisor for Health and Healing. In his recently published book, Gift or a Given? A Theology of Healing for the 21st Century, John reflects on his own personal engagement in healing ministry. He seeks to show that healing is not the miraculous special intervention of God but rather that those wishing to engage in healing are allying themselves with the purpose and processes of a God who draws all things together towards perfection. Healing is not a subset but rather the foundation of all mission.

At 27 years old, Heloise Goodley RS 88-97 swapped her power heels for clumpy military boots when she left her banking job in the City to join the Army. She joined the commissioning course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in January 2007, and was one of 32 girls to start that winter. After months of hard work, including many hours of toil, punishments,


inspections and thorough training, Heloise was commissioned on 14 December 2007.

“Sandhurst was the best and worst experience of my life. So much of what I was taught there seemed irrelevant: the marching, crawling and trench digging. Yet there was other stuff that I learned at Sandhurst: the personal pride and stubborn resolve to keep going, to hold my head high and carry on because I can do it. The standards and morals to make the right decisions.”

Heloise was commissioned into the Army Air Corps and was deployed to the first of two tours of Afghanistan in January 2009. She is now a Captain undertaking the role of adjutant for an Apache helicopter regiment. She has written about her experiences in her book, An Officer and a Gentlewoman: The Making of a Female British Army Officer, which is available to buy now.

Jean (Tattersall) Dorricott PC 47-56 grew up on a sheep and dairy farm in the mountains of Snowdonia, and it was the memories of these beautiful surroundings that encouraged her to begin writing poetry and romantic stories. Jean attended university and teacher training before meeting her husband in Birmingham. They lived in Leicester, Leeds, Coventry and Lowestoft and brought up three children and several foster children before Jean returned to teaching. In her spare time, Jean edited small magazines and wrote articles for journals. Her short stories and poems began to win awards, and she was asked to write a non-fiction study-guide to science and religion. Jean currently lives in Norwich, where she continues to write with great enthusiasm. Her new thriller, Ruin of the Soul, is set in the mountains of North Wales and is the riveting story of a young widow, Rachel, and her son, Ben. To escape riots in the English Midlands, Rachel accepts employment with the Eckstazia research team on the beautiful but sinister Penybwlch estate. Will Rachel find romance and a kind stepfather for her troubled son? And who is the uncouth tenant farmer killing pigs at midnight? Can she succeed in her frantic ride across treacherous mountains for help? Will she and Ben survive the threat to their lives? And what is the real reason for Eckstazia’s research into deadly cattle plague? Ruin of the Soul is now available to purchase at Jean’s website,

The Spiritual State of the School

Nick Pochin RS 53-59 has always had a love of the sea, however a series of tragic events in 1992 led to him making the decision to buy a boat, learn to sail and set off to sail single-handed around the world. Nick writes about this voyage of discovery in his book, Poles get Closer, during which he covers 34,000 nautical miles, crosses three oceans, and visits five continents.

by Nick Sissons, School Chaplain

A chaplain’s job description is notoriously (liberatingly?) vague, but mine does include one concrete expectation: I must be ready when asked by the governors to give an account of the spiritual state of the school. This June those chickens came home to roost. Here’s a flavour of what I wrote:

But the adventure doesn’t end there, as at the age of 69, Nick set sail again from Holyhead to Cape Horn and North to Alaska, returning via the Panama Canal to the UK. His second book, Voyages of the Discovery, documents these travels and shares his experiences aboard his Discovery 55, the Festina Lente.

All Independent Schools are required to cater for the ‘Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development of pupils’. This is described in very general terms as being about: ‘developing a sense of identity and purpose in life’, and fostering ‘the non-material element of a pupil – their soul or character’. You can tell immediately that this can mean all things and nothing, but what it cautions against is simply identifying the explicitly religious bits of school life as spiritual (in our case – chapel, obligatory RS up to GCSE, having a full-time chaplain, regular Confirmation classes etc.) and disregarding the less obvious, such as the self-confidence that comes from a pupil involved in public speaking, the imagination required to compose a piece of poetry, the wonder inherent in scientific discovery or the ability to listen actively to music.

Graham Roberts RS 52-61 has written several books on Colwyn Bay and the surrounding area, his latest being Colwyn Bay Through Time which documents the history of the area through the 19th and into the 20th centuries. Graham’s book includes many photographs which give the reader a real insight into how the town has changed, and also the areas which remain very much the same. Graham returned to Rydal Penrhos this year to talk to Year 6 pupils about Colwyn Bay during Victorian times, and kindly donated copies of is book to the School so that pupils could carry on learning about the history of Colwyn Bay after his visit.

Any assessment of the spiritual state of the school must also look for where the current emphasis on placing narrow individualism above the needs of the broader community is being challenged. Surveying this academic year one might mention, amongst other things, the ongoing energy directed towards charity work; the visit of representatives from the Christian community of Taizé, the recent Year 8 workshop on Fairtrade, the continuing campaign work of the Amnesty International group, global sustainability issues being looked at on the forthcoming Borneo expedition, the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, the recent business projects looking at the tension between ethical, commercial and economic factors; the Olympic prayer baton exchange with other Methodist Independent Schools.

John Wileman RS 51-56 is currently writing a book about his hotel life after spending over 30 years as a hotelier. Following his hotel life John went on to become a full-time church administrator. Benjamin Hanisch RPS 06-08 has completed his BA in Media Management at the University of Applied Sciences, Berlin, and has recently published his thesis, ‘The Transferability of UK– American TV Programmes to the German Market – Success Factors for the Programme Import’, which he wrote with a fellow student. Ben hopes to gain employment in the TV/film industry or in marketing.

Finally we need to ask whether we successfully maintain a balance between our core religious values and ongoing commercial pressures, such as marketing the school, staying competitive, attracting good numbers and balancing the books. That’s a hard question to face, but how we do business and the kind of business we do must inevitably reflect whether those spiritual foundations, on which the school was built, are being given due respect or not.



Olympic Fever

After leaving school Hayley (Mount) Leonard PC 95-99, RPS 00-02 went on to study physiotherapy at Keele University. She then worked in the NHS in Chester and Ellesmere Port. Following this Hayley secured a job working at a private Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic in Sheffield, where she was based for six years. Whilst working in Sheffield she also completed her MSc in Sports Injury Management and Rehabilitation, achieving a distinction classification.

Hayley has worked with the British Transplant Team at several British Transplant Games across the UK, and in 2009 travelled as physiotherapist to the British Team at the World Transplant Games in Australia. Hayley has now been selected as part of the international medical team at the London 2012 Olympics. “There were over 6500 applicants for physiotherapy roles, and after a series of interviews I was stunned to find out that I had been successful. When I left school 10 years ago, I wrote in our year book that my ambition was to work at the Olympics – I never actually thought that it would ever happen!” Three inspirational sisters were selected to become torch bearers as the Olympic flame arrived in Llandudno. Charlotte RPS 04-06, Alice RPS 04-09 and Harriet RPS 04-06 Frobisher were nominated due to their incredible charity and volunteer work. The sisters from Meliden, Prestatyn have been volunteers from a young age, through Rainbows, Brownies and Guides and have given up their time to take part in a number of voluntary initiatives including helping shoppers at Sainsbury’s in Rhyl, coaching for Rhyl and Prestatyn Young Gymnastics Club and Prestatyn Swimming Club and lending a hand with the 1st Meliden Guides troop. Alongside their volunteer work, the girls have raised thousands of pounds for good causes including Comic Relief, Contact the Elderly, Denbighshire Friends of ChildLine and St Kentigern Hospice through sponsored walks, bag packing, and trolley pushes. The sisters carried the torch through Llandudno on Tuesday May 29 as the torch made its way along the North Wales coast.

Keri Ringstead RPS 98-05 was chosen to be an Olympic torch bearer, running a section of the relay in Liverpool on 1 June. Keri currently works in Retail Marketing for Adidas who are the Tier 1 sponsor for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and has played a key role in the design and placement of the Team GB windows that can be seen in retailers across the UK. As a result, 20 employees were selected to be torch bearers in recognition of their contribution and commitment to the Games, and Keri was lucky enough to be one of them!

Following her run, Keri kindly allowed the School to borrow her torch so that both Prep and Senior students could see it in the run up to the Games. Hilary Powell PC 92-95 is an artist currently based at the Bartless School of Architecture as AHRC Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts. Hilary’s work builds on long-term practical and theoretical engagement with the changing fringes of the London Olympic Park with projects from film (The Games) through food and fiction (Pudding and Mill River) to debate (Salon De Refuse Olympique). “My current work sets out to examine and intervene in both the hidden histories, regeneration myths of progress and Olympian ideals inherent in this grand project.” Hilary has also released a book which she has co-edited with Dr Isaac Marrero entitled The Art of Dissent: Intervening in the Olympic Dream. More information about Hilary’s work can be found on her website,


In the beginning... On 23 September 1880 Penrhos College was founded by Reverend Frederick Payne, who is also responsible for the building of St John’s Church. At that time Rev. Payne lived in a house called Rydal Mount (which is now Old House). Rev. Payne suggested to his friend, Thomas Osborn (who had a daughter at Penrhos), that he set up a school for boys in the town. He sold his house to Osborn, who kept the name and founded Rydal Mount School in this building in 1885. Both schools expanded over the years and much development took place as pupil numbers grew. During the Second World War, both schools were evacuated to allow the Ministry of Food to

utilise the buildings – Penrhos to Chatsworth House in Derbyshire and Rydal to Oakwood Park in Conwy. Rydal began to accept girls in 1966.

In 1995 a single Governing body for Rydal Penrhos School was launched. Initially, the Governors of Rydal Penrhos ran the School in three Divisions: the Girls’ Division (on the Penrhos site) the Coeducational Division (on the Rydal site) and the Preparatory School (at the top of Pwllycrochan Avenue). This arrangement lasted until 1999 when the Governors made the difficult decision to close the Penrhos site and combine the two Senior Divisions into one

co-educational school called Rydal Penrhos which would be based at the Rydal site.

Today Rydal Penrhos is a thriving school, however great care is taken to preserve its history and to remember its beginnings as Penrhos College and Rydal School. Photographs from both schools line the walls, and stained glass windows from the Penrhos Chapel are proudly displayed throughout the buildings. The impressive archives collection houses thousands of photographs and items of interest reaching back over the years, and continues to store more recent items for future generations to look back on.

Rev. F Payne

T Osborn

Founders’ Weekend is our chance to remember the place where we began, and allows us to honour the work of the Reverend Frederick Payne and Thomas Osborn, who made it all happen. Join us on this very special weekend, and help us to celebrate the history of Rydal Penrhos.

Founders’ Weekend Saturday 15 September 10am - 12pm:




15-16 September 2012

Refreshments in the Ferguson Centre followed by tours of the school. Explore the familiar corridors within these historic buildings, and view the magnificent stained glass windows from the Penrhos College Chapel. The tour will end with a fantastic display of archive material that has been collected over many years. ‘Old Girls’ v 1st XI hockey match

Light lunch in the Ferguson Centre

‘Old Girls’ v 1st VII netball match

(The ‘Old Girls’ matches will be played for the Natalie Moss Trophies)


Founders’ Dinner at the Castle Hotel, Conwy


Founders’ Service in the Memorial Hall followed by refreshments (Please RSVP by 24 August if you would like to attend this service)

Sunday 16 September 11.30am: 1.00pm: 3.00pm:

Official opening of our refurbished Fives courts with matches and master class sessions. Courts to be opened by the Chairman of the Eton Fives Association, Peter Worth. Rydal Vikings v North Wales President’s XV rugby match

(The Vikings match will be played for the Bleddyn Williams Trophy)



Alumni News

Congratulations to Sally Cockburn PC 95-97 who has been presented with the Emergency Service Hero Award in the Waltham Forest Love your Borough Awards 2012. The Emergency Service Hero Award goes to a person working within the emergency services who has gone above and beyond the course of their paid duties or voluntary work, has provided exceptional service and demonstrated outstanding dedication to their work. The organisers state that the award is for “someone who embodies civic pride and has gone that ‘extra mile’ to make a difference to their community, neighbourhood and Waltham Forest as a whole. This could be local police officer, PSO, firefighter, nurse or a member of the rescue services.” Sally was chosen for going beyond her call of duty.

Delyth (Edwards) Draper PC 87-94, has just completed the Outlaw Ironman Challenge. Delyth is Pastoral Deputy Head at Wellington College, as well as a Rydal Penrhos Governor, and took part in this ultimate endurance event to raise money for the Jimmy Higham Memorial Fund after losing a colleague, Jimmy, to cancer in December. The Outlaw Ironman is a triathlon took place in Nottingham on 1 July, and consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run. If you would like to sponsor Delyth please visit her JustGiving page at

William Roache RS 40-51 celebrated his 80th birthday in April by making an appearance on ITV’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories. In 1953, William was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1954 and remained in the Army for a further three years. William joined the cast of Coronation Street as Ken Barlow in 1960, and is officially the world’s longest serving actor in a televised soap opera. William was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Soap Awards in 1999, an MBE in 2001, and an honorary doctorate by the University of Chester in recognition of his contribution to television in 2007. Also in April, William’s son, Linus Roache RS 80-82, starred in the ITV drama Titanic. Linus played the part of the Earl of Manton in the four-part series which marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the doomed liner.


Jean (Sutcliffe) Moore PC 51-57 has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List 2012 for her voluntary work in the Altrincham area at Timperley Methodist Church, the WRVS, the Liberal Democrat Party, Ladies Circle and Altrincham Festival.

After leaving Rydal Bryan J Wilson RS 43-48 went on to St Peter’s Hall, Oxford where he got a First in Mathematics (the first First the Hall had had in any subject for nine years!). After a three-year stint as a Maths instructor at the RAF Technical College, he taught at Monkton Combe, King’s College Budo (Uganda) and Winchester, before being appointed to a unique job as Britain’s International Advisor in Mathematics Education, working first through the Centre for Educational Development Overseas and subsequently through the British Council. This involved short-term work in about 50 different countries over a period of fifteen years. Bryan celebrated his golden wedding anniversary with his wife, Joy, in 2007 and has four children and ten grandchildren. Congratulations to Josefin Betsholtz RPS -11 who has secured a place at MIT, Massachusetts, and to Tom Pinney RPS -08, who after graduating from York (History) is currently at Chester Law College and is applying to sit bar exams so that he can practise as a barrister.

Anne (Baker) Mills PC 42-50 now lives in Canada, and regularly sees Nance (Hogg) Hutton PC 44-47 there, particularly when Nance’s twin sister, Marjorie (Hogg) McDonald PC 44-47 and her husband, Alistair, are there for a visit. Anne visits the UK most years, and keeps in touch with Sheila (Hipwell) Lumb PC 43-49 and her husband, with whom she stayed with in May. Christine (Gething ) Brown PC 43-50 was delighted to meet Gillian (Renshaw) Miller PC 46-51 when Gill was over from Canada staying with her sister Angela (Renshaw) Wood PC 43-47.

After leaving Penrhos, Buboo Kakati PC -88 moved to America where she completed a BA in Chemistry and Psychology, an MFA in Creative Writing and then an MFA in Film & TV Production at New York University. Buboo has lived in New York for the past 14 years, and is now a four-time Emmy award-winning writer, filmmaker and documentarian. Buboo has received 25 Emmy nominations for her work, and has won several for her work on the acclaimed historical series, Secrets of New York. Buboo made an appearance on Bravo TV as Top 10 Director hand-picked by Oscar winners Matt Damon and Ben Affleck for the Project Greenlight Contest. Whilst at New York University, Buboo made a short film, Off Duty, which was screened worldwide including the Toronto International Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival, and which won the Warner Bros. Pictures Award as well as NYU Awards for outstanding achievement in Producing, Cinematography, Original Score and Sound Design.

School News Trips and Tours

The best education begins in the classroom but it doesn’t end there… subjects learned in the classroom, on the sports pitch or in the music and drama studios are supported and developed through activities beyond school.

A huge array of cultural, charity and educational trips took place in 2011-12. They included: a mathematics trip to Manchester; a physics and geography trip to Deeside Power station; the jazz band performing in Dublin; a geography trip to Morzine; the modern language pupils in Bonn; the artists in Paris and Tate Modern, Liverpool; a skiing trip Mammoth Mountain, California; the historians in Russia, visiting both Moscow and St Petersburg; Year 7 having great fun in London; the rugby players at Twickenham and the kayakers in Slovenia.

Two of the biggest trips of the year were to Uganda and New York. In July 2011, a group of nine pupils and four teachers flew to Uganda for two weeks. The main aim of this trip was to visit various projects in poor rural areas that are supported through the Methodist Relief and Development Fund. The trip was organised as part of the World Action in Methodist Schools (World AIMS) charity, which encourages pupils to be more aware of the wider world and the ways they can give back to other communities. Rydal Penrhos has previously established links with three schools in Southwest Uganda; on this trip the group visited each of the schools where they were welcomed warmly.

Easter 2012 saw more than 40 pupils and staff from the drama department off to the ‘Big Apple’ – and from the moment they arrived, it was all go. On the first night, the delights of Times Square were followed by Sister Act and then Chicago while sitting in the orchestra pit. Pupils and staff were treated to a four-hour guided walking tour of the city, a journey on the subway, two performance workshops (one with the Dance Captain from Chicago and a professor of acting at NYU; the other with two of the performers from Sister Act) not to mention the unforgettable view of night-time New York from the top of the Empire State Building. They also managed to squeeze in Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, the Trump Tower, Fifth Avenue, 42nd Street, the NBC Studios, the Winter Gardens, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Central Park. All in all, a fantastic trip!

In the near future we are looking forward to a history trip to Rome inspired by a unique opportunity to view some of the documents that are to be released from the Vatican Secret Archive. It will be the first and possibly the only time in history that these documents leave the confines of the Vatican City walls. A Latin/Classic Civilisation trip will visit the Bay of Naples, home to some of the most wonderful remains from Classical Antiquity, including possibly the most famous and well-preserved archaeological sites of all – Pompeii & Herculaneum. Meanwhile the geographers are going to the Lake District; the kayakers to Scotland; the jazz band to Cornwall; members of the lower school have a trip to Jordan, and the Sixth form a three-week expedition to Borneo which will include helping to carry out restoration work at a community forest, a three-day guided jungle experience, and climbing the 4095-m Mount Kinabalu.


“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Drama plays an enormous part in the life of our school. This year, for his swansong, Mr Lavin chose to return to Shakespeare, perhaps his first love, but also one of the greatest challenges for any school drama production. The play is full of what Shakespeare calls (in another play) ‘very midsummer madness’ – or, to express it in school terms, ‘end-of-term madness’. All the ingredients are there: mix-ups, fury, storms-in-teacups, magic and mystery, arguments and familial bust-ups. Needless to say (but I will say it anyway), Mr Lavin triumphed again. Helped by Miss Cunnah, a fantastic cast and a host of extremely competent backroom – and front of house – helpers and assistants, the challenges were overcome with panache, energy, and a huge sense of the fun of the comedy. Not bad for such a young cast working with language over 400 years old! A huge credit to all concerned. More news from both the Prep and the Senior schools can be found on our website:

David Edwards, Head of English.





To Sian-Marie (Cox) De Angelis PC 95-99 and Vince De Angelis a daughter, Mia Rose, born 17 May 2012 To Alex (Wright) Franklin PC 87-94 and Duncan Franklin a son, James Peter (JP), born 9 January 2012


Deri Ann Baines PC 89-95 is engaged to Gary Andrew White. They hope to get married in August 2013 in Wales



Trystan Owain Hughes RS 89-91 married Sandra Harnisch-Lacey on 29 December 2011 in Cardiff Rebecca Wynne RPS 03-05 married Benjamin Widdowson RPS 01-03 on 14 April 2012 near Knutsford (pictured) Stephen Duxbury RS 68-76 and Richard Watkinson had their Civil Partnership on 28th April 2012, this was double celebration as it was also their 30th anniversary

Notification has been received of the following deaths since Issue 19 of Rydal Penrhos Society News. Hon = Honorary Member of Rydal Penrhos Society. CR = Common Room. G = Governor. Name School School Dates Death Date Copeland, Ruth PC 1923-26 November 2011 Wood, Margaret Mary PC 1923-26 February 2012 (Briggs) Kilner, Hilary PC 1927-32 November 2011

Smith, Norman



(Hetherington) Fowke, Margaret PC


Blair, David Gordon Pimm, Maurice Allan Arthur, Kathleen ‘Kay’ (Turner) Gregory, Kathleen ‘Kay’ Laing, Alison (Lyon) Greenwood, Enid Tomlinson, Peter George Bird, John Malcolm (Gill) McCallum, Kathleen Goodwin, Bryan Potts, Richard AJ

Boorman, Edwin

Jones, Charles John Kewish, Michael

(Cooper) Elson, Kelly Watson, Thomas Peter Moss, Natalie Duxbury, Philip (Gov) Longford, Jennifer Jones, Colin (Gov)






1930-34 1932-36 1932-38 1932-38 1936-40 1938-44 1940-44 1940-44 1943-47

October 2011 October 2006 March 2012 October 2011 January 2011 August 2011 March 2012 March 2011 May 2012

January 2011

1946-52 1949-54

August 2003 March 2011


1949-56 1958-67

December 2011 August 2011


June 2012

1995-00 1996-03 1977-

March 2012 December 2011 January 2011 March 2012 January 2012

If you have an announcement that you would like to be included in the next issue of the Rydal Penrhos Society newsletter please contact Sarah Ritchie at or 01492 539736. The deadline for entry into the January 2013 issue is1 November 2012.

We are always looking for interesting stories and features for the newsletter. If you have something that you would like to contribute, or have any ideas for future issues, please do get in touch.


Old Penrhosian Provident Fund (Charity no. 1092283) The objects of the Old Penrhosian Provident Fund Trust are ‘to provide help and financial assistance by way of gift or loan or in any other manner to any former student or member of staff of the school known as Penrhos College situated in Llannerch Road, Colwyn Bay, North Wales who in the absolute discretion of the Trustees shall be in necessitous circumstances’. As a result of notices about this Fund, more Penrhosians have approached us. However, if you know of anyone who may not be aware of the Fund and might require assistance, please let us know. Help can be offered in the form of either a grant or a loan. If you, or anyone you know could benefit from the help of the OP Provident Fund, please contact: Lesley Baker, Chairman, 6 Private Road, Sherwood, Nottingham NG5 4DB (0115 9609572) Vera Male, Acting Secretary, Pretty Penny, Moat Green, Sherbourne, Warwick, CV35 8AJ (01926 624773) Anne Whitby, Treasurer, 13 Belvedere House, 130 Grosvenor Road, London SW1V 3JY (020 7821 0980) Anne Barker, 0118 966 2621, Felicity Bryson, (no number at present) Janet McGill, 01636 636529

News from the Old Penrhosian Provident Fund Following our appeal in the January issue, we are pleased to say that we have had an excellent response for a new trustee. This was discussed at our meeting on 12 May, and once formalities have been concluded we expect to fill the position in time for our next meeting in the autumn. Another important piece of news is that the Fund has received a generous legacy from the estate of Dr Marjorie (Midge) Jeacock. Midge will be well known to many older Old Penrhosians, and we are very grateful to her for remembering the Fund in her will.

Supporting Rydal Penrhos

Many people tell us how their experiences at school had a real impact on their lives, both personally and professionally. As a result, there is often the desire give something back. If this sounds like you, here are just some of the ways in which you can make a contribution to Rydal Penrhos...

Could you be a Careers Mentor?

Our former pupils have an incredible bank of knowledge and experience which, if shared, could be a tremendous asset to both current pupils and fellow alumni. Although Rydal Penrhos has a Careers Department, nothing can ever match the knowledge of someone with real experience in their chosen field. Our aim is to work alongside the school careers service to give pupils the opportunity to have their questions answered by people with a real understanding of their chosen occupation. This service will not be limited to current students however, as Mentors can also be available for those alumni who are just starting out on the career ladder, or those who are having a change of direction later in life. Anyone can be a Careers Mentor – all you need is to have a working knowledge of your field and be willing to offer advice and guidance to current and former students if required. If you can help, please contact Sarah Ritchie at the Rydal Penrhos Society.

Introducing the Annual Fund

October 2012 will see the launch of our first Annual Fund campaign. As with many independent schools, fee income alone is not enough to cover the costs of the extra equipment and opportunities which really complete the Rydal Penrhos experience. The Annual Fund is an appeal which will be made to all members of the Rydal Penrhos community – alumni, parents, staff, governors and friends – to support a number of worthwhile and achievable projects across the school. There will never be any obligation to give to the Annual Fund, however it provides an excellent opportunity to support projects which will benefit the students in school today and add real value to life at Rydal Penrhos. Full details of the Annual Fund will be published in October.

Your Legacy... Their Future It goes without saying that your loved ones should come first when you are thinking about writing your will. However, in leaving a gift to Rydal Penrhos you can help to ensure that future generations continue to benefit from the quality of education and the unique experience that Rydal Penrhos offers well into the future. Leaving a gift in your will is the perfect way for you to give something back to the school and, as we are a registered charity, the beneficiaries of your estate would gain from a reduction in inheritance tax. Not only are any gifts made to charities exempt from inheritance tax, new legislation introduced in April 2012 means that anyone leaving at least 10% of their estate to charity will have the inheritance tax due on the remaining amount reduced from 40% to 36%.

Obviously we hope that you will be with us for as long as possible, however there are steps that you can take in order to ensure that your wishes are met when the time comes. We would strongly recommend that you speak to a solicitor regarding making or changing your will.

We would be very grateful if you could inform us of your intention to remember Rydal Penrhos in your will. This will enable you to become a member of the Frederick Payne Society, and will give us the opportunity to thank you for your generosity.

The Frederick Payne Society Reverend Frederick Payne played a pivotal role in the founding of both Rydal and Penrhos. He founded Penrhos College in 1880, under the headship of Miss Wenn, before building himself a home in Colwyn Bay which he called Rydal Mount. Two years later, he sold this house to Thomas Osborn who founded his school there, keeping the original name. Frederick Payne then moved further up Pwllycrochan Avenue to a large house called Beecholme, which is still in use today as a boys’ boarding house. Frederick Payne bought further land in Colwyn Bay, on which he built a church. St John’s Wesleyan Church was completed in 1887 and was regularly used by Rydal School and Penrhos College. St John’s is now used by Rydal Penrhos for daily chapel.


‘[Penrhos College] owes more than one can say to the Rev. F. Payne, a Wesleyan Minister living in North Wales, and notable for his oldworld courtesy, as for his great ability and foresight. He saw the possibilities of the future when there was no village, still less town, of Colwyn Bay.’ Miss Rosa Hovey, Headmistress of Penrhos College 1894-1928

Reverend Frederick Payne had a vision for the education of young people in Colwyn Bay. By remembering Rydal Penrhos in your will, you can help us to ensure that this vision remains a reality for many years to come.

In becoming a member of the Frederick Payne Society you will receive VIP invitations to school events throughout the year (such as Speech Day and the Carol Service), and will be invited to attend an annual Benefactor’s Lunch with the Headmaster.

If you would like to find out more about leaving a gift to Rydal Penrhos in your will, please contact Sarah Ritchie at the Rydal Penrhos Society.


Obituaries Charles John Jones RS 49-56 Charles John Jones was born in Chester on 13 January 1940. He went to Rydal Prep School at Oakwood Park in Conwy in 1950, then to the Senior School in September 1953, leaving in 1956. He always said that these years were some of the best years of his life. On leaving school, Charles joined the family firm of Chas Jones, Agricultural Engineers, selling farm machinery and seeds throughout Cheshire and North Wales. He operated his own haulage company for a while, before working for Phil Morrey, and Old Rydalian school friend until his death. Charles had a lifelong interest in the fire service, and for a time owned two vintage fire engines, taking part in many rallies throughout the country. Charles died on 16 December 2011, leaving a widow, Ruth, son Richard and daughter Nicola. Phil Morrey Philip Duxbury Philip Duxbury was born in Bingley in 1928, went to Bradford Grammar School, and at 16 went to work at Magnet Joinery where he started his career. Magnet was started when his grandfather swapped his horse for the Magnet Firelighter company in the early 1900s. The company grew rapidly by concentrating on manufacturing standardised window frames, and was floated on the stock market in 1936.

Philip married Katherine Hagley from Grassington in April 1952. They went on to live in Birmingham where he managed the Magnet Factory for 10 years. It was whilst living in the Midlands his three children were born, Paul, Simon and Stephen. In 1962 the family moved back to Yorkshire. Magnet Joinery merged with Douthern Evans to become Magnet and Southerns plc in the early 1970s. During his 30 years with the company, Philip served on the main board, going on to become Managing Director. The company entered the FTSE 100 in 1984. In 1980 Philip went on to become a Director of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society, and became Chairman in 1988. He described himself as a ‘career businessman’, but also found time for lots of other causes, serving as a Keighley Councillor and being instrumental in the founding of the Yorkshire Clinic where he sat on the board for many years. Philip was actively involved with the village of East Morton, in particularly the Congregational Chapel, and was an active Governor of Rydal Penrhos for over 30 years. He is survived by his wife, Katherine, their three sons and six grandchildren. Stephen Duxbury

Edwin R P Boorman MA, DL, OBE RS 44-55 Edwin joined the Army in 1955 before attending Queens College, Cambridge from 1957-59, where he rowed for the College and gained an MA. He married and had four daughters before having a son in his second

marriage. He joined the family business, the Kent Messenger newspaper and stayed until his retirement in 2006. As President of the Newspaper Society he entertained HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh to lunch. He was also Chairman of British Legion Industries for approximately 20 years. He was a member of the court of the Worshipful Stationers Company and received an Honorary Doctorate from Kent University. He was High Sherrif of Kent 2001 and was awarded Deputy Leiutenant and OBE in 2002, and the Spirit of Kent Award 2003.

Edwin was a Knight of St John, a trustee of the Battle of Britain memorial, Chairman of Kent Youth, Chairman of Maidstone Foundation and Chairman of Maidstone Sea Cadets. He enjoyed sailing and competed in the London to Brighton Veteran Car run for 50 years in a 1902 Panhard et Levassor. He is survived by his wife, five children and seven grandchildren. Richard Ashbury, step brother

Norman A Smith MBE TD FCA RS 28-33 At Rydal, Norman was a competent student who was a good musician and won prizes for singing and life-saving. After leaving school he joined the Territorial Army whilst studying as an Accountants Article Clerk. At the beginning of the war he joined the RASC, going to France with the BEF and escaping at Dunkirk. Norman then served in Palestine, Cyprus and the whole of the North America campaign with the Desert Rats where he was awarded an MBE. He then took part in the D-Day landings, advancing through Belgium, Holland and Germany. After the war Norman took a brief job near Leeds before moving on to the Ground Nut Scheme in East Africa. Believing this to be a disaster, he resigned and joined Unilever with periods in Holland, Birkenhead, India and London, before retiring in 1976 as Head of the International Audit Department. A keen golfer, he was Captain of Effingham Golf Club (Surrey) in 1983 and was active in local activities. Married for 72 years, he leaves a wife, Beryl, two sons, Gordon and Dudley, a daughter, Jill, and five grandchildren.

Thomas Watson RS 91-00 After being diagnosed with Leukaemia in July 2010, Tom sadly passed away on 5th March 2012 at his family home in Colwyn Bay. Head Boy at Rydal Penrhos 1999-2000, Tom went on to enjoy four years at the University of St Andrews, studying Ancient History and Archaeology and then completed a postgraduate diploma in rural environment and land management at Harper Adams Agricultural College in Shropshire in 2006. After finishing his studies, Tom moved to York to work as a rural surveyor for The National Trust, and in 2009 he received his RICS status to become a qualified Chartered Surveyor. A keen sportsman throughout his life, Tom loved his golf, tennis and running in particular. He organised and


participated in many events, including a charity run from South to North Wales along Offa’s Dyke; the West Highland Way Race in Scotland in 2006 and 2007 and numerous marathons, including Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam and London. His last three marathons in London were all completed in under three hours. A brilliant encourager of others, Tom will be greatly missed by many and remembered as a kind and talented person with a wonderful sense of humour, who lived an active and fulfilled life. Anne Watson RS 66-68

Margaret Anne (Hetherington) Fowke PC 37-48 They joined Penrhos together in 1937: Junior’s youngest boarder, Peggy-Anne aged six, and Miss Constance Smith, the youngest headmistress to be appointed to a public school. Peggy-Anne, as she was always known, was born in a men-only club in India, where her father ran a tea plantation. During the War her parents stayed in India, her father joining the Army. No transport was available so Peggy was not to see her parents again until 1945. In spite of this dramatic start to her early life, Peggy rose above it all and become a very popular and hardworking member of school. A very gifted artist; I still have her painting in my autograph book circa 1941 and her sketches of Penrhos and Chatsworth were published in the Old Penrhosian of 1947. She was never a dullard at maths, played for the house (Ashcroft) hockey team and enjoyed singing in the school choir. Peggy was also a talented pianist – even surviving an electric fire thrown at her during a fraught one-to-one piano lesson!

After leaving school in 1948, Peggy helped her parents in their hotel in Runaway Bay, Jamaica where they had moved after the War. In 1983 HMS Sheffield escorted the SS Gothic with the Queen and Prince Philip on board for their visit to the island. A dance was arranged at the local tennis club for the Naval personnel and Peggy met Lieutenant David Fowke. Marriage to a Naval officer involved many house moves and, with two young children to look after whilst David was away at sea, life was not exactly humdrum. However, Peggy still found time to develop her artistic talents. While stationed in Singapore with David, she qualified as a Professor of the Sogetsu school of Ikebana. Later, when the children had left home, she trained and worked as an interior designer. Retiring to Alverstoke near Portsmouth, Peggy and David kept in close touch with many Penrhos friends. We will always treasure seventy years of memories of our happy and constant friendship through good times and bad. Peggy will be so missed by her husband David, children Caroline and Richard and her three grandchildren and many friends.

Ann (Lipkin) Mindelsohn 1948

Kay Arthur PC 32-38 When I was at Penrhos we had a Head of Music who we affectionately called KA after the initials she used when she signed off notices she posted in school. Among all the other things she did, KA took us all for school singing. Every Saturday after Prayers she climbed up into that raised wooden stall in the central aisle in Chapel and got the whole school to sing for her. I never once remember KA having to raise her voice: I remember every girl willingly took part and wanted to do her best because every girl genuinely liked KA. One Saturday KA produced a pencil with a little Paddington Bear figure jammed on its end. She told the school she had found it left behind in a practice room and knew Paddington’s Aunt Lucy would want her to look after him, and that in just a few short days she had grown very attached, but knew he wasn’t hers to keep and there must be a girl in school who was missing him and would like him back, so if they came and saw her after School Singing she would return him to his rightful owner. I’m sure many other Penrhosians recognise that story about KA: perhaps not the absolute particulars of it, but recognise the kindness and gentle humour that made her such a popular member of staff. I wonder too how many of you KA played her little trick on, the trick where she would point to the stained glass window in chapel – the one with the young prince pulling the sword out of the stone – and point to the wording at the bottom: K– full stop – Arthur, and say the window was dedicated to her.

My sister Annie and I were with KA shortly before she died and when she had become very muddled. As dawn was breaking, KA suddenly decided she wanted to get out of bed and told us she was going to go to Penrhos because she had a lot of friends there. Even at the very end of her life, Penrhos meant so much to her. I have been especially lucky because KA wrote notes just for me, and when I was at Penrhos she used to reverse her trade mark KA to AK, which was short for Aunty Kay. Aunty Kay and her great friend Mary Woolcock looked after my brother David at Rydal and me at Penrhos throughout those awkward teenage years when we were away at school and our parents were overseas. The Aunts, as we called them, always came to every play, every concert and every open day we were involved in, so that we always had somebody in the audience just for us. I would often go out to them from school and even though they seemed to me then two elderly ladies I always enjoyed being in their company and I don’t remember ever feeling bored or missing school friends my own age when I was with them.

No talk about KA would be complete without speaking about her love of music and how she inspired others to share it. Even those like me who had no special talent remember how she made music accessible and fun, like the psalm she wrote explaining how to sing a psalm, with instructions on what you were supposed to do when you came across those lines and dashes and dots that punctuated the psalms in the school hymn book. KA was a wonderfully patient, wonderfully inspirational teacher and her legacy is in all the Penrhosians who track their love of music back to her. Lisa (Tomlinson) Glover

Kelly (Cooper) Elson RS 73-75 Although her actual names are Caroline Sara she has always been just Kelly. She died 5th June 2012 - the day after her 55th birthday which she celebrated, characteristically, with a house (and garden) full of family and friends. Having been diagnosed with cancer between last Christmas and New Year Kelly dealt with her situation courageously and made the most of the past 5 months.

Born in Colwyn Bay of parents Ken Cooper, Art and PE teacher at Rydal School, and Norah Cooper, teacher then Headmistress at Lyndon School, Kelly grew up in a happy home with brothers Joe, Bill and Jamie. The family took full advantage of the school holidays travelling overland exploring Europe each summer whilst enjoying the advantages of living by the sea with the woods, and later Snowdonia, as an extended playground. From a very young age Kelly had a natural ability to make friends, most of whom remained close friends, whilst continually adding to their number.

After attending Eirias High School Kelly went to Rydal, as had her brothers. Kelly took advantage of the shortage of girls at school for perusing roles in music and drama, and was also active in integrating girls into school life. Having a father in the staff room and knowing several of the teaching staff helped to make sure her proposals were heard and actioned. It was also at Rydal that Kelly met her future husband, James.

Having graduated with a Diploma in Education at York Kelly started her teaching career at a Steiner School, near Derby, then moved back to Colwyn Bay where her 3 children were born, sons Owen and Joel and daughter Robyn, all of whom attended Lyndon then Rydal. Kelly took a teaching post at Lyndon and despite the sad loss of both her parents and the break-up of her marriage, maintained a happy home for her children in Colwyn Bay. After Lyndon was consolidated into Rydal-Penrhos, Kelly became Head of Pre-Prep and was pivotal in the school attaining Forest School status.

Kelly loved the outdoors, especially walking in Snowdonia, and she also enjoyed art and crafts with a house full of hand thrown pottery, some of which she made herself with some skill. Most will remember Kelly in her kitchen, surrounded by family and friends drinking coffee, or perhaps a glass of something, and everyone who knew her will feel the loss. Bill Cooper



Denbigh & Flint Show 16 August 2012 Rydal Penrhos will have a stand at the Denbigh & Flint Show again this year. If you are going to be there, why not come and say hello – we would love to see you there! Founders’ Weekend 15-16 September 2012 Join us to celebrate the founders of Rydal and Penrhos on this very special weekend. Please see page 11 for details of events taking place over the weekend. We would be grateful if you could let us know which events you would like to attend so that we can cater accordingly. We are also hoping to arrange sailing and/or trips on the powerboat this weekend subject to interest. If you would like to take part please let us know ASAP. BOOKING DEADLINE: 24 August Founders’ Dinner 15 September 2012 The Founders’ Dinner will take place at the Castle Hotel, Conwy at 7pm. Places are £36.50 to include a three-course meal and coffee. Please are limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. BOOKING DEADLINE: 10 AUGUST Leavers of the 1960s Reunion 14 October 2012 Did you leave Rydal School or Penrhos College between 1960-1969? This Sunday lunch reunion is especially for you! Join us at 10am for a tour of the school and to view our impressive archives collection from your era. This will be followed by a delicious three-course lunch in our Dining Hall. Places are just £20 per person. Please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. BOOKING DEADLINE: 28 SEPTEMBER London Dinner 2 November 2012 The London Dinner will be taking place at the National Liberal Club in Whitehall Place. This is a fantastic venue and this is sure to be a popular event. Prices are yet to be confirmed, however if you would like further information regarding this event please register your interest by emailing Sarah at: or telephoning 01492 539736 ASAP. North Wales Dinner & AGM 9 November 2012 Join us at the Royal Oak Hotel, Betws-y-Coed for the North Wales Dinner. Places are available for just £28 per person. You are also very welcome to attend the Society AGM which will take at 6pm, prior to the dinner at 7pm. BOOKING DEADLINE: 26 OCTOBER Leavers of the 1970s Reunion 14 April 2013 We are continuing our decade reunions with a Sunday lunch event for those who left Rydal or Penrhos between 1970-1979. Join us at 10am for a tour of the school and to view our impressive archives collection from your era. This will be followed by a delicious three-course lunch in our Dining Hall. Places are just £20 per person. Please book early to avoid disappointment as places are limited. BOOKING DEADLINE 30 MARCH Yorkshire Dinner 10 May 2013 Brighouse Holiday Inn The Yorkshire Dinner will be taking place at the Brighouse Holiday Inn, Leeds. Prices are yet to be confirmed and further information will be published in the January issue of the newsletter.

We are hoping to hold reunion events in Hong Kong, Dubai and Bangkok early next year. If you would be interested in receiving further information about these events please contact us ASAP.

We also have several golf matches coming up - please see page 8 for details.

Booking Information Online: You can now book your place at events online. Simply visit, click on the event and follow the instructions. We can also take card payments online. Alternatively, contact us by email at: with your requirements. Telephone: You can book your place and pay by credit / debit card over the phone. Contact Sarah Ritchie on 01492 539736 for details. Post: Send your booking requirements with payment to Sarah Ritchie, Rydal Penrhos School, Pwllycrochan Avenue, Colwyn Bay, LL29 7BT. Cheques should be made payable to Rydal Penrhos Society.

Rydal Penrhos Society Newsletter Issue 20  

Issue 20 of the Rydal Penrhos Society Newsletter