Whitgifti an Associ ation
Old Whitgiftian News 2019â€“2020
Quod et hunc in annum vivat et plures
President: Richard Blundell Chairman: John Etheridge Hon. Secretary: James Goatcher Hon. Treasurer: Andrew Gayler Elected Members of Committee: Dr Richard Bateman, Alan Blok, John Higgins, Yeboah Mensa-Dika, Stuart Woodrow Editor of OW Newsletter: Richard Blundell Editor of OW News: Nigel Platts
From the Editor
his is the fourteenth edition of Old Whitgiftian News and it takes us through the Whitgiftian Association and School year from March/ April 2019 to the first quarter of 2020. OWs with an interest in regular information on the School’s progress should also look at the magazine Whitgift Life, which is accessible on the School website (www.whitgift.co.uk), and the School and WA Twitter accounts. I had hoped that by the time I came to write this note I should be reflecting on another School win in the National Schools’ Cup rugby, a magnificent concert at the Royal Festival Hall and even a Whitgift win in the Halford Hewitt golf. Instead, the Covid 19 virus has overtaken us all. Sporting and cultural activities are cancelled or, at best, postponed indefinitely and we are faced with an unparalleled limitation on activity. The School has had to make emergency arrangements: pupils are partaking in distance learning, public examinations are cancelled for 2020 and the rites of passage of leaving school are set aside for this year. Through this we have seen the Headmaster offering guidance and information to the Whitgift community, including alumni, and as old boys of Whitgift we should be delighted that Chris Ramsey has connected us to today’s School with his online message. Despite the present difficulties I have no doubt that Whitgift will come through strongly – this is a resilient establishment with the capacity to deal with adversity. A few highlights of the past year come to mind: in 2019, Whitgift was rated the top independent school in London for VI form results, the top boys’ school for the International Baccalaureate and second among London independent
schools for overall results in public exams; boys from the School sang live from Croydon Minster in the BBC Christmas Eve midnight mass service watched by millions; there was significant progress in building the scheme to increase the number of bursaries and help recruit outstanding candidates, regardless of means; among OWs we took delight in our World Cup winner, Jason Roy, our World Champion modern pentathlete, Joe Choong, and commiserated with our Rugby World Cup runner up, Elliot Daly. Perhaps, as a single example of resilience we should look to the National Rugby Cup semi-final at Sherborne, where a seemingly beaten Whitgift triumphed at the last by a single point and with an astonishing penalty kick by Ben Fitzgerald. Last year I said “The School is in robust health and deserves an alumni organisation that is connected and forward looking. That is the mission of the WA.” There may now be an international health crisis but that still remains true. Until we have come through our current problems all members of the Whitgift community need to keep well and safe, keep positive and help each other. I should like to conclude by saying how wonderfully served the WA has been this year by our President, Richard Blundell. Richard, who I have known since we were both five years old, is the personification of a dedicated Whitgiftian but his commitment to the Presidency last year, now extended to this year, is beyond even his usual high standards. Thank you Mr President! Nigel Platts (1955-64) PS The delay in publication permits me to congratulate Tim Davie, CBE (1980-85) on his appointment as the next Director General of the BBC. Reference to his being “in the running” is found elsewhere in this edition.
Please do not hesitate to make contact and let us know what you have been doing for the last ten (or sixty) years. You may also send letters and messages directly to the WA office at email@example.com). 3
From the Chairman
am delighted to make a contribution to this edition of WA News as Chairman of the WA. It is a particular pleasure to be taking over the role from my old friend, Jonathan Bunn, with whom I spent many happy years at the School. His are considerable shoes to fill, but I shall do my very best. The experience of those educational institutions who have reset their relationship with their alumni suggests that this can bring many benefits, both to the institution and to the alumni themselves. Creating an engaged, supportive alumni network will be crucial to the realisation of the School’s medium to long term ambitions. An informed and engaged alumni are likely to be loyal supporters of the School and its best ambassadors. As well as offering marketing and promotional support across their personal and professional networks, they are considerably more likely to “give back” to the School in some way, whether that involves the sharing of experience and insight with prospective and current School boys or the provision of financial support to assist the School in offering the benefits of a Whitgift education to many boys who would otherwise be denied one. For the alumni themselves, engagement can offer emotional and practical benefits. The launch of ‘WhitgiftConnect’ is the first demonstration of the School’s capability and intent in this respect and is an exciting development. Over time, as the School’s alumni office grows and its understanding of the needs and expectations of the alumni community develops we can expect its alumni ‘offering’ to be enhanced in a number of areas. The Headmaster has championed this undertaking and his efforts and vision are to be greatly commended. All this naturally calls into question the future of the Whitgiftian Association (‘WA’). The WA has a long
and proud history. For many, the term ‘Old Whitgiftian’ is synonymous with membership of the WA. Many distinguished old boys have offered it service, whether on the WA Committee or by way of advice and support, and over decades it has provided a range of benefits to those old boys prepared to part with a membership fee to fund their continued provision. Indeed, hitherto it has offered the only formal means by which old boys wishing to maintain a connection with the School might do so. While it is inconceivable that there be two alumni ‘communities’ running alongside each other over the longer term, the WA continues to provide tangible benefits to its members. These include provision of the bi-monthly WA Newsletters and WA News itself (which we know to be well received and I’m pleased to see is now being published through the School’s alumni office). In addition, as things presently stand, only those who are members of the WA or otherwise affiliated to one of the playing sections of the Whitgift Sports Club enjoy unfettered access to the old boys’ clubhouse and grounds at Croham Road, of which the WA is owner. We know that the clubhouse holds a special place in the hearts and minds of generations of old boys and securing its future is our most earnest wish. We are happy to see the School making use of the playing facilities at Croham Road and most grateful to it for assuming responsibility for ground maintenance. This, we very much hope, augurs well for further collaboration in respect of the site. All of the members of the WA Committee wish to express their sincere gratitude to those of our members that continue to offer the WA their financial and moral support. Members may be assured that the Committee’s efforts will continue to be assiduously applied towards the fulfilment of the WA’s objects for as long as it remains constituted and that members will be kept informed of material developments in this regard as they occur. John Etheridge (1981-88)
From the Headmaster
ear Old Whitgiftians, in normal times, I would write briefly summarising the events, successes and news from Whitgift as we end the Lent Term and contemplate the Trinity Term of exams, cricket, celebrations and everything else which characterises a summer here. But these are not normal times. Two weeks ago (as I write), school closed – rather abruptly – and we have had two weeks of remote learning, whilst the country is in what I guess we must call ‘lockdown’. How have the staff, boys and parents reacted? Parents have been overwhelmingly supportive of the way teachers have adapted, and certainly the need to not just set and mark work, but find interactive ways of teaching, use video and video conferencing, and above all keep a programme of assemblies, tutor time and even activities going, has stretched us – but we have done it! I am incredibly grateful to staff for their ingenuity, their energy and their willingness to adapt. Boys too have
been incredible: they have done their work, supported each other, and a steady stream of book reviews, poems, reflections, podcasts and reports of volunteering have lifted the spirits. Above all, though, the Whitgift spirit and the Whitgift vision have shone through. We will obviously have to adapt our physical plans, and return to them once normality comes back, but the vision we set out eighteen months ago – and which is only a restatement of what Whitgift has always been about – to educate bright and talented young men to become independent learners and thinkers, to achieve beyond what they believed they could, and to leave us ready to give to the society in which they will be leaders – that vision is as true as ever. Perhaps more so. I wish all OWs health, happiness and peace. Chris Ramsey
President The President for 2019 and 2020 is Richard Blundell (1956-63)
hen I was elected by the membership to be the Association’s 77th President, I vowed to support all the many different arms of the Association as much as possible and I am glad to say I was able to fulfil that aim during my first year in office. It ranged across the sporting sections from the chess club to the golf society via the fives club including of course the main sections of rugby, cricket and football. Apart from heading up the main committee, I also attended numerous other committee meetings, AGMs and OW gatherings such as the Benevolent Society business meetings, year group reunions, HOBO socials and, regrettably, OW funerals. Eating plays an important part in the OW calendar and so there were the rugby supporters’ lunches to attend and the Vice
and Past Presidents’ lunch to organise together with the WA annual dinner, which I was very pleased to host in Big School along with 160 attendees at a very convivial evening. All this time I was able to attend a very varied array of School activities and also receive, on behalf of the Association, formal invitations from the Headmaster to the major School events. The other highlights of my year were at WA formal events: the Founder’s Day service and placing the Whyte Gifte flower on the tomb of John Whitgift and laying the Association’s wreath at the School War Memorial on Remembrance Day. When, at the AGM, I was honoured with a second year in office, all seemed well, but the year has come to a crashing stop thanks to Covid19; there is an uncertain future, but after 424 years we shall continue to persevere – Vincit qui Patitur.
Congratulations President Richard Blundell and Dudley Tredger (1997-99), a current OW member of staff, visited West Wittering’s ancient church to attend choral evensong and celebrate, together with Nigel Carter (1953-62), Church Warden and OW, and Julian Kennedy-Cooke, member of staff 1953-89 and local resident, the 102nd birthday of Rev Felix Boyse LVO (1930-35) with a glass of champagne, a slice of cake and the gift of an OW scarf. Felix Boyse is surely our oldest living member, although the President reports that this was not obvious from the forthright manner in which he read the second lesson! Back row, left to right: Julian Kennedy-Cooke, Nigel Carter church warden, President, front row L-R Dudley Tredger and Rev Felix Boyse LVO 6
Old Whitgiftian Annual Dinner The 124th Annual Dinner was held at School on 24 May 2019. For any with memories of frugal school lunches in institutional surroundings it must have been a revelation. No fewer than 160 sat down in a splendidly decorated Big School to an excellent dinner, having earlier enjoyed drinks in the immaculately tended Andrew quadrangle. The company was most convivial, the musical interludes from School musicians were of exceptional quality and the singing of the School’s Carmen was remarkable with all nine verses of the 1889 version performed. What made this Dinner so memorable was not, however, the surroundings and the effectiveness of the arrangements: it was the sense of Whitgiftian spirit expressed by guests of all generations mingling freely. Many took the opportunity to offer their good wishes to former Headmaster David Raeburn, three days after his 92nd birthday. The speeches were by President Richard Blundell, who reminisced about his School career and his continuing commitment to the Whitgift community, by the Presidential son, Chris Blundell (1987-95) who proposed Floreat Domus and offered his views on the future direction of the School and by the Headmaster, who offered an update on the current, very sound, health
of the School and the planned changes for his tenure in charge at Haling Park. All speeches had the right mixture of the informative and the amusing and were just the right length. Guests sang the National Anthem, toasted the Founder and, as noted above, the full School Carmen was sung – to the relief of the overwhelming majority, who had only ever known the shortened version, the extra verses were delightfully sung by members of Whitgift Capella. In short, the 2019 Dinner was a remarkable tribute to the School, the Whitgiftian Association and the President whose untiring efforts were recognised with this triumphant evening. Other reunions Although there was no reunion that quite matched up with the Class of 1978 extravaganza that was reported on in last year’s OW News that for the 30th anniversary of 1989 leavers was impressive. Francis Charig (1970-78), the eminence grise of the Class of 1978, has clearly not been content with the 2018 masterpiece: his 2019 activities are set out below and offer an instructive path to others. This year has been one of many reunions, including a first in New York; those present may be few in number but the Whitgiftian spirit is strong. 7
30th Reunion for 1989 Leavers – 22nd June 2019 In January 2018, Tim Newey noted in an email to four old school friends that the next summer would mark 30 years since they had left Whitgift. The question of whether a reunion should be organised was immediately raised and, as the distribution list grew rapidly over the following months, it was apparent that there was an overwhelmingly positive demand for a party. In fact, email traffic containing stories of wonderful memories of each other – many of which were genuinely laugh out loud tales – grew to such an extent that we had to switch to a dedicated mail system to ensure each newly discovered contact was included in every new thread started. Finding a date and format which suited all was never going to be easy, but we knew being back at Haling Park was essential and that the event had to be as inclusive as possible. Equally important was that as many former members of staff as possible were to be invited as it was clear from the outpouring of reminiscences that so many had been exceptional influences during our school years. So, the format we chose was to meet at the Old Swimming Pool for coffees around midday; into the Quad for 1pm for drinks, food and speeches; a live band whilst even more food arrived from the Chef’s Theatre and then tours provided by prefects. We then transferred to the War Memorial for photos and left Whitgift to continue the party by joining in with Whitfest at the Clubhouse. Turning to the main event at school, whilst we wanted
the reunion to be informal, we were well aware that all present wanted to hear our outstanding line up of speakers. Mark Beard (1981-89), now Headmaster of University College School, expressed what so many present felt and said that Whitgift had been a life-altering experience. He praised David Raeburn’s leadership in creating an ethos and culture which inculcated the positive values of mutual respect, tolerance and self-esteem. Mark also noted that he considered it no coincidence that so many of our year ended up in careers in education, particularly secondary schools, following David’s influence. ‘Doc’ Seldon was as entertaining as ever and spoke of Whitgift having a special place in his heart. When David Raeburn stood, grasped the lectern and cleared his throat, many of us were immediately taken back decades to Big School for an assembly. This time, we received a report that David and his reunited team had conducted on us for our 30 year review. The conclusion that we were all “marvellous boys” gained the greatest cheer of the afternoon! Our thanks to Chris Ramsey for hosting us; Sarah Harvey’s wonderful catering team and to Zohra Jeraj, Alumni Relations Coordinator, for acting as our point of contact over the months of planning. Your patience and good humour with us has been greatly appreciated! In all, the event welcomed 70 Old Whitgifitians, 20 former members of staff and 50 family members. Nick Somers OW (1984-89)
The varied reunions of the Class of 1978 – various notes from Francis Charig In March 2019 there was a regional reunion dinner in Devon at which I was joined by Hugh Richard, Andrew Tapson and Richard Andrews (all 1970-78) and Martin Spittle (1971-78). In July, Eddie McGee (1970-76), David Murch and Ian Martin (1971-78) joined me in Warlingham for a wine and tapas infused evening. In October 2019, we had a reunion in Soho with 15 of the year (report below). Just before Christmas, Stanley Dziegel (1971-78), Andy Pike, Andrew Larkworthy (both 1970-78) and Michael Fleming (1973-78) joined me in Seer Green for a few drinks. We’re holding these ‘miniunions’(a contraction of mini reunions) regularly because having compiled the contact database for our year, I can hold events on a frequent basis without much effort; a few e-mails to 70 OWs and suddenly it’s a decent sized, informal event. Following on the large scale Oxford based reunion with staff and Old Boys in September 2018, there has been demand to have another big event, not least because 2020 is the 50th anniversary of the L1st from our year starting at the School along with Headmaster David Raeburn. We will now probably have to hold this in 2021, delayed because of the Coronavirus pandemic. We don’t just include the Old Boys but the Masters too, many of whom came to the Oxford reunion the year before. In May my wife and I stayed with John Kelsall (Member of Staff 1968-1978 and subsequently Headmaster of Bournemouth Grammar, Arnold and Brentwood Schools) and his wife at his lovely home in Suffolk and in the autumn we were at the launch of their talented daughter’s art exhibition in London followed by a meal in Chinatown with the Kelsalls, the Charigs, David Murch and his wife. We had lunches with Dick Glynne-Jones (Member of Staff 1955-1995) and his wife at his golf club in Piltdown, and with Peter Gibson (Member of Staff 1965-2003) at a pub in Kent. I saw David Raeburn (Headmaster 1970-91) on several occasions with Michael Fleming including a stunning sunny day sitting by the river at Morse’s favourite pub, the Trout at Wolvercote and for a Guest Dinner at New College, Oxford where he still teaches. In June, a whole array of boys from the year went to see the outstanding ‘Agamemnon’ performed at the College, the 2019 Greek Play directed by 92 year old
David Raeburn to great acclaim across four nights. More sadly, I was one of those from the ‘78s to attend during the year the memorial services of Ken Nicholas (Member of Staff 1956-1991) and Norman West (1967-1998), both wonderful teachers and pastorally strong. Here is the report from the October reunion, reported the next day: Those attending with me were John Clokey, John Demeza, Daniel Emkes, Dave Greaves, Simon Hutton, Andrew Larkworthy, Eddie McGee, Ian Martin, David Murch, John Neighbour, Andy Pike, Chris Vaughan, David Willett and Tim Wimbush. Chris Baverstock was unwell, Simon Lambert was called away helping patients in an emergency, various others like Andrew Tapson, Nick Harman, Paul de Cintra and Simon Hill were hoping to come but were ultimately unable to make it for very good reasons. Much missed Simon Bates was on a vacation. There were, of course, various generous discussions throughout the evening about Norman West, the kind of observations that would have made him proud. I wrote a letter of sympathy to Sarah, his wife and also to Tim, his son, and highlighted to them both this affection. The restaurant was very good, food excellent, and McGee said some very nice words to us all. Murch at one end of the table provided half the entertainment, Martin at the other end provided the rest. Hutton, McGee and I left last, just before 11.30pm. I don’t know if we were particularly lucky or if it is a ‘Whitgift thing’ but the atmosphere at these events is lovely. Nobody is judgemental or throwing their achievements at each other. Nobody is interested in playing one-upmanship. They just want the best for everyone: laughter dominates. Over a period of a few months in 2018 I compiled a contact list for the year as explained in last year’s report. The purpose of this report is to highlight that once that compilation is in place, the ability to hold gatherings is easy. There is something about schooldays that provides a common basis, a glue like university that isn’t as true of employment. Even after a gap of 40 years we have so much in common, and we can all laugh at the same things, like the time my father presented me with a large carrot which I proceeded to ram up the exhaust pipe and disable Norman Jopson’s car. Francis Charig (1970-78)
Upper Fifth 1952-53 Yet again it is a pleasure to report news of the annual reunion of Upper V 1952-53. That most assiduous of scribes, Dr Peter Warren CBE (1947-56), writes, as he says, “per pro Superior Quinti 1952-53”: Our 67th anniversary reunion took place on 7 November 2019, chez moi. Our Honorary Member (my wife Angela) and Ailsa Boyle, John Webb’s partner, came up trumps yet again with a splendid lunch. We – that is those in the attached photograph from left to right standing – John Hamilton, John Sutcliffe , Ian Brown, Brian Halfacre, John Webb, John Trott – and seated– Kenneth Rokison and myself – just did all the talking. But first we drank a toast to absent friends – living (10), “lost” (1) and deceased (9), not least to Noel Parkinson who had sadly died in July and of whom some (myself included) had known for 74 years (we were at Elmhurst School, South Croydon, together, prior to entering Whitgift). “It is a truth universally acknowledged” (quote) that when a party of over 80’s foregather conversation will inevitably turn to ailments and so it did. Nothing morbid but a recognition of what ‘real’ life is like at our ages and offering helpful hints over dealing with various malaises. But very quickly something triggered a jump back 50 years in recalling an altogether different ‘real’ life for most present, namely doing National Service from 10
Catterick to Singapore and Suez, with references to British Foreign policy of the period, the Anglo-American special relationship and earliest experiences of flying – both in military and long-forgotten commercial aircraft. In no time we pressed on back to School-days – a post-War Whitgift in 1947 to 1956, including the gastronomic experiences of whale-meat, horse meat and bully-beef for all; while for some musical/drama delights of performing in annual Gilbert and Sullivan operas begun by John Odom and Ian Smith (with scenery painting led by Bob Jones), and lustily singing (or in my case, by order, mouthing), in House Music Competitions. And debating in the Head’s (E.A.G. Marlar’s) weekly philosophy and religion lesson. We recalled one on: “Do animals have souls?” But not for too long did we dwell in the past. Rather, acknowledging the intellectual, physical, and cultural benefits of a Whitgift life that had supported us over the past seven decades, we turned our wide-ranging discussions forward to the issues of today and tomorrow’s worlds. I would like to claim that we avoided the dreaded Brexit word but my memory may well be failing me, alas! But what I am certain I recall correctly is that we remain loquacious! And ever optimistic over at least someone from the Upper Fifth of 1952-53 benefiting for an eighth decade and literally keeping the name alive a while longer yet. Peter Warren (1947-56)
unlike good wine, singing does not improve with age. The evening was enjoyed by all, partners included, and demand was there for a repeat in 2021. Informal events of this kind are a great opportunity to renew friendships and make new ones while catching up on lives after school. Watch the newsletter and website for details of the 2021 dinner so you don’t miss out – you do not have to be resident in the South West to join us. South Western Dinner On 28th September, eighteen Old Whitgiftians and their partners gathered for the biennial South West Dinner at the Tiverton Hotel (which just happens to be in Blundells Road!) Most arrived early to enjoy a pre-dinner drink and chat in the bar. The informal setting allowed couples to sit together with colleagues of a similar generation and enjoy a convivial evening chatting to other OWs and their partners. The excellent meal was served by very efficient and attentive staff after which Simon Kennedy (195965) welcomed the attendees and proposed the health of the Queen and our Founder. Andrew Gayler (1956-64) updated us on goings on in Croydon from the viewpoint of the Association and our President Richard Blundell (1956-63) covered the changes at the School. The evening finished in traditional style with the singing of the School Carmen. It was sung with great gusto if little else – more practice required for next time! Maybe,
Simon Kennedy (1959-65)
Sportsman’s Lunch 2019 The 2019 Sportsman’s Lunch was, as ever, organised and hosted by President Richard Blundell. Drinks in the Founder’s Room were accompanied by drinks and a resumé of School rugby and other sports before enjoying a fine lunch in the Old Library and then a walk down to South Lower to support the 1st XV against Millfield. It was a close fought and excellent game of schoolboy rugby which was narrowly lost. Vice Presidents’ Lunch The Vice Presidents’ Lunch at the OW Clubhouse was hosted by President Richard Blundell. He reports that it was a most convivial event although only enjoyed by some 20% of the possible attendance. The event only came to an end when one VP requested permission to leave so that he could cast his important vote in “that other place”.
New York Reunion New York City saw its very first Whitgift reunion. David Drinkwater (1976-1983) hosted an informal dinner in Manhattan. The invitation was sent to all OWs in America and five attended; a small number in the grand scheme of Whitgift leavers but good considering this was the first ever reunion of its kind. The group, which included leavers from 1964-2009 and so represented a range of generations, met for drinks and dinner at The National Bar and Dining Rooms. They look forward to the next gathering that will take place in 2020 and have high hopes for a larger turnout. “It’s always entertaining and rewarding to meet up with OWs,” David said. “Our group shared memories of the school from the 1960s through to the 2010s … we look forward to continuing the NYC reunions this year and hopefully can arrange some get-togethers around the US as well.”
Smaller reunions The ’44 Club, of OWs who joined the School in 1944, met for their 75th anniversary lunch in the new School staff dining room. They were resplendent in their galleon Club ties; the 1957 leavers had a reunion lunch; a trio of OWs met informally for lunch in Bridport nearly sixty years after leaving School; a select number of HOBOs partook of a drink or several around London Town; Brian Kibble (1950-55), as President of the Surrey Mayors’ Association and having already hosted the official Reception for new Mayors, chaired the AGM and Garden Party which Alderman Geoff Austin (1958-66), past Mayor of Kingston, attended – rumour has it that Geoff scoffed all the cream cakes and strawberries!
The success of reunions large and small should remind OWs that such events are always worthwhile. The WA is happy to help with contact addresses. 12
Whitgift and the Royal Air Force Whitgift and the Royal Air Force April 2018 marked the centenary of the formation of the Royal Air Force as the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air service were brought together to form what was, at the time, the largest air force in the world. Two men vied for leadership: Trenchard and Sykes. Trenchard resigned in March but his resignation was not made effective until 13 April so that, for political reasons, he became the first Chief of the Air Staff. His replacement until the end of March 1919 was Frederick Sykes (1889-91) – Arthur Tedder (1902-09) was Whitgift’s second Chief from 194650. Michael Napier, author of a recent book The Royal Air Force – a Centenary of Operations writes of Sykes: “The RAF motto ‘Per Ardua ad Astra’ was coined by Frederick Sykes, a man pretty much forgotten by a service which looks upon Hugh Trenchard as ‘the father of the RAF’. It is true that Trenchard played a major role in the formation of the RAF and, indeed, he was the first Chief of the Air Staff, but he was only one of a number of makers and shakers …” Napier identifies the two key players as the South African Jan Smuts, whose report recommended amalgamation of RNAS and RNAS, and Sykes. Napier points out that Sykes had written many of the operational manuals for the RFC and nurtured the RAF through its first year of independence. History, though, is written by the winners:
Trenchard hated Sykes and ensured that his good work was excised from public memory when he returned to head up the RAF in 1919. Yet his memory lives on with the RAF motto and a powerful one it is. If this reminds us of Whitgift’s involvement with the RAF from its earliest days and Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Tedder stands out as one the School’s most notable alumni, we should not forget the numerous OWs who served in peace and war. The School has a plaque (displayed in South Entrance) that commemorates those OWs who took part in the Battle of Britain, the eightieth anniversary of which takes place later this year. Thanks to the unfailing efforts of Bill Wood, School Archivist, the plaque will have to be revised as the number of known OW Battle of Britain pilots has been augmented by his diligent research. We now know that there were ten rather than the eight originally commemorated: all survived the Battle of Britain but several died on operations later in the War. Bill Wood continues to receive enquiries about OW involvement in the Battle of Britain and reports the following from late in 2019: “I received a phone call late last week from Stuart Blackburn, who is related on his father’s side to Leonard Walter Stevens (1925-29), a Battle of Britain pilot. He wanted information about Stevens’ time at the School and to see the WWII memorial and
Hornby Models: Hawker Hurricane Mk.1 N2359/YB-J, ‘Winged Popeye’, P.O Leonard Walter Stevens, RAF No.17 Squadron, Debden 1940.
Whitgift and the Royal Air Force (continued)
panels in South Entrance which includes Stevens name. I understand that medals and photograph albums are held by other family members. He recalls seeing some photographs of Stevens which shows him in RAF uniform as well as earlier ones of his schooldays. He also told me about a release by Corgi of a model of the aircraft that Stevens flew when he was with 17 Squadron. Stevens was subsequently killed on return to Tangmere from a raid. His aircraft collided with his No.2 – both pilots were killed in the crash and are buried in St Alban’s churchyard, Hindhead.” Bill managed to get hold of one of the limited edition models – he spoke to marketing at Hornby Models and said that he would put together a display which included the model to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2020 – the company said that any good photos of the display could be forwarded to them and they may wish to use them in their staff magazine and possibly online. Responsible for destroying more enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain than the combined total of the rest of Britain’s defences, the Hawker Hurricane was the workhorse aircraft of Fighter Command’s deﬁant resistance against the Luftwaffe. A stable gun platform, the Hurricane was relatively simple to ﬂy and even easier to maintain and could be produced much quicker than the all-metal Spitﬁre, which was crucial as replacement aircraft would be needed in large numbers. Pilot Ofﬁcer Leonard Walter Stevens of No.17 Squadron received Hurricane N2359 as a replacement for an earlier aircraft damaged in combat with the Luftwaffe on 11th August 1940 and applied some rather elaborate artwork to the port side of his Hurricane. It was extremely unusual for RAF ﬁghters to carry any form of unauthorised artwork during the Battle of Britain, so the sight of a ‘Winged Popeye’ must have caused quite a stir around Debden airﬁeld, although they would have had more important matters at hand. Pilot Ofﬁcer Leonard W Stevens served with No.17 Squadron throughout the Battle of Britain, only to be killed in a mid-air collision between two Spitﬁres in May 1941.
Remembrance 2019 On 11 November 2019, the centenary of the first Remembrance Day, OWs joined current members of the School for the Service of Remembrance and laying of wreaths at the War Memorial. Our President, Richard Blundell, placed the OW wreath at the foot of the stone cross in memory of those Whitgiftians who did not return home. Later in the morning there was a simpler ceremony where a Whitgift remembrance cross was laid at the Sportsmen’s Copse memorial at Croham Road. Remembrance was not limited to the traditional November ceremony: at the Friends of the Raeburn Library summer meeting earlier in the year there was a fascinating talk from Jill Bush about her relative 2nd Lieut. Lionel Morris (1910-13), the first official victim of the Red Baron Manfred von Richthofen. The photograph below of the grave of Fl. Lt Pip Stevens (1926-29) in the churchyard of St Alban’s, Hindhead serves as a further reminder of the sacrifices which we continue to remember even as direct memory fades.
OWs in the News It
on 18 March 2020 that Sir Gerry Grimstone (1960-67), recently retired Chairman of Barclays Bank plc and Standard Life Aberdeen plc and Lead NonExecutive Board Member for the Ministry of Defence since September 2011, had been appointed Minister of State jointly at the Department for International Trade and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. was announced
T he emergence of three OW Test cricketers, two of them making their début in 2019, led to a major article by John Westerby in The Times on 16 December 2019 under the headline “New opener factory from hotbed of rugby talent”. The text below read “Whitgift had little track record in cricket before it suddenly developed three Test batsmen”. Whilst the article naturally concentrates on the success of Rory Burns (2001-06), Jason Roy (200408) and Dominic Sibley (2007-14) there are honourable mentions for others who have played first class cricket in the past few years and for the footballers and rugby players who have gone through the School. There is no mention in the article of the dominant place in schools and national hockey occupied by Whitgift nor of the great strength in golf and modern pentathlon. Nonetheless it is an extraordinary endorsement of the School’s modern sporting success. During the 2019 Ashes Test series, Rory scored his second Test Match century (and first against Australia) and during the winter in South Africa Dominic scored his first Test century at Cape Town. Although his Test Match performances were not as eye catching as those of the other two current OW Test
players, Jason Roy played a key role in England’s victorious Cricket World Cup campaign scoring 153 against Bangladesh and important half centuries against South Africa, India and Australia. In the Final against New Zealand, although he only scored 19 runs, his throw in the deciding Super Over led to the dismissal of the New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill and England victory. Jason was included in the International Cricket Council’s CWC 2019 Team of the Tournament as one of the opening batsmen. They stated that “The England opener had a decisive impact on his team’s result in a manner unlike anyone else in the tournament. Roy instilled a much-needed sense of energy in his team, after they lost back-to-back games to Sri Lanka and Australia, when Roy was sidelined due to hamstring injury. His impact was felt in England’s must-win games, against India and New Zealand in the round-robin, and against Australia in the semifinal, as he stitched together three successive century stands with his opening partner Jonny Bairstow. Having scored 443 runs from seven innings at an impressive strike-rate of 115.36, Roy forms a formidable opening partnership with Rohit Sharma in this XI”.
T he broadcast from Croydon Minster of Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve featured boys from Whitgift in the Minster choir. In the BBC Radio 4 series The Untold, the edition entitled Voice of an Angel’ broadcast on 23 December 2019, looked at the home life and intense practice of two Junior School boys who were interviewed as was the School’s Director of Choral Music, Dr Ronny Krippner.
of James Ellson (1981-89) has received considerable recent press publicity. It coincides with the publication of his first novel, The Trail, referred to later in the section Publications with a Whitgiftian interest but is a dramatic story in its own right. career
James left School, where he had been Second Prefect, and went to Cambridge to read geography. So far, so conventional; but unusually James then chose to join the police, a choice he never regretted despite the stress of his eventual role as a Detective Inspector based in Moss Side, Manchester. In an interview with the Manchester Evening News in February 2020, James talked of the “golden hour” immediately after a crime is committed when evidence and memories are fresh and when CCTV images have not been deleted. This may determine whether a murder or other serious offence is solved. “The responsibility of being a Detective Inspector is massive”, he said. “On nights I was the senior detective on duty for the whole of Greater Manchester, and went from one critical incident – shootings, stabbings, murders, arsons, suspicious deaths – to another, driving the ‘golden hour’.” 15
OWs in the News (continued)
When James, a keen mountaineer in his spare time, moved to Moss Side pressure became relentless. “The nature of the work – CCTV, DNA, phone enquiries, means there is always an unlimited supply of leads to check. I never liked to leave a case unresolved, so many cases and hours stacked up. On a professional level, I tried to deal with each new case as if it was my family who had been affected. I persisted in the belief that I could make a difference, however small and that every human has some good and some bad in them.” James found release in climbing harder and more dangerous routes including soloing (climbing alone and without ropes). “Looking back now, it is interesting to note that in doing so, I was mirroring the ambivalence to death of many of the gang members I was dealing with.” By September 2009 his determination to get results had taken its toll on him, he took sabbatical leave and with the backing of his wife Sarah, a lawyer, he retreated to a small holding in the Peak District. They have since become self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables, keep chickens and bees, and turkeys at Christmas. James also runs courses, give talks on self-sufficiency and apples, and offers tours of the smallholding. Now, instead of pursuing criminals, James gets up and writes for a couple of hours, spends the day working on the smallholding, and writes again for a couple of hours before dinner; last year he completed an MA in creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. James’s novel is published using crowd funding and here the OW link was helpful – James has been delighted to receive funding from a long list of “patrons” who include about thirty of his School 16
contemporaries and also former members of staff including David Raeburn, Peter Trevis, Dick GlynneJones and Andrew Halls. That two of the former masters had taught him English seems to James a particular endorsement of his foray into fiction.
C allum H udson -O doi (2012-15) is not only a precocious talent on the football field but was included by The Times of 3 August 2019 in its “Teen Power List 2019”. On 13 March 2020 he also had the dubious distinction of being the first Premiership footballer to announce that he had tested positive for Covid 19 – he confirmed on 23 March that he was fully recovered.
production of Scoring a
Century, an opera by David Blake and Keith Warner, by British Youth Opera at The Peacock Theatre in September 2019 received widespread, if mixed, reviews in the national and opera press. On one thing the critics were united, the singing of Hugo HermanWilson (2004-12) and Holly-Marie Bingham, who play the principal parts of the Jedermanns, was outstanding. “As the central pair, the every youthful Jedermanns, Hugo HermanWilson and Holly Marie Bingham were astonishingly convincing and meticulous.” Opera Today
“It’s a terrific company achievement, led by Hugo HermanWilson and Holly Marie Bingham as the Jedermanns and Florian Panzieri as the composer Berthold.” Evening Standard “…Hugo Herman-Wilson and Holly-Marie Bingham gave large-scale performances of astonishing maturity and stamina … his high baritone sounded gratifyingly glossy…” Opera Magazine “…with Holly Marie Bingham and particularly the personable Hugo Herman-Wilson outstanding as the indestructible vaudevillians.” The Times These comments reflect the success of Hugo’s developing career which has seen him as an Alvarez Young Artist at Garsington Opera in 2019 and a Britten-Pears Young Artist for 2017/18/19. Of another performance, Opera Today wrote: “Here, to dramatic naturalness [Hugo] added the ability to switch between idioms with ease, and to employ a soothing, soft lyricism to inject moments of touching expressive sentiment.”
T he announcement in January 2019 that the Director General of the BBC, Lord Hall, would step down in summer 2020 immediately started a media frenzy of speculation on the identity of his successor. An early favourite among a host of possibilities was Tim Davie CBE (1980-85), the current Chief Executive of BBC Studios who has experience as acting Director General between November 2012 and April 2013. F ormer JLS
Holly Marie Bingham and Hugo Herman-Wilson. Photo credit: Robert Workman.
presenter Jonathan “JB” Gill (19982005) has been seen often in the media presenting BBC’s Songs of Praise, extolling his current rural way of life and backing the campaign to plant vast numbers of trees saying “I
hope this campaign inspires people of all ages and backgrounds to take direct action and plant trees. Every tree counts”. The lure of performance has returned as JLS have confirmed their reunion in a comeback tour entitled Beat Again Tour 2020.
alumni m agazine of
Queens’ College, Cambridge includes an interesting feature about SsegawaSsekintu Kiwanuka (1997-2005) who has been in Nanning, China as part of the British Council’s Musician in Residence scheme, which gives young musicians the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture and explore different musical traditions. The article goes on to say that Ssegawa-Ssekintu read chemical engineering at Queens’ while also earning a blue for boxing and founding the band Clean Bandit. He left the band to pursue a PhD in Laser Spectroscopy but returned to music in 2015 to release a solo project, Minds EP, under the stage name Love Ssega. Love Ssega became a PRS Foundation Momentum Artist in 2017 with the release of his second EP, Emancipation, which was not only successful in the UK but also internationally. He has appeared globally from Malawi to South Korea and even at the British ambassador’s residence in Paris. His music has featured on television (Made in Chelsea) and in avant garde productions at the Sydney Opera House. During his time in China Love Ssega was a headline act at the Strawberry Music Festival in Chengdu and performed solo in Beijing. Of his China experience SsegawaSsekinyu said “This is an absolute honour to be selected by PRS Foundation and the British Council to be a Musician in Residence in China. What a beautiful story to be
chosen as a British citizen of Ugandan heritage, London born and raised, to travel to the cultural colossus of East Asia specifically to make music. I’m very excited to be spending time in musically diverse and historically significant Guangxi. It will be a privilege to work and record with the region’s musicians, and also experience a heritage that includes folk and opera all the way to their burgeoning world fusion scene. I will be putting out new music from my experience and collaborating across all forms of art, as much as I can.”
its interv iew with Neil
Gaiman (1974-77), The Times of 4 December 2019 describes him as a simultaneously youthful and grizzled 59. He was in London is here to “do his bit” for the stage version of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, his semi-autobiographical novel from 2013 for which tickets were already all but sold out, a natural outcome for a fantasy author who has sold more than 50 million books. As The Times interviewer continues: “and, as he touches on briefly – although it’s quite rare for Gaiman to touch on anything too briefly, speaking as he does with the languid yet exploratory air of a lifelong storyteller – he has so much else going on too. He is working on a big-budget Netflix version of The Sandman, the 75-part monthly comic with which he made his name in the early Nineties. He spent the past few years writing and supervising the television version of his and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 novel Good Omens. Its success streaming on Amazon Prime since May has made it ‘a global phenomenon’, he says. And if Amazon’s secrecy over its data means that you might not know it was that successful, he suspects it will have more of a buzz
about it in Britain when it shows on BBC Two next year”. Next year Neil has a new book for young children, Pirate Stew, illustrated by the former children’s laureate Chris Riddell, coming out; he has a deal with the Jim Henson Company, one of several current confidential projects and his adaptation of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy has been ordered by the US Showtime network.
T he T imes in September 2019 extolled the range of talents of Derren Brown (1981-89) at the opening night of Secret, his first Broadway show. “Brown implores me to keep shtoom about the details of his occasionally flabbergasting new show. But – just quickly – how could he possibly have known the bloke sitting behind me had an insect bite on his left testicle, or the lady in row G had a childhood pet crayfish (yes, really) called Passenger?” Derren is scheduled to return to the British stage in 2020 with a brand new show, his first for five years, called Showman. Of his new show, Derren says: “All I can reveal at this point is that the show will ultimately be about you, the audience member, because that’s what I find most interesting. There are places I’d like to take you where we haven’t been before. I always aim to have it deliver more than you’d expect. I’m excited to be at the starting point of that process. Getting it on the road will be my favourite part of the year.” Derren is described by Empire, the monthly film magazine as “The closest our galaxy can boast to a Jedi Master”
J erem y S ams (1967-75) received much critical acclaim for his new production of Oklahoma! at the Chichester Festival Theatre. There was an emphasis on the youth of 17
OWs in the News (continued)
those living on the frontier. In the words of one reviewer it was a “rich reworking that probes the ugly underbelly of Wild West mythology. There’s all the flouncing gingham and cowboy beefcake anyone could crave in this exuberant staging of the 1943 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, yet bracingly, it’s much more tough than twee. Jeremy Sams’s production never lets us forget that frontier life is lived at gunpoint”. It has been a productive time: as well as Oklahoma! Jeremy Sams is the book writer for Amour, a musical fantasy produced in London and on Broadway, tinged with “love, longing and imagination” and requiring magic on stage. In addition, he has translated Le Prénom (What’s in a Name?), a comedy from 2010 by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière where a group of friends argue over the naming of a child. The play, which Jeremy Sams also directed, opened at the Richmond Theatre in November 2019. Mark Lawson’s Guardian interview with Jeremy on 23 March 2020 looked at how television comedies are inspiring the theatre. Adaptations include a musical version of Only Fools and Horses and a reworking of The Good Life by Sams, who explained how he had approached his work – “I sat down to construct it as a play, but it seems to be in the DNA of sitcom that it falls into half-hour chunks. So I effectively now have four halfhour acts, with an interval after two, that lead into each other and form a single story.” He has substantially redeployed three episodes from the series – including those in which Tom and Barbara first decide to go green, a baby pig is born and Margot sings in an amateur production of The Sound of Music – and shaped a storyline of his own around two dinner parties.
S tuart N unn (2006-12) has made his third appearance at the National Theatre in The Visit, starring Lesley Manville and adapted by Tony Kushner from the play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt.
W hen ,
A ugust 2019,
Australian cricketer Steve Smith’s concussion lead to the first ever use of a concussion substitution in international test cricket, The Times looked to Dr Sam Barke (2000-05), Medical Director of Return2Play, for comment as to whether he had been properly managed on the field of play. Sam said: “There will, rightly, be people questioning whether the decision for Smith to continue on Saturday was the right call. Certainly for the casual observer watching on TV it looked like Smith had sustained a head injury but he went on to satisfy his medical team, who would have used a barrage of tests, that he was well. Unfortunately we know that in some cases players appear well and then go on to develop signs and symptoms later. That is why it is crucially important that, even if players return to play, they are monitored closely as has been done with Smith. It should be noted that outside of professional sport there is no place for pitch-side “Head Injury Assessment”. Players with a suspected head injury should be removed from play and not be returned on the day of injury and until they have received medical attention.”
Honours, Awards and Appointments Sir Gerry Grimstone (1960-67), appointed Minister of State and a Life Peer, Baron Grimstone of Boscobel, of Belgravia in the City of Westminster. Alex Dawson (1996-2004) was awarded an OBE in the Prime Minister’s Resignation Honours. The citation reads as follows: Alexander Dawson – “Former Director of Research and Messaging, 10 Downing Street, Special Adviser to the Home Secretary and Director, Conservative Research Department. For political and public service.” As noted in the most recent edition of OW News, Alex is now at Global Counsel, a political advisory firm, as practice lead in UK politics and policy. General Sir Peter Wall GCB CBE DL (1965-73) is President of Combat Stress, for over a century the leading UK charity for veterans’ mental health. The Combat Stress campaign recently launched by The Prince of Wales, the charity’s Patron, will in Peter’s words “transform the lives of service men and women who have paid a ‘high price’ for their nation” by offering enhanced help for anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Professor David Langslow (1970-77), Professor of Classics at Manchester University, has been elected a Fellow of the British Academy. David Langslow was trained in classics, ancient history, and Indo-European comparative philology and linguistics. He started research on word-formation in the broadest sense, examining the possible and the preferred linguistic means of extending vocabulary, first in Greek, and then, and especially, in Latin. On the assumption that an expansion of knowledge entails the development of new vocabulary, he began working on technical language, in particular on medical vocabulary in Latin down to the end of the Roman Empire in the West. He is a passionate teacher and advocate for access to Latin and Greek in state schools and has been since 2002 one of the directors of the JACT Greek Summer School (est. 1967). He is the founding Project Chair of Manchester Classics for All, established in 2015, which is already bringing
classics to hundreds of state school students in the Manchester area. Russell Picot (1968-75) has been appointed an Honorary Professor in the Business School at Durham University. Russell, a former Group General Manager at HSBC and Group Chief Accounting Officer, is Chairman of the trustee board of HSBC Bank (UK) Pension Fund and is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Alastair Lyons, CBE (1967-70), having retired as Chairman of Admiral Group plc, is now non-Executive Chairman of Harworth Group, a leading land and property regeneration company. He remains non-Executive Chairman of Welsh Water. Jerry Buhlmann (1973-78) former CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network and only the second non-Japanese Executive Officer of Dentsu Inc, was appointed in February 2020 non-executive chairman of Croud, a global digital marketing agency. Kevin Kalkhoven (1955-62) visited the School at the end of February 2020 to talk to current pupils about his remarkable career which has seen him in a variety of software and telecommunication companies, including periods as the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Uniphase during which he transformed it from a privately held manufacturer of industrial lasers into a publicly held global supplier of components and modules for advanced fibre optic networks and a member of the NASDAQ 100. He is joint owner of Cosworth, the motor sport company based in Northampton and the Long Beach Grand Prix Association and his team was winner of the 2013 Indy 500. Kevin explained that when he was at Whitgift in 1962 he had “no idea” what he wanted to do with his life but that his first job after School led him into computing which became a passion; with determination he was able to work his way up to being a Silicon Valley venture capitalist. Kevin brought with him an F1 and the Indy 500 winning racing cars and allowed boys to sit in them while he explained the technique of preparing a winning car and answered questions about careers in engineering. His message was that racing is a series of ups and downs and “You must try and learn to fail in order to succeed”. Kevin has donated his Indy 500 trophy to the School – it will be displayed in the Design Technology department. 19
Honours, Awards and Appointments (continued)
In recognition of his contribution, through Cosworth, to the economy of the Northampton area, Kevin was in 2018 awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Northampton.
Dr Kevin Kalkhoven
Henry Cheeseman (2006-14), who after School became a professional rugby player, has left Harlequins and become a founding director of Blue Thorn Gin, a small luxury gin brand much of whose profits will go to charities including Cancer Research UK and the Seb Adiniren-Olule Charitable Fund. The latter is dedicated to the memory of Seb Adiniren-Olule (2006-12), a School and Harlequins contemporary of Henry, who was killed in a road traffic accident at the age of 21. Nick Edwards (1985-92) has recently been appointed Chief Operating Officer of Audley Group which develops and manages luxury retirement villages for the over 55s. Following the sudden death of Geoff Wright (1954-60), Nick has been appointed Chairman of the School Governors and a Governor of the John Whitgift Foundation. Major General Neil Sexton (1978-85) Neil Sexton was appointed to the Board of Trustees of ABF, the Army Charity, in November 2019. Neil has been in post since November 2018 as the Army’s Director of Engagement & Communications, representing the Army in Whitehall, responsible for communicating the Army’s purpose and key messages and strengthening ties with international partners. Neil was commissioned in to the Army Air Corps in 1990, and following a cavalry attachment which included The Gulf War, has held a wide variety of aviation appointments including command of the UK’s first attack helicopter regiment and being professional head of Army Aviation from 201315. He has been an instructor at both The Royal Military 20
Academy Sandhurst and the Joint Services Command and Staff College and is now in his fourth communications role. In addition, he is President of Army Gliding and Commodore of Army Sailing. Dr Andrew Holding (1996-2001), whose career in cancer research has been referred to in previous editions, has been appointed a Lecturer in Biomedical Science at the University of York. He continues to be Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute, a Senior Research Associate at the Cambridge Research Institute of Cancer Research UK and a Fellow of Downing College, Cambridge. His research work has been recognised this year by a Career Establishment Award from the Wellcome Centre for Future Health and a visiting Fellowship from Pomona College, California. Simon Thomas, OBE (1985-93), former Deputy Head of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Harare, has undertaken a year-long posting to The Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS). RCDS instructs the most promising senior officers of the British Armed Forces, Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service and Civil Service in national defence and international security matters at the highest level, to prepare them for the top posts in their respective services.
THE SERVICES Brigadier Jonathan Swift (1983-91) (late Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) has been appointed Head of Capability, Ground Manoeuvre with effect from October 2019. Colonel Mike Cornwell, OBE (1984-92) is now at Higher Command Staff College. Colonel Matt Birch (1987-92), now at Army Land Command, was awarded the NATO Meritorious Service Medal in April 2019. The NATO Meritorious Service Medal was first awarded in 2003 to commend NATO staff whose personal initiative and dedication went beyond their duty to make a difference both to their colleagues, and to NATO as an organisation. The Medal is the personal award of the Secretary General of NATO, who signs each citation. Fewer than 50 medals are awarded each year and it remains the only significant award for individual personal effort for NATO staff; this Medal can be awarded to military and civilian staff alike. When assessing nominations for the award, there are several criteria taken
into consideration: the performance of acts of courage in difficult or dangerous circumstances; showing exceptional leadership or personal example; making an outstanding individual contribution to a NATO sponsored programme or activity; or enduring particular hardship or deprivation in the interest of NATO. The NATO Meritorious Service Medal is now authorised for wear on British military uniforms.
FORMER MEMBERS OF STAFF Andrew Halls, now Headmaster of KCS Wimbledon, was awarded the OBE in the 2020 New Year’s Honours List whilst Jesse Elzinga, currently Headmaster of Reading Blue Coat School, will become Headmaster of Sevenoaks School in September 2020. The number of OWs and former members of staff who are Heads of HMC schools remains remarkable: in addition to the two referred to above there are Whitgift links with the current Heads of Bishops Stortford, Eltham, Loughborough Grammar, Norwich, Ratcliffe, Reed’s, RGS Guildford, RGS Worcester, St Dunstan’s, Trent, UCS and Winchester.
Publications with a Whitgiftian interest Nigel Platts, Editor, writes: I was researching background for an obituary of a recently deceased OW and came across in The Whitgiftian magazine for December 1951 a name ‘J B Dargavel’ which caught my attention. I had only come across this unusual surname once before – on the War Memorial at the village church on the Cumbrian coast where my parents are buried and where I was christened. Intrigued, I looked up the name on the internet and found a Dr John Dargavel at the Australian National University. My regular Australian informant on matters Whitgiftian, Colin McKinnon (1964-72) was able to ascertain that this was the same J B Dargavel (1942-51) referred to in the magazine. He took a degree in forestry at Edinburgh University, followed by a Masters at Melbourne and a PhD at the ANU. In a long and distinguished career he has become a leading authority on Australian forests and their history. He is the author of over seventy papers and has edited ten books covering forest science, management, industrial and labour history, trade, environmental politics, and cultural aspects of landscape and remembrance. John Dargavel’s book on Australian forest history, Fashioning Australia’s Forests (Oxford University Press) was published in 1995 and his biography, The Zealous Conservator: a Life of Charles Lane Poole (University of Western Australia Press) was published in 2008. His most recent book on the history of forest science over the last three centuries was written with Elisabeth Johann, Science and Hope: a Forest History and was published in 2013, followed by a German edition Die Geschichte der Forstwissenschaft – eine Geschichte der Hoffnung in 2018. It is a pleasure to discover the previously unknown career of this distinguished OW. The Trail is the first novel written by James Ellson (198189) and is a thriller which draws extensively on James’s previous career as a police detective in Manchester. James says that he had read that you should write about what you know – he was a Detective Inspector involved in solving 22
major crimes; he is an avid mountaineer and has climbed serious peaks in Nepal; he keeps bees. The protagonist in The Trail has all this in common with James. The book has received excellent reviews from Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, from Stephen Booth, author of the Cooper and Fry crime series and from readers on Amazon Books who give it a Five Star rating. Amazon Books describes James’s book as follows: “The Trail is a crime thriller. A missing person enquiry leads Manchester DCI Rick Castle to Nepal. Rick flies to Nepal, and heads up the trail. Through villages of staring children and fluttering prayerflags. Brilliant blue skies, and snow-capped mountains. He finds a dead body. Then a second. Nothing in this world was ever straightforward. Nothing. Finally, he puts himself in the firing line, and has a decision to make. Is it the right one? The moral one?” James is working on a sequel to The Trail. Bob Stanley (1976-83) is completing his third book, Too Darn Hot: The Story of Popular Music, which is scheduled for publication this year by Faber and Faber. This book looks at the history of popular music from the start of recorded music until the advent of rock and roll in the early 1950s. Bob was winner of the 2017 Eccles British Library Writers in Residence Award which supports his research for Too Darn Hot using the Library’s American collections. Bob’s two previous books were Match Day, a book of football programme artwork published in 2007, which Bob co-edited and Yeah, Yeah, Yeah: the Story of Modern Pop, a history of pop music from the first British pop chart in 1952 until the advent of iTunes in 2001. That book was published in the USA in 2014 and in 2015 appeared in Spain under the title Yeah Yeah Yeah: La historia del pop moderno. It will be interesting to see whether Bob’s new work gathers the enthusiastic reviews of its predecessor. One example was The Times “...Noel Coward talked of the potency of cheap music, and Yeah Yeah Yeah is a love letter to this potency, written by a besotted and discerning suitor...” Dr Anthony Gaston (1957-63), yet another of ‘Prime’s People’, who has focussed much of his career on the study of seabirds in Canada, is the joint author with Sanjeeva
Pandey of The Great Himalayan National Park. The book is a history and an ecological overview of the Park and a plea for continuing conservation of the rich legacy of Himalayan plants and animals and includes pictures taken by the authors and their collaborators that vividly illustrate the grandeur and diversity of the area. The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most important protected areas in the Himalayas. The inclusion of the Park in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014 confirmed the Outstanding Universal Values of the area, which contains the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of Western Himalayan biological diversity. Success and failure along the road to creating today’s Park are discussed together with numerous examples of conservation in action to encourage naturalists and ecologists to protect the ecology of the greatest mountains on earth. Tony Gaston, returning to his more familiar ornithological field, is also co-editor of the recently published Birds of Nunavut, a two volume survey of all known species of bird in the most remote, largest and northerly territory of Canada. Jamie Bulloch (1979-87) continues to impress with his translations of German novels. No fewer than three have appeared since the previous edition of OW News: You Would Have Missed Me by Birgit Vanderbeke, The Dance of Death by Oliver Bottini (the third in the excellent series of Black Forest mysteries) and The Hungry and the Fat by Timur Vermes. Jamie’s Wikipedia entry has a delightful first line: “Jamie was born at East Dulwich Hospital on 6 September 1969. He grew up in Tooting, attending first Rosemead School, then Whitgift School, where he opened the bowling for the 1st XI.” There never seems to be a pause for Graham Masterton (1957-62). Graham has written approximately 100 novels ranging from horror and fantasy, through thrillers and crime to historical sagas. The eleventh and, he claims, the last in his series of Irish based crime novels, featuring DS Katie Maguire, has recently been published. The Last Drop of Blood, a dark and violent tale of the criminal underworld of Ireland, with drugs, shootings, murder and
domestic violence, is described as “fast paced, gritting and gripping from start to finish. If you like a dark police procedural, then you’ll love this”. The final thriller in the million-copy-selling Katie Maguire series. ‘One of this country’s most exciting crime novelists. If you have not read one, read them all now’ Daily Mail. ‘A tough and gritty thriller with an attractive principal character’ Irish Independent. ‘Graham Masterton is a natural storyteller’ New York Journal of Books. ‘Any fan of mysteries should grab this book’ Irish Examiner. Not content with publishing one new book in 2020, Graham records on his website that “My new haunted house story The House of a Hundred Whispers will be published in time for Hallowe’en.” In addition “My German publisher Festa Verlag will be publishing The Devils of D-Day at the end of January. The German title is Der Hollen Panzer ... ‘The Tank from Hell’.” David Talbot (1949-54), son of the celebrated BBC correspondent Godfrey Talbot, has written a memoir published in Local History Records of the Bourne Society – Autumn 2019, entitled Sanderstead and Whitgift (194554) which gives an interesting look at his life at home and School. He speaks with delight about the attractive of the grounds of the School but is less complimentary about the buildings in his time. Despite their pleasing appearance from the front, classrooms were cold in winter and hot in summer, there were excessively narrow stairs, a small library and gym and no specialist music room. Despite his reservations, David’s overall memories of the School are favourable: he cites notable masters such as John Chester, Percy Ewen, Douglas Hussey and Bill Edge and, on the artistic side, John Odom and the “splendidly eccentric” Frankie Potter and the Oxbridge place that he achieved. He finishes with some delight at the School’s current 23
“palatial” extra buildings and specialist facilities and even the boarding house desired by successive Headmasters. Trembling on the Edge of Eternity is a memoir of Monsignor Augustine Hoey by Dr Antony Pinchin (1968-75) and Graeme Jolly. Augustine Hoey, born Thomas Kenneth Hoey, who died, aged 101, in 2017 was a priest who served as Prior of the Anglo-Catholic Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield in Yorkshire. In his later years he converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Catholic priest in 1995. At the age of 99 he was made a Monsignor by Pope Francis. The career of Antony Pinchin, a former Captain of the School, has some similarities with that of Hoey in that he too was an Anglican priest who converted to Roman Catholicism. He is now Director of IB at British School of Milan. Another aspect of Anthony Pinchin’s current work is recognised in the diary of Truro Cathedral which noted that for Remembrance Day 2019 they would have services: “with the Royal British Legion at 3.15 on the 11th November and a sung Requiem in the evening of that day, beginning at 6.30 pm. But, in many respects, the most poignant service we will offer could well be a special service at 10.30 on the morning of Armistice Day. This will not be a Eucharist, but a particularly reflective service in which there will be readings, prayers, and a new anthem especially written for the occasion by Russell Pascoe with words by Dr Tony Pinchin, in which we will hear the voices of the past, recorded testimonies of those who were caught up in the horror of the conflict.”
Sport It was another extraordinary year for OW sport – there were World Champions in cricket, Jason Roy (2004-08) and modern pentathlon, Joe Choong (2008-13), a Rugby World Cup runner up, Elliot Daly (2006-11), and further full international representation in cricket, football, hockey and modern pentathlon. We even produced our first professional boxer and saw a welcome return to throwing the discus by Lawrence Okoye (2003-10).
OWs Jason Roy and Rory Burns playing together in the Test Series v Australia (Getty Images)
Nyeem Young(Sports Action Photo)
CRICKET It was a pleasure to see Rory Burns (2001-06) score a hundred in an Ashes Test Match and later in the year Dominic Sibley (2007-14) achieve the same feat with an undefeated century against South Africa in Cape Town. The fact that there were two OW Test opening partnerships for England this year attracted much media comment. The two most remarkable OW cricketing stories, however, were the remarkable progress of Dominic Sibley and the late flowering recognition of Laurie Evans (19982004). Dominic Sibley made the most runs, 1324 at an average of 69.68, of any player in the 2019 County Championship (shades of Rory Burns in 2018) and faced the most number of balls bowled. This led to recognition and success with England Lions and, in due course, selection for England tours of New Zealand, South Africa and Sri Lanka. Commentators noted Sibley’s desire to occupy the crease and saw this as key to stability at the top of the England batting order. Dominic was the first player to reach 1,000 first class runs in the season although that distinction was queried by proponents of Marnus Labuschagne of Glamorgan and Australia – the English Cricket Board determined that Dominic reached the target two minutes before Marnus! At the beginning of the season Dominic continued the run of form that he showed at the end of 2018 by scoring six centuries in consecutive first class matches spanning the two seasons. He fell short of a seventh which would have equalled the record of Ernest Tyldesley of Lancashire in the 1920s. After such a season it was not surprising that Dominic was capped by Warwickshire. The career of Laurie Evans has taken a dramatic turn in recent seasons. Although he was a player with a clear talent, particularly in the shorter forms of the game, it was not until 2018 that he began to gain worldwide recognition as a white-ball batsman of the highest class. Primarily a finisher for the most part of his limited-overs career, Laurie batted at No. 3 for Sussex in the 2018 T20 Blast and finished as the tournament’s leading run-scorer, opening up opportunities in the Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Caribbean Premier Leagues as well as the Pakistan Super League over the next 12 months. He was the year’s most prolific scoring batsman in 20 over cricket worldwide. As a result of his success, Laurie was picked for England Lions on their tour to Australia in early 2020 – he scored 94 against Cricket Australia in his first match. Nyeem Young (2017-19) was part of the West Indies squad that participated in the Under 19 Cricket 25
World Cup held in South Africa in early 2020. Nyeem had a notable all round role in the West Indies win against England, scoring 66 and taking 5 for 45. He also scored World Cup half centuries against Australia, Canada and Sri Lanka. On the strength of his World Cup performances, Nyeem was identified among a pool of “emerging” players in the West Indies and has subsequently signed a contract with Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League. Nico Reifer (2015-19) has been awarded a contract with Surrey County Cricket Club for 2020. Nico made his first appearance for the Surrey’s age group sides at 15 and has played on ten occasions for Surrey 2nd XI since his debut in 2017. For the first time in six seasons Rory Burns (200106) did not score 1000 Championship runs because of his time away on England duty. Jason Roy (2004-08) was with England for World Cup, one Day and Test Matches and missed Surrey’s season entirely. The extraordinary season of Dominic Sibley (2007-14) is detailed above. Michael Burgess (2004-08) moved to Warwickshire and had a successful time there. Laurie Evans (1998-2004) scored a Championship century for Sussex and continued his remarkable success in 20 over and 50 over cricket (see above). Ryan Patel (2009-16) and Jamie Smith (2010-18) made good progress with Surrey and Freddie van den Bergh (2003-10) made a single first class appearance in his last season with Surrey. RUGBY Elliot Daly (2006-11), who now has over 40 caps for England was an ever present in the England Rugby World Cup side and in the truncated Six Nations’ Championship of 2020. He scored a World Cup try against Argentina and Six Nations’ tries against Ireland and Wales. Although included in the World Cup training squad Harry Williams (2002-10) was left out of the team selected to travel to Japan and has not featured in England’s 2020 Six Nations’ matches. Danny Cipriani (2001-07) was named Gallagher Premiership Rugby Player of the Season 2018-19 on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 having previously been voted Player of the Year by the Rugby Players Association, the representative body of professional rugby players in England. Danny was only the second person to win both awards in the same season. Although included in the initial World Cup training squad, Danny was not in the team selected to go to Japan. Nevertheless he was later selected in Rugby World magazine’s global team of the year 26
ahead of both fly halves who played in the World Cup final. A spokesman for the magazine said “His inclusion in our XV is mischievous... but consider this a protest vote and one founded on hard evidence”. Danny was the only player in the team selected who did not play in the tournament in Japan. The past two seasons for Marland Yarde (2008-10) have been dominated by the effects of his serious knee injury suffered against Newcastle Falcons. The proof of his recovery came in February 2020 with a hat trick of tries for Sale Sharks against Leicester Tigers Sale. Marland turned for rehabilitation to Jonas Dodoo, a top sprint coach at Loughborough, and now feels faster than before his injury. George Hammond (2016-18) of Harlequins has played for England under 20s throughout the Six nations’ Championship Noah Ferdinand (2010-2017) and Matt Harrison (2015-17) were part of the England Counties U20 rugby squad to tour Romania. Piers von Dadelszen (2015-19) of St Edmund Hall played in the second row for Oxford University Greyhounds in their annual match against their Cambridge equivalents. Piers has since played for the full University team In the Rugby Premiership for 2019-20 there has been OW representation as follows: Gloucester – Danny Cipriani (2001-07); Exeter Chiefs: Harry Williams (2002-10), Stan South (2012-14) Sale Sharks: Marland Yarde (2008-10); Saracens: Elliot Daly (2006-11), Matt Gallagher (2013-15); Leicester Tigers: Adam Thompstone (1999-2006). As indicated in the previous edition, George Merrick (2009-11) moved to the French Top 14 club ASM Clermont Auvergne and has played ten matches for them in season 2019-20. FOOTBALL Bertrand Traoré (2011-13) made headlines in France by scoring the fastest Olympique Lyon goal of the season in the Ligue 1 match against Toulouse. He remains with Lyon although there were rumours of a possible move to Leicester. Victor Moses (2004-07) moved from Fenerbahçe to Inter Milan in January 2020. After a number of fine early performances by Victor, particularly in the Europa Cup match against Ludogorets Razgrad from Bulgaria, Inter Milan indicated an intention to make the loan arrangement a permanent transfer. In the FA Cup fourth round match on 20 January 2020 between Hull City and Chelsea there was double OW
representation. Ryan Tafazolli (2003-08) was playing for Hull and Callum Hudson-Odoi (2012-15) for Chelsea. This must be a first for OW sport. Ryan has made over 200 league appearances for Mansfield Town, Peterborough United and latterly Hull City to which he moved in July 2019. Nathan Baxter (2009-15), whose excellent performances at Yeovil were mentioned in the previous edition, won five awards at the club’s end of season awards, all in the ‘Player of the Season’ and ‘Young Player of the Season’ categories. In June 2019, Nathan left Yeovil to join Scottish Premiership side Ross County on a season long loan. He suffered a shoulder injury early in the season before returning to first-team action, and as of 13 February 2020 had played in 14 games in a row. The spreading reputation of Whitgift at the top level of football is demonstrated by the news that Jamal Musiala (2014-17), formerly with Chelsea, has transferred to Bayern Munich (He has joint British and German nationality) whilst in November 2019 Di’Shon Bernard (2012-15) made his first team début for Manchester United. MODERN PENTATHLON Joe Choong (2008-13) assured himself of another Olympic selection by winning the 2019 Pentathlon World Cup Final in Tokyo. The sport of modern pentathlon has been a part of every Olympic Games since 1912 but Great Britain, although winning the gold medal in 1976 under the management of Mike Proudfoot (1956-63), has never won a men’s individual medal. Joe Choong looks forward to changing that and said “I’ve always been really confident and I’d love to go and break the curse, so to speak”. After two days of closely fought action the 2019 British Open Modern Pentathlon championships resulted in a first British Championship win for Sam Curry (2005-12). HOCKEY The current England Men’s Hockey squad of twenty four includes no fewer than four OWs, Rhys Smith (2007-15), Luke Taylor (2009-13), Zach Wallace (2016-18) and Jack Waller (2013-15). All have played for both England and Great Britain and have in total 130 caps so far. There are also PWs and OWs in the England Under 21 team. OTHER SPORTS After several years away trying to establish himself in American Football, British record holder and Olympian Lawrence Okoye (2003-10) competed in the discus at the Anniversary Games in the London Stadium at Stratford.
George Mullins (2009-15) recorded his first top ten finish on the PGA EuroPro golf tour at the Nokia Masters tournament held at Mannings Heath in Sussex in August 2019. His aggregate score for the three round competition was nine under par. Michael Hennessy (2013-19) made his professional boxing debut in Manchester at the end of May 2019 by winning a four round decision over Adam Grabiec from Poland. Michael, whose father is a well-known boxing promoter, boxed in various amateur age groups prior to turning professional. Alex Summers (2011-19) won the gold medal in the European Powerlifting Championship in Kaunas, Lithuania. OW SPORTS CLUBS The impact of the Covid 19 pandemic has meant that the league activities of the major winter sports have been brought to an unwanted conclusion and the coming cricket season will, at best, be severely affected. For the first time, other than WWII, the Halford Hewitt golf competition has been cancelled. Minor sports too have been put on hold. The absence of competitive activity in major sports allows space for reports from two old established OW sections – Henry Parritt (2009-16) writes about the Whitgift Veterans Rifle Club:
December 2019 Apologies for our time in the dark recently. Since my last submission life has, as it tends to, got in the way of our writing but we are back! We’re bringing in the New Year with festivities and new announcements that we hope will excite you! However, first, our results this past year have been exciting. We have successfully fielded two teams for 27
each season this year, our results have been good with exceptional note-worthy scores from Duncan Samuel who has had the highest team average in the A team, and Bruce Barry who had the highest team average in the B team, both from our summer 2019 results. We still await news from the winter’s shooting but hopefully we will hear some good news soon! Our Full Bore shooting has seen some wonderful results this year. Our LMRA League results have been fairly consistent with some notable scores. Nick Harman has been shooting exceptionally well coming 3rd in total in Division 2 with an aggregate score of 277.15 while the team as a whole came 3rd in Division 2. Special congratulations must also go to Nick who won the Long Range Cup due to having the highest score in the LMRA league on the 3rd Round! Our PSV results were admirable, we successfully put forward two teams to this Year’s PSV with the A team scoring 234.21 and the B team scored 221.9. Our LMRA PSV results were also not too shabby with Ian Todd scoring a total of 87 and 4 V Bulls. Unfortunately, however, we were beaten to the high scores and came 4th this year with a very respectable team total of 307 and 20 V Bulls. In the middle of December, we had our Christmas Shoot which had a good turnout! Thanks to the dedication of Mark Collins we had some excellent (albeit small and incredibly difficult to hit) targets comprising of aliens, snooker balls and a dart board. Our winner was the one and only Duncan Samuel who scored an Impressive 297 point with Charlie Collins only a small step behind with 250 points. We then proceeded to enjoy the festive feast prepared for us by none other than the wonderful Nick Hart where Henry Parritt and Chris Beard proceeded jointly to win the Christmas Jumper Competition. We successfully raised money for charity too as part of the shoot thanks to everyone donating! Our deepest thanks to Mark and family for organising the event and Nick for the wonderful banquet! As ever we see in the New Year with reflection, thinking about all the new faces we’ve seen this year and hope to see in the future. With our eternal thanks to James Stremes who has kept the school shooting club running strong and brought back the house competition. If you feel like taking up the rifle once again or for the first time please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be wonderful to see some of you down at the range.
John Gould (1960-68) with tour winner Tony Mason (1960-68)
The OW Golf Society thrives, despite the cancellation of this year’s Halford Hewitt and the postponement of the Society’s 2020 centenary celebrations. Tony Harris (196472) summarises the 2019 tour, the highlight of the year for a number of members: Another year and another superb OWGS golf tour, this time revisiting Suffolk. 17 OWs enjoyed three days of golf, much convivial eating and drinking and the odd reminiscence of schoolboy misdeeds. Sunday didn’t augur well, with the main Woodbridge course closed due to rain. The club kindly allowed us on to the 9 hole Forest Course which we enjoyed; after torrential rainfall we decided against a second nine. Back to our hotel in the very picturesque seaside town of Aldeburgh, looking decidedly dark and stormy. Monday dawned with better weather prospects as we enjoyed a pre-breakfast amble along the promenade, now able to appreciate the delights of this beautiful fishing and arty town. If we had thought it impossible to improve on our 2011 Suffolk tour’s venues of Aldeburgh and Thorpeness, we were mistaken! Ipswich proved to be a top quality and very attractive course, heavily bunkered, but a great challenge. And finally to the links course at Felixstowe, now in sunshine, an absolute delight. Rounding things off with local fish and chips, we felt thoroughly spoiled. As usual we inserted a good competitive spirit with prizes up for grabs. Congratulations to the three days’
winners, Peter Kelley (Parent Member), and Tony Mason (twice!), and also to Messieurs Alan Scovell (1970-77), Don Anderson (1965-72) and Alan Longhurst (1965-73) with excellent performances throughout. Well done to Tony Mason for ending up as eventual tour winner. And not forgetting the much coveted ‘house cup’ to the Dodd’s team of Longhurst and Scovell. We are so appreciative of all the effort put in by our tour manager John Gould for laying on this treat, and to Alan Scovell for the huge job of getting all the scores entered and competitions sorted.
More details of all OW sporting activities can be read on a regular basis in the bi-monthly OW Newsletter. 29
Other News OW Carman Re-unites with Old Flame!
WA President Richard Blundell (1956-63), Colonel Nigel Gilbert (1956-63) and Major Patrick Marsland-Roberts (1953-60) enjoyed a day out as liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Carmen when they visited 19 Tank Transporter Squadron RLC at Bulford Camp. As part of the day, they were shown over an impressive array of vehicles including the specialised tractor and trailer used to transport the 70 tonne Challenger 2 tank. They were also treated to demonstrations of vehicle capabilities across Salisbury Plain from inside the cab. It was a special day for Nigel Gilbert who was reunited with a vehicle from 55 years ago when he was a mere 2nd Lieutenant and Troop Commander of 7 Tank Transport Regiment. The black and white photograph dates back to 15 July 1965. Richard Blundell (1956-63) OWs Raise Money for Charity with Soulstice Festival Soulstice Festival is a charity music festival that takes place in the Surrey Hills at the end of summer and includes over 12 hours of music, camping and on- entertainment for all guests. Proceeds go to two charities, RNLI and Young Minds. The Festival is the brain child of brothers Jamie (2008-13) and George Oyebode (200816) and was first held in September 2018, Lessons learned then helped make the second event on 31 August 30
2019. Music ranged from live bands to DJs all performing a variety of funk, disco, soul and more and included two hours “on the decks” from fellow OW Will Goodall (2008-15). More than thirty other OWs were among the 300+ attendees. George writes: “We pride inclusivity and diversity in our festival from the music to the attendees, which were values we experienced at Whitgift. We also are focused on investing in upcoming and homegrown talent – two more values we experienced at Whitgift across a range of co-curricular activities. We are committed to the fact that the festival is non-profit and our priority is the proceeds going to two chosen charities both close to our hearts. In July 2012, Whitgiftian Charlie Hutton tragically died in a motorboat accident and the RNLI were truly admirable in their services. Ever since, we have supported the RNLI in various ways and after creating the Festival, we wanted to continue this. Young Minds is an equally special charity through the work they do to help mental health in young people. Jamie’s and my experiences with mental health, as well as those dear to us, motivated us to build a relationship with this charity. In our first year, we raised £6,200 from Soulstice and we are hoping to raise another great total this year.” The next Soulstice Festival is scheduled for 5 September 2020. Escape to France A nostalgic visit to the School by Richard Godfrey (1980-88) and his partner at the beginning of March 2020 started a chain of e-mails in which Richard gave his thanks for a “super visit” organised by Bill Wood. It reminded him of how much he
enjoyed his eight years at the School which provided him with “a fine education and many great friends”. Richard studied hotel and restaurant management at the University of Surrey and for the last eighteen years has owned and run La Belle Demeure – Chambres d’Hôtes near Sarlat in the Dordogne. Richard writes “We have been here since February 2001, and I still adore this part of France. The people are very friendly (perhaps due to the nature of the gentle tourism here) and I have never got bored. Not once! There is just too much to see and do; the number of walks with the golden retriever and crystal clear rivers to swim in in is just perfect. There has recently been filming in Monpazier, Château de Fenelon & Beynac with Adam Driver, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck for Ridley Scott’s medieval epic “The Last Duel” due for release on 20th December 2020. With any luck, a decent historical drama-thriller, but whatever the film’s content & storyline is like, the setting will be great!”
La Belle Demeure
For those OWs who love “la France profonde”, Richard can be contacted by e-mail at frogetrosbif@ wanadoo.fr and La Belle Demeure has a website www.labelledemeure.com. Whitgift from the sky Howard Bairstow (1958-66) writes that he and David Linney, AFC (1959-66) were both in the RAF section of the CCF. David joined the RAF as his career. After his
last assignment on Harriers he joined Flight Refuelling Aviation at Bournemouth flying Dassault Falcon 20 executive jets that are used for training Navy personnel in aircraft defence. In 2006 Sir Michael Cobham, the second son of aviation pioneer Sir Alan Cobham, died. A memorial service was held at St Clement Danes in London on June 13th 2006 with a fly-past by two aircraft, one flown by David Linney. On their return flight to Bournemouth they overflew the School and this unique photo was taken of David’s aircraft G-FRAK. A framed copy was presented to Howard on his 70th birthday and now proudly hangs in his home. Pendley Shakespeare Festival made stars learn the Bard way The Times of 13 August 2019 offered many OWs a reminder of one of the inspirational schoolmasters of their youth. All knew Branston the cricketer and many got to know Branston the thespian but it was a delight to know that a Shakespeare festival over fifty years ago was where John and Jenny Branston first met. In the late 1940s, the BBC’s show-jumping commentator Dorian Williams had an idea. Devoted to both adult education and Shakespeare, he assembled a motley cast and crew of amateurs at his Hertfordshire manor, known as Pendley, to learn about the Bard. After brief rehearsals, interrupted for sherry at noon and gin at 5pm, they performed Henry VIII for a small local audience. It was warmly
received, but Williams could not have dreamt what a startling success the endeavour would be. The Pendley Shakespeare Festival has just celebrated its 70th anniversary, and boasts alumni who have gone on to the West End, television and even the House of Commons. In a manic 22-day schedule the company puts on two full Shakespeare plays from scratch, performed outdoors for audiences of up to 1,000.
John and Jennie Branston met at the festival in the 1960s and later married Times Photographer: Jack Hill
Williams included enthusiastic children, which proved a crucial step in the careers of many. “It was a place to experience things for the first time,” said Stephen Campbell Moore, who made his name in The History Boys, but was a young teenager when he arrived at Pendley. “We were all valued and treated as equals.” He followed the likes of Hermione Norris (Spooks), Caroline Quentin (Men Behaving Badly), and the late Lynda Bellingham (Doctor Who). Campbell Moore had his first experience of forgetting his lines there, as did his castmate. “We jumped ahead three scenes and missed all the important parts of Two Gentlemen of Verona,” he recalled. Robert Courts, a barrister and
MP for Witney, started joining performances at seven. “Pendley laid the foundation for someone like me,” he said. For a few, the dramas played out at Pendley have been the backdrop of a lifetime. John Branston, 87, and his wife Jennie, 76, have retired from the festival after 55 years. They met there in the 1960s and said it was truly love at first sight. Press cuttings The pages of The Spectator are often fertile ground for searching out OW items. Recent matters of note were an interesting and favourable review in the edition of 22 February 2020 by Dr James Evans (1989-94), of Migrant City: a New History of London by Panikos Panayi and a letter about the poems of Edward Thomas from Richard Emeny (1953-60) former Chairman of the Edward Thomas Fellowship. Expert on the world of spooks, Dr Antony Percy (195665) commented in The Times on the obituary of Valerie Pettit, ostensibly an elderly spinster living in West Clandon but formerly a significant player in the exfiltration of the Soviet double agent Oleg Gordievsky. A surprising story Those who remember former Headmaster Michael Hugill will recall a shy, formal man. It came as something of a surprise to the Editor to be informed by Bill Wood, the School’s Archivist, that Michael’s elder brother, Tony, was a naval officer in 30 Commando who was awarded the DSC and published his unauthorised diary of D Day and the liberation of France. Tony Hugill was plucked from naval intelligence to join 30 Commando by its commander Ian Fleming – and became one of the inspirations behind James Bond. 31
OW Expeditions Last year’s edition was somewhat light in the expedition section but that has been remedied this year with three remarkable stories as well as the report back after Oliver Little completed the cross channel swim previewed last year. Mike Procter – Soldiers up the Yukon “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”
read this in a magazine on the flight from London to Vancouver and Dickens’ words stuck in my head: it reminded me that we had in store the world’s longest annual paddling race – the 2019 Yukon River Quest – 715 km down the Yukon River in less than three and a half days. A week later, as I limped towards the finish line in Dawson City, I reflected – it had definitely been both the best and the worst of times and there was no shortage of foolishness. Wisdom, admittedly a little less so. The race is so extreme that only 15 paddle-boarders had previously managed to complete it amidst the normal canoeists and kayakers. Those, like me, who enjoy the sport of Stand Up Paddle-boarding had seen that the event had admitted SUPs since 2016 and, although I am far from a pro SUP
racer I’m a total sucker for any ludicrous challenge. I was confident I had something else: the mental resilience and determination from six years’ service in the British Army. I found a couple more former infantrymen to join me on the Quest, Ben Ashwell and Stu Croxford. Stu lost a leg in Afghanistan in 2012 but, like so many injured veterans, his spirit and determination has since enabled him to conquer some of the world’s most daunting physical challenges from a full Ironman to the Cape Epic. The Yukon, however, was a new level of endurance challenge. Our build-up on UK and European rivers, lakes and seas lasted for nearly two years but the sense of adventure truly set in when we arrived in Whitehorse, Canada. There was a series of pre-race events, kit checks, racer and support crew briefings. We got to know the other characters in our category; i.e. the mad men and women who – unlike the canoe and kayak majority – planned to paddle for up to 70 hours… standing up. We wanted to hear
their stories and advice particularly from Bart de Zwart, who had won the SUP category in all three years since it was introduced. Bart’s just said “don’t get off the river” which seemed a little dramatic since our goal was simply to finish, not to win. The race began at midday on Wednesday in front of cheering crowds with a 400m rush to waiting boats. Over the first few hours the competitors spread out and as expected the three of us were at the back of the pack. The first great challenge was the 50km long Lake Laberge – although there is no current the lake is vulnerable to bad weather. Within half an hour a storm set in with horizontal rain and four foot waves. Time pressure grew and the safety boat lurking behind was a depressing reminder that we weren’t just near the back, we were the back; and the cut-off was closing in on us. After 13 hours of paddling we reached the end of the lake and the opportunity for a brief step ashore. We took the opportunity to eat and layer-up against the cold and then pushed off into the night. The next few hours were some of the most pleasurable hours of the race. Through tight meanders we enjoyed the feeling of racing along with the river current, zipping past breath-taking scenery. We started catching up and overtaking a few other boats; mostly two-person canoes and the odd solo. Most others were paddling faster than us but our standing position gave us a better view of beneficial river currents. Sadly, at this stage Stu had problems with his prosthetic leg so, dismissing all military clichés about never leaving a man behind, Ben and I were reluctantly forced to leave him. It may have been the end of his race, but luckily, he was able to join up with our support crew at Carmacks, where we would have an enforced stop of seven hours. As Ben and I arrived there after thirty-three hours, we were not quite halfway through the race. Early on Friday morning we set off again from Carmacks, bodies sore and 400 odd kilometres still to go, but in good spirits. But after negotiating the Five Finger Rapids and confidence high, we were faced with high winds for hours on end, the worst conditions for an SUP. The wind finally eased some eight hours later but we had been significantly delayed the safety boat was close behind threatening imminent removal from the race. Twenty two hours after leaving Carmacks we reached the second enforced stop (three hours) where any hope of sleep was dashed by mosquitoes. However, with only 180 km to go we felt optimistic – the pains and exhaustion faded as we felt close to the finish.
There was plenty of sleep deprivation and it became very difficult to look at the banks of the river without hallucinating. At one point I heard a clatter and looked round to see Ben climbing out of the river onto his board. When I asked him what happened, he replied glumly, “I think I fell asleep, the next thing I knew I was in the water”. Keeping the body fuelled was also imperative. But it became harder and harder to motivate ourselves to eat or drink. I was sick of the taste of cereal and nut bars; energy drinks, which had been a lifesaver, had eventually grown sickly; my mouth felt dry and blistered. The last couple of hundred kilometres to Dawson are by far the most testing to navigate. The river had grown enormously by this point, up to a kilometre wide - you could no longer just nip from side to side to catch a better current. The river map lashed to my kit became a fixation. By the time we turned the final map page to reveal our finish line emotion began to set in. After more than 70 hours of paddling, with less than five hours sleep, through sweltering days and freezing nights, brutal headwinds, the lake, the storm, hallucinations and pain – the feeling as we finally approached Dawson City was indescribable. As we passed the finish line to the sound of boat horns and cheering crowds, including our fantastic support crew, our sense of accomplishment reigned supreme. One welcome surprise, and a real testament to the spirit of the SUP community, was that all of the other SUP finishers were also there cheering us in. Bart de Zwart, as expected, had defended his title, albeit nearly five hours behind his personal best which confirmed the challenging conditions we had faced. The euphoria helps you forget the pain and misery along the way and the hundreds of times I said to myself, “never again!” Instead, I soon began to think, “what if?” What if we applied all those things we had learnt along the way: reading the currents, picking the channels, arranging our kit, better nutrition, avoiding getting off the water? What if we had better luck with the conditions? Well, I guess there’s only one way to find out… We owe a huge thank you to everyone who played a part in this incredible experience. To those who gave generously to Great Ormond Street Hospital – we raised £10,000. To those who supported us with kit and equipment and to the race organisers and spirited army of volunteers. And of course, to our fantastic support crew; we could not have done it without you. And to my (new) old friend, the Yukon River… perhaps I’ll see you in 2021! Adapted from an article by Mike Procter (1993-2000) 33
OW Expeditions (continued)
Luke Baptiste – Walking Israel
have always been keen on adventure. From a young age I was obsessed with dressing up like Indiana Jones and ran round the house using my belt as a lasso. As I grew up, these obsessions became more extreme and accelerated during my time at Whitgift when I went on lots of trips, from hiking the Atlas Mountains, to skiing in the Italian Alps. My involvement in the CCF made me keen to join the military and live a life off the beaten track. The Middle East is in the news every day: with its political dramas, conflicts which seem never ending, breath-taking scenery and beautiful, yet harsh, terrain, the Middle East seems to me, a 21-year-old from South London, incomparable. That is why I wanted to travel there… that, and a burning desire to be like Lawrence of Arabia! In May 2018, I travelled to Israel in order to study Krav Maga (a self defence system developed by the Israeli Defence Forces) and to see some old friends. I was in Jerusalem when Donald Trump declared the American Embassy was to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and I witnessed Israel’s Independence Day, also known as Nakba Day (meaning Day of the Catastrophe) to the Palestinians. Needless to say, it was a turbulent and volatile time. Within days of being home in June, I was bored with London and travelled to Scotland to meet my good friend, and fellow OW, Gideon. Whilst there, I decided to return to the Middle East. In early February I flew to Tel Aviv and then travelled to the south of the country by bus. From the beach, with the Red Sea behind me, Egypt to my west and Jordan to my east, I began walking north. The journey took over 60 days, covering over 1,000 km. I would typically walk anywhere from about 20 – 45 km per day depending on the terrain. Some days were completely flat, so walking a good few kilometres was not an issue. Other days saw me climb mountains, cross/avoid rivers or other obstacles. You begin to realise how precious the simple things are - like light. Running out of light each day was a constant battle. I was in a race against the sun, pushing to reach my day’s goal before the sun went down. Not just because it’s handy to have a bit of light when you’re walking through mountains, but more importantly, after dark is when the dodgy things start to come out, like wolves, hyenas, wild dogs, snakes, scorpions and Bedouins! The changing terrain was incredible – the harsh mountainous desert of the south, where I had to pay a
local guy to cache my water in holes he’d dug out of the rocky ground, and send me GPS coordinates to find it – the flat and mundane farm fields of the centre of the country – the green, sometimes wet, vibrant north, where I would often hike within a stone’s throw of the borders with Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. At one point I was attacked by a pack of wild dogs, as unknowingly I strolled into their territory. I was walking down a path with a forest on my left and a barbed wire fence on my right. Two dogs appeared from the wood line to my left about 20 metres in front of me. I paused to debate whether to turn back but decided to stand firm as there were only two of them and I had encountered wild dogs and Bedouin dogs before and so far had come out unscathed. However, things were about to go south. Those two dogs became eight. Six dogs had appeared on the other side of the fence line, and by now were barking and growling viciously. It was too late to turn back but I was reassured since there was no chance those other six dogs could possibly get through/over the barbed wire fence that separated us. As I approached, the two dogs in front of me became extremely aggressive, so I started picking up rocks and launching them at the ground in front of them. In a horrible turn of events, one by one the dogs that were inside that “impenetrable” fence found a hole underneath it. I was now surrounded by wild dogs with my back against the fence, and dark and gloomy forest in front. The only things I had to fend them off were my hiking poles, the rocks on the ground, and my voice. It took me the best part of half an hour to fight them off and get past the fence line. It was exhausting and they were unrelenting. They were the ugliest and meanest looking dogs I’d ever seen in my life. Frothing from the mouth, scars and open wounds all over them. It was simply terrifying. I made it through, but not without injury. One dog managed to sink its teeth into the back of my hand as I reached for a rock. Thankfully, it only managed to get its top row of teeth in, as the rock in my palm had prevented
it from sinking in the bottom row too. That night, I reached a small Arab village in the desert, which happened to have a clinic, where I was able to get my hand treated and rabies jabs injected. In the south I had Bedouins try and steal my bag at night; sat and drank tea and coffee with some lovely Bedouins who insisted I drank their goats’ milk (and I hate dairy). I nearly fell into a pit full of dead and decaying animals, which I think would’ve been worse than the wild dogs! I had to sleep in a bomb shelter inside a children’s nursery when Hamas were firing rockets into Israel as I happened to be walking by. When I awoke the following morning, we discovered some had landed within 100m of
our position. In Palestine, I visited Bethlehem and some neighbouring towns. I even managed to hitch a ride on the back of an IDF armoured vehicle and crossed a wide river which saved me the hassle of getting my boots wet. In the north I would go to sleep in my tent with the peaceful background noise of wolves, jackals and hyenas going mental, howling their hearts out. I was charged by a wild boar, which appeared out of nowhere as I walked through some long, overgrown grass I managed to escape by diving over a barbed wire fence. I was rescued from a mine field by a UN patrol vehicle whilst hiking in the still contested and disputed Golan Heights region; as a result of unusually heavy rain, the most for 15 years, land mines had slid down hills and onto paths. Two cows had not been so lucky, as a few days before they were blown up in the same field. On top of all this there was the risk of being caught in a flash flood thanks to the unusual amount of rain. Despite this risk and particularly in the south, I had no choice but to risk walking through vast canyons, to avoid adding unnecessary
distance to my day. It certainly was an adventure! Despite these events, much of the walk was somewhat boring and repetitive. The hardest part was having the discipline to wake up early every single morning, put on my stinking boots and socks so filthy they became stiff. I alternated between two pairs of pants turning them inside out to wear the next day, giving the illusion I was wearing a “clean” pair. It also became more difficult after my encounter with the wild dogs, as I needed to remain alert and was too paranoid to wear my earphones whilst walking. the peacefulness and freedom of being isolated in a vast wilderness. Relying on no one but yourself is extremely fulfilling, particularly when you’re in hairy situations. It almost becomes addictive. Since my return, I haven’t had to make any life changing decisions, where being right or wrong can have some heavy consequences and I feel as though I’ve lost my sense of purpose. Whilst I was over there, each day brought a mission to complete, a goal to reach. Since being back, the normality of everyday life is insanely boring. Since returning, I have taken part in an international NATO patrolling exercise in the Italian and Swiss Alps with the Officer Training Corp (OTC).This lasted five days and involved a shooting competition, then a 48 hour 4-man patrol navigating through the mountains and towns and conducting tasks along the way. Next, I will go to Okehampton for a 3-week training camp, followed by a trek across Corsica with a few of the guys from the OTC. As long as I keep busy and am not stuck indoors for too long, I manage to stay sane. I intend to make a career in the military but will have to make time to walk the length of Jordan, so that I can finally have my Indiana Jones moment of reaching the ancient city of Petra. That’s very high on my “To Do” list! Luke Baptiste (2009-16)
OW Expeditions (continued)
Felix Arris and Jeremy White – Frozen Tents and Camelbaks: Andes Expedition ontinuing in the spirit of Luke Bap (“Walking Israel”) Jeremy White (200915) and I thought we should share our recent expedition with you all. While neither the route nor our beards were as long as Bap’s, altitude proved a worthy foe. With an average height of well over 4,000m, the Cordillera Huayhuash is set in the Peruvian Andes and truly packs a punch. Made famous by Joe Simpson’s ill-fated experience in Touching the Void (we’d like our English GCSE teachers to know that, despite all appearances, we were actually paying attention), the range is one of the world’s most impressive. The circuit took us through valleys and peaks on an unimaginable scale with scenery that no photos can ever truly do justice. From waking up to frozen tents and Camelbaks in the mornings, to high altitude UV rays burning through our generous applications of SPF 50, the climate was the harshest we had ever seen. Whether summiting 5,000m passes or using an animal’s jawbone to smash through ice and access water, the lessons learnt from both CCF and D of E were constantly in the back of our minds. While we fear Luke’s dream of becoming Lawrence of Arabia is equated with our reality of being closer to Tintin in Tibet, it was Whitgift that installed this sense of adventure within us, and for that we are eternally grateful.
Felix Arris (2009-15)
This picture shows Jeremy in the foreground of Touching the Void’s mountain, Siula Grande. The shadowed glacier on the mountain’s left flank contains the crevasse Simpson was forced to crawl out of and onwards for a further three miles.
Ollie Little Swims the Channel
errifying – that’s the only word I can use to describe how it feels to be hanging off the back of a boat in the middle of the English Channel in the middle of the night waiting for the shout to jump in to the pitch black, freezing cold water. The shout came and I jumped, immediately submerged and thrashing frenziedly to the surface. My goggles were smeary so I could only just about make out the bright headlamp pointing to starboard which was to be my guide for the next hour. I’d done plenty of training, but that was all during the day. Laps and laps of Dover harbour, waving at the ferries, with the reassuring sight of other bright swim caps all around. The five of us team mates swimming as a pod, stopping every kilometre to check how everyone was feeling, joking about the waves and the cold and how much cake we would eat when we got out. This was totally different; I was very aware that I was all alone, unable to see or hear the rest of the team on the
boat. Vincit qui patitur indeed. In the town of Dover you get to meet lots of Channel swimmers and trainers, and the consensus is pretty clear that mental strength is what will get you across the 22 miles. There is a special atmosphere around the channel swimming community drawn towards this oddity of a challenge. Peculiar nicknames, alarming swimwear, camaraderie and cake. I had been interested in swimming the Channel for years, an idle daydream that wouldn’t go away. The more I scratched the itch with research the more I got drawn into it until I found myself on the beach in April for our first training weekend about to walk into 12° C seawater. The team bonded over these training weekends in Dover, sharing jelly babies and mild hypothermia. You can see France from Dover but it and the big swim seemed so far away. Fast forward to mid-July and the phone call: it’s tonight! We made our way down to Dover harbour and puttered round the corner in our boat The Optimist. Denise led us off from Samphire Hoe at around 22:50,
OW Expeditions (continued)
with an hour of powerful front crawl. The sea was calm and the skies were clear with a big bright moon giving our special evening a magical feeling. Next up was Bex, again an incredibly strong swimmer. All the while as it got closer to my stint, I became more anxious and all thoughts of singing songs in my head to pass the time vanished as I just tried to keep the right distance from the boat, not so near it would crush me, not so far that I would get lost! Eventually I was able to settle into a rhythm and just push as hard as I could. The shout to come out brought on the next challenge: how to climb up a ladder with both hamstrings cramping. The relief I felt was huge and wrapped in a dry robe, hot chocolate in hand, I began to relax. Jamie and Abi took their turns, then Denise and Bex again. Over those four hours I got to watch the sun rise over the channel, so flat the sea almost seemed solid. As the water became clearer, it became easier to spot the jellyfish, eerie creatures that bring pain. Although they often appeared in large clumps of hundreds, the captain wasn’t going to be steering around them, so it was head down and try not to think about it. The best head position when swimming is looking almost straight down so it isn’t until they are floating directly past your face that you are aware of each one, followed swiftly in my case by a jolt of adrenalin. The dawn swim was pretty magical, yet even 8 hours in, the coast of France still looked like a very thin, very far off strip along the horizon. We were one of seven boats that went out from Dover that night and two had already turned back: the failure rate is pretty high. I went to one of the cabins and crashed into an instant deep sleep, woken all too soon to be told I was up again. Because of my nap I had no idea how close we had suddenly got. Looking ahead and to the left I could see the lighthouse of the Cap Griz Nez, the closest point of France to Dover. This had been an incredible team effort but I can’t deny a bit of me wanted to be the one who got us to land. 38
I jumped in and swam for all I was worth. Every hundred strokes or so I would look up and the sight of the land so close by gave me more belief and strength to keep pushing. Suddenly the lighthouse was right ahead of me and I redoubled my efforts. When I next looked up the lighthouse appeared to have moved and was now to my right, which surely was cheating? Then I got the shout to get out, thwarted in my efforts to be the one who got to land first by the incredibly strong tides along this stretch of coast. A few minutes after I got on the boat, we were deemed so close it was time for all of us to jump in and finish the job. The last few minutes were exhausting as the coast kicked up the waves, but the elation of hitting land and walking onto the beach was immense. We hugged and took photographs, hunting around for stones and shells to take back, then swam back to the boat where we toasted our success with Champagne. Thinking back on this now I’m so grateful to everyone who sponsored me, and supported me through, but also for the health and opportunity to take on such a challenge. I did this to raise money for Aspire who support sufferers of spinal injuries. With the help of hundreds of people, (including Peter Rae (1964-70) who did the whole thing in 1985 – huge respect, I smashed my fundraising target of £3,000 and got to £4,219: money that will really change lives. 13 hours and 8 minutes! Really chuffed. Oliver Little (1988-96)
Deaths We have, with regret, to record the deaths of the following OWs reported since the preparation of the previous edition of OW News: ABEL – On 25 March 2019, Peter Henry (1940-45), aged 90, brother of A R (1945-51) ADAMS – On 19 October 2019, Michael Frank (1939-46), aged 91, son of H V (1911-15), brother of B H (1937-44) and son-in-law of W G Woolrich (1903-12) BATEMAN – On 1 January 2020, Peter Leonard Goodchild (1945-53), aged 84, father of R M (1987-89) BERRY – On 9 January 2020, Matthew Allen (2002-06), aged 30 BOWDEN – On 1 May 2019, John Brian (1954-57), aged 80, brother of the late R M (1954-60), the late A M (1954-62) and H C (1959-65)
JOHNCELINE – On 12 December 2019, Keith Norman (1937-43), aged 92, son of B V (1913-14) MALTBY – On 18 May 2019, Antony John (1938-39), aged 91 MARTIN – On 15 November 2019, Roger Neil (1948-53), aged 82 MILLER – On 24 July 2019, Professor William Arthur (1943-51), aged 86, brother-in-law of J W Cole (1944-52) MORRALL – On 3 December 2018, Professor Robin Anthony Allen (1950-59), aged 77 NEWMAN – On 4 August 2019, Welburn (Bill) Inglis (1947-52), aged 83
COULTER – On 29 June 2019 Paul Maxwell (1946-53), aged 83, brother of J P M (1942-48)
PARKINSON – On 18 July 2019, Noel William (1948-54), aged 81
CRISP – On 18 February 2019, Graham David (Paddy) (1953-56), aged 79
SCOTT-WHITE – On 3 October 2019, Raymond (1945-52), aged 85, father of D A (1968-75)
D’OLIER – On 1 November 2019, Vincent (1951-58), aged 79 DUNCOMBE – On 23 December 2019, Graham Jeffrey (1952-58), aged 79 FOWLER – On 20 May 2019, Maurice Anthony (1948-53), aged 81, former Governor of the Whitgift Foundation, father of RA (1978-85) GOSS – On 3rd January 2015, Edward Anthony (1950-57), aged 75 HUBBARD – On 12 December 2019, Piers John Sherlock (1944-52), aged 85, son of I S (1916-24), father of M G S (1976-83), nephew of A B (1913-21) and W B (192427), cousin of K C M Taylor (1932-39) and brother-in-law of R G Garment (1945-49)
UPHILL – On 11 March 2018, Eric Parrington (1941-48), aged 88 WEST – On 13 October 2019, Norman (Member of staff 1967-98), aged 85, father of T L (1992-2000) WILLIAMS – On 8 December 2019, Barry Philip (1945-53), aged 85, brother of J P (1943-50) WRIGHT – On 19 October 2019, Geoffrey Harcroft, DL (1954-60), aged 76, Chairman of School Governors and Governor of the Whitgift Foundation, father of TA (19962004) and CJ (1997-2005)
Geoff Wright, former construction and project management director at Hammerson and past president of the CIOB, has died. He was 76.
Geoff Wright DL (1954-60) Geoff Wright died unexpectedly in October 2019 at the age of 76. His funeral at Croydon Minster and the subsequent reception in Big School attracted many friends and colleagues from his working life at Hammerson, from his military connection through his long service as an officer in the Territorial Army and from Whitgift and the Whitgift Foundation that he served so long as a Governor and Member of the Court. Geoff was at Whitgift from 1954-60 and trained as a constructional engineer before joining that industry. His career with Hammerson started in 1969 and finished when he retired in 2006. Among the many major contracts which he masterminded was Hammerson’s work (2003) in transforming the Birmingham Bullring, the 1960s eyesore. He was also in charge of the 420 Fifth Avenue project in New York, a 28-storey office block in New York later described by the New York Times as a “developer’s nightmare”. Built between 1989 and 1992, it was hit by two murders on site, with one man pushing his supervisor down a lift shaft and another shot after an argument. It was also stopped by several strikes, and, during one, a 40
worker climbed up a tower crane and poured sulphuric acid on the gear box, delaying the job for eight weeks. At Hammerson, which he had joined as a junior project manager until his retirement after eighteen years as a main board director, he was responsible for 190 projects across the UK, Spain, France, Germany, Canada and the USA totalling over 24m sq ft of space and in control of an annual budget of £600m. These projects included nine buildings in France, mostly with the construction giants Bouyges and Vinci and a dozen in Germany. In retirement he took on non-executive director posts at Severfield Rowen, Ashwell, Waterman, and BRE Trust as well as starting his own consultancy business, Geoff Wright Consulting. Geoff was the first client to be appointed President of the Chartered Institute of Building when he took up that role in 2005. Outside his professional life Geoff had three great loves – the army, where he was a long standing TA officer, trained at Sandhurst and reaching the rank of Lt Colonel – this led to his appointment as Chairman of SERFCA, a Ministry of Defence organisation responsible for tri service, reserve forces and cadet administration, property
management, recruiting and employer liaison, for nine counties of South East England; Whitgift School, which he had attended as a boy, to which he gave further service until his death as a member of the Court of the Whitgift Foundation from 2003 and Chairman of the Governors at Whitgift from 2006; his family, for whom he always found time despite an exceptionally busy working life – all three of his children noted his commitment to watching them play sport as they grew up and his great help as a sounding board as they embarked on careers, relationships and lives. Geoff was also a Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Surrey. The impact of Geoff’s death on Whitgift is reflected in the announcement made to the School and to OWs by the Headmaster: “We are very sad indeed to bring you the news that Geoff Wright, OW and Chairman of Whitgift’s School Governors, died suddenly in late October. Geoff left Whitgift in 1960, and in the course of a long and distinguished career in property, latterly working as a Director for Hammerson, he led building projects all over the world. He was – as many of you will know – an incredibly dedicated servant of Whitgift and the Whitgift Foundation, as Court and School Governor, and latterly Chairman. It is incredibly sad that he passed away just a few months before retiring as Chairman, as we were fully intending to celebrate his leadership of the Governors handsomely.” This appreciation is based on obituaries in industry publications and the eulogy given by Geoff’s sons Tim (1996-2004) and Chris (1997-2005) at Croydon Minster on 21 November 2019
Maurice Fowler (1948-53) Maurice Fowler, who has died at the age of 81, had a significant role in Whitgift life for many years as a Governor of the Whitgift Foundation and of the School; he remained a Governor Emeritus after his retirement from the Court in 2006. Maurice joined Whitgift in 1948 and was in Cross’s House. After leaving School, Maurice was articled to J T Patterson (1915-20), for many years Honorary Treasurer of the Old Whitgfitian Association, and trained as a Chartered Accountant. In the late 1960s Maurice and Chris Hartley set up an accountancy firm Hartley Fowler in Croydon. Hartley Fowler LLP expanded steadily and now has offices in Brighton, Horsham and Wimbledon. Maurice showed considerable entrepreneurial flair and also opened international offices. Maurice was very active in local affairs and became
a Conservative Councillor and, in due course, leader of the Conservative group. He was elected as Mayor of Croydon in 1990-91, was leader of Croydon Council and in retirement was an Honorary Alderman. Maurice was a great lover of sport, particularly cricket, and became much involved in the affairs of Surrey County Cricket Club. Maurice’s closeness to Surrey cricket is summed up in the appreciation which was published on the Kia Oval website: Surrey cricket is mourning the passing of Maurice Fowler, an honorary life vice-president, who has died aged 81. An imposing figure with a genial presence, Maurice Fowler did much work for Surrey cricket behind the scenes which has yielded a rich harvest. He served two terms on the General Committee, between 1997 and 2006, and was a valuable member of both the finance and business sub-committees, where valuable advice was invariably offered in a brisk but friendly manner. His work for cricket in the county included spells as treasurer and chairman of the Surrey Cricket Trust (now the Surrey Cricket Foundation), and chairman of the charities board. As co-founder of accountancy firm Hartley Fowler, he had clients across the south-east and he was highly active the London Borough of Croydon, where he served as Mayor in 1990-91 and led the Conservative group. His close involvement with the Whitgift Foundation was to prove invaluable to the club as well. Paying tribute to him, former Surrey chairman Mike Soper said: “I first met Maurice when he became my accountant – he was a steadfast friend in good times and bad, always happy to offer sound advice. Maurice became involved in Surrey County Cricket Club in the mid-1990s and it was through his association with Whitgift that Surrey were able to play in Croydon for a number of years. He was really the one who opened the door to that. He had so many clients, contacts and friends and he was generous with his time. Maurice was a big and friendly man – he could deal with things in a quick and efficient way and he enjoyed life.” Russell Fowler (1978-85), Maurice’s son, described his 41
father as a big man, a family man, with a big personality and a big heart. He always impacted everyone around him and people liked him. He was gentle, calm and straightforward. If you ever needed a level head or an objective assessment, Maurice was your man. When asked why he did not lose his temper he always said that it wasn’t worth it. He had a great sense of responsibility throughout his life. and was heavily involved for many years in numerous parts of the community: Round Table played a big role in his life; he left a major mark on Croydon as an elected Councillor, and took a year’s sabbatical from work to be Mayor, attending and supporting hundreds of important community events – the big man struck quite a figure in his Mayoral gear. As a proud Old Whitgiftian, and with Russell at the school, Maurice was a Governor for many years and unquestionably left his mark on what is a great institution. He was also Secretary of Surrey Cricket Club for many years, and was made an honorary life member when he stood down from his official role. He founded, nurtured and grew a very successful accountancy business that still bears his name – although he wanted the company to be a financial success, his overriding motivation was always to give the right advice to his clients. Finally, in recent years, Maurice played an important role in his local Residents’ association, working closely with his community of friends and neighbours in Albany Reach. Throughout, Maurice’s motivation was as simple and as straightforward as his personality – he wanted to do the right thing and make a positive impact. Maurice loved the good life and, although not one for philosophy or the meaning of life, he certainly believed that one of his main reasons for being was to have a good time and ensure those he cared about did too. Like most family members, food and drink was central to his way of life. His wife Eve’s life-long mission to rein in her beloved husband’s waistband was futile! Maurice was passionate about his food and was never happier than when enjoying a fresh fruit jelly and cream, lovingly prepared by Eve – this he enjoyed even in the week before he died. This appreciation is largely based on the eulogy given at Maurice’s funeral by his son Russell Fowler (1978-85)
Professor Bill Miller (1943-51) Bill Miller was a School prefect, in Cross’s house, a sergeant in the CCF, in the swimming team and captain of fencing. He left School from Upper VI Science B in July 1951 to study dentistry at Guy’s Hospital. The Whitgiftian magazine of December 1952 includes the customary 42
letters from OWs at the major universities – that from London observes - “W A Miller (Guys) – achieves fencing prominence” so four years in the School fencing team had left its mark. After qualifying at Guy’s Dental School, Bill Miller attended the University of Illinois in Chicago where he obtained his MA. On returning to the UK he joined the RAF as a National Service dental officer and subsequently became a faculty member at Birmingham University. After five years at Birmingham he was offered a position at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Thus in 1967, he and his family moved to the US where he spent the next thirty years teaching and doing research. Bill retired in 1997 and returned to the UK. He was a keen gardener and Scottish country dancer and was much involved in local village life in Dorset. This appreciation is based on that prepared by Bill Miller’s School friend Michael Luetchford (1943-50)
Ray Scott-White (1945-52) Ray Scott-White died on 3 October 2019 in Australia at the age of 85. Ray left Whitgift to study engineering at London University and as a young engineer in the 1950s worked closely with Barrie Hookins at the firm of Travers Morgan and Partners. They became close friends and in 1962 Ray approached Barrie to suggest they consider setting up their own firm.The pair had a meeting in early 1963, along with their wives, and agreed they could afford to give it a go. Ray once recounted that “we decided that we would enter into partnership as Chartered Engineers, without any idea where the work was to come from, and gave ourselves a year to succeed”. So it was that on the 1st July 1963, Ray and Barrie, along with their wives providing unpaid secretarial and bookkeeping support, formed Scott-White and Hookins; initially working from a small office in Mitcham. In 1978 the practice relocated to Carshalton. The first job carried out by the practice was for a greyhound racing kennels but soon a meeting with a partner of a larger firm led to a contract to prepare detailed design and working drawings for a major provincial hospital: Ray Scott-White in 1988
this gave a stable basis for progress and expansion. Over the next few years they saw the practice grow and become well established. A major client was South Eastern Gas Board for whom the firm acted as consulting structural engineers. They brought in new partners and opened offices in Bedford and Winchester. Both of these offices are still trading strongly today and Scott-White and Hookins are ranked by New Civil Engineer in the top 100 civil engineering practices in the UK and offers structural, civil and associated engineering consultancy services to a wide range of clients both UK and international. Ray had an active interest in the City of London as a Freeman of the City and Liveryman of the Fan Makers’ Company of which he was Master in 1989. In 1995 Ray Scott-White retired from the firm he co-founded. Its continued success is a tribute to the vision that he brought when he and Barrie Hookins made their leap into the unknown in 1963.
A J Maltby (1938-39) Headmaster who revived the flagging fortunes of a public school and once got caught up in a coup while visiting Thailand Trent College, a public school in Derbyshire, had a tradition of taking pupils from Thailand that dated back to the 1920s. It also had a tradition of sending its headmaster there to recruit students and to host reunions. Tony Maltby was doing just that in October 1976, with an itinerary that included meeting with Seni and Kukrit Pramoj – brothers and Old Tridents who also happened to be the prime minister and former prime minister – when the military stepped in to replace the government. Back in Britain, one tabloid headlined its report of the aborted meeting “Old School Thais”. Maltby had been made headmaster of Trent College in 1968 at a time when finances were shaky and pupil numbers were under 200, all of them boy boarders. During Maltby’s first year a candidate for the position of bursar withdrew, considering that it would take “a miracle£ to turn the school round and suggesting that the building would instead make a first class hotel. Undeterred, Maltby added the bursar’s role to his portfolio of administrative tasks and for the next few years could be found pouring over the books late into the night with his retriever, Muffin, by his side. Revival of the school’s fortunes centred on recruiting a well-chosen, young and cost-effective team. Each new arrival brought extra-curricular expertise and the total commitment expected by their leader, who would later be proud that so many went on to senior positions in other schools.
This commitment and the emphasis on results were perhaps ahead of their time, yet tradition at Trent College was respected, with Maltby supporting a Combined Cadet Force and the chapel, while art, drama and music flourished. Perhaps most telling was sport, where within a few years the revival of a full fixture list was boosting morale with victories in rugby, cricket and hockey over schools that had for a while been in a different league. Maltby inherited the decision to admit day pupils at 11, the school having recently sold its prep school. He knew every pupil and parent and an advantage of small numbers in his early days was the chance to offer personal tuition. By the late 1970s the introduction of sixth form girls coincided with the provision of new buildings, while dormitory, catering and sports facilities were all improved. As early as 1975 he was able to offer opportunities in computing, including programming in Basic, to all pupils. Antony John Maltby was born in Croydon on 15 May 1928, the second son of Gerald and Emily Maltby. He was educated initially at Whitgift School but at the beginning of the War moved with his brother Christopher to Clayesmore School in Dorset, where Tony was head boy. He read history at St John’s College, Cambridge, where he obtained a blue for throwing the discus and shot put. He started teaching at Dover College in Kent and moved to Pocklington School in Yorkshire as a history teacher and housemaster, becoming much involved in sport and the CCF. While at Dover College he met Jill Burt and they were married in 1959. Three of their daughters survive him; another died in 2006. Jill died in 2000 and the next year he married Elizabeth Batin, a widow, who survives him. As Trent College progressed and the occasionally blunt Maltby learnt with difficulty to trust his team, he made time to serve the wider community in the Rotary Club, as a magistrate and later as Deputy Lieutenant for Derbyshire. During the mid-1970s the school grounds staged several first class matches for Derbyshire County Cricket Club. Reluctantly obliged by his own policy to retire at 60, he moved to Kent where he continued to serve as a magistrate, local councilor and, until his 89th birthday, taught pupils with special needs. He also enjoyed playing at his local bridge club twice a week. He died peacefully at home with his faithful dog, Jessie, lying beneath his bed. The Times 17 July 2019, with minor adaptation. 43
John Bowden (1954-57) John Bowden was the eldest of four brothers, all exceptionally talented at sport, who were at Whitgift in the 1950s and 60s. He was predeceased by his brothers Richard and Tony and is survived by Hugh, the youngest of the family. The sporting prowess of the family owed much to their father, a leading figure in club cricket who often captained the MCC team in matches against the School. The following tribute comes from Brian Roddick, an old friend from Purley Cricket and Hockey Club: This day is one of great sadness particularly for the Bowden family. John was husband to Jill, brother, father of a son and daughter, grandfather to four and a friend to all of us. John, the eldest of four brothers, was educated at Whitgift, left in 1957 and then spent two years as a National Service officer in the army – I understand that his service, largely in Germany was mostly spent playimg sport. I first met John over fifty years ago when he joined Purley initially to play hockey and later cricket when he transferred his allegiance from the Old Whitgiftians. John was accomplished at both games playing in the 1st XIs for both sports. He was a full back at hockey where his motto was “they shall not pass” while as a cricketer he was an accurate medium paced bowler and a useful batsman but, because of his height, not a natural fielder. John captained the 1stXI in 1971. John’s sporting activities were overshadowed by a significant and joyous event when he met Jill Blashfield. Purley was a happy and sociable place where men played hockey and cricket and ladies played netball and tennis and then met in the bar which is where John and Jill met. They married in 1965 at St John’s Church in Old Coulsdon and their happy marriage lasted over 53 years. After early married life in Kent they moved to Banstead where Andrew and Caroline were born. John worked as a trainee for Unilever first for MacFisheries then for Birdseye. Promotion saw John move in due course to Sydenham, Unilever’s largest sales organisation where he won his chairman’s challenge competition for top team in the country. John’s next move was to Walls ice cream where he met Ian (later Lord) MacLaurin of Tesco – their negotiations over the marketing of a new ice cream brand were tough; John stayed firm, won the day and later they became good friends. In 1990 his career with Walls took him to Gloucestershire. In due course John became sales director of the ice cream business of Unilever – he travelled the 44
world extensively teaching people to sell and market ice cream. His sporting prowess continued and he captained Stroud CC when they won the Western League. One memorable event was when he promoted to his 1st XI a fifteen year old called Jack Russell, later, of course, a distinguished England player. Jack asked that the following should be read at today’s service: “Captain – I always called John ‘Captain’ even when we bumped into each other at test matches. Every youngster needs and opportunity to develop and you certainly did that for me by throwing me in at the deep end at Stroud Cricket Club by selecting me for your 1st XI when I was only fifteen years old. To say that I was raw and inexperienced in those early days was an understatement but, despite my mistakes, and there were many, you stuck with me. Your leadership and discipline in my early years was a crucial grounding for the career that followed. I cherish those days playing under you and have never forgotten them.” Not surprisingly John’s sporting ability extended to golf. In his first game following a hip operation he holed in one on the Sunningdale old course – elation was followed by consternation when he realized he was obliged to buy drinks for some 100 other participants playing in his company’s corporate day. His Chairman agreed that the company would foot the bill and John’s white face returned to its normal tanned look. When John and Jill returned to Surrey they lived in Farnham where John was able to cultivate his large garden. John and Jill joined Hankley Common golf club and were keen members, John serving as a committee member and arranging several new matches for both men and mixed teams. Jill was recently ladies captain of which John was extremely proud. One of John’s memorable golfing achievements was to win the inaugural Veterans invitation meeting at the famous Wentworth Club. Another of John’s pleasurable pastimes was to visit Lords where he was a member of MCC for over 50 years. He had also represented MCC as a player. Sometimes highly critical of what was going on in the field of play, he would watch with avid interest at least until mid-afternoon when the obligatory nap took over. Prior to that he enjoyed a couple of beers in the company of friends he used to play with at Purley and his brothers Richard and Hugh and son Andrew. Sadly as many of you will know, John suffered his first stroke 15 years ago. Subsequent strokes each time restricted his physical abilities but he never gave up, determined to return to normal life and play golf again. As
we know the odds were against him but his courage and determination never diminished right until the end. John was a family man and rightly proud of his children and grandchildren. Jill and the family have lost a “big man” in stature, leadership, heart, determination and in courage to the end. We are thankful for his life and to have known him for all his outstanding qualities. In Jack Russell’s words “Captain” Rest in Peace.
Michael Frank Adams (1939-46) Michael was the son of H.V. Adams (1911-15) and brother of B.H. Adams (1937-44). He was a senior prefect and captain of Cross’s. He was a very keen sportsman and played for the 1st XV and 1st X1 and was in the athletics Team in 1945 and 1946. On leaving school, he went into the army in October 1946 and, after training in the Royal Artillery, he was commissioned 2nd Lieut. in 1947. After his release from the army in 1948, he joined his father’s wholesale knitwear firm and later went to work as a salesman for Paul Walser Ltd, a leading manufacturer of fashionable hats. Hats produced by Paul Walser are to be found in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 1953 he joined ShellMex and BP Ltd and worked in Lancashire until he came down to Shell-Mex House in the Strand in 1977 where he remained until retiring in May 1985. He married Elizabeth, daughter of W.G. Woolrich (1903-12) in 1954. They had two daughters, five grandchildren and three great grandchildren. He was extremely proud of his family and their achievements. He was deeply committed to them, to upholding traditional family values and to his Christian faith. All who knew Michael described him as a “true gentleman”. Michael died peacefully on October 19th aged 91 years. This obituary was written by Michael’s daughter Rev Heather McIntyre
Professor Robin Morrall (1950-59) Robin Morrall was recognised nationally and internationally for his work on plant diseases. His pioneering research served as a foundation for controlling sclerotinia stem rot in canola and ascochyta blight in lentils, chickpeas and field peas in Western Canada. Robin was a professor of plant pathology in the Department of Biology, University of Saskatchewan from 1965 to 1997.
After that, he continued to provide expertise on disease diagnosis and management as an Emeritus Professor and as an expert on seed-borne diseases for Discovery Seed Labs of Saskatoon.Throughout his career, he has worked closely with farmers with much of his research in farmers’ fields. The following tribute was written by Mike Radcliffe a friend and colleague from Clare College, Cambridge. Nigel Merrett (1950-58), a Whitgift friend and classmate of Robin’s, contributed the information relating to Robin’s time at Whitgift. Robin Morrall died on 3 December 2018 at the age of 77. Robin was born in Llandrindod Wells where his family moved to escape the London blitz. At Whitgift School Robin had the good fortune to come under the tutelage of that gifted and inspiring teacher, Dr Cecil Prime, the head biology teacher who trained a string of very successful botanists and zoologists. It may well have been at Dr Prime’s suggestion that he spent time, before university, at Rothamsted Experimental Station, pioneers in the foundations of modern scientific agriculture and the principles of crop nutrition. Robin was passionate about botany and was one of those rare people who knew exactly what he wanted to do with his life from an early age, pursuing the science of botany and rising to the pinnacle of his profession. He graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1962, and subsequently emigrated to Canada where he met and married the love of his life, Barbara, in 1964 in Saskatoon. Soon after, he received his master’s degree from the University of Saskatchewan. The following year, Robin became a professor specializing in plant pathology in the Department of Biology at the University of Saskatchewan, becoming full Professor in 1980 and Emeritus Professor on his retirement in 1997. During his tenure he taught undergraduate and graduate courses in biology and plant pathology and supervised numerous graduate students. Robin could often be found in a farmer’s field in rural Saskatchewan examining crops and talking to producers about disease management. He loved working with his graduate students who often became an integral part of 45
his field studies. Robin co-edited the book Diseases of Field Crops in Canada that became the “bible” for educators, agronomists and farmers alike. Throughout his career, Robin was recognised nationally and internationally for his work on plant diseases, in particular his work with Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, the causal agent of stem rot of canola and other crops. His pioneering studies on fungicides and disease resistance have served as the foundation for current disease management strategies across western Canada. He was greatly honoured to be inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2001, the first plant pathologist to receive this recognition. Robin had many interests outside of his work. He became a passionate advocate for bilingual education; both his children, John and Rani, attended the Saskatoon French School while he served in various capacities on the school board. He combined some of his passions during sabbaticals in Dijon, France, where he continued his research while his children attended French schools. Robin loved to jog. His passion for running began when he was at Whitgift School where he ran cross country for the school team. Starting in the 1970’s, he gradually progressed to marathon running and by 1980 was able to run a sub 3 hour marathon. In recent times, Robin fulfilled a promise to Barbara to join the University of Saskatchewan Ballroom Dancing Club. It was characteristic of Robin that he left his mortal remains to science. To honour Robin’s life, a gathering took place with his family, his former students, colleagues and friends to remember and reflect on his life. At Whitgift School, Rothamsted, Clare and Dijon, Robin made many friends with whom he kept in regular contact with an annual epistle, meeting up whenever he travelled to Europe.
secretary. December 20, 2018 – The flag is lowered in memory of Robin Morrall, Department of Biology. As a small footnote to this tribute it has been noted from the School archives that a comment was added to Robin Morrall’s records stating that he enjoyed ‘Gardening: entering for horticultural competitions; market gardening’. It seems that the course of his life was set for him!
Eric Uphill (1941-48)
Eric Uphill in the UCL Department of Egyptology, 1960 (Photo: UCL Petrie
The following statement was issued by the Office of the University Secretary, University of Saskatchewan: In Memoriam The Canadian flag on the Thorvaldson Building is flown at half-mast in respect of all faculty, staff and students who pass away while an employee or student of the University of Saskatchewan. This includes part-time as well as full-time students, faculty and staff as well as retired members of the university staff. The flag is also flown at half-mast on the death of the Sovereign, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Premier of the province or other distinguished persons as designated by the president, a vice-president or the university 46
Museum of Egyptian Archaeology).
Eric Uphill, who died on 11 March 2018 aged 88, was a noted archaeologist and author of several significant books on Egyptology. He was the son of Walter Eric Uphill, the headmaster and proprietor of Coombe Hill House Preparatory School from 1930 to 1966. Many OWs began their schooling at Coombe Hill House, including a succession of Coatmans and Boyds. When Walter Uphill retired in 1966, Coombe Hill House was sold at auction to the Labour Party for £32,000 and renamed Ruskin House. After National Service in the army between 1948 and 1950 he went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge where he
read history and archaeology. Eric Uphill made a decisive contribution to Egyptology, building on early fieldwork with substantial research output, and an exemplary dedication to extramural teaching. After his undergraduate degree, Eric went on to study Egyptology with Stephen Glanville, before moving to post-graduate research at the UCL Department of Egyptology under Professor W. B. Emery, Sudan Archaeology specialist Anthony Arkell, and the eminent philologist Raymond Faulkner. He participated in Egypt Exploration Society excavations directed by Emery at Saqqara, Egypt (1954-55), and Buhen, Sudan (195960). From 1960, he served as Lecturer in Egyptology, archaeology and hieroglyphs at Birkbeck College, continuing as an examiner from 1995. He was also an honorary research fellow of the Department of Egyptology at University College, London. Remarkable publications accompanied these three decades of teaching. His series of articles in 1965 on the main kingship festival remain standard points of references in debates on that central but enigmatic event. His 1972 analysis of the palace was years ahead of other “Court Society” approaches to the Egyptian evidence. He co-edited the international Who Was Who in Egyptology (1972-1995). His monographs of 1984 on dismembered temple sites powerfully recreate the pyramid complex at Hawara, thought to be the Labyrinth described by Greek historians, and the royal city Per-Ramses, which he effectively mapped in anticipation of current UCL fieldwork at that site. His 199091 paper on the longest preserved Egyptian papyrus succinctly demolished the Eurocentric Church-State model of ancient Egypt, by showing that it lists donations of Ramses III not to the temples of the main god, but to the maintenance of the king’s own cult. Such research fundamentally changed perceptions of an ancient society. As well as the Who Was Who, his major published books include The Temples of Per Ramesses (1984), Egyptian Towns and Cities (1988) and Pharaoh’s Gateway to Eternity: the Hawara Labyrinth of King Amenemhat III (2000). Stephen Quirke and Jan Picton wrote the following in Archaeology International the magazine of the University College London Institute of Archaeology:
“Throughout his career, Eric was an essential figure in London Egyptology. As a student he assisted with unpacking the Petrie Egyptian collection after wartime storage in 1957 and remembered ‘tray-loads of Badarian and other pottery carried at high risk across the courtyard’. In 1963, he attended the 100th birthday party for legendary Egyptologist and folklorist Margaret Murray. He was a founding member of the Friends of the Petrie Museum, served from 1965 to 1985 on the Egypt Exploration Society Committee, and was an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Archaeology. On over forty visits to Egypt, including many as guest lecturer, he was often accompanied by his wife Patricia Ann Read. To Pat we offer our condolences at the passing of a scholar who is now with the ‘excellent spirits of the sun’.”
Vincent D’Olier (1951-58) Born in November 1939 as an evacuee in Lincolnshire, Vin soon appreciated the outdoor life on a farm run by his Aunt (you can google his name and find an entry on BBC’s “WW2 People’s War” for more information). He re-joined his parents and older siblings in Norbury just as many Croydon area schools reopened in September 1944, when heavy bombing began to ease. Vin did exceptionally well during his early schooling in study and in sport, the latter including a 1st in High Jump in the Croydon Schools 1951 Sports Meeting, also a prize of a cricket bat from the Evening Standard for bowling figures of 9 wickets for 2 runs! With his evident academic potential he won a scholarship to Whitgift and so continued to develop his abilities in learning and in sport – a true all-rounder who loved being at Haling Park. As well as rugby and cricket he also made time for shooting, RAF section CCF and helping behind the scenes on drama. Strong ‘A’ Level results enabled him to secure a work/degree sandwich course with diesel manufacturer Mirrlees in Stockport near Manchester (the company changed owners, became part of Hawker Siddeley Group and is now incorporated within MAN Diesel). After his first year with Mirrlees he studied for his degree in Mechanical Engineering at Queen Mary College, London. Incidentally, during those three years he met up again with Martin Osborne (1952-59) on the same course and they kept in touch over the years, as distance allowed, with skiing, being best man to Martin (Vin never married) and sharing occasional golf and/or meals together. Vin would say little of his professional prowess in 47
his career of diesel research but he was a very good and innovative engineer. Together with routine development work at Mirrlees he presented many lectures and professional papers, co-invented an energy-saving vehicle braking system for buses, travelled abroad to rectify marine engines on ships – as well as giving private consultancy for three small hydroelectric schemes in the Pennines. He also managed to continue to ski and play squash, tennis and golf into his late 70’s – and to remain an avid and accomplished bridge player, attending a master class most weeks. In addition, his very early years in Lincolnshire may have been the reason he actively supported the National Trust, the Woodland Trust and the local park near his home in Heaton Mersey – a life fully lived. A closing thought from a friend – “He was a true gentleman, very understated and low key, helpful, kind and generous – a knowledgeable man”. In no small part this was due to his time at Whitgift. This appreciation was written by Vincent d’Olier’s school friend Martin Osborne (1952-59).
Peter Bateman (1945-53) Peter Bateman died on New Year’s Day 2020 at the age of 84 with his wife Joan by his side. Peter devoted much of his working life to promoting understanding of and appreciation for the British pest control industry and the practice of professional public relations. His contribution was recognised by the award of Honorary Life Membership of the British Pest Control Association and a fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. Peter was a Prefect at School, as was his son, Richard (1987-89) in the 1980s, and proud to call himself one of “Prime’s People”, having studied biology at Whitgift under the remarkable Cecil Prime, but he pointed out that his history in pest control went back to early childhood when he was set by his father to catch cabbage white butterflies on their Dig for Victory allotment. After School, Peter joined Unilever and enrolled at Regent Street Polytechnic to study public relations and advertising. At Unilever he was introduced to the term Inherent Vice, which in marine insurance, refers to insect infestation in cargoes of raw materials. After eight years at Unilever, Peter moved to Rentokil at a time when Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had just been published in the UK and, at a Rentokil factory an industrial accident released a quantity of 1081 (fluoracetamide) rat poison into the Kent countryside. The same year saw the publication of the Animals Cruel 48
Poisons Act, which effectively banned all rodenticides, except warfarin. Pest control needed plenty of positive public relations. Sometimes the headlines were helpful “Rare Bug Eats Fergie’s frocks”, unexpected but useful, “British Farmers Use Nazi Death Gas”, was not helpful. Peter recalled that he had to report straight-faced that the adviser to the construction industry on diseases that could be caught from birds was a Dr Bill Parrott and had to suppress the reason why aggressive mice were walking up to diners in a restaurant and playing in a Christmas window display. He paid tribute to his wife Joan, for her help in sheltering cultures of cockroaches in the dining room while hosting an infestation of journalists in the kitchen. Peter said he worked with palaces and pig sties and saw clients who once demanded, “Send a plain van and park it around the corner.” come to accept that professional pest control was a vital to a duty of care and quality control. He was a prolific writer, broadcaster (over 600 broadcasts) and speaker on natural history, theatre and environmental topics and promoter of professional standards of education and practice. For listeners to the Today programme Peter was for many years the acceptable voice of pest control offering sage advice to those bothered by unwelcome visitors to their property. The British Pest Control Association, of which Peter was a former President, noted that Peter had been a member of BPCA’s Legislation Working Party and joint Consultative Committee 1983/4, Chairman of the Public Relations and Conference Committee 1983 – 1993 and Chairman of the Association’s Mediation and Appeals tribunal 1996-2001. He received the Keith Cleverly Award for services to BPCA in 1991. His book, Household Pests was published in 1979. Kevin Higgins of BPCA worked alongside Peter for many years and said: “He practically invented pest control PR. You would often hear him on BBC Radio 4, promoting the professionalism of pest control workers. He spoke on behalf of the industry, not solely for his company. Peter was held in uncommonly high regard by people across the industry and here at BPCA, and will be sorely missed.” As an example of pest control public relations in action, in 1965, Peter ran a press conference in Hamelin announcing that town’s first commercial rat control contract since the Pied Piper appeared in 1284. “This time” he said, “we did insist on payment quarterly in advance”. The story was intended to persuade local authorities that commercial pest control had a place in their plans and their budget. Peter received an award from the Institute of Public
Relations for his part in the “Hospitals Can Damage Your Health” campaign, which led to a standard contract for pest control for all National Health hospitals and removed Crown Immunity that had protected infested public buildings from prosecution. The world of pest control may appear distasteful, despite its importance to public health, but occasionally it gives an opportunity for amusement among the practical information, as witnessed by the following letter published in New Scientist on 20 March 1993: From Peter Bateman “Re your item about cockroach sex pheromones (This Week, 20 February). Females are not alone in producing such alluring materials. The male lobster cockroach produces a sex attractant named, by a more imaginative entomologist, seducin. Presumably this is the cockroach equivalent of aftershave. Insect sex attractants are now used for detecting and monitoring several pest moth and beetle species. Combined with growth regulators such as methoprene and hydroprene they make elimination of pests from buildings possible with virtually no risk to non-target species.” Peter and Joan had four children to whom his book Household Pests was dedicated. Outside his professional duties, Peter was an active Christian from his childhood in Sanderstead onwards. He was a member of church bodies from Parish (St John’s, Felbridge) to the Southwark Diocesan Synod; was a school governor; was active in the founding of the Association of Christians in Public Relation; carried out voluntary work for the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead and was Chief Examiner for the Communications, Advertising and Marketing Foundation. Nicholas Donnithorne of Rentokil summed up Peter: “As news of his passing has emerged, Peter has been remembered with fondness and respect by all who worked with him. A quiet methodical man with that wonderful voice and chuckle, he was a great speaker and educator who had time for everyone. He felt it was important to educate the “great British public” and would often speak to evening groups such as the WI. From the time he arrived at Rentokil in 1962 until his retirement in 1995, he was a steady pair of PR hands through historic moments including the company stock flotation in 1969. His hard work and reputation were rewarded by many honorary fellowships. Outside of work his life rotated around family, church
and work for local good causes. To see Peter and Joan together, told you all you needed to know about their relationship.” This tribute has been prepared from appreciations of Peter by former colleagues and papers lodged by Peter in the School Archives.
Piers Hubbard (1944-52) Son, nephew, cousin, brother in law and father of OWs Piers Hubbard, who has died at the age of 85, was born, lived and died in Croydon, indeed the only time that he did not live in the area was when the Bank of England, for which his father worked, was relocated to Winchester for a short part of the Second World War. In the steps of his father, uncles and cousins, Piers went to Elmhurst School and then to Whitgift where he was in the RN section of the CCF and where his dreams of a career in the Royal Navy were ended by a paper ball flicked in his eye during a third form maths lesson – this resulted in him failing his naval medical. Instead, after leaving School, Piers trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. The modest salary of a newly qualified accountant enabled him in 1958 to buy his first car – an MG TA. For the next 61 years there were only three in which he did not own an MG and MGs were a major part of his life, although not as significant as Linda who he met while commuting to London. They were married in All Saints’ Church, Sanderstead in 1962. Not long after marrying and in anticipation of starting a family the Hubbards bought their first house in Sanderstead which led to one of the more difficult decisions of Piers’ life – the need to sell his MG TA, a car not suited to transporting infants. It was then a time for family friendly MGs, a Y type and a Magnette. Then followed were the “dark times” of 1972-75 with a Morris Marina and no MG. In due course, with three children and the need for more space, the family moved house, still in Sanderstead, and gained a second garage which provided space for an MG. So, in 1975 Piers bought his fourth, final and much-loved MG A. He always denied 49
that it was planned but at least the sub-conscious desire for an MG A was there: the clue was in the names of his children – Martin, Gail, Anne: M G A. What is certainly true is that the car became his door to the world with international MG events and new friends across the globe. Work in the oil industry continued, Lobitos, Burmah, Castrol, then surveyors Walker Son and Packman, when Castrol moved to Swindon. He preferred to stay in Croydon. His final job was with solicitors Norton Rose – this preceded a long and active retirement. What of the man? The character; the personality. In cards of condolence he was described as – welcoming, kind, humble, with a naughty glint in his eye and a wicked sense of humour, encouraging, caring, giving and serving faithfully. He created lasting friendships and was “an original gentleman” who it was an honour and privilege to know. The family would say that he was not a demonstrative person (though that was changing in the last few years), and did not make a song or dance. He had integrity, honesty, wanted to learn and do his best. He had a firm and committed faith in God and said less than a week before he died, that “God was waiting for him”. Piers’ life was centred on All Saints’ Church – his parents’ ashes are interred outside, the family worshipped there, the children were Christened and married there. Piers gave freely of his time and skills – at Church; with the MG Car Club and as MGA register archivist; wrote the book Call it MGA; with the Old Whitgiftian Association as committee member and overseas correspondent for many years. He also took over from his father the organising of the Founder’s Day communion at Whitgift Hospital for over 40 years; he was an assistant venture scout leader in his 50’s and 60’s and board member for finance of a housing association into his late 70’s. Not content with all these activities, Piers was involved with: the 44 club of school friends who met for a lunch or dinner every year: March 2019 saw the 67th annual event; Probus where he was a long term member and recruiter; Surrey Wanderers, an MG related activity where he was founder and initial route maker and organiser; photography – he published a numerous MG racing photos in Motorsport and other motoring periodicals, took photographs of war memorials to augment the records of the War Memorials Trust and photographed and documented country churches in Surrey. The above tribute is based on that given by Martin Hubbard (1976-83) at his father’s funeral on 23 December 2019.
Noel Parkinson (1948-54) Noel Parkinson, who has died at the age of 81, was a member of the Upper Vth of 1952-53 whose annual gatherings have been reported regularly in OW News. Unlike most of this academically select group, who went on to university, the death of his father and the earlier death of his mother meant that he left School early to take articles with a solicitor in West Wickham. Noel married Pam on his 22nd birthday in August 1959 and, on qualification, moved to a firm in Horsham. Noel’s career as a solicitor progressed rapidly with moves to offices in Polegate and then Eastbourne, where he became a partner in the firm specialising in probate and conveyancing. He later became senior partner. Noel’s son Chris remembers his father as a man of old fashioned principles inherited from Victorian parents; he worked extremely hard to provide for his family and was committed to his profession and to his clients. “He was also dedicated to using his leisure time to the full whether it was supporting Caroline and me in our studies or hobbies, enjoying playing cricket and golf or socialising with his and mum’s many friends. Dad loved making and maintaining friendships and did so throughout his life. Many of those friendships lasted and grew over decades.” Noel chaired the local Round Table and was President of the local Law Society. Noel retired in 2001 and he and Pam moved to Lechlade to be closer to family. They both played golf at Wragg Barn, Noel tended his beautiful garden, was active in the local gardening club and was a keen actor with the Lechlade Players. Idyllic retirement was shattered by the death in 2018 of daughter Caroline. Noel suffered a heart attack soon after. Some months later he fell in his garden and suffered a stroke from which he did not recover. Noel will be remembered as a traditional, quiet and unassuming gentleman in every sense of the word. He lived a full, rich and meaningful life. Ken Rokison (1947-55), said on behalf of the Upper Vth group “We did not keep in touch after we all went our separate ways, other than meeting up at the occasional reunion, but I do have very happy memories of someone who was at all times a thoroughly nice and gentle human being, who will obviously be grievously missed by his surviving family.” This appreciation is based on the service of thanksgiving for the life of Noel Parkinson held on 15 August 2019.
Barry Williams (1945-53) Barry Williams, who has died at the age of 85, had a very successful career both as a practising Chartered Accountant and as an entrepreneur in the holiday industry. Born in Norbury, he grew up in Sanderstead except for a time spent, as a World War II evacuee, in Bournemouth. With his great friend, Chris Honnor (1945-53), Barry enjoyed collecting butterflies on Purley Downs Golf course where they also smoked cigarettes filched from Barry’s Mother. Chris recalls that Barry was his best friend in his teenage years: they lived near each other and were together every day especially in the holidays – he has clear memories of butterfly hunting (and the cigarettes) but said that Barry collected and mounted butterflies while he just tagged along. At Whitgift Barry opened the batting for the school but his unorthodox style was not confined to the cricket pitch. In 1958, while training as a Chartered Accountant, Barry called in sick in order to fly to the Brussels Expo with his pilot friend, Clive Elton (1945-53). All went well, until on the return trip they ran short of fuel and they had to land on a cricket pitch. Unfortunately, a reporter and press photographer were in attendance, and the incident – and Barry’s face – subsequently appeared in the newspaper and the secret was out. Barry built a hugely successful career on figures so it is perhaps not surprising that mathematics brought Barry and his wife Sula together. Barry and his Father were working on a problem, and Sula mentioned that she might like to have a go solving it. Using algebra, she found the solution first, leading Barry’s father to comment that “She’s the one for you” – he was correct. Barry and Sula married in 1967 and, with the £50 foreign currency allowance at the time, spent a wonderful honeymoon in Corfu, winning at the casino after placing a bet on 13, the day they were married, and spending time on the DuPont brothers’ yacht which was moored in the bay. Barry and Sula lived initially in Purley, and after a year moved to Coldharbour for thirteen years before buying Brooklag Farm, Newdigate in 1981 where they entertained memorably. After selling his successful accountancy practice, Barry, with his friend Jim, set up the Dorking based travel firm SunSites. SunSites specialised in camping holidays, mainly in France, and offered an attractively priced family holiday in pre erected tents and static caravans. It was a great success and, before retiring at 55, Barry and Jim had taken the company public. The company was, in due course, profitably sold to Eurocamp. Barry’s son Sean remembers accompanying his father to France in SunSites days – he loved what were holidays for him but, of course, hard work for Barry.
Retirement afforded him the chance to concentrate fully on his many interests which included a passion for gardening. He introduced many eco-friendly techniques and organic methods, including harvesting rainwater, and growing all manner of fruit and veg for the family. Another interest was antique collecting for had always enjoyed, in his family’s words “a bit of antique dealing, specialising in Chinese snuff bottles”. Barry owned a number of classic cars over the years, ranging from an Austin 7 bought for £6, a Humber and a series of Jaguars from a Mark 1 to an XJS. Barry was for over fifty years a member of the Royal Automobile Club where he enjoyed convivial times at the ad hoc Tuesday Claret Club, golf and as chairman of the snooker club. Alan Cowing (1953-59), whose company handled advertising and public relations for Sun Sites, recalls that he, Barry and Mike Spanswick (1954-61) formed a regular golfing trio called the “Par Pursuers”, although he claims they “rarely got one”. Barry’s health stared to fail around five years ago due to heart issues and he had been in hospital for several months prior to his death. This appreciation is largely based on eulogies at Barry’s funeral. Editor’s note – my family was one of the many who enjoyed SunSites holidays. We went on several occasions to Normandy, Brittany, the Vendée (where it rained incessantly) and the Dordogne – they were magical times remembered fondly by us all. When I first booked I had no idea that the company had been founded by an OW; I mentioned to another OW that we were going on a French camping holiday to which the immediate response was “SunSites, I assume”. Numerous other OWs holidayed with SunSites but not that many, I suspect, knew the Whitgiftian connection.
Norman West (Staff 1967-98) Norman West taught maths at Whitgift for over thirty years with a remarkable mixture of charm, dedication and collegiality. In presenting his father’s qualities at his funeral, Norman’s son Tim offered a vignette - the annual ritual of writing summer maths exams. On such occasions, Norman would laboriously go through long forgotten textbooks looking for questions that would challenge the boys – which summed up his attitude to education. He would then spend grumpy hours at the photocopier trying to generate the right copies, encapsulating a Luddite attitude to new-fangled technology. The photocopies were 51
then put on the dining room table where the process of snipping out tiny portions of maths problems began. Norman would meticulously stick them onto plain paper in a rectilinear jigsaw until he had the exact sequence of questions he wanted – this reflected his love of artistry and attention to detail. Copies of the final exam paper would be requested from the office staff in the cheerful, warm and generous way he had of talking to everyone as an equal. The exams would be completed, and eventually marked in his neat writing, late into the night – a tribute to his capacity for total focus and hard work when the occasion demanded it. The world has changed incalculably since Norman was born in in Mitcham in1933, one of five children brought up in a two bedroom terraced house. During the blitz the children and their mother evacuated to distant relatives in the Leeds area. Life was not easy, but difficult beginnings meant that to Norman spiritual wealth always meant more than material wealth. Norman was among the first who benefited from the Butler Education Act of 1944; success in the 11 plus exam brought him a free grammar school education, a privilege not accorded to predecessors, such as his older brother Colin. Mitcham Grammar School introduced him to the great joys of his life: Gilbert and Sullivan (and music in general) rugby and cricket, and culminated in matriculation to School Certificate, and A levels, in Mathematics, Physics and Art. His plans to read maths at Manchester University were interrupted by National Service. Gunner West served in Egypt. This was a time that enabled him to complete the Latin course needed to apply to Oxford instead of Manchester. Despite the enjoyment of running and playing football for the Army, he was only too pleased for his National Service to end and go for interview at Keble College, Oxford, where he was accepted to read Maths. A colleague at Keble recently wrote that “despite his short stature he was a sporting giant” – cricket came to be his greatest love. Throughout his life there were wonderful stories of his bowling prowess: playing at the Oval for Surrey schoolmasters; playing village cricket with the Domini team and dismissing every batsman except the last – whom he caught on the boundary despite the team’s protestations to “drop it”. At Oxford, he played a lot of cricket, thoroughly enjoyed himself, achieved a third class degree and failed his teaching diploma. However, the lack of a teaching diploma did him no great harm. The many complimentary remarks received by the family after his death from pupils and fellow teachers were a poignant reminder of the enormous good he did, especially 52
in teaching those boys who needed his relentless positivity to achieve the grade they needed. He began his teaching career at St John’s, Leatherhead where he became a boarding house master. His next move was to New Zealand where he taught at St Pauls Collegiate School, Hamilton. This was a new school; teachers arriving from the UK had to roll their sleeves up and get stuck in to everything. It was a fresh start of a kind for Norman and he made life-long friendships but after two years he returned to England and started at Whitgift where he dedicated himself to a wonderful career as a teacher, sports coach, housemaster, generous colleague, and friend to many. Whitgift completely defined him. Dick Shelley (Staff 1962-2002) offers his thoughts about Norman: “He was a kind, thoughtful and totally reliable member of my maths department who was much respected by staff and pupils alike. He was a particularly good teacher of naughty boys and those who found the subject difficult. Always willing to give up time in the lunch hour to help individuals who were struggling or detain those who were being a nuisance, he was someone who delivered proper education on a personal level! Often one would hear Norman cry out ‘Go back down the corridor and WALK my boy’, or ‘Do up your tie and tuck your shirt in’: he was a stickler for the rules. Much admired for his skills with a ball throughout his career he encouraged everyone in his house to have a go and to the end of his career he also coached school teams every term in rugby, hockey and his beloved cricket. For Domini he was an intrepid spin bowler, the bane of many a village team! He was a lovely colleague with whom I also shared a love of music and singing.” Norman was a much loved husband, father, grandfather and colleague whose life was governed by a strong sense of fairness and justice supported by a strong Christian faith. As his son Tim said, he was a man who, in Kipling’s words, would “fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run”. This tribute is based on the one given at Norman West’s funeral by his son Tim (1992-2000) to which is added the comments of Dick Shelley as representative of Norman’s many friends among his former colleagues.
Whitgifti an Associ ation
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