The Old Tettenhallian 2016 Contents
The Old Tettenhallians’ Club................................................................................................................... 2 Event Dates for 2016 – 2017 ................................................................................................................... 3 President's Welcome ................................................................................................................................ 4 OT Venture Award .................................................................................................................................. 4 Significant Bequest to the College by Graham Aston ............................................................................. 5 Reunion Weekend 2016 ........................................................................................................................... 5 Diary of OT Events .................................................................................................................................. 8 OT Golf Society Report 2015-2016 ....................................................................................................... 11 What does our School look like now? ................................................................................................... 14 Where Are They Now? .......................................................................................................................... 17 Bill Snelson’s Award ............................................................................................................................. 19 Articles Contributed by Old Tettenhallians ........................................................................................... 20 Obituary ................................................................................................................................................. 38 In Fond Remembrance ........................................................................................................................... 40
The Old Tettenhalliansâ€™ Club Officers
President Vice President Chairman of Committee Hon. Secretary & Editor Hon. Treasurer Hon. Chaplain Hon. Auditor
Peter Radford Andrew Wynne Jeremy Ireland-Jones Stephen Corns Robert Russell John Bates Julian Gronow
Magazine content submissions â€“ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Back row: Geoff Hopkinson, Tej Baden, Tim Harborow, Peter Pingree, Tim Rowe, John Dove and Graham Foulkes Front row: Stephen Corns, Anne Chesney, Jeremy Ireland-Jones, Robert Russell and Andrew Wynne Missing from the photo are the following four committee members:-
Event Dates for 2016 – 2017 (Partners are welcome at all social occasions)
Remembrance Sunday Service
Sunday 13th November 2016 Venue: the College Chapel starting promptly at 10.45 am. The service supports the ‘Help for Heroes’ and the Royal British Legion charities. The Headmaster extends an invitation to lunch afterwards.
Friday 25th November 2016 Venue: PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PWC), 7 More London Riverside, SE1 2RT (Pavilion Suite – 10th Floor). From 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Great views across the Thames to Tower Bridge. An informal evening of drinks and nibbles – if you are pressed for time, come for half an hour! For further information and to register your interest please email email@example.com
Dinner amongst friends with partners included. Friday 10th March 2017 Venue: Linden House, 211 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton WV6 0DD For tickets contact Stephen Corns: Tel: 07837-785417 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Vernon Cup Golf Competition
Thursday 15th June 2017 Venue: South Staffordshire Golf Club, Tettenhall commencing at 2.30 p.m. The golf (which is open to all OTs) will be followed by dinner in the clubhouse. If you wish to take part please contact Keith Grant-Pearce nearer the time. Tel: 01562-884601 or email: email@example.com
Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June 2017 All OTs will receive an invitation by post or email beforehand with the scheduled programme. Updates about our various events will be shown under the Alumni section of www.tettenhallcollege.co.uk Please notify us of any change in your postal or email address through the website. The Editor thanks everyone who contributed to this edition of our magazine. I think there is more content here than in many past publications and I hope you enjoy reading it. Do keep sending me information and material for the next edition, whether it is a few lines or a few pages. Many thanks. Stephen Corns (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Welcome to all old and new Old Tettenhallians; the cycle of the OT year has turned and we are now in a new OT year - not to be confused, of course, with the academic year, or the calendar year, or even the tax year. Old Tettenhallians measure time in their own way. But new years, however measured, are useful as they remind us afresh to do the things we know we should do, hence the popularity of New Year’s resolutions. So we resolve afresh to help our old school in whatever ways we can, to ensure its success and prosperity so that future generations of boys and girls can experience the benefits that we enjoyed by being Tettenhallians. But we also have the opportunity to keep in touch with those we shared our school lives, and to get to know those at school we didn’t know well. The community of Old Tettenhallians is not just about exchanging reminiscences, it is all about maintaining friendships that can grow and flourish in the new contexts of the outside world. It can also be about networking - who knows how much we can help each other as our lives unfold! I feel a bit of a fraud saying these things, because I didn’t do them. I left Tettenhall, moved even further away and lost touch with my friends, classmates, and fellow Tettenhallians, and I did not come back into the fold until much later - but perhaps that gives additional weight to my advice - “Keep in touch!” It is so easy now; Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and email make it easier to keep in touch than ever before, but it still needs someone to organise something more than a drink together, or a meal in a favourite venue; it takes a larger organisation to combine forces with our old school, Tettenhall College, to our mutual advantage. That is where the Old Tettenhallians’ Club comes in; keep in touch through the OTs and combine your interests and talents with other generations of OTs and perhaps you can really make a difference. I hope all OTs enjoy their year. Good luck, Peter Radford (TC 1951 – 1957)
OT Venture Award
Jeremy Ireland-Jones, OT Club Committee Chairman
Club committee Chairman Jeremy Ireland-Jones advises that a Venture Award will be presented at Prizegiving day each year to a College leaver who plans an unusual and worthwhile project during his/her first year or so out in the world. The recipient will be selected by the College and will receive a plaque and a contribution by the club towards their project. The monetary award might be used to help in a number of ways, for example equipment, special clothing or travel costs. The recipient will be encouraged to report his or her project progress later through an article in our magazine. Jeremy said that should there be no worthwhile project put forward in any year, then the plan is to use the funding for vulnerable pupils with limited finances and would go towards such things as school trips, uniform, music lessons and similar items. Indeed the first award of the funding this year has been used in this way.
Significant Bequest to the College by Graham Aston
Graham Aston passed away in February 2015, and a tribute to his life was featured in last year’s magazine. He was at the College from 1949 – 1957 and was OT Club President in 1997/1998. He greatly revered his old school and never forgot the debt he owed to Tettenhall. He was a Tettenhallian through and through and his allegiance to the school was demonstrated by his strenuous and unfailing service to the OT Club. He resurrected the London dinner in 1993 and chaired the London Reunion Committee until the time of his death. As we go to press with this edition, I understand that Graham has bequeathed a substantial legacy to the College in his will. The school is presently working on suitable projects that would honour such generosity and reflect Graham’s passions. His legacy to the College marks him out as one of the school’s greatest benefactors and will ensure that his memory will endure. Hon. Editor
Reunion Weekend 2016
Planning for the annual reunion starts some nine months beforehand with invitations being sent out just two months prior in April – left is a photo of committee members Peter Pingree and Graham Foulkes busy stuffing envelopes. Written invitations go to over 500 OTs and emails are sent to more than 600, so nearly 1,200 in total receive notification of our weekend programme. This year the Reunion weekend was held a little later than usual on 25th and 26th June in order to accommodate the exams schedule at the College. I’m sure we all sympathise with the students at this nerve-jangling time. The almost constant rain in June held off for most of the weekend, resuming just ten minutes after the end of the cricket match on the Sunday.
The football match, which was only introduced to the weekend programme a couple of years ago, proved to be a highly competitive and entertaining game, played at great speed and putting some of the soccer served up at the Euros in France to shame! At half time it was 3-2 to the OTs, but a flurry of goals in the second half brought it to 44 towards the end. The College had two or three very quick forwards who made life difficult for the OT defence. A spectacular long shot by OT Ben Houghton found the College net just 5 minutes from time and ensured a win for the OTs 5-4. OT captain Gregg Spooner received the splendid new football trophy (presented in memory of John Chown) from Club President Geoff Hopkinson. Running in tandem with OT events on the Saturday, the College had organised a Garden Party by the Towers, strawberries and cream, barbecue and Pimms plus donkey rides, bouncy castle and other activities for the children. Musical entertainment and later a barn dance rounded off a successful afternoon with over 400 people attending.
Our Chapel Service was moved last year from the Sunday morning to the Saturday afternoon in an effort to attract more OTs, but I regret this has not succeeded – just eight OTs taking the trouble to attend. The congregation was thankfully swelled by around sixty boarders and all of us enjoyed the excellent service conducted by Rev. Prebendary Dr. Geoffrey Wynne whose interesting sermon related to the Proverbs reading about “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” – which is of course the school motto. We were treated to a wonderful rendition of Hoffmeister’s Clarinet Concerto (1st movement) by school prefect Danny Guo, who I am sure could have given Acker Bilk a run for his money! Our thanks to Catherine Douglas, the new Director of Music for arranging the accompaniment, and the competent pianist pupil Celina Gao. After the Club’s Annual General Meeting (attended by just 14 OTs) we congregated in the new ‘Coffee Shop’ for pre-dinner drinks – the bar was generously laid on by Giuseppe Corbelli. 58 of us sat down for dinner in the College’s main dining room – 27 OTs plus partners and guests. This year we had as usual invited some Pre-dinner drinks in the new Coffee Shop College staff who help our weekend activities and also the College prefects, all of whom are on the cusp of becoming OTs themselves. The meal provided by the College caterers was excellent, and I think everyone had a good time. During the meal Jeremy Harris received the Vernon Cup golf trophy – he had navigated the 18 holes of South Staffs golf course in just 76 strokes (less 6 handicap = 70 nett), an excellent score. After-dinner speeches were provided by our outgoing President Geoff Hopkinson and David Williams, the Headmaster. Geoff recounted a little of his time at the College as a student, and also as a teacher from 1968-1974 when the big influences on his life at this time were sports master Malcolm Lee and of course John Chown. A difficult moment was when Malcolm Lee, who was fiercely Welsh, took him to Cardiff for a Wales international rugby match and introduced him to some of the Welsh all-time greats – Geoff desperately trying to disguise his nationality! David Williams was pleased to report an increasing number of OTs sending their children to the College, and he was also glad to advise student numbers have increased some 25% over the last two years. The College and the OT Club committee are working more closely together he advised and concluded the school and club are stronger together and should continue to pool resources and ideas. David welcomes OTs to come back and enrich the College with the knowledge and experience they have gained, and he would like more OTs to give talks to students. At the end of the formal part of the evening, Geoff Hopkinson handed the Presidential chain of office to Peter Radford and wished him a successful and enjoyable year. New OT President Peter Radford flanked by David Williams (Headmaster) and Geoff Hopkinson (outgoing President)
On the Sunday morning I went to Aldersley Stadium to watch part of the ladies’ hockey match, which was rather one-sided thanks to a hat-trick scored by OT Chloe Mackintosh. We remember what a thorn in our side Chloe was a couple of years ago when at the College, but thankfully time brings all the good College players into our ranks eventually. The OT team was captained by Catherine Gough. The result was 4-0 despite some brave defending by Emma Stirk, the new Ladies’ Sport Director at the College, who strengthened the College team. We wish her well in her new post. Many of the hockey players returned after lunch for the netball match, which proved to be an easy win for the OTs at 35 – 11.
Both the new netball and hockey trophies were presented by Geoff Hopkinson after the game. I had hoped to see some of the cricket match, but by the time I arrived at the pavilion the match was over and Jeremy Walters was presenting the Walters Cup to OT captain Gregg Spooner. The match had been restricted to 20 overs aside, the OTs scoring 184 (with a magnificent 107 Netball and hockey teams (plus stars of the future) with trophies presented by Geoff Hopkinson by Bhadar Sandhur) and the School replied with 131 for 8 wickets. Both sides struggled to field full teams but it was enjoyed by everyone. Worth a mention is Lucy Berridge who played for the College’s cricket and football teams and contributed well in both. Our thanks to the Headmaster and staff who assisted us greatly in putting on the various events, and allowing us to hold our reunion on the College premises. Thanks too must go to OTs who organised the sports matches – Catherine Gough, Fiona Farenden and Jan Taylor for the ladies hockey and netball, and Gregg Spooner and Matthew Smith for the football and cricket. Also our appreciation goes to all who participated. We only wish more OTs would come along to the Reunion Weekend – the committee devotes a lot of time and effort organising an attractive programme over the two days, but so few come to watch the games or attend chapel service and the dinner. Most of those who do attend are the older generation and faces we see every year (and great it is to see them) but we would love to see younger OTs attending and enjoying time together. Do tell us why you don’t come and what changes to our programme would turn the tide. Hon. Editor
New OT Sports Trophies
New sports trophies have been provided by the Club (our thanks to Peter Pingree for organising the purchase and engraving) and are pictured left. Rear left is the Michael Walters Cup for Cricket, and rear right is the OT Football Trophy – in memory of John Chown. In front are the Hockey and Netball Trophies in memory of John Dale. These will be displayed in a cabinet in the reception area of the College. 7
Diary of OT Events
In addition to the Reunion Weekend, there have been a number of successful and enjoyable events organised by the Club over the past year. OTs who have served on committee down the years are invited to our annual Committee Supper which was held in October 2015 at South Staffordshire Golf Club. Invited guests were Headmaster David Williams and also Director of Music Ian Wass who retired at the end of the year.
Standing (l to r): Rod Seivewright, Andrew Wynne, Peter Pingree, John Dove, Steve Gordos, Tim Harborow. Bob Russell, Julian Gronow, Graham Foulkes, Stephen Corns. Sitting: Jeremy Walters, Deb Brook, David Williams (Headmaster), Geoff Hopkinson, Ian Wass (Director of Music), Jeremy Ireland-Jones, Chris Way (Bursar)
On behalf of the Club OT President Geoff Hopkinson presented Ian with a decanter as a token of the Club’s appreciation for Ian’s countless contributions to OTs over the years. The Remembrance Day Service arranged in conjunction with the College proves to be a popular occasion attended by OTs, College staff and many pupils. In November 2015 the service was conducted by our chaplain Rev. John Bates and the College Roll of Honour was read by OT President Geoff Hopkinson with the words of Remembrance led by Jeremy Woolridge, Chair of Governors. Everyone enjoyed the excellent lunch provided by the College.
After the service: Derek Spencer, Malcolm Cox, Bill Evans, Keith Grant-Pearce, Rev. John Bates, John Dove and Colin Jones
For many years our London Reunion has been a traditional event with an evening dinner and speeches, but with the passing of Graham Aston and dwindling support for the occasion it was felt that a change was necessary. Committee member Tej Baden kindly offered to host the event at his company’s offices (PwC or Price Waterhouse Coopers as it used to be called) on the South Bank, right next door to City Hall. The function room was situated on the top floor of the building and commanded wonderful views across the Thames to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. 8
The evening was informal, just drinks from 6.30 until 9.30 and over forty OTs and some partners attended in late November 2015. One of the objectives was to attract younger OTs and a good number attended, which is most encouraging. We plan the 2016 London Reunion repeating the venue and format, though adding a little food as many last time stayed for the full three hours and were a bit ‘peckish’ by the end!
A happy group at the London Reunion: Stephen Corns, Jonathan Lloyd, George Harvey, James Bradley, Chris Wright, Mark Leighton, Jothann Durnall, OT President Geoff Hopkinson and Jeremy Ireland-Jones
Our President’s Evening was held in March 2016 at Wolverhampton Cricket Club and a good meal was enjoyed in excellent company. Over 50 OTs and partners came along and President Geoff Hopkinson was pleased to welcome his guests David and Deborah Williams.
This President’s Evening group included - standing (l to r): Andrew Wynne, OT Vice President Peter Radford, Graham Sower, Chair of Governors Jeremy Woolridge. Seated: Sue Woolridge, Sarah Wynne, Margaret Radford and Gill Sower.
2016 Sixth Form Leavers (in no particular order): Celina Gao, Luke Habgood, James Hawkins, Mufaro Katakwa, Rajan Kundi, Lenny Liu, Henna Mistry, Chi Nguyen, Olivia Piece, Chuck Yang, Chloe Fisher, James Gallagher, Cameron Goldie, Danny Guo, Joshua and Keely Hill-Harding, Daniel Jones, Anna Nguyen, Thu Pham, William Sephton, Chiara Wilke, Wade Ye and Henry Zhang.
Essentially a school function, but significant to the Club, the Leavers’ Lunch was held on 27 th May 2016 in the Grand Marquee by the Towers. OT Committee members Jeremy Ireland-Jones (Committee Chairman), Gregg Spooner and Stephen Corns were in attendance. It is not just a formal farewell to Sixth Formers after their years at the College, but also a welcome to the Old Tettenhallians’ Club for the newest crop of members. The Headmaster and Jeremy wished them well in the exciting years ahead.
A Message from the Committee Chairman - Jeremy Ireland-Jones (TC 1976-1983)
You never really leave Tettenhall College, as your time at TC however long, becomes part of your make-up and something you carry with you forever. It is with this in mind that keeping in touch and being part of the OT alumni is important for remembering old times, reconnecting with old mates or linking up via business. If you’re not already connected, please take time to do so either via Facebook @ “Old Tettenhallians” LinkedIn @ “Old Tettenhallians” or via the new Tettenhall College web site www.tettenhallcollege.co.uk - from the menu follow the ‘Alumni’ link. Your involvement however small, is important to the continued success of the club and I have no doubt that there are old friends who would love to know how you’re doing… The next official event is in London on Friday November 25 th, no longer a dinner but a chance to meet after work at the PwC Building, Tower Bridge, for drinks and maybe an excuse to spend a weekend in the city? TC continues to thrive under the leadership of David Williams. The school maintains and embraces many of the traditional characteristics yet underpinning a very modern and changing world. The club continues to work even closer with the school and as OTs you are always welcome to come and take a look around the College. Stay in touch.
OT Golf Society Report 2015-2016
Our August “Fun Day” in 2015 was played at Sapey Golf Club , near Worcester and both the course and clubhouse are gems considering they were only created 25 years ago. Only 9 members played this beautiful course but using "wild card" selection we ended up with 4 three balls. Very creative, on the part of the Secretary! A team Stableford was played, with the following result: 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Corkindale, Dove and Hughes - 89 points (Back 9 = 47 points) Corns, Grant-Pearce and Rod Seivewright - 89 points (Back 9 = 43 points) Jennings, Hughes and Rod Seivewright - 83 points Ward, Taylor and Jennings - 79 points
Match OTs vs. Tettenhall College
On Sunday 27th September 2015 at South Staffs GC: we played our inaugural match against the College and were blessed with a glorious sunny day. We played four ball match play, 6 matches overall and after an excellent afternoon the result was 3 – 3. In the absence of Alan Taylor (away in Turkey) David Lycett captained the OTs and David Williams (Headmaster) captained the College team. The College team included a Governor (Simon Maddox), a former Headmaster (Peter Bodkin) and just one current pupil, Liz Harvey, though her brother George who left TC only in June also played. The Harvey family made up two of the College pairings and won both. After struggling to find a team of 12, thanks go to Oliver Margetts and Tom Hewitt Jr. for filling the breach and we hope they will join the society.
Jeremy Ireland-Jones, Liz Harvey, David Williams, David Lycett (both holding the trophy) and Sarah Harvey. The Harveys won ‘nearest the pin’ prizes on different holes.
Philip Mould made the journey from Scotland to play for the OTs and left just after the meal at 8 o’clock to drive home to Fife as he was playing in a golf final the next day. We hope that this match will become a regular fixture in our calendar.
On October 8th 2015 we held our Autumn meeting at Forest of Arden golf course and again were blessed with a sunny, dry day. In the morning 12 of us played 9 holes on the Aylesford course, best two scores from three counting. It was won with 37 points by Max Seivewright, Miles Jackson and Nick Parr – second were Mark Wainwright, Roger Ashton and Philip Jennings scoring 35 points. The afternoon round over the demanding Arden Championship course was contested by 15 of us for the Centenary Cup and the results were:1st: Nick Parr with 35 pts. 2nd: Stephen Corns with 32 pts (better back nine). 3rd: John Dove with 32 pts. Roddy Seivewright and Tony Corkindale were just behind, both with 30 pts.
Retiring Captain Alan Taylor presenting ‘Golfer of the Year’ salver to John Dove (left) and the Centenary Cup to Nick Parr
At our AGM in the evening, David Lycett was elected Captain for the next two years. He praised outgoing Captain Alan Taylor for his stewardship. After much calculation by the Secretary, John Dove was awarded ‘Golfer of the Year’ for his performance in the Vernon Cup, Captain’s Day and Centenary Cup events overall. 11
Match versus The Oxley Wanderers
The first of our four annual matches was against Oxley Wanderers, playing for the Paul Whitehead Challenge Shield, in the middle of April. David Lycett commented that he had thoroughly enjoyed his first match as Captain and was delighted with the tied result at five matches apiece, with the weather having been kind to us, although the result of the match meant that the Oxley Wanderers retained the shield for another year.
We welcomed three new Members, David Williams (the Headmaster) Jonathan Peters and Lloyd Sutton, into the Society with Jonathan Peters joining us for our Spring Fixture in late April. Once again The Society stayed overnight to play at two courses for the competitions for the Paul Whitehead Memorial Trophy on the first day and the Captain’s Day Prize the following day, and seventeen members supported the trip. On the first day we tackled the highly rated Coxmoor course in Nottinghamshire, which has staged Regional Qualifiers for The Open Championship and The British Seniors Amateur Open Championship. The Paul Whitehead Trophy was retained by John Lloyd, with a score of 35 points. In second place was Jonathan Peters with a score of 34 points and a better back 9 over Keith Grant-Pearce who came third. Three members came in with 33 points with Max Seivewright judged to be fourth. We had a very enjoyable meal and overnight stay in nearby Mansfield where the Captain most generously bought us all our first drink and the Society provided wine with dinner. A forty minute drive the following morning found us at Breadsall Priory, just outside Derby where we played for the Captain’s Prize. This turned out to be a very long course with a lot of hilly holes - those who hired a buggy made the right choice! The winner was Jonathan Peters who continued his rich vein of form by carding 32 points on this challenging course. In second place was Roddy Seivewright with 31 points and Iain Seivewright third with 30 points. The Captain presented both Jonathan and Roddy with magnificent golfer statues as their prizes. In addition to the main competition the Captain added a bit of spice with nearest the pin on two holes; the second shot into the 9th and the tee shot from the 17th. These were won by Jonathan Peters and Philip Jennings respectively.
Match versus Wolverhampton Cricket Club Golf Society
This was a new fixture for both Societies and the match was played at Chesterton Valley GC with an excellent dinner at the cricket club afterwards. The weather was kind and everybody enjoyed this pleasant course with 12 players a side. The result of the match was a tie and everybody commented that this should become a permanent fixture but at different local courses.
Competition for the Frank Vernon Cup
Even though this competition is open to all golfing Old Tettenhallians (with a bone fide handicap) the cup was played for by seventeen members of the OTGS on the 23rd June at South Staffs Golf Club in very pleasant weather. This event is our only medal competition and thus provides a sound challenge and test of golf. The winner was Jeremy Harris with a net 70 playing off 6 – a superb round of golf – and he also won the prize for the best gross for his 76. In second place, with a better back 9, was Steve Robinson with a nett 76. Third, also with nett 76, was Miles Jackson. OT President Geoff Hopkinson presenting the Vernon Cup to
Derek Sage kindly donated a trophy to the Society a few years Jeremy Harris at the Reunion Dinner back and this is awarded to the player with the best gross score on the four par threes. Jeremy Harris, Nick Parr and Steve Robinson all carded 13 shots, but it was agreed to award the trophy to Steve Robinson because he was the only one with a 2!
Match versus The Old Wufrunians
Ten sorry years have elapsed since the OTs last won the Challenge Shield. There have been eight losses and two tied matches during this desolate period but on 13th July David Lycett’s team routed the Old Wulfs and won 5 games to 1. An excellent result and hopefully back to winning ways. For the record: John Dove & Roger Ashton won 2 and 1 John Lloyd & Steve Robinson won 2 and 1 Jonathan Peters & Keith Grant-Pearce won 6 and 5 Jeremy Harris & David Williams (Headmaster) won 3 and 2 (proving two Heads are better than one!) Mike Parr & Ian Ward won on the 18th.
David Lycett receiving the Challenge Shield from Old Wulfs Captain Mike Henzell
David Lycett & Tony Corkindale narrowly lost 2 and 1 When asked for his comments David Lycett said: “I am really enjoying my first year as Captain of the Old Tettenhallians’ Golf Society. The support I am getting from our members is tremendously encouraging and our away days were great fun. Of our three matches played so far, those against Oxley Wanderers and Wolverhampton Cricket Club were both tight matches and drawn, but the highlight of the season so far must be the triumph against the Old Wulfrunians, winning the shield after it had been in their possession for the last ten years. The pairing of high and low handicaps was a real winning formula. May I place on record my thanks to the players that made the win possible - your contribution was so rewarding as was the presence of the Headmaster, David Williams.” We do need new members of the golf society – if you are interested to join us then please contact our Secretary/Treasurer Keith Grant-Pearce (email: email@example.com)
What does our School look like now?
Some OTs have not been back to the College in many years, maybe decades and wonder what the ‘old place’ looks like these days. Well, I spent one afternoon in early summer wandering about the grounds taking some photos of buildings and views, some of which are reproduced here. I hope you like them.
Main drive with the Jacks Building on the left (Administration Offices) and the Towers in the background.
The opposite view from the Towers looking at the Jacks Building, now two storeys – the main teaching block. Beyond in white are the Art & Design Dept. and Science Laboratories. The Chapel spire is in background.
Here we see the Main School with the Chapel on the first floor and now the library on ground floor. The old ‘Gymnasium’ classrooms are on the right.
The Chapel, showing the new style seating and the new stained glass windows installed in 2013 to commemorate the 150th Anniversary. Compared to the mid-20th century, the altar is at the opposite end of the chapel, with the organ behind the photographer.
‘Big School’ as it was known, has hardly changed and still houses the boys’ boarding house and dining room. The ‘playground’ in front is now a car park.
The girls’ boarding facilities, Thorneycroft House, is situated near ‘Big School’, to the right of the previous photo.
This is part of the new Preparatory School for pupils from just 2 years to 11 years old. The building is situated just beyond the Towers.
The Towers Theatre, with new lighting and stage layout together with special retractable audience seating.
Where Are They Now?
Deb Brook (nee Jennings) TC 1982 - 1984
I have remained in contact with the College since I left in 1984 through the annual reunions and have maintained friendships with a number of former pupils. I was honoured to serve as the President of the Old Tettenhallians a few years ago and I have been a member of the OT Committee since then. Having gained my degree in Music, Drama and Dance at Birmingham University in 1988, I then went on to complete a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and started my teaching career in Small Heath, Birmingham in 1989. I had a beautiful baby girl, Hannah in 1994 by which time I had moved to Tamworth with my husband and I relocated to Warwickshire to continue my teaching career. My son, Matthew, was born in 1998 and when I returned to work I started to gain an interest in pursuing leadership within the Education system. I attained the National Professional Qualification for Headship in 2004 and went into a permanent Headship at the infant school that I had been teaching in for 8 years. Following this I moved into Primary Headship in 2009 and remained there until 2015. I am now working as a supply teacher, working back with the age group that I love (4-7 years old) and I also had a couple of terms as a Nursery Head Teacher, which I enjoyed. My love of Musical Theatre has remained with me throughout my life. In 1989 I took on the Administrator and Director role of a youth theatre in Birmingham, directing two shows a year. By 2002 I opened my own youth theatre, ‘Youth Onstage’ also based in Birmingham and I continue to direct two shows a year, working with young people aged 8-25. Both of my children have also got the theatre bug and have both taken leading roles in our productions. I have also recently opened my own Performing Arts Business ‘Inspire’, which is currently based at The Royal Wolverhampton School. I am planning to develop ‘Inspire’ from September by working in Retirement and Care homes, encouraging older people to learn to play the piano, sing in choirs and maybe introducing some drama too! I am now divorced but have a partner who also enjoys my passion for ‘Youth Onstage’ - he makes the sets and fantastic props. I will be finally moving from Tamworth in July this year after twenty-four years so it will be a new start. Hannah is now 22 years old and is just completing her Masters degree in Forensic Psychology at the University of Central Lancashire and Matt has just completed his Public Services Qualification at College and so everything will be changing as they now enter the world of work too. Here’s to a happy and positive 2016-17!
Farhad Farhad (TC 1973-1977)
We are living on the west coast of USA in Washington State near Seattle. I left England in 1977 and went to university in the States. My home country Iran went into turmoil and I have never been back so I went to Vancouver in Canada and then back here to the States. Life has been great. Some of my best years were at TC – a great school. All that goes with being a boarding school pupil set me up for relatively good accomplishments with family and work.
Alan Jones (TC 1945 – 1950)
Living in Tettenhall, married to Shirley and we are both fit and well – enjoying life to the full. Daughter Mandy is living in Dorset and son Jeremy Ireland- Jones is Chairman of the Old Tettenhallians and is living in Tettenhall. I still keep in regular contact with old chums, Bill Evans and my brother Colin Jones (TC 1945 – 1950). Unfortunately, earlier in the year I lost my older brother Brian Jones. I have many happy memories of life at TC. See you at the next reunion!
David November (TC 1949-1953)
I am always grateful for your updates on OT events and informative emails - wherever I am!! Once more we are here in France near a town in Lot & Garonne in Aquitaine, (long previously occupied by the English...). We live in a house owned by our elder son and work with a small Protestant Church in a nearby town called Villeneuve - we 'do' the worship times half the time and run a small cafe in the church on a week day morning. So if you know anyone who might like to stay sometime in the larger house - it sleeps up to 12 - the rent is reasonable and the money goes to the Sierra Leone Mission that we have supported with money for their education for the past 14 years!! We trust that the annual Reunion will go just as smoothly as ever! Note from Hon. Editor: if you are interested in David’s house in France, do contact him – email firstname.lastname@example.org (he has given me permission to publish this).
Tim Rowe (TC 1954 - 1961)
I and my son Tim junior (TC 1986 - 1993) both work in the family forgings business started by our ancestor John Buckley in 1883. Over the years our Black Country company has made stampings for Rolls Royce, Dunlop and more recently for the architectural hardware trade. The most memorable stamping the company has ever made was probably when in World War 2 we made a brass fuel impeller stamping for the engine of the Spitfire fighter plane. My good friend at TC was John Humphries and I was his best man and he was mine when both got married. To this day I still see John and also Cyril Rushton for a pint at Cyril’s local in Telford.
Jeremy Ireland-Jones (TC 1976-1983)
Having hit my 50th year in May 2016, life is treating me well. Living in Tettenhall with my gorgeous wife Angela (HSBC) and two daughters Emily aged 20 who is studying Human Geography at Leeds University, although enjoying a year out working at IBM Watson in London, and Phoebe aged 17, balancing “A” levels and a hectic social life! After 16 years I left my role as European Export Sales Manager at AkzoNobel (formerly ICI paints) and joined Rodo Ltd. which is the largest distributor of decorative sundries into the Builders’ Merchant / DIY / Paint industry and I am now UK based. (Let me know if you need a paint brush or two!) Loving my sailing and cycling and heavily involved Jeremy (saddle-sore on the right) finishing the arduous ride from within the Old Tettenhallians Club. I sail a GP14 Wolverhampton to Aberdovey this summer. dinghy at South Staffs Sailing Club (Gailey / Cannock) and recently took part in the ‘Round the Island’ race (Isle of Wight) - albeit in someone else’s big boat. I believe Neil Chapman, old classmate and founder of boatshed.com also took part in his own yacht. Any local OTs wishing to give dinghy sailing a go, give me a shout … I’d be delighted to take you for a spin. You never know, you may well also get the bug! Trying to keep fit saw me join the mid-life crisis cycling fraternity complete with lycra, and have recently thoroughly enjoyed taking part in The London Revolution, Coast to Coast (from Whitehaven to Tynemouth) and the local Wolverhampton to Aberdovey bike rides. Always looking for a new challenge… hopefully I’ll see you at an OT event soon. I’m still in touch with Peter James, Simon Logan, Chris Wright, Ian Shorthouse and Phil Maddocks.
John Kennedy (TC 1942 – 1951)
I was at TC from the Autumn of 1942 and left in 1950 (or was it 1951). I was with my great friend John Sidebotham, who is sadly now deceased and the Griffiths brothers Alan and Brian. We had two Brian Griffiths in our class, and I believe the other Brian died some two or three years ago. Another great character was Craig Ward. After TC he joined either the RAF or RN Volunteer Force but sadly he died when the ‘plane he was flying failed to take off from the aircraft carrier he was on at the time. Maybe Tom Pottinger is still around and if he is a member of OTC I would very much like to contact him again. We had a Doug Pettinger but I never got to know him very well. Another ‘character’ in our class was ‘Mick’ (Mike) Edge and again if he is still about it would be interesting for me to find out more about his life. These are the names I remember plus ‘Jimmy’ Galloway who when we moved into Tettenhall Towers became notorious for walking out around all the roof balustrades. Mr. Field-Hyde was Headmaster and Mr. ‘Nipper’ Pine was his deputy. We had a brilliant History Master who instilled in me a great interest in things historical which has stayed with me all my life – he was a Mr. Hancock. Mr. Pond took us for Latin but our group was taught by a Mr. Harris. I believe he also taught us Physics as well. The College expanded rapidly in numbers at the time when non-fee paying boys came in. Although I missed quite a bit of schooling due to having two bouts of rheumatic fever when was a pupil, I owe a lot to TC especially to Mrs. Stace (she with “the roving eye”) who taught us French – a language I have used over the years (perhaps 40 years) when we visit France with our caravan. 18
Bill Snelson’s Award
Editor’s note: OT Bill Snelson (TC 1942 – 1949) was awarded the MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list in 2015 and we included an article on his achievement in our last magazine edition. At the time he had not been presented with his MBE, but in November 2015 he received it at Buckingham Palace. Bill’s wife Jean wrote a letter in December 2015 describing the event, and this follows. “Since our whole world is in complete turmoil due to terrorism, weather, politics and financial greed, I am not going to dwell on any of it – none of us need to be reminded! However, we have some news – good and very unexpected. Little did I think that when Bill and I were married in 1956, that in 2015 I would be sleeping with William Snelson MBE…. He had the original letter in early May from St. James’s Palace stating that he was to be awarded this accolade in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in June. All totally confidential until then, and sure enough (did I ever doubt it) there he is in the national press. Another lovely, almost Dickensian letter from St. James’s Palace to tell us we would be invited to Buckingham Palace during the year with some 5-6 weeks’ notice of the investiture. We actually went on 19th November and it was just wonderful! An amazing experience, and all carried out with true British expertise - the courteous and very warm welcome, the unbelievable surroundings, the dignified manner in which we were treated and of course the presence of H.R.H. Prince Charles who awarded the insignias. All in all it was a truly unforgettable experience that we did not want to end. Certainly the Brits are peerless at ceremonial and Royal occasions and we came away feeling very proud to be British, having just experienced such a day at close quarters. The Life Guards, both the Blues and Royals were stationed all the way up the grand staircase and the Yeomen of the Guard entered the Ballroom with due ceremony just prior to the arrival of the Prince. Following a really wonderful greeting and leisurely delicious lunch at the Goring Hotel, we left London to return to Juliet and Mark’s home in Buckinghamshire. They escorted us throughout the day and were overawed by it all. We were all exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. Bill handled it all magnificently and we are incredibly proud of him and his achievement. Bill’s summing up on the way home – “It’s one hell of a club to belong to!” All the recipients were an amazing group of folk and it was an honour to be amongst them and their families. Can’t add much more – just to say we are all, well … privileged to live in the British countryside and farm the land. Michael (Craig and Susie’s son) plans to get married in the summer and I guess the whole cycle of the Snelson family looks set to continue.”
Articles Contributed by Old Tettenhallians Sidney Fairfax Smyth (TC 1889-1894)
The Editor writes: I received this fascinating email last November 2015:“Dear Sir, I write from Victoria, British Columbia, this November 11th - Remembrance Day in Canada. Every year I observe the Remembrance ceremonies and, besides my army veteran father, I think of my English born grandfather who was wounded in the First War as a teenager, and who fought again in World War II, and finally my English born great-grandfather, a 40 year old infantryman of the First War. And it's on this day every year I try to touch them somehow, as though by touching keepsakes left to me, I have closer contact with them. I didn't know my great-grandfather, but I know he attended Tettenhall College. I know this because I possess several books given to him as prizes. Inside the front cover of one is a hand pasted sticker, with a drawing of the college building, under which is printed the name and logo: Tettenhall College, Staffordshire. Prize awarded to...then handwritten in ink it reads: ‘S.F. Smyth for Latin, Form IV, Alexander Waugh Young, M.A., Midsummer 1890’. He was also given another award, inscribed to 'Sidney Fairfax Smyth, for Industry and Perseverance'. This email probably seems a bit crazy, but after re-reading the inscription once again, I looked up Tettenhall online. To my surprise, I discovered it still exists, hence this epistle. I wanted the school to know how at least one of their boys fared when they left Britain, in this case about 1906. How he fought for Canada and the old country in the Great War, offering up his life so we can all live in peace. How he, thankfully, returned in one piece, and went on to successfully raise a family, working as a pioneer in Qualicum Beach B.C., which remains a small community on the east coast of Vancouver Island (not to be confused with Vancouver the city). All this because on each November 11, I remember him with gratitude, and I wanted someone else he's touched to remember him too. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Philip Nyren, Victoria, B.C., Canada” The Editor then checked the College’s Admissions Register and found these details:-Pupil no. 709: Sidney Fairfax Smyth – born 13th April 1877.Entered the College on 2nd May 1889 – left in July 1894.Father: Mander John Smyth. Occupation – manufacturer. Address: “Hillside”, Tettenhall. I passed this information back to Philip Nyren and then received the following email from him just before Christmas 2015. “Sidney Fairfax Smyth's father, my great-great grandfather, was indeed Mander John Smyth. I believe his mother was a member of the Mander family who founded the local paintworks in 1773, and married a Smyth, and called their son Mander as a first name. In any event, this is where Mander John Smyth worked, as did his son Sidney Fairfax Smyth I believe, at least for a while. My great grandfather had close, (ahem), relations with the family's Irish housemaid. This closeness necessitated emigration shortly after my grandfather and his sister were born, and so Sidney Fairfax Smyth became a gentleman farmer in Qualicum Beach BC. The rest of the family in England continued along without him. The Mander clan went on doing great things as did the Smyth family. My first cousin twice removed (my grandfather's first cousin) was Col. Kenneth Smyth, a WW2 officer. His story was told in the movie ‘A Bridge Too Far’. He led a group of fighters who were parachuted in too far behind enemy lines in Holland, and he was killed in action there. He was awarded the OBE posthumously for his work in setting up and training the 4th Parachute Brigade. His medal is on display at the museum in Arnhem donated by his daughter, the former Elizabeth Smyth, a long-time resident in Eastbourne. Kenneth was the grandson of Mander John Smyth, and nephew of Sidney Fairfax Smyth. I have to say, it's thrilling for me to have this back and forth with you given how slender the chances are I would get any kind of response to an email sent in a moment of melancholy. And it will continue to warm my heart every Remembrance Day when I think of him, that someone else will have remembered him too. If you have no objection, perhaps we can stay in touch from time to time. And if you're ever over this way again, I must buy you lunch. With gratitude, Philip Nyren”
Bob King (TC 1933 – 1940) Examination Nerves
One morning during the summer term in 1938 I and my friends in the Lower Sixth were due to sit the first examination paper of the School Certificate set by the Northern Universities Matriculation Board. We trouped into the examination room which was formerly ‘D’ Dorm but now a classroom. We were in a highly nervous state as this was the first external exam we were to take and our futures depended on it. The first paper was Geography and we knew that the first question would be on an ordinance sheet. We sat at our allotted desks where the paper had already been placed face down. In the room was the Headmaster, Horace Pearson, who taught us Geography and was to see us started and another member of staff who was going to invigilate. Once we had settled down the Head said innocently “Has anyone here been to Salcombe?” Nearly every hand went up as the school camp, organised by the second master Mr F.C.Pine had been at Salcombe for many summers. The hands of the clock moved to ten and the invigilator uttered the time honoured words “You may turn your papers over and begin writing.” We turned our papers over and there was the ordinance sheet with the bold heading “Salcombe”.
Bob King has written his “Memoirs” booklet about his early experiences, including military service in WWII
We could answer most of the questions without even looking at the ordinance sheet. At least we were off to a flying start!
The College in 1939 - 1940
In the summer term of 1939 the Second Master F.C. Pine decided to take a group on a cycling trip to Northern France. I was anxious to join it but the Headmaster Horace Pearson said that he had received an invitation for two boys to join a Schools and Works Camp in Anglesey and he would like Keith Hartley, who was Head Boy and in his last term, and I to go. The camp was modelled on the Duke of York`s Public Schools and Works camps. The Duke of York, who by then had become King George VI, had set up these camps whereby an equal number of boys from public schools and deprived working class areas would mix together enjoying camping activities together as a social experiment. They were not continued after the Second World War. Keith Hartley was noted for three things. He was the first to receive the Clay Scholarship to Oxford, he obtained a half blue for hockey in his first year there and during his entire last year at school while head boy he slept with one of the school maids (Helen) undetected. They had one very close escape. Towards the end of the summer term they were dallying one afternoon in one of the studies when to their consternation they heard the voices of the Headmaster and others in the adjoining study measuring the window for blackout curtains. Then, to their horror, they heard the Head say “Right, we will move next door.” However, another voice said “No need Headmaster, that window is exactly the same size as this one.” They then heard the party retreating down the corridor. Phew. We enjoyed the camp which as a holiday for us all was a success. We did all the usual things, played games, swam, hiked and put on entertainments, There were boys from Solihull and Sutton Coldfield. I palled up with the captain of rugby of Solihull School and we both looked forward to playing against each other in the oncoming winter term. It was not to be. The working class boys came from Netherton Dudley. We were shocked to find at breakfast that some of them had never eaten bacon before in their lives. At the end of the camp I joined the rest of my family at Prestatyn where we had holidayed every year since I was six years old. It was our last time there. I was looking forward to the coming school year. I had been appointed Head Boy and elected captain of rugby; we had the prospect of having the best team for some years and an attractive fixture list. We had already been fitted with gas masks and the windows in the school had black-out curtains, but even though the shadow of war loomed over us we believed that somehow it would be avoided. On the morning of Sunday the 3rd September my mother, sister Ethel and I were listening to the radio in our kitchen at home and we heard our Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announce that as from eleven o`clock that morning we were at war with Germany. A few minutes later the telephone rang - it was Ethel`s fiancé. He was a member of the RAF Volunteer 21
Reserve and had just received a telegram ordering him to report to his air station at Sleaford. Ethel burst into tears. She was not the only one to cry that day. My wife Pauline says that the only time she ever saw her mother cry was on hearing the news that the Second World War had broken out. Terry and Ethel were married in 1940. On the 24th September 1941 Terry was a navigator in a Blenheim bomber which did not return after a flight out of Malta. His name appears on the Malta Memorial in Floriana, Malta (Panel 1, Column 1). Shortly before lunch I rang the Headmaster to see if there was anything that I could do. “Yes” he said “Come up this afternoon.” It was generally assumed that air raids would start at once and it was against this background that he told me that organised games would have to be cancelled. This was before the College acquired the Towers and the school playing fields were at Newbridge, some distance away and the only available field available was a small soccer pitch in Henwood Road known as ‘Bottom Field’. He also said that as the school had no cellars, another air raid shelter needed to be dug if the school were to open on time for the winter term. So I rounded up as many sixth formers as possible and we spent the rest of the summer holiday digging trenches instead of swimming, playing golf or tennis or just lounging about. As a result the school did open on time. In fact only two bombs dropped on Tettenhall throughout the war - this was on the16th May 1941 when a neighbouring house in Wood Road was badly damaged and a number of school windows were smashed. The house was rebuilt after the war but is now the site of the Nuffield Hospital. What was our reaction to the news of the outbreak of the Second World War? We had been brought up on the Great War. Our English and History master, P.G. (Piggy) Smith was an inspiring teacher and a fine rugby player. He saw to it that we learned the war poets, Brooke, Owen and Sassoon and that we read Vera Brittain`s “Testament of Youth”. We acted or read aloud R.C. Sherriff`s play “Journey`s End”. We heard a lecture from Sir Norman Angel of the Peace Pledge Union, and we attended Oxford University Extension lectures on current affairs. I suppose our views were no different from those of the rest of the nation, many of whom had served in the previous conflict. How on earth had the world leaders allowed it to happen? It was fashionable to blame it all on the Treaty of Versailles. Modern historians claim that it is more complex than that and it became apparent that this war would not be over by Christmas! The School settled down to its normal routine despite the absence of organised games. There was PT for the boarders before breakfast, outside if fine or in the gym if wet. Mr Pine set up an unofficial cadet corps. It had no equipment to do weapons training but we studied signalling, map reading and infantry tactics. We did at one time acquire an air gun and used it for target practice and to our surprise Mr. Theobald, who taught French and German turned out to be a crack shot. The winter and spring terms were the time of the ‘phoney war’. All changed in the summer term. There was the retreat from Dunkirk and the defeat in Normandy. There was an imminence of invasion which lasted until the autumn of 1940. We were in our last term and had to decide what to do next. Conscription had been introduced in 1938 and the minimum age was twenty. We knew that it would be lowered to eighteen in due course and that we would probably have no more than a year before we were due to do national service. I had already decided that I wanted a career in the law and I had received offers from both Queens` and Christ`s Colleges at Cambridge. I was persuaded Cambridge over Oxford by Mr Pond who was a Cambridge man. In view of the uncertainty of the situation my father was all for me being articled (i.e. apprenticed) to a solicitor to get some practical training. To his credit he was persuaded by the School Staff that I should go to Cambridge and I am forever in his debt that he allowed me to do so. I went up to Queens` in October 1940 after seven very happy years at T.C. first as a day boarder and then as a boarder. Conscription age was reduced to eighteen in January 1941 so we volunteered for the armed services in the October. I became on officer cadet at the Officer Cadet Training Unit at Sandhurst. I returned to Cambridge six years later almost to the day.
Examination Nerves Revisited
In the summer of 1947, just nine years after sitting my School Certificate, I was about to sit the Cambridge Law Tripos, Part II, the law final examination. A group of friends had gathered in the College Grounds before proceeding to the University Law Schools where the examination was to be held. A good friend John Winterbotham, who was a classical scholar but was now reading law, came up to me and said “It is just over two years since I was in a Dakota aircraft flying over the Burmese Jungle. We had been shot to pieces and I said to myself “If I ever get out of this alive I shall never worry about anything else ever again” and here I am, not having had a wink of sleep all night worrying about a wretched exam.” Needless to say John obtained a good degree and went on to be a highly successful solicitor. So, younger readers who still have university or professional exams before them, take heart. We all get examination nightmares. As Douglas Field Hyde used to say “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…….”
A.J.C. (Tony) Carroll (TC 1950 – 59)
Having completed my A levels in the Lower VIth I left TC in December 1958 to go as an unqualified teacher at Springfield Secondary Modern School in Wolverhampton. The following year Mr Field-Hyde invited me back as an unqualified teacher to help Brian Dockerty in the PE Department until I went to St. Paul’s College Cheltenham for a three year PE course (Lyn Jobling was away at Carnegie for a year). It felt strange going into the staff room then answering a knock on the door to find prefects such as David Lewis and David Sumberg, who had been classmates, requesting to speak to one of my colleagues! By the time I went to Cheltenham I had gained some eye opening experiences in both the state and independent sectors of teaching. I followed the three year courses in PE and Tony and Wendy Carroll walking in Little Langdale, Cumbria Geography with teaching practices in rural Gloucestershire, Birmingham and West Bromwich. At St. Paul’s I was awarded my colours in rugby (Vice-Captain) and swimming and water polo (Captain). I also played in the basketball team and became very much involved in outdoor pursuits. Following my final teaching practice I was offered a post in the PE Dept. at Churchfields School, West Bromwich. Immediately I finished College Wendy and I married. We had met in the Espresso Coffee Bar in Wolverhampton when I was in the Vth Form and she was at The Girls’ High School. I taught in West Bromwich for three years before successfully applying for a Head of Department post at the newly established Phoenix School in Telford. Until this time I had continued playing for WRUFC (Wolverhampton Rugby Club), trying to referee school games on Saturday morning and racing back to play for the club in the afternoon! As Old Tettenhallians we formed the OTRUFC and we enjoyed more than five years of rugby attracting quite a number of the Wolves Teams to play with us. We found ourselves running two OT teams. Records show (OT magazine No.25 March 1969) that the 1 st XV played 27 won 18, drew 1, and lost 8. Points for 343 against 189 with the 2 nd XV producing an almost similar success in their 20 games. Stalwarts such as John Griffiths, Rod and Iain Seivewright, Rob Sparrow, Dickie Bird, Tony Hill, Cyril Baynton and Tim Rowe are but a few who wore the OT jersey. Brian Dockerty was always on the touchline, wrote reports for the press and was always present at the committee meetings. After I moved to Telford I eventually joined Wellington RUFC and attempted to continue with a hectic Saturday programme. During our time in Telford (we lived in Hilton then moved to Shifnal) Sarah was born followed by Craig three years later. During the next nine years I developed the Dual Use of the school facilities and found myself moving more and more into management. I then went to Loughborough University to become qualified in Recreation Management. During this time I was partly instrumental in helping Peter Lloyd (OT) in setting up Shifnal Squash Club. I saw my next progression into full time recreation management and applied for the manager’s post at the Recreation Centre, which was nearing completion, in Burnley. This was a completely new experience dealing with a manual staff of forty, working on three shifts on seven days a week with over 1,000 people attending each day to swim in one of the three pools, play sport in two sports halls, squash (6 courts) in addition to two other halls, fitness rooms, saunas, bar and catering facilities. During my time in Burnley I became involved in rugby refereeing and was invited to join the Manchester and District Rugby Union Referees Society (MRUFRS) eventually climbing the ladder and refereeing games at Sale, Preston and Lancaster University and many clubs and Independent Schools throughout the Northwest. Six years after the recreation centre opened we won the coveted ‘Sports Centre Management Award’ organised by the Sports Council (now Sport England). Following the award I was approached by the Sports Council Regional Director and invited to apply for a vacant post of Regional Officer with the Development Team based in Manchester. This meant quite a lot of travelling throughout the North West. It was a challenge and a job I thoroughly enjoyed helping a wide variety of clubs develop by providing advice and grant aid. I was also involved with the ‘Sports Aid Foundation’ (SAF) assisting talented athletes and Secretary of the ‘North West Federation for Sport Recreation and Conservation’ (NWFSRC). I was then appointed to the post of Senior Regional Officer. But this made me more office bound. I maintained my sanity by having the opportunity to see the ‘hills of the north’ from my 5th floor office window! I then began to hanker after getting back to the ‘coalface’. 23
During a chance conversation with the Headmaster of Malsis Preparatory School (North Yorkshire) where our son, Craig, had attended before moving on to Sedbergh, he invited me to join the staff to develop the PE department and run the History Department (don’t cringe GVH!). After negotiating a suitable salary deal I took up the offer and threw myself totally into the work enjoying every minute combining my teaching skills with those I had developed in management. I was soon a Housemaster and then Senior Housemaster, taking outdoor pursuits, rugby tours to Scotland, Canada and Ireland.
Salcombe Camp, July 1956. Back row:?, Millward, John Swallow, Peter Elliot, Tony Carroll. Front: Alf Turley, Peter Till, Tony and Peter Toghill
One of the most outstanding highlights of my time at Malsis was the raising of £7,000 in 1990 by completing the National Three Peaks in under 24 hours with a team of three members of staff, three Old Boys of Malsis (including Craig our son) and three thirteen year olds.
During this time Wendy had had a successful career becoming a Senior Radiographer and then, with further training, head of the Ultrasound Department in Burnley GH. She also presented papers on Ultrasound techniques at a National Conference. Just after I joined Malsis Wendy brought her teaching skills to Malsis in the Junior Department. It was ideal for us to be working in the same establishment and weekends in the boarding school were no chore to us. The long holidays also prepared us for retirement in 2000! Sarah and her husband, Neil, developed an extremely successful business. They have two boys, one at university and the other at Giggleswick School. We moved to Giggleswick in 2011 and see them very regularly. Craig is a consultant in anaesthetics at Hope Hospital, Salford and his wife, Kirsty, also a consultant, have two daughters. Amongst our many hobbies in retirement Wendy and I are Volunteers with the Lake District National Park. We are very much involved with the many varied activities in the National Park ranging from guided walks, footpath patrols to wall repairs and surveys of Rights of Way and bridges. It keeps us busy and we meet many people during the course of our volunteering. Having dug out the pile of OT Magazines from the loft I have had to drag myself away from the pleasure of reading them all at once! One edition has many autographs amongst which are. M. Winyard, Alan ‘Spud’ Taylor, L.L. Jobling, Miss Gould, F.F. Frew, B.H. Dockerty and Cliff Wood. With the arrival of the splendid 2015 edition of the ‘Old Tettenhallian’ I was inspired to look at an old photograph album of Salcombe Camp having seen Peter Morrey’s photographs. The photo included above was at the camp in 1956 and I had cycled there from Wolverhampton, leaving in the afternoon and staying overnight at a Youth Hostel in Bristol – something you would not contemplate today! In the same album I found photographs of the 1957 cycling holiday in Brittany on which Harry Hoar, Ian Ward and I became separated from the main party within an hour of landing! We spent the night sleeping rough until eventually being caught the following day by the rest who had taken the coastal route! Bursar Brown, Roy Andrews and FCP did not seem unduly worried! Mr & Mrs Ward were also with the party. Others I recall were Page, Evans, Proffitt, Murdoch, Seedhouse, Bond and Alf Turley (I can’t recall all the Christian names!)
July 1957 – Wolverhampton Low Level Station en route to Britanny. Harry Hoar, Ian Ward, Alf Turley, Malcolm Smith, Tony Carroll, Mr. Pine, ?, Proffitt, Bond, Seedhouse, Evans and Frank Brown (Bursar).
Other recollections include sleeping in a nunnery, three of us consuming a large omelette meant for the whole group, swimming during a storm at St. Malo, somehow transporting our college blazers on our bikes, playing bridge on the Falaise, breaking the table when the ship heaved and being seasick – the memories come flooding back! Several of those I have mentioned and others are sadly no longer with us but their memory continues.
James Frew (TC 1941 – 1952)
Note from the Editor: I received this email from Jim Frew who lives in Australia. He sent the photo below of the College’s 1944 Scout Group together with a list of names. Jim’s email reads: “To the best of my recollection this was the only photo of the troop ever taken in my time, though I left scouts probably the next year. I do not remember the photo ever being posted anywhere in the College building. I also recollect getting into trouble with my parents for having the nerve to order a large size print, the cost of which no doubt appeared on their account from the College! I certainly recollect quite a number of the members in the troop, some of whom would have been in my year. Some also eventually became noted students in their final years at College, such as Peter Shenton who was Head Prefect in my last year but one. I also couldn’t help comparing the young Bill Snelson with the photo in the 2015 OT magazine. He was pretty skinny in his youth. Judging from my handwriting on the reverse of the photo, I must have recorded the names of the troop members quite soon after receiving the photo as I would have found it impossible to name more than a few today.
Left to right/back row: Howell, Sadler, Griffiths A., Edge, Seward, Pettinger, Blanning, Griffiths B., Taylor A., Nickless, Pottinger, Clarke, Sprang, Ward, Shakesby T., Westwood. Second row: Snelson, Black, Norman, Shakesby J., Moore, Minshull R., Beddows, Blakemore, Grant, Shenton, Williams, Butler, Hitchman, Jeffries, Frew, Beaumont. Third row: Pine RN., Preece, Hanstock, Lane, Jemmett, Dunn, Nicklin, Swan, Walters, Haynes, Blomfield, Jennings, Morton, Kershaw, Randolph, Gibbons.Fourth row: Spencer, Wilkes AJ., Norcott, Minshull, Taylor R., Robinson D., Steers, F.C. Pine Esq., Pine J., Brentnell, Frost RH., Robinson J., Wager, Beasley, Frost PW. Front row: Bateman, Dudley E., Walton, Cariss, Griffiths M., Pugh, Minshull JA., Hancox, Dudley R., Creed, Roberts, Russell. The photo was taken by Bennett Clark Ltd who took many of the formal sports and other photos for the College. I also wonder if the scout flag still exists – it used to stand in a corner of the chapel to the right of the organ in my time. The scouts were a popular activity around the time of this photo and largely due to the enthusiasm of Mr. Pine. However, I have no recollection of the scout activities other than going on one of their camps – no idea where we camped except that it was near a canal. I also recollect sitting on – and getting stung - by a wasp, very painful memory!”
The College In The 1950s - My Running Recollections by Peter Radford (TC 1951 – 1957)
I arrived at Tettenhall in September 1951, the month of my 12th birthday and left in July 1957. The six years between the ages of 12 and 17 change everyone and everyone’s story is of course, different just as every one of us ends up quite different from each other, while doing very similar things together at school. Most of us, thankfully, are very adaptable at the age of 12, and I can remember learning the ropes quickly. I started in a classroom no longer there, one of the new ones near the Fives Court, also no longer there. I quickly learned, for example, that whenever we had to go to the Towers, for music, let’s say, noone ever walked - we ran as if our lives depended on it. At break time we ran to the tuck shop in a similar manner. I learned that the class always posted a look-out charged with shouting ‘cavee’ to warn us of any approaching prefect or teacher. I learned a six-day school routine finishing at 5.20 pm, with sport on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. I remember the boys, of course, and the teachers, though, sadly, I have remembered rather less of what they taught than I should have. School is also a place, and I remember how I liked it, quite independently of it being a school Peter with the Olympic torch at Blenheim Palace - the flower-beds and shrubs, the woods and the various trails down to the in 2012 playing fields. I liked those too, floating, I seem to remember, above the Henwood Road that ran alongside it. I liked the theatre in the Towers with its dark wood and carved pillars. I even liked the walk up from the bus stop by the clock, and the walk through the village and through the gates into this secluded world. It was all so different from Walsall where I started every day. But a school is more than the boys, teachers, lessons, and even sport and extra-curricular activities. Schools have a mood, an atmosphere, and that can be as important as any of the above, and perhaps more so. When I was at Tettenhall, it seemed to me to have a very calm mood; there was no bullying, no cliques and I never felt outside any group even if I wasn’t part of it. It is hard to explain. It was rather like a smorgasbord - everything was there to help oneself to if you wanted it, or if you knew how to; but you didn’t have to. We laughed a lot I remember, but perhaps, giggled is a better word. We laughed at the teachers, particularly as we are supposed not to. I remember one teacher with half-eye spectacles, now not fashionable, but useful because the wearer didn’t have to take them on and off, he simply looked down through them for reading, and looked up over them to look into the classroom. On this particular day, the teacher had put one arm of his glasses into his ear rather than over it and we thought it was hilarious, but of course said nothing - so we began to laugh. He had no idea why we were laughing, which made it funnier still and the whole class was convulsed with laughter. I can still remember laughing so much that I couldn’t speak, or even see, and I ached with laughing. A silly schoolboy episode that I can remember after sixty years, and long after the details of the Archimedes Principle, or whatever it was that we were supposed to be concentrating on. But I don’t think our laughter was cruel or hurtful; we just found a lot to laugh at. The mood of a school doesn’t only come from the top, but what happens at the top certainly makes a big difference. In my time at Tettenhall the Headmaster was F.D. Field-Hyde, and although in recent years I have heard that some people didn’t like him (but that probably goes with the territory for a school Head). For me however, he seemed the perfect Headmaster, a bit lofty, a bit unapproachable, but one who I suspected knew just about everything! On the few times I had to go into his office alone, I was extremely nervous but always found him fair, and even benign. I still have on my shelves just feet away from where I am writing this, a book of road-maps he gave me in 1957 inscribed with his best wishes and written in his small, neat handwriting. On the very first Tuesday afternoon of my Tettenhall experience I was introduced to rugby on the pitch that used to be at the far-side of The Towers (something else that is no longer there!). Here, Mr Bicknall stood us (all in our brand-new kit) on the nearest goal-line, while he stood in the centre of the pitch. On the word, we all had to run to him, as hard as we could. It was his way of quickly deciding who would be his forwards, and who his three-quarters. From that moment I was on the wing, and played in the U-13 team for the rest of the season. Hockey came after Christmas and then it was cricket after Easter, and of course Sports Day. But it wasn’t just Sports Day; it was the two week lead-up to it that was so special when we all tried to get as many Standard and Advanced Standard points as possible to add to our House totals. Pearson house, in my case. Looking back, I still think it was the most brilliant introduction to athletics that I have ever seen or heard of, but of course after my day some new person came along and, to make their mark, decided to ‘improve’ it and so a great system was destroyed. 26
It worked like this: every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon for two weeks teachers and senior prefects made their way to their stations on the playing field and waited for boys to turn up. They were stationed at various places armed with a stop watch or measuring tape to officiate the shot, discus, javelin, long jump, triple jump, high jump, 100 yards, 220 yards, 440 yards, 880 yards. Perhaps there was the one mile too, but I don't remember. There were Standards and Advanced Standards for all the events and all the age groups. You simply turned up at the event you wanted to try, and waited your turn or, if it needed a group (as in the running events) you waited for enough to turn up or went around gathering people up to run with you. The whole school seemed to be there, milling around, deciding what events to do and no-one actually taught you how to do any of them. You might get a demonstration, then you had a go. If it went wrong or wasn’t good enough you could have another go, and another and another. Or you could go away, work on it and go back in a few days and try again. Somehow, we all seemed to have some success and the House totals steadily climbed. Theoretically, it would have been possible to loll around on the grass watching everyone else but peer pressure probably prevented that. If you earned a set number of Standards or Advanced Standards you were eligible to wear a rosette of light and dark blue ribbon and we wore our rosettes with pride, before and during Under 13 Rugby Team in 1952/3. Peter is standing in the back row, third from right Sports Day. In a future age, educators would have enthused about the system and talked about the importance of such self-initiated activity, the self-exploration, the self-discovery, and the self-pacing, and that learners would truly own the skills acquired in that way. But none of that was talked about then. In May 1952, I won the U-13 100 yards, and I remember the next day my Latin teacher saying to the class, but looking at me, “you can get a completely different impression of someone when you see them in a different context.” I know I had not impressed him with my Latin! If I am looking for a defining moment in my time at Tettenhall, was this victory it? Was this where my athletics career began? It probably was. But there was a broader context too. 1952 was an Olympic year, and in the weeks after Sports Day the papers were filled with stories of British athletes and I focused on McDonald Bailey, the British 100 and 220yds champion, cut out pictures of him and stuck them on my bedroom wall. ‘Picture Post’ did a double-page spread of him starting, and I made a kind of poster out of it. In July he finished 3rd in the Olympic 100m final in Helsinki - a great triumph, only 4/100 of a second behind the winner. After my victory in the U-13 100 yards in the Tettenhall College Sports, I became fascinated in sprinting and read all I could about it, and particularly of McDonald Bailey. This was where my sprinting career began but it wasn’t straightforward of course, nothing is. Even on that first day, after winning the 100, I went on to be beaten convincingly in the 220 by Bambi Richardson. The following year, I didn’t run in the 100, but got beaten into 3rd place in the 220 (on a straight course on the playing fields!). Being a sprinter wasn’t going to be plain sailing it seemed, but in May 1953, the school entered a team in a 4x220 yards relay in a NW Midland InterSchools Meeting at Marsh Lane Playing Fields, and we won it in record time (G. Cohen; PR; A.J. Lovern; R.F. Andrew), and two weeks later . . . I had a dream. I had been brought up a Quaker, so there was no drinking or swearing in the Radford household, no talk about horseracing and definitely no gambling. One school morning I got up as usual and went downstairs and told my mother that I had had a dream that in a few days’ time, Choir Boy would win the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot. Odd as that most certainly was, my mother was non-committal, saying no more than “oh!” A few days later when I went to pick up my pocket money, instead of handing me the usual half-a-crown my mother handed me £1 7s 6d, explaining - “Choir Boy won at 10 to 1, and I put your pocket money on it,” she said. I was speechless, but later, I went with money in my pocket to W.H. Smith’s in Walsall and bought a book – “If It’s Speed You’re After” by McDonald Bailey. I don’t believe in the supernatural, or of inner voices telling me of future things. I must have seen or heard something about it, perhaps subliminally, and it came out in a dream. In any event, it never happened again, and I did not make my living as a horse-race pundit or a soothsayer. Perhaps I learned about Choir Boy subconsciously on the bus. Private car ownership was at a very low level in 1953 and most men went to work on the bus. I say men advisedly, because women in the main did not go to work and were at home looking after their families. On the bus men would sit reading their paper, and most would read it backwards, from the back page to the front; i.e. starting with the sport. Choir Boy was the Queen’s horse,
and the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot was only four days after the young Queen’s coronation! There would have been a lot of chatter and newspaper coverage of it at the time. When it won, it seemed to be meant! In the week before the Royal Hunt Cup, I had caught 36 buses. I could have seen a headline in any one of countless newspapers on any one of those buses; but then I caught 36 buses every week to get to and from school. It took me three buses in the morning to get from my part of Walsall, via Darlaston, where I changed buses and caught one into Wolverhampton where I changed buses again and caught one to Tettenhall. So, three buses to get to school and three buses to get home at the end of the day, and with school being six days a week I caught 8,000 buses just to get to and from school on normal school days in my time at Tettenhall. 8,000 buses is, in itself, something of an education. You don’t just sit on them, you have to get on and off them and I soon learned that I had to acquire new skills to do that efficiently. Take Darlaston as an example - the Walsall bus arrived in Darlaston and turned left and stopped 50 yards down the road, but the Wolverhampton bus departed from 50 yards straight along the road from where the bus had turned left, so if I waited to get off the Walsall bus at its stop, and then walk, or even run, to the Wolverhampton bus, I would miss it and have to wait for the next, making me late Sports Day in 1955 for school and forcing me to slink into the back of chapel as invisibly as possible. The solution was simple; be on the platform of the bus as it turned the corner in Darlaston, jump off and sprint for the Wolverhampton bus and throw myself on as it was leaving. I became very good at jumping off moving buses, and leaping onto moving ones. It was just a matter of timing. This was before the days when buses acquired doors and forced one to wait for them to open. It was an altogether freer age, before the neurotic fears of the ‘elf-&safety’ industry. As the years went by I reckoned I could jump off a bus going at 30mph - actually, drop off would be a better description. The trick was to lean out, face the way the bus was going, drop off and start running as fast as you could, even before your feet had touched the ground. Think of the Road-Runner cartoons! Getting on at speed was also a matter of timing. You needed two hands, so throw your bag on first (I always carried a bag because I almost always had my kit with me), run in the direction that the bus was going, wait for it to almost go by and then grab the two vertical poles/handles at the back and hop onto the back of the platform before it disappeared out of sight. It was always a close call, and after throwing my bag on I often had to sprint flat out, or wave goodbye to my bag forever! Once, many years later when I was World Record holder and Olympic medallist, I repeated that trick at high speed and the bus conductor gasped as I got on - “Blimey!” he said, “who do you think you are, Peter Radford?” My 1953 athletics season was over on the 9th May, but you could hardly call it a season - it had lasted two days! But there was a mood of optimism in the air. The Queen’s coronation was on 2nd June, and four days later Gordon Richards won the Derby on Pinza. That means nothing to those under 75 perhaps, but Gordon Richards was the jockey of his time but at the age of 49 one great success still eluded him - the Derby, so when he won the Derby in June 1953 it was seen as a sort of symbol that anything was possible if you persevered. Hadn’t Everest Tettenhall College Air Training Corps in 1957. Peter Radford is standing directly behind the Headmaster, been conquered at the end of th 4 from left May? Hadn’t England won the Ashes after 20 years with Dennis Compton scoring the winning runs? Hadn’t Little Mo won Wimbledon at the age of 18, and hadn’t Randy Turpin won the vacant World Middleweight Championship in front of 54,000 fans at the White City? One thing one learned in the summer of 1953 was that anything was possible. I began thinking about the next athletics season, my next athletics season. Walsall had no running track, and so there wasn’t a local athletics club for me to go to in the holidays. I had no coach, but I had McDonald Bailey’s book - and I hatched a plan.
In 1953 I was in a classroom in the Towers. It was on the first floor with sash-windows overlooking the (now non-existent) rugby pitch, and on the other side of the window was a fire-escape leading down. On the last day of school in July, and at the end of the final class of the school year, we all stood in the aisles between our desks waiting to be dismissed. On the word the boys filed out; I was about three desks from the front but I managed to slip to the back and undo the latch of the window ensuring that the window was closed but unlocked, and then went home for the summer holidays. The plan was to go back to school in the holidays, climb up the fire escape and in through the window. I could train there to my heart’s content. There was a changing room downstairs and water to drink from the tap and a place to shelter from the rain, but would it work? On my first visit I peered anxiously up the drive hoping no-one was there, and then walked hastily towards the Towers half expecting to hear a voice Competing in Sports Day, 1956 shouting “Hey! - what are you doing here?” But I saw no-one and there was no voice shouting at me. I went to the back of the Towers and climbed the fire escape. Still there was no-one around. Would the window open? Would someone have locked it? I tried it - it moved. I pushed it up and stepped inside. On all my visits back to the school, I never saw or heard anyone. It was as if someone had waved a magic wand over the busy school I knew so well, and suspended it, quiet and still, just for me. I changed, climbed out of the window and down the fire escape and made my way down through the woods to the playing field. I went to the far side, nearest the road, opened “If it’s Speed You’re After”, laid it on the ground open at page 28, and started. Monday: (1) Start by jogging for 440 to 880 yards in warming-up shoes, not spikes. (2) Five to ten minutes of exercises, body bending and stretching (slowly and rhythmically, paying attention to deep breathing). (3) Run through 130 yards (over-distance, twice, at half effort, working up to three-quarters effort, twice). (4) Run 50 yards once or twice at just under full speed (seven-eighth effort), with high knee-lift action. and so on. 1954 was an important season to prepare for because I would be 14, and boys could then join the ATC. Tettenhall, had its own Air Training Corps Squadron (1045 Squadron), and they did athletics in the summer. They also did drill, and we even entered drill competitions. We had our own armoury and learned to shoot, but no-one was anywhere near as good as Frank Everall. We did survival courses (Bear Grylls, eat your heart out!), and Aircraft Recognition where we learned to recognise different aircraft and were tested by showing us pictures of a corner of a tail-fin or wing-tip, or a plane the size of an ant disappearing behind a cloud. We learned Morse Code and learned to transmit and receive it at good speeds, and we learned to do things that now don’t seem to fit into anything else, such as how to use snow shoes which we learned on the top rugby pitch, how to use chopsticks and even how to stay on your camel if it broke into a gallop - a skill I have never had reason to call on. The ATC also had a uniform of RAF blue. On ATC days we wore our uniforms to school and wore them to all the classes, and so looked like miniature RAF men. It was quite cool really, but the age of ‘cool’ would not officially arrive until 1955 when James Dean appeared in the film “Rebel Without a Cause” - perhaps we were ahead of the game. But for me, the real attraction of the ATC was the athletics. In June 1954, 1045 Squadron went to RAF Stafford for the Staffordshire Wing Athletics Championships. Tettenhall (and Walsall) were in the county of Staffordshire then, and the West Midlands was not even a twinkle in a political engineer’s eye. I won the 100 and 220, and we won the 4x110 yards relay and so returned to school in triumph. This qualified us to go to RAF Peter receiving Sports Day prizes from Mr. and Mrs. Field-Hyde in 1956 Bridgnorth for the (63) Group Championships, representing the Staffordshire Wing. I won the 100 and 220 again and our relay team won again (though now representing Staffordshire Wing) - R.F. Andrew, A.J. Lovern, D.G. Richardson, P.R.
Three weeks later I represented 63 Group at the ATC National Champions at RAF Uxbridge on a top-class black cinder track - the first proper track I had ever run on. I won the 100 there and so picked up my first ‘national’ title. This was the turning point in my athletic life, but shared with many friends from school who were also proving themselves to be good athletes. 1955 was something of a repeat. I won the ATC National Championships again and once again our relay team was successful, but I was also able to add the All-England Schools Championship to my collection, winning the Intermediate 100. But it was the ATC that provided another, unexpected, opportunity. In August, an invitation 100 yards was arranged between the ATC and the ACF (Army Cadet Force) to be held during the GB v. Hungary athletics match at the White City, London - the headquarters of British athletics. I was second but this was big-time athletics on a famous track and in front of a big crowd. I was still only 15, but my fate was sealed. And I use the word fate advisedly. Fate was very kind to me. I was very lucky to be at Tettenhall and to be given the opportunities it provided, lucky that Peter in February 2013 unveiling a mural at Tettenhall then had its own ATC Squadron. Lucky too, that when I got back Aldersley Stadium commemorating his to school after running at the White City, someone said “Do you know that achievements they are building a running track at Aldersley?” My fairy godmother was obviously looking after me. I walked there and found it was still a building site but I kept going back and got to know the grounds man and came to an understanding with him. At first he let me onto the newly laid track just to get the feel of it, providing I didn’t wear spikes or go on the inside lane. Long before it was open to the public I was permitted to run on the new track - once again I had may own private training facility. I walked there after school and soon found a more interesting way along the canal bank; I wonder if you can still do that? Technically, I think it is probably a river but it looked like a canal and that is what we always called it. Aldersley Stadium was officially opened in June 1956 but the Staffordshire AAA held their County Championship there the week before by way of a trial-run for the official opening. It was strange to see ‘my’ track full of people, for I had already taken a kind of ownership of it. I won the Youths’ (15-17) 100, on a cold day and into a head wind. It might legally be the Wolverhampton Municipal Sports Stadium but over the six months leading up to its official opening it became something personal to me, and I came to think of it as mine. Athletes and coaches began gathering there on a Sunday morning, so I added Sundays to my bus-hopping routine, now making it seven days a week. With Aldersley now open, I was able to abandon the practice of training on the grass at school. But my fairy godmother wasn’t finished. At the end of the year I learned that RAF Cosford was going to put on a series of Indoor Athletics meetings - the first such in the country, and in January 1957 I began to compete there. I wasn’t the only one to benefit of course, as in March Tettenhall held an indoor athletics match there against the RAF Cosford Cadets. I won the 60 yards and 330 yards, and we won the 10-lap Medley relay (PR; P. Lloyd; J.A. Hill; D.C. Greenland). So, during my final year and a half at Tettenhall the school had become the centre of a charmed athletic circle, with Aldersley and RAF Cosford all within a few miles radius of the school; a complete athletics universe for me to help myself to - and it was while training on my own at Aldersley one evening that I met my coach Bill Marlow, who would be with me until I retired. Bill’s son (also Bill) would later teach PE at Tettenhall. It was Bill Marlow who introduced me to the mysteries of indoor athletics. In those days RAF Cosford did not have a purpose-built banked athletics track, it had a large (very large!) shiny sprung gym floor. Spikes were not allowed, but I learned that running 60 yards was better done barefoot, although it could be slippery around the turns, and it was discovered that sprinkling Tide washing-powder on the floor before a race produced very good traction. Tettenhall had a good athletics team then and after its indoor match with the RAF Cosford Cadets in March we went to the London Athletic Club Schools Challenge Cups Meeting at the White City, London, in April. This was undoubtedly and historically, the premier schools meeting in Britain. The All-England Schools Meeting was an inter-counties match whereas, in the LAC Schools Meeting individual schools entered. The Tettenhall 4x110 yards relay team was third (PR; M.S. Reed; P.A. Millward; G.T. Millard), and I won the 100. A good result against the best school teams in Britain. Sid Reed was also in the Staffordshire Schools 4x110 yards relay team with me at Southampton at the All-England Schools, and although we did not win we were only a fifth of a second slower than Sussex, the eventual winners. I was also able to win the 100 yards there again. And so my Tettenhall athletics career came to an end but the foundation had been laid. Within a year of leaving Tettenhall, I had equalled the British Indoor 60 yards record twice at RAF Cosford, and had set a new English Native Record for the 100 yards, breaking the record that had stood for over 40 years - and at Aldersley too. Also in that year I broke all the British sprint records (100 yards, 100m, 200m, 220 yards, 4x100m, 4x110 yards), received my first British vest, and ran for England
in the British Empire and Commonwealth Games, significant for me, not only because of the athletics but because I was able to meet McDonald Bailey! The early strands of my athletic life that had come together at Tettenhall and in the charmed circle around it, continued to exert a powerful influence on me, and it seemed only fitting that in 1960 when I broke the World Record for 200m and 220 yards, I did so at Aldersley Stadium making it a very rare athletics location. Only Crystal Palace in London has since then hosted a British male athlete setting a ratified World Record in an Olympic event - i.e. when Dave Bedford set a new World Record there for 10,000m in 1973. Tettenhall College was very good to me, and for me. It was there that I began my athletics career which eventually led to indoor and outdoor World Records and medals in the European, Commonwealth and Olympic Games. There has been much more to my life than running but it was at Tettenhall that so much of it began. If those I was at school with got half as much from Tettenhall as I did, they would have reason to be very pleased indeed. Note from the Hon. Editor: Peter Radford’s athletic achievements included: 2 Commonwealth Gold medals 2 Olympic Bronze medals in 1960 in Rome 3 World records – one set at Aldersley Stadium in 1960 for 200 metres. In addition he achieved 9 Commonwealth, 5 European and 45 British records (some of the latter by breaking the same record several times). Beyond his personal athletics achievements, Peter earned a PhD in the Institution of Physiology at Glasgow University in 1979 and later became Professor of Sports Science there. He chaired the Council of Europe’s International Anti-Doping Convention in Strasbourg. He took up a position as Executive Chairman of the British Athletics Federation. He later returned to academic life as Professor and Head of Sports Sciences at Brunel University. In 2012 Jamie Robinson broke Peter’s 400 metres College record which he had set 55 years earlier. The portrait of Peter (shown above) in the College Reception area of the Jacks Building and the mural at Aldersley Stadium were both kindly donated by John Margetts. And here’s a surprising thing - in 2011 Peter won the National Garden Competition judged by Monty Don. He has green fingers as well as twinkling feet!
Nigel Bennett (TC 1960 – 1966)
I attended Tettenhall College from 1960 to 1966 (I think – after all it was a long time ago). This was in the bad old days when Tettenhall was a single sex school. It was the time of Mr. Field-Hyde, Mr. Hancock, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Stonestreet, Mr. Andrews and Mr. Cope. It was the time of corporal punishment and swimming naked in the pool if you dared forget your swimsuit. There was Chapel block, Towers and the New Block (Maurice Jacks Building), and of course the woods and sports fields – three rugby fields as I remember, and the cricket pitch with its pavilion. And the Fives Courts. For me it was a whole new wonderful world. I was born in Essington, just the other side of Wolverhampton from Tettenhall, and I was lucky enough to pass the Eleven Plus (I don’t think that exists any more) with a high enough grade to be offered a scholarship to the College. I think my parents paid seven pounds a term, and I know they had difficulty finding that, but find it they did and I spent six happy (well, mainly happy) years at the school. I had Nigel (seated on the left) performing in “The Merchant of Venice” at the Leicester to catch two buses to get to school so I missed Phoenix Theatre in about 1975 Chapel and was excused late every day. School was a six day week. We had no lessons on Wednesday afternoons; instead we played cricket or rugby depending on the time of the year, against other schools. And we had lessons on Saturday mornings, followed by rugby or cricket matches in the afternoon. 31
It was at the College that I was first introduced to theatre by Mr. Cope, and later Mr. Bishop. I clearly remember signing a list on the Notice Board asking for people who were interested in taking part in the school play. It was Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra”. I played an Egyptian citizen with about half a dozen others and was immediately hooked. Every year from then on I took part in the plays. We did “Peer Gynt”, “She Stoops to Conquer”, “The Hollow Crown” and “A Man for All Seasons”. There was also a piece called, I think, “The Three Cavaliers”. I remember it only because during a rehearsal I had to jump down from a balcony on the stage and I messed it up and broke bones in both my wrists. I ended up doing the play with casts on both arms and wearing gloves to hide them. I recently performed in “She Stoops to Conquer” again, and I realised that I still had my old script complete with many notes and explanations in my cramped and almost illegible hand. I had no idea at the time that drama at the College would shape my whole life. I wanted to go to University, but I messed up my ‘A’ levels (I answered both parts of an ‘either/or’ question) and ended up in a College of Education in South Wales studying History and Drama. I did try to get into Theatre School but failed miserably at the audition and was summarily dismissed. My parents had driven me down to London for the audition and on the way back my mother, for the first of many times, told me I would have to get a proper job.I did get a proper job as a teacher which lasted one year and one term, and I hated every minute. Nigel (right) with David Suchet when they both took part in the
I am a professional actor and have been for the last 44 years. I world tour of “The Last Confession”. The photo was taken live in Canada and work regularly at the Stratford Festival (the backstage at the Theatre Royal, Sydney. Ontario one) and many other theatres, and also in film and television. I feel very fortunate that I have been able to make a reasonable living from my craft and I have no intention of ever stopping. So long as people offer me work I will do it. I have travelled the world as a performer. I have worked in England, U.S.A., Germany, Italy, Australia, Namibia, Holland and Bulgaria. I have been nominated four times for a Gemini Award (the equivalent of the BAFTA’s in Canada) and won once. I have also been nominated for an ACTRA award three times (the Canadian equivalent of the Screen Actors Guild Awards) and won twice. I have worked in London’s West End, playing Adrian Mole’s father George in “The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole”. My career has been exciting, challenging, scary, fulfilling and hard, hard work. I’ve worked with some major stars. I appeared in “Narrow Margin” with Gene Hackman and Anne Archer; “Murder at 1600” with Wesley Snipes; “Legends of the Fall” with Brad Pitt and I have just finished working on the latest in the “xXx” franchise, “The Return of Xander Cage” with Vin Diesel. I was in the British mini-series called “The State Within” featuring Jason Isaacs and a very long time ago I appeared in an episode of “Coronation Street”. I also played the vampire Lacroix in “Forever Knight” – the very first television series about vampires. I was rehearsing an Alan Ayckbourn play in Toronto some years ago and chatting to another cast member when the subject of school came up – and would you believe it, he too had been a pupil at Tettenhall College, a year or so below me. His name is Antony Bekenn and we are still good friends. I was a little kid with a paper round, dreaming of being famous one day. I’m not famous, nor I think will ever be. But I have a career that has challenged, excited and fulfilled me and has made me happy. I don’t think you can ask for much more than that. And it all started with that eleven year old signing the sheet for the school play at Tettenhall College.
Peter Morrey (TC 1947 – 1955)
An account of a College trip in 1954 to the Adriatic Island of Rab, Yugoslavia, travelling by railway and ferry boats. Mr F.C. Pine, the deputy Head Master of Tettenhall College had long devised a plan for an informative school tour to the beautiful Island of Rab, in what was then Yugoslavia. Mr Pine was a learned and well-spoken teacher, who had been in the armed forces in WWII. Many will remember him for his success at boxing in the British Army, having been the Army’s Featherweight Champion in India. He helped in the organisation of the Air Training Corps at the College and also introduced a thriving Gymnastics Club. He was extremely proud of his association with scouting activities and the many wonderful camps he organised both at home and abroad. I first heard about the trip to Rab at the morning assembly in the College chapel, which the whole school had to attend daily. On the trolley bus to Wolverhampton at the end of that day, I listened to my elder brother Tony (nearly 17 years old at the time) discussing with his friends about the holiday in Rab, and wondering where on earth the Island of Rab was situated. When we got onto 32
the second trolley bus to our home in Upper Penn, he said he had been told that Rab was part of the Kvarner group of islands, in the upper Adriatic Sea near to the Yugoslavian mainland (part of Croatia today). It seemed an awful long way to go, but he thought the best thing to do would be to mention it our mother. However my father Eric was initially against the trip. He was quite naturally thinking about WWII in the years 1939 to 1945, and the horrors that his brothers and his friends in the Armed Services only a few years before had endured. Mother’s eldest brother had been taken prisoner by the Japanese in Singapore in 1941, and was marched to the Burma-Siam (now Thailand) Railway in Burma. Between 1942 and 1943 they were forced to build the railway through the TC Scout Camp at Salcombe, Devon in 1955. I was there (lower right) with my friends. jungles of the area in the awful heat. One fellow pupil at school was ‘Burma’ Green, whose father had been another of those nearly 60,000 prisoners of war who had worked on the 420 miles of railway. This had lead to about 13,000 deaths through starvation, illness or beating. My mother’s three brothers were all in the forces in the Far East, North Africa or in Scotland’s far north. Eventually she worked her ‘magic’ on father, and after some persuasion he agreed that both Tony and I could go. On the appointed day we arrived at Low Level Railway Station at Wolverhampton where there were about thirty College boys, ranging from 12 to 17 years old. There were five masters, including Mr. Pine and the Physical Training Instructor. We were feeling nervous but excited, and there were quite a few mothers with tears in their eyes. The whistle blew and the train pulled out. The itinerary for the trip was by steam train from Wolverhampton Low Level Station to Dover, then cross channel ferry to Calais in France, and by French steam train via Lille, Nancy, Mulhouse, Basel in Switzerland, Turin in Italy, Ljubljana in Yugoslavia eventually reaching Rijeka on the coast. From Rijeka we were to get the ferry boat across the Adriatic Sea to the Island of Rab. The journey down to Dover was about three and a half hours in length, and on arrival we all walked from the railway station the short distance to the jetty to catch the ferry. It was about three o’clock by the time we got on the ferry and after an hour the ropes were cast off, there was a roaring blast of the ferry’s horn and we set sail. In less than an hour sailing across the English Channel we could see Calais in the distance and in no time we were there. For most of the boys it was the first time out of the British Isles, and we had our passports at the ready. We again walked a short distance to a steam train in Calais. The train would call at every major town on the journey to Rijeka, which was just short of 1,300 miles. At each new country border we would come to a halt for about half an hour and we would have to go through the process of showing our passports whilst the locomotive engine was changed for a new one. We were on that train for two and a half days. I spent the nights on the overhead luggage rack which was very comfortable. In our compartment was Paul Whitehead, Tony Surmon, Tony Toghill, my brother Tony and a well dressed Belgian gentleman with a suit, a ‘dicky’ bow and a large cigar. He had two large ‘doctors’ type Gladstone bags within which he said were samples of his company’s wares. As we pulled into Ljubljana Station, we were surprised to see a military presence on the platforms on both sides of the train. They were Slavic soldiers complete with rifles standing facing the train every two metres. There were virtually no other people on the platforms apart from the railway staff. (This strange reception at Ljubljana railway station puzzled me for many years until I researched the College archives – details of my findings are at the end of my story.) There was a person selling bottles of lemonade and crisps from a trolley on the platform. A friend of mine ‘Chippy’ Shrive, got off the train with a Master and went into the waiting room for some reason. ‘Chippy’ could only walk using two sticks and even then with great difficulty. After a short time the guard blew his whistle and with a blast from the engine we were off, leaving without ‘Chippy’ and the Master. They had to wait for the next train and eventually joined us at our final destination but a day late. The trip on the ferry boat was magical, the sea was so blue and with the bright sunshine you could see beneath the water quite clearly. Suddenly there were six or eight dolphins gliding under the boat, coming to the surface and leaping a metre into the air, again and again. The Island of Rab is the smallest island in the Kvarner Bay, and it is said to be the most beautiful island in the northern Adriatic Sea. Together with the neighbouring islands of Prvic, Grgur, Goli, Maman and Sailovac, it is overlooked by the distant snow-capped Velebit Mountains.
On arrival at the island of Rab we got off the ferry at the harbour and climbed up into the historical town, where there were no cars allowed. We settled down into three separate bed and breakfast houses, almost next door to each other. After our evening meal we settled down for the night. Next morning we went out and looked around the old town of Rab, and then had a coffee in the municipal square. One of our schoolmasters came into the cafe; he had just had a haircut at a small nearby salon. He said that if any pupils wanted to have a haircut, we only had to go to the salon and make a ‘cutting motion’ at our hair with our hands, and it would only cost us a few coins. About six of us took up the idea. We went to the salon, made the motion, and we all came out with a ‘crew cut’, not what we expected at all.
Picture taken and supplied by Kristina Maskarin of Kristofour Travel Agency, Rab showing the town of Rab and harbour
We found the beach, on the other side of the old town of Rab, opposite to the harbour, and had a swim in the very warm sea. The fellow bathers were speaking in many different languages such as Italian, Swiss, German and French. My friend Paul called in a small general grocery store on the way back to the guest house, and he came out with a bottle of Italian Cherry Brandy, saying that it was the only thing he could recognise. Using a glass from the side of the wash hand basin, the lads in our room set about drinking the brandy which was very sweet but so drinkable. The bottle was eventually empty, and we had our very first ‘hangovers’ by the morning. Eighteen years before in August 1936 King Edward VIII, had been on the Island of Rab with Mrs Simpson. This was a private holiday on the Steam Yacht ‘Nahlin’, chartered from Lady Annie Yule of Glasgow. Edward VIII had set this in motion for an Adriatic cruise rather than risk any disagreement with members of the British Government over using the Royal Yacht ‘Victoria and Albert’. The ‘Nahlin’, as one of the premier British steam yachts of the time, having a length of nearly 300 feet and a breadth of over 36 feet, had superb cabins for fourteen people, and a crew of about forty plus hands. It had four Curtis-Brown steam engines through 4 single reduction geared turbines, producing 2200 hp. The Secretary of State for War, Alfred Duff-Cooper had been included in the King’s party on board the ‘Nahlin’ in order to carry out a few official Motor Yacht ‘Nahlin’ visiting the River Dart in 2010. (Photo courtesy visits throughout the cruise, with the final destination being of Yachting World). The restored yacht is thought to be now owned Istanbul. The presence of Wallis Simpson on board had by James Dyson of vacuum cleaner fame created great interest in the world’s press, which brought it to the attention of King Carol II of Rumania, who purchased the yacht in 1937. Rediscovered a few years ago, the yacht ‘Nahlin’ was completely restored to her full splendour by the German shipbuilder Blohm and Voss, replacing the steam power by the installation of four diesel power plants. After one week the long return journey on the train was upon us again; we were sad to go. As we arrived back in Wolverhampton, after a very tiring trip, we were greeted by our mothers at Low Level Station. We were all very tired but looking healthy and tanned and six of us with crew cut hair. My memories of this holiday are still fresh in my mind, but no doubt different to those of my friends who also made this exciting trip. Note: as I mentioned in my story here of the trip to Rab, for many years I have puzzled over our strange reception at Ljubljana railway station when soldiers with rifles lined the platforms on both sides of our train. In the last couple of years I contacted the College and with the help of Ian Wass, the former Music Director and Archivist, we came across an article entitled ‘Yugoslavia’ written by F. C. Pine in early 1954 in the Old Tettenhallians’ Chronicle. Here follow some selected extracts from his article: “At the station [Ljubljana], we were met by a cheery person who greeted me with, ‘Good evening, I am Tomekovic’. He was a professor of philosophy and mathematics at Belgrade. For the next ten days he was our guide and constant companion, and soon our very good friend - ‘Tomek’. There was one hurdle which he never succeeded in getting us over with any style. Boarding a train at Ljubljana Station with any degree of certainty was beyond even his extraordinary powers. When I say station I mean the place where trains stop. Trains stop because they could not plough through the seething mass of people milling across the lines, in, under and over the trains, without hindrance. When a train arrives there is a stampede from all directions. The crowd stuffs itself into the train until the train is stuffed full, it then moves off, the surplus dripping off as it goes. 34
I, on behalf of the group, became involved in a matter which required the law to rectify. On advice from the Police I and Tomek repaired to the District Court, (something like) our Petty Sessions. When we got to the Courthouse, the Court was sitting with its doors closed. Tomek knocked twice at the door and he said ‘follow me’, and entered. The Judge sat in his chair, before him stood a man and a woman, and the Judge was addressing the pair. Pausing for one moment only, Tomek crossed the courtroom, placed himself between the Judge and his subjects, and began to vehemently state my case. I stood in the centre of the courtroom, rooted in horror. The Judge listened to Tomek, when his speech ended he stood up, lifted his chair, crossed the room and placed it at another table and invited me to occupy it. Another ten minutes of furious talking by both sides, joined by some barristers and policemen, and my case was settled. I shook hands with the judge, bowed to the assembly and did withdraw. Justice had been administered.” The detail of that justice is not fully explained. Returning to the present time, after reading the above article by Mr Pine you can see why I feel that he, with the help of Mr Tomek his interpreter, had a ‘matter which required the law to rectify’, that being his concern for the safety of the party of school children which would be coming by train to Ljubljana Station in a few weeks’ time. I may be entirely wrong though. I emailed the Republika Slovenija, Ministrstvo za Kulturo, Arhiv Republike Slovenije, Ref: Zvezdarska 1 (station 1) 1127 Ljubliana, mentioning the above, and asking whether any actions by the Judge could be found. I received a reply dated 11 th January 2016, which said – “Unfortunately we are not able to find any information regarding the case you have described. Signed Lep Pozdrave” The above account of Mr Pine’s experiences of Ljubljana station could explain the necessity for the presence of the troops, particularly considering the political climate at the time.
Roger Babb (TC 1955 – 1961)
I have been married to Beverley for 25 years and between us we have five children – Adrian, Tim, Kirsty (also an OT), Chris and Hannah. In addition we now have five wonderful grandchildren ranging from 11 years to just 3 months old. Most of them live nearby except Tim, his wife Simone and their son Tobias who live in Kitzbühel, Austria (we usually fly there about twice a year). I retired from Royal Insurance in 1997 after thirty-six years service but continued to work part-time with a small firm of insurance brokers in West Bromwich from where I eventually retired completely in 2005. Since then it has been ‘Operation Grandchildren’ but it has been great to see them all growing up. I well remember my first day at Tettenhall College, lining up in the ‘Red Corridor’ to climb the stairs to early morning chapel. The first person I ever spoke to was Stephen Corns (past President and current Hon. Secretary of the OT Club) and here we are some sixty-one years later and still the greatest of friends. It was not long before I discovered that I was the world’s worst scientist so I devoted all my energy to languages eventually securing satisfactory standards (GCE ‘O’ levels) in French, German and Latin. This was mainly attributable to the teaching talentsof ‘Alfie’ Smallwood for French and German and Derek Boulton for Latin. Alas, they are no longer with us but I shall always remember their dedication to developing my language skills. In addition two memorable youth hostelling holidays with ‘Alfie’ to the Rhine, Moselle and Ahr valleys in Germany – very sore feet but worth every step. Only a few months ago I returned to Trier on the Moselle River for the first time in over fifty years – the Porta Nigra (the Roman city gate) was of course still there – they built them to last in those days! The visit brought back numerous happy memories (my wife says it’s a pity I cannot remember a few other important things). A lot of German vocabulary has stayed in my mind which helps me enormously when we visit our son Tim in Kitzbühel but his Austrian wife Simone speaks fluent English and teaches this language at school – their son Tobias will be bi-lingual. Another vivid recollection was attending triple French in the Headmaster’s study – Mr.Field-Hyde was in charge and John Dove, Stephen and I were the only three participants. We sat in the middle of the room and the Roger meets up with Jim Minett (left) and Roger Dallow at the 2012 College Headmaster took great pleasure in hurling our Remembrance Service homework back to us after thoroughly criticising the contents. I had never experienced such fear during those tender years! While I am still on the subject of school days, I would like to mention a few other friends with whom I enjoyed good times – Angus Dunphy (I well remember cycling down Showell Lane, Penn at 60 mph. I now live in Penn and enjoy reading his books about the locality). John Dove – one epic tour of France, Germany and Switzerland in Stephen’s mother’s car: so 35
many amusing incidents too numerous to mention but we all enjoyed ourselves. How did we survive? The standard of driving left a lot to be desired. Other friends I remember well are John Bates, Rob Green (now living in France), Keith GrantPearce, Peter Davis (who I met again only a few months ago at the dentist and I had not seen him for over fifty years), Anthony Tooth, John Percy plus Roger Dallow and Jim Minett. I had the pleasure of meeting Roger and Jim again at an OT Remembrance Service in the College Chapel in 2012. Stephen and I played a lot of lawn tennis in our younger days at Penn Fields Club and later at Bilston Tennis Club. I am an avid follower of tennis and love the game. Bev and I try to go to Wimbledon every year but tickets are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. I must mention the life and work of John Chown who died in October 2013. He was of course a pupil at TC and then a member of staff for fifty-five years. I remember his usual opening words when bounding into the classroom “Sit down and shut up” and then slipping his old case onto the table. I understand the case was eventually replaced by a new one purchased by the pupils concerned at that time. When your homework was below standard you were given ‘a supplementary’ which basically meant you had to do it again! This man was a legend and he was loved by all who knew him. Fortunately I did see him shortly before he died. He was a wonderful man, kind, patient and always willing to help students who were finding the subject difficult. A real ‘Goodbye Mr. Chips’ character. Personalities stand out in life, and he was one of the most memorable.
David Adams (TC 1950-1955)
After leaving Tettenhall College in 1955 I joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, training on H.M.S. Theseus, an aircraft carrier which had operated in the Pacific during WWII and the Korean War and upon which I spent twenty months. Later that year I started in the family business, John Bromley & Co (Wellington) Ltd, Agricultural Engineers, but this was interrupted by my National Service in 1956-1958 when I signed up for the Royal Navy serving on H.M. Ships Ocean (training) and Starling (Walkers WWII U-Boat killer). After my naval career I returned to civilian life and commenced studying mines, caves and quarries in Shropshire, Wales & Derbyshire. In 1959-60 following a family dispute my father and I formed Roye Adams & Co., Agricultural Engineers with my father as Director. I ran our company’s plant department from 1963-1982, during which time I became Company Managing Director on the death of my father in 1970. Eventually I closed down the Roye Adams Agricultural Engineers business in 1983. From 1984 I became a private cartographer mapping farms up until 2014 and working in the office until the present time. During this period I mapped thousands of acres of farm land, mostly along the Shropshire-Staffordshire border. My interest in agriculture led me to become a committee member of Newport & District Agricultural Society in 1965 until 2015, becoming President in 1993. My interests have been many and diverse. In 1961 I founded the Shropshire Mining (and now Caving) Club, becoming its first Chairman from 1961-71. The Shropshire Caving & Mining Club (SCMC) has been very active in underground exploration for the last 55 years. They were instrumental in founding the National Association of Mining History Organisations, (NAMHO) and the Shropshire Mines Trust which protects mining sites in South Shropshire, including the great Snailbeach Mine and the Tankerville mine sites. I am very proud to be their founder and President. For the past fifty years, with the Club I have been studying the Limestone Mines of Church Aston & Lilleshall and have written a book with that title. I have also been managing an archaeological dig at the Pitchcroft Mine site since November 2008, details in the book. I was a founder Member of Newport Chamber of Trade (now Commerce) in 1964, becoming Chairman in 1966-7, and again later in 1973-4. I am presently Vice Chairman of Newport Chamber of Commerce and their representative on Newport Regeneration Partnership. I was elected to Newport Urban District Council in 1966, rising to Vice Chairman in 1968 until 1973. I was pleased to serve Newport as Town Councillor from 1973 until 2007. Newport Urban District Council was dissolved in 1973 when the town council was formed and I became the first elected Town Mayor in 1974-5 and again from 1993 until 1996. I was a Wrekin District Councillor for two lengthy periods from 1973 -1987 and from 1991 - 1995 and leader of the Conservative opposition on the District Council in 1992 – 1995. I have had much involvement with the Ironbridge Gorge Museum from 1969 right up to the present day. Back in 1979 I became a member of the newly established Upper Severn Navigation Trust and later Chairman of the 'Spry' Trust from 2006 - 2015. The objective of the Trust was to find and then reconstruct the last of
‘The Spry’ built in 1893 is the only surviving Severn sailing barge, lovingly restored by the Upper Severn Navigation Trust
the Severn trows (sailing barges) called 'Spry'. She was completed and exhibited at the Festival of the Sea in Bristol in 1996, sailed on the Severn Estuary and voyaged down the Sharpness Canal before being returned to Ironbridge in 1998. Efforts to find a suitable local birth for her so that she might sail again finally failed last year. The U.S.N.T. became the 'Spry' Trust in 2001, the 'Spry' Committee in 2013, and was finally wound up in June 2015 when 'Spry' became a permanent exhibit in a new shed at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum’s Blist Hill site last Summer (2015) - sometimes you win sometimes you lose! I was surprised to become a Freeman of the City of London in 1996. Sir Peter Gadsden was President of the U.S.N.T. and an ex-Mayor of London. At a ceremony to mark the completion of the rebuilding of 'Spry', my wife Anne told him that I was Mayor of Newport. "Oh" he said "you should become a Freeman." I was very taken aback, but Anne suggested I should take him up on it. Sir Peter found a seconder and we went twice down to the Guildhall in London and I was initiated as a Freeman on the 19th April 1996. I met Anne Covey in 1979 and we eventually married in 1997. She was a wonderful girl and a brilliant business woman specialising in noise, gas and dust monitoring in all sorts of premises. She became Deputy Mayor of Newport in 2001 but after twenty-three fantastic years together she died suddenly in 2002. After Anne’s death, Margaret Robson became my saviour and we married in 2007. She has established a successful business as a bookkeeper and I am very proud of her. And what else have I done? I became a founder Member of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust in 2000 becoming Chairman from 2000 until 2004 and was a trustee until June 2015 and I still do some work for them. I transcribed my distant relative Geoffrey Beeston Bancroft's WW1 Diaries, and produced a book on 12 Walks Around Newport. One of my other interests as a military historian has been to find out the details of all the 320 Newport area men who died in two World Wars, listing them in five folders distributed to the Church, the Guildhall, the R.N. Association, and the British Legion. My research took me to most of the battle sites concerned. I also have the duty of reading out a number of names and details each year on Remembrance Sunday. More recently i have been giving talks to the Newport History Society on 1914, 1915, and this October 1916. In addition up until 2011 I managed to climb (or fell walk) most of the mountains of Wales between 1963 and 1970, the Cumbrian mountains to 1982, the Pennines to the Wall until 1989, and most of the English, Welsh, and some Scottish walks in the AA Book of Walks until 2011. No wonder my legs are knackered! Not a lot really - it must have been my College education!!
Peter Pingree (TC 1952 – 1962)
I started at the College in September 1952 with Mr. Field-Hyde as headmaster, Mr. Pine as second master and I recall the ever reliable Miss Horobin was the headmaster’s secretary. During the ten years I was there I met many teachers who greatly influenced my life, my interests and the sports I enjoyed. Mr. Foster was an ex naval Physical Training Instructor who introduced me to boxing in 1953 and also sparked my love of rugby. I participated in both until I was 33 years old when the punches began to hurt and my knees started playing up. I was an Amateur Boxing Association referee and judge for another 15 years and still follow both sports with keen interest. My love of music and theatre came from Dr. Malcolm Davy and George Schoon who tried without much success to teach me to play the violin. I still think of him whenever I smell pipe smoke - his rooms in the Towers had a very pungent and distinctive tobacco aroma. I first performed on the stage in the Towers in about 1954 in a play directed by Miss Gould, who had been my 1 st Form teacher in 1952. She could crack a ruler across your knuckles so fast there was no way to avoid it. That theatre production started a life-long love affair with the stage. I have devoted some 55 years to mainly musical theatre both amateur and semi-professional and I hold the 50 year Gold award from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association for dedicated service. I have been lucky enough to play some superb parts both at The Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton and other theatres in the Midlands. My semi-professional credits are both series of ‘The Forsyte Saga’ , resident policeman for six months in ‘Doctors’, shows with Lynda Green (Jimmy Tarbuck’s daughter) and a series of ‘Grease Monkeys’ - this was for BBC3 in the early days of satellite TV and I am pleased to say not many people saw it. It was rather sordid but the money was good! 37
My working life started with several sales-related jobs for about 8 years when I joined the Staffordshire Police force in 1969. I was eventually forced to retire in 1995 due to injuries received whilst on duty. It was an interesting career with lots of variety – my direction changed from general patrol to law lecturer, then drill instructor and outward bound instructor to the cadets, and later Home Office Crime Prevention Unit, and finally major incident officer and prosecutions department. I met my wife Ruth whilst serving in the police force and I have three daughters – I am pleased to say they inherited their mother’s beauty and fine brain! They in turn have given me six grandchildren aged 6 weeks to 7 years old - four boys and two girls. Ruth would have so loved them but sadly she passed away when our daughters were young, but what a wealth of pleasure and memories she left behind. I have served several terms on the committee of the OT Club and I am still there, trying to make a contribution. I was committee chairman for a number of years and was honoured to be elected President in 2013 – 2014. Whilst I was never academically gifted, the College gave me a good start, and this has helped me progress through the university of life and I hope doing some good along the way. If any of my old school friends (as yet untraced) are reading this please get in touch. My email is email@example.com
Mike Freeman (TC 1954 – 1960)
Tribute given by Simon Turner at the funeral service in April 2016 What a challenge it is trying to sum up the life of Mike Freeman. The number of you here today is testament to what he meant to so many people, and you will all have your own fond memories of Mike - in fact reading the huge number of cards sent to the family, a number of key words keep reappearing over and over again - loyal, charming, larger than life, generous, kind, energetic, fiercely competitive, positive, great sense of humour, inspirational. I want to try my best to give you more about the man behind those words. I first met Mike in 1982 when I was a sixteen year old lad and joined Finchfield Hockey Club. It was the best thing I ever did for a number of reasons but meeting Mike was certainly the biggest positive. He was thirty-nine and still playing for the 1st team. After a season in the 2nd team I was thrust into the 1st team and Mike quickly took me under his wing. Mike always went out of his way to make you feel comfortable, and was always genuinely interested in you. Mike could hold a conversation with anybody about pretty much anything – a rare talent indeed. He taught us that being smart and looking like a team was an easy way of getting one over on the opposition before you start. “Look at that rag tag bunch” he’d say, “they won’t like it up ‘em” – Mike had standards you see. Mike was chairman of Finchfield Hockey Club from 1980 to 2008, later becoming president, and he has been the driving force behind the expansion of the club for all those years. Mike was a dedicated family man, meeting Lorna in 1968. He obviously fancied Lorna the physio as he feigned a broken ankle to get some tender loving care from her. They married in 1970 and Mike was extremely proud of his two children Victoria and Tim and welcomed in their wider families to the Freeman fold. Lorna really was Mike’s rock, supporting all his activities in sickness and in health. It’s true that behind every great man there is always a great woman. Mike was very proud of his Northern roots. He was born in Burnley, before moving to Hexham. When Mike was 13 the family moved down to the Midlands and Mike attended Tettenhall College. After leaving school he went to work for Goodyear and then for Joseph Sykes. His big stroke of luck (his words not mine) came when he got involved with Finchfield Hockey Club and met his own mentor, Philip White, one of the founders of the club. Philip saw Mike’s qualities and encouraged him to work alongside him in his fledgling engineering business. That business was called WYKO and to use some of Philip’s own words now: “He was an exceptional man in every respect with whom I worked and socialised for over forty years. During that time he always gave his unstinting energy and enthusiasm to whatever tasks before him. He will long be remembered for his many qualities integrity, fair mindedness, common sense, and sporting achievement. Those who worked with Mike and for him knew they would always get a fair hearing and thus he could always command a healthy respect. During four decades of service with WYKO Group he played a very significant part in building up the 38
company’s engineering capability and its transformation from a small midlands manufacturing company to a fully listed manufacturing and distribution group of companies. As a main board director he made a most valuable contribution to the group’s development.” Before he retired from WYKO, he was already planning ahead, thinking of a way he would never have to fully retire. When Mike was in his mid-fifties, Bodykraft was born after a chance meeting with Mike Pugh. Mike Freeman knew little of the car body repair industry but he did know how to build and run a business and Bodykraft started from nothing to a business now employing 100 people. Mike drove the strategy and kept a very close eye on the things that mattered. He was so keen on developing potential. Many young hockey players have either worked at WYKO or Bodykraft over the years because Mike saw something in them. Many people both old and young have benefitted from Mike’s endeavours in this life. He was chairman of Staffordshire Hockey Association for many years, and he always seemed willing to take on more; he wanted to be busy. The saying goes ‘give a job to a busy man if you want it done well’. He never, and I mean never, moaned about his cruel illness. He would always say that many people were less fortunate than him – “I’ll be alright chap” he used to say; “I’ll get there”. He saw his illness as a sort of a competitive fight. Only 5% of people who have pancreatic cancer survive for five years - he managed eight. He knew that his WYKO pension assumed he would live to 81, and that was his target because he wanted to get out what was due to him. “Rest in peace” doesn’t seem appropriate for Mike as the word ‘rest’ wasn’t in his vocabulary. Instead I say to him - we’ll renew our acquaintance in due course my dear friend; in the meantime chap, get them organized up there! Note from the Editor: both of Mike and Lorna’s children are Old Tettenhallians.
In Fond Remembrance
John Dudley (TC 1946 – 1954) Company Director and brother-in-law of OT Paul Whitehead. Passed away on 1st March 2016 Michael Freeman (TC 1954 – 1960) Midlands businessman and hockey addict, he passed away in March 2016 Brian Griffiths (TC 1944 – 1951) Respected Wolverhampton dentist, Brian passed away on 20th June 2016 John Handley (TC 1948 - 1955) Passed away in April 2016 J.A. (Tony) Hill (TC 1954 – 1957) Involved in land development. He was an accomplished amateur racing driver Maxwell Sainsbury (TC 1946 – 1954) A motivational music teacher, Max died on 26th June 2016 John Talbot (TC 1945 - 1950) A greengrocer in Bradmore, Wolverhampton, he died in July 2015 John Sage (TC 1937 - 1941) Passed away on 25th October 2016. The oldest of the Sage clan Peter Westwood (TC 1945 – 1953) Passed away in Lancashire 25th July 2015
Published on Nov 30, 2016