SUCCESS IN THE DEN
ASK THE ARCHIVIST
LA GRANDE FINALE
A DOUBLE FOR COX
From unauthorised tuck shops to a
team of 50 and a product in Selfridges
- ADAM SOPHER (OA 2003), REVEALS ALL
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OA President’s notes 3
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Lines by Niall Matthews 9
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Ask the Archivist 12
Play your Part 14
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La grande finale 16
The OA Lodge 17
Sports News 18
Your say 22
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OA CLUB AGM
The Old Albanian
Committee will meet for
the 125th Annual General
Meeting on the 6th December
2017 to be held at 20:00 in
the ‘948’ room of the OA
All members are welcome
to attend and new members
to the committee are
encouraged to join.
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OA PRESIDENT’S NOTES
Mike Hodge, OA President
In the June 2017 edition of this publication, I closed my
President’s Notes with “We have an interesting summer of
politics ahead”. Maybe that was not one of the best things I
have written and I will now avoid political comment! There
has been much to applaud in the OA arena so let’s get on with
some more positive stuff.
Back in May, I had a splendid session with John Meulkens
who, at 99, is our oldest OA – now living in Amsterdam.
John was over here visiting and proved to be as sharp as the
proverbial tack. He plays the piano every day and this keeps
his fingers nimble and his brain sharp. He was at the School
in the 1930s where, he reminded me, he was taught Maths by
my grandfather, Frank “Pi” Walker. John still remembers his
Maths lessons with affection. I remember my Maths lessons
too – I am not sure “with affection”. You will see a write up of
John’s visit on page 16.
June was packed with OA and School events. Early in the
month I met with seven of my School year in The Digby Tap
in Sherborne – more of this on page 8. Then, there was a
reunion lunch for the years of 1967 and 1974. I saw the name
Niall Matthews (OA 1974) on the list and tracked him down.
Niall’s father, John, had been instrumental in teaching me
in my early days when I worked for Customs and Excise. It
was wonderful to catch up with Niall, though sadly his father
had died comparatively recently. You must read his thought
provoking poem on page 9.
On Sunday 18th June, we had the OA President’s Summer
Lunch at Woollams. About 80 of us attended and a good
time was had by all. Roger Cook and Geoff Cannon were
made Honorary Life Vice Presidents of the OA Club for their
fantastic efforts over the years. Nick and Andy Chappin were
also presented with the OA President’s Cup for their work
on the OA Bulletin over the last twenty years. June was the
last edition they created, with the School now picking up the
reins of production (see Headmaster’s Notes in the reverse of
the magazine). As I have said before in previous editions, the
Chappin brothers have, doublehandedly, masterminded the
whole production of the OA Bulletin. The OAs cannot thank
The weekend of 24th June was filled with my old School
Hockey Players’ Golf meeting followed by an OA Legends
XI cricket match against the OAs select XI. Both events were
blessed with wonderful weather. The sun – as we all know –
shines upon the righteous.
I attended the School Graduation ceremony the following
week where the School said ‘goodbye’ to 140 or so Upper
Sixth leavers. Whilst the School might be saying goodbye, the
OA Club is saying welcome to all these students. The best way
to keep in touch is through the School’s Development Office.
They issue a quarterly e-newsletter with updates and event
reminders. In the words I delivered to the students, I cribbed
from an article I had seen in the Daily Telegraph about the
‘Five Life Skills’ which are said to bring health, wealth and
success throughout life. I should have read this in June 1965
when I walked, for the last time, out of the gates at Upper
Yard. The skills are – Emotional Stability, Determination,
Optimism, Control and Conscientiousness. I have to say that I
don’t agree with all of this – I would certainly add ‘try to make
people happy’. The future is what you make it. Try to keep
smiling. The Head of School, Will Stewart, gave one of the
best speeches I have ever heard delivered. Quite brilliant – he
has a great future.
Then into July and the annual Founders’ Day service, which
was exceptional both in music and content. The Headmaster
involved students from various years to take the congregation
through the history of the School. It is so interesting as one
would expect from a School founded in 948AD! Please do
read the Headmaster’s Notes in the flipside of this magazine
where he mentions the exceptional results from this year’s
GCSEs and A levels. I will not comment further except
to say that I compliment everyone at the School on these
Elsewhere in the magazine, you will find reports on the
various sports sections. Of special mention must be the OA
Cricket where the 1st XI kept their place in their league
for the next season, the 2nd XI were promoted and the 3rd
XI were Champions and promoted. The newly formed OA
Football side has now been accepted into the Arthurian
League where I am sure they will work their way up through
Finally, I am just about to start working with the Development
Office on putting together a ‘Diamond Geezers’ reunion for
mid-September 2018. ‘My’ year started at the School on 18th
September 1958 so 2018 will be our 60th anniversary. There
will, undoubtedly, be more on this in later editions.
Meanwhile, I wish all readers health, happiness and fitness.
The OA Club is in very good heart and the School continues
to flourish. All is good then.
Former St Albans School parents, Chris and Kayo, appeared on
Channel 4’s Grand Designs in September. They discuss with us
the highs and lows of building your own home...
We’ve been lucky enough to live within the grounds of the Abbey
since 2005, which was convenient for our son who would often
roll out of bed 10-minutes before registration and run up the hill.
Next door to us sat a three-acre area of land that was owned by
a St Albans family for around 60 years. The land was overgrown
and ragged, often used as a secret den for St Albans School boys.
In 2008, I approached an architect friend of mine about the
prospects of designing something to fit on the site. We knew it
fell within the Scheduled Ancient Monument boundary and so
would need the blessing of Historic England. Any development
in that area has to be signed off by the Secretary of State. A little
daunted, we began on what would become a 10-year journey to
build a one-off, unique house that would do credit to the amazing
location. Historic England played a key role in helping us
determine the position, shape, size and design of the house, but
we found them very positive to work with. The Abbey were also
very kind in supporting the project.
The project has also been followed by Gary Calvert, Head of
Creative, Technical & Performing Arts, and some of his students
over the years. Kevin McCloud even filmed part of the Grand
Designs programme in the Gateway.
Fast forward to 2017 and the house is finished and we’re in
residence. It’s a beautiful house in amazing grounds with great
views of the Abbey and the river flowing through our garden.
You can watch the episode at www.channel4.com/programmes/
of the Year
Ranked 100 at singles and 44 at doubles by the NCAA
(National Collegiate Athletic Association), tennis
star Charlie Broom (OA 2016) has been named Ivy
League Rookie of the Year – the first time a player from
Dartmouth has achieved this status.
Broom spent his summer playing against and training
with some of the best players in the world. The rising
sophomore tested and honed his skills in five ATP
professional level events and capped off the summer by
winning his first professional title in Belgium, teaming up
with Colin Sinclair of Australia to win the doubles event.
Charlie has since been training back in the UK.
“I’m very pleased with my achievements
this summer… but I’m looking forward
to training hard and competing for
Dartmouth this season”
in the Den
We were ready to do something different and so started
brainstorming ideas. As big travellers, we thought about our
biggest bugbears when backpacking. One was definitely the
towel. Traditional cotton towels were nice to look at but big
and bulky and would get damp and collect smells. Microfibre
towels were small, dull and rough against the skin but had
great benefits such as being compact and quick drying. So we
set out to reinvent the towel and Dock & Bay was born.
After six-months building the business, we made the leap and
quit our jobs. Ben moved back to Australia and I took out a
£30k bank loan to invest in the business and moved over there
temporarily. Following that, I returned home and built the
business on my parents’ kitchen table. We’ve now sold over
200,000 units worldwide and sell in 11 different markets, the
growth has been rapid!
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT, ANDY JEFFERIES, DEBORAH MEADEN
AND BEN MILLER
After a grilling in the Den, Andy Jefferies (OA 2007) talks to
us about his time at School, new company Dock & Bay and
recent investment by Dragon Deborah Meaden...
It’s 10 years ago since I left St Albans School. Good times were
always had on those grounds and I think I was nicknamed
‘cheeky chappy’ by Mr Gould!
After leaving Leeds University, I worked in one of the UK
retail banks for three years and in the last year, I worked for
their Digital Division where I met Ben (my business partner).
We applied for Dragons’ Den as it’s not often you get to stand
in front of five investors worth a combined total of close to
£700m and pitch your business.
The Den was a daunting place with a gruelling one-and-ahalf-hour
questioning, much of which you don’t see on TV –
but we came out with a new investor in Deborah Meaden.
She had been the most supportive of us, making fair
challenges and putting forward a fair offer based on our
We have since signed on the dotted line with Deborah and
have a great opportunity to work closely and use her wealth of
knowledge, experience and contacts to take our brand to the
Get your Dock & Bay towel at: www.dockandbay.co.uk
DOUBLE WORLD TITLE SUCCESS
In August, Robbie Lightowler (OA 2015) represented GB at the ITU Multisport
World Championships in Penticton, British Columbia, and was crowned World
Champion in both the Duathlon and the Aquathlon.
His first event was the Sprint Duathlon, in which Adam Thorpe (OA 2015) also
competed. In the Age Group category, there were 440 men. Robbie finished first in
the 20-24 age group with Adam second.
In the second event, the Aquathlon – a 1000m open water swim followed by 5k run
– Robbie competed in the Elite Race. In the Age Group category there were 400 men
and Robbie finished first in his age group and first overall. If he had been competing
in the Elite Men’s category, his dad, David Lightowler, estimates he would have
“The reason for an estimate is that it cannot strictly be done on time since in
Robbie’s race, wet suits were allowed but in the Elite Men they were not.
Over a 1000m this would give an approximate 40 second advantage to the wet suit
wearer, less about 12 seconds for having to take the suit off in transition”.
“Robbie’s swim time was exceptional at 12.36
– with the fastest Elite man recording 13.04”
6 OA Events
1ST VII NETBALL TEAM
and afternoon tea
On Saturday 16th September, we welcomed the return
of OAs to play in our annual netball match against the
first VII. Seven OAs, all of whom left St Albans School in
2014, came back to brush up on their netball skills and
try to defeat the current squad. Although the OA girls
were unable to secure a victory, they thoroughly enjoyed
their nostalgic visit to Woollams. Afterwards, the OAs
and the current squad enjoyed a well-deserved Prosecco
afternoon tea while they reminisced about their time at
School and discussed their future plans.
The annual Haileybury Sixes competition is always a
highlight in the hockey calendar for OAs. On Sunday
24th September, St Albans School alumni put in a
sterling effort against teams such as Bryanston, Clifton
and of course Haileybury.
We reached the Quarter Finals, losing to this
year’s winners of the competition, St Edwards.
Congratulations go to OAs Robin Pendock (2011),
Bradley Hudson (2010), Alex Terry (2013), Harry
Di-Lieto (2013), Nial Parkash (2013), Michael
Grimshaw (2010) and our two current students, Bertie
Arbuthnott and Chris Fletcher.
It was great to see some recent leavers returning to play
after three years at University. The Development Office is
keen to organise future events which encourage female OAs
to get together with old friends at the School. Whether it’s
a netball match, a curry night or even a gin tasting evening,
please do let us know what kind of event would interest
you. We are keen to hear your suggestions!
Please contact the Development Office at
We were delighted to welcome back Mitchell
Zhangazha (OA 2013) on Thursday 5th October
for one of our ‘An Evening with…’ events. West
End actor Mitchell kicked off the evening with a
fascinating discussion about his career, followed by
a Q&A session hosted by Danny Swanson (Drama)
on his experiences working in theatre, including
the West End productions of Thriller Live!, Peter
Pan, Oliver!, The Lion King and Chitty Chitty Bang
Bang. Mitchell also treated us to some stunning
vocals and sang ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’ by
Stevie Wonder, ‘Who’s Lovin’ You’ by Jackson Five
and ‘Reet Petite’ by Jackie Wilson. Mitchell has
acted in the West End since the age of seven and is
making an excellent start to his professional career,
having recently taken a lead role in the Edinburgh
production of Five Guys Named Moe. We look
forward to following his career in the future!
Read more about this event on the School side of
A big thanks goes to all of the OAs who joined us for the OA
Dinner on Friday 22nd September. It was a great success and
one of our biggest OA Dinner turnouts!
The evening started with optional School tours, a drinks
reception with prosecco and culminated with a two-course
Steak & Guinness pie dinner and a lemon mousse to finish.
With around 100 people in attendance, tables were organised
chronologically by year group and we were able to reunite
many OAs with old friends. It was a walk through time and a
great chance to not only reminisce with contemporaries, but
also a chance to meet OAs from other years and see how the
School has changed over time.
St Albans 1st XV
We were delighted to see a great OA turnout on Friday
15th September for one of the first big rugby fixtures of
the term – St Albans School 1st XV v Mill Hill. As we had
brought in floodlights for the occasion, OAs were able to
meet in the School Pavilion and enjoy a bar and bacon and
sausage butties, whilst watching a great game. SAS won the
match 17-7 so it was a great end to a successful evening!
We hope to invite more OAs back to Woollams for
future matches so please keep an eye on your emails
and social media.
Alan Philpott (OA 1962) brought in a long-lost piece of St
Albans School history; an old toy bear sporting a St Albans
School uniform, owned by Paul Gismondi (OA 1970). The
bear was Paul’s mascot during his School days, and his mother
created the kit out of an old scarf and badge.
Mike Hodge (OA President) gave one of his famous speeches
at the end of the Dinner and paid the OA Club’s ‘annual fee’ of
one peppercorn to the Headmaster.
We were pleased to launch our new book, Inspiring Old
Albanians, at the Dinner which proved a great success –
selling out of all of the stock on the table! If you would like to
buy a copy, please take a look at page 15 for details on how to
We hope that next year’s OA Dinner will be equally successful
and you should expect to hear from us in August 2018 with
news of the next theme!
by Mike Darby (OA 1963)
MOST OF THE MEMBERS OF ‘MATHS UPPER’
The 19th July 1963 was the last day of term and the nine
members of Maths Upper went their separate ways (most
of whom are pictured above). Fifty years later, to the day,
six of us had a reunion meal at Lussmanns. One other
of our number, Andy Lister, was traced to Australia, but
said it was rather a long way to come! Since then we have
met biannually and in 2015 managed to fix a date so that
Andy could join us. On 4th July this year we were hosted
by the School’s Development Office. We were given a
tour of the School, and reminisced about the Walnut
tree in the Orchard and the former CCF rifle range, and
many other things. We were disappointed that the ‘maths
room’ where we spent so much of our time with Harry
Schofield (and other teachers) at the top of the Science
block no longer existed, having been amalgamated with
the former TLR (Top Lecture Room). We marvelled at
the new swimming pool and contrasted it with the pool
at Belmont. Afterwards, we went into St Albans and had
a coffee in St Peter’s Street before returning to 5, Fishpool
Street for an excellent meal prepared and served by the
School’s caterers. All in all, it was an excellent day.
If any reader of this piece has knowledge of the contact
details for our two ‘missing’ members, P(eter) N R
Chadwick (last heard of in Germany) or D(avid) M
Griffiths (last heard of in Canada), I would be pleased if
you would let me know via the Development Office.
old boys meeting
by Mike Hodge (OA 1065)
In June, eight of us OAs from the 1965 vintage, made our
annual pilgrimage to the Digby Tap in Sherborne. We first
met on 18th September 1958 on our first day at School and
motivated by the first 50th year reunion in 2008, our splinter
group has carried on with a small annual reunion. Apologies for
absence were received from Pete Smith who was attending his
Godmother’s 95th birthday. Fair enough.
We chose The Digby Tap because it is a sort of ‘central’ point
for us travelling OAs. Our homes range from Sidmouth, Bath,
Fairford, Oxford, Belgium, Hoddesdon and Harpenden. Mike
Nurton now lives in Sherborne and also gets an invite. All of us
have had very different careers, which shows the benefit of the
wide educational basis provided by the School. Many subjects
were discussed and many things were put right. It was as if none
of us had been away – the humour and stories were endless. The
landlord at The Digby Tap is keen to have us back next year (8th
June 2018) as it is a very good day for his takings!
We ‘Diamond Geezers’ are now contemplating another reunion
on or around 18th September 2018 to celebrate 60 years since
we were ‘new bugs’!
1967 & 1974
This summer marked 50 years since the Classes of 1967
started, and the Class of 1974 left St Albans School. In
celebration, we held a Golden Jubilee Reunion for these two
year groups, bringing together just under 50 OAs, some of
whom had not seen each other since their School days!
The group enjoyed a tour of the School site and an
update from the Headmaster on where we are today
and future plans. It was then up to Woollams to enjoy
lunch and a drink in the School Pavilion. For some, the
reminiscing continued long into the night in the local St
Thank you to all who attended and we hope to see you
(IN THE CHAIR) DAVE CHAPMAN, (BACK ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) SID OWEN, BARRY MACKENZIE, MIKE NURTON – OA STAFF
FROM 1966 TO 1971, MIKE HODGE. (FRONT ROW, LEFT TO RIGHT) RICK MOORE, BILL NEALE AND DAVE MERRIOTT.
by Niall Matthews
takes a cigarette i
come to a strange place
we’ll talk over old times ii
twentieth century boys iii
by different shards of glass
my salad days
when I was green in judgment
cold in blood
to say as I said then
get me ink and paper iv
fingers stained royal blue
the smell of ink in the bottle
when the white eagle of the north
is flying overhead v
arma virumque cano vi
I sing of arms and a man
cross-country runs along the flint
where roman boots
once beat in cadence
boot caliga caligae
blanco on khaki webbing
the last post
so many, many songs were waiting
to be sung vii
the ablative absolute long forgotten viii
I still conjure latin roots
the duke of edinburgh
swiss time was running out
it seemed that we would lose the race
smoke on the water
fire in the sky ix
we mixed emotions
in clever retorts
I got a silver machine
it flies sideways through time x
the french defence
cela se fait à paris! xi
but that’s what’s done in paris
baguettes and bottled beer
hey babe, take a walk on the wild
il pleure dans mon coeur comme il
pleut sur la ville xiii
tears in my heart like the rain on
moi non plus xiv
I love you... me neither
can’t even think of a word that
bet you’re wond’ring how I knew xvi
gowns unfurling like black wings
jackets of tweed or beige linen
some were kind
going back to find
to a simpler place ’n’ time xvii
I could last forever
outlast the sea
and all men xviii
in our paintings
always found a line to admire
the smell of oil paints
this my hand will rather
the multitudinous seas incarnadine
making the green one red xix
no more will my green sea go turn a
deeper blue xx
der die das
german german teacher
carried a brown leather
über den wolken muss die freiheit
wohl grenzenlos sein
above the clouds freedom has no
do I der to eat a peach? xxii
cabin’d, cribb’d, confined, bound in
to saucy doubts and fears xxiii
a gentle english teacher
showed us the jokes in shakespeare
you were half blasted ere I knew
he collected shopping bags
tonight I’ll lose my head
tonight I’ve got to get
old oak pews
film reels flickering
strangers on a train xxvi
fingers stretching for a lighter
is there concrete all around
or is it in my head xxvii
walking home through the park
in my striped school blazer
three boys from the secondary
fell into step
a girl called out
“he’s my brother”
and reluctantly they faded away
I never saw her again
kicking around on a piece of ground
in your home town xxviii
at a rock concert
a girl from the grammar school
though the music is lethal
let the night take me in xxix
visiting years later
on the hill
is the shop where I got my first
up at a mountain
only my own words return xxx
in the high street
a man sitting on the pavement
but we had already changed
time may change me
but I can’t trace time xxxi
in the end
maybe there were no answers
and I know where to find some good
and as for
he’s waiting in the wings xxxii
i David Bowie, Rock ‘n’ roll Suicide
ii Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Somebody called me Sebastian
iii Twentieth Century Boy, title of a song by T Rex
iv Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra act 1 scene 5
v The Moody Blues, The Dream
vi Vergil, the Aeneid, opening line
vii Dusty Springfield, Yesterday When I Was Young
viii = an ablative absolute
ix Deep Purple, Smoke on the Water
x Hawkwind, Silver Machine
xi Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary part 3 section 1
xii Lou Reed, Take a Walk on the Wild Side
xiii Paul Verlaine, Il Pleure dans mon Coeur… from Romances sans paroles
xiv Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, Je t’aime… moi non plus
xv Alice Cooper, School’s Out
xvi Marvin Gaye, I Heard It Through the Grapevine
xvii Gladys Knight and the Pips, Midnight Train to Georgia
xviii Joseph Conrad, Youth
xix Shakespeare, Macbeth act 2 scene 2
xx The Rolling Stones, Paint it Black
xxi Reinhard Mey, Über den Wolken
xxii Do I dare to eat a peach? T S Eliot, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock
xxiii Shakespeare, Macbeth act 3 scene 4
xxiv Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra act 3 scene 13
xxv Easybeats, Friday on my Mind, covered by David Bowie on Pinups
xxvi Strangers on a Train, directed by Alfred Hitchcock from a novel by Patricia Highsmith
xxvii Mott the Hoople, All the Young Dudes
xxviii Pink Floyd, Time
xxix Mick Ronson, Music is Lethal
xxx Deep Purple, Pictures of Home
xxxi David Bowie, Changes
xxxii David Bowie, Time
10 Featured OA
ADAM SOPHER, (OA 2003), FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF HIS FAMILY
BUSINESS, JOE & SEPH’S GOURMET POPCORN
From unauthorised tuck shops to a team of 50 and a product
in Selfridges – Adam Sopher (OA 2003) talks to us about
School life at St Albans and his globally successful family
creation, Joe & Seph’s Popcorn.
While you were at the School, did you have any idea
what sort of work you wanted to go into?
No, at the time I knew I wanted to go into business in
some shape or form, but I didn’t really know how to
get there. So I did the ‘usual’ and went to university
and studied something broad to keep my options
open. I went to Nottingham to study Economics, as
I was quite motivated by doing something analytical
and in the City, but I was ultimately interested in
Were there any teachers who were particularly
influential or memorable?
I particularly remember Mr Walker, Mr Tolman, who
left to join Harrow School at the time, and my French
teacher Mrs Percival. They were great teachers. Mr
Tolman was my Form Tutor and Economics teacher
– he got me really passionate about economics. Mrs
Percival taught me French which has become very
useful in my business.
Was there anything during your School experience
that you feel was particularly valuable?
I guess it’s all the different elements that School teaches
and provides you with, like the academic side as well
as extra-curricular activities like sports – which wasn’t
really my thing! I met some really good people who
I have stayed friends with too. There are two or three
people from School in particular who I’m still close
to, so that has a long-lasting impact. I even ended up
sharing a house with a lot of the people who went to
Nottingham from School, so there was that continuity.
On the side, I set up a website whilst at School. At the
time the web was relatively new, so I taught myself
basic HTML and launched a website. I put my GCSE
revision notes on the website and called it GCSE
Guide. I sold that about three years ago. I also ran
a tuck shop from my locker which the Headmaster
actually closed down!
What did you do after leaving Nottingham
I graduated with a First and got a job in the City at
Deloitte management consulting – they allowed me
to defer my start date for a year so that I could go
travelling with a guaranteed job offer at the end. I
travelled all around the world including Australia,
New Zealand and Asia. It was a great experience
and I learnt about all different customs, cuisines and
cultures. It definitely broadened my horizons.
I spent two years working for Deloitte’s telecom and
media clients, such as BT, Daily Mail and various
others, doing consulting projects all over Europe.
From there, I made the move to Dixons where I
learnt an awful lot, as they were going through quite a
challenging time. I then started getting itchy feet again
and wanted to do something in a smaller business
where I would have more of an impact.
“Take advantage of all of the opportunities that
school and university have to offer. They will
always help at some point in life”
How did you end up in your current job?
My dad was retired and had been making popcorn
(which he’d been making since we were kids). My
mum was a stay-at-home-mum and was eager to
do something in a work environment. The three of
us decided to have a go and launched a premium
popcorn company. The recipes are so different to the
norm with unique flavours and premium packaging.
We air-pop the corn and don’t fry it. We also sieve out
all the small pieces so you won’t get any corn kernels
leftover. All of it came together well and we really
loved the taste. I took some tasters into Dixons and
everyone really liked them, and so did our friends and
family. In October 2010, we attended a BBC food show
in West London, which is a big consumer show with
lots of stands where people can taste and buy products.
In the course of two days we sold out and said “Ah,
this has gone well, we might have a business here”.
After the food show, Selfridges got in touch and said
they were interested in working with us. It was here we
decided to develop the business.
What do you do on a day-to-day basis?
Too much is possibly the answer! Today I’m visiting
a new building that we’re hoping to move our offices
to because we’re out-growing our existing offices
in London. I’m working on a new product. I am
catching up with my team, including the operations,
marketing and sales teams. In September, I was in
Dubai selling popcorn to the Middle East, and there’s a
lot of customer management too. We work with many
large customers such as Cineworld and Waitrose, so I
respond to them daily. There’s a real variety.
I work with my parents, and my brother has joined
the business now. We are spread across the building
though, so we’re not stepping on each other’s toes all
the time. My dad looks after popcorn production, my
mum looks after our warehouse and I look after the
sales strategy and marketing side of the business.
What have been your biggest challenges to date?
One of the biggest challenges with any business is cash
flow. We need to make sure that we have enough cash
to fund growth, especially with a business growing
as fast as ours. It’s especially important because some
retailers don’t pay for 60 days after we’ve delivered the
We manufacture in our own production kitchens
and don’t outsource. We have a large team of over 50
people and we’re growing rapidly, which is a challenge.
Six years ago, when we first launched popcorn flavours
such as the Gin and Tonic popcorn, people asked us
what we had done with the usual salted and sweet
popcorn, because that was all the UK knew. There were
a number of challenges getting customers to actually
And your biggest success?
The first was seeing our products in Selfridges. It’s
great seeing your product on a shelf but the biggest
success is seeing it sell. I also get a lot of pleasure
seeing a number of our team start as graduates and
develop and grow into bigger roles in the business,
as well as going on to do really interesting, cool jobs
Is there anything surprising about your work?
When you get to where we are now, and you walk
into a bar in London, I start to notice our popcorn
on the shelves which is cool but also quite a scary
feeling. We don’t necessarily supply them directly
because we’re working through a distributor, so we
don’t know where our products are always going to
be. It’s also cool seeing celebrities and people tweeting
and Instagramming about our popcorn. It keeps our
Do you have any advice to pass onto current
students at St Albans School?
Take advantage of all of the opportunities that school
and university have to offer. They will always help at
some point in life. People you meet may end up being
your customers in later life. Languages that you learn
may also be useful, especially when communicating
with customers and distributors overseas. Make use of
your connections. It’s not easy starting a business. From
the outside when you watch Dragons’ Den for example,
it can look very easy, but it’s tough work. You’ve got to
have a great, strong product and work really hard for it.
If all of your ideas come together and you’re lucky, you
can do really well and it’s the best career!
For more information about Joe & Seph’s Gourmet
Popcorn, visit www.joeandsephs.co.uk
St Albans School dates back to 948AD and as such,
there is a wealth of historical records to look after in
our Museum. Our archives are extremely important in
providing evidence of activities and telling a story of
the institution and the individuals who are connected with it.
The archives also increase our understanding of culture and
beliefs of the time, both in education and in the city of
This ‘Ask the Archivist’ section will be a regular feature in
Versa and we encourage you to do just that, ask the Archivist!
If you have any questions about the history of the School or
would like to know about the records in the Museum, please
write to us and let us know. It can be anything from; ‘who
are the famous alumni of the School?’ to ‘what was the most
successful 1st XV rugby team at the School?’.
In this edition, we ask Archivist, Nigel WoodSmith, how
have we commemorated fallen OAs and do we have a
complete record of all OAs who went to war?
Alderman Major Nigel WoodSmith writes…
In 2012, HMC (the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’
Conference) asked schools what they intended to do to
commemorate the centenary of the First World War. We
had already been thinking about this since commemorating
the hundredth anniversary of the foundation of the OTC
(Officers’ Training Corps), whose training programme had
been put forward in 1906 by St Albans, Uppingham and the
Imperial War College.
Paul Downey (OA 1977), a brilliant 15-year-old in 1974, had
started a project to obtain more detailed information about
the names on the two War Memorials in the Upper Yard. We
decided to find and publish a record of all those who served.
The first task was to make a list. Michael Hollins (OA 2012)
and Gareth Hughes (former parent) each produced a list of
over 400 boys who they thought had fought and the combined
list was the starting point.
The initial request to OAs for help in finding names
produced the remarkable and sad story of Arthur Skett which
we immortalised in two books: The Death of Arthur Skett and
The Life and Death of Arthur Skett (available on Amazon).
Also discovered were the names of three OAs who were
missing from the First World War Memorial; George Alfred
Scott, Leslie Harry Shrewsbury and Frank Walter Wilks. They
joined the 87 other Old Albanians on the Memorial, at the
time, to be remembered.
Soon we had collected over 1200 pages of information which
remains an archive. Current students, Ben Plumer and Ben
Craig, have been editing the pages down into seven volumes,
which are soon to be published as A Headmaster at War.
Extracts from the diary of Major E Montague Jones can be
read on our archives website st-albans-sch-archives.co.uk.
Montague Jones was the Headmaster of St Albans School
from 1902 to 1931. In 1914 he had gone to war, writing simply
to the Governors: “I have been called upon to serve with the 1st
Herts Regiment…in consequence I have been obliged to make
temporary arrangements for the carrying on of my work during
Each year the School holds a Remembrance Service in the
Abbey at which OAs, especially servicemen and women,
are welcome to attend. The Service is followed by the Act of
Remembrance at the War Memorial, commemorating all
Old Albanians who made the ultimate sacrifice in defence
of freedom as a result of war, peace-keeping operations or
So what research is left to do? Well, Volume 7 is partially a
workbook – as Gareth Hughes and Michael Hollins will tell
you, the work never ends – we hope that some of you will find
the time to investigate some of the names we still have little
If any OAs are inclined to research the School’s history and
War records, please contact Archivist Nigel Woodsmith at
NAWood-Smith@st-albans.herts.sch.uk for names of OAs
and tips on how to research.
It is with regret that the following deaths
Ronald Francis Tarling (OA 1955)
Informed by Ronald’s sister, Mrs Wheeler,
that Francis died on 14th February 2017,
John Hulett (OA 1946)
Died 4th March 2017.
Richard James French
1931 – 2017
Obituary by daughter,
Richard (Dick) French attended St Albans
School on a scholarship between 1942
and 1947. After an enthusiastic start:
‘always cheerful and willing, but not
very good’ (Algebra, 1942), he settled
into a respectable School career earning
commendations for his sporting prowess
in rugby, shooting and swimming
and he left with a credit in his general
Selected for officer training during his
National Service, he afterwards embarked
on a period of travel and adventure in
a series of postings which took him
to Hong Kong, the Cocos Islands and
eventually to Indonesia, where he met his
wife Franceline. They lived first in Suffolk
before settling in the West Midlands
with their three children. Dick’s affable
character afforded him a steady career
in sales management and he devoted
his time to his family and his hobbies,
including sailing and camping. His great
love was for music: he played cornet,
guitar and ukulele, sang in a barbershop
quartet, sang in and conducted Male
Voice Choirs and was a member of the
local operatic society. He died on 8th
August 2017 after a short illness.
Philip Maxwell Eden
1934 – 2017
Obituary by son, Roland
Eden (OA 1981)
Dad attended St Albans School from
1947 to 1952. He was grateful to “Jumbo”
Jenkins his Maths Master, and his English
teacher who taught him the essence of
writing clearly. I remember one story of
dad placing a rotten fish behind a radiator.
In 1952 he joined the Navy where he
reached the rank of Sub Lieutenant. He
had an interest in languages which may
have contributed meeting his first wife
Barbara, a German Au Pair working in
Harpenden. He travelled to 52 countries
during his career at Shell and Barclays
where he became Assistant Director of
Technical Service advising on the viability
of energy related projects.
Philip was a Buddhist and wrote
articles for The Middle Way as well as
teaching and recording a number of
lectures. He became Vice President of
the Buddhist Society.
I recently found this caption on his
bookshelf: “Death is not a cessation of
life but the laying aside of one form of
existence and transition to another”.
William F. Harwood (OA 1947)
1929 – 2017
Obituary by the family
Born in 1929, William (Bill) Harwood
had an enjoyable childhood with
amateur dramatics and visits to the sea.
He attended the School from 1939 to
1947. He was a keen rugby player and,
influenced by his father’s love of music,
an accomplished pianist. His School
friends remember his playing of the
Aged 19, he joined the Army and
developed practical skills, including car
mechanics, which became useful when he
toured Europe by motorbike.
He was always in love with water,
grabbing every opportunity to sail. He
bought a 25ft yacht “Nim” and frequently
set sail on the Crouch in Essex and the
He met Anne at a wedding in St Albans;
they were married in 1961 and had four
children: Melanie, Vanessa, Justin and
Melissa. After the divorce, he moved to
Ruislip and took lessons in ballroom
and square dancing to keep up with his
partner, Rita’s bronze and silver medals.
He was a good listener, and showed an
interest in people, with an open-minded
and non-judgemental disposition and,
above all, was a loving and caring dad and
grandfather; always wanting the best for
them. He was devoted to his partner, Rita.
He showed strength, love and humour
right up to his last days with us all.
Congratulations to the following
OAs who have recently tied the
Isabel Gilbert (née Currie), OA
My husband, James, and I got married
on the 17th December 2016 at the
Tower of London. We were honoured
to be able to use such a special
location which has been James’s
regimental home since 1685. It was
also the first place James took me
for dinner, when we both returned
from serving in Afghanistan in 2013.
After the service at the beautiful
little chapel, we had our reception at
Trinity House, just across Tower Hill.
Amongst our guests we had 10 OAs,
including Ed Roberts who kindly did a
reading during the service, and Maddy
Buckley and Katie Wade-Wright (née
Lilly) who were bridesmaids. We had
an incredible day, made even more
magical by the twinkling Christmas
trees everywhere! Since our wedding
and honeymoon, we have moved to
South West London and are currently
planning how to celebrate almost one
year as Mr and Mrs.
William Bestelink, OA 1967
After leaving St Albans School in
1967, I had four years at Hull (where
I studied History and Theology) and
two years at Cuddesdon College,
Oxford. In 1973, I was Ordained in
the Church of England in Cromer
Church, Norfolk and spent the whole
of my Ministry in the Diocese of
Norwich. I did two assistant curacies
and for 30 years held three positions,
most in rural parishes. I also became
Rural Dean, Rural Officer and a
Canon of Norwich Cathedral.
In 2009, I retired early and moved
to Cromer. I continue to take
Services and play the organ at several
Churches. My rural work continues
serving on a helpline. I also participate
in The Cromer Society and volunteer
at Felbrigg Hall, a local National Trust
property, where I met my wife, Genny.
We had a small family Wedding, as it
was the first for both of us, at Metton
Church near Cromer, and today we
continue to live in Cromer.
Support the future of the arts at St Albans School
The success of our Building Futures fundraising campaign has enabled the start of the refurbishment of
New Hall into a modern Centre for the Performing Arts. With Phase One of this project on schedule to
be completed by mid-April 2018, our fundraising endeavours continue apace to enable Phase Two of this
project to proceed.
Play your Part – a continuation of the Building Futures campaign – aims specifically to redevelop the
main and balcony floors of New Hall, and provide a 300 seat multi-use auditorium. The development plan
focusses on providing current and future students with the best possible opportunities available to unlock
Play your part and help our students to be their very best
At St Albans School, we believe that the arts are vital to our vibrant community and bring out the
best in our students. The Centre for the Performing Arts will engage and inspire on a grand scale,
enabling students to thrive in an atmosphere that fosters creative expression and personal growth.
Students will be immeasurably enriched by a modern and innovative facility that impacts their
academic and student life.
How you can play your part
For further information,
please contact the
Development Office or visit
Our fundraising target for Phase Two is £1 million. As part of the Play your Part campaign, we are
seeking gifts from donors who truly understand the great value of the arts to our School. Please help
play your part by making a gift to support our budding actors and musicians. A one-off donation,
or a transformational naming-gift, will enable us to achieve our vision to help each pupil flourish,
develop self-knowledge and self-confidence.
Take a leading role and play your part in supporting the future
of the arts at St Albans School.
t: 01727 515187 e: email@example.com
We have recently expanded our range of OA merchandise. Why not pick up a stocking filler for the OA in your life?
If you would like to purchase any merchandise, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01727 515187.
Alternatively, you can shop online at www.oaconnect.co.uk or complete the form below, and send to:
Development Office, St Albans School, Abbey Gateway, St Albans, AL3 4HB. International prices may vary.
 OA Umbrella
£22 (+ £11 UK p&p)
Lightweight storm proof umbrellas
featuring the School crest and
printed in OA colours.
 St Albans School Mug
£10 (+ £2 UK p&p)
Bone china mug with School
history on base.
 St Albans School Tea Towel
£5 (+ 50p UK p&p)
Featuring a list of School rules
 Born Not For Ourselves:
A History of St Albans School
£25 (+ £5 UK p&p)
A hardback book telling the story of
St Albans School through the years.
 St Albans School At War
£15 (+ £2.50 UK p&p)
A paperback book on collected
memories of pupils who experienced
a St Albans School education
during World War II.
 OA Socks
£7.50 (+ £2 UK p&p)
One size cotton socks in the official OA
colours. Suitable for men’s size 8-12.5
 St Albans School Tote Bag
£4 (+ £1 UK p&p)
Natural coloured tote bags with
the School crest. Fashionable
and handy for shopping.
 OA Silk Tie
£13.00 (+ £1 UK p&p)
100% silk tie in OA colours.
 St Albans School Hymn Books
£10 (+ £2 UK p&p)
School hymns throughout
 Inspiring Old Albanians
£12 (+ £2 UK p&p)
A paperback book which is a
miscellany of famous former
pupils and others associated with
St Albans School.
 St Albans School Notebook
£5 (+ £2 UK p&p)
High quality A5 notebook with a
black matte finish, pen hold, ribbon
bookmark and the School crest.
I enclose a cheque for £
payable to St Albans School Foundation
Please debit my: Visa/Delta MasterCard UK Maestro
Name on card
/ Start Date /
by John Meulkens
JOHN MEULKENS VISITING THE SCHOOL IN MAY 2017
Notwithstanding the fact that I am very much
in my twilight years, it was once again
possible to pay a visit to my alma mater
last May and profit, as so often from its traditional
hospitality. With EasyJet to Luton, it’s a short 45
to 50-minute flight from Amsterdam Airport.
Comparing favourably with the taxi drive from my
home to the airport that, depending on the traffic,
might take twice as long.
The programme was again executed in grand style: Tea
at Woollams, a visit to the School Museum and drinks
at the Fighting Cocks with the following OAs who
so graciously came over to meet me; Roy and Merle
Bacon, Ian Jennings, Mitch Parker, Chris Harbour,
Geoffrey Dale and Robert Sharpe (all the way from the
South Coast!). Then, to top it off, we had dinner in the
Refectory with Headmaster Jonathan Gillespie and his
charming wife Caroline.
It was great to meet, for the first time, our OA President
Mike Hodge, who so interestingly told me that my
first Maths Master in 1929 “Pi” Walker was, in fact, his
grandfather; a severe and much respected teacher. All in
all, a truly delightful visit and again much appreciated
by my cousin-by-marriage who, incidentally joins me
on such expeditions, as it is not advisable to do it on
one’s own – especially at the airport.
Although life now is quiet and peaceful, there is
“never a dull moment”. Besides working incidentally
on an oil painting and reading a great deal in order to
increase my knowledge of the world’s history – music
is constantly an important element in my day-to-day
life. Hardly a day goes by without playing the piano.
In addition to this “homework”, I attend piano recitals
As a result of these visits, I had the privilege of being
introduced to a Hungarian master pianist (who now
lives in Amsterdam) – Klára Würtz. Accepted as a
student at the prestigious Franz Liszt Academy at the
early age of 14, Klára went on to win a scholarship
to study under Sir András Schiff in England. She has
now performed over 200 concerts in countries such
as America, Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Slovina
and Ireland. During our chat, after being told of my
advanced age she promptly said; “I’ll come and play at
your 100th birthday”. My immediate reply was; “you
promise?” and her answer was, “yes, I promise”.
Since then I have been present at several of her recitals
in nearby towns and I am happy to say that she has
become a very dear friend.
As I still had to wait a couple of years and everything
was very much in “the lap of the Gods”, I thought
it practical to organise the recital a year earlier, to
celebrate the start of my 100th centenary. The idea
was readily accepted and a Saturday afternoon in
November agreed. The organisational work involved
has kept me busy during many months. The result may
well be seen as a highlight in my long life.
During my May visit to the School, Jonathan Gillespie
told me about the plans for the New Hall development
– to make it into the Centre for Performing Arts,
complete with a purpose built Music Faculty. A project
that most certainly enhances the School’s already
impressive reputation. During our talks I suggested
that we might consider having pianist Klára Würtz
give a repeat performance of her November recital, as
and when the Centre is officially opened. In order to
discuss this matter, we have provisionally planned a
visit to St Albans in January.
Needless to say I will do my upmost to be present at
“Although life now is quiet
and peaceful, there is
never a dull moment”
THE OA LODGE
then & now…
by John Williams
The first Master of the Old
Albanian Lodge was Edward
Percy Debenham. He was born
at Ivy House in St Albans in 1858 and
educated at the School. He qualified as a
Solicitor in 1881 and following the death
of his father in 1883, joined the family
firm of Thompson & Debenhams of
London and St Albans. He was initiated
into Halsey Lodge No. 1479 in St Albans
in 1882 and was installed as Master in
1890. Debenham was a Clerk to the
Governors of St Albans School – at
the time still referred to as St Albans
Grammar School. After the ‘Great’
war, in the 1920s there were numerous
members of Freemason’s Lodges in St
Albans who had been educated at the
School. They established a committee
in 1925, with the aim of founding a new
Lodge in the Province of Hertfordshire,
the Old Albanian Lodge No 4999,
for the benefit of Old Boys, staff and
those connected with the School. The
Old Albanian Lodge was consecrated
at Freemason’s Hall on Saturday 19th
May 1928 by Bro. Charles E. Keyser,
Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic
Province of Hertfordshire.
For the remainder of 1928, Lodge
meetings were held by dispensation in
St Albans Town Hall. Afterwards, the
members and their guests dined at the
Red Lion Hotel. In early 1929 however,
the Lodge began meeting in the Old
Assembly room in the School’s Gateway,
but continued to dine in the Red Lion.
In the 12 months from October 1928
to 1929, no fewer than 14 candidates –
including the then Headmaster, Major
E. Montague Jones – were initiated into
the Lodge and with additional ‘joining’
members, the Lodge was on course
to becoming one of the foremost in
Old Albanians who received a copy of
the ‘black book’ containing ‘Notes on St
Albans School’ at the start of their School
careers may recall that Sir Francis was
the son of Sir Nicolas Bacon, one of the
School’s early patrons and instrumental
in obtaining the ‘Wine Charter’ which
was later confirmed and extended by
Charters, granted by King James 1st.
King James had been initiated into the
Masonic Lodge of Scoon and Perth in
1601. Sir Francis, also a Freemason and
one of history’s finest philosophers,
played a large part in the development
of early Freemasonry. 20 years after his
death, in 1645 during the turmoil of
the civil war, Freemasons in London
established what was to become the
Royal Society. It was the world’s first
assembly of scientists and engineers
dedicated to understanding the wonders
created by the ‘Great Architect of the
Universe’. As continues in all Freemason’s
Lodges today, ‘all discourses on divinity
and state affairs’ is barred – i.e. there
shall be no discussion of religion
EDWARD PERCY DEBENHAM
The Lodge ‘year’ commenced at the
Installation meeting on 13th May, when
the outgoing Master of the Lodge, Alex
Bain-Stewart, installed the Master Elect,
Alistair Cooper (OA 1988) as the 90th
Master of the Lodge. The incoming
Master was initiated into Harrow St
Paul’s Lodge, and joined the OA Lodge
in 2010. He is now a successful property
developer and residential landlord. He
was proposed into the Old Albanian
Lodge by Colin Harris and Ian Parker
(who taught him economics at School).
Alistair was a St Albans councillor from
1997 to 2005, chairing the Planning
Committee from 2002 to 2004. He is a
charity volunteer for the local homeless
drop in centre, Centre 33 and is a keen
supporter of the RSPCA and other
ALISTAIR COOPER (OA 1988)
The Lodge meets five times a year
and all those connected with the
School, including fathers of past or
present pupils are welcome to apply
for membership. Members of other
Lodges, be they OAs, parents, staff or
Governors, are encouraged to visit
the Lodge whenever they wish. The
Secretary or Assistant Secretary will
be delighted to hear from them.
by Peter Dredge (OA 1960)
Golfers are avid followers of the weather forecast, especially in
the locations where matches and events have been arranged.
Experience this season has shown that long range (over
a week) forecasts have been wildly inaccurate and even
an indication for a following day is generally unreliable.
Nevertheless, the fixtures this season have been played in
mostly dry conditions due to good fortune, although the
Secretary must be afforded some credit! The matches, as
always, were great fun with our opposition and over the
years we have established great camaraderie and friendships
on and off the course. Results were mixed with a good
victory over Mid-Herts GC, draws against Berkhamsted and
Haberdashers, and a single defeat against Old Cholmeleians,
the first loss to them for several years and, in a way, it was
good to see them return happily back to Highgate.
The OA Cup venue this year was Berkhamsted GC and John
Cox succeeded in retaining the trophy he won last year
at Sandy Lodge. A significant achievement by our lowest
handicap golfer, 4. Graham Tate was runner-up with three
players tied for third place, Mike Lamprell, John Cash and
Brian Hayden-Smith. John Saunders secured the Dockree
Tankard being the competition for the Antelopes.
CAPTAIN GRAHAM TATE (OA 1960) (RIGHT) PRESENTING THE CUP TO
WINNER JOHN COX (OA 1974) (LEFT)
Our Captain, Graham Tate, kindly organised an open day at
his home course, Dunstable Downs GC, and then proceeded
to win the Pop Rush trophy from runners-up John Saunders
and Peter Dredge.
At the time of writing this report, the annual away trip this
year will be to Lakeside Lodge, Huntingdon and full details
will follow in the next report.
All OAs are most welcome to attend any of our events.
I would be pleased to provide details and to include any
interested OAs on the mailing list. My email address is
by Maureen Harcourt
We have had a very successful season in the Watford and District Tennis League.
Our Men (Division 2) have come second, our Ladies (Division 3) have come first
and our Mixed Team (Division 4) have come second. This means all three teams
have gained promotion. Family sessions on Sunday mornings have gone well
throughout the season and have enjoyed good attendance. We have instigated a
new club session on Tuesday evenings for Ladies Team practice, ably lead by our
Club Coach Margie Edge. Margie is building up her coaching sessions and is
busy every day of the week delivering group and individual lessons. If anyone
is interested in booking some coaching sessions she can be contacted at
The Sue Barnes Memorial Tournament on Sunday 11th June was a delightful event
which was well attended and played in great spirit. Family and friends of Sue joined
in, in some cases having to dust cobwebs off rackets and digging deep for suitable
outfits! Nick Barnes officially “opened” the bench by cutting the ribbons – in OA
colours of course! As it was such a success we have decided that it should become
an annual event.
For the first time this year we are entering a Mixed Team into the East Herts
Autumn League and a Ladies Team into the Hertfordshire Senior Winter League.
We shall also continue to put a mixed side into the Datchworth Autumn League.
BENCH OPENING CEREMONY WITH
NICK BARNES (OA 1966)
We continue to welcome new players to the Club so do contact either myself
(email@example.com) or Margie if you are interested in finding out more.
by Nick Jackson (OA 2005)
After several years of dormancy, OA Football has returned
and in a big way. After dipping their toes in a few competitive
Old Boys games earlier this year in a cup run that saw them
reach the quarter finals of The David Willcott Trophy. The
Old Albanian Football Club have now begun their crusade for
league silverware as they embark on their 2017/18 campaign
in Division Five of the Arthurian League.
The Arthurian League, an English association football league
for teams of independent school alumni, has existed since
1961 and currently consists of 57 teams representing 36
separate clubs. Driven by former students Alex Addison (OA
2005) and Nick Jackson (OA 2005), St Albans School is now
being represented by its alumni with a vision to field both
Second and Third XIs in future years.
The Club, featuring exclusively Old Albanians from the School,
has been proactive with their recruitment drive, leading to
talent being represented across decades of Old Boys.
‘’I felt a warm welcome joining and despite age differences,
the St Albans School unity that has been bred into all of us
still holds strong no matter of current careers or stages of life’’
– Bryn Edwards, OAFC member.
With an ever growing talent pool available, it is an excellent
opportunity to reconnect with old friends and establish new
ones through competitive sport. For all those interested in
finding out more or to receive the latest Club match reports
and latest updates please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Old Albanian Football Club are currently first in Division
Five of the Arthurian League.
POS P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Old Albanians 8 4 2 2 18 18 0 14
2 Old Columbans 5 4 1 0 21 5 16 13
3 Old Brentwoods III 5 3 1 1 18 10 8 10
4 Old Brentwoods II 6 2 4 0 17 9 8 10
5 Old Cholmeleians II 5 1 1 3 11 14 -3 4
6 Old Foresters III 6 1 1 4 9 17 -8 4
7 Old Chigwellians III 7 0 2 5 8 29 -21 2
by Kate Barnes
Hampstead has always been a tough away fixture and the
match on 8th October was no different. We are slightly
feared in this League due to our strong reputation.
Hampstead had no reservations that beating us was the
only option by any means necessary!
Saints spent the first 20 minutes pinning Hampstead
in their own 22. The question was; who would score
first? To the Saints’ dismay, the home side prevailed. 5–0
Hampstead. Saints upped a gear, creating some good link
play between forwards and backs. Robertson crossed the
line and converted her own efforts, 7-5 Saints half-time.
The second half began at a fierce pace, until Saints lost
front-rower Cook to a broken fibula, causing a reshuffle,
leading to a loss in focus. Suddenly Saints started to chase
the game, making some uncharacteristic errors. The home
side capitalised on this scoring further tries to finish the
game 22-7 victors.
Two weeks later, Saints are taking on Lewes. An unknown
entity to the League and the team had no intention of
underestimating the newly promoted side.
Saints score the first try through rapid winger McKenna,
extras by Robertson, 7-0 Saints. It didn’t take long for
Lewes to respond, firing back after some slick hands,
producing a score 7-5 Saints. Both sides were producing
attacking rugby and strong defence, Saints had a player
in the bin but put on another score as King raced over
converted by Robertson, followed by another to make it
19-5 Saints. Just on half-time Lewes snatched a converted
score, 19-12 Saints.
Concentration after the break lapsed and Lewes scored
within five minutes to level. Players started to feel the
weight of extra work and Lewes scored another try and
conversion to lead 26-19. Knowing the end of the match
was approaching, Saints found some energy to score again
through McKenna, 26-24 Lewes. Despite several attempts,
Saints found no way through and were held up twice
over the line. The home side eventually cleared their line,
finding themselves in the Saints’ 22. Fast hands and using
the overlap, they scored in the corner. Final score 31-24.
Head Coach Brown said; “To come away with a bonus
point was a credit to the players. Given the personnel
changes, injuries being carried and positional switches,
I could not ask for more from each player. A couple of
better decisions could have swung the result, but that’s
OA Rifle Club
by Andrew Wilkie (OA 1965)
SHOOTING AT 300YRDS
Well, we’re still here and in a low key understated
sort of way, flourishing. We hear from others
at Bisley that we are actually one of the better
off Old Boys’ organisations thanks largely to the School’s
continued support and the elevation of shooting to a School
sport. The even better news is that the new Maths building
includes a basement range and has been given the go ahead
by planners. There will of course be a disrupted period during
construction but the future is looking positive indeed.
Our Herts Rifle League winter season 2016/17 (Division 2,
Team 4) resulted in our finishing fourth (ex6), not bad for
such an unusually elevated division and it shows we held our
own against declared averages. Our final position belies some
very good scores; clearly the challenges of range closure put
the team on its mettle.
Martin Warr spent the season shooting for the Herts County
Rifle Team. Congratulations to him. With his current average
he should have another season of county shooting ahead in
2017/18. Keep up the good work. I’m not so sure my own
average will have the same result in Dorset but it looks like I
might get a go at the new NSRA County Veterans competition
seeing as I’m over sixty; ten years over!
Herts Rifle League summer season 2017 (Division 2, Team 4)
was a similar story but this time the damage was done in the
early rounds and we ended up in fifth place. Not too shabby
but could do better. Priscilla and John Simmons both had
success at the NSRA Bisley Open Meeting in August.
The annual Coles Trophy match against the School took place
on 30th June. The result was a close win for the School with
Macrae handicap scores of 400.076 to the school and 399.987
for the OAs. Congratulations to the School team.
Owen Simmons has dusted off his contacts list and called for
competitors for this year’s BSSRA 25-yard competition. If
you would like to take part then please let him know (contact
details at the front).
Our team for the winter 2017/18 (Division 2, Team 4 – again!)
Andrew Wilkie 97.0
Andrew Moore 93.4
Martin Warr 97.4
Nick Tubby 93.8
Full bore shooting kicked off on 1st April this year with a
practice shoot at 600yds. A week later we shot the short range
Q Match at 500 & 600yds, coming fifth out of six teams.
Not one of our better performances given the early practice
but shooting was disrupted by the delays getting target frames
in place and by painfully slow marking. More delays followed
during our match against the Old Lawrentians. This time we
came second as expected with 458.24 against 466.36.
The plan was to have a practice shoot at 1000yds before the
Long Range Q match at 900 and 1000yds. Yours truly duly
booked targets and then disappeared off to Australia for six
weeks. Well thanks to the electronic booking system the team
arrived at Bisley to find they were booked in at 1100yds.
We don’t have kit to shoot at this distance so after much
discussion they were offered an electronic target at 300yds
This summer Alun Lewis turned his wordsmithing talents
to shooting, updating the NRA Facebook page during the
Queen’s Final at Bisley. Tech savvy at 70, a new trick for an
old dog. I wonder can you get a tingle from a lekky bone? At
the time of writing we have just shot our last full bore event of
the season The Arnold Cup match. First presented in 1936 the
competition was balanced 32 to Alleynians and 31 to us with
three ties (66 matches). This year the match was shot 2 & 7 at
300 and 600yds. I am delighted to report that we won with a
score of 272.29 against 250.16 to the Alleynians.
Congratulations to all on levelling the overall total at 32 each
and completing a run of five successive wins for the Old
Albanians. The match was followed by our annual dinner in
the London Middlesex where we were hosts to the Alleynians
team and their partners.
Club kit is available for all disciplines so if any of you would
like to relive the excitement of corps camp or that first shoot
on the School range, the opportunity is there. The grey hair
count is still high and we need to keep working on reducing
it. So go on – you know you want to!
by Geoff Cannon
Notwithstanding our declining membership, we have
continued our activities visiting local rivers and lakes around
St Albans. Outings have been organised to Derbyshire,
fishing the River Wye for wild brown trout and some
members visited Galway, having degrees of success with trout
and salmon. Our long weekend in Norfolk was a great trip,
fishing the River Yare, a carp lake and a trout fishery nearby.
Lots more outings are planned for the future and we would
welcome any new members who wish to come along. If
you’re interested, please contact Geoff Cannon via the
details at the front of the magazine.
by Richard Morgan (OA 1979)
OACC has had another excellent season on the pitch this
summer with two promotions in our four sides. The 1st XI
was captained this year by Alex Goldstone and played its
third year in Division 1 of the Herts League after the two
successive promotion seasons of 2013 and 2014. Without
any star players or spectacular individual performances, a
really good all round team effort by a small and dedicated
squad of first-team players resulted in eight wins, two
draws and six losses in the campaign and a creditable sixth
place at the end of the season.
Our 2nd XI spent a long time at the top of Division 6A but
were pipped to the championship by London Colney in the
penultimate game of the season. They finished in second
place and were promoted to Div 5B for 2018. So that is two
promotions in three years for Ghulam Rasool’s team.
The 3rd XI, led by veteran Tariq Hassan, were allconquering
in Division 10A, winning all but one of their
league games, ending the season unbeaten and top of the
division by a very large margin. They are promoted up to
Div 9A next year. Another veteran and OA, Tom Preest
(OA 1988), hit his first century for the Club after 20 years of
trying, against Boxmoor on 27th May and promptly retired
hurt 100, not out!
We have successfully introduced a number of very
good players from our thriving Junior Section into the
senior teams over the last two or three years and that
continues this summer with 14 to 17-year olds playing and
contributing substantially in our 3rd and 4th XIs. This was
the case particularly in the 4ths, captained by Simon Bates
with great enthusiasm to third place in their division, just
missing out on promotion this year.
The Junior Section, led again with great vigour by Alison
Curran, had another good season with boys and girls from
age 5 up to 17 playing regularly on Sunday mornings and in
midweek and weekend matches from Under 9s upwards.
3RD XI CHAMPIONS
However, all is not wholly positive as the Club is currently
under-resourced financially and we are in need of more
people to commit to running and supporting the Club so
we can operate effectively in the Woollams environment;
new sponsors and added income for the Club are now
an urgent necessity; and we require admin support and
committee leadership going forwards.
We’re keen to hear from any readers who would like to
support the Club, either with donations, sponsorships,
becoming Vice-Presidents or indeed helping out off the
pitch, and of course from any people who’d like to play for
us, either regularly or occasionally. Please contact me at
Over the summer we conducted a survey of our alumni
in order to both understand the needs of OAs and to
improve the way we communicate with you. Here is a
snapshot of the results obtained which are helping to
shape our activities moving forward.
from 18 – 99
of OAs received
some form of financial
St Albans School
of OAs want to attend
events on the School site
CCF & Rugby most
popular School interests
offered some form of
educational support to
You want Class
reunions at key
about OAs, historic features and
career profiles in this publication
Wednesday 13th December
St Albans Abbey
Tickets are strictly first come, first served. OAs are welcome
to bring a guest and are warmly invited back to School after
the Service for some festive mulled wine and mince pies.
Friday 15th December
Recent Leavers’ Drinks
(Class of 2017)
The Peahen, St Albans
To celebrate finishing your first term at university, we are
inviting all recent leavers from the Class of 2017 to a get
together this Christmas holiday. Hot food will be provided
and your first drink is on us! (This event is exclusively for the
Class of 2017)
Thursday 1st February 2018
An Evening with… Chris Wilkinson OA
St Albans School Library
Chris Wilkinson (OA 1963), the founder of Wilkinson Eyre
and a world-leading architect, will be giving a lecture in the
Library. Pupils, OAs and parents welcome.
Saturday 3rd February
1st XI Hockey Team V Aldenham School
School Pavilion, Woollams
OAs are welcome to join us in the School Pavilion
to watch the 1st XI Hockey Team take on Aldenham.
The match starts at 13.45 and refreshments will be available.
Thursday 1st March
Durham Regional Dinner
Kings Lodge Inn
Open to all OAs (including Undergraduates, Postgraduates
and Graduates of Durham University) who live in Durham
and the surrounding areas. We are planning to host a meetup
in March at the Kings Lodge Inn, Durham. Please let
us know if you are provisionally interested in attending by
emailing Sarah Osborne on email@example.com
Tickets for most of our events will be available to book
online via the OA section of the School website or by
telephone/post/email via the contact details below.
Tel: 01727 515187
St Albans School, Abbey Gateway, St Albans, AL3 4HB
HOW WE USE
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The General Data Protection Regulation will come into force in May
2018, extending the data rights of individuals. It requires us as an
organisation and a charity to update our data processing policies
and adopt appropriate and extensive measures to protect your
Presently, we hold information on you as an OA on our database,
including your name, address, email and telephone number.
Depending on the extent to which you have been involved with the
School, we may also hold information on donations you have given,
Gift Aid declarations and possible correspondence we may have had.
It is important to note that we will never share your data with other
organisations or individuals. We are committed to respecting your
privacy and the GDPR will enhance our data policies, not replace them.
Currently, we contact individuals on our database with School
news, event invitations, fundraising campaigns and occasional
surveys. We have always given you the opportunity to opt-out of
these mailings. However, under the new regulations coming into
force, we may need you to opt-in to specific mailings and how you
receive them – giving us affirmative consent to use your data.
We will continue to keep you informed about the incoming
regulations and will be back in touch if action to opt-in is required.
We hope you enjoy hearing from us and being part of the Old
If you have any questions about how we handle your data,
please do not hesitate to get in touch with the
Development Team at firstname.lastname@example.org