Versa: Issue Two


Versa is a biannual publication and will be published every autumn and spring term. Versa will replace the former magazine, OA Bulletin and will offer a comprehensive insight into the many facets of alumni life.










in memoriam

Hawking’s Black Hole Entropy Formula


this issue

Editorial Team

Chris Harbour

Sarah Osborne

Upcoming Events 2

OA President’s Notes 3

OA News 4

OA Events 6

Pen Arthur 7

Featured OA: Jon Croker 8

Ask the Archivist 10

Mugwort by Richard Osmond 11

Professor Stephen Hawking 12


Building Futures 16

An Evening of Jazz 17

OA Lodge 18

Sports News 19

Your Data, Your Rights 23



St Albans School


Old Albanian


St Albans School

St Albans School Foundation | CHARITY NO. 1092932

2 3



Mike Hodge

07774 161624


David Buxton

01727 840499


David Hughes

07701 027881

Membership Secretary

Roger Cook

01727 836877




Paul Richardson

07918 633031


Rory Davis

07748 146521


Rick Powdrell

07795 200125


Peter Lipscomb

01727 760466

Mini Chairman

Mike Fisher

Junior Chairman

Ian Tomlins

07867 971585

OA Saints Chairperson

Kate Barnes

07841 706250



Nick Jackson



Tony Dalwood

07958 522261


Richard Morgan

01727 843844


Richard Ransley

07878 499432


Alison Finley

01727 853985


Membership Enquiries

Maureen Harcourt

07710 270361



Andrew Wilkie

01202 424190



Geoff Cannon

01727 861622 / 01582 792512



Peter Dredge

01582 834572


Assistant Secretary

John Williams

01438 715679


Development Director

Kate Gray

01727 515177

Alumni Relations &

Development Manager

Chris Harbour

01727 515185

Development & Archives


Hannah Nelson

01727 515178

Campaign Assistant

Sarah Osborne

01727 224540


Chris Harbour

Alumni Relations & Development


Sarah Osborne

Campaign Assistant




Friday 15th June 2018

Golden Jubilee Reunion (Classes of 1968 and 1975)

St Albans School / School Pavilion at the Woollam Playing Fields

OAs from the Classes of 1968 and 1975 are warmly invited to come back to School for

their Golden Jubilee celebration. On Friday 15th June, OAs are welcome to have coffee

with the Headmaster followed by a tour of the School and then to board coaches to

Woollams for a buffet lunch. The event is free of charge and a great opportunity to

reconnect with old School friends. We hope to see you there!

Saturday 7th July 2018

Founders’ Day

St Albans School / School Pavilion at the Woollam Playing Fields

OAs are warmly invited to this year’s Founders’ Day Service on Saturday 7th July. The

Gaudy Reunion is for OAs who left School between 2007 and 2017.

Founders’ Day will comprise of the Abbey Service at 10.45am (guests to be seated

by 10.30am), followed by a drinks reception. There will be a lunch served in the

Refectory for Gaudy guests, followed by a tour of the School. Weather permitting,

there will be sporting activities continuing throughout the afternoon at the Woollam

Playing Fields, where a lunchtime BBQ and cash bar will be available.

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Diamond Geezers (Class of 1965 Reunion)

St Albans School / School Pavilion at the Woollam Playing Fields

The Class of 1965 have enjoyed two very special reunions; one in celebration of 50

years since starting St Albans School and the other for 50 years since leaving. Due

to the popularity and high attendance of these events, it has been suggested that the

Class of 1965 hold one final School reunion, celebrating 60 years since first entering

the School. A ‘Diamond Geezers’ gathering!

The reunion, held on Tuesday 18th September, will include tours, lunch and an

evening gathering at a St Albans pub!

Friday 21st September 2018

OA Dinner

St Albans School

The annual OA Dinner will be held on Friday 21st September at the School. The

informal dinner, open to all OAs, will start with (optional) tours of the School followed

by a delicious dinner in the Refectory. Tickets are just £15.00 for two courses and a

drink on arrival. There will also be a cash bar open on the night.

Tickets for OA events are available to book online via the OA section of the School website or

by telephone/post/email via the contact details below.

Development Office

Tel: 01727 515187


St Albans School, Abbey Gateway, St Albans, AL3 4HB


First of all, I would like to compliment the Versa Editorial

Team on the production of the Autumn 2017 issue of

this publication. It is a magnificent piece of work –

congratulations and here’s to many more.

My notes go back to early September 2017 when I was

honoured to be invited to the School’s Prize Giving Ceremony

in the Abbey. There was a continual stream of pupils

winning all sorts of prizes over a wide range of educational

subjects. The OA Club donate an annual prize to the best

sportsman and sportswoman of the leaving Upper Sixth. The

winners in 2017 were Joe Riant and Kirstyn Warren – many

congratulations to them. I do recall winning a prize when I

was at School – it was for House Rugby. I think it was given to

me as Captain of Pemberton House and we got beaten (easily)

by everyone.

Also, in September we had the OA Dinner held at the School.

One of the Prefects, Lorenzo Razzano, had the misfortune to

find himself next to me. I did wonder what his thoughts were

when he saw the seating plan – sitting next to a crusty OA

President. We had a simply splendid evening and Lorenzo was

great company. It coincided with his 18th birthday so he was

easily persuaded to buy a bottle of wine when it was needed.

As it was, Lorenzo is a delightful young man and has his heart

set on the legal profession. I am sure he will do very well and

will be a credit to the School. It gave me great pleasure to

hand over a peppercorn to Jonathan Gillespie for the annual

rent of the OAs at Woollams. Such good value.

November saw a number of OAs and friends play in a Golf

Charity Day run by Jim Putterill (OA 1951) at Harpenden

Common Golf Club. Jim was raising much-needed funds for

the Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre in Bedford. One of Jim’s

sons has battled with MS for many years and always delivers a

very entertaining speech. The day raised £3,000 and was

great fun.

We also had the OA Networking Drinks in London in

November. I was delighted to meet Andy Coughlin at this

event – Andy and I had not seen each other for probably

30 years. He is not my vintage – far from it. When I played

hockey at Harpenden (I was approaching 40), Andy was at

Roundwood School and probably about 16. He and some

of his other Schoolmates were playing 1st XI Men’s Hockey

in the East League. These lads had great skills but Men’s

Hockey was a brutal affair… Entertaining times as Andy and

I recalled.

I attended the annual School Remembrance Service on 10th

November in the Abbey and in front of the War Memorial

in Upper Yard. This year’s Service remembered the Battle

Mike Hodge (OA 1965), OA President


of Passchendaele which began on 31st July 1917 and ended

on 10th November 1917, exactly 100 years ago on the date

of this Service. The Headmaster delivered a solemn and

poignant eulogy for those killed at the Battle. This year, the

Remembrance Day Service will commemorate the centenary

of the end of the First World War in 1918. It would be

especially appropriate to have a very good turn out of OAs at

the Service. The date will be Friday 9th November so please

mark your diaries now.

Moving on to December, we had the School Carol Service in

the Abbey. The singing and readings were of top quality and

we heard the carol ‘A Simple Truth’ performed beautifully

by the School Choir. This carol was written by Peter Knapp

(OA 1965) who is my vintage and, in fact, was our Best Man

way back in 1970. There can’t be many schools which are

fortunate enough to include a carol written by an alumnus –

and performed in a place as beautiful as the Abbey. It was a

wonderful moment.

Finally, I attended the Biennial General Inspection

of the School CCF in early March. Again, this was a

commemoration of the First World War and some of the

cadets were wearing appropriate uniform. The drill work

was of a very high quality and there were a number of

interesting stands to visit including WW1 medical and

WW1 technology.

As you will read later in this issue of Versa, all the various

Sports Clubs within the Old Albanian Club are in good heart.

The Rugby Club (1st XV) has had a challenging season but

they are in one of the top National Leagues. Minis, Juniors

and Colts continue to thrive and this bodes well for the future.

I am currently working hard with Chris Harbour in the

Development Office on the ‘Diamond Geezers’ reunion for

the lads of “my year” as it is 60 years – on 18th September

2018 – since we first walked through the School gates. Can

that really be so? Surely, there has been a mistake!

4 5

OA News


after joining Techstars Programme




FLEX, the London-based tech start-up aiming to make fun,

invigorating workouts more accessible to everyone, is set to join the

globally renowned Techstars programme.

Together with his business partner Elliott Perry, Company Founder

Matthew Quinn (OA 2007) created a live-streamed interactive HIIT

workout business, which has been selected from among 1000s of

companies to join accelerator programme Techstars.

Quinn has recently made the move to Boulder, Colorado and joins

eight fellow tech start-ups in a bid to provide global scale and

investment opportunity.

Speaking to us about the move, Quinn said; “We are so excited

to be able to take the next steps in Flex’s journey with the team at

Techstars. Not only that, but Boulder, Colorado is one of the fittest

places on earth – what better place is there to spend three months

with a fitness company!

“The programme is going to give us unparalleled access to some of the most

successful entrepreneurs in existence who have collectively taken companies

from inception to public listings more times than you can count on one hand.”

Chris Whiteside (OA 1979), was awarded an MBE for political

and public service in the New Year’s Honours list. Chris is the

Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and

St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council.

Speaking about the award, Chris said; “I am humbled and

appreciative to have been awarded the MBE in this year’s New

Year’s Honours list. And very impressed that so many of my

friends picked up the fact so quickly!”

On behalf of the whole St Albans School community, we send

our congratulations.

“Thank you to all of those who

have sent such kind messages

of congratulations.”



and Potato Peel

Pie Society

Mike Newell (OA 1960) is well-known for directing

films for the big-screen such as Harry Potter and

the Goblet of Fire and Four Weddings and a Funeral

(for which he won a BAFTA for ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best

Director’). Mike has been directing The Guernsey

Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, which is an

adaptation of the best-selling book by Mary Ann

Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

The movie, which premiered in the UK on Friday 20th

April, stars Lily James and Michiel Huisman. Lily plays

Juliet Ashton, a writer who forms a connection with

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society when

she writes about the book club they formed during the

occupation of Guernsey in World War II. The impressive

cast includes many other recognisable faces; Matthew

Goode, Jessica Brown Findlay, Penelope Wilton, Glen

Powell, Katherine Parkinson and Tom Courtenay.

The official trailer is now available to watch on YouTube

We were very pleased to welcome Michael Pattison

(OA 1958) back to Woollams on Saturday 2nd December

2017, to watch the 1st XV take on Berkhamsted School.

Whilst the result didn’t quite go St Albans School’s way, it was

nevertheless a most enjoyable day, and a great opportunity

for Kyran Bracken (SAS Elite Sport Development Manager

and 1st XV Head Coach) to present Michael with his own

personalised St Albans School rugby shirt.

Michael’s business, International Labmate (international

publisher and events company in the laboratory equipment

world), has kindly sponsored the School’s first team shirts

for our main sports, and our students are delighted to be

benefiting from this support with a brand new kit.

Michael is a long-term supporter of the School’s Bursary

programme and we are most grateful to him for his continued

support of his alma mater.


On Friday 23rd February,

William (AKA Bill) Feaver

(OA 1961) returned

to School to deliver a

fascinating talk to our

Upper Sixth students titled,

‘What is art?’.

After graduating from Keble

College, Oxford, Bill held a

number of teaching posts

in County Durham and at

Newcastle Royal Grammar School and was later appointed the

Sir James Knott Fellow at Newcastle University.

As an art critic, Bill worked at the Financial Times, Listener,

Sunday Times Magazine and as Art Critic at The Observer

where in 1983 he was awarded ‘Critic of the Year’ UK Press



Bill inspired the pupils during his lecture and introduced

them to questions outside of the realms of their A level

courses. He challenged them to address the spectrum of

emotions portrayed within different styles of art, both good

and bad.

After lunch, Bill was kind enough to review our A level Art

students’ coursework and provide them with advice and


Some OAs may remember Bill Feaver’s father who was the

Right Reverend Douglas Feaver, one time Canon of St Albans

Abbey and School Chaplain.

We are very grateful to Bill for giving up his time. If you

would like to learn more about Feaver’s career, his biography

is featured in Inspiring Old Albanians, available to purchase

from the Development Office.






6 OA Events

Pen Arthur




A big thank you to the OAs, staff and former staff who

attended the annual London Drinks Party at The East India

Club on Thursday 19th April. This event is always great fun

and an opportunity to catch up with old School friends and

network with OAs working in various professions.

It was lovely to see so many familiar and new faces at the

event. We hope you can join us again next year!



Christopher Morris

On Tuesday 20th March, we welcomed Christopher Morris

(OA 1956) back to his alma mater to deliver a captivating

lecture on his career in journalism. At the age of 15,

Christopher became a proofreader at The Luton News and

acquired a five-year apprenticeship as a news reporter. He

told the amusing story of his breakthrough into Fleet Street,

working at The Daily Sketch as their youngest reporter at age

20 (his application involving working as a clown’s assistant!).

Flash-forward to today and Morris’ career has taken him across

120 countries, reporting from 16 wars over 60 years.

Packed with anecdotes and video clips from his

interview with Nelson Mandela to a near escape with a

landmine, Morris captivated the audience of OAs, parents and


A big thank you to Christopher and his wife Mary for a

fascinating evening.




Our OA Regional Events are continuing apace. Last year,

we were in Nottingham and in 2016, Oxford, Salisbury

and New York. The ‘Beast from the East’ put a halt to

our original date for Durham’s event and as such, we

rearranged for Thursday 3rd May.

The King’s Lodge Inn played host in Durham where

many recent leavers and OAs enjoyed an informal get

together. We are always looking to host events around

the country to give OAs that live afar an opportunity

to reunite with friends. If you have any suggestions for

future venues, please do let us know!



Chris Wilkinson

We were delighted

to welcome Chris

Wilkinson (OA 1963)

and his wife Diana back

to School in January,

for a fascinating talk on

a selection of his many

and varied architectural


In front of a packed

audience in the Library,

Chris explained how

initial ideas, sketches and concepts are transformed

into architectural plans and then finished buildings.

From the Cooled Conservatories at Gardens by the

Bay in Singapore, to Oxford’s Weston Library and the

Guangzhou International Finance Center in China, a

detailed explanation behind these iconic projects made

for an extremely interesting evening, thoroughly enjoyed

by all of our guests.

Our grateful thanks to Chris and Diana for such an

informative and thought provoking event.


Pen Arthur: then and now

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first School trip to Pen Arthur, the School’s

residential Field Studies Centre. From humble beginnings to refurbished dormitories,

the site has not always been the relatively luxurious farmhouse we know today…

Whilst the acquisition of Pen Arthur did, indeed,

take place in 1967, it was not until the half term of

February 1968 that the first School trip was taken

there. Tony Cooper, former teacher at St Albans School, was

one of the Pen Arthur pioneers and in an article in the 1983

edition of The Albanian, he describes the moment that led up

to the acquisition of the site.

Tony writes; “…untold miseries on innumerable Duke of

Edinburgh Award camping expeditions, wreathed in mist on

Dartmoor, washed out nightly in the Lake District, eaten alive

in Scotland by enormous midges and locked out of Youth

Hostels by hostile wardens… it seemed to me that we needed

somewhere to call our own.”

1968 was a turning point for St Albans School; however, Pen

Arthur was far from perfect. It was evident that it was going

to take a lot of work to transform the farmhouse from a very

basic building to what it is today. Mike Highstead remembers

that from 1967, it was a few years of “frantic activity”. The whole

building needed renovating; a new roof was needed as was hot

water, gas, toilets etc. Mike recalls, "at the beginning the families

Cooper, Ruddock, Avery and Highstead spent most of their

holidays at the ramshackled building making it fit for purpose.

It was, however, a bonding often were we there

that our children began to think that it was their home.”

David Camplin (OA 1970) remembers being a member of

a group of pupils led to Pen Arthur by Tony Cooper, Mike

Highstead and Vince Lockwood in 1968. Camplin recalls

arriving at the cold, damp and derelict farmhouse where light

was sourced in the form of “…candles, hurricane lamps and

car batteries provided by Frank Kilvington, then Headmaster.”

However, it was accommodation, which ranked at that time


slightly above a tent in the middle of a field.


Now, a well-equipped Field Studies Centre, Pen Arthur is used

for many activities throughout the year. First Formers visit

annually, participating in a range of activities from canoeing

to hiking, while living in a simple, communal way.

Pen Arthur is also used as a base for both Silver and Gold

Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions, together with CCF

adventure training. During the summer holidays, the Cross

Country team spend a hard week at the farmhouse training

for the busy season ahead. Pen Arthur has also been used for

Creative Arts weekends and for study sessions in subjects as

diverse as Biology and English.

Much has been made of its former basic lifestyle and quirkiness,

with mouldy walls, and plants growing in the toilet cubicles,

not to mention the power cuts and running out of water, quite a

problem when you are two miles up a mountain track!

These fond memories are priceless and care was taken when

renovating and refurbishing the building to ensure the

character of the farmhouse was preserved.

Further refurbishment was carried out over the winter of

2011/2012 and Pen Arthur re-opened in March 2012, with

three dormitories and much improved single accommodation.

The roof of the entrance from the lounge to the dining room

was also raised, saving a lot of sore heads!

Pen Arthur today is not too dissimilar to the old place, albeit

running more efficiently. It continues to provide a unique

setting from which pupils can explore, learn, team build and

create memories that will last for many years to come.



8 Featured OA



a screenwriter’s perspective

Whilst you were at the School did you know what work you

wanted to go into?

Absolutely. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved

cinema and I spent a long time boring my friends talking

about it. One year, I ran a sweepstake for the Oscars, which

could have got me into a lot of trouble. To make matters worse,

I won the stake and beat all of my friends who thought the

whole thing was rigged! I’ve always wanted to work in films,

not necessarily knowing I was a writer – my interest in writing

became apparent when I started reading more.

We heard that you worked on Harry Potter?

Yes, I did. When I was at Cambridge University, I saw an

internship advertised at Heyday Films. I had no idea who they

were but I was revising for my finals and decided to spend

a day doing the application instead. It turned out they were

the production company for Harry Potter. I worked there for

a month and then the head of the company, David Heyman,

got me a job on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as

a runner. This is a low and menial job so I’d be photocopying

things and distributing them to the crew and making cups of

tea. After a year I managed to get a job as Mike Newell’s (OA

1960) Personal Assistant, working on the fourth film in the

franchise, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

That’s a coincidence!

From Oscar sweepstakes and writing Harry Potter spells, to acclaimed success

as a screenwriter, former Head of School, Jon Croker (OA 1999), talks to us

about life at St Albans School and his career path through film and TV.

Yes it is. I’d like to tell myself I got the job because of my

“One time I met the

head of the UK armed

forces and another

time I performed

a script meeting

completely naked in

a thermal bath!”

skills and charm but I’m sure the OA link helped. He didn’t

know who I was but we had both grown up in similar

circumstances and loved drama. I worked with him for

two years on Harry Potter which was a great experience.

Whenever Mike had friends visiting, I would take them

around the sets. Which reminds me; I got the opportunity

to write a spell for the fourth film, which was exciting. Mike

rang me and said, “we need a word for this spell. You’ve got

five minutes” so I came up with “Periculum”.

What else did you do after leaving Cambridge?

I wrote and directed my own feature film (some of it filmed at

the Woollam Playing Fields), which starred Drama Teacher,

Danny Swanson. The film definitely helped me get noticed!

So, when you were at the School were there any teachers

that were particularly memorable or influential?

My Drama teachers were the most influential, and the ethos of

the department was very inspiring. There was this idea that no

play was too sacred or too ambitious to try. If you wanted to

do Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part One, with a bunch of 14-yearold

boys then it was fine. It wouldn’t necessarily be very good

but we got to try it and we learnt from it. We were taught how

to create stories all the time and fail, but that’s how you learn,

and whatever the role you had in the play, you were expected

to chip in and set up the production. It was a very free and

encouraging environment.

My English teachers were also influential. Particularly Alistair

Jolly and Viv Graveson. They all helped give me a passion for

books and the written word. To be honest, I never really read

much before, but they had an uncanny knack for making books

sound interesting. I wanted to read, discover, argue and think

about books. I also wrote for The Albanian with Noel Cassidy.

I studied Ancient History for A-Level and there were only two

of us in the class. It was very much like a university education,

both teachers – Hilary Swain and Mark Davies – were great

and Hilary and I often cast our own epic movies.

Was there anything during your School experience that you

think was particularly valuable?

Yes, I was Head of School during my last year and that helped

me figure out how to be organised and disciplined. I worked

with my peers and grew in confidence when speaking to

people of different ages. This was really helpful when going

into the real world. There are lots of times that I have to, as a

writer, pitch to people who are far more experienced than I

am and I have to meet them on level ground. You need a lot of

confidence for that and need to hide your nerves.

What other projects have you worked on?

I became a Script Editor for a government agency called the UK

Film Council, which is basically reading other people’s scripts

and telling them how to improve them. I worked on such films

as The King’s Speech and Attack The Block. I then left to write

The Women in Black sequel The Angel of Death, the Desert

Dancer and the two Paddington films. It’s complicated because

I’m not credited as the writer or co-writer on Paddington,

but part of being a screenwriter means you are sometimes

uncredited as you’re not necessarily one of the main writers.

Paddington got great reviews and many of my son’s friends’

parents tell me that they can “cope with watching that film over

and over again”.

“…we need a word for this spell.

You’ve got five minutes, so I came

up with ‘Periculum’.”

Do you suffer from writer’s block and how do you

overcome it?

Yes and to be honest, I don’t know. Sometimes I get stuck and

often find myself thinking about another part of the script

or watching another film to get inspiration. As many in the

industry say, “screen plays are not written, they’re written

and rewritten and rewritten”. Sometimes, I write well over 20

drafts. If I’m stuck I try something else and rewrite it later.

I build it up layer by layer. The first draft doesn’t have to be

perfect, and isn’t always the film which gets made. Filmmaking,

unlike writing novels, is such a collaborative process

and I can share a script with managers, agents, producers,

directors, and sometimes actors. If I need some help, I will try

talking to the director for an hour and try ideas out.

What have been your biggest challenges to date?

Writing something good is hard and writing something that

will be made is really, really hard. There are good pieces that

have very low chances of being made because there isn’t a

movie star or director attached.

Also, in Hollywood, you have to formally pitch a job. In

England it’s much easier and you can just have a cup of tea

and a chat with someone, whereas in America, you have 20

minutes to tell a story and act it out in front of, sometimes, up

to 20 people that are powerful or famous. This can be quite

daunting. The hardest thing is putting lots of work in and not

getting the job.

What would you say your biggest success is?

Probably the Paddington films. Even though I wasn’t credited,

they have been commercially and critically a huge success. But I

always like to think that my biggest success is around the corner

and I have to keep going and try to find the next big thing. The

weird thing about screen writing is, by the time I’ve written a

screen play I put it to one side and forget about it, but there is

a strange delay and all of a sudden I realise I wrote it a year ago

and it’s now being made into a film. Which makes me think my

biggest success could be round the corner.

Is there anything surprising about your work?

Yes, that’s one of the things that attracted me to the job. On

a professional level you might think a film is never going to

happen, but then it comes back to life or suddenly an actor

reads it and likes it. Every project is about something different

and every story takes you to different places and allows you

to meet different people, even if they’re not true stories. For

example, one time I met the head of the UK armed forces and

another time I performed a script meeting completely naked

in a thermal bath!

Do you have any advice to pass onto current students of St

Albans School?

Pursue what you’re passionate about. You’re very lucky and

privileged to be at such a School so make the most of the

resources and facilities – the School can help you towards what

you want to do in life. New Place opened up after I left and I’m

feeling offended that so many things are developing now!

You can read more on Jon’s current projects at






the Archivist

Every year, the Headmaster addresses his Founders’ Day

audience with a lengthy list of those people who have

been responsible for the School’s development since its

founding over one thousand years ago. In this edition, we ask

the Archivist, Nigel WoodSmith, to tell us more about some

of the School’s greatest historical benefactors.

Alderman Major Nigel WoodSmith writes…

“We give Thee humble and hearty thanks, most merciful Father,

for our Founders, Masters, and our other Benefactors through

whose bounty and care we derive the blessing of a religious

education and most useful learning…”

At one time I could recite a goodly proportion of the School

Prayer and Frank Kilvington’s elegant Commemoration of

Benefactors from memory. The School Prayer was said every

main School Assembly by a Third Form boy selected by the

Head of School. During this period, the Commemoration of

Benefactors was unchanging with a particular focus on the

Elizabethan benefactors, which Frank Kilvington favoured.

Andrew Grant used more recent research to return the School

to its medieval roots, whilst at the same time bringing the

Commemoration of Benefactors up-to-date with some of the

truly great modern Benefactors.

If we only consider ‘great historical benefactors’ the obvious ones

to start with are the Kings and Queens. Some consider King Offa

to be the founding benefactor of the School when he founded

St Albans Abbey in 795. However, Offa of Mercia (757-796)

founded St Albans School International when he visited Pope

Adrian I in Rome. ‘Peter’s Pence’ provided an income for the

School for hundreds of years! But a more certain date for the

School’s foundation is 948, in the reign of Eadred, when Ulsinus

founded a Benedictine Monastery.

Matthew Paris (OA 1217), the Great Abbey Chronicler, dates the

Foundation of the School back to 1027 and the reign of Cnut the

Great. By the next century when Geoffrey de Gorham became

Abbot (1119-1146), the School was one of the largest and most

prestigious in Europe. He moved it out of the Abbey to its own

property on the site of New Place on the understanding that

the ‘poor students’ of the town would be educated for free in

perpetuity. Consequently, St Albans went from being a Monastic

School to a Secular School. This arrangement continued up to the

Reformation with the day-to-day running expenses of the School

being paid out of the Abbey endowments. Thus, all Abbots should

be considered School benefactors.

Quite a few of the ‘Great and the Good’ of the Country gave

property and land as well as books to the Abbey for the benefit

of the School. Books in medieval times were far more significant

gifts than they would be considered today and the School’s

Collection was the envy of a number of Oxbridge halls by the end

of the fifteenth century!

In the run up to the Reformation, Henry VIII and Cardinal

Wolsey had decided that St Albans and Westminster should

become the schools to educate the clerks necessary to run the

country after the abolition of the Monasteries, but this never

happened. That the School survived was due to Abbot Bourman

who ensured that the Master received two years’ salary as he

moved the School to St Peter’s.

This was a period of discontinuity in the education of the country

but Abbot Bourman in the disguise of Richard Bourman, Clerk of

London, was determined that St Albans School would continue.

He persuaded Edward VI to give another two years’ salary to

the Master and he had an Act of Parliament passed in 1548

with remarkably enlightened terms of governance, including

free tuition for poor students. When Bourman died in 1558, Sir

Nicholas Bacon was the executor of Bourman’s will and continued

with the School’s transfer to the Lady Chapel. Bacon also arranged

a source of income to replace that of the Abbey and Bourman.

The Wine Licenses of Elizabeth I, confirmed by James I and

Charles I, provided an income for the School for over 300 years.

In the late nineteenth century, as Charles Woollam’s wealth

increased, he and his wife became major benefactors of the

School. He died during WWI at the end of which according to

1066 and All That:

“… History came to a . ”

Do you have a question for Archivist Nigel WoodSmith? Send

it in to for the chance to

feature in the next issue of Versa.


by Richard Osmond

Today, commuting down

the A13, I saw

a spike of mugwort

with blue-green leaves

with silver undersides

and a brick-red stem

growing out of the top

of a highly visible

traffic cone.

(Artemisia vulgaris:

relative of wormwood,

first named of the nine

herbs in The Nine Herbs Charm

and greatest among them:

adder banisher,

fish flavourer,

known as una, prime,

herb of herbs: symbolic

of symbology itself

and meaning the capacity

of herbs to mean.)

At thirteen, allowed

to go into town alone,

we hung out around

another traffic cone

in a walled garden

we were forbidden to enter

and did nothing. Or rather

we observed the tradition

that luminous signs removed

from their intended hazard

will congregate in waste ground,

borderlands, out of bounds,

wherever people loiter

and do nothing.

(OA 2006)

There is an age at which

every boy discovers

the potential of a can

of Lynx Africa

to make the Holy fire.

This was that age.

Someone whose name

I’ve forgotten sprayed

a whole can down

the circle-made-by-finger

and-thumb sized hole

in the top of the cone

and lit the air above it.

To say I saw a phoenix,

or the gushing well

of Saint Alban, in whose

footsteps grew miraculous

flowers and from the ground

beneath each bounce

of whose decapitated head

flowed baptismal waters,

or a fiery premonition

of the unexpected

motorway mugwort plant

I saw today, bursting

like a bouquet from a wand,

would be to co-opt

other traffic cones

better left at their

respective accidents. Suffice

to say it meant something

to us then in that place

where we claimed most loudly

and often that nothing

would ever mean anything.

Special thanks goes to Picador (part of Pan Macmillan), for granting us permission

to share this poem from Richard Osmond’s book Useful Verses

















in memoriam

(OA 1959) 1942 – 2018

One of the brightest stars in the Old Albanian firmament has been extinguished. Yet Professor Hawking’s

legacy will live on in the daily life of his alma mater, inspiring pupils to be inquisitive and reflective and to

emulate his example of courage and resilience.

Jonathan Gillespie, Headmaster

Thank you to everyone who sent in messages for the Stephen Hawking book of condolences.

Here are a small selection of messages submitted by OAs…

One lesson from Stephen’s life that

may be worth sharing with the

School is that he was a great example

of how creativity can excel under

(severe) constraints.

Motor neurone disease meant he

could not hammer through long

and intricate calculations. He

concentrated on framing simple, but

deep, insights.

Put another way: Any fool can make

something long and complicated, it

takes genius to keep it simple.

Sic transit mens maxima ex

hoc mundo.

Nick Corfield (OA 1977)

Whilst I did not know him

personally, he did marry the sister of

one of my best friends from School.

Alongside his prodigious intellect

was to be found a certain endearing

impishness – from not wearing his

School cap when he should have

done, to claiming that he was not

only smarter than Stephen Fry, but

better looking too! His achievements

are phenomenal, considering his

physical disadvantages (which he

said freed him up to do what he did

best). He should be honoured by

having the brightest star in

the Universe named

after him.

“This message is in fond remembrance

of Stephen who was a year ahead of

me at School and Oxford. We studied

Physics under the same teachers and

as I approached my Finals at Oxford

he kindly gave me guidance in return

for occasional pints of beer. It was a

privilege to have known this uniquely

distinguished Old Albanian.

Sir Martin Smith (OA 1960)

Goodbye Stephen. It was a privilege

to have known you, however


It was with great sadness that I

learned of the death of Stephen

Hawking. Although I was a fellow

pupil at St Albans School, his being in

a class four years ahead of me meant I

never actually met him....

What an inspiration, and how

wonderful that he could continue to

cast light for 55 years longer than was

originally predicted.

And what a great guy he seemed –

never pompous, always imbued

with humanity and humour.

Rod Argent (OA 1963)

Stephen helped to shape my

worldview and provide clarity on

the fundamental questions of life.

His accomplishments and repeated

defiance of the status quo has

always inspired me. Where I can, I

hope to emulate him. Despite the

seemingly unguided nature of the

very universe he helped to uncover,

one is left to reconcile how his life

could have coincided precisely

with the birth and death of two

other world-renowned physicists.

A quirk of irony perhaps but

incredibly befitting as a symbolic

St Albans’ little cosmos has lost its

parting gesture of a world-changing

supernova, but your renown will

personality and immense intellect.

suffuse your old School in

May he rest in peace.

Hawking radiation to infinity.

Stephen Eames (OA 1966) Andrew Grant (Headmaster 1993 – 2014)

Adam Wagenfield (OA 2008)


Full-length obituaries can be found in the online version of Versa.

It is with regret that the following deaths are recorded:

John Radford

Wilson (OA 1945)

1927 – 2017

Written by daughter,

Susan Kalderon

John was born in 1927

and was at St Albans

School from 1938 to 1945.

He valued his School days,

gaining colours in rugby

and athletics, and acting

as a School Prefect.

He won a place to complete a university short course in

science at Lincoln College, Oxford, at the same time as

training in the army. In 1947, he was commissioned in the

Royal Artillery and sent to post-war Germany.

After Germany, he was able to complete his studies in

Chemistry at Lincoln College. At Oxford, John met his wife

of over 60 years, Pat, who was training to be an occupational

therapist at Dorset House. After leaving Oxford, he took a job

with ICI in Manchester, where he made his lifelong career in

marketing, and settled in Cheshire.

John and Pat later moved to London where John wrote two

books, on exporting and importing, and chaired the body

which set Industry Standards for Languages at work. He was

made a Freeman of the City of London.

John celebrated his 90th birthday at the end of summer 2017,

where friends from his School days joined him, and shared

many reminiscences from these times.

Martin Piers Nicholson (OA 1973)

1954 – 2017

Written by widow, Claire Nicholson

Martin followed his

brother Stephen on

a scholarship to St

Albans School. His

Christmas 1967 Science

report of “idle” and

the Headmaster’s

report of “Moderate

but not more” always

amused him but he

did improve. After his

Science A-Levels, he studied Food Science at Nottingham

University where he met his wife Claire. They married in 1977

and had two daughters.



Martin worked for United Biscuits for three years, in Product

Development, and then moved to the Somerset College of

Agriculture and Horticulture to lecture in Food Technology,

and later in Information Technology. In 1990, the family

moved to Daventry, Northamptonshire, and he concluded

his teaching career at Guilsborough School as a Sixth Form

specialist ICT teacher. He was a college and school governor

for over 30 years.

A passion for computing helped his lifelong interests in

astronomy and philately. After retiring in 2008, he and

Claire enjoyed visiting many hundreds of churches to

create an archive of gravestone photographs at

Martin died suddenly at home near Church Stretton on 23rd

September 2017, aged 62.

Graeme Lovell Buckingham (OA 1954)

1936 – 2017

Written by brother, Neil Buckingham (OA 1956)

Graeme attended St Albans School from 1946 to 1954. He

was awarded a State Scholarship in 1953, the credit for

which he always put down to the inspiring teaching of the

former Senior English Master, Mr J McLellan. He then spent

three enjoyable years at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge,

reading English and taking part in as much cricket and

amateur dramatics as possible. Graeme’s business career was

entirely in the field of Personnel Management and he met his

wife, Jo, while on an early placement with ICI. They married

in 1960 and had three children, Neil, Marcus and Pippa, of

whom he was rightly proud.

In 1985, after board positions with Gallaghers and Allied

Breweries, he joined The Gallup Organisation, which he

helped to develop both in the UK and Europe. Graeme was

forthright, generous and a great dad and always stimulating

company. In later years increasing ill-health kept him homebound.

He died peacefully at home on 1st November, having

borne his long illness with typical fortitude.





Ian Richard Bassham

(OA 1965)

1947 – 2017

Written by sister,

Sue Petty (née Bassham)

Born in Norwich, Ian attended St

Albans School from 1958, when

the family moved to St Albans,

until 1965 when he went to

Leicester University, gaining a BA

in Social Sciences and Economics.

He represented the School in athletics on several occasions;

was awarded School athletics’ colours twice and in 1965

became Captain of Athletics. A member of the School

Corps, he achieved the rank of L/Sgt and was an enthusiastic

member of the Corps of Drums. A keen gardener, he supplied

fresh produce to his family from his garden and allotment

and also tended the grounds of the village school in Weston,

Herts, where he lived for over 25 years. Scouting was a

lifelong passion from joining the cub scouts as a boy to over

50 years as a Scout Leader in both St Albans and Weston,

where he founded a village Scout Group.

A patient, reliable and loving individual, he remained calm in

difficult situations and would quietly help anyone he could.

He is greatly missed by his wife, Janet, sons, Rob and Ben and

sisters, Sue and Marian.

L.J. (John) Holt

(OA 1953)

1934 – 2017

Written by daughter, Carol

Matthews (née Holt)

and Roger Nash (OA 1959)

John attended the School from

1946 to 1951; a fine sportsman

who shone at both cricket and rugby. He captained the

OA rugby XV in the early 1960s, and played, at prop, for

Hertfordshire for two seasons. At cricket, he was an aggressive

early order batsman, with a strong ‘arm’, who played regularly

for St Albans, and occasionally for the OAs.

In his early twenties, after completing National Service,

he took a ‘ten pound ticket’ to Australia. On his return to

England he married and immediately sailed for New Zealand

where he worked as a farm hand before returning to the UK,

with two young daughters, Carol and Amanda, in tow. John

purchased a small farm in Devon and they had their third

child, Justin. Homesick for the wide-open spaces, in 1972

they once again boarded a ship bound for the Antipodes. He

bought a 7,000-acre farm in the Wairau Valley, at the top of

the South Island, breeding sheep and his world famous herd

of South Devon cattle.

John died of cancer on the 11th December 2017 at home on

his beloved farm in New Zealand, his family beside him. He is

survived by his three children and five grandchildren: Nicole,

Kayne, Brock, Breanna and Tarn, whom he adored.

Neil Buick (Former

Music Teacher)

1957 – 2018

Written by Michael Readman,

David McCord, Mick Stout

and Grayson Jones

Neil Buick, who taught piano

and keyboard in the Music

Department for 17 years until

a few years ago, passed away in

February at the age of 61. As well as teaching piano he taught

class music and accompanied the School Choir and pupil

examinations. He had a unique skill and was a highly talented

musician. Neil was the Accompanist in Residence at the

School, and a carol he composed was performed at the School

Carol Service in 2005. The staff in the Music Department

remember him fondly for his impeccable musicianship and

support that he gave them, recognising that he was such an

important figure in the musical life of St Albans, from which

he will be sadly missed. Neil graduated from the RSAMD

in Glasgow, and was an accompanist and MD for St Albans

Chamber Opera and the Operatic Society. He played in

many concerts including a wonderful performance of the

Shostakovich second piano concerto.

Neil McGregor

(OA 1962)

1943 – 2018

Written by Stephen Eames

(OA 1966)

Neil was born in 1943 and was

just 74 when he succumbed to

cancer, a wretched disease from which he appeared to have

recovered before an unwelcome relapse. From the time of

his original diagnosis, he dealt with the likely outcome with

stoicism, pragmatism and courage.

He commenced, but did not pursue, a career in law, before,

eventually, becoming the Landlord of The Rose and Crown

PH in Ridgmont, Bedfordshire. He played rugby for the Old

Albanian RFC, with enthusiasm, and had an unquenchable zest

for life. He held parties which were legendary and, in equal

measure, many regret accepting, and others not receiving, an

invitation to attend. He was a stalwart of the OAs and a great

friend of St Albans School. He enjoyed a good jape. Chris

Goddard (OA 1962) speaks for all who knew him well: “He was

a lovely man and will be sorely missed”.


Congratulations to one

of our OAs who recently

announced a new addition

to the family!

Congratulations to the following OAs who have recently tied the knot!

James Cranston and Kate Verghese (OAs 2004)

Written by James Cranston and Kate Verghese

James and Kate got married on 23 September 2017 at Villa Mosconi,

Verona. The couple met at School and in their final year, James and Kate

were Head and Deputy Head of School respectively.

On leaving School, Kate studied English literature at UCL. Kate was

then selected onto the prestigious BBC production trainee scheme and,

following this, quickly rose through the ranks of BBC Drama, becoming

Holby City’s Story Producer. She is now a screenwriter and in addition

to having written for primetime TV shows, she is writing numerous

exciting new projects including an original series with the BBC and a

show for HBO. After School, James studied History at the University

of Nottingham before completing a law conversion. He trained as a

solicitor with Clifford Chance LLP where he is now a Senior Associate

in the Litigation, Arbitration and Regulatory department. He works on a

wide range of matters, with a particular focus on sports industry clients.

James and Kate currently live in London where they remain friends

with a number of their peers from School, a number of whom attended

their wedding.

David Buxton (OA 1963)

Written by David Buxton

The marriage of David to Susan (née Tilney) took place at St Albans

Registry Office on Saturday 17 February 2018.

This was a bit of an OA merger as David is the son of Raymond Buxton

(OA 1928) past OARFC, OARPC and OAC President and Susan is the

daughter of his friend Henry (Harry) Harvey (OA 1932), past OACC,

OARFC and OAC President. David has been in export most of his

working life and is a member of the rifle and rugby clubs. He is also the

Secretary of the OA Club. When Sue wasn’t supporting her father or

brother on the touchline, she was a Care Manager. Both are now retired

and living a graceful but busy life in St Albans.

Laura Wheeler (OA 2000)

Written by Laura Wheeler

Ottilie Lucas was born on 21st

September 2017 to my partner, John

Lucas, and I. After leaving St Albans

School, I graduated from LSE in

2003 with a BSc in Philosophy and

Economics. I’ve worked in finance since

then (currently at Capital Group) and I

am also a volunteer psychotherapist at

RADA (the Royal Academy of Dramatic

Art). We currently live in south London.





Thanks to the generous support of OAs, current and former

parents, and friends of the School, we have achieved our initial

fundraising target of £600,000 for Phase One of the Centre for the

Performing Arts. Our fundraising endeavours now continue apace

to raise £1 million to enable Phase Two of the project to proceed.


The Drama and Music departments have grown

exponentially, but New Hall can no longer

accommodate this growing demand nor the

complexity of the productions the School wishes

to put on. With your help, our aim is to redevelop

the main and balcony floors of New Hall, and

provide a 300 seat multi-use auditorium for

students and their families to enjoy. To complete

this project and to ensure that the Centre for

the Performing Arts is further enhanced by its

setting, we plan to refurbish Middle Yard with

new landscaping.

My love of theatre and acting began during my years at

St Albans School, and that passion has stayed with me

throughout my career as a Theatre Director. The School has

always been superb at nurturing talent. To continue this vital

endeavour, an inspiring and versatile space is needed, where

creativity and excellence can be fostered at a new level.

I would love to see a new performance space where the next

wave of actors, directors and musicians can discover their voice.

The world stage needs new players and I fully endorse this

exciting new project.

Simon Godwin (OA 1994)

National Theatre Associate Director

Development Office

Tel: 01727 515187


For further information about the Centre for the Performing Arts

and the different naming opportunities available, please visit;


Raising money for

Hope and Homes for Children

“Standing, squashed in a South-

Western railway commuter train

carriage at 6.50am one cold

October morning, listening to Gregory

Porter’s dulcet tones, I realised that

I was mouthing along and thought,

‘when was the last time I performed

jazz?’ And I realised

I couldn’t remember…”

Becca Sandler (OA 2014),

Event Organiser and Performer

This is where the Hope and Homes for Children Charity

Jazz Evening idea met its inception. Having recently

graduated from Royal Holloway with a BA in Drama

and Theatre studies, Becca decided to organise a cabaret-style

evening of smooth jazz, canapés and wine for her friends,

family and the public.

On Saturday 6th January, a group of OAs came together in the

School Library and raised money for their chosen children’s

charity, Hope and Homes for Children – which specialise in

improving life for adopted and orphaned children. Having

been introduced to the charity by her mum (who is an active

fundraiser for them), Becca decided to get involved and create

an enjoyable night with her old School friends.

Becca teamed up with former Head of School, Joe Zacaroli

(OA 2014), Mitchell Zhangazha (OA 2013), James Lear (OA

2017) and Phil Craig (Music Teacher) on the drums, with

guest bassist Tom O’Connor.

The evening consisted of jazz classics from Sinatra to

Fitzgerald via Motown and Jamie Cullum, all supported by

Joe’s superb jazz piano playing, Tom’s effortless rhythm on

the bass and Phil’s unmistakable drumming. The evening

also included an informative and moving talk from Leonie

Macauley, the Community Partnership Manager from Hope

and Homes for Children. The night was a great success, filling

the Library to capacity and raising just over £1,800.

All four of these OAs relished the musical opportunities

available to them at School and it was fantastic to see them

create such a captivating evening for all.

1 2


About the performers

Becca Sandler – Becca has always been musical and said “I can’t

remember whether I learnt to sing or to talk first”. During her time

at School she played Madame Thénardier in the 2014 production of

Les Misérables. She was also head of the School Choir in her Upper

Sixth year and performed in the annual jazz evenings and summer

term Cabarets. She now works as an Executive Assistant at a Private

Hospital in Surrey but still has a passion for jazz singing and hopes

to make this charity evening an annual January event to help ‘Cure

the January Blues’.

Joe Zacaroli – Joe is currently studying Engineering at Oxford

but has kept up his jazz throughout university playing in a function

band for four years. He plays jazz and funk to the Oxford student

population at their world-famous May Balls as well as doing small

gigs back in Hertfordshire with Becca. During Joe’s time at School,

he led the School’s Jazz Band and formed his own 4-piece band

with Kaine Levy, Will (OAs 2014) and Toby Barnes (OA 2016).

Mitchell Zhangazha – Mitchell has recently started in Motown

the Musical in the West End, having graduated from Southampton

with a History degree two years ago. He also had a run as ‘Little Mo’

in Five Guys Named Mo up in Edinburgh and still loves performing.

Whilst at School, Mitchell was involved in various music evenings

as well as the Summer Cabarets.

James Lear – James is currently in his first year at the University

of Leeds, studying Music and Enterprise. During his time at School,

James was in the School Choir, actively partook in inter-house

music competitions, sang and played at the jazz evening and also

performed at the Summer Cabarets.




OA Lodge

Sports News




by John Williams (OA 1964)


OA Football Club

by Nick Jackson (OA 2005)



The Lodge year commences in May when the Master

Elect, Edward Rawlings, will be installed in the Chair

by the outgoing Master of the Lodge, Alistair Cooper,

followed by the appointment of the Lodge Officers for the

ensuing year. Alistair’s year in the Chair has been excellent,

with ceremonies at each meeting, two of which have been

carried out on behalf of the Old Berkhamstedian Lodge due

to a lack of new members joining our Lodge.

At the meeting in March, the members were delighted to

learn that Chris Whiteside has been awarded an MBE for

political and public service (read more on page 4, OA News).

Chris was initiated into the Lodge in 1996 and would have

been elected Master in 2005 had the installation meeting

in May not coincided with the general election in which he

was standing as a parliamentary candidate in the Copeland

constituency in West Cumbria. Chris was at last installed as

Master of the Lodge in 2015.

Of course, Chris is not the first former Master of the Lodge to

be honoured. The late Raymond Hughes, long time organist

in the Lodge, who was Master in 1966 received an MBE.


The late Sam Kilpatrick,

Master in 1969, was also

awarded an MBE and the

late Geoffrey Pryke, a Master

at the School and Master of

the Lodge in 1970, received

an OBE.

In September, Dr David

Staples, FRCP, DepGDC,

commenced in the newly

created role of Chief Executive Officer of the United Grand

Lodge of England which runs Freemasonry in England,

Wales and the Channel Islands. David is 42-years-old and

was formerly Clinical Director of Peterborough and Stamford

Hospitals NHS Trust, where he was responsible for managing

1,100 staff and an income and expenditure budget of over

£100 million. He trained initially as a doctor at the University

of Oxford and has held a series of senior clinical roles across

the UK. Following a number of scurrilous articles in the press,

a personal letter by Dr David Staples, entitled ‘Enough is

Enough’, appeared as a full page advert in national newspapers

on 7th February 2018, calling for an end to the discrimination

and misrepresentation against Freemasonry in the media. An

extract from the letter is below;


The United Grand Lodge of England believes that the

ongoing gross misrepresentation of its 200,000 plus

members is discrimination. Pure and simple.

We owe it to our membership to take this stance; they

shouldn’t have to feel undeservedly stigmatised. No other

organisation would stand for this and nor shall we.

I have written to the Equality and Human Rights

Commission to make this case.

I appreciate that you may have questions about who we are

and what we do, so over the next six months our members

will be running a series of open evenings and Q&A events

up and down the country. These will be promoted in the

local media and on our website.

I am also happy to answer any queries directly.

Please feel free to write to me here at Freemasons’ Hall,

60 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AZ and I will come

back to you.

We’re open.

The Lodge meets only five times a year on the second

Saturday in January, March, May and September and

the first Saturday in November. All those interested are

welcome to apply for membership, for which purpose the

first approach should be to any Lodge member. Members of

other Lodges, are also encouraged to visit us whenever they

wish. The Secretary or Assistant Secretary will be delighted

to hear from them.


In early 2017, The Old Albanians were approached by The Arthurian

League (an English association football league for teams of

independent schools). Following a handful of friendlies, the hacked

together band of brothers were offered entry as a wildcard to the League’s

‘Arthurian DW Trophy’, and whilst the Old Albanians couldn’t quite pull

off a Goran Ivanisevic wildcard display (although their cup run was still

impressive), it sparked enough interest in its core members to enter a full


As word of a new football team rippled through the OA network

following a strong pre-season recruitment drive, the 2017/18 season saw

terrific new signings enter the fray, adding both quality and depth to a

squad determined to take on old rivals and impress.

With a strong balance of youth and experience, along with the School’s

unwavering support providing home-ground pitches at Woollams

(School fixtures permitting), the opening games of the season saw the

OA’s perched firmly at the top of the table.

Whilst the age range from the youngest through to the oldest Albanian

in the squad spans over a decade, the common variable of spirit and

St Albans School competitive edge came together immediately. In a

gentle nod to the hard fought battles that were once held there, the King

Harry ‘Man of the Match’ trophy (presented at the end of each game

following player nominations) has seen a myriad of proud short-term

owners. This not only showcases the sense of balance within the squad,

but emphasises the metaphorical sense of purpose and tradition that has

been achieved in such a short space of time at the Club, and one that is

set to continue.

Despite a season of highs, lows and the odd injury (in particular the

Club Captain, Alex Addison (OA 2005), the value of having dusted off

a few sporting cobwebs has been profound, not only culminating in a

third place finish (with just three league defeats), but a network brought

together through sport and driven forward through mutual values, new

friendships and team culture.

The long-term vision of OA Football (one of the few OA teams to

solely consist of Old Albanians who attended St Albans School) is to

further develop the network to enable a first, second, and third team. If

you would like to join, we are open for business. Exciting sponsorship

opportunities are also available and only a click or call away so do please

get in touch.

For more information on fixtures or to join the OA Match Report mail

outs, please email




new leagues


at Lakeside


Rugby Football Club

The cricket season is upon us. OACC is hoping to have

another successful season to follow the two promotions of our

2nd and 3rd XIs in 2017 and the consolidation of the 1st XI in

the Herts League Division 1.

The 1st XI fixture list for 2018 is as follows:

Sat 19th May

OA Cricket Club

by Richard Morgan (OA 1979)

Sat 26th May

Sat 2nd June

Sat 9th June

Sat 16th June

Sat 23rd June

Sat 30th June

Sat 7th July

Sat 14th July

Sat 21st July

Sat 28th July

Sat 4th August

Sat 11th August

Sat 18th August

Sat 15th August

Sat 1st Sept

Stevenage (home)

Broxbourne (home)

Harpenden II (away)

Old Owens (home)

Knebworth Park (away)

Chorleywood (home)

Kings Langley (away)

Shenley Village (away)

Ickleford (home)

Stevenage (away)

Broxbourne (away)

Harpenden II (home)

Old Owens (away)

Knebworth Park (home)

Chorleywood (away)

Kings Langley (away)

We have two exciting events planned in June. Here are a

couple of dates for your diary:

Vice Presidents Lunch – Saturday 9th June

Contact Richard Morgan for details (see page 2)

OA Legends Lunch & Game Versus a Select XI –

Sunday 24th June

Contact Alan Philpott ( for details

Support for all four teams, both on the pitch and off, is most

welcome! Contact Richard Morgan for further information

about the Club.

OA Golf Club

by Peter Dredge (OA 1961)

The OAGS was pleased to visit Lakeside Lodge near

Huntingdon at the beginning of October 2017 for the

annual away trip. It was an excellent venue with ideal

facilities including individual rooms for attendees

and a designated lounge for private celebrations and

presentations, enabling us to participate in some top

socialising. Weather was favourable for the three days.

Several team formats and various playing partnerships

contributed to an enjoyable visit, which we plan to repeat

this year.

The final playing event of the season involved the

competition at Mid-Herts for the Briggs Goblets – a fourball,

better-ball, Stableford event. A magnificent round by

Kevin O’Donoghue (OA 1959) supported in admiration

by his playing partner, the Secretary, produced 44 points,

sufficient to win by one point from Rick Drakard (OA

1963) and Brian Hayden-Smith.

Our Captain, Graham Tate (OA 1960), presided over the

Annual Dinner held at Harpenden Common, attended by

36 members and their partners. Grateful thanks go to our

senior and longstanding member Jim Putterill (OA 1951)

for arranging the venue and ensuring a highly enjoyable

evening with excellent food and rations.

The programme for 2018 includes matches with Mid-

Herts GC, Old Berkhamstedians, Old Habs and Old

Cholmeleians. The OA Cup will be held at Gog Magog

Golf Club on 11th June, kind permission of John Smith.

Graham Tate’s Captain’s Day is scheduled for 19th July at

his home Club, Dunstable Downs Golf Club, where we

will compete for the Pop Rush trophy.

All OAs are most welcome to attend any of our fixtures

and full details will be happily provided by Peter Dredge

at Members’ handicaps range from

4 to 28 and our main aim is to enjoy meeting up with

contemporaries and old friends, playing some decent

courses along the way.


Pre-Season 2017-

2018 saw significant

changes in personnel

for the Old Albanian

Rugby Club for coaches,

players and officials.

James Shanahan, a 2-time

Head Coach, moved on

at the end of last season

to join famous Old Club

Blackheath. His replacement, Gavin Hogg, took over for

summer training with support from Bruce Millar, Director

of Rugby. Gavin has an excellent pedigree and previously

helped Bury St Edmunds gain promotion to National League

2. Gavin and his family have moved from Suffolk to be nearer

Woollams enabling him to focus on OAs and his role teaching

and coaching at Oaklands College.

Part of Gavin’s task this season has been made more

challenging by a number of player changes from last year’s

OA 1st XV squad. These include Club moves by past Captain

Billy Johnson (Ampthill), hooker Josh Taylor (Ampthill), back

row Harry Bate and hooker Matt Miles (both Blackheath),

young props Hayden King (Blackheath) and Karl Garside

(Ampthill), centre Jimmy Speirs (Harpenden) and a number

of stalwarts from the last 10 years including Lloyd Bickle,

Ollie Cooper-Miller, Chris Lombaard, Neil Stevens, Andrew

Daish and Chris May deciding to hang up their boots.

In spite of this outflow, the Club has successfully attracted

significant new talent and combined with the ever-improving

crop of former Colts, the men’s senior teams have regularly

turned out four sides with a full bench every week.

As this article is being written (March 2018) the season has

been challenging for the new 1st XV squad who have also

had to contend with an unprecedented run of injuries and are

currently in a fight to avoid relegation. However, a recent run

of wins against Bishop’s Stortford (36-17), Fylde (31-21) and

Loughborough Students (34-19) means all is not lost.

For fixtures and match reports, please visit

The Club as a whole continues to thrive and supports rugby

at all levels and abilities from Minis (4-11 years old) through

Juniors (12-18 years old) to senior men and women in the

local St Albans and Herts community.

by Paul Richardson (OA 1979), President OA RFC

The younger sections for both boys and girls continue to

perform to a very high standard. We were proud to see eight

former OA Colts named in the latest RFU Stags (U20) County

squad in February 2018 and 10 players from the Saints

ladies’ section were chosen to attend a special Saracens rugby

development camp. As many as 16 of the Junior Saints U18

represented Hertfordshire County!

The non-National League men’s sides (Romans (2’s),

Gladiators (3’s) and Grizzlies) have all had strong seasons

with both the Gladiators and Grizzlies near the top of their

leagues and helping to “blood” a large number of 17 and 18

year-old lads in senior men’s rugby.

OA Saints, the senior ladies’ side,

are currently lying third in the

Women’s Championship South

East Division 2.

Socially the Clubhouse continues

to host pre-match lunches on a

Saturday, international games

on the ‘big screen’ and welcomes

members and guests to enjoy the

excellent range of food and drink

in a quality, convivial facility.

The Future


The Rugby Club remain committed to playing rugby at the

highest affordable level for the 1st XV whilst also providing

a competitive and fun atmosphere for boys and girls, ladies

and men at all other levels. We are always open to new players

– please contact Richard Homer, Membership Secretary, at or check the website for details.

We maintain links with Saracens RFC who provide a series

of benefits including integration with their academy and

coaching opportunities for players. We also encourage local

businesses, organisations and individuals, who might like to

sponsor the Club to get in touch with Mike Johnson in our

Sponsorship Team at

Close links with the School will also continue, with games

planned for the School sides under lights on the OAs main

pitch next season.

Why not come along to watch a match at Woollams?

All are welcome!





OA Tennis Club

by Maureen Harcourt

As I write this report, we are getting prepared for the summer

season. We have entered three teams, Ladies, Mens and

Mixed, into the Watford and District League so we have a full

calendar of fixtures. We are going to have a working party to

spruce up the courts and have invested in four new tennis

nets, as the old ones were getting rather shabby. We are also

improving our notice boards so that people interested in

playing tennis can find the information they need.

We are excited about the new website and we hope this will

attract new players moving into the area.

For the first time this year, we entered a Mixed Team into

the East Herts Autumn League and a Ladies Team into the

Hertfordshire Senior Winter League. Given the bad weather

over the winter, getting all the matches played has been

challenging; however, those who have played in the fixtures

have found them enjoyable and it is definitely something we

will repeat next year.

Margie Edge, our Club Coach, is offering a full range of

coaching opportunities for adults and children.

Please visit our website for more information

We continue to welcome new players

to the Club so do contact either

Maureen Harcourt

( or

Margie Edge ( if

you are interested in finding out more.



and, who belongs to this snow shoe?


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As if the “Beast from the East” hadn’t caused enough

disruption, our first Bisley shoot of the 2018 season then

fell afoul of the snowfall and -5˚C wind chill predicted

from its successor, “The Mini Beast”, that followed in


Of course, March is never likely to be an easy month

weather wise but one has to take that leap of faith when

setting up the season’s calendar the previous year. We can

usually shrug off a bit of wind and rain. So, back in the

autumn of 2017 the offer of a deal on the 300yard Butt 19

electronic range was a tempting season opener to get us

tuned into full-bore again. The early trip to Bisley is also

an opportunity to hold an AGM, to sort out equipment

storage and to do a bit of Club shopping for small-bore

targets ahead of the summer season, this year particularly

so, in order to make best use of our new locker in the

London Middlesex armoury. So our initial plans were

well and truly scuppered. Added to which the popularity

OA Rifle Club

by Andrew Wilkie (OA 1965)

of Butt 19 is so far preventing us making a replacement


The winter small-bore results have been holding up well

and at the time of writing, we are in first position in

Division 2, with two rounds to go. Martin Warr and I are

running neck-and-neck on aggregate but Nick Tubby

snuck in a 99 in Round Eight. There are four teams on

four points in the Division (2 points for a win in each

round) and the aggregate scores are very close. Clearly,

competition is alive and well and everyone is going for

the line. We now await the scorer’s analysis to see how we

all fare.

Here’s looking forward to our next trip to Bisley and some

warmer weather, preferably dry and sunny.

Good shooting to all and if anyone wants to take up or get

back to shooting then feel free to contact me. We’d love to

hear from you.

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