A WEEK AT WILKINSONEYRE
OAS IN LOCKDOWN
SIBLING SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS
A SEASON CUT SHORT: OA RUGBY
Andrew Grant (OA 1986)
Covid-19 Message 2
OA President’s Notes 3
OA Events 4
A Week at WilkinsonEyre 8
OAs in Lockdown 9
Featured OA: Andrew Grant 10
OA News 12
Ask the Archivist 13
The Legacy of Dr John Hulett 15
OA Careers Network 16
OA Lodge 18
Sibling Sporting Achievements 19
OA Sports 20
St Albans School
St Albans School
St Albans School Foundation | CHARITY NO. 1092932
OA Saints Chairperson
Director of Cricket
RIFLE & PISTOL
Alumni Relations &
Alumni Relations &
Alumni Relations & Development
Alumni Relations & Development
Due to School closures and the current climate in the
UK, we are having to make some necessary changes
to planned events. The London Drinks Party, Class of
1960 Reunion and Gateway Feast are postponed until
further notice. Please check your emails, OA Connect
and our social media pages for further event updates.
During these unprecedented times, the safety and
welfare of our alumni community is paramount. The
current social distancing guidelines are no doubt
having an adverse effect on some of our OAs and we
would like to extend our support to those in need.
If you are feeling particularly isolated or struggling
to make connections from home, we are here to help.
Please login and use www.oaconnect.co.uk to find
and reconnect with your classmates. Remember to
also update your details under My Profile so OAs can
If we can support you in another way or help you
connect with other alumni, please do let us know.
The School has taken the difficult decision to reduce
fees for the Summer Term. We have asked those
parents who are able, to make a donation to our
newly created Hardship Fund – some parents have
already been in touch as they find themselves unable
to afford fees in the near future. We expect that more
will follow and that the School’s finances will be
If you would like to support the Hardship Fund
during this unexpected crisis, please visit
www.st-albans.herts.sch.uk for more detail.
Kate, Chris, Sarah & Sue
OA PRESIDENT’S NOTES
As I sit here, writing up my OA President’s Notes, it is
early April. In recent weeks, the world has changed out
of all recognition. Everyone – but everyone – is affected.
And that includes the OA Association and all its members and
Sports Clubs. Whoever could have possibly dreamt that this
situation could come to pass? I fervently hope that, by the time
you are reading this, the world is in a much better place.
Let me tell you what your OA President has been up to since the
last edition of Versa. Back in November, I went to the annual
fireworks at Woollams which were, as usual, top class. As I have
said previously, this is the best firework display in the St Albans
area and the view from the balcony at Woollams is exceptional.
I then, later in the month, attended the School Remembrance
Day Service in the Abbey followed by the Act of Remembrance
in Upper Yard for the Last Post. The commemoration is always
a very moving tribute to those who lost their lives at War. Also
in early November, I attended the 100th anniversary of the
School 1st XV against Q.E. Barnet. The School won at a canter
though the second half was a lot more even as more than a few
changes were made at half-time. I was pleased to be introduced
to Lower Sixth student Fergus White after the game – he is the
first recipient of the OA President’s Sports Grant. A delightful
individual who will, no doubt, travel far and wide with his
At the end of November, I went to the School’s production of
The Tempest. It was, quite simply, an amazing version coupling
a Shakespeare play together with some great music from the
1970s. The band played songs by Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, T.
Rex and The Doors. They were exceptional and so cool. Quite
what Shakespeare would have made of it is anyone’s guess but
I thought it was brilliant! I know I was at the School a LONG
time ago but we had nothing like this for our plays – and we
should have done. My heartfelt congratulations to the crew, the
cast and the band.
The School Carol Service in December was a much more
traditional affair and maybe that was just as well! The School
Choir was in very fine voice and must have spent a good
deal of time rehearsing some very challenging pieces. There
are always several new choral pieces in the Nine Lessons
and Carols – it takes a lot of commitment by the Choir to
accommodate these new works.
The last event I attended was the 117th Biennial General
Inspection of the School CCF. The Inspecting Officer was
scheduled to be Brigadier M Christie, MBE who unfortunately
had to make his apologies last minute. Group Captain Martin
Lowe, RAF (OA 1994) was then asked to undertake the
Inspection in his stead. Literally half an hour before the event
started, Martin Lowe became unavailable as one of his children
had tested positive for the coronavirus. For one moment your
Mike Hodge (OA 1965), OA President
President thought he was going to be asked but, as luck would
have it, the St Albans Mayor, Councillor Janet Smith, agreed
to step into the breach. The Mayor carried out her duties with
great aplomb – as if she had known, all along, that this was
going to happen.
And now to Woollams… As I write this, Woollams like all
facilities of its kind has now been closed. For OA Sport this
means a loss of income with no functions being held and no
sport being played. It is odd to see it so quiet on a weekend
when normally it is full of life! I am advised for the moment
that all is as well as it can be financially, but this position may
change if the lockdown goes on into the summer.
I write this against the backdrop of our tenant Saracens
facing difficult times of their own, with relegation to the
Championship and a fine of £5.6m. These issues will obviously
impact their business model and as such, OAs may well see an
impact at Woollams. Their adventure in the Championship will
hopefully be for only one year but it may, for instance, impact
on the number of meals they consume. Time will tell, but for
the moment they continue to pay their rent.
OA Sport continues to discuss the proposed North St Albans
development with the School. As you are all aware this will
mean that some pitches are relocated. It is an opportunity for
OA Sport to reshape its offering for the future to ensure that the
site is used productively for the advancement of sport for all.
Something I know that all OAs are proud of and share in.
And finally, back to current events. Your President is filling his
time painting a couple of wooden benches which originated
in the ‘free seats’ at the Nursery End in Lords’ Cricket Ground.
As the photograph shows, I am wearing my original OA Rugby
shirt which is circa 1966 and I can still get into it. It has seen
better days but, by the same token, so has your President!
All I can do is wish you well and hope that the virus crisis does
not have the catastrophic effect that is being spoken about now.
By the time my notes are read, we might have a clearer picture.
The School held the annual Remembrance Service on
Monday 11th November to commemorate all fallen
soldiers of the Wars. We are thankful to the OAs who
joined us for this important annual Service. We hope to see
many of you again at this year’s Service, which will mark VE
Day; 75 years since the end of WWII.
We would like to thank the large number of
OAs, parents, staff and former staff who
attended the Carol Service on Wednesday
11th December 2019. In particular, many thanks to
The Revd Canon Dr Tim Bull, Residentiary Canon
of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans,
who presided over the Service and to the Choir who
gave beautiful renditions of carols including In the
Stillness. This year’s readers included Roger Fletcher
(OA 1963), who was visiting all the way from the
USA, and Charlie Wallace (OA 2018); both did an
excellent job. We look forward to seeing many of you
again this year.
On Thursday 14th November, we hosted our
annual City Networking Drinks Event at
The Corn Exchange, London. It was our first
time hosting at this venue and it proved to be very
popular amongst the 50 OAs in attendance. The aim
of the evening is to provide OAs with the opportunity
to network and socialise with alumni and we hope
that those who attended found the event both useful
and enjoyable. We hope that many of you can join us
again in November for this annual event.
OA Regional Event
Kate Gray was delighted to host the second New
York OA Dinner in Bar Boulud on Thursday
21st November. OAs from a range of years
and different locations travelled to get together
for drinks and a meal, and it was a most enjoyable
evening. There were plenty of shared conversations
about school days and former teachers, and it was
fun to hear some of the stories from a range of years.
Following the success of this second New York event,
we will look to hold another US reunion some time in
the future, so do look out for invitations!
This year we were pleased to host not one, but two OA
Regional Events. The first of these was in Cambridge,
hosted at The Grain & Hop Store on Thursday 6th
February. There were 20 in attendance and all were welcome
to drinks and snacks throughout the evening. Many thanks
to the OAs who attended, recommended venues and offered
support to the School in other areas. We are constantly on
the lookout for other areas in the UK which are popular
amongst our OAs. Please do keep an eye on your emails for
invitations to our next event!
During a difficult time of the year, we
would like to thank the OAs who made
a particular effort to attend the CCF
BGI on Friday 13th March. We understand that
the turnout was slightly lower than originally
planned, given the outbreak of Covid-19, but
the event was as always, a great success and
an enjoyable day. Many thanks also to Group
Captain Martin Lowe, RAF (OA 1994) who had
volunteered his time to be the Inspecting Officer
but was unfortunately unable to attend due to a
last minute incubation period. Our appreciation
goes to The Mayor, Janet Smith, who stepped in at
short notice to help with the inspection.
We hope OAs enjoyed the inspections, activities
and lunch and we look forward to seeing you
again next year.
Against QE Boys
We had a great turnout of OAs at Woollams
for the centenary 1st XV match between St
Albans School and Queen Elizabeth’s School
Barnet on 9th November 2019. The catering team put
on a splendid lunch for us in the pavilion beforehand
which was enjoyed by many OAs, some local and many
recent leavers back from university for the weekend. It
was great to see so many familiar faces and have such
strong support for the 1st XV! Despite the wet and
windy weather, most ventured pitch-side to watch the
game which was well fought and ended 36-21 to St
Class of 2019
Our annual drinks for the leaving year group
after their first term at university has proven
to be one of our most popular events in the
calendar. On Monday 16th December the Class of
2019 gathered at The Peahen for reunion drinks since
leaving the School a few months before. Nearly the
entire year attended to catch up with each other and
their former teachers!
We are looking forward to hosting the Class of 2020
in December this year - keep an eye on your emails
for your invitation.
OA Regional Event
Our regional events continued in Leeds on 13th
February at the Brewery Tap. This was the first alumni
event held in the city and was received positively by
those in attendance. OAs travelled from surrounding counties
or made the short distance as undergraduates of the University.
OAs in attendance were from the 1950s right up to last year’s
leavers, making for an interesting discussion on how the School
has changed over the years! Thank you to all who attended and
we hope to see you at another event soon.
Katy Jon Went
It was a pleasure to welcome Katy Jon Went (OA
1985) back to the School to give a talk to the
Diversity Society, OAs and parents. On Thursday
30th January, Katy gave a fascinating talk about their
experience of being a non-binary transgender pupil
at the School and beyond. Thank you for an engaging
and informative session!
We apologise to all OAs, former staff and guests who were looking forward to our upcoming events, such as the London
Drinks Party and the Class of 1960 Reunion, scheduled in April. The safety of our alumni community is paramount and to
prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can no longer go ahead with these social gatherings.
We are hoping to reschedule some events at a later date and will keep OAs posted as and when we find out more
information. Please keep an eye on your emails and the OA Connect event calendar for up to date event information.
A WEEK AT
Aspiring architect and Lower Sixth pupil Chris Briers was lucky enough to spend a
week with Chris Wilkinson (OA 1963) at his practice. Model building, presentations
and project insights were the tasks for the week. Here’s how Chris got on…
began my week of work experience by meeting
a vast number of the WilkinsonEyre team.
This included introductions to architects and a
selection of junior architects known as ‘1s’. The team
did everything to help make me feel welcome, from
spending lunch breaks alongside me to assisting with
some of the more complex architectural designs and
I was set a project for the week; to design a building
in the surrounding area of Farringdon and to deliver
a presentation about the project on my final day. I
focused my project on model making and sketching
rather than working on computers using different
programmes such as Photoshop and Rhino (which
are common tools for architects when designing
buildings). As well as the production of my own
building, I was shown many of the projects the
firm was currently working on. I found it very
interesting to see the depth and detail of a threedimensional
building, portrayed through sketches
Each day, a new task was set to include in my
presentation for the final day. This rather daunting
task of presenting in front of a group of professionals
actually proved very exciting and was an insightful
process. My work experience took me on a journey
right up to the creation of my model and site
drawings for my building.
Overall, my week at WilkinsonEyre was incredible
and has inspired me hugely to venture more indepth
into the courses and variations of architecture
in order to perhaps pursue this as a career option.
Furthermore, I have learnt a lot from those whom I
worked with in order to produce my final model and
design for a building in London.
I would like to thank all from WilkinsonEyre who
aided me and guided me in this extraordinary week.
CHRIS BRIERS AND CHRIS WILKINSON (OA 1963)
ROY & MERLE BACON'S GARDEN
Roy (OA 1946) & Merle Bacon
We are managing well – we have good neighbours and a
grandson who lives locally, which is lovely. Although now
he can only talk to Roy through the window and me from
the top of the drive! These are very strange times but it is
important to take precautions and take social distancing
seriously; even with family.
So many people must be finding the situation incredibly
difficult so we are very fortunate that we have a strong
support network. We are so very aware of the great suffering
of so many other people who are ‘locked’ in such unsuitable
Even in lockdown, we are able to see and chat with our
families through the wonders of Zoom. What a joy to have
virtual tea parties! We even had a wedding celebration which
was previously cancelled due to the outbreak!
We are lucky to have a garden which we can escape into. To
have the space and fresh air available makes things a little
more bearable. We will no doubt pass the time in the garden
for a few more isolation days to come.
Rebecca Cousins (OA 2014)
In 2016 I set up Rebecca Jade Health and Beauty salon on
Harpenden High Street. When the shop next door closed
down, I decided to expand my business and in January 2019
the Rebecca Jade Aesthetic Clinic was born. This side of
the business was growing very well, until the coronavirus
epidemic changed the world.
Very suddenly, my business was put on hold. I now have
25 staff members and have had to furlough all employees.
This is a very worrying time for everyone. In the world as a
whole, there are much bigger concerns than what happens
on Harpenden High Street and I feel for all those families
who are facing the most difficult times imaginable.
All I can do now is try to keep my business together while
most of it is in enforced closure. I quickly set up an online
retail option with the help of my family, where I am selling
all the beauty and skincare products from the shop. I will try
to make up as much as possible of the 20% drop in salary
of my staff through these online sales, but it is a tall order.
I look forward earnestly to when I can open my doors on
Harpenden High Street again!
Ciaran Reed (OA 2019)
Lockdown life has provided
a return to life at home with
my parents after months in
the busy city of Leeds. In rural
Hertfordshire, with not even
a pavement in the village, let
alone any semblance of a public
transport system, being stuck with
limited ability to travel is nothing new. The School motto,
non nobis nati comes into a new meaning in the present
world. Even just staying at home is now an act of giving
I’ve signed up to be an NHS volunteer. I should expect to be
out in the next few days, helping people in the most sensitive
situations. Other OAs have taken different routes to help,
such as the new Oriel College Chapel Head Bible Clerk, Tom
Farlow (OA 2019), who delivered an online sermon to help
people in these times.
Whatever our responses, as OAs we would be wise to
remember the current School motto. Once this is all over, we
will ask ourselves whether we did the right things. Hopefully,
we will all say we did our part, even if it was just staying
inside a small village rather than a university city.
A NEW CHAPTER
Andrew Grant (OA 1986) may be the namesake of a former Headmaster but their
careers took very different paths... Poised and ready to take over writing the Jack
Reacher novels from his brother, Lee Child (James Grant), we find out how Andrew
is preparing to receive the Reacher baton.
But for me, it went dramatically off course and the ending was
terrible! I caught myself saying, I wonder why the author didn’t
do this or have this happen? That changed my mind-set and
started an itch that had to be scratched, which was, could I do
this? Could I write a book that people would want to read?
Your first three books feature a Royal Naval officer. What
drew you to this type of character?
The books I was reading played a part, both in a positive and a
negative way. When I was thinking about what kind of character
I wanted to write about, there was a trend at the time for a flawed
hero. He would be divorced, an alcoholic, his family had died –
some kind of terrible trauma in his life had led him to do these
good things. I don’t find it all that satisfying when the character
is only doing these good things because he is driven to it by some
external force. I wanted to have a character who had an internal
moral compass who would do the right thing because he knew it to
be the right thing.
want enough familiarity so they can revisit their favourite character,
see what he’s doing this time, what trouble he is in, but at the same
time see him in a new light. We have ideas on how to make it fresh
and original. We are in the midst of the new Reacher book; we’ll see
how it pans out!
You were born in Birmingham, what brought you to St
My dad was a civil servant and his job moved around the country.
When I was six he got moved from Birmingham to London. The
whole strategy was based around St Albans School, then finding
somewhere to live. We ended up in Harpenden and my brother
did the Sixth Form at St Albans School. When I was 11 I took
the entrance exam. By this point, the Direct Grant system which
my brothers had benefitted from had been revoked. I was lucky
enough to get in and do the full seven years.
How was your time at School?
Absolutely fantastic! I know it’s a horrendous cliché and people
reading will think, of course he’s going to say that! But it’s true!
When I look back, my primary school experience was awful. For the
whole of my final year at primary school, I didn’t do any of the work
because I thought it was boring. Instead, I just sat with a book under
the desk and read. It was a bit of a rude awakening when I got to St
Albans School because they actually made you work!
The people in my classes, from 1A right up to Sixth Form were
fantastic. They were smart and they were interesting, which I
took for granted at the time but when I look back, there were
some seriously accomplished people there. On top of that we had
teachers who were absolutely outstanding. They were amazing
in terms of their knowledge, their skill and making people
enthusiastic about their subject. They would see the potential
in people and help them to develop. We still had some teachers
who had fought in WW2. Listening to their stories about hiding
in haystacks from the Germans or their experiences in the Battle
of Arnhem enriched our lives so much, although I don’t think I
recognised or appreciated it at the time.
One of the most charismatic teachers was our history teacher, Mr
Brown. He was a tremendous character. Then, there was a French
teacher called Mr Buck – he had been a fighter pilot. We got very
adept at steering him away from French and telling us about his
experiences. For some of these teachers, it wasn’t until we were
reading their obituaries that we realised the full extent of what
they had done.
After School you studied Drama and English at Sheffield
Yes, that’s right. What I discovered was, the teachers we had at
School were way better! They were all about encouraging you
to come up with your own ideas and your own interpretation.
It made those lessons so fun and so challenging. Every time
you went to a lesson you knew you were going to be in for this
rigorous, intellectual exercise. At 17 years old I thought, if that’s
what it’s like at Sixth Form, it’s going to be bigger and better at
university. For me, it didn’t work out that way.
Our professors were internationally famous and published all over
the world but if you came up with a theory that was different to
theirs, they didn’t want to debate it, they were offended! In my first
year in 1986, we were debating a particular Shakespeare play – my
professor turned to me in the lecture and said; “Listen, I’m the
world’s leading professor on this subject and I’m telling you this
is the way it is. If you don’t agree, you can get out”. I left and never
went back to one of his classes!
That was the reason I progressed from English Literature to
English Literature and Drama. When I was a little kid, no matter
what happened, good, bad or indifferent, my initial reaction
was always, how do I turn this into a story? Drama and stage
production are the most direct forms of storytelling, so this course
appealed to me hugely.
When I was a little kid, no matter
what happened, good, bad or
indifferent, my initial reaction
was always, how do I turn this
into a story?
After a spell in telecommunications, you then made the
leap into becoming a novelist. How did you do this?
I loved theatre but I was on the road a lot so I couldn’t see as many
shows as I wanted to. Because of this, I gravitated back towards
reading which was much more accessible. After a while, I realised
I was reading a lot of Cold War, spy fiction. There came a day
when I read this book which started out magnificently. You know
those books that are so good, when you’re on the train, you miss
your stop because you’re so absorbed in it? That was this book.
Once I knew this, I moved into the details. I knew I wanted to write a
series and from talking to other authors, if you did some planning up
front it would help you a lot. For example, if you write a story about a
detective in St Albans, every book is going to start with a body being
found in St Albans. I needed someone who wasn’t tied down to a
single location. I was watching something on TV and saw that the
overseas embassies are guarded by the Royal Marines, who are part of
the Navy. I thought, if they are responsible for the overt operations of
the embassies, it makes sense that they would be responsible for the
covert operations too. My character also needed a broad skillset who
can shoot guns, fight with knives and escape rooms but with a credible
reason why he knows how to do all of those things.
You’re a big supporter of Aston Villa and Paul McGrath is
the lead character in your books.
Both me and my brother do this. It’s something fun but also, finding
character names is one of the hardest things to do. There are all
kinds of details that I never considered before I started, for example,
you never want a character name that ends with ‘s’ - the possessive
doesn’t sound right, it looks messy. It can be a real roadblock when
you come to the point of needing a character name – it can pull you
out of your creative mind-set. So, this is not only a fun thing to do,
it’s also a practical thing to do so you’re not spending an inordinate
amount of time choosing character names.
Does your brother James (author Lee Child) have an
influence on your characters or your writing?
We’re two very similar people and we think in very similar ways so it
follows that your characters might do that. With my first character,
there were definitely moments when I had to steer him down an
alternative path to stop him becoming like one of my brother’s
characters. I wanted to consciously make my character different.
When I finished my first book, I wanted it to be clear I was doing
it on my own, so I didn’t go through my brother’s agent. He uses a
pen name which I was going to, but I wanted as many degrees of
separation between us. I didn’t even give him my first book to read
until I had a publishing deal – there are lots of people who don’t
believe that! But I have to ignore them.
In January, it was announced you would be taking over the
Jack Reacher novels. How are you tackling this established
My father is Irish and has this expression, “the same, only different”
so I would like to make the books, the same, but different! Readers
One of the interesting things about James’ first book is you didn’t
find out the character’s name for a long time [Jack Reacher]. It was
written in the first person. He had no cause to say his name and you
get quite far into the story before he says it. Even before I knew the
character's name, there was a familiarity. I thought, I know him, I
know what he is going to do next, I understood him.
How did it come about that you would become the author
of the books?
My brother felt torn as he has written 24 Jack Reacher novels and
was ready to retire. He didn’t think he could do any more books
but at the same time he knew there were lots of people who were
looking forward to the new Reacher novel and needed their annual
fix. He is always asked; how do you see the series ending? He would
say that he would kill him off, dying alone on the bathroom floor.
This always seemed like such a remote possibility a few years ago but
then, people were realising that he was being serious about this and
worried that he might do it.
…after a while we thought, here’s
the solution. He retires and I keep
writing the books.
For a couple of years, he was left with this dilemma. On the one
hand he felt it was time to stop but on the other, he didn’t want to
disappoint the people who wanted more books and after a while we
thought, here’s the solution. He retires and I keep writing the books.
I came up with the idea that we would do the first couple in tandem
and I would then take over writing the books, for as long as people
want to continue reading them.
What is next?
I’m in the final stages of the new Reacher novel which is called The
Sentinel. I’m also under contract for my Paul McGrath series so I
will start writing on this too. That will take me right up to when the
promotion will start on the Reacher book. I’m hoping to be over in
the UK for that.
The Sentinel by Andrew Child (Grant) will be released on 27 October
PAUL RAMSBOTTOM (OA 1994)
OBE FOR OA
Our warm congratulations go to Paul Ramsbottom
(OA 1994) who was awarded an OBE in this year’s
Queen’s New Year honours list. Paul, who is Chief
Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, received the distinction
for services to charity.
Beginning work as a Grants Assistant in 1998, Paul worked
his way up to Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, and
its sister charity the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust.
“The honour came as a complete surprise. Being involved in
the charity and education sectors is a huge privilege, especially
working with a range of inspiring organisations.
My time at St Albans, as well as being a happy period, was also
the perfect preparation for working life.”
FLYING THE FLAG
Thanks to the generosity of Stephen Burgess (OA 1962),
the Old Albanian Association have a flag flying high
outside the OA Pavilion at the Woollam Playing Fields.
Steve has been a long-time committee member, OA Rugby
and Cricket player, and benefactor to the Rugby Club,
especially since hanging up his boots. He has also been an
active member of the Old Albanian Association committee
over the years and was elected as President. He served in
that position from 2007 to 2012, after which he was elected
as a life member in recognition of his services. Now Stephen
has kindly donated a new Old Albanian Association flag
for the Woollam flag poles at the OA Pavilion, the previous
OA Club flag having worn out in the prevailing winds. The
Association is extremely grateful for his generous gift.
AWARD OF MERIT
Last year, Harpenden resident and OA President
Mike Hodge (OA 1965) was presented with the
Mayor’s Award of Merit; an accolade given to
individuals in the town for outstanding achievement or
to residents who have served Harpenden in a particularly
Mike received his award in recognition of his charity
work over the past 15 years around Harpenden, including
charity golf days for Rennie Grove Hospice, sing-along
events and busking! Mike has also run concerts with the
Amalfi String Quartet alongside Peter Knapp (OA 1965),
an old School friend and professional musician.
Raising more than £250,000 since 2004, Mike said; “I am
eternally grateful to all my loyal friends and supporters
who have made these generous donations over the years”.
Congratulations to Mike on this well-deserved award!
We are delighted that Shantanu Majumdar (OA 1986
and School Governor) has been appointed Queen’s
Council on 16 March 2020. Shantanu is a barrister at
Radcliffe Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn and practises in
commercial chancery litigation and arbitration, civil
fraud and professional negligence.
Many congratulations to Shantanu!
MAYOR BRIAN ELLIS AND MIKE HODGE (OA 1965)
ASK THE ARCHIVIST
450 Years of the Wine Charter
Written by Mia Thwaites, Upper Sixth Pupil, Museum & Archives Partnership student
The wine charter encapsulates the School’s history of
efforts to improve provision of education through
pragmatic methods. It evidenced a governmental
initiative via the Court of Augmentations which sought to both
improve and promote education. In this sense, the Reformation
showed the beginning of state intervention in education
provision. On acceding to the throne, Elizabeth I wanted to
ensure a good education for the protestant nation. Francis
Bacon, Elizabeth’s “beloved and very faithful counsellor”,
helped channel this into the granting of a Wine Charter on
24th March 1570, granting a licence to “two discreet and honest
persons dwelling within
the borough”. If others sold
wine without a licence,
they would receive a £20.00
fine. Via the charter, the
town was obliged to pay
an annual fee of £20.00 to
the School for its upkeep.
The granting of the charter
gave Elizabeth her name in
the earliest School prayer
as the “first founder of the
free school of St Albans”.
WINE CHARTER 1610
James I furthered this, granting a third wine licence in 1606.
This was given to Robert Wooley, which allowed him to “enter
any house to search if any wines shall be found there for sale”
and potentially “seize wines” or “imprison persons”. As Mayor,
this gave him increased powers to protect the charter and the
Headmaster’s salary was increased to £2.13s.4d, paid for by
Wooley. From 1654 to 1664 this salary was raised on three
occasions to £50.00. This was contributed to by the licences
given to vintners, such as Sarah Silliock in 1653 and James
Hopkins in 1661, as well as extra payments made by Gilbert
Selioke from 1646-9. The rents for wine licences indeed
increased to up to £20.00 by 1663.
However, the success of the charter began to wane, particularly
by 1684 when the income from wine licensing had sharply
decreased. They were unable to effectively prevent unlicensed
vintners from setting up taverns. A ‘Mr Bennet’ began to
sell wine without a licence, which led to an attempt to bring
the case to a court in London, using the influence of Sir
John King. In 1663, a tierce of sack (barrel of dry wine) was
taken to the Duke of York to attempt to win his support for a
petition which would prevent a fourth seller of wine. In 1686,
action was taken to stop Mrs Jones from setting up a fourth
and unlicensed tavern. This was at a serious detriment to the
School. In the 18th Century, Masters received back pay in
instalments and one individual received no salary at all for two
years. Eventually, this led to a suit brought by Master Joseph
Spooner against the Officials of the town in May 1787, which
resulted in the transferal of management of the School to a
board of eight trustees and fixed the Master’s salary. This had
little real impact; five years after the change in management a
petition was presented to the St Albans Freedmen complaining
that the “school has gone to utter decay”. By 1800, there were
only two wine licences and at
this time, licences could be
issued more cheaply from the
Commissioners of the Excise,
meaning that the School
lacked a third licence. This
led to the case supported by
the Master’s funds which
stated that without the
exclusive privilege of the
wine charter, “this Royal and
charitable institution will be
This was the first sign that the exclusive privilege of the wine
charter was being flouted by people retailing wine without
a licence. Such wrangling continued into the 20th Century
and the three remaining ex-licensees paid their final dues to
the maintenance of the Headmaster of St Albans School in
July 1922. The Abolition Bill of Oxford and St Albans Wine
Privileges, with Cambridge University opting to keep its
charter, was given an unopposed reading. The Clerk to the
Governors, Edward Debenham Esq, wrote;
“On behalf of the Governors I desire to express their thanks to
the Corporation, and in this I include myself, for obtaining a
satisfactory settlement of this long outstanding matter of the
Wine Licences” (Governors’ Ledger 1922)
Subject to the current pandemic
situation, it is the intention of the St
Albans School Museum & Archives
to run an exhibition celebrating this
historic moment where the Wine
Charter of 1570 can be seen 450
Anthony J Lane
1929 – 2019
Written by Robin Ollington
Anthony Lane left School in
1948 having been a prefect,
choir member and player in the
1st XV. He attended Leeds University and was later ordained
in Oxford as a Deacon and then a Priest. Anthony took Holy
Orders with a parish near Salisbury and eventually became
a Minor Canon of Winchester Cathedral. However, after 16
years as a County Pastor, Anthony resigned and switched his
allegiance to Rome, becoming a Roman Catholic.
Married in 1955, Anthony leaves behind his wife and three
Paul Michael Meacher
1940 – 2019
Written by John Newby (OA 1958)
Paul arrived at St Albans School in
1951. He became one of a group
of seven students who founded a
semi-secret society known as the
‘Berts’. Their particular interest
was in explosives and pyrotechnics
in general. All of the Berts took a
full part in school activities. They
all played rugby during the winter
months and in the summer, there
was a range of sports available from
cricket to swimming. Paul’s choice was tennis and he played
for the School team. A number of the Berts, including Paul,
were members of a local tennis club in Hillside Road which
became a social base for a range of extracurricular activities.
These included boules at the Waterend Barn and Batchwood
Golf Club. The Berts attended the Verity School of Ballroom
Dancing in Chequers Street to hone their skills and passed
their bronze medals.
After finishing at St Albans School, the Berts went on to
higher education for further qualifications. Paul qualified as
an architect and others in chemistry, engineering, mathematics
and physics. Over the years they have kept in contact and
reunite for an occasional lunch or dinner. In particular, they
would attend the School’s annual Carol Service and have a
celebratory dinner beforehand in St Albans.
It was with great sadness that the Berts lost the first of their
number in October last year. Their seven decade fellowship
had been broken.
John F Brittain
1944 – 2019
Written by Richard Male (OA 1958)
John passed away peacefully after a long illness on
Wednesday 9th October 2019, aged 75 years. In his younger
days, John was an active member of St Andrew’s Church,
Great Staughton where he was one of the bell ringing team
and at one time, Tower Captain. He was instrumental in
forming the church’s 100 Club which raised a substantial
sum of money for the charity.
In his 20s, John was the youngest councillor ever elected to
the former Potters Bar Urban District Council. In this, he
followed his late father, who had been a local councillor for
many years and was very well respected.
John will be deeply missed by all his family and friends.
Terence Donald Bamford OBE
1942 – 2020
Written by Andrew Hester (OA 1959)
I got to know Terry, as he later
preferred to be known, on
entering the Sixth Form, Arts.
My family connection however
goes back much further as my
father was the family doctor
and, although this may be
apocryphal, I believe Terence
was the last child he delivered
before being packed off to the RAMC in India.
I remember with great pleasure the beautiful rooms in the
Abbey Gateway and the agreeable class in which Terry was
outstandingly brilliant at History: his ability to get straight
to the point made his essays models of their type. At that
time and, I think, subsequently Terry was not a darling of the
establishment and because I wasn’t either a certain bond was
created which lasted until his sudden and tragic death.
He was a lifelong champion of social justice and devoted
himself to that cause throughout a distinguished career. He
was a fine exemplar of the Greek philosophy kata ton orthon
logon (acting in accordance to correct reason).
My deepest sympathy goes to his wife, Margaret and to his
children Sarah and Andrew – we share their grief and will
miss an old and dear friend.
of Dr John Hulett
Walking through the School gates for the first time in 1943, John
Roger Hulett could not have anticipated the impact he would
have on this institution…
John lived in London Colney and had
previously attended school in Birmingham.
He settled into life at St Albans School well,
joining the Debating Society and the OTC as a
Sergeant, switchboard operator. After receiving
excellent exam results, John went on to read
Natural Sciences at Magdalen College, Oxford.
Flash forward a number of years and sadly, Dr
Hulett died on 4th March 2017. Unbeknown
to us, St Albans School was to be beneficiaries
of one tenth of his estate, among several other
charities and close individuals. The will requested
that funds were to be used to set up a bursary
fund, namely the John Roger Hulett Fund and a
prize to be awarded for excellence in Chemistry.
Donations were distributed following the sale
of the estate and assets, particularly through
Dr Hulett’s extensive coin collection. Dr Hulett
is now a Benefactor of St Albans School, the
highest accolade of the Foundation. His name
is immortalised on the Benefactors board in the
Library and mentioned every year in the Founders’
Day address. The John Hulett Prize for excellence
in Chemistry is now awarded annually at the
School’s Prize Giving ceremony.
We are humbled and immensely grateful for the
inclusion in Dr Hulett’s will and his legacy will
live on through the School. His gift shows the
impact that being ‘asset-rich’ rather than ‘cashrich’
can have of an institution such as ours. Dr
Hulett’s gift is directly supporting bursary pupils
of St Albans School, providing financial support
to parents who would otherwise not be able to
afford the fees.
OAs AT OXFORD. DR JOHN HULETT, SECOND FROM THE RIGHT
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: JAMES CRANSTON (OA 2004),
SHANTANU MAJUMDAR (OA 1986), JOHN ANGEL
AND ROBERT READ (OA 2006)
Also at the start of the year, current parent Rob Houghton
delivered a fascinating talk on Start-ups, e-Commerce and
Entrepreneurship. As CEO and founder of reallymoving. com,
Mr Houghton shared his experiences and engaged with
students on how to start up a successful business.
Consisting of a panel of speakers, our careers evenings focus
on a single subject per event and provide expert insight by
OAs and parents.
On Monday 18th November 2019, we hosted a Law careers
evening with speakers James Cranston (OA 2004) – Senior
Associate at Clifford Chance, Robert Read (OA 2006) – Trainee
Solicitor at Beale and Company Solicitors LLP, Shantanu
Majumdar QC (OA 1986 & Governor) – Barrister at Radcliffe
Chambers, and John Angel (former parent 2015) – Judiciary at
Queen Mary University of London (pictured above).
More recently on 9th March 2020 we held a Biology and
Chemistry careers evening, at which the following individuals
gave insightful presentations. Mrs Rahima Karim (current
parent) – Clinical Programme Leader, Oncology at Roche,
Dr Rhiannon Lowe (current parent) – Immunotoxicologist at
GSK, Professor Paul Luzio (Governor) – Retired Professor of
Molecular Membrane Biology at the University of Cambridge,
and Dr Paul Quinlan (OA 1977) – Research & Development
Director at Unilever (pictured left).
Higher Education & Employment Conference
This two-day conference helps students to develop their
presentation skills and prepare them for life after School. Over
the years, countless OAs and parents have volunteered their
time to guide students and help them understand the key
qualities of a good presentation.
FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PROF. PAUL LUZIO, MRS RAHIMA KARIM, DR RHIANNON LOWE AND DR PAUL QUINLAN (OA 1977)
We are immensely grateful to our OA community for their time and assistance helping others
with their career goals. Over the last few years, a network of alumni, former staff and parents
has been steadily growing, with the aim of providing career support, advice and placements for
other OAs and current pupils. Here are a few of the ways you have been helping...
What it’s Like to Study
OAs currently studying at university generously give their time to return to
School and give a talk on what it’s like to study their subject. The courses
discussed are determined by the pupils themselves and what route they are
considering. In January 2020, Matthew Crossley (OA 2017), a student at
Southampton University, retuned to speak to students about his course in
170 49 14 2
OAs and parents
offered to speak
at a careers
offers of work
‘What it’s Like
to Study’ career
to Oxford and
MATT CROSSLEY (OA 2017)
These talks are aimed at giving pupils a well-rounded understanding of the
working world. In January, we had Anna Corper (Freya North), current
parent, author of 14 novels and Founder of the Hertford Children’s Book
Festival, presenting to the Upper Sixth about ‘How to be an Author’. Anna
gave pupils an insight into her life and how her journey to become an
Amongst the many other lectures, university trips and
Society speakers that our OA community support, they also
provide opportunities for each other. At our annual OA
Networking Drinks, alumni make business contacts, provide
placements and even job interviews.
We are lucky to have such an engaged and proactive
community which is having an instrumental effect on the
career paths of our students and OAs. If you would like to
join our team of volunteers who provide career support for
pupils, please get in touch with the Development Team using
the contact details on page 2 and let us know your career
details and how you would like to help!
The Lodge met for its first meeting of the year on
Saturday 11th January 2020 at Ashwell House with
the Master in the Chair. Being the January meeting,
it was a ‘meridian’ meeting, i.e. it was held in the morning
followed by luncheon.
After tea, coffee and biscuits had been served, the Lodge was
opened by the Master at 10.30am. Following the opening,
members of the Lodge stood for a short while in memory of
past members who had recently died in 2019: John Hider, Ian
Grant and a regular visitor, David Goode. The main business
of the meeting was a Second Degree ceremony, conducted by
the Master in an impeccable manner.
The Almoner then gave his report on the health and wellbeing
of members and their families. Andrew Denney’s father,
Richard Denney (Master in 2014) was unable to attend the
meeting, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer some
thirteen years previously. As this had been a late diagnosis,
Richard has become a very vocal advocate of annual PSA
tests for men. During his illness, Richard has taken part in
six clinical trials at Mount Vernon and has been told that
the results of the trials have proved invaluable in providing
essential information and advancing treatments.
On 17th March, The United Grand Lodge of England issued
the following statement from The Grand Master, HRH The
Duke of Kent:
In view of the latest Government advice on the coronavirus
pandemic, all Lodge and Chapter meetings within England
“This morning at about 11 o'clock. My
dad finally finished his 13 year battle
with cancer. He was my childhood hero,
my best friend and mentor, my biggest
fan and most honest critic.
He was a woodsman, he taught me all
the names of all the trees of the forest,
all the birds and all the animals and how
to catch and prepare them, and which
plants to forage...
He taught me how to make fists out
of my little hands to protect myself
and how to shake another's hand in
friendship. He taught me how to make
a longbow, how to shoot, when to plant
which seeds and how to nurse a sick
He taught me right from wrong. He
passed to me his sense of duty, his pride
and his compassion for living things.
He read Tolkien and Kipling to me
before I could read a word...
He told me faery stories... with ACTUAL
faeries in them passed down through
generations from old England... and
stories of old battles with noble morals,
to put fire in your blood and justice in
He himself had been a legend, an
unbeaten amateur boxer, a rugby player
who broke his neck (in two places),
survived, defied the odds and WALKED
out of Stoke Mandeville hospital
when the doctors had told him it was
He was a committed Freemason, and
easily the best ritualist I have ever
heard... with a sharp mind, consistently
word perfect delivery and always
imparted with the same emotive charge.
and Wales are suspended for a period of four months with
This is the first time in three hundred years that such a
suspension has been put in place, other than a short period
of some three weeks at the commencement of the Second
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is still
functioning, albeit operated from homes: a wide-range
of help and support is available for Freemasons and their
families with financial, health, family or care-related needs.
If Freemasons have found themselves with an unexpected
loss of income – whether self-employed, an employee,
or are simply struggling to collect a pension – the MCF
can provide support to cover daily living costs, helping to
make ends meet. If a Freemason is struggling to pay rent,
mortgage or utility bills and is facing eviction or arrears, the
MCF can provide emergency one-off grants to help keep a
roof over their head.
Among other initiatives more locally, utilising the kitchens at
Halsey Masonic Hall in Cheshunt, a takeaway meal service
commenced on 6th April for members who live within a five
mile radius of the Hall, and are in need of support because of
their age or health.
On 22nd March the brethren of the Lodge learnt of the sad
death of Richard Denney after his long battle against prostate
cancer. His son Andrew shared a moving tribute to Richard on
his Facebook page which he is happy to see in print below:
He could sing, and like my grandad
loved music... Andrea Bocelli was his
favourite. He could fight, at the age of
55, dropping a bully twenty years his
junior and a foot taller than him.
He loved his family, his many friends,
his country, his garden, his dogs, his
Never once did he suffer a fool.
A mischievous sense of humour and a
generous heart. The best red wine and
rudest shaped parsnips in Hertfordshire.
A hole that cannot be filled in my heart.
You go back to your beloved Sky Father
and Earth Mother...
To grow strong again... Like your
beloved oaks. Live again, grow strong,
soar high and play in the thermals like
the red kites we watched together.”
LUCY HILTON (OA 2019)
The Hilton sisters are part of several recent leavers who have progressed their lacrosse
careers since leaving School. Playing in both mixed and women’s teams at Oxford and
Cambridge, they both reached the 104th Annual Varsity match.
Here’s how they got on...
Lucy Hilton (OA 2019)
During my Sixth Form at St
Albans School, I was a part
of the lacrosse team and this
brought back the passion for
the sport which I lost during
my GCSE years. Although
we could only play together
for two terms, the 2019
National Schools Tournament
showed how well the team
played together. Currently,
I am studying Geography at
the University of Cambridge
and I play lacrosse for the
Fitzwilliam College and the University Mixed team. This year
I have played for the Blues team for both the league games
and Varsity - I have now been made captain for the College
team for next season.
We are currently in the College Division Two, however we
have been the underdogs in the league, starting off at the
bottom of Division Three at the start of the year! The college
matches are a lot of fun because they are very casual and
typically involve the two teams meeting up on a Saturday
morning on one of the green spaces in Cambridge and
sticking two lacrosse sticks in the ground to make a goal!
College lacrosse has a diverse range of players with some
playing for the University, but the majority have either never
played before or only played when they were younger.
The University Mixed Blues team involves five training
sessions a week and matches on a Sunday. Having lacrosse
at university has given me structure to my day and helped
me with time management for my work due to the intense
training hours. We have won all of our games, bar one and we
won the semi-finals of the league playoffs against Warwick.
Due to the current situation of COVID-19 it is unlikely we
will be able to play against Nottingham in the finals, however
in the league we were leading by three goals. Furthermore,
we won the 104th Annual Varsity Lacrosse match against
Oxford Mixed teams 10-6, for the seventh consecutive year!
Hopefully next year we can continue this winning streak.
Olivia Hilton (OA 2018)
Playing lacrosse at University
has enhanced my student
experience in so many ways.
Having training four times a
week, as well as a match which
most of the time constitutes
a whole day traveling to and
from a distant university,
forces you to become an expert
in managing your time well!
Balancing this on top of a large
workload, a social life and
other commitments definitely
adds to the fast-paced
environment of University
which I love.
I am now going into my third year of studying biochemistry
at Oxford and playing lacrosse for the Women’s 2nd team.
Initially I was apprehensive of playing next year, since my
course is renowned for being particularly heavy in content in
the third year. However, after consideration of what my life
would be like without sport, there was no doubt in my mind
that I would be turning up to the trials in October 2020; I
even put myself forward for welfare secretary next year!
The best part about playing a team sport at university is
definitely all the amazing friends you meet and fun memories
you build during your time playing. Aside from the weekly
socials, I have found that going to training can be a refreshing
break from what can sometimes be quite an intense
environment. I can certainly say that I have met some of my
closest friends playing lacrosse, going through weekly wins
and losses with them. Beating Cambridge Women’s team at
the 104th Lacrosse Varsity this year was surely a highlight,
however unfortunately, I cannot say the same for having to
drive the mini-bus to and from away matches!
OLIVIA HILTON (OA 2018)
20 OA Sports
My article in the Autumn 2019 issue appears to have
had a difficult journey from copy to print. Contrary to
the credit, your scribe is Andrew Wilkie. Plus, in the
table, the correct heading for column three was ‘Summer 2019,
Straight, 10 Rounds, Average’. Tick, sorted, …could do better…
OA Rifle Club
by Andrew Wilkie (OA 1965)
In recent years my opening salvos on Bisley activities have
addressed meteorological issues, Beast from the East, gales
etc. and the resulting cancellation of early season shoots.
Enthusiastically, the Autumn 2019 article closed by looking
forward to “…some spectacular shooting in 2020.” What
could I have been thinking of?
This year, in common with most other group sports, our
whole summer season both full-bore and small-bore has been
blown out of the park by Coronavirus. At the time of writing
it has caused every event up to August 2020 to be cancelled
and anything beyond that remains in serious doubt. Shooting
activities have virtually stopped with the possible exception
of a bit of air pistol in the garden (With suitable safety
precautions of course).
With actual coming to an abrupt halt, virtual seems to have
become the “in” concept with large scale adoption of the
Having dried out, the day was rounded off by our annual
dinner, this year arranged by the Old Alleynians at the Artists
Club. For the last two years we have kept our scores close to
our respective chests, making the announcement of scores
and presenting the Arnold Cup at the dinner. Spices things
up a bit. Thanks to all for turning out and thanks to the
Alleynians for organising the meal.
300yds (2s+7) 600yds (2s+10) Total
OL Simmons 33.4 44.1 77.5
AWB Wilkie 33.4 50.8 83.12
AQS Moore (30.1) (41.2) (71.3)
MC Warr 31.2 46.4 77.6
JW Simmons 32.4 49.4 81.8
Our Hon. President and Secretary, Owen Simmons, continues
to keep us involved with both the Herts and BSSRA (British
Schools Small-Bore Rifle Association) small-bore scenes. This
winter, 2019/20, we managed to complete the Herts League
before Coronavirus took effect. However, the BSSRA Veterans
League for the Fletcher Cup was abandoned largely because
internet, video conferencing and attendant electronics to
overcome social distancing and boredom. Applying the
virtual concept to shooting would be a great idea, except that
everyone would be scoring “possibles” so we would have
difficulty deciding competition winners.
At the end of the Autumn 2019 issue, the “hook” I left you
with was the outcome of the 2019 Arnold Cup match against
the Old Alleynians at Bisley. We needed our winning streak
back! Well, at lunchtime on 12 October 2019 your team of
athletes (!) gathered in the warm dry dining room of the
London & Middlesex Club munching on a chicken Korma,
peering out at the rain swept Century range. Yes, it was one of
those days when only mad dogs, full-bore shooters and those
with webbed feet venture outdoors. Sorry to say, venturing
out, it just had to be.
The team captains agreed a course of fire, 2s+7 at 300yds and
2s+10 at 600yds with the best four from each team to count.
Our scores were as follows:
129.14 189.17 318.31 Winner
Old Alleynians 302.22
DECIMALS = V BULLS.
BISLEY FIRING POINT MONITOR - TARGET DISPLAY (1000YDS)
the closing date was 30 April and shooting ahead is not a
strong point, so a lot of targets were missing! In the Herts
Winter League we finished third in Division 2.
The School continues to support shooting with considerable
success. We see great promise for the future when the new
range facility is open. Many thanks to David Russell for his
continued enthusiasm and support at the School. We sincerely
hope there will be a strong and sustained recovery from the
current public health issues and that shooting will bounce back.
I will try and find something to write about in the forthcoming
Autumn issue even if it focusses on garden air pistol, loaded
fingers and virtual shooting! Keep well everyone.
THIRD TIME LUCKY
At the time of writing, the nation is coming together
to fight the on-going battle with Covid-19. Whilst
the Club acts as a positive reminder of how sport
can bring people together, from all of us at OAFC we wish
both fellow and future OAs and their families well during
this difficult period and beyond.
With the season on hold until further notice, it gives us
time to reflect on a campaign that has seen everything from
penalty shootout cup runs in Westminster, to mammoth
home rivalries many Versa reader would have been
accustomed to during their tenure on the fields of King
Harry or Woollams alike.
After narrowly missing promotion two seasons on the trot
and with morale at an all-time low, newly elected Club
Captain Richard D’Rosario (OA 2012) had a mountain to
climb, and didn’t waste any time in laying down his vision
for the season ahead and with only one objective in mind;
top-flight Arthurian League Football.
Following an impressive pre-season display and having
won the dressing room early on, D’Rosario lead the team to
a blistering start accumulating both home and away wins
At the time of writing this it is unclear when the
cricket season will begin for both our junior and
senior sections in their respective competitions.
This is especially disappointing as there has been lots of
activity at the winter nets at Verulam School, with large
numbers of junior and senior players enjoying working on
their skills ahead of a planned busy season.
The Club has signed up to the ECB Allstars initiative for
the 2020 season (www.ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars). The All
Star programme provides boys and girls from five to eight
years old with 10 weeks of cricketing fun. It is aimed at
all levels of ability and provides children with a strong
foundation to develop a love and interest in the game.
We are very excited about the scheme and providing
this opportunity to the local community. We have seen
a really good response and look forward to starting the
OA Football Club
by Nick Jackson (OA 2005)
against Merchant Taylors and Haberdashers - a real coup if
ever there was one!
With OAs and Old Cholmeleians at the top of the pecking
order and with substantial daylight between third place
– two out right candidates for top spot soon emerged.
With the season currently on hold, a tantalising one point
currently separates the two teams.
Will an open top bus ride await this season’s OAs or will
this be another tale of ‘nearly there’?
We hope to be sharing the good news in the next Edition!
Best wishes to all.
ECB ALLSTARS ON HOLD
OA Cricket Club
by David Goodier
programme as soon as we are given the all clear to start
The senior Club continues to grow and will have
two midweek 20:20 teams operating. We will also be
represented in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League
by four teams. The Club will have sides in Divisions One,
Five, Eight and Regional West. We continue to recruit
players for the senior clubs and should you wish to dig out
your old kit bag and take up the game please e-mail oacc_
Like many sports clubs up and down the land the current
health crisis will present financial challenges to the OA
Cricket Club. If there is any way you can help or if there is
anything you would like to signpost us towards, please feel
free to contact me via the contact details on page 2.
89 YEARS OF GOLF
BACK ROW: R. VINCETT, R.F. GEORGE, R. NELSON, MITCHELL,
SPENCER-PEAT, D. WIGGS FRONT ROW: R. MISKIN, M.A.
WIGGS, DICKENSON, REYNOLDS, G. RICHARDSON
A SEASON CUT SHORT
OA Rugby Football Club
After a winter break, in the course of which some
days were redolent of a monsoon and others of
the mistral, our frustrations at missing so much
golf were soon forgotten as we assembled in good spirits
at Mid Herts to contest the Briggs Trophy. This is a pairs
competition, with the winners each receiving a handsome
silver goblet. The weather was not the best but could have
been much worse, the rain holding off until we had finished.
Major improvement work was in evidence around the
course, particularly to the tees and bunkers. This will make
what is already a fine course even better.
As a group we adhered diligently to the recommendations
of various bodies keen to keep golf courses open during the
coronavirus pandemic. This entailed leaving the flag in, even
for short putts, handling rakes and ball washers - in fact any
hard course furniture - only with a gloved hand. At the table,
we sat at every other seat to maintain the required safe distance
from one another. It did not seem to have any adverse effect on
This report is probably the strangest I have ever written!
Usually at this time of the year we are all getting very
excited about the beginning of the new tennis season
but this year we have no idea when we shall be playing tennis
again. We entered three teams, Ladies, Mens and Mixed
into the Watford and District League and had a full calendar
of fixtures but this of course has all been postponed for
the foreseeable future. Our AGM also had to be cancelled
and it is at this event that we would have carried out the
Wimbledon draw and that, of course, has also been cancelled.
Once again, 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, playing all the matches was
challenging. On top of this, some had to be cancelled
due to the Coronavirus. We are still awaiting the results
OA Golf Club
by Kevin O’Donoghue (OA 1959)
by Maureen Harcourt
Scoring was not easy, although the heavy underfoot conditions
did not seem to worry Trevor Miles and Simon Cooper (both
Antelopes) who mastered them admirably to take the trophy
with a magnificent 42 points. Second was the pair of Ian
Mackenzie and Andy Lynes (both OAs 1980) with 36 points.
Their score owed much to Ian’s finishing burst where he was
one under par over the last four holes.
Time off the fairway has allowed for some reminiscing and
a look back in the OA Golf archives. The photo above shows
the very first meeting on 12 July 1931 at Verulam Golf Club
– a site still frequented by our players today. We hope new
players will continue swinging the club for another 89 years
As things stand, the number of fixtures we will be able to fulfil
this summer is in some doubt. Our next meeting, the annual
match against Mid Herts is scheduled for 25 April, followed by
a return visit to Whipsnade Park for the Captain's Cup on 17
June. We live in hope.
– there have been some very sophisticated calculations!
Sadly, the Sue Barnes Tournament was not played this year
due to the bad weather. My goodness, we shall have a lot
of catching up to do once normality returns!
Margie Edge, our Club Coach, has stepped down as she
has now become a full-time teacher. We would like to
take this opportunity to thank Margie for all that she has
done for the Club. Her enthusiasm and commitment has
been second to none. We wish her well in her new career.
Martin Taylor has now taken over as club coach. He can
be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We continue to welcome new players to the Club so do
contact either Maureen or Geoff Lamb if you are interested
in finding out more once the restrictions are lifted.
by Kim Watson, Club Captain
The Club remains in a strong
position with four senior men’s
teams and two senior women’s
teams playing most weeks and a very
strong minis and juniors section. It’s
great we can offer rugby to anyone
whatever their gender, standard,
level or experience. It has been a very
challenging season for many reasons.
First the weather cancelling a lot
of fixtures (I lost count how many
storms hit our shores this year) and
then Coronavirus cutting our season
short. But with what is going on in the
world right now, we as a rugby club
and community know we must do
our part in helping combat Covid19
and the decision was rightly taken
to suspend all activity until further
notice. Luckily, it didn’t disrupt either
the Saints or Gladiators winning their
respective leagues, both dominating
and winning in style. A huge
congratulations to both teams for their
In happier times, during the World Cup
the Club was rammed full for most
of the matches and even got featured
on Sky Sports for the Final. The social
side of the Club remains good with all
teams working hard to create a great
atmosphere post-match with the One
Club mentality. The newly revitalised
Summer Ball is now planned for the
start of next season (September 2020)
and is definitely one to attend.
by James Osborn, Director of Rugby
When we look back at 2019/20 it’s
inevitably not going to be remembered
for events on the pitch. Nonetheless,
25 games of the scheduled 30 were
completed in our second season back
in National League Two South and we
It’s fair to say that while the Club
underachieved, it could so easily have
been different. Of the 16 matches
lost during the season, losing bonus
points were secured in 10 of them, the
most of any team in at least the top six
divisions in England, with seven being
by 3-points or less.
A huge number of injuries tested the
medical team to the full, with over
45 players appearing for the 1st XV,
including seven former junior players
and one current colt.
Work is already underway for next
season, with a huge proportion of the
squad committing to stay and continue
what they started.
Our 2nd XV, The Romans, had a decent
start to the season but unfortunately
were unable to play more than a handful
of matches with injuries, then weather
and finally a global pandemic seeing
The 3rd XV, The Gladiators continued
their strong performance over the last
few years with another league title
secured in HMMT #2.
The Saints, having been promoted last
season into Women’s Championship
1 South built on a great year and on
the final day of league action were
confirmed as league winners.
Although promotion was not possible,
when rugby activities were stopped the
Saints were in the middle of a playoff
campaign where they were in a great
position to finish top again.
Congratulations to all those involved on
a fantastic achievement.
by Ian Tomlins, Junior Chairman
When the season started, we had high
hopes of emulating the previous one
when we completed the league and cup
double at U15 to U18 for the first time
in our history.
However, the wettest winter for years
and then the Covid-19 outbreak
meant that the season would come
to a premature end before any of the
competitions had been completed.
In the National Colts U18 Cup we had
another fantastic run. We were in the
semi-finals for the third time in seven
seasons. However, the season was
declared over by the RFU and that was
that. We are all looking forward to being
back at Woollams as soon as possible.
by James Hooper, Chairman
It has been a season of mixed fortunes
for the minis. Whereas 2019 had been
wet, 2020 had a whole host more
unpleasantness in store, with the season
coming to a rather abrupt halt with the
outbreak of Coronavirus.
It is usual to finish the season with
festivals and we were lucky enough to
manage that. The Herts Grand Slam
against local rivals Tring, Harpenden,
Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford brought
the season to a close a little prematurely
A big thank you to all the coaches,
team managers, first aiders and other
volunteers who put so much into the
season and making it fun for the kids. See
you all again, hopefully, in September.