Versa: Issue Six

charbour12

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

VERSA

OA NEWS

A WEEK AT WILKINSONEYRE

OAS IN LOCKDOWN

SIBLING SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS

A SEASON CUT SHORT: OA RUGBY

TAKING ON

JACK REACHER

Andrew Grant (OA 1986)

SPRING 2020


Inside

this issue

Editorial Team

Chris Harbour

Sarah Osborne

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

Announcements14

The Legacy of Dr John Hulett 15

OA Careers Network 16

OA Lodge 18

Sibling Sporting Achievements 19

OA Sports 20

@oldalbanianassociation

@OAAssociation

St Albans School

Archives

Old Albanian

Networking:

St Albans School

St Albans School Foundation | CHARITY NO. 1092932


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OA ASSOCIATION

President

Mike Hodge

07774 161624

mike@mikehodge.co.uk

Secretary

David Buxton

01727 840499

davidbuxton36@gmail.com

Treasurer

David Hughes

07701 027881

hughespost@hotmail.co.uk

Membership Secretary

Roger Cook

01727 836877

rogercook@btinternet.com

Hon. Auditor

Peter Dew

01582 453773

peter.a.dew@btinternet.com

OA SPORTS

RUGBY

www.oarugby.com

President

Richard Milnes

07940 255355

richard.milnes@oarugby.com

Chairman

Rory Davis

07748 146521

rory.davis@oarugby.com

Hon. Treasurer

Rick Powdrell

07795 200125

rick.powdrell@oarugby.com

Hon. Secretary

Peter Lipscomb

07856 240229

peter.lipscomb@oarugby.com

Mini Chairman

Mike Fisher

07799 345807

mike.fisher@oarugby.com

Junior Chairman

Ian Tomlins

07867 971585

ian.tomlins@oarugby.com

OA Saints Chairperson

Julia Holmes

07971 238928

julia.holmes@oarugby.com

FOOTBALL

President

Nick Jackson

oldalbaniansfc@gmail.com

CRICKET

www.oacc.org.uk

Chairman

David Goodier

07796 551657

davidgoodier@hotmail.com

President

Richard Morgan

01727 843844

richard.morgan50@btinternet.com

Director of Cricket

Simon Bates

07720 383600

simon.bates@s2mprofits.co.uk

Treasurer

Richard Ransley

07878 499432

richransley@gmail.com

Secretary

Alison Finley

01727 853985

ajfinley@ntlworld.com

TENNIS

www.oatennis.com

Membership Enquiries

Maureen Harcourt

07710 270361

m.harcourt@ntlworld.com

RIFLE & PISTOL

www.oashooting.com

President

Owen Simmons

01438 840674

olsandpjs@aol.com

Captain

Andrew Wilkie

01202 424190

Andrew.wilkie@ymail.com

Treasurer

Andrew Moore

01984 641539

caroline985moore@btinternet.com

GOLF

Captain

Peter Dredge

01582 834572

pjdredge42@aol.com

Hon. Secretary

Kevin O’Donoghue

01525 758356

kevin.odonoghue19@gmail.com

OA LODGE

Assistant Secretary

John Williams

01438 715679

johntwilliams@talktalk.net

SCHOOL

www.st-albans.herts.sch.uk

Development Director

Kate Gray

01727 515177

kgray@st-albans.herts.sch.uk

Alumni Relations &

Development Manager

Chris Harbour

01727 515184

charbour@st-albans.herts.sch.uk

Alumni Relations &

Development Assistant

Sarah Osborne

01727 224540

slosborne@st-albans.herts.sch.uk

Archivist

Sue Gregory

01727 515178

sgregory@st-albans.herts.sch.uk

EDITORIAL TEAM

Chris Harbour

Alumni Relations & Development

Manager

Sarah Osborne

Alumni Relations & Development

Assistant

COVID-19

MESSAGE

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

find you.

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

under pressure.

If you would like to support the Hardship Fund

during this unexpected crisis, please visit

www.st-albans.herts.sch.uk for more detail.

Best wishes

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

rugby prowess.

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.


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OA Events

REMEMBRANCE

Service

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.

OA CITY

Networking

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

CAROL

Service

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.

NEW YORK

OA Dinner

CAMBRIDGE

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!


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7

CCF BGI

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.

CENTENARY MATCH

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

Albans School.

RECENT

LEAVERS’

DRINKS

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.

LEEDS

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.

AN EVENING

WITH…

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.


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A WEEK AT

WILKINSONEYRE

OAS IN

LOCKDOWN

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…

I

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

production.

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

and programming.

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

circumstances.

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

to others.

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.


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Featured OA

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

Albans School?

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

series?

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

2020.


12

OA News

13

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

meritorious manner.

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!

TAKING SILK

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)

SHANTANU SILKS

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

greatly injured”.

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

years on.


14 15

Announcements

OBITUARIES

Anthony J Lane

(OA 1948)

1929 – 2019

Written by Robin Ollington

(OA 1947)

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

daughters.

Paul Michael Meacher

(OA 1958)

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

(OA 1961)

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

(OA 1960)

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.

THE LEGACY

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


16 17

OA CAREERS

NETWORK

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.

Careers Evenings

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

Electronic Engineering.

170 49 14 2

OAs and parents

offered to speak

at a careers

events

offers of work

experience or

placements

‘What it’s Like

to Study’ career

evenings

University trips

to Oxford and

Cambridge

MATT CROSSLEY (OA 2017)

Enrichment Lectures

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

author started.

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!


18

19

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

apple tree.

He taught me right from wrong. He

passed to me his sense of duty, his pride

and his compassion for living things.

OA LODGE

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

your heart.

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

impossible.

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

immediate effect.

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

World War.

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

stamps.

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)

SIBLING SPORTING

Achievements

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

21

CORRIGENDA…

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…

Moving on…

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

for Promotion?

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

activities again.

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_

team_sec@hotmail.com.

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.


22

23

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

the camaraderie.

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)

POSTPONED…

OA Tennis

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

to come!

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: martin.tennis50@gmail.com

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

on-field successes.

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.

SENIOR RUGBY

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

finished 10th.

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

limited action.

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.

JUNIOR BOYS

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.

MINIS

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

in mid-March.

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.

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