22.05.2020 Views

Versa: Issue Six

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 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.

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VERSA<br />

OA NEWS<br />

A WEEK AT WILKINSONEYRE<br />

OAS IN LOCKDOWN<br />

SIBLING SPORTING ACHIEVEMENTS<br />

A SEASON CUT SHORT: OA RUGBY<br />

TAKING ON<br />

JACK REACHER<br />

Andrew Grant (OA 1986)<br />

SPRING 2020


Inside<br />

this issue<br />

Editorial Team<br />

Chris Harbour<br />

Sarah Osborne<br />

Covid-19 Message 2<br />

OA President’s Notes 3<br />

OA Events 4<br />

A Week at WilkinsonEyre 8<br />

OAs in Lockdown 9<br />

Featured OA: Andrew Grant 10<br />

OA News 12<br />

Ask the Archivist 13<br />

Announcements14<br />

The Legacy of Dr John Hulett 15<br />

OA Careers Network 16<br />

OA Lodge 18<br />

Sibling Sporting Achievements 19<br />

OA Sports 20<br />

@oldalbanianassociation<br />

@OAAssociation<br />

St Albans School<br />

Archives<br />

Old Albanian<br />

Networking:<br />

St Albans School<br />

St Albans School Foundation | CHARITY NO. 1092932


2 3<br />

OA ASSOCIATION<br />

President<br />

Mike Hodge<br />

07774 161624<br />

mike@mikehodge.co.uk<br />

Secretary<br />

David Buxton<br />

01727 840499<br />

davidbuxton36@gmail.com<br />

Treasurer<br />

David Hughes<br />

07701 027881<br />

hughespost@hotmail.co.uk<br />

Membership Secretary<br />

Roger Cook<br />

01727 836877<br />

rogercook@btinternet.com<br />

Hon. Auditor<br />

Peter Dew<br />

01582 453773<br />

peter.a.dew@btinternet.com<br />

OA SPORTS<br />

RUGBY<br />

www.oarugby.com<br />

President<br />

Richard Milnes<br />

07940 255355<br />

richard.milnes@oarugby.com<br />

Chairman<br />

Rory Davis<br />

07748 146521<br />

rory.davis@oarugby.com<br />

Hon. Treasurer<br />

Rick Powdrell<br />

07795 200125<br />

rick.powdrell@oarugby.com<br />

Hon. Secretary<br />

Peter Lipscomb<br />

07856 240229<br />

peter.lipscomb@oarugby.com<br />

Mini Chairman<br />

Mike Fisher<br />

07799 345807<br />

mike.fisher@oarugby.com<br />

Junior Chairman<br />

Ian Tomlins<br />

07867 971585<br />

ian.tomlins@oarugby.com<br />

OA Saints Chairperson<br />

Julia Holmes<br />

07971 238928<br />

julia.holmes@oarugby.com<br />

FOOTBALL<br />

President<br />

Nick Jackson<br />

oldalbaniansfc@gmail.com<br />

CRICKET<br />

www.oacc.org.uk<br />

Chairman<br />

David Goodier<br />

07796 551657<br />

davidgoodier@hotmail.com<br />

President<br />

Richard Morgan<br />

01727 843844<br />

richard.morgan50@btinternet.com<br />

Director of Cricket<br />

Simon Bates<br />

07720 383600<br />

simon.bates@s2mprofits.co.uk<br />

Treasurer<br />

Richard Ransley<br />

07878 499432<br />

richransley@gmail.com<br />

Secretary<br />

Alison Finley<br />

01727 853985<br />

ajfinley@ntlworld.com<br />

TENNIS<br />

www.oatennis.com<br />

Membership Enquiries<br />

Maureen Harcourt<br />

07710 270361<br />

m.harcourt@ntlworld.com<br />

RIFLE & PISTOL<br />

www.oashooting.com<br />

President<br />

Owen Simmons<br />

01438 840674<br />

olsandpjs@aol.com<br />

Captain<br />

Andrew Wilkie<br />

01202 424190<br />

Andrew.wilkie@ymail.com<br />

Treasurer<br />

Andrew Moore<br />

01984 641539<br />

caroline985moore@btinternet.com<br />

GOLF<br />

Captain<br />

Peter Dredge<br />

01582 834572<br />

pjdredge42@aol.com<br />

Hon. Secretary<br />

Kevin O’Donoghue<br />

01525 758356<br />

kevin.odonoghue19@gmail.com<br />

OA LODGE<br />

Assistant Secretary<br />

John Williams<br />

01438 715679<br />

johntwilliams@talktalk.net<br />

SCHOOL<br />

www.st-albans.herts.sch.uk<br />

Development Director<br />

Kate Gray<br />

01727 515177<br />

kgray@st-albans.herts.sch.uk<br />

Alumni Relations &<br />

Development Manager<br />

Chris Harbour<br />

01727 515184<br />

charbour@st-albans.herts.sch.uk<br />

Alumni Relations &<br />

Development Assistant<br />

Sarah Osborne<br />

01727 224540<br />

slosborne@st-albans.herts.sch.uk<br />

Archivist<br />

Sue Gregory<br />

01727 515178<br />

sgregory@st-albans.herts.sch.uk<br />

EDITORIAL TEAM<br />

Chris Harbour<br />

Alumni Relations & Development<br />

Manager<br />

Sarah Osborne<br />

Alumni Relations & Development<br />

Assistant<br />

COVID-19<br />

MESSAGE<br />

Due to School closures and the current climate in the<br />

UK, we are having to make some necessary changes<br />

to planned events. The London Drinks Party, Class of<br />

1960 Reunion and Gateway Feast are postponed until<br />

further notice. Please check your emails, OA Connect<br />

and our social media pages for further event updates.<br />

During these unprecedented times, the safety and<br />

welfare of our alumni community is paramount. The<br />

current social distancing guidelines are no doubt<br />

having an adverse effect on some of our OAs and we<br />

would like to extend our support to those in need.<br />

If you are feeling particularly isolated or struggling<br />

to make connections from home, we are here to help.<br />

Please login and use www.oaconnect.co.uk to find<br />

and reconnect with your classmates. Remember to<br />

also update your details under My Profile so OAs can<br />

find you.<br />

If we can support you in another way or help you<br />

connect with other alumni, please do let us know.<br />

The School has taken the difficult decision to reduce<br />

fees for the Summer Term. We have asked those<br />

parents who are able, to make a donation to our<br />

newly created Hardship Fund – some parents have<br />

already been in touch as they find themselves unable<br />

to afford fees in the near future. We expect that more<br />

will follow and that the School’s finances will be<br />

under pressure.<br />

If you would like to support the Hardship Fund<br />

during this unexpected crisis, please visit<br />

www.st-albans.herts.sch.uk for more detail.<br />

Best wishes<br />

Kate, Chris, Sarah & Sue<br />

OA PRESIDENT’S NOTES<br />

As I sit here, writing up my OA President’s Notes, it is<br />

early April. In recent weeks, the world has changed out<br />

of all recognition. Everyone – but everyone – is affected.<br />

And that includes the OA Association and all its members and<br />

Sports Clubs. Whoever could have possibly dreamt that this<br />

situation could come to pass? I fervently hope that, by the time<br />

you are reading this, the world is in a much better place.<br />

Let me tell you what your OA President has been up to since the<br />

last edition of <strong>Versa</strong>. Back in November, I went to the annual<br />

fireworks at Woollams which were, as usual, top class. As I have<br />

said previously, this is the best firework display in the St Albans<br />

area and the view from the balcony at Woollams is exceptional.<br />

I then, later in the month, attended the School Remembrance<br />

Day Service in the Abbey followed by the Act of Remembrance<br />

in Upper Yard for the Last Post. The commemoration is always<br />

a very moving tribute to those who lost their lives at War. Also<br />

in early November, I attended the 100th anniversary of the<br />

School 1st XV against Q.E. Barnet. The School won at a canter<br />

though the second half was a lot more even as more than a few<br />

changes were made at half-time. I was pleased to be introduced<br />

to Lower <strong>Six</strong>th student Fergus White after the game – he is the<br />

first recipient of the OA President’s Sports Grant. A delightful<br />

individual who will, no doubt, travel far and wide with his<br />

rugby prowess.<br />

At the end of November, I went to the School’s production of<br />

The Tempest. It was, quite simply, an amazing version coupling<br />

a Shakespeare play together with some great music from the<br />

1970s. The band played songs by Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, T.<br />

Rex and The Doors. They were exceptional and so cool. Quite<br />

what Shakespeare would have made of it is anyone’s guess but<br />

I thought it was brilliant! I know I was at the School a LONG<br />

time ago but we had nothing like this for our plays – and we<br />

should have done. My heartfelt congratulations to the crew, the<br />

cast and the band.<br />

The School Carol Service in December was a much more<br />

traditional affair and maybe that was just as well! The School<br />

Choir was in very fine voice and must have spent a good<br />

deal of time rehearsing some very challenging pieces. There<br />

are always several new choral pieces in the Nine Lessons<br />

and Carols – it takes a lot of commitment by the Choir to<br />

accommodate these new works.<br />

The last event I attended was the 117th Biennial General<br />

Inspection of the School CCF. The Inspecting Officer was<br />

scheduled to be Brigadier M Christie, MBE who unfortunately<br />

had to make his apologies last minute. Group Captain Martin<br />

Lowe, RAF (OA 1994) was then asked to undertake the<br />

Inspection in his stead. Literally half an hour before the event<br />

started, Martin Lowe became unavailable as one of his children<br />

had tested positive for the coronavirus. For one moment your<br />

Mike Hodge (OA 1965), OA President<br />

President thought he was going to be asked but, as luck would<br />

have it, the St Albans Mayor, Councillor Janet Smith, agreed<br />

to step into the breach. The Mayor carried out her duties with<br />

great aplomb – as if she had known, all along, that this was<br />

going to happen.<br />

And now to Woollams… As I write this, Woollams like all<br />

facilities of its kind has now been closed. For OA Sport this<br />

means a loss of income with no functions being held and no<br />

sport being played. It is odd to see it so quiet on a weekend<br />

when normally it is full of life! I am advised for the moment<br />

that all is as well as it can be financially, but this position may<br />

change if the lockdown goes on into the summer.<br />

I write this against the backdrop of our tenant Saracens<br />

facing difficult times of their own, with relegation to the<br />

Championship and a fine of £5.6m. These issues will obviously<br />

impact their business model and as such, OAs may well see an<br />

impact at Woollams. Their adventure in the Championship will<br />

hopefully be for only one year but it may, for instance, impact<br />

on the number of meals they consume. Time will tell, but for<br />

the moment they continue to pay their rent.<br />

OA Sport continues to discuss the proposed North St Albans<br />

development with the School. As you are all aware this will<br />

mean that some pitches are relocated. It is an opportunity for<br />

OA Sport to reshape its offering for the future to ensure that the<br />

site is used productively for the advancement of sport for all.<br />

Something I know that all OAs are proud of and share in.<br />

And finally, back to current events. Your President is filling his<br />

time painting a couple of wooden benches which originated<br />

in the ‘free seats’ at the Nursery End in Lords’ Cricket Ground.<br />

As the photograph shows, I am wearing my original OA Rugby<br />

shirt which is circa 1966 and I can still get into it. It has seen<br />

better days but, by the same token, so has your President!<br />

All I can do is wish you well and hope that the virus crisis does<br />

not have the catastrophic effect that is being spoken about now.<br />

By the time my notes are read, we might have a clearer picture.


4 5<br />

OA Events<br />

REMEMBRANCE<br />

Service<br />

The School held the annual Remembrance Service on<br />

Monday 11th November to commemorate all fallen<br />

soldiers of the Wars. We are thankful to the OAs who<br />

joined us for this important annual Service. We hope to see<br />

many of you again at this year’s Service, which will mark VE<br />

Day; 75 years since the end of WWII.<br />

OA CITY<br />

Networking<br />

We would like to thank the large number of<br />

OAs, parents, staff and former staff who<br />

attended the Carol Service on Wednesday<br />

11th December 2019. In particular, many thanks to<br />

The Revd Canon Dr Tim Bull, Residentiary Canon<br />

of the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans,<br />

who presided over the Service and to the Choir who<br />

CAROL<br />

Service<br />

gave beautiful renditions of carols including In the<br />

Stillness. This year’s readers included Roger Fletcher<br />

(OA 1963), who was visiting all the way from the<br />

USA, and Charlie Wallace (OA 2018); both did an<br />

excellent job. We look forward to seeing many of you<br />

again this year.<br />

On Thursday 14th November, we hosted our<br />

annual City Networking Drinks Event at<br />

The Corn Exchange, London. It was our first<br />

time hosting at this venue and it proved to be very<br />

popular amongst the 50 OAs in attendance. The aim<br />

of the evening is to provide OAs with the opportunity<br />

to network and socialise with alumni and we hope<br />

that those who attended found the event both useful<br />

and enjoyable. We hope that many of you can join us<br />

again in November for this annual event.<br />

NEW YORK<br />

OA Dinner<br />

CAMBRIDGE<br />

OA Regional Event<br />

Kate Gray was delighted to host the second New<br />

York OA Dinner in Bar Boulud on Thursday<br />

21st November. OAs from a range of years<br />

and different locations travelled to get together<br />

for drinks and a meal, and it was a most enjoyable<br />

evening. There were plenty of shared conversations<br />

about school days and former teachers, and it was<br />

fun to hear some of the stories from a range of years.<br />

Following the success of this second New York event,<br />

we will look to hold another US reunion some time in<br />

the future, so do look out for invitations!<br />

This year we were pleased to host not one, but two OA<br />

Regional Events. The first of these was in Cambridge,<br />

hosted at The Grain & Hop Store on Thursday 6th<br />

February. There were 20 in attendance and all were welcome<br />

to drinks and snacks throughout the evening. Many thanks<br />

to the OAs who attended, recommended venues and offered<br />

support to the School in other areas. We are constantly on<br />

the lookout for other areas in the UK which are popular<br />

amongst our OAs. Please do keep an eye on your emails for<br />

invitations to our next event!


6<br />

7<br />

CCF BGI<br />

During a difficult time of the year, we<br />

would like to thank the OAs who made<br />

a particular effort to attend the CCF<br />

BGI on Friday 13th March. We understand that<br />

the turnout was slightly lower than originally<br />

planned, given the outbreak of Covid-19, but<br />

the event was as always, a great success and<br />

an enjoyable day. Many thanks also to Group<br />

Captain Martin Lowe, RAF (OA 1994) who had<br />

volunteered his time to be the Inspecting Officer<br />

but was unfortunately unable to attend due to a<br />

last minute incubation period. Our appreciation<br />

goes to The Mayor, Janet Smith, who stepped in at<br />

short notice to help with the inspection.<br />

We hope OAs enjoyed the inspections, activities<br />

and lunch and we look forward to seeing you<br />

again next year.<br />

CENTENARY MATCH<br />

Against QE Boys<br />

We had a great turnout of OAs at Woollams<br />

for the centenary 1st XV match between St<br />

Albans School and Queen Elizabeth’s School<br />

Barnet on 9th November 2019. The catering team put<br />

on a splendid lunch for us in the pavilion beforehand<br />

which was enjoyed by many OAs, some local and many<br />

recent leavers back from university for the weekend. It<br />

was great to see so many familiar faces and have such<br />

strong support for the 1st XV! Despite the wet and<br />

windy weather, most ventured pitch-side to watch the<br />

game which was well fought and ended 36-21 to St<br />

Albans School.<br />

RECENT<br />

LEAVERS’<br />

DRINKS<br />

Class of 2019<br />

Our annual drinks for the leaving year group<br />

after their first term at university has proven<br />

to be one of our most popular events in the<br />

calendar. On Monday 16th December the Class of<br />

2019 gathered at The Peahen for reunion drinks since<br />

leaving the School a few months before. Nearly the<br />

entire year attended to catch up with each other and<br />

their former teachers!<br />

We are looking forward to hosting the Class of 2020<br />

in December this year - keep an eye on your emails<br />

for your invitation.<br />

LEEDS<br />

OA Regional Event<br />

Our regional events continued in Leeds on 13th<br />

February at the Brewery Tap. This was the first alumni<br />

event held in the city and was received positively by<br />

those in attendance. OAs travelled from surrounding counties<br />

or made the short distance as undergraduates of the University.<br />

OAs in attendance were from the 1950s right up to last year’s<br />

leavers, making for an interesting discussion on how the School<br />

has changed over the years! Thank you to all who attended and<br />

we hope to see you at another event soon.<br />

AN EVENING<br />

WITH…<br />

Katy Jon Went<br />

It was a pleasure to welcome Katy Jon Went (OA<br />

1985) back to the School to give a talk to the<br />

Diversity Society, OAs and parents. On Thursday<br />

30th January, Katy gave a fascinating talk about their<br />

experience of being a non-binary transgender pupil<br />

at the School and beyond. Thank you for an engaging<br />

and informative session!<br />

We apologise to all OAs, former staff and guests who were looking forward to our upcoming events, such as the London<br />

Drinks Party and the Class of 1960 Reunion, scheduled in April. The safety of our alumni community is paramount and to<br />

prevent the spread of COVID-19, we can no longer go ahead with these social gatherings.<br />

We are hoping to reschedule some events at a later date and will keep OAs posted as and when we find out more<br />

information. Please keep an eye on your emails and the OA Connect event calendar for up to date event information.


8<br />

9<br />

A WEEK AT<br />

WILKINSONEYRE<br />

OAS IN<br />

LOCKDOWN<br />

Aspiring architect and Lower <strong>Six</strong>th pupil Chris Briers was lucky enough to spend a<br />

week with Chris Wilkinson (OA 1963) at his practice. Model building, presentations<br />

and project insights were the tasks for the week. Here’s how Chris got on…<br />

I<br />

began my week of work experience by meeting<br />

a vast number of the WilkinsonEyre team.<br />

This included introductions to architects and a<br />

selection of junior architects known as ‘1s’. The team<br />

did everything to help make me feel welcome, from<br />

spending lunch breaks alongside me to assisting with<br />

some of the more complex architectural designs and<br />

production.<br />

I was set a project for the week; to design a building<br />

in the surrounding area of Farringdon and to deliver<br />

a presentation about the project on my final day. I<br />

focused my project on model making and sketching<br />

rather than working on computers using different<br />

programmes such as Photoshop and Rhino (which<br />

are common tools for architects when designing<br />

buildings). As well as the production of my own<br />

building, I was shown many of the projects the<br />

firm was currently working on. I found it very<br />

interesting to see the depth and detail of a threedimensional<br />

building, portrayed through sketches<br />

and programming.<br />

Each day, a new task was set to include in my<br />

presentation for the final day. This rather daunting<br />

task of presenting in front of a group of professionals<br />

actually proved very exciting and was an insightful<br />

process. My work experience took me on a journey<br />

right up to the creation of my model and site<br />

drawings for my building.<br />

Overall, my week at WilkinsonEyre was incredible<br />

and has inspired me hugely to venture more indepth<br />

into the courses and variations of architecture<br />

in order to perhaps pursue this as a career option.<br />

Furthermore, I have learnt a lot from those whom I<br />

worked with in order to produce my final model and<br />

design for a building in London.<br />

I would like to thank all from WilkinsonEyre who<br />

aided me and guided me in this extraordinary week.<br />

CHRIS BRIERS AND CHRIS WILKINSON (OA 1963)<br />

ROY & MERLE BACON'S GARDEN<br />

Roy (OA 1946) & Merle Bacon<br />

We are managing well – we have good neighbours and a<br />

grandson who lives locally, which is lovely. Although now<br />

he can only talk to Roy through the window and me from<br />

the top of the drive! These are very strange times but it is<br />

important to take precautions and take social distancing<br />

seriously; even with family.<br />

So many people must be finding the situation incredibly<br />

difficult so we are very fortunate that we have a strong<br />

support network. We are so very aware of the great suffering<br />

of so many other people who are ‘locked’ in such unsuitable<br />

circumstances.<br />

Even in lockdown, we are able to see and chat with our<br />

families through the wonders of Zoom. What a joy to have<br />

virtual tea parties! We even had a wedding celebration which<br />

was previously cancelled due to the outbreak!<br />

We are lucky to have a garden which we can escape into. To<br />

have the space and fresh air available makes things a little<br />

more bearable. We will no doubt pass the time in the garden<br />

for a few more isolation days to come.<br />

Rebecca Cousins (OA 2014)<br />

In 2016 I set up Rebecca Jade Health and Beauty salon on<br />

Harpenden High Street. When the shop next door closed<br />

down, I decided to expand my business and in January 2019<br />

the Rebecca Jade Aesthetic Clinic was born. This side of<br />

the business was growing very well, until the coronavirus<br />

epidemic changed the world.<br />

Very suddenly, my business was put on hold. I now have<br />

25 staff members and have had to furlough all employees.<br />

This is a very worrying time for everyone. In the world as a<br />

whole, there are much bigger concerns than what happens<br />

on Harpenden High Street and I feel for all those families<br />

who are facing the most difficult times imaginable.<br />

All I can do now is try to keep my business together while<br />

most of it is in enforced closure. I quickly set up an online<br />

retail option with the help of my family, where I am selling<br />

all the beauty and skincare products from the shop. I will try<br />

to make up as much as possible of the 20% drop in salary<br />

of my staff through these online sales, but it is a tall order.<br />

I look forward earnestly to when I can open my doors on<br />

Harpenden High Street again!<br />

Ciaran Reed (OA 2019)<br />

Lockdown life has provided<br />

a return to life at home with<br />

my parents after months in<br />

the busy city of Leeds. In rural<br />

Hertfordshire, with not even<br />

a pavement in the village, let<br />

alone any semblance of a public<br />

transport system, being stuck with<br />

limited ability to travel is nothing new. The School motto,<br />

non nobis nati comes into a new meaning in the present<br />

world. Even just staying at home is now an act of giving<br />

to others.<br />

I’ve signed up to be an NHS volunteer. I should expect to be<br />

out in the next few days, helping people in the most sensitive<br />

situations. Other OAs have taken different routes to help,<br />

such as the new Oriel College Chapel Head Bible Clerk, Tom<br />

Farlow (OA 2019), who delivered an online sermon to help<br />

people in these times.<br />

Whatever our responses, as OAs we would be wise to<br />

remember the current School motto. Once this is all over, we<br />

will ask ourselves whether we did the right things. Hopefully,<br />

we will all say we did our part, even if it was just staying<br />

inside a small village rather than a university city.


10<br />

Featured OA<br />

A NEW CHAPTER<br />

Andrew Grant (OA 1986) may be the namesake of a former Headmaster but their<br />

careers took very different paths... Poised and ready to take over writing the Jack<br />

Reacher novels from his brother, Lee Child (James Grant), we find out how Andrew<br />

is preparing to receive the Reacher baton.<br />

But for me, it went dramatically off course and the ending was<br />

terrible! I caught myself saying, I wonder why the author didn’t<br />

do this or have this happen? That changed my mind-set and<br />

started an itch that had to be scratched, which was, could I do<br />

this? Could I write a book that people would want to read?<br />

Your first three books feature a Royal Naval officer. What<br />

drew you to this type of character?<br />

The books I was reading played a part, both in a positive and a<br />

negative way. When I was thinking about what kind of character<br />

I wanted to write about, there was a trend at the time for a flawed<br />

hero. He would be divorced, an alcoholic, his family had died –<br />

some kind of terrible trauma in his life had led him to do these<br />

good things. I don’t find it all that satisfying when the character<br />

is only doing these good things because he is driven to it by some<br />

external force. I wanted to have a character who had an internal<br />

moral compass who would do the right thing because he knew it to<br />

be the right thing.<br />

want enough familiarity so they can revisit their favourite character,<br />

see what he’s doing this time, what trouble he is in, but at the same<br />

time see him in a new light. We have ideas on how to make it fresh<br />

and original. We are in the midst of the new Reacher book; we’ll see<br />

how it pans out!<br />

You were born in Birmingham, what brought you to St<br />

Albans School?<br />

My dad was a civil servant and his job moved around the country.<br />

When I was six he got moved from Birmingham to London. The<br />

whole strategy was based around St Albans School, then finding<br />

somewhere to live. We ended up in Harpenden and my brother<br />

did the <strong>Six</strong>th Form at St Albans School. When I was 11 I took<br />

the entrance exam. By this point, the Direct Grant system which<br />

my brothers had benefitted from had been revoked. I was lucky<br />

enough to get in and do the full seven years.<br />

How was your time at School?<br />

Absolutely fantastic! I know it’s a horrendous cliché and people<br />

reading will think, of course he’s going to say that! But it’s true!<br />

When I look back, my primary school experience was awful. For the<br />

whole of my final year at primary school, I didn’t do any of the work<br />

because I thought it was boring. Instead, I just sat with a book under<br />

the desk and read. It was a bit of a rude awakening when I got to St<br />

Albans School because they actually made you work!<br />

The people in my classes, from 1A right up to <strong>Six</strong>th Form were<br />

fantastic. They were smart and they were interesting, which I<br />

took for granted at the time but when I look back, there were<br />

some seriously accomplished people there. On top of that we had<br />

teachers who were absolutely outstanding. They were amazing<br />

in terms of their knowledge, their skill and making people<br />

enthusiastic about their subject. They would see the potential<br />

in people and help them to develop. We still had some teachers<br />

who had fought in WW2. Listening to their stories about hiding<br />

in haystacks from the Germans or their experiences in the Battle<br />

of Arnhem enriched our lives so much, although I don’t think I<br />

recognised or appreciated it at the time.<br />

One of the most charismatic teachers was our history teacher, Mr<br />

Brown. He was a tremendous character. Then, there was a French<br />

teacher called Mr Buck – he had been a fighter pilot. We got very<br />

adept at steering him away from French and telling us about his<br />

experiences. For some of these teachers, it wasn’t until we were<br />

reading their obituaries that we realised the full extent of what<br />

they had done.<br />

After School you studied Drama and English at Sheffield<br />

Yes, that’s right. What I discovered was, the teachers we had at<br />

School were way better! They were all about encouraging you<br />

to come up with your own ideas and your own interpretation.<br />

It made those lessons so fun and so challenging. Every time<br />

you went to a lesson you knew you were going to be in for this<br />

rigorous, intellectual exercise. At 17 years old I thought, if that’s<br />

what it’s like at <strong>Six</strong>th Form, it’s going to be bigger and better at<br />

university. For me, it didn’t work out that way.<br />

Our professors were internationally famous and published all over<br />

the world but if you came up with a theory that was different to<br />

theirs, they didn’t want to debate it, they were offended! In my first<br />

year in 1986, we were debating a particular Shakespeare play – my<br />

professor turned to me in the lecture and said; “Listen, I’m the<br />

world’s leading professor on this subject and I’m telling you this<br />

is the way it is. If you don’t agree, you can get out”. I left and never<br />

went back to one of his classes!<br />

That was the reason I progressed from English Literature to<br />

English Literature and Drama. When I was a little kid, no matter<br />

what happened, good, bad or indifferent, my initial reaction<br />

was always, how do I turn this into a story? Drama and stage<br />

production are the most direct forms of storytelling, so this course<br />

appealed to me hugely.<br />

When I was a little kid, no matter<br />

what happened, good, bad or<br />

indifferent, my initial reaction<br />

was always, how do I turn this<br />

into a story?<br />

After a spell in telecommunications, you then made the<br />

leap into becoming a novelist. How did you do this?<br />

I loved theatre but I was on the road a lot so I couldn’t see as many<br />

shows as I wanted to. Because of this, I gravitated back towards<br />

reading which was much more accessible. After a while, I realised<br />

I was reading a lot of Cold War, spy fiction. There came a day<br />

when I read this book which started out magnificently. You know<br />

those books that are so good, when you’re on the train, you miss<br />

your stop because you’re so absorbed in it? That was this book.<br />

Once I knew this, I moved into the details. I knew I wanted to write a<br />

series and from talking to other authors, if you did some planning up<br />

front it would help you a lot. For example, if you write a story about a<br />

detective in St Albans, every book is going to start with a body being<br />

found in St Albans. I needed someone who wasn’t tied down to a<br />

single location. I was watching something on TV and saw that the<br />

overseas embassies are guarded by the Royal Marines, who are part of<br />

the Navy. I thought, if they are responsible for the overt operations of<br />

the embassies, it makes sense that they would be responsible for the<br />

covert operations too. My character also needed a broad skillset who<br />

can shoot guns, fight with knives and escape rooms but with a credible<br />

reason why he knows how to do all of those things.<br />

You’re a big supporter of Aston Villa and Paul McGrath is<br />

the lead character in your books.<br />

Both me and my brother do this. It’s something fun but also, finding<br />

character names is one of the hardest things to do. There are all<br />

kinds of details that I never considered before I started, for example,<br />

you never want a character name that ends with ‘s’ - the possessive<br />

doesn’t sound right, it looks messy. It can be a real roadblock when<br />

you come to the point of needing a character name – it can pull you<br />

out of your creative mind-set. So, this is not only a fun thing to do,<br />

it’s also a practical thing to do so you’re not spending an inordinate<br />

amount of time choosing character names.<br />

Does your brother James (author Lee Child) have an<br />

influence on your characters or your writing?<br />

We’re two very similar people and we think in very similar ways so it<br />

follows that your characters might do that. With my first character,<br />

there were definitely moments when I had to steer him down an<br />

alternative path to stop him becoming like one of my brother’s<br />

characters. I wanted to consciously make my character different.<br />

When I finished my first book, I wanted it to be clear I was doing<br />

it on my own, so I didn’t go through my brother’s agent. He uses a<br />

pen name which I was going to, but I wanted as many degrees of<br />

separation between us. I didn’t even give him my first book to read<br />

until I had a publishing deal – there are lots of people who don’t<br />

believe that! But I have to ignore them.<br />

In January, it was announced you would be taking over the<br />

Jack Reacher novels. How are you tackling this established<br />

series?<br />

My father is Irish and has this expression, “the same, only different”<br />

so I would like to make the books, the same, but different! Readers<br />

One of the interesting things about James’ first book is you didn’t<br />

find out the character’s name for a long time [Jack Reacher]. It was<br />

written in the first person. He had no cause to say his name and you<br />

get quite far into the story before he says it. Even before I knew the<br />

character's name, there was a familiarity. I thought, I know him, I<br />

know what he is going to do next, I understood him.<br />

How did it come about that you would become the author<br />

of the books?<br />

My brother felt torn as he has written 24 Jack Reacher novels and<br />

was ready to retire. He didn’t think he could do any more books<br />

but at the same time he knew there were lots of people who were<br />

looking forward to the new Reacher novel and needed their annual<br />

fix. He is always asked; how do you see the series ending? He would<br />

say that he would kill him off, dying alone on the bathroom floor.<br />

This always seemed like such a remote possibility a few years ago but<br />

then, people were realising that he was being serious about this and<br />

worried that he might do it.<br />

…after a while we thought, here’s<br />

the solution. He retires and I keep<br />

writing the books.<br />

For a couple of years, he was left with this dilemma. On the one<br />

hand he felt it was time to stop but on the other, he didn’t want to<br />

disappoint the people who wanted more books and after a while we<br />

thought, here’s the solution. He retires and I keep writing the books.<br />

I came up with the idea that we would do the first couple in tandem<br />

and I would then take over writing the books, for as long as people<br />

want to continue reading them.<br />

What is next?<br />

I’m in the final stages of the new Reacher novel which is called The<br />

Sentinel. I’m also under contract for my Paul McGrath series so I<br />

will start writing on this too. That will take me right up to when the<br />

promotion will start on the Reacher book. I’m hoping to be over in<br />

the UK for that.<br />

The Sentinel by Andrew Child (Grant) will be released on 27 October<br />

2020.


12<br />

OA News<br />

13<br />

PAUL RAMSBOTTOM (OA 1994)<br />

OBE FOR OA<br />

Our warm congratulations go to Paul Ramsbottom<br />

(OA 1994) who was awarded an OBE in this year’s<br />

Queen’s New Year honours list. Paul, who is Chief<br />

Executive of the Wolfson Foundation, received the distinction<br />

for services to charity.<br />

Beginning work as a Grants Assistant in 1998, Paul worked<br />

his way up to Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, and<br />

its sister charity the Wolfson Family Charitable Trust.<br />

“The honour came as a complete surprise. Being involved in<br />

the charity and education sectors is a huge privilege, especially<br />

working with a range of inspiring organisations.<br />

My time at St Albans, as well as being a happy period, was also<br />

the perfect preparation for working life.”<br />

FLYING THE FLAG<br />

Thanks to the generosity of Stephen Burgess (OA 1962),<br />

the Old Albanian Association have a flag flying high<br />

outside the OA Pavilion at the Woollam Playing Fields.<br />

Steve has been a long-time committee member, OA Rugby<br />

and Cricket player, and benefactor to the Rugby Club,<br />

especially since hanging up his boots. He has also been an<br />

active member of the Old Albanian Association committee<br />

over the years and was elected as President. He served in<br />

that position from 2007 to 2012, after which he was elected<br />

as a life member in recognition of his services. Now Stephen<br />

has kindly donated a new Old Albanian Association flag<br />

for the Woollam flag poles at the OA Pavilion, the previous<br />

OA Club flag having worn out in the prevailing winds. The<br />

Association is extremely grateful for his generous gift.<br />

AWARD OF MERIT<br />

Last year, Harpenden resident and OA President<br />

Mike Hodge (OA 1965) was presented with the<br />

Mayor’s Award of Merit; an accolade given to<br />

individuals in the town for outstanding achievement or<br />

to residents who have served Harpenden in a particularly<br />

meritorious manner.<br />

Mike received his award in recognition of his charity<br />

work over the past 15 years around Harpenden, including<br />

charity golf days for Rennie Grove Hospice, sing-along<br />

events and busking! Mike has also run concerts with the<br />

Amalfi String Quartet alongside Peter Knapp (OA 1965),<br />

an old School friend and professional musician.<br />

Raising more than £250,000 since 2004, Mike said; “I am<br />

eternally grateful to all my loyal friends and supporters<br />

who have made these generous donations over the years”.<br />

Congratulations to Mike on this well-deserved award!<br />

TAKING SILK<br />

We are delighted that Shantanu Majumdar (OA 1986<br />

and School Governor) has been appointed Queen’s<br />

Council on 16 March 2020. Shantanu is a barrister at<br />

Radcliffe Chambers in Lincoln’s Inn and practises in<br />

commercial chancery litigation and arbitration, civil<br />

fraud and professional negligence.<br />

Many congratulations to Shantanu!<br />

MAYOR BRIAN ELLIS AND MIKE HODGE (OA 1965)<br />

SHANTANU SILKS<br />

ASK THE ARCHIVIST<br />

450 Years of the Wine Charter<br />

Written by Mia Thwaites, Upper <strong>Six</strong>th Pupil, Museum & Archives Partnership student<br />

The wine charter encapsulates the School’s history of<br />

efforts to improve provision of education through<br />

pragmatic methods. It evidenced a governmental<br />

initiative via the Court of Augmentations which sought to both<br />

improve and promote education. In this sense, the Reformation<br />

showed the beginning of state intervention in education<br />

provision. On acceding to the throne, Elizabeth I wanted to<br />

ensure a good education for the protestant nation. Francis<br />

Bacon, Elizabeth’s “beloved and very faithful counsellor”,<br />

helped channel this into the granting of a Wine Charter on<br />

24th March 1570, granting a licence to “two discreet and honest<br />

persons dwelling within<br />

the borough”. If others sold<br />

wine without a licence,<br />

they would receive a £20.00<br />

fine. Via the charter, the<br />

town was obliged to pay<br />

an annual fee of £20.00 to<br />

the School for its upkeep.<br />

The granting of the charter<br />

gave Elizabeth her name in<br />

the earliest School prayer<br />

as the “first founder of the<br />

free school of St Albans”.<br />

WINE CHARTER 1610<br />

James I furthered this, granting a third wine licence in 1606.<br />

This was given to Robert Wooley, which allowed him to “enter<br />

any house to search if any wines shall be found there for sale”<br />

and potentially “seize wines” or “imprison persons”. As Mayor,<br />

this gave him increased powers to protect the charter and the<br />

Headmaster’s salary was increased to £2.13s.4d, paid for by<br />

Wooley. From 1654 to 1664 this salary was raised on three<br />

occasions to £50.00. This was contributed to by the licences<br />

given to vintners, such as Sarah Silliock in 1653 and James<br />

Hopkins in 1661, as well as extra payments made by Gilbert<br />

Selioke from 1646-9. The rents for wine licences indeed<br />

increased to up to £20.00 by 1663.<br />

However, the success of the charter began to wane, particularly<br />

by 1684 when the income from wine licensing had sharply<br />

decreased. They were unable to effectively prevent unlicensed<br />

vintners from setting up taverns. A ‘Mr Bennet’ began to<br />

sell wine without a licence, which led to an attempt to bring<br />

the case to a court in London, using the influence of Sir<br />

John King. In 1663, a tierce of sack (barrel of dry wine) was<br />

taken to the Duke of York to attempt to win his support for a<br />

petition which would prevent a fourth seller of wine. In 1686,<br />

action was taken to stop Mrs Jones from setting up a fourth<br />

and unlicensed tavern. This was at a serious detriment to the<br />

School. In the 18th Century, Masters received back pay in<br />

instalments and one individual received no salary at all for two<br />

years. Eventually, this led to a suit brought by Master Joseph<br />

Spooner against the Officials of the town in May 1787, which<br />

resulted in the transferal of management of the School to a<br />

board of eight trustees and fixed the Master’s salary. This had<br />

little real impact; five years after the change in management a<br />

petition was presented to the St Albans Freedmen complaining<br />

that the “school has gone to utter decay”. By 1800, there were<br />

only two wine licences and at<br />

this time, licences could be<br />

issued more cheaply from the<br />

Commissioners of the Excise,<br />

meaning that the School<br />

lacked a third licence. This<br />

led to the case supported by<br />

the Master’s funds which<br />

stated that without the<br />

exclusive privilege of the<br />

wine charter, “this Royal and<br />

charitable institution will be<br />

greatly injured”.<br />

This was the first sign that the exclusive privilege of the wine<br />

charter was being flouted by people retailing wine without<br />

a licence. Such wrangling continued into the 20th Century<br />

and the three remaining ex-licensees paid their final dues to<br />

the maintenance of the Headmaster of St Albans School in<br />

July 1922. The Abolition Bill of Oxford and St Albans Wine<br />

Privileges, with Cambridge University opting to keep its<br />

charter, was given an unopposed reading. The Clerk to the<br />

Governors, Edward Debenham Esq, wrote;<br />

“On behalf of the Governors I desire to express their thanks to<br />

the Corporation, and in this I include myself, for obtaining a<br />

satisfactory settlement of this long outstanding matter of the<br />

Wine Licences” (Governors’ Ledger 1922)<br />

Subject to the current pandemic<br />

situation, it is the intention of the St<br />

Albans School Museum & Archives<br />

to run an exhibition celebrating this<br />

historic moment where the Wine<br />

Charter of 1570 can be seen 450<br />

years on.


14 15<br />

Announcements<br />

OBITUARIES<br />

Anthony J Lane<br />

(OA 1948)<br />

1929 – 2019<br />

Written by Robin Ollington<br />

(OA 1947)<br />

Anthony Lane left School in<br />

1948 having been a prefect,<br />

choir member and player in the<br />

1st XV. He attended Leeds University and was later ordained<br />

in Oxford as a Deacon and then a Priest. Anthony took Holy<br />

Orders with a parish near Salisbury and eventually became<br />

a Minor Canon of Winchester Cathedral. However, after 16<br />

years as a County Pastor, Anthony resigned and switched his<br />

allegiance to Rome, becoming a Roman Catholic.<br />

Married in 1955, Anthony leaves behind his wife and three<br />

daughters.<br />

Paul Michael Meacher<br />

(OA 1958)<br />

1940 – 2019<br />

Written by John Newby (OA 1958)<br />

Paul arrived at St Albans School in<br />

1951. He became one of a group<br />

of seven students who founded a<br />

semi-secret society known as the<br />

‘Berts’. Their particular interest<br />

was in explosives and pyrotechnics<br />

in general. All of the Berts took a<br />

full part in school activities. They<br />

all played rugby during the winter<br />

months and in the summer, there<br />

was a range of sports available from<br />

cricket to swimming. Paul’s choice was tennis and he played<br />

for the School team. A number of the Berts, including Paul,<br />

were members of a local tennis club in Hillside Road which<br />

became a social base for a range of extracurricular activities.<br />

These included boules at the Waterend Barn and Batchwood<br />

Golf Club. The Berts attended the Verity School of Ballroom<br />

Dancing in Chequers Street to hone their skills and passed<br />

their bronze medals.<br />

After finishing at St Albans School, the Berts went on to<br />

higher education for further qualifications. Paul qualified as<br />

an architect and others in chemistry, engineering, mathematics<br />

and physics. Over the years they have kept in contact and<br />

reunite for an occasional lunch or dinner. In particular, they<br />

would attend the School’s annual Carol Service and have a<br />

celebratory dinner beforehand in St Albans.<br />

It was with great sadness that the Berts lost the first of their<br />

number in October last year. Their seven decade fellowship<br />

had been broken.<br />

John F Brittain<br />

(OA 1961)<br />

1944 – 2019<br />

Written by Richard Male (OA 1958)<br />

John passed away peacefully after a long illness on<br />

Wednesday 9th October 2019, aged 75 years. In his younger<br />

days, John was an active member of St Andrew’s Church,<br />

Great Staughton where he was one of the bell ringing team<br />

and at one time, Tower Captain. He was instrumental in<br />

forming the church’s 100 Club which raised a substantial<br />

sum of money for the charity.<br />

In his 20s, John was the youngest councillor ever elected to<br />

the former Potters Bar Urban District Council. In this, he<br />

followed his late father, who had been a local councillor for<br />

many years and was very well respected.<br />

John will be deeply missed by all his family and friends.<br />

Terence Donald Bamford OBE<br />

(OA 1960)<br />

1942 – 2020<br />

Written by Andrew Hester (OA 1959)<br />

I got to know Terry, as he later<br />

preferred to be known, on<br />

entering the <strong>Six</strong>th Form, Arts.<br />

My family connection however<br />

goes back much further as my<br />

father was the family doctor<br />

and, although this may be<br />

apocryphal, I believe Terence<br />

was the last child he delivered<br />

before being packed off to the RAMC in India.<br />

I remember with great pleasure the beautiful rooms in the<br />

Abbey Gateway and the agreeable class in which Terry was<br />

outstandingly brilliant at History: his ability to get straight<br />

to the point made his essays models of their type. At that<br />

time and, I think, subsequently Terry was not a darling of the<br />

establishment and because I wasn’t either a certain bond was<br />

created which lasted until his sudden and tragic death.<br />

He was a lifelong champion of social justice and devoted<br />

himself to that cause throughout a distinguished career. He<br />

was a fine exemplar of the Greek philosophy kata ton orthon<br />

logon (acting in accordance to correct reason).<br />

My deepest sympathy goes to his wife, Margaret and to his<br />

children Sarah and Andrew – we share their grief and will<br />

miss an old and dear friend.<br />

THE LEGACY<br />

of Dr John Hulett<br />

Walking through the School gates for the first time in 1943, John<br />

Roger Hulett could not have anticipated the impact he would<br />

have on this institution…<br />

John lived in London Colney and had<br />

previously attended school in Birmingham.<br />

He settled into life at St Albans School well,<br />

joining the Debating Society and the OTC as a<br />

Sergeant, switchboard operator. After receiving<br />

excellent exam results, John went on to read<br />

Natural Sciences at Magdalen College, Oxford.<br />

Flash forward a number of years and sadly, Dr<br />

Hulett died on 4th March 2017. Unbeknown<br />

to us, St Albans School was to be beneficiaries<br />

of one tenth of his estate, among several other<br />

charities and close individuals. The will requested<br />

that funds were to be used to set up a bursary<br />

fund, namely the John Roger Hulett Fund and a<br />

prize to be awarded for excellence in Chemistry.<br />

Donations were distributed following the sale<br />

of the estate and assets, particularly through<br />

Dr Hulett’s extensive coin collection. Dr Hulett<br />

is now a Benefactor of St Albans School, the<br />

highest accolade of the Foundation. His name<br />

is immortalised on the Benefactors board in the<br />

Library and mentioned every year in the Founders’<br />

Day address. The John Hulett Prize for excellence<br />

in Chemistry is now awarded annually at the<br />

School’s Prize Giving ceremony.<br />

We are humbled and immensely grateful for the<br />

inclusion in Dr Hulett’s will and his legacy will<br />

live on through the School. His gift shows the<br />

impact that being ‘asset-rich’ rather than ‘cashrich’<br />

can have of an institution such as ours. Dr<br />

Hulett’s gift is directly supporting bursary pupils<br />

of St Albans School, providing financial support<br />

to parents who would otherwise not be able to<br />

afford the fees.<br />

OAs AT OXFORD. DR JOHN HULETT, SECOND FROM THE RIGHT


16 17<br />

OA CAREERS<br />

NETWORK<br />

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: JAMES CRANSTON (OA 2004),<br />

SHANTANU MAJUMDAR (OA 1986), JOHN ANGEL<br />

AND ROBERT READ (OA 2006)<br />

Also at the start of the year, current parent Rob Houghton<br />

delivered a fascinating talk on Start-ups, e-Commerce and<br />

Entrepreneurship. As CEO and founder of reallymoving. com,<br />

Mr Houghton shared his experiences and engaged with<br />

students on how to start up a successful business.<br />

Careers Evenings<br />

Consisting of a panel of speakers, our careers evenings focus<br />

on a single subject per event and provide expert insight by<br />

OAs and parents.<br />

On Monday 18th November 2019, we hosted a Law careers<br />

evening with speakers James Cranston (OA 2004) – Senior<br />

Associate at Clifford Chance, Robert Read (OA 2006) – Trainee<br />

Solicitor at Beale and Company Solicitors LLP, Shantanu<br />

Majumdar QC (OA 1986 & Governor) – Barrister at Radcliffe<br />

Chambers, and John Angel (former parent 2015) – Judiciary at<br />

Queen Mary University of London (pictured above).<br />

More recently on 9th March 2020 we held a Biology and<br />

Chemistry careers evening, at which the following individuals<br />

gave insightful presentations. Mrs Rahima Karim (current<br />

parent) – Clinical Programme Leader, Oncology at Roche,<br />

Dr Rhiannon Lowe (current parent) – Immunotoxicologist at<br />

GSK, Professor Paul Luzio (Governor) – Retired Professor of<br />

Molecular Membrane Biology at the University of Cambridge,<br />

and Dr Paul Quinlan (OA 1977) – Research & Development<br />

Director at Unilever (pictured left).<br />

Higher Education & Employment Conference<br />

This two-day conference helps students to develop their<br />

presentation skills and prepare them for life after School. Over<br />

the years, countless OAs and parents have volunteered their<br />

time to guide students and help them understand the key<br />

qualities of a good presentation.<br />

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: PROF. PAUL LUZIO, MRS RAHIMA KARIM, DR RHIANNON LOWE AND DR PAUL QUINLAN (OA 1977)<br />

We are immensely grateful to our OA community for their time and assistance helping others<br />

with their career goals. Over the last few years, a network of alumni, former staff and parents<br />

has been steadily growing, with the aim of providing career support, advice and placements for<br />

other OAs and current pupils. Here are a few of the ways you have been helping...<br />

What it’s Like to Study<br />

OAs currently studying at university generously give their time to return to<br />

School and give a talk on what it’s like to study their subject. The courses<br />

discussed are determined by the pupils themselves and what route they are<br />

considering. In January 2020, Matthew Crossley (OA 2017), a student at<br />

Southampton University, retuned to speak to students about his course in<br />

Electronic Engineering.<br />

170 49 14 2<br />

OAs and parents<br />

offered to speak<br />

at a careers<br />

events<br />

offers of work<br />

experience or<br />

placements<br />

‘What it’s Like<br />

to Study’ career<br />

evenings<br />

University trips<br />

to Oxford and<br />

Cambridge<br />

MATT CROSSLEY (OA 2017)<br />

Enrichment Lectures<br />

These talks are aimed at giving pupils a well-rounded understanding of the<br />

working world. In January, we had Anna Corper (Freya North), current<br />

parent, author of 14 novels and Founder of the Hertford Children’s Book<br />

Festival, presenting to the Upper <strong>Six</strong>th about ‘How to be an Author’. Anna<br />

gave pupils an insight into her life and how her journey to become an<br />

author started.<br />

Amongst the many other lectures, university trips and<br />

Society speakers that our OA community support, they also<br />

provide opportunities for each other. At our annual OA<br />

Networking Drinks, alumni make business contacts, provide<br />

placements and even job interviews.<br />

We are lucky to have such an engaged and proactive<br />

community which is having an instrumental effect on the<br />

career paths of our students and OAs. If you would like to<br />

join our team of volunteers who provide career support for<br />

pupils, please get in touch with the Development Team using<br />

the contact details on page 2 and let us know your career<br />

details and how you would like to help!


18<br />

19<br />

The Lodge met for its first meeting of the year on<br />

Saturday 11th January 2020 at Ashwell House with<br />

the Master in the Chair. Being the January meeting,<br />

it was a ‘meridian’ meeting, i.e. it was held in the morning<br />

followed by luncheon.<br />

After tea, coffee and biscuits had been served, the Lodge was<br />

opened by the Master at 10.30am. Following the opening,<br />

members of the Lodge stood for a short while in memory of<br />

past members who had recently died in 2019: John Hider, Ian<br />

Grant and a regular visitor, David Goode. The main business<br />

of the meeting was a Second Degree ceremony, conducted by<br />

the Master in an impeccable manner.<br />

The Almoner then gave his report on the health and wellbeing<br />

of members and their families. Andrew Denney’s father,<br />

Richard Denney (Master in 2014) was unable to attend the<br />

meeting, having been diagnosed with prostate cancer some<br />

thirteen years previously. As this had been a late diagnosis,<br />

Richard has become a very vocal advocate of annual PSA<br />

tests for men. During his illness, Richard has taken part in<br />

six clinical trials at Mount Vernon and has been told that<br />

the results of the trials have proved invaluable in providing<br />

essential information and advancing treatments.<br />

On 17th March, The United Grand Lodge of England issued<br />

the following statement from The Grand Master, HRH The<br />

Duke of Kent:<br />

In view of the latest Government advice on the coronavirus<br />

pandemic, all Lodge and Chapter meetings within England<br />

“This morning at about 11 o'clock. My<br />

dad finally finished his 13 year battle<br />

with cancer. He was my childhood hero,<br />

my best friend and mentor, my biggest<br />

fan and most honest critic.<br />

He was a woodsman, he taught me all<br />

the names of all the trees of the forest,<br />

all the birds and all the animals and how<br />

to catch and prepare them, and which<br />

plants to forage...<br />

He taught me how to make fists out<br />

of my little hands to protect myself<br />

and how to shake another's hand in<br />

friendship. He taught me how to make<br />

a longbow, how to shoot, when to plant<br />

which seeds and how to nurse a sick<br />

apple tree.<br />

He taught me right from wrong. He<br />

passed to me his sense of duty, his pride<br />

and his compassion for living things.<br />

OA LODGE<br />

He read Tolkien and Kipling to me<br />

before I could read a word...<br />

He told me faery stories... with ACTUAL<br />

faeries in them passed down through<br />

generations from old England... and<br />

stories of old battles with noble morals,<br />

to put fire in your blood and justice in<br />

your heart.<br />

He himself had been a legend, an<br />

unbeaten amateur boxer, a rugby player<br />

who broke his neck (in two places),<br />

survived, defied the odds and WALKED<br />

out of Stoke Mandeville hospital<br />

when the doctors had told him it was<br />

impossible.<br />

He was a committed Freemason, and<br />

easily the best ritualist I have ever<br />

heard... with a sharp mind, consistently<br />

word perfect delivery and always<br />

imparted with the same emotive charge.<br />

and Wales are suspended for a period of four months with<br />

immediate effect.<br />

This is the first time in three hundred years that such a<br />

suspension has been put in place, other than a short period<br />

of some three weeks at the commencement of the Second<br />

World War.<br />

The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF) is still<br />

functioning, albeit operated from homes: a wide-range<br />

of help and support is available for Freemasons and their<br />

families with financial, health, family or care-related needs.<br />

If Freemasons have found themselves with an unexpected<br />

loss of income – whether self-employed, an employee,<br />

or are simply struggling to collect a pension – the MCF<br />

can provide support to cover daily living costs, helping to<br />

make ends meet. If a Freemason is struggling to pay rent,<br />

mortgage or utility bills and is facing eviction or arrears, the<br />

MCF can provide emergency one-off grants to help keep a<br />

roof over their head.<br />

Among other initiatives more locally, utilising the kitchens at<br />

Halsey Masonic Hall in Cheshunt, a takeaway meal service<br />

commenced on 6th April for members who live within a five<br />

mile radius of the Hall, and are in need of support because of<br />

their age or health.<br />

On 22nd March the brethren of the Lodge learnt of the sad<br />

death of Richard Denney after his long battle against prostate<br />

cancer. His son Andrew shared a moving tribute to Richard on<br />

his Facebook page which he is happy to see in print below:<br />

He could sing, and like my grandad<br />

loved music... Andrea Bocelli was his<br />

favourite. He could fight, at the age of<br />

55, dropping a bully twenty years his<br />

junior and a foot taller than him.<br />

He loved his family, his many friends,<br />

his country, his garden, his dogs, his<br />

stamps.<br />

Never once did he suffer a fool.<br />

A mischievous sense of humour and a<br />

generous heart. The best red wine and<br />

rudest shaped parsnips in Hertfordshire.<br />

A hole that cannot be filled in my heart.<br />

You go back to your beloved Sky Father<br />

and Earth Mother...<br />

To grow strong again... Like your<br />

beloved oaks. Live again, grow strong,<br />

soar high and play in the thermals like<br />

the red kites we watched together.”<br />

LUCY HILTON (OA 2019)<br />

SIBLING SPORTING<br />

Achievements<br />

The Hilton sisters are part of several recent leavers who have progressed their lacrosse<br />

careers since leaving School. Playing in both mixed and women’s teams at Oxford and<br />

Cambridge, they both reached the 104th Annual Varsity match.<br />

Here’s how they got on...<br />

Lucy Hilton (OA 2019)<br />

During my <strong>Six</strong>th Form at St<br />

Albans School, I was a part<br />

of the lacrosse team and this<br />

brought back the passion for<br />

the sport which I lost during<br />

my GCSE years. Although<br />

we could only play together<br />

for two terms, the 2019<br />

National Schools Tournament<br />

showed how well the team<br />

played together. Currently,<br />

I am studying Geography at<br />

the University of Cambridge<br />

and I play lacrosse for the<br />

Fitzwilliam College and the University Mixed team. This year<br />

I have played for the Blues team for both the league games<br />

and Varsity - I have now been made captain for the College<br />

team for next season.<br />

We are currently in the College Division Two, however we<br />

have been the underdogs in the league, starting off at the<br />

bottom of Division Three at the start of the year! The college<br />

matches are a lot of fun because they are very casual and<br />

typically involve the two teams meeting up on a Saturday<br />

morning on one of the green spaces in Cambridge and<br />

sticking two lacrosse sticks in the ground to make a goal!<br />

College lacrosse has a diverse range of players with some<br />

playing for the University, but the majority have either never<br />

played before or only played when they were younger.<br />

The University Mixed Blues team involves five training<br />

sessions a week and matches on a Sunday. Having lacrosse<br />

at university has given me structure to my day and helped<br />

me with time management for my work due to the intense<br />

training hours. We have won all of our games, bar one and we<br />

won the semi-finals of the league playoffs against Warwick.<br />

Due to the current situation of COVID-19 it is unlikely we<br />

will be able to play against Nottingham in the finals, however<br />

in the league we were leading by three goals. Furthermore,<br />

we won the 104th Annual Varsity Lacrosse match against<br />

Oxford Mixed teams 10-6, for the seventh consecutive year!<br />

Hopefully next year we can continue this winning streak.<br />

Olivia Hilton (OA 2018)<br />

Playing lacrosse at University<br />

has enhanced my student<br />

experience in so many ways.<br />

Having training four times a<br />

week, as well as a match which<br />

most of the time constitutes<br />

a whole day traveling to and<br />

from a distant university,<br />

forces you to become an expert<br />

in managing your time well!<br />

Balancing this on top of a large<br />

workload, a social life and<br />

other commitments definitely<br />

adds to the fast-paced<br />

environment of University<br />

which I love.<br />

I am now going into my third year of studying biochemistry<br />

at Oxford and playing lacrosse for the Women’s 2nd team.<br />

Initially I was apprehensive of playing next year, since my<br />

course is renowned for being particularly heavy in content in<br />

the third year. However, after consideration of what my life<br />

would be like without sport, there was no doubt in my mind<br />

that I would be turning up to the trials in October 2020; I<br />

even put myself forward for welfare secretary next year!<br />

The best part about playing a team sport at university is<br />

definitely all the amazing friends you meet and fun memories<br />

you build during your time playing. Aside from the weekly<br />

socials, I have found that going to training can be a refreshing<br />

break from what can sometimes be quite an intense<br />

environment. I can certainly say that I have met some of my<br />

closest friends playing lacrosse, going through weekly wins<br />

and losses with them. Beating Cambridge Women’s team at<br />

the 104th Lacrosse Varsity this year was surely a highlight,<br />

however unfortunately, I cannot say the same for having to<br />

drive the mini-bus to and from away matches!<br />

OLIVIA HILTON (OA 2018)


20 OA Sports<br />

21<br />

CORRIGENDA…<br />

My article in the Autumn 2019 issue appears to have<br />

had a difficult journey from copy to print. Contrary to<br />

the credit, your scribe is Andrew Wilkie. Plus, in the<br />

table, the correct heading for column three was ‘Summer 2019,<br />

Straight, 10 Rounds, Average’. Tick, sorted, …could do better…<br />

Moving on…<br />

OA Rifle Club<br />

by Andrew Wilkie (OA 1965)<br />

In recent years my opening salvos on Bisley activities have<br />

addressed meteorological issues, Beast from the East, gales<br />

etc. and the resulting cancellation of early season shoots.<br />

Enthusiastically, the Autumn 2019 article closed by looking<br />

forward to “…some spectacular shooting in 2020.” What<br />

could I have been thinking of?<br />

This year, in common with most other group sports, our<br />

whole summer season both full-bore and small-bore has been<br />

blown out of the park by Coronavirus. At the time of writing<br />

it has caused every event up to August 2020 to be cancelled<br />

and anything beyond that remains in serious doubt. Shooting<br />

activities have virtually stopped with the possible exception<br />

of a bit of air pistol in the garden (With suitable safety<br />

precautions of course).<br />

With actual coming to an abrupt halt, virtual seems to have<br />

become the “in” concept with large scale adoption of the<br />

Having dried out, the day was rounded off by our annual<br />

dinner, this year arranged by the Old Alleynians at the Artists<br />

Club. For the last two years we have kept our scores close to<br />

our respective chests, making the announcement of scores<br />

and presenting the Arnold Cup at the dinner. Spices things<br />

up a bit. Thanks to all for turning out and thanks to the<br />

Alleynians for organising the meal.<br />

300yds (2s+7) 600yds (2s+10) Total<br />

OL Simmons 33.4 44.1 77.5<br />

AWB Wilkie 33.4 50.8 83.12<br />

AQS Moore (30.1) (41.2) (71.3)<br />

MC Warr 31.2 46.4 77.6<br />

JW Simmons 32.4 49.4 81.8<br />

Our Hon. President and Secretary, Owen Simmons, continues<br />

to keep us involved with both the Herts and BSSRA (British<br />

Schools Small-Bore Rifle Association) small-bore scenes. This<br />

winter, 2019/20, we managed to complete the Herts League<br />

before Coronavirus took effect. However, the BSSRA Veterans<br />

League for the Fletcher Cup was abandoned largely because<br />

internet, video conferencing and attendant electronics to<br />

overcome social distancing and boredom. Applying the<br />

virtual concept to shooting would be a great idea, except that<br />

everyone would be scoring “possibles” so we would have<br />

difficulty deciding competition winners.<br />

At the end of the Autumn 2019 issue, the “hook” I left you<br />

with was the outcome of the 2019 Arnold Cup match against<br />

the Old Alleynians at Bisley. We needed our winning streak<br />

back! Well, at lunchtime on 12 October 2019 your team of<br />

athletes (!) gathered in the warm dry dining room of the<br />

London & Middlesex Club munching on a chicken Korma,<br />

peering out at the rain swept Century range. Yes, it was one of<br />

those days when only mad dogs, full-bore shooters and those<br />

with webbed feet venture outdoors. Sorry to say, venturing<br />

out, it just had to be.<br />

The team captains agreed a course of fire, 2s+7 at 300yds and<br />

2s+10 at 600yds with the best four from each team to count.<br />

Our scores were as follows:<br />

129.14 189.17 318.31 Winner<br />

Old Alleynians 302.22<br />

DECIMALS = V BULLS.<br />

BISLEY FIRING POINT MONITOR - TARGET DISPLAY (1000YDS)<br />

the closing date was 30 April and shooting ahead is not a<br />

strong point, so a lot of targets were missing! In the Herts<br />

Winter League we finished third in Division 2.<br />

The School continues to support shooting with considerable<br />

success. We see great promise for the future when the new<br />

range facility is open. Many thanks to David Russell for his<br />

continued enthusiasm and support at the School. We sincerely<br />

hope there will be a strong and sustained recovery from the<br />

current public health issues and that shooting will bounce back.<br />

I will try and find something to write about in the forthcoming<br />

Autumn issue even if it focusses on garden air pistol, loaded<br />

fingers and virtual shooting! Keep well everyone.<br />

THIRD TIME LUCKY<br />

for Promotion?<br />

At the time of writing, the nation is coming together<br />

to fight the on-going battle with Covid-19. Whilst<br />

the Club acts as a positive reminder of how sport<br />

can bring people together, from all of us at OAFC we wish<br />

both fellow and future OAs and their families well during<br />

this difficult period and beyond.<br />

With the season on hold until further notice, it gives us<br />

time to reflect on a campaign that has seen everything from<br />

penalty shootout cup runs in Westminster, to mammoth<br />

home rivalries many <strong>Versa</strong> reader would have been<br />

accustomed to during their tenure on the fields of King<br />

Harry or Woollams alike.<br />

After narrowly missing promotion two seasons on the trot<br />

and with morale at an all-time low, newly elected Club<br />

Captain Richard D’Rosario (OA 2012) had a mountain to<br />

climb, and didn’t waste any time in laying down his vision<br />

for the season ahead and with only one objective in mind;<br />

top-flight Arthurian League Football.<br />

Following an impressive pre-season display and having<br />

won the dressing room early on, D’Rosario lead the team to<br />

a blistering start accumulating both home and away wins<br />

At the time of writing this it is unclear when the<br />

cricket season will begin for both our junior and<br />

senior sections in their respective competitions.<br />

This is especially disappointing as there has been lots of<br />

activity at the winter nets at Verulam School, with large<br />

numbers of junior and senior players enjoying working on<br />

their skills ahead of a planned busy season.<br />

The Club has signed up to the ECB Allstars initiative for<br />

the 2020 season (www.ecb.co.uk/play/all-stars). The All<br />

Star programme provides boys and girls from five to eight<br />

years old with 10 weeks of cricketing fun. It is aimed at<br />

all levels of ability and provides children with a strong<br />

foundation to develop a love and interest in the game.<br />

We are very excited about the scheme and providing<br />

this opportunity to the local community. We have seen<br />

a really good response and look forward to starting the<br />

OA Football Club<br />

by Nick Jackson (OA 2005)<br />

against Merchant Taylors and Haberdashers - a real coup if<br />

ever there was one!<br />

With OAs and Old Cholmeleians at the top of the pecking<br />

order and with substantial daylight between third place<br />

– two out right candidates for top spot soon emerged.<br />

With the season currently on hold, a tantalising one point<br />

currently separates the two teams.<br />

Will an open top bus ride await this season’s OAs or will<br />

this be another tale of ‘nearly there’?<br />

We hope to be sharing the good news in the next Edition!<br />

Best wishes to all.<br />

ECB ALLSTARS ON HOLD<br />

OA Cricket Club<br />

by David Goodier<br />

programme as soon as we are given the all clear to start<br />

activities again.<br />

The senior Club continues to grow and will have<br />

two midweek 20:20 teams operating. We will also be<br />

represented in the Saracens Hertfordshire Cricket League<br />

by four teams. The Club will have sides in Divisions One,<br />

Five, Eight and Regional West. We continue to recruit<br />

players for the senior clubs and should you wish to dig out<br />

your old kit bag and take up the game please e-mail oacc_<br />

team_sec@hotmail.com.<br />

Like many sports clubs up and down the land the current<br />

health crisis will present financial challenges to the OA<br />

Cricket Club. If there is any way you can help or if there is<br />

anything you would like to signpost us towards, please feel<br />

free to contact me via the contact details on page 2.


22<br />

23<br />

89 YEARS OF GOLF<br />

BACK ROW: R. VINCETT, R.F. GEORGE, R. NELSON, MITCHELL,<br />

SPENCER-PEAT, D. WIGGS FRONT ROW: R. MISKIN, M.A.<br />

WIGGS, DICKENSON, REYNOLDS, G. RICHARDSON<br />

A SEASON CUT SHORT<br />

OA Rugby Football Club<br />

After a winter break, in the course of which some<br />

days were redolent of a monsoon and others of<br />

the mistral, our frustrations at missing so much<br />

golf were soon forgotten as we assembled in good spirits<br />

at Mid Herts to contest the Briggs Trophy. This is a pairs<br />

competition, with the winners each receiving a handsome<br />

silver goblet. The weather was not the best but could have<br />

been much worse, the rain holding off until we had finished.<br />

Major improvement work was in evidence around the<br />

course, particularly to the tees and bunkers. This will make<br />

what is already a fine course even better.<br />

As a group we adhered diligently to the recommendations<br />

of various bodies keen to keep golf courses open during the<br />

coronavirus pandemic. This entailed leaving the flag in, even<br />

for short putts, handling rakes and ball washers - in fact any<br />

hard course furniture - only with a gloved hand. At the table,<br />

we sat at every other seat to maintain the required safe distance<br />

from one another. It did not seem to have any adverse effect on<br />

the camaraderie.<br />

This report is probably the strangest I have ever written!<br />

Usually at this time of the year we are all getting very<br />

excited about the beginning of the new tennis season<br />

but this year we have no idea when we shall be playing tennis<br />

again. We entered three teams, Ladies, Mens and Mixed<br />

into the Watford and District League and had a full calendar<br />

of fixtures but this of course has all been postponed for<br />

the foreseeable future. Our AGM also had to be cancelled<br />

and it is at this event that we would have carried out the<br />

Wimbledon draw and that, of course, has also been cancelled.<br />

Once again, we entered a Mixed team into the East<br />

Herts Autumn League and a Ladies team into the<br />

Hertfordshire Senior Winter League. Given the bad<br />

weather over the winter, playing all the matches was<br />

challenging. On top of this, some had to be cancelled<br />

due to the Coronavirus. We are still awaiting the results<br />

OA Golf Club<br />

by Kevin O’Donoghue (OA 1959)<br />

POSTPONED…<br />

OA Tennis<br />

by Maureen Harcourt<br />

Scoring was not easy, although the heavy underfoot conditions<br />

did not seem to worry Trevor Miles and Simon Cooper (both<br />

Antelopes) who mastered them admirably to take the trophy<br />

with a magnificent 42 points. Second was the pair of Ian<br />

Mackenzie and Andy Lynes (both OAs 1980) with 36 points.<br />

Their score owed much to Ian’s finishing burst where he was<br />

one under par over the last four holes.<br />

Time off the fairway has allowed for some reminiscing and<br />

a look back in the OA Golf archives. The photo above shows<br />

the very first meeting on 12 July 1931 at Verulam Golf Club<br />

– a site still frequented by our players today. We hope new<br />

players will continue swinging the club for another 89 years<br />

to come!<br />

As things stand, the number of fixtures we will be able to fulfil<br />

this summer is in some doubt. Our next meeting, the annual<br />

match against Mid Herts is scheduled for 25 April, followed by<br />

a return visit to Whipsnade Park for the Captain's Cup on 17<br />

June. We live in hope.<br />

– there have been some very sophisticated calculations!<br />

Sadly, the Sue Barnes Tournament was not played this year<br />

due to the bad weather. My goodness, we shall have a lot<br />

of catching up to do once normality returns!<br />

Margie Edge, our Club Coach, has stepped down as she<br />

has now become a full-time teacher. We would like to<br />

take this opportunity to thank Margie for all that she has<br />

done for the Club. Her enthusiasm and commitment has<br />

been second to none. We wish her well in her new career.<br />

Martin Taylor has now taken over as club coach. He can<br />

be contacted by email: martin.tennis50@gmail.com<br />

We continue to welcome new players to the Club so do<br />

contact either Maureen or Geoff Lamb if you are interested<br />

in finding out more once the restrictions are lifted.<br />

by Kim Watson, Club Captain<br />

The Club remains in a strong<br />

position with four senior men’s<br />

teams and two senior women’s<br />

teams playing most weeks and a very<br />

strong minis and juniors section. It’s<br />

great we can offer rugby to anyone<br />

whatever their gender, standard,<br />

level or experience. It has been a very<br />

challenging season for many reasons.<br />

First the weather cancelling a lot<br />

of fixtures (I lost count how many<br />

storms hit our shores this year) and<br />

then Coronavirus cutting our season<br />

short. But with what is going on in the<br />

world right now, we as a rugby club<br />

and community know we must do<br />

our part in helping combat Covid19<br />

and the decision was rightly taken<br />

to suspend all activity until further<br />

notice. Luckily, it didn’t disrupt either<br />

the Saints or Gladiators winning their<br />

respective leagues, both dominating<br />

and winning in style. A huge<br />

congratulations to both teams for their<br />

on-field successes.<br />

In happier times, during the World Cup<br />

the Club was rammed full for most<br />

of the matches and even got featured<br />

on Sky Sports for the Final. The social<br />

side of the Club remains good with all<br />

teams working hard to create a great<br />

atmosphere post-match with the One<br />

Club mentality. The newly revitalised<br />

Summer Ball is now planned for the<br />

start of next season (September 2020)<br />

and is definitely one to attend.<br />

SENIOR RUGBY<br />

by James Osborn, Director of Rugby<br />

When we look back at 2019/20 it’s<br />

inevitably not going to be remembered<br />

for events on the pitch. Nonetheless,<br />

25 games of the scheduled 30 were<br />

completed in our second season back<br />

in National League Two South and we<br />

finished 10th.<br />

It’s fair to say that while the Club<br />

underachieved, it could so easily have<br />

been different. Of the 16 matches<br />

lost during the season, losing bonus<br />

points were secured in 10 of them, the<br />

most of any team in at least the top six<br />

divisions in England, with seven being<br />

by 3-points or less.<br />

A huge number of injuries tested the<br />

medical team to the full, with over<br />

45 players appearing for the 1st XV,<br />

including seven former junior players<br />

and one current colt.<br />

Work is already underway for next<br />

season, with a huge proportion of the<br />

squad committing to stay and continue<br />

what they started.<br />

Our 2nd XV, The Romans, had a decent<br />

start to the season but unfortunately<br />

were unable to play more than a handful<br />

of matches with injuries, then weather<br />

and finally a global pandemic seeing<br />

limited action.<br />

The 3rd XV, The Gladiators continued<br />

their strong performance over the last<br />

few years with another league title<br />

secured in HMMT #2.<br />

The Saints, having been promoted last<br />

season into Women’s Championship<br />

1 South built on a great year and on<br />

the final day of league action were<br />

confirmed as league winners.<br />

Although promotion was not possible,<br />

when rugby activities were stopped the<br />

Saints were in the middle of a playoff<br />

campaign where they were in a great<br />

position to finish top again.<br />

Congratulations to all those involved on<br />

a fantastic achievement.<br />

JUNIOR BOYS<br />

by Ian Tomlins, Junior Chairman<br />

When the season started, we had high<br />

hopes of emulating the previous one<br />

when we completed the league and cup<br />

double at U15 to U18 for the first time<br />

in our history.<br />

However, the wettest winter for years<br />

and then the Covid-19 outbreak<br />

meant that the season would come<br />

to a premature end before any of the<br />

competitions had been completed.<br />

In the National Colts U18 Cup we had<br />

another fantastic run. We were in the<br />

semi-finals for the third time in seven<br />

seasons. However, the season was<br />

declared over by the RFU and that was<br />

that. We are all looking forward to being<br />

back at Woollams as soon as possible.<br />

MINIS<br />

by James Hooper, Chairman<br />

It has been a season of mixed fortunes<br />

for the minis. Whereas 2019 had been<br />

wet, 2020 had a whole host more<br />

unpleasantness in store, with the season<br />

coming to a rather abrupt halt with the<br />

outbreak of Coronavirus.<br />

It is usual to finish the season with<br />

festivals and we were lucky enough to<br />

manage that. The Herts Grand Slam<br />

against local rivals Tring, Harpenden,<br />

Hertford and Bishop’s Stortford brought<br />

the season to a close a little prematurely<br />

in mid-March.<br />

A big thank you to all the coaches,<br />

team managers, first aiders and other<br />

volunteers who put so much into the<br />

season and making it fun for the kids. See<br />

you all again, hopefully, in September.

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