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.


You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.

VERSA<br />

OA NEWS<br />







Andrew Grant (OA 1986)<br />


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 />


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 />


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 />


President<br />

Nick Jackson<br />

oldalbaniansfc@gmail.com<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 />


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 />


Chris Harbour<br />

Alumni Relations & Development<br />

Manager<br />

Sarah Osborne<br />

Alumni Relations & Development<br />

Assistant<br />

COVID-19<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />


OAS IN<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 />



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 />


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 />


12<br />

OA News<br />

13<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 />


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 />


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 />


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 />




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 />


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 />


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 />


16 17<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 />


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 />


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 />


20 OA Sports<br />

21<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 />



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 />


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 />


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 />





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 />


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 />


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 />


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.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!