OPA Newsletter February 1981
New Series No. 39
THE OLD PHAROSIANS’
Derek Crouch, Esq.
Philip Harding, Esq., 6 Monins Road, Dover.
Rev. W. F. Kemp, 7 Burgate House, Burgate, Canterbury.
Editor: K. H. Ruffell, Esq., 15 Friars Way, Dover.
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
Now that all Old Boys are members of the Old Pharosians’ Association with their first year’s subscription paid by courtesy of Barclay’s Bank, it seems as if the wish of Louis Watt two years ago has come true. It now seems as if we may expect an increase in membership and your committee is looking at ways in which to encourage payment of subscriptions after the first year.
Becoming President of the Association is like jumping in at the deep end. After surviving the latter half of the A.G.M. and then the Annual Dinner the rest of the year’s events appear fairly straightforward. So far, either as President-elect or President, I have attended three Committee meetings, the Guest Evening, a performance of Merrie England in the school hall by Dover Operatic Society, a performance of Macbeth, the May Ball, the School Leavers’ Christmas Social and a new venture, the School Leavers’ Supper at the end of summer term. By the time this Newsletter is circulated the Carol Service and another Christmas Social will have taken place.
Perhaps all these events, enabling contact to be made with the school at different times right through the year, plus the contact one makes with fellow Old Pharosians, is the most convincing argument for membership of the Old Pharosians’ Association.
May I wish all Old Pharosians every prosperity in 1981.
NEWS OF THE ASSOCIATION
The Annual Cricket Match, School v. Old Boys, on Saturday, 12th July, 1980
The groundsman had done wonders between the downpours of a soaking summer to prepare a good wicket but grass was lush in the outfield and runs not easy to acquire. John Booth, captain of the Old Boys’ XI, made a well-judged declaration after tea with the score standing at 91 for 9 wickets. The school team contained three or four boys of rich promise and the school team won in the last over.
The Old Boys’ team, as recorded in the score book reads: D. Hudson, Bryan Crush, T. Beer, Neil Upton, Nigel Hopkinson, John Jackson, Barry Crush, P. Flood, John Booth, D. Turner and N. Wall. The team was assembled by Jack Kremer, 17 Old Park Hill, Dover. Please write to him if you would like a game on 11th July, 1981.
Old Boys’ Day, Saturday, 20th September, 1980
The Association’s Annual General Meeting was held in School at 11 a.m. The school organ was an early subject for discussion. The Old Boys originally gave the organ to the school and have found money for its maintenance. At present there is a credit balance of £1300 in the O.P. Jubilee Trust Fund and the O.P. Committee is ready to devote this to the purchase of a humidifier. But expert opinion suggests that electronic adaptation at a cost of £7000 is needed for the organ’s survival. The value of the instrument is set at £50,000 though its value to the school is beyond price. Action within two years is essential.
Discussion turned to the somewhat artificial distinction between Old Boys and Old Pharosians. This year, for the first time, every school leaver becomes an Old Pharosian by virtue of a 50p subscription paid by Barclay’s Bank. Decision was made that all boys formerly at the school are Old Pharosians but only those who subscribe shall be members of the Association and receive the Newsletter.
The Association Balance Sheet showed a current account in credit by £187 but payment of about £150 for the last Newsletter had not been settled so there is very little cash in hand.
Previous payments by Life Members are earning interest in a Deposit account with a credit balance of about £600.
It is customary for profit on the Annual May Ball to be divided equally between School, Old Boys and Parents Associations. Last year the Old Boys put their share into the School building Appeal fund and this year they purchased a carpet for the Head’s study. The Memorial Plaque to Mr. J. C. Booth has successfully been funded.
Terry Sutton passed over the Presidential badge to Derek Crouch; and Colin Henry transferred the duties of Secretary to Philip Harding. Sir Robin Haydon is the new Vice-President with a view to becoming President in September, 1981. Since Sir Robin now lives in London there may well be another London gathering; and there are plans afoot to observe that 1981 is the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the present buildings by Prince George.
In the afternoon, favoured by warm autumnal sun and most pleasantly green turf, the Old Boys’ soccer team beat the school 5-1. This is an unusual result, for in recent years the school team has been rather good and the elder-brethren somewhat leg-weary. This winter the school team is re-building with young players. Mick Palmer had assembled a useful team of Old Boys: Dave Palmer, Chris King, Dave Hudson, Nigel Hopkinson, Dick Hill, Kevin Kiely, Kevin Redsull, Mick Palmer, Glenn Ensor, Kevin Norton and Jeff Vane.
The Dinner in Great Hall in the evening was attended by over a hundred people, many drawn by respect for Mr. Booth and by memories of Ebbw Vale in 1940. Rev. William Kemp spoke a prayer in dedication of Mr. Booth’s Memorial and Mrs. Booth gracefully expressed her thanks.
The menu was in Welsh, English and French. The Toasts were fortunately almost entirely in English, Sir Clifford Jarrett proposing the toast to the Association, with a reply by the President, and Sir Robin Haydon proposing the toast to the school, with a reply by the Headmaster.
The evening ended with films of Dover in 1940, very kindly shown by Ray Warner.
Names of those present at the Dinner:
The President and Mrs. Crouch. Mrs. J. C. Booth. The Headmaster and Mrs. Colman. Sir Robin and Lady Haydon. Sir Clifford and Lady Jarrett. The Headmaster of Sir Roger Manwood’s School and Mrs. Griffiths.
The Head Prefect.
E. H. Baker, C. Bailey, G. Bailey, R. Beck, T. Beer, L. Bish, J. Booth, R. Booth, M. Blee, J. Bushell, D. Clayton, W. Collard, Barry Crush, Bryan Crush, G. Dampier, R. Eades, Fenn, B. Gray, D. Grinsted, L. Harris, B. Harrison, C. Henry, V. Horn, B. Howard, Rev. W. Kemp, J. Le Prevost, W. Moore, J. Morecroft, W. Newman, O’Gorman, M. Sayers, M. Sharp, J. Simmonds, P. Slater, T. Sutton, A. Swatter, A. Tolputt, G. Tuthill, Watson, L. Watt, A. Webber, S. Wenborn, R. Winter.
Present members of staff: A. Boynton, B. Denham, Mrs. Golding, N. Slater and M. H. Smith.
Past members of staff: A. E. Coulson, F. L. Kendall, K. H. Ruffell and T. E. Walker.
Fifty ladies were present at the dinner. The total company numbered 112.
Christmas Social for School Leavers
On Friday, 19th December, in the Pavilion at Crabble, Colin Henry and Maurice Sayers again played host to school-leavers, all now members of the Association. Food and drinks were conducive to conviviality among the twenty-five who came along.
The May Ball
This is probably the next social occasion. The third Saturday in May is the usual date and a good number of Old Pharosians are always among the two hundred present. Write or phone school for details.
Other dates for the diary:
Next committee meeting, 5th March, 7.30 p.m. Rugby Match, School v. Old Boys, 18th March, 4.15 p.m.
Cricket Match, School v. Old Boys, 11th July, 2 p.m.; Old Boys’ day and Soccer Match, 19th September, details to follow in July Newsletter.
Please write to the Editor if you would like to play in any of the matches.
FIFTY YEARS ON
A few octogenarian O.Ps. can recall the opening of the Frith Road School during the 1914-18 War, after which it was not long before the far-seeing Mr. Whitehouse knew that a larger building would be necessary.
With the assistance of that generous friend of the School, Mr. Hugh Leney, a site was purchased fronting the newly constructed Astor Avenue and extending to the top of Whinless Down. During the late 1920s and in 1930 much time and thought was devoted by the Staff to the lay-out and the equipment needed, for we were to have two Physics Labs (Mr. Pearce), two Chemistry Labs (Mr. Constable), Geography Room (Mr.
Darby), Art Room (Mr. Francis), Metal and Woodwork Shops (Mr. Hazelden), Library (Mr. Uncles), a modern Stage in the Great Hall (Mr. Watt), Gymnasium (Mr. Pascall) and a Prefects’ Room. On 6th March, 1924 the School marched to Astor Avenue for the cutting of the first sod by the Chairman of the Govenors, Canon Elnor. The School (built by Claysons of Lyminge) was to be erected on the topmost level and to be a building to rival the ancient Castle on the opposite hill.
On 17th September, 1931 the Autumn Term began in the new School. For some, including H. C. Newman, R. J. Unstead, L. H. R. Abbott, H. C. Blackford, A. D. Dewar, G. E. Fox, F. G. West-Oram, W. M. E. White, F. J. Rhodes, E. W. Hampshire and R. G. Borthwick, it was to be their last year at School, whilst for othersA. W. Blackman, K. A. Newing, E. C. Mantleit was their first. The term continued with little change in normal school life but all the while Mr. Whitehouse was planning the official opening. With the assistance of Major J. J. Astor, M.P., it was announced that the great day was to be 9th December, 1931 and that H.R.H. Prince George was to open the School, preceded by a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Mary’s Church conducted by the Bishop of Dover. Invitations and programmes were printed. Caterers were engaged to provide a suitable luncheon in the School Dining-room (F. W. would not consider a move to one of the Town’s Hotels, even for Royalty). The number at the luncheon was limited to 70, which included all members of the Staff (alas only Mr. Coulson and Mr. Kendall are still with us).
The day was bright and sunny. After the Church Service the School walked to the Upper Playing-field where the Cadet Corps formed a Guard of Honour for the arrival of H.R.H. who opened the door at the foot of the Tower with a gold key. The Prince was then taken on a conducted tour of the School by the Headmaster before luncheon was served. After lunch an invited company gathered in the Hall for the official Opening and the unveiling of the Plaque.
If we realise that the financial stringency was far more severe in 1931 than it is in 1981, then it may be possible for even the young to appreciate the tremendous achievement of Mr. Whitehouse in securing for many generations of boys the premises we know and love so well and understand why many thought it should have been named “The Whitehouse School”.
On the 14th November, 1931 the Old Pharosians held their Annual Dinner in the new Dining-room. How fitting it would be if we made the Dinner to be held on September, 1981 a “GOLDEN” occasion.
NEWS OF THE SCHOOL
The Summer Miscellany, Wednesday, 23rd July, 1980, at 7 p.m.
This most pleasant evening at the end of each summer term could be an enjoyable meeting opportunity for Old Pharosians. The variety and quality of the music continue to astonish while the dramatic performances are rich in ideas.
There is wine on the quad in the interval and a chance to talk to friends and enjoy the view over the town, harbour and Channel. Headmaster seems able to provide suitable weather for a Midsummer Night on which to dream of pleasures past and present.
On Saturday, 25th October, I was again so fortunate as to hear the school choir sing Evensong in Canterbury Cathedral. To be asked to sing there once is honour indeed: to be asked a second time is recognition added to honour.
The boy, Roland Roberstson, now an Old Pharosian, who has a choral scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge, played the organ. The school’s master of music had his boys in the Cathedral practising from 11 a.m.
I think the choir may well be asked again. They double the normal congregation by the addition of old boys and proud parents. I walk about the Cathedral afterwards proud to belong, or pretend to belong, to a school that can achieve so much so well.
GUEST EVENINGFriday, 7th November, 1980
The National Anthem became a three horse race between organist in the loft, parents and guests in the main body of the hall and choir on the stage. The participants started at different times and set off at their own pace, the conductor being invisible to the majority. Somehow a close finish was contrived and all enjoyed the event before settling down to the rest of the evening which was fully up to, or above, the familiar high standards.
The school’s most accomplished instrumentalists were first class: the orchestra and choir gave disciplined performance, the jazz group gave pleasure to the public.
The Headmaster’s Report is deliberately not a list of successes. He referred, in passing, to an 80% success rate at A level and to Robertson’s choral scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge, to achievements in drama and games and a wide range of expeditions and out-of-school enterprises.
Apparently the State is at this time not sure that all is well with education and schools are required to report that their conduct is good. The Head, claiming monastic inspiration, recommended increased involvement by governors and by parents who should encourage their sons both at home and at school. Headmaster paid due tribute to the profound influence of Reg Payne who had retired during the past year.
The prize list included many sons of Old Boys. A close correlation could be seen between prize-winners and leading musicians, which is worth thinking about. The Old Boys’ tie is now worn by prefects who were much in evidence throughout the evening. The O.P. Association provides two of the prizes and on this occasion also provided the Guest Speaker, Sir Robin Haydon.
Sir Robin ably and disarmingly referred to his own disinclination to be a public speaker. He delved into his “joke bank” and his memories of the school forty years ago. He had enjoyed himself at school and maintained his association because he was proud to belong, then and now, as the school strove for high standards.
Lady Haydon presented the prizes and had a word for each recipient as he crossed the stage. Everyone must feel pleased that a distinguished Old Pharosian and his lady should be at the centre of the school’s Guest Evening.
THE CHRISTMAS SERVICE OF CAROLS
This was, as ever, an occasion of boundless pleasure. The choir is magnificently disciplined and there always seem to be fresh treble solo voices to turn the heart over. Behind these young initiates are the tenors and the basses, now so rich in experience and confidence. I thought the young boys’ voices tired towards the end but they rose to magnificent descants in the final familiar hymns. One who certainly did not tire was the conductor, the choir master, the man behind the magic of Christmas music.
A MIXED BAG OF NEWS ITEMS FROM SCHOOL
W. Newman is to go to London Hospital for medical training.
The School has given money and in other ways associated itself with the Kent Hospice project.
5th Form boys have participated in “work experience” which, in some cases, meant reporting at 7 a.m.
Last summer the Army Cadets camped with the Royal Horse Guards at Windsor.
A. P. Vine has gained a flying scholarship which will give him 20 hours of solo flying.
Tim Davies is goalkeeper for Kent U 19 Schools XI, and Tim Dixon played for the Kent U 16 XI. He is an apprentice with Southampton and two other boys are on the books of Gillingham F.C.
W. Dent plays the classical guitar so well that he is accepted for instruction at the Royal Academy of Music.
The school choir next term is to sing Evensong in Rochester Cathedral and will go to the B. B.C. in London to make a recording for the competition called “Let the people sing”.
In July Chris Penn played in several representative cricket matches and played at Lord’s for M.C.C. Schools against the National Association of Young Cricketers XI. Kent K.C.C. have their eye on him.
Jonathan Wright, splendid violinist, has a place at Lady Margaret Hall to read Zoology.
Mervyn Cooke has won a music scholarship at King’s College, Cambridge.
NEWS OF OLD BOYS
Rev. Arthur BINKS (1922-31) was ordained into the Methodist ministry, went to India and became a priest in the Church of South India. He now lives at 88 Cranleigh Drive, Whitfield, where he helps John Philpott, the parish Vicar and an Old Pharosian.
H. H. MADAMS (1922-30) has published a book of verse called ‘Dark Encounter’, mainly about King Arthur and the West Country.
J. M. SAUNDERS (1922-28) was in England this year visiting from Australia after retirement.
Ian WATT (1924-35) was in England, on holiday from the U.S.A. in the autumn and was in Poland when recent troubles began.
Brigadier W. M. E. WHITE (1924-32) was noted in The Sun newspaper when, on his 67th birthday, he played with some success in two cricket matches.
With sympathy for those who mourn, we record the deaths of the following Old Pharosians.
Commander Alexander HENNEY, O.B.E., Freeman of the City of London and at some time Master of the Company of Master Mariners.
W. S. LOVELY, B.Sc.(Eng.), a consulting engineer and founder of the firm of Lovely and Orchard.
Peter A. McPHERSON, Deputy Education Officer at Dover Borstal, died in September while working in his garden at Dymchurch.
George Douglas MAGUB died in October. He was formerly a member of the Indian Civil Service and latterly a violinist with several national orchestras.
H. C. B. SENTON died in July in Northern Ireland. He was a distinguished games player at school and at Cambridge where he hurdled alongside Lord Burghley.
Fred SHEPPARD died suddenly in September in Christchurch, New Zealand. He very recently wrote to ask how he could obtain Old Pharosian tie and badge.
Eric David HOSKINS died at Whitfield and the funeral service was conducted by the Rev. J. W. Philpott, Vicar of Whitfield and an Old Pharosian.
It is no pleasure for us to spin our web across the tombstones. But the school is now of an age when some of its earliest sons come to the end of their lives. Time is short, let us put it to good use, for in life there is only one certainty.
Derek BEER (1953-61) is Head of Geography in a Swindon comprehensive school. He still plays cricket and is teaching his son to play. Perhaps his son will send the stumps cart-wheeling as Derek did in his Dover days.
Michael BODIAM (1944-49), master of the cross-channel ferry Caesarea when she made her last crossing in October, had on board Gordon HART (1934-39) and the electrical officer was Aubrey CHAPMAN (1931-36).
David CORNELIUS (1947-53) is in the Forestry Commission of Malawi and was presented with the award of an M.B.E. when the Queen was on her last tour in that country.
Roger CUFF’s continued exploits for the Dover Rowing Club are reported regularly in the Dover Express.
William FITTALL (1955-61) is at present on a year’s course, arranged by the Home Office, at an Administration College in Paris where he and his wife have a pleasant flat.
David GUNN (1942-53) is Chairman of the Board at H.M. Borstal, Dover.
David HADLEY (1957-60) teaches in Dover at St. Mary’s School where he does a great deal for the young people’s musical development. David is also active in the Operatic Society.
Alan J. McCAIG (1950-59), an outstanding games player in his school days, was in Dover this summer on holiday with his family from Toronto where he had met Christopher Mackie (1951-59) who lives with his wife and three children near Toronto. He is a manager in the Energy Supply Authority.
D. R. E. PHILPOTT lives at Newport, Mon., and is Deputy Head of a Comprehensive School likely to merge with a neighbouring girls Comprehensive School owing to falling numbers on the school role.
Brian ROBB (1943-48) recently gained a Fellowship of the Institute of Factory Management. He writes poetry and short stories and has given readings this summer in London and Bristol. He claims that his handwriting is still as bad as when at school.
Keith SHINFIELD works for the Esso Petroleum Company and is responsible for the company’s operations at Heathrow.
John SIMMONDS (1939-45), architect, lives at Worthing and came to this year’s dinner. His brother David (1942-50) is still a pilot with British Airways where there are “too many captains”. The youngest brother, Peter (1947-52) is at London Airport working for T.W.A. in their cargo operations.
Peter SMITHEN, a training officer and superintendent of the Institute of London Underwriters in Folkestone, has been appointed a Dover and East Kent magistrate.
Alan SWAFFER (1943-46) a member of the Institute of Foundrymen, left Dover Engineering Works six years ago to open the Gateway Foundry in the caves below the cliff face behind Snargate Street where he has two furnaces. At present he is busy making five Victorian-style street lamp bases for Thanet Council. Much ingenuity was needed in making moulds for the intricate dolphin designs. Alan Swaffer was of tremendous help in making the plaque, now in the school hall, in memory of Mr. J. C. Booth.
Peter BENNETT (1970-77), a former clerical officer in Customs and Excise, is now a reporter for the Dover Express. He recently gained the Journalist of the Year award at Highbury College of Technology, Portsmouth.
Roger CORK (1957-63) is Port Health Officer at Newhaven.
John COX (1953-61) lives at Chesnut Grove, Hurstpierpoint, Sussex and may be returning to the Dover area.
Neil ELLIS (1960-70) teaches geography at Brighton Sixth Form College, Dyke Road, Hove.
Brian GRAVES, Ph.D. (1948-56) works with S.T.C. in Harlow and lives in Dunmow.
M. J. GRIEVES manages the M.A.T. Transport office in Dover. He has on his staff two other O.Ps., I. BOTTLE (1971-78) and D. BOWLEY (1961-67).
Terry LACEY (1957-63), a bureaucrat in the E.E.C. offices at Brussels, spoke on B.B.C’s. Nationwide programme on 22nd September about the frustrations and life-styles of higher administrators with very little to do.
David LANGLEY (1957-63) is in January taking a post as lecturer in Immunology in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Surrey. He is active in the Medical branch of the Royal Naval Reserve.
John LODGE (1958-65) holds a degree in Engineering from Nottingham University and is employed by the Central Electricity Generating Board.
J. E. MITCHINSON (1961-68) has been very actively raising funds for the Kent Hospice project.
John MUNDY (1947-53) is sub-manager in charge of the National Westminster Bank at Yately, Camberley, Surrey.
Martin LINSLEY lives in Fremantle, Western Australia and is a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Navy. He does a lot of sailing and his work includes teaching’ A’ level geography. He is giving a lot of help to the Smithen brothers when they arrive to sail in world championships.
Christopher SANDERS (1958-65) is a computer specialist.
Roy SKELTON (1964-70) is a Purser on the cross-channel ferry service. His father, W. SKELTON (1941-47) has for many years given valuable service to education in the Dover Divisional Education Office.
Derek TOWE (1964-72) had a good game at Crabble, playing as outside half for a Kent XV against a team from North France.
Keith THOMASSON (1969-74) was prominent among the forwards.
Peter WHEELER (1963-71) organist and choirmaster at Ashford parish church, conducted his school choir in a concert of church music at St. Mary’s, Dover in October.
Richard HOSKINS has a B.Sc. degree in Hotel and Catering administration and his brother Eric is in the Ordnance Survey, engaged in their computer operations.
Derek ASLETT (1969-76), on the staff of the Kent County Cricket Club, is wintering in Perth, Western Australia where he plays grade cricket and helps Test player Norman O’Neill at a coaching establishment. The equipment includes a bowling machine that can project a ball at 100 m.p.h.
Nick BLOOR (1967-73) is a building estimator living at Petersfield, Hants, where he coaches young cricketers. His bowling at school, fast left-arm over the wicket, will long be remembered.
Nick BRAMWELL (1973-80) was a goal-scoring centre-forward in his last season at school when he played for Kent U 19 Schoolboys. He now works in a bank at Canterbury and is having great success for Snowdown R.F.C. and has played for Kent Colts and gone for a trial with London Counties.
Michael HICKS has moved on from Queen Mary College and is training to be an accountant.
Kevin KING (1970-77) is with other Old Pharosians in the National Westminster Bank, Dover and plays soccer for the Nat.-Westminster S.E. Region XI.
Simon MARPLES (1972-79) is taking a three year degree course in the performing arts at Nonington College.
S. L. QUIRK (1969-77) has obtained his H.N.D. at Leicester Polytechnic to qualify as a buildings surveyor.
Michael ROBBINS has his name regularly in reports of the Dover R.F.C. When a team photo appeared in the press it included M. Robbins, Graham Best, Bryan Burr, Simon Jones and a D.G.B.S. schoolmaster, Julian Davis.
ANDREAS WRIGHT (1974-80) has got into the Kent Police. His height is 5 ft. 7% ins., but seven ‘0 levels compensated for the missing half-inch.
Michael ASHBY (1970-77) 1st class Hons. in Chemistry at Exeter and proceeding to Imperial College, London to work for a Ph.D.
D. W. CRIPPS (1970-77) 2nd class degree in Geology at Hull.
Nigel HOPKINSON (1969-76) 2nd class degree in Business Studies at Bradford.
Gary HOWARD (1970-77) Upper 2nd class degree in Computer Studies at Imperial College, London.
Ian HOWARD (1967-74) gained his M.B.Ch.B. at Bradford, has married a lady with the identical professional qualifications, and they will both work in Plymouth hospitals for the next three years.
John JACKSON obtained an upper 2nd class degree in Geophysics at Exeter and intends to go on field-research in East Anglia.
Stephen MADGE (1968-76) obtained a 2nd class degree in Geography at Oxford and now teaches that subject in Woking. He is, in addition, Director of School music.
Robert PETERS has a 2nd class degree in Geography from Nottingham and is now at Goldsmith’s College in London doing an educational year.
Roland ROBERTSON has recently left school with an A.R.C.O. and a choral scholarship “to King’s College, Cambridge.
Julian SAMPSON (1970-77) was awarded a 1st class degree in Geography at Queen Mary College, London, in addition to a prize for the best third year student and another prize for the best dissertation. He is now studying at Wye College.
Andrew SIMS, 1st class Honours degree in Geology at Oxford. He was awarded the prize for the best student of his year and is now in Glasgow and on the oil rigs working for B.N.O.C.
Philip STONE (1970-77) 2nd class B.A. in Physics at York.
Nick SMITHEN (1969-76) obtained a 1st class degree in Engineering Science and Technology at Loughborough. He and his younger brother Tony are flying to Western Australia to compete for Britain in ” sailing championships.
David THOMAS (1970-77), Upper 2nd degree in Geography at Oxford and a prize for the best dissertation. He is back at Oxford for an education year.
There will undoubtedly be other successes of which I have not heard. The editor apologises for omissions and would always be glad to hear from Old Pharosians to learn of progress in the academic field, in work or play.
FROM FARAWAY PLACES
One of the fascinations of editing this Newsletterand I hope reading itis learning of the immense variety of places people go to and the work and play they get up to.
So I wrote to half-a-dozen Old Pharosians in contrasting parts of the world, and I have received replies from which I am generously allowed to quote.
I hope the writers will accept this expression of my thanks for homework well done and presented at the due time.
David Wellard has a managerial post with Pfizer International in New York City, having started in Sandwich, Kent, and latterly spent some years in Hong Kong. Business travel has recently taken him to Brazil and Korea, and a cricket tour took him to the West Indies. Now in his forties David goes along with the craze for running, there being sometimes a thousand competitors with ambitions to beat their own previous times or at least do better than Jimmy Carter.
Ian Watt, on the Pacific coast of the U.S.A., is Professor of English at Stanford University, California and he expects to go on teaching until he is seventy “partly because, like my father, I enjoy teaching”. He transferred there from East Anglia and “there aren’t many places more different than Norwich and California. We live in a rambling wooden house in a redwood forest where we’ve had to build an eight-foot fence to keep the deer from eating our flowers and vegetables.
“On the Stanford campus students of both sexes whiz about on bicycles or roller-skates or even skateboards to get to lecture rooms.
“Dover is very far away, but it doesn’t seem so in my memories.” Bill Ratcliffe writes from the Place Vendôme, Paris where he has various administrative duties with International Westminster Bank.
“Paris is from anyone’s point of view a very beautiful city and life in this place is always a pleasure. One can find in France good food, sea, sun, sand, snow, countryside, rivers and mountains all the year round given a general willingness to explore and self-educate.
“Overall, life in this place is as good as anywhere in the world and compares more than favourably with London and Tokyo.”
Colin Paddock, F.R.G.S., writes from the Emirate, Al Jouf, Saudi Arabia.
“I am adviser to an Emir who is uncle to the King and who rules the north part of Saudi Arabia. This area is mainly desert, with its scattered oases, and is distant from the oil wells and centres of population and modernisation to the south. The result is that the people here are mainly Bedouin who move with their vast flocks of camels, sheep and goats from one grazing area to another, living a life not far removed from that of Abraham and his tribes three to four thousand years ago.
“Of course there are now four-wheel drive vehicles and calor gas to help sweeten their existence but they still dwell in the black goat-skin tents and their basic diet remains dates, camels’ milk and sheep’s and goats’ meat.
“This area might be called T. E. Lawrence country and from time to time I still meet Arabs named Aurens after him. He used the desert hereabouts as a base for his famous raids on the Damascus-Medina railway and to this day the wrecks of locomotives lie on their side beside twisted rails glistening in the hot sun.
Nothing rusts in the desert. British stock is still high here and the ‘Inglis’ are remembered as the victors in two world wars in the Middle East and are currently respected as producers of such excellent vehicles as the Range Rover and Rolls Royce, while London is known as the home of what is generally accepted as the best overseas radio service in the world. High-ups all over this part of the East regularly listen to the B. B.C. to keep up to date with its unbiased and accurate news reports and commentaries. Large numbers of Arabs from princes to shepherd boys follow the ups and downs of their favourite English football clubs. No local can believe that I have never seen a professional football match. The Arab head-dress, the Wuttrah, is made in England, as are countless household goods and clothes. The Middle East is an important market for Britain.
“Saudi Arabia is a Theocracy and law is still based on the Koran with amputations for theft, public floggings and public executions, with a strict ban on alcoholic drinks and the mixing of sexes in public. It is undoubtedly a strain for the average European to adjust his way of life on arrival but there are considerable compensations in the way of interest, in living with an ancient people whose blood is undiluted over thousands of years and where the Old Testament (as recorded in the Koran) provides the basis of history in schools.
“One could say a lot more of course, including the fact, little known to most Christians, that Jesus is well documented in the Koran and his name in Arabic, Isse, is a popular name in the Middle East. The Virgin Mary receives more mentions in the Koran than in the Bible. There is a lot of ignorance in the West about Islam.”
Chris Wilson is a pilot with Quantas Airways Ltd. and he writes:
“Your letter has been burning a hole in my brief-case. I took it with me to Tokyo, London and now Athens and Rome.
“I fly Boeing 747 Jumbos on international routes and have been with Quantas for fourteen years and am now based in Sydney, New South Wales. Within a short time my flying goes from the tropical lushness of Fiji and Honolulu to the gritty, searing heat of Bahrain, or the freezing, foggy dampness of London and Frankfurt.
“All these sudden changes of climate and location do make the job very demanding. Not only do you have to cope with the continually changing technical aspects of the profession, but also the physical side of it is quite tough. Jet-lag, long tours of duty, broken sleep-patterns all take their toll. I can say for certain that being an International Jet-Pilot might be interesting and well paid but glamorous it is not!!
“Life in my part of Australia is very pleasant. I live on a 7½ % acre property about sixty miles north of Sydney. I am about half way between Sydney and Newcastle. The property has a delightful old-colonial farmhouse which has been modernised. We are only eight minutes drive to the beaches which are considered to be some of the best surfing beaches in Australia. I have not taken up surf-boarding but I’m a dab hand at body-surfing.
“I am afraid, with all due respect, I would not swap it for damp, dark Dover. Although I make frequent visits to England and Dover and Deal in particular, I am always glad to get back to Australia.
“Although living miles away from Dover and the school, I still keep in very close contact with another Old Boy, John Woodcock. His two sons are at present attending the school so with news from them, plus the Newsletter, I manage to keep fairly well in touch. Unfortunately, in fourteen years I have only been able to arrange my flights to attend one Old Boys’ function. I hope to improve on that in the not too distant future.”
A final editorial word must be one of thanks to all who contributed to this Newsletter and to Denis Weaver and his staff at Buckland Press who have so speedily and efficiently put the material into shape.
DOVER GRAMMAR SCHOOL FOR BOYS
Astor Avenue DOVER Kent.
Dear Old Pharosian,
50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE OPENING
OF THE PRESENT SCHOOL BUILDINGS
BY H.R.H. PRINCE GEORGE, THE
DUKE OF KENT.
The School is very grateful to Old Pharosians who responded to earlier invitations to take part in the anniversary celebrations next December.
In the past few days our plans have moved so fast that I must write again to all subscribing Old Pharosians and ask everyone to review previous reactions. I cannot say how deeply and sincerely I hope many of you will be able to come.
The present Duke of Kent is honouring the School by visiting us fifty years to the day after his father opened the present buildings. So the date is now WEDNESDAY 9th December instead of Friday 11th.
The Duke will attend the Service of Rededication in St. Mary’s Church at 11.30 a.m. This service will be attended by school and Old Pharosians and their ladies. The Duke will lunch at school; and Old Pharosians and their ladies are again warmly invited to lunch.
At 2.15 p.m. the Duke will plant a tree and this ceremony will be attended by School, Parents and Old Pharosians.
By extreme good fortune all our arrangements for the Town Hall dinner and dance have been transferred from Friday 11th to Wednesday 9th.
I am sure you will understand the reasons for alteration of date and amendment of our plans. I hope you will again let me know of your intention to take part in the day’s events.
R C Colman