OPA Newsletter July 2004

OLD PHAROSIANS' ASSOCIATION

NEWSLETTER

New Series No. 86

July 2004

FRONT COVER PICTURE:

Mrs Sally Lees, who has been appointed as the school's new Head Teacher.

LIST OF CONTENTS

NEWS OF THE ASSOCIATION

  • Officers and Committee Members
  • Annual Meeting, Football Match and Dinner 2004
  • President's Message
  • Archivist's Corner
  • Can Anyone Help?

NEWS OF THE SCHOOL

  • A Message from our new Head Teacher
  • Comings and Goings
  • "Focus"

NEWS OF OLD BOYS

  • Obituaries
  • Members still Living and Learning

NEWS OF THE ASSOCIATION
OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE 2003-2004

PRESIDENT: Ian Pascall
"Karibu" 45A Bewsbury Cross Lane
Whitfield, Dover CT16 3EZ
01304 821187
e-mail: Ian.Pascall@mfw.co.uk

VICE-PRESIDENT: David Elleray

PAST PRESIDENT: Roger Gabriel
229 St Richard's Road
Deal CT14 9LF
01304 366110
e-mail: RogGabriel@aol.com

SECRETARY: Philip Harding
6 Chestnut Road, Elms Vale
Dover CT17 9PY
01304 205007
e-mail: phil@ksfa.freeserve.co.uk

ASSISTANT SECRETARY: Graham Tutthill

TREASURER: Neil Beverton
6 Riverdale
River
Dover CT17 0QY
01304 820628

MEMBERSHIP
SECRETARY: Roger Gabriel

NEWSLETTER EDITORS:

Terry Sutton MBE
17 Bewsbury Cross Lane,
Whitfield, Dover CT16 3HB
01304 820122
e-mail: terry.sutton@route56.co.uk
and
Graham Tutthill
21 Orchard Drive, River, Dover
CT17 OND
01304 822121
e-mail: graham@tutthill.freeserve.co.uk

ARCHIVIST: Peter Burville
Seagate, Goodwin Road
St. Margaret's Bay, Dover CT15 6ED
01304 853267
e-mail: pj.burville@btinternet.com

COMMITTEE: Mike Palmer (to retire 2004)
Barry Crush (to retire 2004)
Rev John Philpott (to retire 2005)
Reg Colman OBE (to retire 2005)
Maurice Smith (to retire 2006)

AUDITOR: John Sheather

HEAD TEACHER: Julia Bell

STAFF REPRESENTATIVES:

Malcolm Grant
Francoise Lloyd

HEAD PREFECT: Ed Close

INTERNET ADDRESS: http://dovergrammar.co.uk

E-MAIL ADDRESS: pharos@dovergrammar.co.uk

ANNUAL MEETING AND DINNER 2004

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of the Old Pharosians' Association will be held on Saturday 2 October 2004, at the Dover Grammar School for Boys, commencing at 11.00 a.m.

Agenda

  1. To read the notice convening the meeting

  2. Apologies for absence

  3. Minutes of the previous AGM

  4. Matters arising

  5. Treasurer's Report

  6. Election of Officers and Committee

    • President (Committee's nomination: D R Elleray)
    • Vice-President
    • Secretary (currently P J Harding)
    • Assistant Secretary (G Tutthill)
    • Treasurer (N Beverton)
    • Membership Secretary (R Gabriel)
    • Newsletter Editors (T Sutton and G Tutthill)Archivist (P Burville)
    • Auditor (J Sheather)
    • Committee Members (retiring members M Palmer and B Crush)
  7. Any Other Business

Philip Harding (Hon Secretary)

Football Match

The annual football match between the Old Pharosians and the School's 1st XI will take place in the afternoon, kick-off at 2.30 p.m.

The Dinner

Many are regulars at this dinner, attending every year or perhaps every other year. The dinner is served in the Great Hall and the venue seems popular and appropriate because for many it feels like returning "home". Attendance in recent times has been about 80. We can accommodate 150. Some members telephone friends and contemporaries and come as a party, perhaps 12 strong. Perhaps you would organise a party?

The full details of the menu etc. are shown on the separate application form. The five-course meal is of good quality; a starter, fish course, main course, dessert, cheese and biscuits, coffee and mints.

There is the opportunity for conversation over a glass of sherry before the meal and, of course, afterwards.

We normally have an address by the new President and a toast to the school is drunk. The Head Teacher responds to the toast and we hope Mrs. Sally Lees, the newly appointed Head, will be with us.

We conclude the formalities with the singing of Forty Years On and this year we must be sure to get it right as our President is a housemaster at Harrow School from which we "borrow" our school song! Many Old Pharosians will know David Elleray as a national and international football referee.

I hope, therefore, we shall have a large attendance at the dinner this year; it promises to be a memorable occasion. Do organise the date in your diary now as 2 October is a long way off.

My kindest regards to those who remember me.

Maurice Smith

(Editor: Maurice has kindly organised the annual dinner for us very successfully for years. We appreciate his dedication.)

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

How time flies. Seems like only a few weeks ago that I wrote my report for the last Newsletter. Since then, your Association's committee has met twice and a number of issues have arisen about which I have been asked to write.

The Association is working with the Governors to ensure that the School's centenary is appropriately celebrated in 2005. If any member has an idea for the celebration or, indeed, wishes to get involved in the decision making process or organising, then please let me know.

There is currently a vacancy on the Committee. The Committee only meets three times a year and so it is really not an onerous position. I would be delighted to hear from any members who would be interested in contributing to the work of the Association by sitting on the Committee, please.

In my previous report I had hoped to be able to advise members that we had sufficient funds to enable the "Turnpenny Clock" to proceed. Regrettably that is not yet the case. It is estimated that we still need about £2,000 to cover the professional fees that are being incurred in respect of structural surveys, supervision of the project, etc. I am asking, therefore, for further donations, please, so that the clock can be in place in time for the centenary celebrations. If, in addition, you are able to Gift Aid your donation then we will be able to top up your donation by 28 pence in the pound from the Government. The treasurer, Neil Beverton, has the necessary forms.

A development since the last Newsletter is the announcement that the School will have a new Head Teacher in September. May I take this opportunity to wish Julia Bell every success in the future and welcome (a little prematurely, perhaps) Sally Lees, to whom I offer the Association's help and support.

In finishing, I thank the members for allowing me the honour of being President of the Association. A year is not a long time to be in such a position and it can make it difficult to complete a particular project. This raises the question, should the President hold office for two years instead? The Committee recently discussed this idea and it will be raised at the AGM in October. Watch this space!!

I hope that 2004 has been kind to you.

Ian Pascall, President

ARCHIVIST'S CORNER

Greetings!

Whilst there has been no information on the post-war career of Ernest William Geoffrey Coombs (1908-1912), whose connections with fellow Old Pharosian Lilian Valentine Vass (1905-1912, subsequently Mrs Turnpenny), featured in the last Archivist's Corner, it has been possible to find out more about his pre-school life. The Public Record Office on-line 1901 census transcription has revealed that Geoffrey, as he liked to be known, was born in Walmer. He was the son of Frederick, a Sergeant in the Royal Marines, and Alice, a British Subject born in France. From the birthplaces of his father and siblings, it is clear Geoffrey was not a "local lad" which may explain, to some extent, why we have no more information about him in the archives.

A letter from Ted Baker (1922-1938) told of the sad news about the death of Leslie Taylor (1924-1930). The letter raised an interesting question for the archives, as we seemed to have two Leslie (James?) Taylors but only the one pupil-card in the School office records. The card had two sets of dates for Leslie being at the School, 1917-1922 and 1924-1930, with the latter dates crossed out. The earlier Leslie, who was on the arts side at school, went into the Church whilst Ted's acquaintance was on the science side and became an engineer. If anyone has further information on either of the Leslies I would be pleased to know of it. Ted mentioned that the Reverend had two brothers at the School, both in Maxton House.

Regarding himself, Ted said he had been in his present quarters, at Alphington Exeter, for 14 months and was doing quite well for a 93-year-old but had some hearing problems and had recently suffered a fall. The visits by his second cousin Bill Collard (1941-1947) are obviously greatly enjoyed by Ted.

The Archivist's Corner of two years ago recorded an enquiry by Mr. Bryan K. Steele about a painting, "The Plough", by Herbert Thomas Dicksee R. E. (1862-1942) which hung in the School in 1931. So far no information has come to light about the painting but on another question raised, at the same time, about the seascape artist G. C. Newton there has been progress. He was, in fact, G. E. Newton who painted seascapes, in the Dover area and elsewhere, for the Raphael Tuck postcard firm.

Just to remind you, copies of the Richard Bolton (1948-55) cartoons, of twelve of the staff who taught him, are still available. Copies of each cartoon are offered both in the original form, complete with dart-holes and the such, and also in a cleaned-up version. The first purchase option is the complete set of 24 (2x12) on a CD (jpeg format) at £15. The second option is a set of 12 A4 sheets with the two versions for each teacher on a sheet, also for £15. Finally a set of 24 A4 sheets with each of the images on its own sheet, costing £20, is on offer. Orders, with cheques payable to The Old Pharosians' Association, can be sent to me.

Also still available are copies of the School on the Hill video, which was made in 1965. They can be obtained from the School Office (price £9 plus £1 p&p). A copy of the associated running-sheet, which provides a written description of the video on which names of those featured have been recorded, is available from me (SAE much appreciated). There are many boys for whom names are still required and, perhaps inevitably, different names have been suggested for some of the boys!

Following my appeal a year ago, Mrs Ruffell kindly sent a copy of Newsletter 62 (July 1992). Mike Sharp (1950-1955) kindly loaned us his Pharos Magazines and other School-related material for copies to be made of items not previously held in the archives.

Sometimes, when at the School working at the archives, your archive team is fortunate enough to have OP visitors. Amongst the visitors last year was an old BT work colleague Eric Castle (1934-1941) and Alistair Gardiner (1951-1957 as pupil and 1992-1999 as teacher). Normally such visits, after reminiscences about the "old days", end up with the School photograph of their period being the subject of a naming exercise. We are always pleased to see any OPs who would like to pay us a visit at the School – advanced warning would be much appreciated.

I will close with the hope that you also enjoying the lovely sunny days that we are experiencing here in Dover and we have another marvellous summer to come.

Peter Burville (1946-51)

CAN ANYONE HELP?

1. The granddaughter of W.E. PEARCE (WEP) is looking for information. An item appears under Ken Lott's name in the "Still Living and Learning" section later in this newsletter. Please make sure you read it.

2. And can anyone help Angela Ingles, who is the niece of Nigel Witts? Angela writes to ask if anyone who attended the school back in the 1930s remembers her late uncle, Nigel Forster Witts who was in Buckland, and also mentioned in Pharos editions between 1935 and 1937. His date of birth was 31 January 1920. "I am compiling a family history, and would love to know where he is in this lovely school photo of Dover Grammar School 1936. I sadly never knew him, so haven't a clue what he looked like!!

"I notice in the photograph, that the boys seem to be wearing different colour blazers - mostly dark, but some look beige and tweedy. Do you know the reason for this - Was it to denote the 'house' they belonged to at the school?"

Sometime during his life, Nigel suffered from schizophrenia, and was therefore institutionalised. "In those days, anything like that was 'hushed-up by the families', and so Nigel's very existence was totally hidden." Quite by chance, all these years later, Angela found out about him and so she endeavoured to unravel this mystery. "I started by ploughing through the 1837 census on-line and found that he died at St. Augustine's, Canterbury.

"As a school-boy, Nigel attended Dover Boys' Grammar, and because he is mentioned in both entries in the 1935/1937 Pharos, I know that he must be on the school photo which you have posted on the web-site, taken in 1936. It is my dearest wish to discover just what he looked like, so I am hoping somebody will be able to put a name to a face on that photo!"

"His parents (my Granny and Grandpa (Bank Manager) lived in Dover during Nigel's school days. Nigel's first job when leaving school was apparently at an estate agency in Dover, but this is unconfirmed."

3. And one more appeal – Dover historian Paul Wells has acquired a medal which has the town badge and motto on one side, and "County School for Boys Dover. Senior TCB" on the other. Does anyone know what it is?

If anyone can help, please contact Graham Tutthill.

NEWS OF THE SCHOOL

A message from our new head teacher,
Mrs Sally Lees

I am delighted to have been appointed to the headship of Dover Grammar School for Boys. I feel privileged to be given the opportunity to lead the school into the next phase of its development.

My main purpose will be to work with the staff, Governors, parents and students past and present, to provide a school in which our students are offered every opportunity to develop their full academic potential, and to nurture their skills and abilities to enable them to take their place in 21st century society. They will face many challenges and opportunities, and it is our job to prepare them to meet these with skill, enthusiasm and confidence.

As a child, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher, and when I discovered a love of mathematics during my teenage years, I knew that maths teaching was my vocation. I studied mathematics at Oxford University, but at the same time developed my passion for music. I play the piano and viola, and have always enjoyed playing in chamber music ensembles. I began my career at Maidstone Grammar School in 1979. After returning to teaching following a break to raise my family, I returned to MGS and have undertaken a number of leadership and management roles at the school, culminating in my appointment to the Deputy Headship of the School in September 2000.

In July 2003 I gained the National Professional Qualification for Headship, and am now delighted to be taking up the Headship of Dover Grammar School for Boys.

I have continued to indulge my enthusiasm for music, and play regularly in the Beresford Ensemble, a string quartet which performs in concerts around Kent. Our most recent performance was actually in Dover – at Dover College in February. Lunchtime piano recitals have been a regular feature of my contribution to music at Maidstone Grammar School.

I have three daughters. The eldest two are away at University: Sarah is studying Graphic Design in Kingston, and Emma is studying Maths and Philosophy in Sheffield. My youngest daughter Becky is just about to take her GCSEs, and will then be transferring to Maidstone Grammar School to study the International Baccalaureate. So as I leave the school, my daughter will be joining.

My husband runs training courses for the Insurance industry, and has always been very supportive of my career. I also owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my father who was my inspiration. He also began his teaching career at Maidstone Grammar School, and went on to be the Principal of the first Sixth Form College in Surrey. Sadly, he passed away in 2001, but I am certain he would have been delighted to see me taking up the Headship of Dover Grammar School for Boys.

I have worked with boys for many years, and I appreciate their many qualities. The education system does not always favour the way boys prefer to learn, and I am committed to finding ways to enable them to achieve their true potential, despite the constraints of the system. At the same time, ours is a society in which the traditional role for men is changing, and young men need to develop their skills and self-confidence to enable them to contribute effectively to society, and find fulfilment in doing so.

This is an exciting time in education. Change is always with us, but no more so than at the moment when government initiatives are challenging us to look at very different models for the way we educate young people. My role at Dover Grammar School for Boys will be to celebrate the history and traditions of the school, whilst developing a forward looking culture in which we are committed to continual improvement in the education we provide for our students, and the service we provide for the community of Dover.

I am delighted that the school has such an active Old Boys' association, and I am looking forward to meeting many past students of the school, and working with you to support the current generation of students in the school. I hope that you will feel confident that under my headship the school will flourish and move forward, whilst at the same time will continue to value the traditions and history of the school which make up its character.

My intention is to build on the good work that has been done in the past, whilst ensuring that our students have access to the best that the present and future have to offer.

Sally Lees

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Head Teacher Julia Bell, who is also head teacher of the Girls' Grammar School, announced in February that after six months as acting head teacher of our school, she had advised both sets of governors that she felt each school needed its own full-time head teacher. As you will have read on the previous pages of this newsletter, Mrs Sally Lees has been appointed and will take up the post in September. Mrs Bell has also announced she will be leaving the Girls' Grammar School, too.

"FOCUS"

From the pages of Focus, the school's half-termly newsletter, we glean the information that redecoration and refurbishment has continued in more areas of the school. The gymnasium was closed earlier this year so that new heating and ventilation systems could be installed, the inside of the roof could be boarded, fixed apparatus removed, the floor stripped and resealed and rebound boards put on all walls. The school can now offer indoor football and the room for basketball has been increased.

Kent County Council confirmed a capital contribution of £250,000 towards the school's building development programme for the current financial year and the same amount for the next financial year.

A 35-strong singing group, called Illumina, consisting of boys in Years 7 to 9, made their first appearance at the School Carol Service. They were then invited to present a concert, with the Dover Grammar School for Boys Singers, at St Mary's Church in April.

Boys gained eight gold, 25 silver and 23 bronze certificates in the UK Intermediate Mathematical Challenge in February, and a team from the school got through to the penultimate round of the UK Maths Challenge

Both Dover Grammar Schools are due to perform a Summer Gala Concert at Dover Town Hall on Friday 9 July at 7.30 p.m.

Junior Prizegiving is on Wednesday 14 July at 4 p.m.

On 31 March, the Under 15 football team won the final of the Kent Cup at Crabble Football Ground, in front of a record crowd of 400. The game was heading for a 0-0 draw when, with only two minutes of extra time to go, Captain Stephen Grant scored from a free kick from 50 metres. "What an evening!" wrote Julia Bell.

In April, five pupils had their work exhibited at County Hall, Maidstone, in the John Downton Awards for Young Artists, and two pupils were awarded prizes in the Jim Petrie Memorial Arts Competition.

NEWS OF OLD BOYS

OBITUARIES

PETER W. DAVEY (1928-31)

Peter, born in Plymouth in June 1916, died on May 15.

Soon after he was born the family moved to Dover where he went to Barton Elementary School before joining us. When he left the school he enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an apprentice, serving in Iraq and Egypt.

When he came out of the RAF he worked for a while with BOAC before joining the Customs and Excise Waterguard service. After secondment to Falmouth he met Peggy and they were married in May 1948.

Peter and Peggy later moved to Plymouth, Bognor and Southampton with the Customs before returning to Falmouth in 1958 where they had remained happily since.

EDWARD FRANCIS (1940-42)

The Venerable Edward Francis – known as Ted when at our school – who was Archdeacon of Bromley from 1979 to 1994, died in May aged 75.

He was for 10 years an industrial chaplain, involved in the life of factories and commercial enterprises in the Medway towns and in south London.

Ted was born in Dover in January 1929 and was evacuated during the war years. He completed his studies at Maidstone Grammar School.

Called up for National Service he joined the Royal Air Force and spent some time in Malaya during the emergency. On demob he took up a career in insurance and carried on this work for about 10 years. It was then, in his 30s, that he took Holy Orders and became a curate in the Medway area where he was also the chaplain to the training ship Arethusa berthed off Upnor.

He was one the first intake of mature ordinands into Rochester Theological College in 1959. From 1961 to 1964, Ted served his first curacy at Frindsbury with Upnor. In 1964 he moved to Walderslade as the first curate in charge of St William's, Walderslade now the parish of South Chatham and from 1971 as its first vicar.

From 1971 to 1978 he was Vicar of Rochester and Rural Dean. In 1979 he was appointed Archdeacon of Bromley but continued with his ministry among the Medway factories.

He was an honorary Canon of Rochester Cathedral from 1979 to 1994 and a member of the General Synod before his retirement in 1994. He continued to manage the Bishop's Fund for Mission for several years.

As well as his archdeaconry duties Ted was also responsible for the care of non-stipendiary ministers in the Rochester diocese and was heavily involved in industrial mission for many years.

His first wife Joyce (nee Atkins), a Dover girl, died in 1997 and he is survived by his second wife Maureen and by three sons of his first marriage, Paul, Nigel and Jonathan.

BRIAN JACOBS (1938-48)

Brian died in January, aged 77. The funeral service was held at The Beacon Church – the former London Road Methodist Church – in Dover where he had been a member for many years.

Born in Deal, he was a twin, and the family moved to Dover just before the Second World War. At the 1939 Sports Day, he won the final of one race and came second in another. While at the school he was evacuated to Wales, and after school he volunteered for the Royal Navy, serving in the Middle East, Far East and the Persian Gulf. Returning to Dover he continued to work on ships, for British Railways. In 1948 he played for the Old Pharosians in a rugby match against the school's 1st XV. Incidentally, the team was captained by Eric Pelham (see below).

Described as quiet and gentle, Brian was a man who always had time to stop and share time with people. He was very active at the church, singing in the Church Choir, serving as secretary of the Guild, and had been a Church Steward.

We express our sympathy to his daughter Anne, son Andrew, and the other members of the family.

ERIC PELHAM (1929-37)

Eric died on 19 January, just nine days before his 86th birthday.

The son of Arthur J Pelham, of Minerva Avenue, Dover, Eric went to Barton Road Elementary School before coming to our school in 1929. He became a Senior Prefect, was awarded School Colours, was Captain of Buckland House, played for the school's 1st XI cricket and football and 1st XV rugby teams. He also won the Victor Ludorum trophy.

He went to Wye Agricultural College in 1937 on a three-quarters Kent, Surrey and Sussex scholarship. Eric was quickly captured by the rugger men, and he played for the 1st XV for two seasons. When the college closed in 1940, Eric went off to Reading to continue his course and then to practical farming in the Vale of Evesham before working as a drainage officer in Hampshire.

By 1941 he had joined the R.A.F. and saw service in the Middle East before being attached to the First Army in its campaign in Sicily and Italy. He enjoyed the travelling.

Returning to Wye in the summer of 1946 and he served as President of the Wye College Union Society. In 1948 Eric joined the staff of the Royal Agricultural College and a year later became senior lecturer and warden at Writtle where he stayed until 1955. He then became principal of Oaklands College of Agriculture at St Albans, Hertfordshire, where he remained for 24 years, and forged links with a similar college in France, gaining the distinction of Chevalier dans l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole.

His sporting activities continued to Oaklands where he refereed student rugby matches. He also played cricket throughout his working life, and, on the verge of retirement, he captained staff teams which beat the students and old students. His bowling kept its accuracy.

A knee injury playing rugby for the R.A.F. cost him dear and he ended up very arthritic. He also played squash when his knee allowed. When he retired in 1979, the celebrations included a cricket match between staff and students. He met his wife Dorothy when they were both students at Wye and they married in 1954. They lived in Essex in their retirement and both their sons are agriculturists.

"Eric was a genuine countryman, and a good naturalist," said Dorothy. "He was a big, strong man of cheerful presence, and he had a flair for the leadership of young agriculturalists of both sexes.

"Eric thought affectionately of his old school and Mr Freddie Whitehouse. Ken Ruffell joined the staff when Eric was a boy in the sixth form."

LESLIE TAYLOR (1924-30)

Ted Baker wrote to say that Leslie had died on 14 January 2004. (See Archivist's Corner earlier in this newsletter).

STILL LIVING AND LEARNING

JONATHAN AYLEN (1962-69)

Jonathan has mailed a most interesting letter from his home at Worsley near Manchester about the school's links with Ebbw Vale, to where the school was evacuated 1940-44.

He is editing a book, History of European Wide Strip Mills, and one of his contributing authors has sent him a reproduction of a 1944 poster published by the Ebbw Vale Metallurgical Society. This tells of a technical essay competition in which the winner of the second prize was Keith Thomas Bailey of Dover County School whose subject was paper making. Asks Jonathan: "Could this be the Keith, the son of Tom Bailey who worked at Buckland Mill?"

Yes, it's the same (writes the editor). Keith Bailey, now aged 77, lives at Walmer near Deal and his brother Colin (a member of the Old Pharosians Association) is an artist living at St Margaret's.

Jonathan adds he has lots of information about Ebbw Vale, especially the former steelworks, some film, many stories and contacts. "The last surviving parts of the works are now being demolished as post war technical developments soon rendered the works obsolete," writes Jonathan.

He also asks if boys at the school, then in Ebbw Vale, got a chance to tour the steelworks in action. Terry Sutton (1940-47), who was in Ebbw Vale at the time, does not think so but remembers the Dante's Inferno-like flames leaping from the blast furnaces at night. What a target for the enemy bombers!

JOHN AYLING (1938-45)

John wrote from his home in Carmarthenshire in September to the head teacher to recall some of his days at school. The letter arrived just after Julia Bell had become the school's new head teacher, and she wrote back to say that while many of the names he had mentioned were obviously new to her, she was very aware of the strong links that the old boys have with the school.

John said he wanted to recount an anecdote or two from his school days at "The County School" before his memory deserted him.

"I was a pupil from 1938-1945, days of war and evacuation, considerable stress and dislocation, powerful discipline and the odd beating, but times that I look back on with affection and nostalgia. For the human qualities that we found in many of our teachers, gentler times might not have revealed them.

Often in my thoughts is Charlie Rowlands, who was our art master, Early in the war, the PE staff were called up and Charlie – as we all knew him – substituted. He was well into middle age, I guess, but to our amazed disbelief, climbed and descended the ropes in the gym without using his feet, just the strength of his arms. We did not know anything of his athletic background – that came later, on our return from Ebbw Vale to Dover. He used to come to school on a diminutive motor bike – a Coventry Eagle – clad in a voluminous grey mackintosh, which was not "airtight" and swelled up like a balloon as he rode along, creating an impression of an enormous figure straddling this tiny machine. At a Christmas concert, the prefects had a mock prize giving, at which Charlie was awarded a large pin "to deflate himself with". He went up and accepted it in great spirit, to the cheers of the whole school.

On return to Dover he coached us at cricket, and revealed that he had played for Gloucester, and was in fact the brother of Harry Rowlands, the County Captain. In the nets he would bowl to us for hours, coaching tirelessly, and then when we had all had our turn, he would always say: "Do you mind if I have a few punches boys?" We would bowl our very best to get him out, but he would whack us to all parts of the district.

Some years later, by now married, I had our first home built in Coxhill at River. My wife decided that a bright yellow front door was what was needed, but adventurous colour was not PC in those days, and we soon became aware of muttered disapproval from neighbours. One evening I answered a knock to find Charlie at the door, welcoming me to the neighbourhood, where he'd long resided. His last words as he left were – "love your front door. Now we'll have daffodils all through the winter". The reassurance my wife needed.

In 1945 I got my school cap for cricket. Charlie congratulated me, but with some chagrin I thanked him, reminding him that it was a theoretical honour – there was a war on, and none was being made. He next day he gave me his own school cap, of the Merchant Taylors School in Bristol. Such was the man, generous, selfless and devoted. I do hope the school has still got men like him.

TERRY CLEAR (1960-65)

Terry wrote to say how shocked he was to read of John Langford's death in the last edition of the newsletter. "We started at the Grammar on the same day and continued to bump into each other over the years from time to time. A thoroughly nice guy all round."

JAMES EVANS (2000-02)

James's experience as managing director of a Young Enterprise team while he was at school has helped him launch his own business. His team, which devised a complex computer software program to run a sports tournament, was named Young Enterprise Kent Company of the Year. Now he has turned his attention to cars and has set up a web-based company, www.firstcar.co.uk, which was launched in May and helps young drivers find the right vehicle for them.

"Everybody remembers their first car, unfortunately not always for the right reasons," said James. "Helping young drivers find the right vehicle by uncovering the, too often hidden, costs of motoring is now a click away thanks to www.firstcar.co.uk By bringing together the latest Internet technology and working closely with leading names such as the RAC, Endsleigh Insurance and Direct Auto Finance Ltd, firstcar.co.uk is able to offer a precise ‘on-the-road-price' for every car we sell. This is an industry first, beating other similar companies."

The website also allows users to get a stand-alone insurance quote, buy breakdown cover, get a car history check and arrange finance on a new or used vehicle. Firstcar information resources and editorial content covering topical issues relevant to new and young drivers are available to view online or download and print. James has also been appointed vice-chairman of the Kent Association of Young Entrepreneurs which was launched in June by the Institute of Directors.

SEAN HARRISON-NAYES (1992-99)

Sean has left Coventry University with a B.Eng (Honours) degree in automatic technology.

ANTONY HOOK (1991-98)

Antony has been sworn in a Member of the Bar. At a ceremony at the legal profession's ancient home, the Inner Temple in London, Antony who is 24, was sworn in as a barrister.

Antony is known as a campaigner on local issues and was the youngest candidate of any party in the last General Election.

Antony's call to the Bar, follows five years of study and training. He was sworn in by Lord Justice Schiemann who is England's new judge at the European Court of Justice. The ceremony was witnessed by Antony's family and Adisham-based lawyer and friend Geoffrey Nice QC, famous for prosecuting Slobodan Milosovic and other war criminals. Only a few hundred people are called to the Bar every year in the whole country.

Another former pupil of our school, Lord Justice Mummery, assisted Antony in his training. After finishing school and a brief period working in a Zimbabwean game reserve, Antony went to University College London.

He intends to remain based in Deal and believes he is the only Member of the Bar living in the town. He travels to courts throughout Kent and the South East, wherever he is needed. Antony, who has decided to enter practice in a self-employed capacity, is spending his newly qualified year associated with 5 Essex Court, one of the most highly regarded sets of barristers in London.

For the last six months he has assisted colleagues such as Jeremy Gompertz QC (counsel for the Kelly family in the Hutton Inquiry) with a wide range of criminal and civil law cases. Antony has worked on the Soham inquiry, police corruption investigations, a judicial review case that was very widely publicised in the national press last autumn, trials including violent offences, sexual cases, drugs, and County Court cases.

On Friday 2 April Antony made his debut in the courts with his first trial of his own, representing a man charged with public order offences. "I entered the courtroom with the words of many good teachers ringing in my ears," he said.

"As I am self-employed I have the additional challenge of effectively starting a new business. That makes the future uncertain but I've never been shy of challenge or adventure. The Bar suits anyone who is confident, is a good communicator, and can take tough decisions. Lawyers don't have the best reputation but most are good people helping to find answers to serious problems."

Antony is following in a family tradition. His father Robin Hook is principal legal adviser to Channel Magistrates.

JOHN LINGE (1962-67)

John contacted webmaster Paul Skelton to say he had been through the photos on the Old Pharosians' website and recalling that when the School photo was taken in 1963, he was off sick!

Charlie Rowlands the art master is not on that picture, either, and also missing were Mrs. Bailey, the school secretary, and AA Coveney.

Among those present he was able to name included Mr Morecroft, the physics lab technician, the Rev. Gary Gill (RC Parish Priest of Plumstead, at St. Nicholas Church on Buckland Estate before that, when he was still C of E), and before that for many years, staff clerk for Seaspeed at the Hoverport.

Others he named were Lucient Leon Finnis who ran the after-school Transport Club with "Yeti" Yates, the Rev. John Philpott (until recently vicar of Whitfield) John Hammond, Malcolm Doolin (teaching in Southend), Alan Goodwin (train driver at Tonbridge and acting Driver Standards Manager who lives at Crowborough), who married Lesley Crooks who is John Hammond's cousin, Ian Hodgson, Laurie Huntley and Kevin Wood who runs all the pantos at the Marlowe Theatre and almost everywhere else in Kent.

Miss Eggleston, the chem lab technician, Graham Barnett (involved in the track maintenance side of Network Rail in Scotland) Dave Brewster, Dave Dixon, Phillip Jenner, Richard Peirce (works for the Home Office, and lives in Eynsford) Raymond Faulkener, Ronald Woodland, who served as a police officer at London Airport, and teacher John Ayling.

"Something I cannot remember is what Pete Searle taught. I remember the name, but not the face. One other thing, M. Labrouche's car was a cream Renault Dauphin, (French) reg. no. 233 S 2 (what about that for a memory!!!) He lodged over the road from us with David Powell's parents in Leyburne Road."

HERBERT LOEBL (1938-1939)

The remarkable story of a Jewish refugee child, Herbert Loebl, who came to our school in 1938 when aged 15, is related in his e-mail sent from his home in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Dr Herbert Loebi OBE is now writing his autobiography and seeking pictures of his time at the school including the days he used to play – and carry – the big drum in the school's army cadet corps. Can any old boys help?

He writes: "I was sent to Dover County School for Boys, as a Jewish refugee child aged 15, by my hosts the Howard family of The Glack in Deal in December 1938. I much enjoyed my two terms I spent at the school while my sister Hanna was sent to the equivalent girls' school in Dover. My headmaster was J.C. Booth."

Aged 81 Herbert came across the school's website – which he found very interesting – and asked for a photo of the school and any pictures available that depicted him in cadet uniform as the drummer in the cadet bugle band – possibly taken at cadet camp in Sandwich in July 1939. He adds that one day, on a visit to Dover in 1972, he drove up to the school to look at the building.

In his autobiography he will recall how he travelled to school from Deal by train – with the boys and girls well separated – and how at first at school he did not understand English but enjoyed the lessons.

"The older pupils and some of the younger staff were politically rather left-wing inclined and therefore very supportive of refugees from the Nazis. In fact they told me stories about what was going on in Germany which I could hardly believe."

"All the masters, he says, were friendly and much more relaxed than in his German school. He joined the school orchestra with his violin and the cadet corps commanded by W.E. Pearce. Because he was in the orchestra and tall for his age he was asked to play the big drum. Our uniforms were heavy of First World War army vintage and rather scratchy with our legs swathed in puttees of the same age (Editor: I remember them well in 1940s).

"At camp at Sandwich in 1939, together with a bugler, I had to Beat Retreat in the evenings and Reveille in the mornings, as well as preceding the troop and the buglers to Church parade on Sundays."

Herbert has done well for himself. Apart from the OBE he has the Ph.D, BSc, M.Phil, Hon DSc and CEng. His address is 7 Moor Road South, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. e-mail: hloebl@btinternet.com

KEN LOTT (1945-53)

Ken writes to say that like many others who have written to the newsletter recently he too has found the School website to be of great value, in particular contributing to many memories that he has of the eight years spent at the School on the Hill. "I have passed quite a few hours browsing through the School photographs, putting names to some one to two hundred faces and sending them on to the webmaster for archiving.

"It doesn't seem possible that over 50 years have now passed since I left to go to University at Southampton to undertake my study of Chemistry, after which 30 years were spent lecturing at Brunel University in the specific area of Inorganic Chemistry during which time a few boys from the School passed through my hands. Taking early retirement at the age of 55 led me to a new area of employment with our Local Education Authority in the area of Human Resources, where I remained until the age of 64.

"Now fully retired at 70 I have the time to sit down at the computer and move around the School Website. It was there, in the Guestbook, that I came upon a contemporary – Wynford Watkins – and this led also to receiving an e-mail from another of my year – Peter Waring – who is now in New Zealand; we were able to share a few reminiscences.

"Last year I also chanced my luck in one of the Thursday Newsletter Maths Corner problems just before I went on holiday; in sending in my answers to the two-part problem I appended the message that I hoped I had not let down those esteemed Maths and Physics teachers who had got me through three years of the VIth form - namely Messrs Coulson, Jacques, Pearce and Walker. Coming back from the holiday I was delighted to be told that I had won the competition - the little brain cells are still working!

"This brings me to a further item in the Guestbook that I came across a short while ago – a letter from the husband (Dennis Hopkins in Inverness) of WEP's grand-daughter who, in researching the family name, had come upon the School Website. He was asking if anybody remembered WEP - how could I not let the family have my thoughts on one of the greatest teachers I have ever had the privilege to have studied under. In my reply I said I would see a mention of this request for information appeared in the next newsletter where I thought it could be seen by more than just those of us who have access to the Website. I hope that more than a few will see fit to respond. The e-mail address to write to is DHopkinsCCLL@aol.com and for those without e-mail facilities you may write to: Dennis and Hilary Hopkins, 33 Ardconnel Terrace, Inverness IV2 3AE.

"I look forward to being at the next Reunion and to 2005 which, for me, will be the 60th Anniversary of my entry to the School."

NINIAN McINNES (1936-43)

Have just received and read through my copy of the OPA Newsletter, it makes good and interesting reading, especially the arrival of Julia Bell. Miss O.M. Rookwood and Mrs T. Archer from 60 years ago would have been most interested.

As a "Maxton" boy from Elms Vale Road, with two terms of Freddie Whitehouse (three years in Ebbw Vale, Cwm and Waunllyd) and just a few weeks away from the start of my eightieth year, it is encouraging that the old school to whom we all owe so much is doing well and is scheduled to bounce back and to do even better.

I shall be passing through Dover on May 15 via P&O to Calais. As we slip out through the Eastern entrance I will be at the stern looking back for a quick look at "my old school on the hill" and to get a memory refresher.

BILL PARSONS (1959-66)

Bill, who now lives in Finland, has had his first novel published. He has written the book, called From The Depths of Heaven, under the name Zak B Tjewels, and he is promising another three books to come in the same series.

Much of Bill's life has been spent travelling, particularly on the sea. At school he was in the naval cadets and he spent his youth sailing the Caribbean and Mediterranean. He once hitch-hiked his way across North Africa and ended up under house arrest in Libya during the revolution.

"One day, and quite unprepared, I found myself in Finland," said Bill, whose parents still live in Sandwich. "This country was a complete contrast to those far off sunny islands and, I decided to stay here. Several times, I fled to the sun, back again to Africa, once to visit a missionary in Kenya, and then later, to teach ambulance drivers to drive ambulance boats on Lake Tanganyika for a Swedish charity.

"But, Finland is a land of linguists and I stayed here for our children. This decision proved right as unlike me, who never managed to learn Finnish, our children all speak several languages fluently."

The nineties recession in Finland hit Bill hard and he and his wife Rita were out of work. He switched from designing workboats to computers and was employed by a software company as technical writer, webmaster and CD designer. Unfortunately, 10 years on, the recession hit again, and so did redundancy. Bill is now also a Finnish citizen, and he hopes to have the book published in Finnish, too.

The book is about a reluctant hero, Thorlainen, who finds his mundane and pointless life disrupted by an apparent galactic catastrophe just as he thinks of enjoying another hot mug of supersynthocafe! He believes he is the only survivor in the town, but he is wrong – the totalitarian system is still functioning on planet Tellus and he is in mortal danger. He flees from his home just in time, and he meets a young affluent woman, Chitmaa, caring for two intelligent children. Thorlainen, as a "Non-Commercial-Being", is totally out of his depth, and with danger all around, he concentrates on staying alive and plans their escape. The climax comes when they are sidetracked to attempt to free a compound full of deportees, and Thorlainen realises that the freedom of them all rests on his shoulders and his ability to operate the latest, fastest and untested Aquatransporter ever built.

While it is a work of fiction and fantasy, there are some deeper meanings within the book's 259 pages for those who seek them. The cover has been designed by one of Bill and Rita's daughters, Nicolina, and the cover design has also been turned into a postage stamp.

It was in 1996 that Bill last visited his old school when he recalled several of the teachers who had influenced him. "I am sure Mr Murphy would be very surprised if he knew I had actually written a book!"

From The Depths of Heaven, the first in a series of books on the theme Serious Pink and Satin Yellow, has been published by VBW Publishing, and is available from various websites, including amazon.com

PAUL SKELTON (1972-79)

Paul, a member of the staff of the school, kindly prints our Newsletters. Now he is proposing to widen his good work by publishing a book celebrating the first 100 years of the school which we will reach in 2005.

He says he hopes the book, in hardback A4 form of about 200 pages, will contain relevant information year-by-year of special events at the school. He aims to publish the book on the school premises and aims to keep the cost to around £15 to £20 a copy. His initial print run will be in the order of 500. More detailed information nearer publication.

DAVID THOMAS (1985-1993)

After working in Cambridge, David is now back in London working as a Software Test Engineer for Parc Technologies, a small company which specialises in complex optimisation algorithms.

PETER WARING (1945-51)

Peter says he came across the school website more or less by chance, and, thanks to the Guest Column, he established contact with two contemporaries who were with him from 1945 until 1951, Wyn Watkins and Ken Lott. Peter is living, in retirement, in a small town in the lower centre of the North Island of New Zealand, called Eketahuna, after a fairly varied career in aircraft, the motor industry, journalism, scientific research and, lastly, road safety policy. "If anyone from my year passes through New Zealand, my wife and I would be very pleased to see them, and offer hospitality and some sightseeing around this very beautiful part of the world."

MARTIN WATTS (1935-45)

After receiving the last newsletter Martin wrote to say he is presently in Florida, "missing all the rain and cold"! He asked whether Trevor Heaver (1949-55) lived in Castle Avenue in Dover in the late 30s and early 40s, and could have been his next-door neighbour from all those years ago. Martin continued: "I am shocked at the number of 'youngsters' in the Obituary section. I guess it's time to make every day count.

"I too confirm that we were back at Astor Avenue for the Summer term of 1945. We even had a Sports Day! I remember I was beaten at the line in the 440 by "Sam" Ivory, my best mate. He apologised. Said I was fading at the last 15 yards and he couldn't help it! The mile, the last event, was my distance and JCB was standing with Tomlinson, an old master who didn't go to Ebbw. He told Tomlinson to watch me, expecting me to storm through the field in the last 200 yards.

"However, I knew I had to get showered and changed and greet all the 'guests' at the dining hall for tea and I figured that if I went all out in the mile, it would take me half an hour to recover enough to make it up the hill from the bottom field. So I came in last, a good half lap behind the field, to a stony silence. I don't think I'd have won anyway."

As a result of Martin's message, we contacted Trevor Heaver to ask if it was him living next door. Trevor replied: "Yes, that is correct. We lived in the flats below the castle for a couple of years in the late 40s, before moving to a house my parents had built down the hill. All too soon after, my father was one of the victims of the Lewisham train accident.

"This is my second Old Pharosian contact this month. I have been in Antwerp and now Naples. A phone message was left at home from Michael Grover with whom I expect to be in contact when home at the end of this week.