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Welcome to our fourth Old Northavian Newsletter since the Association was resuscitated. I hope that 2006 was a successful year for you and that 2007 will bring you even more success!

I inherited the role of Chairman from Anthony Whitaker following our AGM last October. This was simply because the ONA constitution requires a change after three years and for at least a year. So I hope to provide you with a sense of déjà vu in about a year’s time! I pay tribute to Anthony for steering the Association from its rebirth - recruiting and guiding the Committee, helping to organise three very successful events, helping the deliberations on setting fees and creating the benefits of membership; and specifically launching the fantastic ONA website last summer. He has dedicated an enormous amount of his time to the Association and enthusiastically conducted much historical detective work into the current whereabouts of members. This has resulted in the healthy and vibrant Association that we have today.

We are fortunate to have two new members join the Committee in response to the appeal last year. Hamish Legge attended Norman Court between 1998-2004 and lives near Romsey, when he is not attending school at Marlborough; and Peter Worlledge, who attended Northaw between 1975-79 and now lives in East Lothian. We are very grateful to both of them for joining the Committee. I should like to thank the rest of the Committee for their unstinting support and enthusiasm. In particular, I thank Jalal Janmohamed as our Editor for his energetic pursuit of articles for the Annual Newsletter and his hard work and talent in producing the finished article again this year on time – this is his third and last Newsletter. I also thank Charlie Thomas who will be organising the event this summer, his third and last event. We are extremely grateful when ONs with busy professional and family lives devote so much time to help us all enjoy the ONA. Last year we reported that the School Registrar, Patricia Taylor, was retiring and we should like to welcome Deborah Speirs as the new Registrar and, as her deputy, Rachel Funnell. We hope that they both thoroughly enjoy their jobs and their time at Norman Court, and in particular the task of looking after our affairs as the key link with the School.

We decided that we would not hold a major event last year, as there were numerous others taking place on behalf of the Triple Anniversary Appeal. We did, however, organise a reunion on 14th October 2006 to celebrate the successful and unbeaten soccer 1st XI of 1968; this was huge fun and attracted nine players and their families, fourteen contemporaries and three former members of staff. They came from as far afield as Tehran, southern Spain, Germany, south Wales, the Suffolk coast and even the other end of the Norman Court Estate! There is a report of the day on the Events page of the website and an account of the planning stages below.

The major decision that your Committee took last year was that we should launch a website. Anthony Whitaker managed this project and it went live in August. Since all our communication with ONs could be based on the site, our expenses would become minimal and the need for a membership fee, comparatively insignificant. The School Governors generously agreed to support this minor financial cost. Therefore, we have either returned the outstanding fees to members or donated the residual amounts, with their permission, to the Triple Anniversary Appeal.

This year, we are planning to hold an ONA reunion during the School Sports Day on Saturday 30th June 2007 at Norman Court School. We will be publishing details on our website and we hope that you will be able to join us, meet a lot of your old friends and enjoy a day looking round your old school and seeing it in action.

The website - we regret that we have been unable to issue passwords to registered members so that they can have access to their fellow ONs contact details since our website went live last autumn. There have been plans to upgrade the School database, which has caused this delay. However, we expect to be able to provide this information shortly and we will email you when we are ready. We have 160 members who have registered so far – please would you make sure that you have registered and encourage other ONs with whom you are in contact, to follow suit.

May I recommend the Triple Anniversary Appeal to those of you who have not made a donation yet? This is a rare opportunity to contribute to and leave a legacy with the School from which we have all derived much benefit and pleasure. There is a link on the ONA website that will lead you to more information on the Appeal or you can go straight to the School’s website. Whatever you can afford to give will be gratefully received.

Finally, I congratulate the Headmaster, Kevin Foyle, on your behalf, for his exciting appointment as the Founding Principal of the British International School in Singapore. He will be leaving Norman Court in July 2007. The British International School is a Nord Anglia School opening in September 2007 with the backing of the Singapore Government. We offer our warmest congratulations and best wishes to Kevin at the start of his new career.

Kevin has been the inspiration behind the rebirth of the ONA and has played a vital role throughout the last four years in providing it with essential support. He has hosted many meetings and events, has been generous in providing the resources needed and tirelessly enthusiastic in helping to rebuild contacts with ONs with whom we had lost touch.

We wish him the best of luck in his future career and hope that he really enjoys the remaining time he has as Headmaster of Norman Court School – which has become a fantastic school under his stewardship during the last twelve years.

With best wishes for 2007

Bryan Gordon-Smith

Dear ONs,

After twelve very happy and busy years, I have made the decision to move on to pastures new. At Christmas I was appointed Founding Principal of the British International School in Singapore. The school will open in September and Gill, my fiancée, and I will move out there at the end of August.

It is an exciting new challenge but I will always treasure the happy memories of my time at West Tytherley. My primary focus at present is supporting the Governing Body in finding my successor. The TES advert has produced over a hundred expressions of interest. The closing date for applications has now passed and it is hoped my replacement will be announced before Easter.

The other challenges that remain at Norman Court Preparatory School are the small matter of our school inspection in the week of 26 February and the continued efforts to finish off the fund raising for the TAA.

I believe a great deal has been achieved in the last twelve years and I am determined that my headship should finish on a high.

It would be fantastic to see you all before we go, especially those who have been parents of the school over the last twelve years. We will be having an official ON reunion on Saturday 30 June (Norman Court School Sports Day) to which you are all cordially invited.

However, if your busy schedule is blocked out on that (hopefully) sunny day, then please feel free to call in, at another time, when you can. I may be a little busy myself so I would suggest that you phone Mrs King to let us know you are coming and we can roll out the red carpet.

With best wishes for 2007,

Kevin Foyle

As those who have read the 2006 Newsletter will know, the idea for this came about during a visit by Jamie Birkmyre to Norman Court in December 2005. He mentioned the unbeaten record of Northaw’s First XI football team during the Christmas term of 1968 and wondered what had happened to the players. “Wouldn’t it be great to get the team back together again?” he suggested.

In my self-appointed role as amateur detective in pursuit of lost or missing Old Northavians, this was a challenge I couldn’t resist. There had been twelve members of the ‘squad’ (not that this provides any explanation for their winning record!) and we only had up to date information on four of them – Jamie (obviously), Pierre Condou, Edward Bolitho and Jamie Lindsay. So I started by asking them, as well as Billy Howard and Tommy Thomson, for any clue as to the whereabouts of the other 8. Pierre put me in touch quite quickly with Stephen Windsor-Clive and Billy was able to provide an address for Simon Moore. Tommy found me Simon Clements’ address and telephone number, so I was already over half way there.

It was hinted that if I put the name “Stan Baring” into Google, I might find Adrian Baring - who had metamorphosed into Stan while at Charterhouse (something to do with Stanley Matthews – further explanation for the team’s success?). I then tried Stanbridge Earls for Stuart Naylor-Vane and Graham Radley but with no luck. However, Google came to my aid again with Stuart’s place of work and I also discovered that Graham’s family was still at the same address and the BT online Directory did the rest. What a wonderful thing is the internet (most of the time)! Meanwhile, Simon Clements had managed to track down Jonathan Haak (I had tried Googling him too but only found the drummer in a Dutch Punk band, which wasn’t quite what I was after!). Eleven out of twelve, I thought, ain’t bad!

Now, the only missing member of the team was Dariush Bakhtiar, believed to be living in Tehran. As a result of some sterling work by a combination of Tommy, Stephen and Pierre, contact was made with Dariush and, better still, he was planning to be in England in October. We had found the full team!

Emboldened by our success, I wondered whether I might be able to track down a sizeable percentage of those who had been at Northaw in the late 60s (but hadn’t actually been on The Team). So the whole process started again. I will spare you the blow by blow account. Suffice to say that by late September there were less than 40 whom I had completely failed to contact out of 120 known contemporaries.

To all the ONs who were on the receiving end of emails or telephone calls from me that started “You may not remember me, but….” I can only say – Sorry!  On more than one occasion, my wife warned me that people might think I was stalking them! I hope those who came to Norman Court in October (or would have liked to but for other commitments) now feel that my pursuit of their whereabouts was worth it in the end.

You can read the report of the actual day (14th October 2006) on the Events page of the website, although it won’t be there forever, as this year’s event will take its place.

Anthony Whitaker

Photos from Northaw 1968 Football Reunion and ONA AGM 2006
Michael Higgins, Dariush Bakhtiar, Toby Whaley & JASP
Photos from Northaw 1968 Football Reunion and ONA AGM 2006
Michael Higgins, Dariush Bakhtiar, Toby Whaley & JASP
Stuart Naylor-Vane, Stan Baring, Michael Higgins& Tim Pritchard-Barrett
Stephen Windsor-Clive, Jonathan Haak, Pierre Condou
Stuart Naylor-Vane, Stan Baring, Michael Higgins & Tim Pritchard-Barrett
Stephen Windsor-Clive, Jonathan Haak, Pierre Condou
Henry Humphreys & Jonathan Haak
Jonathan Haak, Tim Pritchard-Barrett, Michael Higgins & Jamie Birkmyre
Henry Humphreys & Jonathan Haak
Jonathan Haak, Tim Pritchard-Barrett, Michael Higgins & Jamie Birkmyre

On 2nd October 2006, Patricia Taylor and Anthony Whitaker visited Stephen Whitwell at the nursing home where he now lives, near Shaftesbury.

He was at Northaw from 1929 to 1934, together with his brothers Timothy (1931-36) and Hugh (1933-38).

He wasn’t able to impart much information about his time at Northaw, although he did remember one or two teachers – J E M Ball, Arthur Cartwright and a Mr Hibbert, known as Pog. He also spoke of Gladys Winter, the headmaster’s wife, who ran, or at least owned, a very grand hat shop in Sloane Street.

In his time at Northaw, the boys used to smuggle food upstairs in their coat pockets and feed it to the mice in the attics. Some also hid extra supplies of ‘tuck’ under the floorboards, some of which probably remained there after they had left the school. He wondered whether the firemen who came to put out the fire in 1952 discovered what, by then, might have been rather mature 20 year old tuck!

Gavin Stewart (1950-55) - I am not much of an old school enthusiast but the notes from three of my contemporaries, Groves, Cripps and Gosnell, have stirred some memories and prompted me to jot down a few senile ravings, most of which you will no doubt edit out! 

I recall going to tea with Tom and Phyllis Reynolds in 1950 at their house opposite Isington Mill (where Monty lived), between Farnham and Alton. I have always thought that they were just then restarting their prep school business at Surrenden Dering, which they had recently acquired. Any way, the Reynolds accepted me, so they must have lowered the bar to boost their numbers.

My recollections of Surrenden Dering start with sports days and having considerable success, being tall for my age, giving my mother false hopes of my athleticism. Swimming, playing gym-hockey with a wooden puck, otherwise loathing the gym with its bars, ropes and horses - not my forte. The wooden cavalry-training horse. Apple picking, eating more than we put in the bucket, then having to race back to the loos. Of course, the fire; being woken up during the night by Mrs Maker and Mrs Winter, the very kindly matrons. With smoke billowing through the corridors, being shepherded to another wing, then finally out to the gym. Seeing the huge bonfire with sparks shooting high up, as rafters, or parts of the roof, fell in. An acrid smell. Next morning, absolute bliss as we were sent home and arriving at Charing Cross Station, with our remaining possessions in pillow cases. Going to Gorringe’s to be fitted out with all new clothing, much better than my old hand me downs, but all too big, on the assumption that I would grow into them, which I never did before they wore out – but that is not entirely true, as my children have worn my cherry-pink games jersey, and navy blue cable stitch jersey.

We returned after a week or so to camp out for the rest of the term before the move to Norman Court. I remember being allowed to go to the burned out basement where we had kept our tuck boxes. Just molten lumps were left of my prized Dinky Toy collection, a private air force – where Goering had failed…!

Whereas Surrenden Dering had been a Jacobean mansion with red brick Dutch gabled facades, and barley sugar stick chimneys, Norman Court was classical Palladian, light and airy. Classrooms were set up in the Orangery with a huge window behind us, onto a terrace. I often wonder what back of the class misdeeds were spied on from outside.

There was a splendid library with a great collection of good Victorian adventure stories, G A Henty and the like. There were yards of old bound Punch and National Geographic magazines. A National Geographic series of articles on Inca/Aztec human sacrifice was my particular favourite. There were excellent basement rooms, one used for hobbies. Some friends and I enacted a naval battle with sparkler scrapings and other firework contents lit for realism, blissfully unaware of the smoke emanating from the window. This resulted in a few strokes of the wooden spoon – hollow side though.

The games pitches were newly established on a flinty field. We were regularly set to stone picking, in which we had a vested interest. In the autumn we were sent out blackberry picking, and spud harvesting, following the Fergie with its spinner flailing, sometimes a boy riding on it, seeing its front wheels lifting as it came to a clump of tops. What would parents say now? Or Health and Safety? I recall one cold winter being taken sledging using wonderful Canadian Flexible Flyer toboggans, which were steered by twisting the front part of the runners and being towed by car to a hill going down into the village.

The Reynolds had a splendid Rolls of about 1935 vintage. Sadly it was swapped for two new Standard Vanguards, but on a trip to the Royal Tournament we were all impressed when the needle hit 80. The school doctor had a green Jowett Javelin. An interest in cars must have started then - I now have a 1929 Jowett!

What of the staff? I have already mentioned the matrons, Mrs Maker and Mrs Winter who were “bricks”. Miss Selby, who ran the catering, had a sour manner but a kind heart. Sgt Major Sandall never made a gymnast of me, but with boxing I learned that if you really went for him, you got off lightly, but if you showed fear, he cuffed you painfully. Felicity Lewis taught art, and was never going to get far with me. Peter Adams taught French and was a pleasant straight man. Miss Breen was a good teacher and attractive. Horace Eady, the music master, left suddenly, under a cloud. Capt Sutcliffe was a very good man and straight as a die. He taught maths, and having been a gunner, was easily persuaded to digress onto matters such as the trajectory of shells, then would draw a red herring on the board and proceed with the subject. Tony Gordon-Hill was, I now appreciate, rather camp, but very amusing and good company.

The school choir sang at Memorial Services in the Tower of London Chapel and Romsey Abbey – good outings. I was in the choir, though no singer. At my last Carol Service, Crispin Dennis was to solo the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City from outside the chapel entrance. However, his “voice broke” (he claimed) the night before, and I was pitched into it. I have not sung in a choir since!

Of my contemporaries, Richard Gosnell (1951-54) was a particular friend. We re-fought the Battle of Britain many times with our model aeroplanes. Others were Crispin Dennis (1951-55), Seddon (1950-54) and Jeremy Cripps (1951-56), Evelyn Wright (1948-54), Simon Wilson (1953-58), David Garrood (1950-54), Christopher (1950-55) and Alexander Withers (1953-58) - Googie Withers was their aunt, Paul Debenham (1953-54), Lawrence Roome (1949-52), Jim Norris (1951- 55), Ian Forbes (1951-52), John Oddy (1950-53) and Charles Binks (1952-56).

David Garrood was befriended by Monty, and used to stay with him at Isington Mill. As I lived close by I was summoned to play with him. I recall playing toy soldiers with Monty and David, and my parents’ household being thrown into confusion when a day or so later a chauffeur driven Rolls with Monty in the back pitched up early-ish before anyone was dressed. Remember, he was a national hero then. He brought a box of oranges, then very scarce, an act of kindness, but handed over with the comment that he preferred me to eat them in our house than his. Monty was frequently called on for Speech days and, one year, passed on to us grateful boys a huge chocolate bear which had been presented to him by the people of Berne.

After Northaw, came Malvern, articles in the City, and a career as a country solicitor. I am married to the girl I fell in love with at 13, have three children and seven grandchildren. I have enjoyed (and still do) football, (supporting Ipswich Town), sailing and flying, nothing too cerebral, but have thought it prudent to downsize the boat and aeroplane with retirement coming up in less than 2 years. Eheu fugaces!

Richard Faber (1951-53) – It was Mrs Winter, the Matron, who woke up and discovered the fire, so that many if not all of us owe our lives to her. She was delightful and a real large (in both senses of the word!) character. Before the fire, after the school put on HMS Pinafore, the staff did a spoof at the end of term. I clearly remember she did a parody to the tune of “He is an Englishman” – “I am a Trolley-bus” and from then on was called by some of the older and more rash boys “Mrs Trolley-bus”. She never seemed to mind!

Captain Sutcliffe had a great voice and if encouraged by the boys sang a superb descant at the Carol Service. He also taught cricket nets and for a time had me bowling to a good length. Soon lost however! We never knew the details but it was thought that he had had a very distinguished war record. He was a delightful and much respected man. Horace Eady was the music and choir master. I was in the choir but never very good and he also taught me piano. I was useless and gave it up on leaving Northaw. Peter “Fanny” Adams was also a delightful man. I got over 70% in my French Common Entrance due to him, but have gone backwards ever since!

Chris (Topper) Grove (1950-54) – Don’t really know why, but I had always been under the impression that Capt Sutcliffe had been a Royal Marine and not Army at all. Not that that might have been incompatible with his trade as a gunner as the Royal Marine Artillery operated during WWII. He certainly had a good voice. I can remember him singing Good King Wenceslas in Carol Services at Surrenden.

Peter Adams died about six or seven years ago. My mother and I attended his funeral in Bethersden, Kent. When he left the school he went back to his large house in Bethersden where he owned a good deal of land and property, and kept chickens for years. I am sure (as my mother too lived in the village) that I would have heard had he really married Miss Breen, but I am pretty certain he stayed a bachelor to his dying day. I used to bump into him in shops now and again. Miss Breen also went back to Kent and taught, I think, at Benenden before retiring to Tenterden, to the same area of retirement homes as Phyllis Reynolds where I saw them both years ago, before they died.

I certainly remember Gavin Stewart (1950-55). I think he was in my club. I too visited Isington Mill, which was Monty’s house (distant cousin of ours) and inspected his caravans, now at IWM Duxford. Who remembers his Rolls Royce with the reverse slope windscreen coming to Surrenden? Gavin has me to thank for many of the Henty books in the library. We presented many of them; not sure where we got them from, but I could never stand them! Pretty bindings though.

Since Tom Reynolds was also my father's prep school master (at Beachborough) we used to visit them at Amesbury from time to time, but I had not realised they had a house near Monty’s.

Gavin remembers stone picking at Norman Court, a common but useful punishment in the early days. I wonder if he remembers playing rugger in a field down the drive to West Tytherley, sometimes with cows still in the field. Who remembers nettle picking and acorn collecting (the latter reputedly to feed pigs at the farm behind the chapel) - two more useful punishments at Surrenden? For the former you were issued with one glove, normally ill fitting and full of holes; for the latter the requisite number of buckets.

I read of the death of David Garrood (1950-54), in the Old Johnian. David went to St John’s Leatherhead with me and Franky Hoare (1949-54). Monty was Chairman of Governors there and used to promise us no war in Europe regularly every Speech Day. David was apparently an organist of note (excuse the pun) in the North of England for much of his life. I remember most of the boys and staff that Gavin mentions. Saw Jeremy Cripps (1951-56) at Eton while I was at St John’s and playing rugger at Eton (they did not take rugger very seriously, so a small school like St John’s could play them) and once or twice afterwards when I found myself stationed at Hobbs Barracks Lingfield, near his parents at East Grinstead.

Crispin Dennis’ father must surely live on in the annals of the school. He once hit a six in the Fathers’ Match that broke a window in the school building! Fortunately it was an open window with the wall behind it, so no further damage was caused. Shades of long ago. The first Sports day at Norman Court was held on the lawn in front of the building. It’s a long way from there to the new sports field!

Richard Gosnell (1951-54) - One of the subjects taught to nearly all pupils at Northaw was Latin. It still amazes me that I can remember the exact classroom at Surrenden Dering, and the desk I used, when we were learning to conjugate the future tense of ‘Amo’:- amabo, amabis, amabit, etc. We all had text books called “The Shorter Latin Primer”, and some boys’ copies of this book (recycled over the years to different students) had the title altered, by engraving heavily with a pen, to read “The Shortbread Eating Primer”!! My copy at one point was even entitled “The Lovely Shortbread.......”!! Thus our thoughts seemed to revolve around food. Anyway, it was a different use to put an idle pen to, compared to chiselling railway sidings into the desks’ wood grain with a pencil.

In the 1950’s, rationing was still in force, so confectionery was regarded as a treat. Pupils were issued with sweets after lunch and then went to rest and read books for 45 minutes before the afternoon classes began. We had ‘toy’ cheque books which were used to pay for the sweets. That was an introduction to commerce, I suppose.

I do not remember a general election occurring during my time at Northaw, and the earlier one which saw the Atlee government replaced by Churchill’s, was at a previous school. At Surrenden Dering we were shown flickering 8mm silent films of the Hiroshima nuclear attacks and skeletal figures rescued from Nazi concentration camps. At our tender age these films caused a sense of panic or nightmares, and I recall the message was partly political even then, as the Russians were portrayed to us, in Headmaster’s school addresses, as being as bad as, or worse than, the Nazis. Not that I needed such talk, because my father was then a Group Captain in the RAF, working at headquarters units, and I got occasional whiffs of the Cold War panic as the USSR exploded its first nuclear weapons and developed long-range bombers.

At Surrenden Dering the school put on a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera “HMS Pinafore”. I myself dropped out before the actual performance, but remember the rehearsals and the words of the songs. The music master, Horace Eady, opened the show by describing the opera as being the property of “The Oily Cart Opera”!! (The D'Oyly Carte at that time had exclusive rights to perform these operas).

Northaw School had all pupils’ height and weight measured each term, in the gymnasium. There must have been masses of data collected, but I wonder if it all got thrown away. Researchers would find it useful to compare with today’s children, in view of the current worry about obesity, inactivity and junk food. Both Surrenden Dering and Norman Court had unheated outdoor swimming pools, but the one at the old school was located, for some reason, a few hundred yards away, and we had to run across the fields in our swimming trunks. A bit cold on the return run after being chilled in water at early summer temperatures.

Angus MacConochie 1959-61 I now live here in New Zealand, in the coastal village of Point Wells - what a great place to live! I was in Hythe club and have very fond memories of Northaw. Since I left I have travelled the world, been there and done that, and in general had a good time. My main interest has been the world of film and television and the arts, plus photography, buying and selling houses, collecting art, travelling and enjoying life. Point Wells is one hour north of Auckland on the east coast. I really have to catch up with past friends from Northaw.

Graham Sheffield (1960-65) – I’ve been Artistic Director of London’s Barbican since 1995. In 2004 we re-launched the renovated Barbican Gallery with a new programme and profile. Previously, I worked for the South Bank Centre (as Musical Director) and for the BBC (as a Music Producer). I’m still playing the piano and am married with 2 children.

David Sheepshanks (1961-1965) - Last year I was shown around the school and, after 40 years, was very impressed....though it seemed strange not to see the evergreen Sarge!!

I am still Chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club and after some tough rebuilding years we are hopeful of better things to come. I am looking forward to having Tom Brown (2001-06) as my guest when we play Southampton soon....... Tom was very kind and gave me a guided tour ....... he has since left but had the confidence to keep in touch..... speaks volumes for the school. My life is very much wrapped around sport these days: I also sit on the main FA Board and have a new sporting strategic advisory business called Alexander Ross.

Anthony Whitaker (1961-66) - The detective work that I embarked on in the search for the footballers of 1968 and their contemporaries has inspired me to carry on trying to contact ONs for whom we have no current details. It has given me the excuse to write to perfect strangers (in many instances) just because they went to Northaw or Norman Court. At least, I hope it gives me that excuse. Happily, thus far, I have not been significantly rebuffed by anyone. It is impressive how many ONs can be found simply by putting a name into Google and it says a lot about the school that it has produced so many who are Google-able (if there is such a word!). To twist Andy Warhol’s famous remark, I suppose that, in time, we will all be famous enough to appear on Google (hopefully for longer than his 15 minutes). This is beginning to look like an advertisement – apologies!

All this research has brought other ON news to my notice: Oz Clarke and James May are not Old Northavians but the first episode of their Big Wine Adventure, shown on BBC2 in November 2006, featured Christian Seely (1969-74) in a starring role as he and his wife attempted to teach James May how to taste wine in Bordeaux. The look of anxiety, mixed with straightfaced apprehension, on Christian’s face as Mr May went through his man of the people routine did enormous credit to him, though whether the education he received at Northaw can take any of the glory is another matter! James Althaus (1970-75) and his wife, Emma, have a daughter called Florence Ruby (described as rosy and cherubic by her father) born in April 2006. His garden design business, MarmaladeJam is growing nicely (no pun intended). Julian Johnsen (1971-75) who writes elsewhere about a Northaw vs West Downs old boys football match, is now making wine in South Africa. His Vondeling Sauvignon Blanc – - is proving popular in my wine shop and I am really pleased to be able to list an Old Northavian wine! Did you know that the producer of Radio 4’s much lamented ‘Home Truths’ (amongst much else) presented by the even more lamented John Peel is an Old Northavian? Step forward, Chris Berthoud (1975-79), for it is he.

Brendan Kenny (1968-71) – Following Northaw, I went on to work as an engineer Officer in the navy. I sailed around the world a bit then settled back home in London in the mid 80's. Took up various trades, Hospital Works Officer (engineering again) and then became a salesman for a short and unremarkable time. I joined my brother Stephen (1970-75), also at Northaw, and helped run a company importing beer (Zywiec) and vodka (various) from Poland. Then a software company as Steve is a very fine programmer. We stopped that when our Mum got ill and we nursed her for nearly seven years until she sadly died in 2003.

To earn money I went back ‘on the tools’ and became a self-employed gas engineer / plumber which allowed me to work and share the care of Mum. This I still do. Ships are much more complicated than houses but the Corgi exams, for all those many out there who are still entranced by this narrative, are long and not so easy. 16 hours of exams. Every 5 years. But the life suits me and I have just returned from a skiing trip in France and am off again on Saturday, skiing for 3 weeks, in Canada this time. Oh, I had Oat Hoops for breakfast and I cannot fit any more boilers, baths, taps, sinks, or anything else until about the end of April.

Marcus Browell (1967-72) - I would be fascinated to see Norman Court again - I think the last time I was there was for the Centenary Ball in 1981, to which my brother, Quentin (1966-71) and I took a party. My abiding memory is of Denis Blake threatening to call the police at about 3 o'clock in the morning unless we left! By that stage we had enjoyed a lot of dancing to the steel band, a refreshing swim in the pool, and were in the process of trying to get everyone on the wooden horse...

Richard Howard (1967-72) - After 27 years in the Army I am now out in the big wide civilian world, working for EDS as a consultant. I started with EDS defence in Fleet in October, but within a month I was working on a totally non-military project, sorting out the governance for the work EDS is doing for Vodafone over the next 7 years. We are living in Fleet and enjoying being in our own house for the first time ever.

Jonathan Ford (1968-73) – my son Toby (7 years) and I enjoyed our trip back to Northaw for the 1968 reunion enormously. Toby made a new friend who he was very keen to invite home, however he lived three hours from us! (They got covered in sand in the sand pit and then water from the water fountain. I hope his Dad has forgiven us.) I've always loved the hall with the wonderful sweeping staircase ...memories of William Casement (1969-74) as Oliver Twist....the library with memories of the 1973 Fuel crisis when we lived by candle light.....of course, the woods with tree and underground huts and Sausage Saturday at the end of the summer term......the courtyard full of boys on roller skates (the old kind strapped over shoes) or catching beech leaves as the autumn winds brought them down in clouds. I was sorry to see no wooden black & white horse or individual gardens...

Jamie Bowden (1968-73) - I moved to Bahrain in November 2006 to become the British Ambassador. Great fun but madly busy and the heaviest rain on record to greet us.

Julian Johnsen (1971-75) - Last time I was at Northaw was 1990. I had 3 very old mates who all went to West Downs and we were arguing in the pub one day about who used to win the most matches. Only one way to find out and that was to organise a match. It was a cracking day. The rule was that you had to have been at the school within a 3 year period. The match was held at Northaw and Don Capes refereed and Billy Howard was on the touchline, among many others.

Our team was: Fred Picton-Turbervill (1969-74), Paul Crean (1968-72), Andrew Crean (1968-73), Philip Johnston (1971-76), Mark Servaes (1971-76), Shaun Uloth (1970-74), Andrew Morrison (1970- 73), who tragically died about a year later, Piers Lea (1969-74), Will Casement (1969-74), Bill Johnsen (1970-75), Will Sieghart (1968-73) and me.

Sadly, West Downs had been training in secret and thrashed us 7-0. Afterwards, we all went for a big lunch and bumped into Stephen Plaister in the pub. It was a great day.

Alan Coleman (formerly Alan Hunt) (1974-75) - I am Printroom & Facilities Manager at Colin Buchanan and I’ve been promised an assistant in the first quarter (before end of March) after an 18 month wait, although I don’t think it will happen that quickly. My new City & Guilds qualifications will have me visiting all my company’s outlying offices each year testing electrical equipment, which means one weekend each month I’ll visit Bristol, Newbury, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Galway, Dublin, Belfast and Manchester plus my London office and spread the job over a whole year. The new house in South Woodford is habitable but not comfortable. I need to replace some wiring, consumer box and shower pump and fix up the garden but otherwise it’s ok. The landlord is going to replaster after I’ve rewired, then I’ll redecorate. He’s putting a new kitchen in soon - it will be small - but at least I’ll get a new gas cooker instead of the broken (and dangerously wired) electric cooker!

James Hastie (1976-80) - Just moved to New York as Senior Specialist on British and Irish Art for Christie’s NY and settling in well (as well as you can with a 2 year old son in a mid town 38th floor apartment!). Found a brownstone in Brooklyn and moving in March.

Henry Warren (1978-83) - I have been working for the last 10 years (blimey, is it really that long!) as a consultant in the chemical industry based in London. Quite how I have ended up in this line of work is difficult to explain, as it bears little resemblance to a degree in European Business Studies from Hull. Moreover, those chemistry lessons never really held my attention for too long. On a personal level, I married Rachel in 2003 and since then have moved out of London to Faringdon (Oxfordshire) and we have had two children, Ella and Felix. So it has been a busy few years recently for the Warrens but great fun and could not be happier!! Not in touch with any ONs any longer, but would love to hear from anyone that happens to remember me, although this is doubtful as it was rather a long time ago now.

Rosanne Pilditch (née Soffe) (1979-84) - Having got married last Summer, Justin and I finally made the move out of London in April 2006 to Berkshire, near Wantage. We are in West Ilsley, a lovely, small village which is very sociable and there is always something going on. I am continuing to commute daily up to London whilst Justin works from home with Womble (Jack Russell puppy) to keep him company. Most of our spare time is spent doing DIY on our cottage!

Chris Pease (1982-85) - Chris is now married and living in Washington DC with his wife Stacy and their two children, Alex (2) and Katie (3 months). He currently works for Ciena, a network solutions company and recently moved from California where he worked for a number of companies in the fibre optics industry including HP and Agilent. Chris went to Imperial College London for his BSc and MSc.

Vita Pease (1982-87) - Vita lives in London and is working in sales and trading. She started work in finance in London with DKB, moved to New York with Merrill Lynch, continued to Rio de Janeiro and returned to London where she now works with Jefferies. Vita went to LSE for her degree and LLM.

Richard Badham (1983-87) - I had planned to move back to Australia last year (with my Australian wife Annette) but got offered a promotion at work (Rolls Royce) which was too good to turn down so we are still here. I now lead the design team for the RB199 engines (power the RAF Tornadoes) and do quite a bit of travelling to Italy and Germany for meetings which is hard work but fun. We have a baby on the way who is due on the 23rd January (Annette is hoping for an Australia Day baby) which we are looking forward to but I'm slightly nervous:). Things have been quite hectic with getting everything ready for the new arrival, maybe it's a man thing but I thought a cot, car seat and push chair would be it - how wrong I was!

STOP PRESS: Annette gave birth to a lovely baby boy, Oliver George Robert. He timed his arrival well, arriving on Friday 26th January (Australia Day). Mum and Olly are both well and healthy although I think he is running on Australian time as he cries all night and sleeps all day.

Ali Bush (1984-87) - I left Northaw hundreds of years ago (no, really, I feel that old!) and eventually became a nurse. I specialised in intensive care (or expensive scare as we like to call it), and currently work for a large charity in London called the NHS. I live with a fella who just left the navy, in a flat on the isle of dogs. I have no pets (yet), no kids (yet) and I love going to health spas! (I apologise if this is unhelpful waffle. I blame it on a combination of night duty/sleep deprivation). My brother Duncan (1982-87) works for Oyster Yachts and gets to spend his life sailing and mending them, the jammy git! He lives with his lovely wife Melanie in Ipswich, Suffolk and has no kids/pets etc yet either!!! Both of us would love to meet up with anyone who remembers us!

Tim Brooke-Web (1982-88) - I'm alive and well and living in Berkshire with my wife and 1 year old boy, Oscar. I work as a Publishing Director for a large publishing and conference company called Informa, based in London. Must admit that I am not in touch with anyone from Northaw, but would be good to hear from some of the old crowd. I very much enjoyed reading the last newsletter, great to hear the updates. After Northaw I went to Wellington in Berkshire, then to Stratford-upon-Avon College to complete a course in Drama, inspired perhaps by my appearance in a Northaw production of Wild Goose Chase, directed as I recall by French Master Mr Thompson. After messing around with that I went to Roehampton and studied English Literature before moving into publishing. I have many fond memories of the old School… A couple not so fond such as the sound gym-shoeing I once received at the hand of Mr Blake - long since forgiven! I think I may even have got slippered by Miss Sylvester - what an honour. That sort of treatment you have to pay for now! Mr Capes was a legend - I wonder if anyone else remembers our house, Dover, which he was head of, and the brilliant house barbeques we used to have at the end of the summer term?

Here are some other random thoughts that spring to mind when thinking of Northaw: Stilts and skateboards in the beehive, boilersuits, Blue Riband biscuits on trestle tables after matches, the white woman ghost in the library, hand inspections before lunch & 2 sweets after (unless you swept a handful out of the bowl to use for bribing people to help with prep). Radios in the 6th form, supervised baths, scary cellars where the tuck boxes lived, experiments with magnesium, steak and kidney pie on Mondays (urghh), sickbay with some great books like Boys Own annual, TV night watching Tales of the Gold Monkey, listening to 5 Star in the common room, illicit visits to the girls changing room, the communal bath in the boys, luminous pee after blancmange, Northaw Sings Out (our attempt to dominate the charts), dens in the woods, tobogganing in the field next door, huge crushes on older girls, total boredom on Sundays, a Ford Sierra Cosworth with the number plate Smithy, carol services in duffle coats, being told to go and report yourself to a master by a prefect, trips to Robin Hill or Thorpe Park, the dell, secret tunnels, school runs with Simon Orange (1983- 88), but the memory which stands out most? Days spent in punishment on the red carpet!

Tom Selway (1983-88) - Has decided on a career switch and pulled out of Real Estate in November - currently ski-ing in the TA championships but also seriously reviewing Asset Management having achieved much whilst working in his father's investment firm in the Gulf for a few weeks. During 2006 he did manage to keep up with several of his school friends who have remained loyal to him in spite of the event that occurred during his 30th birthday party. More recently, the Veterinary service is providing a considerable and very pretty outside influence on him at the moment.

Gussie Harris (née Davies) (1984-88) - dwelling in deepest darkest Essex (Brentwood) full time Mum to Mimi, 3 and Clio, 6 months in January and wife to Mike. Currently doing almost nothing other than drinking tea, wiping bottoms and feeding faces. Although, on occasion, back at uni part time studying to be an antenatal teacher for the NCT. Would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be inclined to get in touch. Still have a brother, Max (1982-88), now married and living in Cardiff with wife Kerry and one daughter, Isla 1, and another due in the spring. Max has retrained to become a barrister and is currently doing pupillage.

Holly Wills (née Soffe) (1982-89) - I got married in June 2006 to John. We had a gorgeous day and were lucky enough to be joined by 10 ON's amongst our guests, as well as Denis and Anne Blake. We are now living in Godalming. John works in London and I have been working for an engineering firm near Portsmouth.

Simon Woodhall (1983-89) - I have been a Teacher of Modern Languages at Marlborough College (where we do receive the odd Northaw pupil) in Wiltshire for the last four years but intend to travel to Australia in the summer with my girl-friend in search of employment down under for a few years. I have very happy memories of Northaw.

Paul Phillips (1984-89) - Continues to work at Deutsche Bank in the City (London) and in his “spare time” studies Law and pursues other academic, musical and other interests. Paul’s wife, Sophia is at the Royal College of Music studying singing and has appeared in several Scottish operas and various concerts recently. They are expecting their first child in the spring. They seem to have lots of fun together skiing, travelling, playing Polo and meeting up with close friends.

Will Wynne (1984-89) - I left eBay after 2½ years working in the marketing team to run my own start up with backers from my previous life in venture capital, and am now MD of, selling fresh flowers sourced directly from Holland through our website and delivering nationwide. I’ll spare you the marketing spiel, but basically our flowers are far fresher and much better value than almost anyone else’s, plus we sell ace chocolates, champagne and wines, balloons and soft toys! In the spirit of not missing a trick, all Old Northavians can have a discount…just type northaw into the discount code box on our checkout and you’ll get 10% off your first 3 orders!

Must say, never thought I’d become a florist but there you go. Strange world! Anyway, it’s been incredibly hard work and very fulfilling, with a zillion things to think about and take care of, but especially great to be my own boss!

Jamie Selway (1985-89) - still very much settled in Oman where he is a passionate Kite Surfer and, having pulled out of the property market, is currently Administrative Manager in his father's investment company. His girlfriend is earning more money than he is which seems to provide an incentive to move up the financial ladder during 2007.

Joanna Royle (née Phillips) (1986-89) - I am currently living in Birmingham - seem to be a bit attached to the place having done 2 degrees there (Psychology then Physiotherapy). I live with my husband James who is a surgeon, but is currently teaching postgrad medical students at Warwick Uni, and our 16 month old son Joshua who is a true delight. I work 2½ days per week as a senior respiratory physiotherapist at City Hospital Birmingham and love it. We are involved in our church and run a house group, and still most weeks find time for netball, football, rock climbing, cycling and entertaining. 2007 could be an exciting year as James’s contract ends in July and we’ll have to move to wherever he gets a job. Also, we are expecting 3 nephews / nieces in the Spring.

Henry Pease (1982-90) - now married and live in Brussels with my wife Nicola who I met on Operation Raleigh. We are expecting our first child in June 2007. I’ve just completed an MBA at the University of Virginia and am working for a start up renewable energy company. The company is headquartered in the US and I am opening up the European business starting with a project in Belgium. I went to University College London for my BSc.

Harry Badham (1984-90) - is well and still working for Allied London Properties in London. He has been involved in some big redevelopment in Manchester but I (brother, Richard) forget what it is. The following link says a bit about what he does (he’ll love me for that). He and his wife Viki had their first baby, Louis, in October 2005 – who is becoming a handful. A few years to go until he can be farmed off to boarding school. They have another child due in May.

Tommie and Ed Badham (Honorary ONs, apparently) - Tommie is living in RAF quarters with her pilot husband up in the outer reaches of Scotland. Horses seem to be the centre of attention. Eddie is still living at home (Mummy’s little boy) and has become a semi-permanent feature of the village pubs. When he is not in the pub, he is an apprentice electrician and part time cabinet maker. So if you need a French polisher who can change a fuse, you know where to go.

Rollo de Sausmarez (1986-91) - Living in Guernsey, with my fiancée Lindsay Henderson. I work in marketing at Healthspan- a vitamin company based over here.

Jonathan Sibun (1986-91) - I left Canford School in Dorset about 10 years ago and went on to study English and Italian at Leicester University. Since then I have been living in London, most recently in Battersea. I work as a reporter for Financial News, a City based newspaper. This year, together with a few friends I have launched a project called 7for2007 to raise £100,000 for cancer charities by taking part in a series of endurance events – is the website and any support would be hugely appreciated!

Guy Selway (1987-92) - is based in Catterick hugely enjoying training new recruits, after postings in Germany, Cyprus, the Falklands, Iraq and Brunei. His latest model (and very flash) Mercedes sports car is having its desired ‘poseur’ effect and pulling lots of girls. He seems very much set on remaining in the Army. Jim Selway (not strictly an ON; rather, a parent - Ed) – sends his best wishes to the other parents who also were as delighted as he was with the way Northaw developed their motley collection of offspring.

Timmy Badham (1989-92) - joined the Army and is currently in Afghanistan for six months, where he has grown a disgusting beard. He sounds like he is having fun and doing what he wants to do. When he is not doing Army stuff (and most of the time when he is) he does a lot of riding, hunting and partying! Mum and Dad are still living in Over Wallop and getting stubborner by the day, although they did go and see Borat’s movie the other day - Mum particularly enjoyed it. They are also enjoying their grandchildren.

Tim Macmillan (1989-92) - now married to Susan (summer 06 – wedding in Broughton, Harry Badham was best man), and has gone to work as a lawyer in Sydney for a few years. Susan is a doctor.

Jamie Macmillan (1989-94) - is living in East London and trying to find a career, according to Harry Badham.

Vicky Hicks (1989-94) - I am no longer Victoria Hicks but have taken the big leap to become Victoria Higgs. Jason and I married on the 26th August in Over Wallop, and the reception was at Newhouse in Redlynch (see photograph below). Old Northavians who attended included Sarah King (1989-94), Frances Slater (1991-94) and Camilla Happe (1989-94). Jason is an accountant working for PWC and we are living in Putney.

Victoria Hicks' wedding

Rupert Lane (1990-96) - I commissioned into the 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets (now 4 Rifles) back in August, and am off to Iraq in May for OP TELIC 10. Eddie Peerless (1991-96) seems to be accidentally destroying his accountancy exams and learning to live it up in London. Have also seen Will Reeve (1991- 96) and he seems to still be enjoying the easy life of a medical student. More exciting though - I bumped into Miss Forfar in Southampton over Christmas! Very strange - seemed exactly the same, only smaller!

Ben Stewart (1994-98) – has been in the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford recovering from an ileostomy that he had in December 06 (ileum and colon removed for any non- medical students). He has made a marvellous recovery and should be discharged tomorrow (written early Dec - Ed) to begin a 6 week convalescent period under the watchful eyes of his parents and big sister. He still has two operations ahead of him but is hopeful of being fit enough to return to Leeds University in Sept 07 to re-commence the Sport Recreation and Development (SRD) course, which he had to postpone this Sept after just two weeks because of illness.

James Chandler (2000-01) - James is in his final year at Winchester College currently intending to read Law at Durham University (A levels permitting), though still contemplating a joint English/French Law degree comprising two years in London followed by two years in Rennes. Having discovered a love of football in the third team at Norman Court, he has become a keen sportsman (football, swimming and water polo). He attributes his cross country success to Kevin Foyle’s attempts to rein in his surplus energy by making him run the perimeter of the grounds. His recent performance in St Swithun’s Girls’ production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, where he ended up preserving his modesty by a strategically placed dustbin lid, attracted some acclaim, and he is now extending his interest in drama by directing his House play.

Hamish (1998-2004) and Charlie Legge (1998-2005) - are both enjoying life at Marlborough. Hamish is gearing up for GCSEs this summer, with an eye already focussing on the sciences for A levels. Charlie is more languages & arts oriented at this stage. Both are in the Mountaineering team, with forthcoming trips to the Alps to look forward to.

William Chandler (2000-05) - William’s Div don at Winchester College feels that William needs to learn how to say “no” to the demands of others on his time. His keen interest in the organ, orchestra, DT, and stage lighting/sound which began at Norman Court keep him fully employed. He is in regular demand in the theatre, as well as becoming House handyman. His Housemaster, having given him the job of arranging the House “Children in Need” effort, suffered a certain poetic justice when Will constructed a set of stocks, and sold the right to pelt the Housemaster with gunge. It proved very popular and raised a lot of money! He is currently building a hovercraft, slightly concerned that it might be tricky to get it home from school. Apart from running a disco, he has no ideas as to what he would like to do after he leaves school.

Dear ONs

I am starting this letter/roundup on the 22nd January because for the first time since our honeymoon Anne and I have been away for Christmas. Our son, Robert, is the Headmaster of Peponi House Preparatory School in Nairobi and he and his wife Melanie asked us to spend Christmas and New Year with them, so we did just that. We flew out on the 13th December 2006 just before the fog rolled in over Heathrow and came back on the 10th January. Economy Class really is a cattle-truck, isn’t it? For which dwarves are the seats designed? The cabin crew could not have been nicer but some of one’s fellow cattle, especially the guy in front of me who leant his chair full back as far as it would go the moment we got airborne will, I fondly hope, roast in hell - standing up in the flames!

As usual there is no special order to the little vignettes (good word, that!) that I try to share with you; just as the cards and notes come out of the shoe-box!

Miss Wells (Mrs Cathy Tarrant) is working in a Pre School Group, now that both of her own children are in school. She lives in Andover.

Miss Richardson (Mrs Sue Perrin) is now working for a charity, Juvenile Diabetes Association, and she lives in Chandler's Ford, between Winchester and Southampton.

Miss Silvester works for Cancer Care (very like Macmillan Nurses) and lives with her mother in Bridport.

Miss Forfar has moved house and now has a lovely flat in a different part of Romsey. She is always busy playing golf, walking long distances, driving for Good Neighbours or going on exciting cruises.

Harris    Tim (1981-84) and Mark (1988-91) No special news except a reminder that Tim is married and has one small child.

Craig family   Matt (1983-88) and his wife Becks have bought a house near Bath and Matt pays working visits to Kabul, Angola and USA for the UN with his company Cranfield Mine Action. His wife teaches at Monkton Combe and their first child is due in mid-April. Duncan (1983-89) is subediting for national newspapers in London and doing some feature writing. He has been as active as ever, climbing in Nepal, and cycling the Pacific Highway from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco. He was last reported in South Africa with his South African girlfriend. There is no better reason for being in South Africa, I reckon!

Owen family    Harry (1987-93) married Naomi in August 2005 and works in advertising in the City. George (1989-95) works in television but I do not know in what capacity. Father, Kit, has retired from being the Chapter Clerk of Salisbury Cathedral. The parents have moved to Manningford Bruce, near Pewsey.

Harward family    Toby (1977-79) still lives in New York and Barnaby (1978-79) is in Warsaw with the Warsaw Business Journal.

Berens     Charlotte (1982-86) (the first news I've had of this dear girl in years!) sat next to a friend of ours who told us about Charlotte. I have since learned that she is engaged and will be married this year to Charles Dowson. Victoria Christie-Miller (1983-91) was married in October 2005, is living in Queensland, Australia and is expecting her first child this summer.

Williams    Simon (1978-84) is a consultant anaesthetist at Salisbury District Hospital and he was married on the 1st July 2006. He and his wife expect their first baby in June. The parental address is Aldsworth, near Emsworth. I have no news of Lucy (1980-85).

Askar family    We had just a short note to say that they are all very well and that they may be moving closer to this part of the world. Tantalising, but I know no more.

Fuller family    Rollo (1976-81) and Annabelle have a little boy now and Hugo (1978-83) and Catherine are expecting another baby in June. All seems well with parents!

Bush family     Duncan (1982-87) is with Oyster Yachts and loves his job; he is building a large extension to his house. Alison (1984-87) has moved back to London and works in the ITU in the Heart Hospital, which is part of University College Hospital, London. Her other half, Anthony, has left the Navy and is job-hunting; they live in the London Docklands.

Baines family     Lucy (1979-81) (Dr Lucy Smith) is now a consultant anaesthetist at St George's Hospital. She and her husband Graham live in Cheam and their sons Samuel and Patrick are enjoying life at Homefield Prep, in Sutton. Lucy sent us a super A4 page of colour pics of the family - wonderful! I have no news of either Simon (1979-84) or Peter (1986-91).

Bowyer     James (1980-88) is engaged to a doctor called Pippa - I know no more – and they are to be married in May. Congratulations from all the Northaw Family.

Quarrelle family     Olivia (1988-92) is still in New Zealand with Chris – “not married but as good as”, says Mum! Olivia will be home for a few months in May and Mum’s fingers and toes are crossed that O will like the northern hemisphere. Robin (1989-94) also went to New Zealand and qualified as a ski instructor but is back in Switzerland as part of the management team with Ski Verbier.

Plummer     Simon (1986-91) wrote us a super Christmas letter and it is worth quoting almost word for word. “This year I have some news of my own. On a blazing hot day in July I married Hannah, my girlfriend of ten years. Andy Hobbs (1986-91) was an excellent Best Man, including in his speech a suitably embarrassing extract from a letter written to my sister from Northaw one Sunday morning. Andy's theatre company put on a superb outdoor performance of Romeo and Juliet, with an adapted romantic ending!” I must add here that Andy's touring company put on Romeo and Juliet for real at the Larmer Tree Gardens, which are not far to the west of us here. Sadly, Anne and I could not go. Alistair Smith (1986-91) was also at the wedding; he’s a budding country musician apparently. (Is Country anything like Country & Western? If so, I like it, especially if a banjo/ukulele is included). Simon lives near Stroud.

Hobbs  Andrew (1986-91) works for a PR company as a day job and, as you can see from the preceding paragraph, produces and acts in the British Touring Shakespeare Company. He has been doing some tutoring recently but has not taken on any more academic work at the moment. Andrew went on to Canford from Northaw and thereafter did a BA (Hons) in Drama at the University of Wales in Aberystwyth. After that he did a one-year Professional Diploma in Acting at the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama. He has been acting in the summer tour of the Touring Shakespeare Company for over 5 years now. Well done indeed!

Phillips      Joby (1986-89) (Mrs Royle) is a physiotherapist married to an outstanding surgeon who, I beg you to believe me, at the time of writing cannot get a job with the NHS! (What in God's name is the matter with this land of ours?). They have a lovely little boy called Joshua who is now just over one year old. The Royle family (and I bet they would like a tenner for every time THAT silly pun has been made!) live in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

Heminsley family      This wonderful family are back in England and house-hunting at the moment. I know full well that they really wanted to settle in Italy and I pray that one day their dream may come true. They deserve it. John and Kate sent us a newsy email and here are the ON bits. Alexandra (1984-88) has secured her first book deal with Macmillan Publishers and so is an authoress (I want a signed first edition. DRB) and the general setting of her novel is, I think, New York. William (1988-89) has passed the ninth and final part of his accountancy exam retake and so is now a qualified number cruncher, God bless him. Charlotte (1986-89) has been promoted to “Branch Manager, Fulham” within the estate management company for whom she works in London, Douglas and Gordon. She won a prize from them for being one of the best new letting agents in the company. To think that Charlotte had dyslexia-type difficulties in her school years! As her justly proud father says, “Dyslexia rules KO!”

Warden     Nicola (1983-88) (Mrs Porteous) sent us a sweet card that told us that daughter Poppy was born on the 26th November 2006. Poppy is doing well and doing her best to keep her parents on their toes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I gather that this is called 24/7, an abbreviation with which I am “well” displeased; it is a “pants” intrusion from across the Atlantic! Congratulations, Nicola and Daniel, from all the ON family.

Dixon     Robert (1977-81) (Rob) now lives in Hamble, Hants, and works in a most distinguished manner for P&O. Having discovered that Rob spoke German as well as several Scandinavian languages, P&O sent him to Hamburg to do a sorting out job for them. Rob arrived in Hamburg on board the Queen Mary 2! Real slumming, I call that.

Grant family     Who could forget the School Doctor and family? Nick (1985-89) turned 30 in 2006, much to his mother's chagrin, and he is still busy with Boston Consulting Group. Jo/Joey (1985-89), whom we met all too briefly at Holly Soffe’s wedding, is in Oslo barristering for a shipping group. Tom (1985-93) is a consultant with T-mobile. He went to Perth to watch the third Test Match - alas, an experience he cannot have much enjoyed. Why do the Aussies gloat so? Mum regrets that there are no signs of marriage yet in the family.

Neilson family    Super card from Mum! Biffy (1980-88) now works for 3, the mobile phone company and lives in Maidenhead. Toby (1988-94) has passed his part 2 architecture in June and is working for Peter Barber Architects, near King’s Cross. Parents still live in Fyfield, not very far from here.

Firebrace family     Dear Mary (Mum) wrote us a lovely card with a positive plethora of news, chiefly about other ONs! Of her own family, Charles (1983-88) lives in Chicago and is married with two children; Patrick (1983-88) also is married with two children. Does James (1981-86) still live in Winchester, I wonder? Mum tells me, bless her, that they have seen a lot of Kate Harvey (née Norbury) (1984-87); she has 2 super sons and a baby due any minute now. Katherine Edge (1983- 89) has married one of Patrick's greatest friends. Edward Lee (1984-88) was married in November. Tom Leslie (1983-88) is well but has no offspring as yet. Coupled with all this news was an invitation to drop in on the Firebraces at Sutton Scotney; we shall do just that!

Waterhouse family     Charlotte (1985-90), whom we saw and heard playing the organ for Holly Soffe’s wedding, has completed her first year as Head of Science at St. Olave’s and St. Saviour’s school. Tessa (1987-92) is engaged to Owain who is clearly a whiz chef.

Pearson     Tamara (1979-81) (Mrs Thom) with her husband Mick took their children to Lapland to meet the “real” Father Christmas this past December. What a super idea! Do any of you remember my challenging you, in class of course, to prove that Father Christmas does NOT exist? None of you succeeded in spite of much adolescent scoffing about physical impossibilities! (Please note that to prove a negative is virtually impossible so my money, if betted, was safe.)

Soffe family     I will stick to this name so that you can all enjoy the news! Rosanne (1979-84) and her husband Justin now live at West Ilsley (it’s where the Newbury by-pass rejoins the old route of the A34 north of Newbury) and Rosanne was matron of honour at Holly's (1982-89) wedding to John Wills. It was a glorious ceremony on a hot June day in the little church of Hawkesbury Upton in Gloucestershire. Uncle and Aunt James and Penny Pope, who had done such a magnificent job of parenting the three children, were the hosts for the superb reception at which there were 10 ONs, all of them quite the most beautiful / good looking / handsome young people. Anne and I were photographed with them all and we looked SO SMALL! I think it was Sian Kenyon (1984-88) who said to us one of the most moving things ever. She said, “Do you have any idea of the MONSTER you two have created?” She was referring to the huge body of ONs that make up “our” children, bless her. Simon (1979-87) was, of course, there and indeed gave Holly away and the update on him is that he and Alex were married in early September. What a success story the Soffe family present to us all! Real happiness, born out of real tragedy. Just to emphasise the point, Anne made a list of the ONs there:- Emily Snagge, Joey Grant, Joby Phillips, Charlotte Waterhouse, Sian, Amy and James Kenyon, Rosanne, Simon and Holly Soffe, of course.

McKeown family     Catriona (1979-87) (Mrs Sempala-Ntege) is much enjoying living in Hamburg and is learning German so that she can keep up with her children who attend the Kindergarten (all German nouns are written with a capital letter - such a boon when translating!) at the Fuhrungsakademie. Catriona and Nathan are hoping to buy a house in France. Hamish (1978-85) is Director of Music and lives in one of the Staff Houses at Northaw (Norman Court, now) and has two children. Kieron (1978-84) also has two children and lives in Salisbury.

Kenyon      Sian (1984-88) sent us a typically Sian-type email and to paraphrase it would be sacrilege so I shall quote a little of it. “We had an uneventful Christmas this year, apart from the endless conversations about Amy’s (1984-89) wedding. She got engaged in October to Neil and will become a Rafferty in August 2007. I have been asked to be a bridesmaid and will become a vision in tangerine tartan (my italics. DRB). It is going to be a bit of a Northaw event with Simon Soffe as an usher and Katie Halsey (1984-87) as the other bridesmaid. We will have the Soffes en masse as usual. James (1986-91) is having a very busy life; we never quite know where he is and what he is doing. Amy and Neil have asked him to be Chief Usher at the wedding and he is insisting that we all call him ‘Master and Commander’. Somehow I don't see this happening!”

Phillips     Paul (1984-89) is still with Deutsche Bank (or maybe that should be the other way round now!), owns a polo pony or two and is studying for a law degree IN HIS SPARE TIME. My last Head Boy has never, ever let me down, bless him. His wife sings with the Scottish National Opera so I imagine that the Phill’s is alive with the sound of music!

Snagge     Emily (1986-91) has been working for Sunsail but will go back to nannying for a bit. Her parents have moved to York and her father has a Retired Officer’s job in London. Parents are in Slingsby, York.

Blake   From time to time, in your friendly and pleasing way, some of you ask after our family and us. The only true ON is David (1973-79), who is Project Development Manager for the Area of Outstanding Beauty (AONB, for short) of Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs. His office is in Cranborne and he lives in the village of Sedgehill, between Motcombe and East Knoyle, north of Shaftesbury. Our other family, whom some of you will remember, consists of Helen, married to the headmaster of St Neot’s, Eversley; Robert, Headmaster of Peponi House Prep School, Nairobi, (where we spent Christmas and the New Year); Angela, an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto (she has a baby son now, a super little chap called Asa). With the exception of Asa, all our grandchildren are now very grown up, ranging in age from 23 to rising 18 and three of them are at universities or indeed just finishing and looking for jobs. Anne and I are as well as you would expect with the added nuisance that I am now not nearly as mobile as I used to be - end of boring topic. Anne “stewards” at the National Trust’s Mompesson House in the Close in Salisbury. I guide in the Cathedral and sometimes also in Longford Castle, the home of the Earl of Radnor. Oh! I got my AS Page 21 of 24 and A2 Level Italian back in the summer; only a Grade D but, as my dear teacher said, I “passed”! Now to start trying to put it into practice!

Gibbon      I am sure that many of you will remember with affection Mr and Mrs Gibbon, Laurie and Rita, and their daughter Imogen. Many of you will have been taught music by Laurie and maybe piano by Rita and all of you will remember his Congregational Practices in Chapel on Thursdays. I am really sad to have to tell you that Rita Gibbon died very suddenly in November; it was a vile cancer. I wrote to Laurie on behalf of the whole lot of us.

You will know, by now, that Kevin Foyle will be leaving Norman Court at the end of the summer term to take up the post of founding Principal of a new independent school in Singapore. All good fortune goes with him; he has done a great job at West Tytherley and has been especially good with all of the ON family members.

May God bless and be with you all and may The Force be with you!

With our love

Denis and Anne

For those of you who sent in entries, and for all those who are still reading, I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you! Keep the news flooding in – from now, and until a new Editor is appointed, send your entries to to make it into next year’s newsletter. In the meantime, register on the new website: where, in due course you will be able to access contact details for all other ONs who have registered. If you were reminded about a long-lost friend, check out the database and get in touch!

Jalal Janmohamed (1988-96) As this will be my last newsletter as Editor I thought I would take the opportunity to fill you in with my news. The best perk to being Editor will be the ability to abuse the position with a little direct advertising for my company – you will have to excuse me!

Following graduation from Nottingham University, a friend and I set up our own company last year selling probiotics – the friendly bacteria better known from the Yakult / Actimel ads - but ours are in capsule / sachet form and each different product targets a particular health condition e.g. bloating, immunity, traveller’s diarrhoea etc. We sell into independent pharmacies & health food stores under the DTECTA Probiotics brand. Of course, we could do with a helping hand! Check out our website – – see which probiotic is right for you - one will be ;) - and give it a go! Guaranteed you will feel the difference and come back for more! All feedback, drop me a line on Thanks!

Why form this Network?   In addition to fostering the friendships established whilst at school and continuing to maintain your interest in the school itself and those generations that follow you, one of the practical advantages that membership of the Old Northavian Association should bring is the network of friends that continue into your further education, your gap year and then into business and your career. The sheer scope and complexity of choice and decisions can be bewildering in your late teens and twenties to put it mildly. But we believe that there are generations of Old Northavians who precede you who would be extremely happy to offer advice and practical help as you pursue your education and careers. If only you could take advantage of it!

The ONA can provide such a network by building a database of ONs who want to offer help and those who want advice. We could not and should not pretend to substitute for all the official agencies that exist to offer career advice etc. But many jobs come through one’s network of contacts. There is every advantage therefore to joining your prep school network. Indeed, your parents may be even more seized of the importance of this step as you move towards the job market and remain on their payroll after many years of expensive education!

How will it work?

Q. Who does the ONA Network benefit?

A. All members of the ONA, and their parents, who wish to take advantage of advice from Old Northavians with first hand experience of schools, gap years, universities and colleges, business and careers.

Q. What does the ONA Network offer?

A. The offer depends entirely on the goodwill of those members of the ONA who are prepared to make their experience available to ONs. The potential scope is almost unlimited but embraces advice, work experience, recreational opportunities and business contacts and job offers.

Q. How does the ONA Network work?

A. We have had limited feedback so far to the Network. To add your requirements / offers, please fill in the attached form and send it to

Q. When will information about this Network be available?

A. The Network information will appear on the website to which registered members can gain access.

NETWORK – FIRST STEPS – please reply if interested

Name Start Left Present occupation Offer Wanted
Public School
Business & careers


Name: Years at Northaw / Norman Court (Dates):
Present occupation: Destination:
Offer (include contact details if different to those in the List – no more than 200 letters): Help wanted (include contact details if different to those in the List – no more than 200 letters)

Please complete this form and cut and paste it in to an email titled “ONA Network” to Anthony Whitaker

This Old Northavian Newsletter may contain personal data. It is posted on the website of the Old Northavian Association for the benefit of Members. If you are in any doubt as to membership, you should contact the Hon Secretary of the ONA Disclaimer: this Newsletter may contain personal views, which are not the views of the Old Northavian Association unless specifically stated. Please complete this form and cut and paste it in to an email titled “ONA Network” to Anthony Whitaker