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First, a note of apology to all those who sent us their news when we first asked for it.  You could, with some justification, have given up on ever seeing your contributions in print!  This has not been the fault of our noble Editor, Holly Wills (née Soffe) who has, yet again, done a magnificent job in collating all the bits of news etc sent in over the last few months.  My thanks, again, to her for another excellent Newsletter, which you will find below.  Last year I was somehow able to blame the volcanic ash from Iceland for our later than hoped for publication date.  Clearly, I can’t do that this year, with the Good Friday sun blazing away outside as I write!

So, moving swiftly on, I can report on another good year for the ONA.  Our 1990s era Reunion in September 2010 was another success although, if I’m being honest, we would have liked to see a few more ONs on the day.  However, those who attended clearly had a good time and it was, as always, a pleasure to welcome them all back.  The Committee has been joined this year by Alastair Edmonds (1988-96) who has taken on the role of Events Organiser from Sam Hollas who has retired from the team due to the pressure of work.  My thanks to them both, one on the way in, the other on the way out! 

Alastair has already started organising our next ON get-together with enthusiasm and this will be something of a new departure for us.  He will be sending out an open invitation very soon but, at the risk of spoiling the surprise, we hope that as many of you as possible, and particularly those in London, will meet up in a central London venue (to be announced) for a Summer evening drink.  As the ONA does not charge a fee for membership we have no funds for this sort of event so the drinks will not be on us on this occasion.  If enough ONs respond, it should be a memorable and enjoyable evening…..

Over the last few years, I have become very conscious that there are several younger ONs (well, younger than me anyway!) serving in the Army in one or more of the recent / current conflicts in Iraq and now Afghanistan.  I believe there are one or two out there as I write and others who have recently returned.  I do not wish to single out anybody by name and, indeed, there are probably security issues involved in doing so, but I feel that it is important that they all know how proud the whole Northavian community is of them and of their achievements.

I have previously pointed out that, in theory, I really should have retired as your Chairman by now.  In the absence of any volunteers to take over from me, I am happy for the time being to carry on in the role.  However, I do not wish to cling on indefinitely, like some North African dictator, and there will come a time when I must stand down, so I will continue to call for volunteers, please (to be met with another deafening silence?).

Finally, I must again offer my sincere thanks to all members of the ONA Committee who continue to give up their valuable time to attend meetings and organise events.  May I remind all those who have not fully completed the membership registration process, to do so now?  You can also keep in touch with us on Facebook, though I haven’t the first idea how to do so!

With best wishes to you all

Anthony Whitaker

Dear ONs

The first three months of 2011 have been traumatic.  Not for our Norman Court family, but for the world at large.  The School has been praying for those caught up in revolution, earthquake, tsunami and nuclear emergency.  We are so safe in our affluent Western world that we struggle to empathise with those in crisis, but I am determined that our children are informed and encouraged to care.  Their reaction is as I would expect from Norman Court; they are curious, concerned and already knowledgeable about world events.

Whilst our daily lives do not call for heroism I am keen to share tales of great bravery and sacrifice which demonstrate the strength of the human spirit and elevate our concerns from their petty default.  The resonance of Toshihito Aisawa, a 9 year old Japanese boy whose entire family was swept away in the tsunami, is powerful to our children.  He holds a message, written for his missing parents, which reads: 'I will come at 11 o'clock tomorrow, so please wait. I will come again tomorrow.'  He has become a poignant symbol of the human tragedy in Japan.  Day after day, this boy has walked from shelter to shelter looking for his family.  Clutching hand-written signs bearing the names of his missing family, the schoolboy has spent the past weeks doggedly wandering the corridors of refugee centres, in his ruined home city of Ishinomaki.

We may never call upon our children to be heroes, but when the world seems like it has gone mad, stories of resilience remind us that where there’s a hero, there’s hope.

In our small school universe, we have been focusing on widening our horizons and achieving our goals.  I am delighted to report that we have already received six scholarships this year.  A defining characteristic of Norman Court is the successful amalgamation of our three aims.  First, we deliver consistently excellent academic results to Public and Secondary Schools.  Secondly, we strive to develop informed, caring and kind young people, who understand their responsibility to the world at large and are not distracted by unpleasant material concerns.  Thirdly, as educationalists, we extend and expand the curriculum at every turn to challenge these young minds and inspire questioning.  Evidence of this is the announcement that Norman Court has been selected as the winner of the Prior Park National Poetry competition.  This is a tribute to the talented and creative teaching of the English Department under the direction of Cathy Sealey.  Indeed, it is a tribute to the teaching power of all our staff whose dedication, skill and flair is evident across all disciplines.  The children are lucky indeed to be in the care of the inspirational, creative, fun, thorough and effective talents of Norman Court’s teachers.

The challenges which confront the children of today are now different to those you faced and we try to equip our children to face the myriad media of the modern world with a sense of balance and perspective.  I hope that you as Northavians were supplied with that grounding in your time here.  I am pleased to note that all those, whom I have met here at ON reunions over the last three years, do fit that bill.

I am always pleased to welcome Old Northavians to Norman Court – please contact the School Office and I will be delighted to see you here in West Tytherley.


Paddy Savage

With the ever increasing use of cyber space and social networking sites, we want to ensure that you are all aware of the ON presence on Facebook.  This has been used in the past, for all the reasons that you would expect of a Facebook profile!  Details of reunions, ONs sharing nostalgic memories and photos and some with a question regarding Northaw/ Norman Court days to which they would like the answer!  For those of you who are not already a member but would like to be, please do take a look.

Benjamin Thomas Blyth

13 March 1977 – 11 August 2010


My brother, Ben, was born in a British Army hospital in Rheindalen, Germany, on 13th March 1977. Our parents vividly remember his immediate smile and a head full of dark curls.  Those dark curls showed only a little shade of grey when he died, some 33 years later, in the early hours of 11th August 2010, on a railway line just outside Winchester. 

Throughout our childhood together, Ben never lost that smile.  He was always coming up with some new adventure, some new trouble we could get ourselves into, or he was making us all laugh with his lightning quick wit and his hilarious mimicry.

In 1986 he joined me at Northaw, and he spent four very happy years at the school.  In the days and weeks after his death my parents and took comfort from the recollections of former school friends: Ben charging round the rugby pitch caked in mud,  looking out for younger boys, making whole classes erupt with laughter - teachers trying not to laugh themselves - and most of all Ben’s endless capacity for mischief and fun.

In 1990 he joined me at Allhallows School in Lyme Regis.  Ben suffered from dyslexia and found school learning difficult, but in 2001 he graduated with an HND course in Travel and Tourism from Gloucester College of Technology.

Working life was no easier for Ben than education had been, and after suffering a series of knockbacks, and spending many years struggling to find his place in the world, he slowly and imperceptibly fell victim to the mental illness that would eventually claim him.  For the final five years of his life Ben made himself homeless, first in London and finally in Winchester.  He was grateful for all the support received there from the kind people at the Trinity Centre, the Salvation Army and the Night Shelter, as well as the community mental health team.

To the end he retained his energy, his optimism and his quick wit.  He was a gentle giant, a towering man of six foot four who was always ready with a kind word and a wide smile.  He made many friends in Winchester – as he had done throughout his tragically short life – and his funeral in Winchester Cathedral on 24th August was attended by more than 200 people from all walks of life.

Many ONs were there, including Anne and Denis Blake.  We sang Onward Christian Soldiers, my parents and I remembering journeys home at the end of term, when Ben, with the memory of the Headmaster’s trumpet accompaniment in the morning service still fresh, would sit on the back seat of the car singing that hymn at the top of his voice.

It was a fitting end to a life that had touched many, a life that brought more joy and more love than Ben himself ever realised.

Alex Blyth


Mark STRATTON (1939-1944)         2010 was a very sad year for me as I lost my wife in March. Having shown no signs of illness, she had a heart attack on Liverpool Street station, just as we were about to go on holiday to Syria.  I have only been in touch with one Old Northavian, namely Desmond Heyward (1939-47) who was a contemporary of mine.  We both went to Surrenden in September 1939, he was 6 years old and I was 8!  I am afraid there are not too many of us left of that vintage.  I did manage to get to Iceland to fish for Atlantic salmon on a very beautiful river called the Sela which was very prolific and enormous fun.  The ash problem did not seem to affect the fish.  I had a new granddaughter born in New Zealand in February named Hannah Miranda Stratton, I have only seen her on Skype but she is coming to England for Christmas.

Anthony TANNER (1948-1952)          I was at Northaw when it was situated in an Elizabethan Manor house in Pluckley, Kent and run by a marvellous cricket-loving gentleman called Cecil Winter.  On his retirement in 1950 the school was taken on by Tommy Reynolds, a retired army officer, who had been captured by the Germans in the opening weeks of WWI and spent the next four years in a POW camp.  In October 1952 the school was destroyed by fire.  Fortunately there was no loss of life although, as a youngster awoken at about 2am in a smoke filled dormitory by matron who led us to safety, it was quite a scary situation.

My wife and I visited the school at West Tytherley for Founder’s Day in 2003 and so enjoyed it that, when we were visiting my brother in law Stuart Morris, a retired Headmaster who lives not far away, I mentioned that it would be good to visit again.   As luck would have it the current Headmaster, Paddy Savage, had worked for Stuart at Papplewick in his gap year and as a result we were invited to lunch the following day.

Paddy had arranged for Anthony Whitaker, the Chairman of the Old Northavian Association, to come along as well and he produced some wonderful memorabilia spanning the history of the school for us to look at.

Having not stood in a lunch queue for 50 years it was a most enjoyable experience and the food we took back to the Headmaster’s drawing room was delicious.  This was followed by a most interesting tour of the school which included the chapel, where I saw many familiar names recorded and found a board dated 1952 with my name inscribed on it as winning the gym contest.  (Incidentally, I can still touch my toes!).  We also enjoyed seeing the gym and the animal enclosures.

We had a most enjoyable visit and a striking aspect was the extremely happy atmosphere within the school.  Long may it continue.   NIL NISI OPTIMUM is a very appropriate motto.


Patrick MARTIN (1951-55)                  Not so long after we enjoyed the fire at Surrenden Dering in 1952, I recall that Mr Rawl (?) attempted to teach us carpentry at the newly inhabited Norman Court.  As I work on this autonomous timber building in the Limousin forest I recall Rawl (& the wooden toast rack): do any Old Northavians remember the woodwork shed (north west corner of the school complex, by the gym)?

Simon GOSNELL (1953-57)   This year I travelled with my partner, Pam, to a reunion at Zinnowitz, on the German/Polish island of Usedom by night train.  Back home, in Cambridge, I sing with a community choir; write poetry with the U3A; and am learning German as we're going again next year.  I saw my brother Richard (1951-54) at Wootton Bassett in July, he seems to be thriving.

William MATHER (1953-1958)          I left Northaw in the late ‘50s and this is the first time I’ve written.  So believe it or not I’ve just retired and maybe that’s why there’s time to write.  I would never have guessed it at Northaw – but I’ve spent the last 30 years working as a vicar.  That was never part of my grand plan – if I ever had one.

To begin with I went to Art School – after Bryanston – but the temptation of a summer job as bosun of an ocean racer somehow got in the way.  After that there were attempts to get more fluent in French and German, followed by a year’s business school in St Gallen.  All the time there was a lot of questioning about life in general and to cut a very long story short I found Christianity came up trumps.  I’m sure the Christian influence of those services in the chapel at Northaw were significant,  as were things like Richard Lewis making us learn the Beatitudes by heart.

I think what really happened was that all the threads came together and yes - I decided to say “yes” to Jesus Christ.  That was in 1970, while working as a journalist in Sheffield, and was probably the best decision of my life.  After marrying Libby (the Parish Worker!) in 1976 – the second best decision - we moved to Nottingham in 1977 where I started vicar-training at St John’s College.  All of a sudden the academic side – not to mention the spiritual – was looking up, after a long lull.

What followed sounds very normal stuff but so many of the people-situations have been so wonderful that I would never call parish life “normal” or dull.  There was a curacy in St Leonards-on-Sea and vicar jobs followed in Sheffield, Derby and Hull.  There was also a brief three-year call to work with SOMA – Sharing of Ministries Abroad – which involved some amazing short-term teaching visits to different parts of East Africa.  Unfortunately funding dropped too low and I had to leave but it was great while it lasted.

I think the only contemporary I have met since Northaw was Nick Forster (1956-60).  He and I both ended up at the same German language school near Frankfurt and had serious competition over a certain young lady – he won!  But I’ve seen him since and that’s long since forgiven!

As for now?  Well Libby and I moved in June 2010 to Fortrose, near Inverness, where we are spending most of our time doing up an old house.  The snows came in late November and the central heating was finally connected two days before.  Big relief!  We have three lovely grown-up children: Hannah, Sarah and Thomas and a first grand-child on the way next February, thanks to Sarah and her husband Dan.

In a funny way wheels go full circle.  I loved art at Northaw and was given an “Art Exhibition” to go to Bryanston.  There was no money involved but it was very encouraging.  Over the years I have continued to paint, sketch and draw and exhibit.  So as well as all the DIY there is more time to paint, which I love.  Thank you Northaw – you were a big encouragement on the art front so many years ago.  Sorry I’ve never got round to saying this before!

Tony THOMSON (1956-1961)             I have now retired from a career in IT at IBM, the London Stock Exchange, and finally at PA Consulting, and am living in St Albans with Jill, my wife of over 40 years.  We have three adult children and two grand-children.  Our youngest is still at home, having graduated in Classics from Durham this year and being caught, like many of her generation, in the great graduate job crunch.

Last month I dropped in to see Stephen and Iris Plaister on my way down to the Isle of Wight.  They were in fine form.  Stephen didn’t seem to have changed at all.  They looked after me with a delicious dinner, which Stephen insisted on initiating with the Latin grace from my old college.  I must confess that I couldn’t remember it, but Stephen had it in a book of graces!

I get to visit Pa in the Isle of Wight every two or three weeks.  I take him around to his favourite places in the Island that he can still get to and see the sea – Victoria Fort, Cowes Esplanade, for example - do some shopping for him, chat, get him some meals and so on.  It has been rather a trying time for him recently as he has been in considerable pain which has restricted his mobility.  He had an operation in April which gave him a few months improvement, so we were able to do a bit more last summer.  This included a sailing day trip with a charity called the Disabled Sailors Association.  In Port Solent they have a catamaran and a monohull that have been specially adapted for use by disabled sailors, with very ingenious ramps for wheelchair access and lifts from the cockpit to facilities below.  It was quite an exercise in logistics; getting up very early to drive to Ryde, park on the pier head to catch the high-speed ferry, and a taxi to Port Solent the other end, then back again afterwards.  However, the reward was a great day’s sailing in the catamaran with lunch anchored just off the beach in Osborne Bay with a view looking up past the huts and bathing machines to the house.  The catamaran is so stable that it doesn’t really feel like being at sea, but it meant that Pa could helm a big boat for a bit, for the first time for about two decades!  Pa continues to delight in seeing and getting calls from ONs, both ex-pupils and teaching colleagues.  Regulars that I know about are Tony Thomas, Colin Cooper, the Bakhtiars, Billy and Heather Howard, Nick Forster, Simon Clements, but there are probably many others.

Martin TAYLOR (1957-61)                  Well ... I am 61 and my wife, Miranda, a fine artist, died aged 52 in August 2010 from cancer.  Our boys are grown up, (Hugo, 24, had a first class History degree from Newcastle and now works for a head-hunter in London; George, 23, is busy programming computers for Sophos in Abingdon, when not playing squash).  I have been retired for four years and paint a bit here in Warwickshire and at our croft on Loch Kishorn in Wester Ross. 

Christopher JOLL (1957-1962)           I really only have one piece of news which is that, after two years of very hard work last year I brought the Royal Tournament back to Earls Court after a gap of 11 years.  In fact the show, which I wrote and directed, had to be called The British Military Tournament.  It was a complete reworking of the old Tournament and a completely new show – albeit featuring many of the old favourites such as the Field Gun Run (performed not by the Royal Navy but by the boys of Wellington College), the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery Musical Drive and, of course, massed military bands.  Perhaps there were Northavians past and present amongst the 50,000 who attended Earls Court and helped us to raise a serious six figure sum for ABF the Soldiers’ Charity?

Duncan WALLACE (1958-1962)        Quite a lot has been happening out here in this remote outpost of the EU empire (Bulgaria).  I'm hoping that the Wallace clan will have increased by one by publication date.  I keep in touch with Tommy Thomson from time to time and he seems fine.

Stephen PEGLER (1959-64)   I have mostly retired and moved to Pulborough where I am still involved in early music and bird watching.

Philip SHAW-HAMILTON (1964-65)            Thanks for keeping in touch - I know it must be like banging your head against a brick wall to get people to write in.  The days, weeks, months fly by out of control and suddenly one realises there's more time behind you than in front and doesn't one wish that we could give up the things that tie us down and go and LIVE!!  My milestones are that my daughter, Catherine, is expecting her second child so I may yet be the irresponsible Grandparent again next year.  Her first, Jasmine, is now 3 and a half years young and very sweet as young girls always are.  I managed to recover from a prolapsed disc to reach the finals of the World over 55 singles, and win the World over 55 doubles at Real Tennis.  Great game.  Next tourny in Australia 2012 when I shall be attempting to gain the over 60's titles!!

Otherwise life is the treadmill of work, walk the dog, eat, walk the dog, play tennis, walk the dog, sleep, walk the dog.  We are dog owners (not dog lovers) without a garden!  Having said that, we go to our cottage in Pembrokeshire several times a year which recharges the batteries.  Since my parents died a few years back we rarely come down Winchester way.  I am afraid I have not met any Old Northavians over the years but will look with interest at your site.

Jonathan FORD (1968-1973)              We have recently moved from Dorset (Iwerne Minster) to Witney, near Oxford, where we are renting and looking for somewhere more permanent in the villages around Leafield, Stonesfield and Combe.  Toby (11 years) and Grace (8 years) are at The Kings School in Witney.  I am still designing gardens….currently in Wiltshire, Dorset and Oxfordshire.  See some of my work on

Anthony RINGROSE-VOASE (1968-1973)   After Northaw, I studied Agricultural Science at Oxford University and then did a PhD in Soil Science at Reading after which I moved to Australia to work as a soil scientist with CSIRO (the Australian government's research organisation) in Canberra, where I've been ever since.  In 1990 I married Ethel who is from the Philippines and whom I met whilst consulting for the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines where she worked at the time.  We have 4 children from 20 to 13 years old.  I now lead a team researching land evaluation methods.

Apart from projects in Australia, I've also done research in Indonesia, Philippines and Brunei.  We are about to start a four and a half year project in the southern Philippines improving land evaluation and land use planning in upland areas both to improve farmer livelihoods and to reduce the risk of catastrophes like flooding, landslides, and soil erosion.  One of my activities in my spare time is to organise an eight day, 150 km pilgrimage walk in the lead up to Easter every two years from Canberra Cathedral to an old monastery out in the country.  Great way of keeping fit and getting right away from everything for a few days.


I have fond and grateful memories of many staff, but in particular Don Capes (who, apart from encouraging me at maths, gave me a love of walking through the Northaw Orienteering Club that he started), 'Dusty' Miller (from whom I acquired a fascination with foreign lands), and Cmdr Archer (who I have to thank for starting me on a career in science).

Jamie BOWDEN (1968-1973)            The only news from this end is that I am coming to the end of my tour as Ambassador in Bahrain and in the summer will move down the Gulf to become Ambassador in Oman.


Philip MARSDEN aka Philip Marsden-Smedley (1969-74)             I completed my eighth book The Levelling Sea, to be published by HarperPress in June 2011.  I am a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and my work has been published into more than a dozen languages.  I live in Cornwall.

Bill HOLLAND (1973-78)                     We (me, Fiona and Alicia, aged 6) have just moved from Battersea to Upton, near Andover.  Rather fittingly the house is called Blakes House!  Alicia will be starting at Vernham Dean school in January, Northaw being just too far away for now.  Meanwhile, I am still at KPMG after 23 years, primarily providing audit and accounting advisory services to property companies and funds in London.  In the summer I enjoy playing cricket for the I Zingari and the Old Wykehamists and look forward to being much closer to Winchester.

Hamish McKEOWN (1978-85)           I am still teaching Music at Norman Court, ably assisted by my wife, Nicola.  We have two children, Martha-Rose (8) and Morgan (6) both of whom attend the school.  We have just moved house to Winterslow and are looking forward to Christmas at home.  My brother, Kieron (1978-84) continues to live and work in Salisbury.  He has two boys both of whom attend and enjoy the local rugby club.  His wife, Karen is busy working on this year's pantomime at Salisbury Playhouse.  My sister, Catriona Sempala-Ntege (1979-87) and her 4 children are still in Germany while her husband, Nathan, is out in Afghanistan.  She recently received notification of their move back to England (Andover) next May.

Clare WALKER née COOPER (1980-85)                   I am married to Adrian, who with his job dragged me kicking and screaming up to Nottinghamshire although, with my father in East Grimstead, I do still come down to the area.  We have two children James, 6 and Katie, 4.  I used to work as an IT Trainer, but currently have a little part time job organising funding for Legal Aid.

PEASE FAMILY:        Christopher (1982-85) is living in Potomac, Maryland, USA.  He is married to Stacy with two children, Alex (6) and Katherine (4) and works for Cienna, the network communications specialist in Baltimore, MD.  Victoria (1982-87) lives in London and is married to Richard with two children, Cedric (1) and Daphne (October 2010).  Henry (1982-90) lives in Geneva, Switzerland.  He is married to Nicola with two children, Sebastian (3) and Jack (1) and works for RWE Supply & Trading in biomass renewable energy, spending the winters skiing and summers golfing and taking care of little people.

Nick BOXALL-HUNT (1983-1987)                  Two hours into 2010 I got engaged to my then girlfriend Victoria on a beach in the North Island of New Zealand.  On 23rd June (my birthday) we exchanged on a new house.  Two days later we were married in Chelsea Old Church (where Henry VIII married Jane

Seymour) with the reception being held in Templeton Estate (where Churchill stayed temporarily).  We honeymooned in Tel Aviv, Israel for one week.  Since then we have moved into our house in Earlsfield, London and we are now expecting our first child in March 2011. On "count back" at our 12 week scan we were told that the baby was 13 weeks and 2 days.......making it a wedding night baby!  So, after putting adult life off for as long as possible I have packed a lot into this year!  Looking forward to seeing what next year has to offer.

Augusta HARRIS née DAVIES (1984-88)                  Mike and I are still living in Brentwood, Essex. We have two daughters; Mimi and Clio, 7 and 4 respectively.  Mike works in the city, I don't lift a finger.  I see a good deal of my brother Max (1982-88) who is a barrister and lives in Cardiff with his wife Kerry and their three young daughters, Isla, Mair and Kitty.

Nick GRANT (1985-89)          I’ve finally escaped from the consulting world and am now working for Cancer Research UK as a Strategy Director and living in Barons Court after finally buying a house earlier this year.

Harry OWEN (1987-93)          I continue to work at the newspaper City A.M. as the Commercial Director, where I have been since it launched five years ago.  My eldest daughter, Florence started school last year at Hampton Court House, where my wife Naomi works for Sarah Carroll.  Some might remember she taught us Cookery classes at Northaw and her son Henry (1990-93) is now Florence’s Godfather.  He runs a successful photography holiday company called Frui.  I regularly bump into another ON, Tom Curry (1988-93), who works near me in the City and shares the same train from Richmond.  Otherwise, my youngest daughter Darcey, turned one last year and has finally started sleeping!

Rosie McGRIGOR (1988-92)            My bit of news is that I got engaged to my boyfriend Jonathan Todd in May (6th May - election day - how romantic!) and am getting married in Wiltshire in May 2011.  All very exciting.

Kat WICKSTEED née Brady (1988-93)        We had twin girls in August!  A set of baby sisters for Toby (March 2008).  It was a bit of a shock to the system but all settling down well now.

William DOBBIE (1988-94)                  I have finished at theological college in London and my wife and I have moved to Newcastle where I am Assistant Minister in a church, and loving my job.  Anyone is very welcome to say hi via Facebook.

Jalal JANMOHAMED (1988-96)      I have taken the plunge and proposed to my long-term girlfriend - Camilla!  Managed to keep the proposal a surprise and she loves the ring... so I thought I had really 'done my bit'... but actually the wedding planning started that night and hasn't stopped since!  Wedding is planned for October and before then we may move away from London and settle down Hampshire-way closer to my work.  Does anyone still live near Andover?  Get in touch!  A quick plug re: work... we continue to grow and introduce the world to probiotics!  But the economy is our biggest concern and the fear of the double-dip looms over us!  Probiotics are still seen as a luxury (not the necessity they truly are) so we'll have to see the impact of any slowdown. As ever, any ONs can buy at a 20% discount on by entering ON2011 - but hurry, it expires at the end of May!  Quickly to cover other news, James Shelley (1990-96) & his girlfriend Pilli are expecting their first child on 25th April; Harry Toogood (1988-96) is alive and well working down Bristol way and Jennifer Smith (1991-96) continues to terrorise the kids up in Glasgow with her swimming lessons.


James McCOMAS (1992-1997)         Having gone through King's School Bruton, spending a year in Africa teaching and backpacking around Botswana / Namibia and South Africa, I went to University of Surrey where I studied International Hospitality and Tourism Management.  I studied for 4 years, spent a year in Vail, Colorado at a 5* resort on industrial placement and graduated in 2007 with a 2:1.  I am now in New Zealand where I work for ACCOR Hospitality as Restaurant, Bar and Conferencing Manager for the Mercure Picton Marlborough Sounds.  I manage an award winning restaurant ( in what I definitely consider paradise.  I find life in New Zealand an amazing experience compared to the serious bustle of England, and highly recommend it to anyone who wants a holiday!  If you know of any other Old Northavians from the same era as me out here, do let me know...always good to hear from old acquaintances.

Lottie DUTTON (1993-96)      Last September, I decided (along with my Dad and a great friend, Rosie) to hang up my dancing shoes in exchange for training pumps and head to the techno dreamland that is Berlin to join 40,000 runners in the 2010 Berlin Marathon which took place on Sunday 26th September.  I ran the marathon for my chosen charity which was Cancer Research UK and I raised over £2,300 which was truly fantastic.  It was an absolutely amazing day (despite the pouring rain!), finishing through the Brandenburg Gate at 4 hours, 47 minutes with Rosie and my Dad.  The awesome crowds and atmosphere really made it, as we shuffled our way to the finish line.  A fantastic experience and well worth the jelly legs and aching muscles after!  Having had such a good experience in Berlin, I’ve signed up for the Paris marathon this year, which is taking place on 10th April 2011.  The training this time round is somewhat less exciting, mainly because the days are pretty cold, dark, windy and rainy – all of which makes for an unpleasant jog!  At least for Berlin I could train in the summer months…

Dan McCORMACK (1993-99)          Thanks for your message on Facebook, I am happy to update you on what I've been up to!  This last year I was commissioned from Sandhurst and am currently in Afghanistan with the Royal Irish Regiment, in southern Nad-e Ali, currently over half way and am due back home in April 2011.   Also last year I got engaged to my girlfriend from university, Christina Price; my choice of best man is Tom Langdown (1991-99)!

Sarah McCOMAS (1994-99)              Having been made redundant back in the early summer, I've found it was the best thing that could have happened.  I'm now working as a pastry chef for a busy bakery in Dorset which is proving to be great fun, with lots of scope for the future.  Still love travelling, wish I could do more of it, but I'm looking forward to another trip to New Zealand in January to see my brother James (1992-97), who is now in his fourth year out there.  Would love to catch up with anyone who left in '99, or thereabouts!

Luke WILSON (1995-98)                      Luke’s mother writes: I am writing to you about my son, Luke Wilson, who went on from Norman Court to Marlborough College, then to Oxford (University College) to read English, before going to Sandhurst and subsequently joining the Parachute Regiment (3 Para) in Colchester last year.  He is now serving in Afghanistan for 6 months, returning in March 2011.


Valentin KOSACHEV (1998-2001)                  I am working in the Middle East, in the Kingdom of Bahrain to be precise, travelling a lot between Russia, Bahrain, China and occasionally to Europe.  I have a trading business here, so if anyone wants to trade or do business in this region I can provide all kinds of assistance.  I have been in contact with some of my classmates from Norman Court.  As far as I know most of them are doing well, but didn't get much detail from them.  I’m planning to travel to England some time next year just to see if I can get hold of anyone from Norman Court.  Henry Bowers (1999-2001), who joined us in year 7 I think, is already waiting for my visit.  But it's kind of hard to get away due to the current financial situation.

EDMONDS FAMILY:            As Oli, Chris and Katie Edmonds are away at present, their mother has given the following news on their behalf:  Oli (1997-2001) has graduated from Bristol University in July with a first class degree in Mechanical Engineering.  He is now working for Atkins in Bristol and loving it!  He is training for the Ironman triathlon next July.  Chris (1998-2003) is in his third year at Loughborough University doing Chemical Engineering.  They are both doing the Paris marathon in April!  Katie (2000-05) started at Cardiff University in October and is doing Psychology.  She is in the University panto at Christmas, ‘Alice in Pantoland’, so we are all going to see her.  Katie was at Dauntsey’s with Carley Evers (2001-05) and sees her a lot.


CHANDLER FAMILY:          As both James (2001-2002) and William (2001-2005) are away at present their mother has given the following news on their behalf:  James is currently in his last year at UCL studying law and French law, having spent the last academic year at Paul Cezanne University in Aix-en-Provence.  He is heavily involved in the inter-university mooting (mock trial) competitions and is playing rugby for the university.  He is currently planning on working in Paris for Deutsche Bank after graduation, but anything could happen!  William finished at Winchester in June 2010 and has pursued his love (and extensive experience) of the technical side of the theatre to university level, studying both theatre and film in Los Angeles (where else?) at the University of Southern California.  His recent commercial for a Hollywood hairdresser carries the benefit of free haircuts, so his parents remain hopeful of recognizing him when he lands at Heathrow for Christmas.

Rory HITCHEN (2000-05)                    Well the biggest change in my life recently has been getting into Oxford Brookes University to study Mechanical Engineering.



We understand that Ed ERSKINE (2000-06) is Head Boy at Canford;  Kitty SOMERVILLE (1998-2006) is Head Girl at Dauntsey’s (and Head of House) and that Sam FLETCHER (1996-2006) is Head of House at Winchester College.  Congratulations to all three!  And apologies to any other 2006 Leavers who have reached similarly exalted positions but are not recorded here – send us your news and we can include it in future editions.



Don and Mary CAPES (Staff 1970-1999)


We've been all over the place in the last twelve months.   All in England as we find the hassle at the airport intolerable so we are exploring parts of England that we haven't visited before.  We've heard from one or two ONs and would be delighted to hear from more either by post or email.



Headmaster 1973-1989


January 2010        With the advent of email and the formation of things like websites, Facebook, blogs, iPods, iods, isods and heaven knows what else, the number of cards and newsletters has quite rightly diminished and I am seriously thinking of bowing out of the Royal Mail type of annual newsletter to you all, fond of you as Anne and I are.  For this year anyway, I shall stick to what I have done for years, so here goes!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!   What a greeting that is on the day that VAT went up by 2.5%!  Nevertheless, it is sincere.  Let’s face it, 2010 was a pretty bloody year for so many people, including us, but let us not dwell on that.

Robert Dixon (1977-81)               First out of the box is news of Robert Dixon, Captain of the School in 1981.  He is now Head of Overseas Sales for P&O and lives not far from here.  He appears in the local amateur dramatic society and recently had to kiss and later strangle a fellow member of the cast who happens also to be a fellow-employee in P&O!  I hasten to add that this took place in a play!!

Waterhouse family      The senior family has moved out of London to Faringdon and thus closer to us in Charlton which is good news.  Charlotte (1985-90) is Assistant Head of St.Augustine’s CE High School in Kilburn.  Of her sisters, Tessa John (1987-92) has a second son, Tristan; Sarah works in Cornhill Street and Eleanor is in graduate recruitment with Barclays Capital.  As you will see, I have included Honorary ONs with ONs!

McKeown family        Parents are still in Winterslow as now also is Hamish, having moved out of a Norman Court staff house; Kieron still lives in Salisbury and Catriona is in Germany while her husband is in Afghanistan (our thoughts and prayers are with him – and her).

Grant family             Joanna (1985-89) got married in Norway in 2010; Nick (1985-89) is working for Cancer Research UK and Tom (1985-93) “helps the trains to run on time” (this is from Mum’s card!).

Tim Ault (Staff 1984-86)    Tim (Staff in the 1980s, chiefly Latin) tells me he has lots of black and white photos of Northaw and that he has a website –  I must visit it sometime and see if I have any powers of censorship!

Firebrace family          James (1982-86) now has two children and he and his family will shortly be moving to Sussex.  Patrick (1983-88) is happy and well in Bristol and Charles (1983-88) is, like his twin, working very hard and living in Esher.  Father, Dr David, will have retired by the time this letter is typed and is, joy of joys, re-marrying in the spring when he will move.  I am sure that many ONs will remember with deep affection Mary Firebrace who so tragically died in 2008 and so we can all rejoice, congratulate David and send him every wish for a wonderful life.

Maureen Lockyer           Mo, who joined us at Northaw in 1974 and has never left the kitchen since, featured in the local paper here because she and Trudy Smith have clocked up 35 and 25 years service to the school, as chef and cleaning supervisor respectively.  Anne and I have seen Mo very recently when we were invited to be at Mo’s mother’s 90th birthday.  She, Mrs Ashford, was part of our incredible “team” at Northaw, too!  How lucky we were in the kitchen and cleaning departments!

Lucy Smith née Baines (1979-81)       Lucy sent us a card with a super picture of her family inside it – husband Graham, also a doctor, with children Samuel, Patrick, Edward and Juliette.  They are clearly very well indeed but I marvel that dear Lucy can find time still to be a busy doctor.  While I was on duty as a Guide in Salisbury Cathedral some months ago, I found that I was attending the funeral of the Baines’s grandmother, a great lady well known to Anne and me.  All three Baineses came over to see me at the end of the service and it was a most joyous and moving reunion, but such a sad occasion.

Joanna Royle née Phillips (1986-89)      Joanna – some of you may remember her as Joby – sent us a newsy letter about her family and their very busy lives.  The family has grown with the arrival of Heidi on 18th June.  Congratulations!  The card was signed, complete with photograph, by/on behalf of Joanna herself, James, Joshua, Bella and Heidi.  Super!

Soffe family               Rosanne Pilditch (1979-84), Simon Soffe (1979-87) and Holly Wills (1982-89) live in Berkshire, Gloucestershire and Gloucestershire respectively and all within an hour of each other.  Clearly, they are all well and very busy, and making the best possible use of their shared house in Cornwall.

Selway family                      Tom (1983-88), Jamie (1985-89) and Guy (1987-92) are all successful, healthy and seem to be either directly or indirectly involved in things military; certainly Guy is a full time “ossifer” and Tom is a T.A. corporal.  The long Selway letter from Mum started with the Royal Visit to Oman when the Duke of Edinburgh and Jim Selway swapped Korean War memories!

Perrin née Richardson           Sue, remembered by you lot as Miss Richardson of Miss Silvester’s team, is very well and lives in Chandler’s Ford where she and husband Clint have had a rather anxious year what with redundancy rearing its ugly head.  They have had some wonderful walking holidays, though.  Sue keeps in touch with Mrs Cathy Tarrant, whom you will remember as Miss Wells, who is married, has two children and lives in Andover.

Harward family          The more senior among “our” children will remember Robin Harward with affection and his widow Sue tells us that both Toby (1977-79) and Barnaby (1978-79) are well in Tyre and Warsaw respectively.  (That’s Tyre as in “Tyre and Sidon” of biblical fame, by the way, not as in Quickfit!).

Craig family             Duncan (1983-89) is now Deputy Travel Editor of the Daily Express; his wife Eileen works for The Times!  Matt (1983-88) is very busy at Cranfield and his fellow Old Honitonian (ex Allhallows) wife Becks teaches at Monkton Combe.  We are very glad that the parents Craig live not at all far away, between us and Northaw in fact!

Justin Rudolf (1977-82)                  Justin emailed me in September and said, “…my old public school is rather tiresome and communicates via pointless begging letters – it’s Northaw that I remember with fondest memories and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the pictures on the website….”  Bless him, he misses The Dell and the uniform but Elf and Safety have done for the Dell, alas.  Super to hear from such a grand relation of Dr Barnardo!

Ben Blyth (1986-90)    On the 24th August, Anne and I attended the funeral, in Winchester Cathedral, of Ben Blyth: he was 33.  Ben had opted for a totally alternative life-style and had become well known to the various charities and authorities in Winchester; he slept rough frequently and also visited the excellent night shelter in the Durngate part of the city.  His funeral was an incredible testimony to a young man known as The Gentle Giant (I think he was about 6’ 7” tall); there were representatives in the Cathedral of the Salvation Army, the Hampshire Ambulance Service, the County Police (two enormous and friendly officers) and the Winchester Churches Night Shelter.  The address, given by a canon of the Cathedral, was stunning and the best “eulogy” I have ever heard.  Ben’s uncle and his brother Alex (1983-87) also spoke most bravely.  The singing was terrific!  Requiescat in pace.

Edge family               Titus (1980-86) is Head of History at Dulwich College where I now have a nephew in the English Department.  Titus and his wife Marina have 3 children; of his sisters, Kate Williams (1983-89) my last Head Girl is married with 2 children and Lizzie (1988-93) has a young daughter.  All very good news!

David Blake (1973-79)        David was married on Easter Saturday 2010 to Sheena and they now live in Chilmark.  It was marvellous to see so many of his friends, including Chris Greening (1975-79) from the other side of the world!  Dave is Project Manager for the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty of Cranborne Chase and the West Wiltshire Downs.  This current year will see the third of his biennial “Woodfair” events at The Larmer Tree gardens near Tollard Royal and it will be on the 8th and 9th October.  The event is a brilliant expo of everything and anything to do with wood.  If you are anywhere near there at that time, then go!  The whole thing makes a stunning day out for all age-groups, and I speak from personal experience.

Denyse Silvester            Denyse, whom so many of you remember with deep affection as our Head Matron is working for Dorset Cancer Care and can’t wait for her early retirement in a few years’ time.  She will have earned it many times over.

Alison Forfar                       We see Alison every year, sometimes more than once.  She is extremely busy doing Stewarding in Romsey Abbey, being a Good Neighbour Volunteer, playing lots of bridge, and also playing golf and last but by no means least hugely enjoying being a frequent and intrepid “cruiser”.  She has been to so many exciting and stimulating places!

Harris family                         Tim (1981-84) and his family now have a new house on the family nursery near Newbury and all is well.  Mark (1981-83) is to be married to Olivia in Bristol in April: our congratulations to them.

Bush family              Duncan (1982-87) is married and lives in Suffolk; his sister, now Alison Hopkins (1984-87) is also married.  Parents Graham and Gillian seem to spend most of the year sailing great distances, frequently for the benefit of others as well as of themselves.

Badham family           Very sad news here.  Nick Badham, the father of the family, died suddenly while working abroad last year.  Patricia Badham took the three little children of her son Harry (1984-90) to a gift fair at the school recently and was very disappointed to find NO RED CARPET in the front hall!

Kenyon family              Sian (1984-88) writes that she is up to her eyes in preparation for her Panto which takes up all the spare time she has not got.  Her sister, Amy Rafferty (1984-89) and her lovely baby are in France whither they have gone with Amy’s husband.  Sian now lives in Clapham Junction (four trains passing every minute, “as any fule kno”) and has bought a beautiful pink coat.  The parental Kenyons are both as busy as ever they were but Mrs Kenyon’s work brings her south to London every so often and thus Sian can see her more frequently – a good thing.

Well, that wraps it up for this year and it just remains for Anne and me to send you our love, best wishes and fondest memories of you all, “our children”.  God bless you,

Denis and Anne