The 84th AGM of the Old Pangbournian Society was held at 6.00pm on 17th October, 2017 at the Naval Club, 38 Hill Street, London W1J 5NS. The AGM was followed by a Committee meeting and by a reception afterwards in the club library. About 40 OPs attended.
The retiring chairman of the Society, Merrick Rayner (68-73), opened proceedings by terming 2016-17 “a quite stunning year” and describing the long list of College centenary-related events that OPs had taken part in. By one estimate, well over 500 OPs had appeared at one or other reunion and more than a dozen OP-specific events had been held around the world.
In his Chairman’s Report on the state of the OP Society, Merrick thanked all those in the Society and at the College “for their support and camaraderie” during his four-year term as chairman. He added that alumni organisations such as the OPS “cannot afford to stand still and dwell on the past” and hoped that the varied programme of events and initiatives for all ages such as the regular email newsletter with links to the OP website which have characterised his time in office would be continued.
On behalf of the Society, he presented a framed photo of HM The Queen at the College this summer to Thomas Garnier by way of thanks for all the support he had received from the Headmaster, and a second framed photo to Karen Hartshorn for the work she and her team in the Development Office undertook in the centenary year for OPs.
Both the Treasurer, Pip Smitham (64-69), and the Hon. Secretary, Rupert Meacher (87-90), stood down from the Committee as did Fergus Van Niekerk (93-00). David Nicholson (64-68) was elected the new Chairman of the OPS and Anna Sterling (00-01) was elected the new Hon. Secretary. A new Treasurer has yet to be found. Charlie Parry (81-85), Paul Lawrence (01-08) and Pip Smitham all agreed to serve on the Committee on an ex officio basis for a further 12 months.
Two new Honorary OPs were elected – Karen Hartshorn; and Ann Hessey (nee Medway) who worked at the NCP 1962-67 and has remained a keen supporter of the school ever since. Three new members of the Committee were elected: William Skinner (82-87) who now has two children at the College; Claire Morphy (nee Whitehead; 90-92), a vet in Whitchurch who was one of the first two girls to attend Pangbourne; and Andrew Scott-Priestley (58-62) who worked with the incoming chairman and is one of three brothers to have gone to the College.
At the Committee meeting which followed the AGM, reports were given by the Headmaster, the Chairman of the Board of Governors and the OPS Treasurer. Forthcoming social events were highlighted including the final OP centenary event in Chicago on October 27/28, the annual Over-60s lunch at the Turf Club November 21, and the gala weekend planned in Edinburgh on the RY Britannia on June 29/30, 2018. An update was given on OP Sports. Communications issues involving the OP website and the OP Magazine were discussed; it was revealed by Mike Nicholson (57-61) that there are now 333 OPs tweeting. More than 600 OPs belong to the OP group on LinkedIn.
Various amendments to the rules of the OP Society concerning Honorary Membership, Finance and the make-up of the Committee were proposed and passed by the meeting. Specifically, it was agreed that no person may hold office in the OPS for more than six years. Colonel James Greaves (90-95) was elected to liaise with the new OP Military Alumni group on behalf of the OPS Committee.
A number of relevant facts and figures about OPs were given by Karen Hartshorn in her presentation. Of an estimated 6,000 living OPs, the Society has some sort of contact details for 67% – a great improvement over the last two years. There are now 500 female OPs. The OP data base now includes careers-related information on one-third of the 4,000 or so listed. Seven in ten OPs live in the UK; the largest overseas contingents today are in Australia, New Zealand and the USA.
In conclusion, the President of the OP Society, Richard Shuttleworth (57-62), the Chairman of the Board of Governors, Roger Lane-Nott (58-63), and the Headmaster Thomas Garnier collectively presented a silver Armada dish to Merrick Rayner by way of thanks for his unstinting and selfless work for the Society and the College during the last four years.
Arrow Trophy – 14th October 2017
Preparations for this year’s regatta, against alumni of 24 Independent Schools, started early, writes Peter Kewish (Rear Commodore, Events, OPYC). We learnt from past years that practice make perfect. In an attempt to improve our chances of silverware, we chartered our boat for an extra day preceding the race and employed the skills of a professional coach to whip us into shape.
This turned out to be a good move as we sailed up and down wind in The Solent, practicing and fine tuning our tacks, hoisting the Spinnaker and jibes. With our coach guiding us through every detail, by afternoon the crew were working well as a team, the communications where clear and we all knew what we had to do and when.
Friday evening the race crew met up with the OPYC Support Rally expertly organised by Ian Williams. Drinks kindly hosted on board Andy Roy’s ‘Troubadour’, kicked of the weekends social side and continued with 20 of us in an Italian Restaurant on Cowes High Street.
This now well-oiled race machine went out on the water on Saturday morning with high hopes. 4 Fleet races later we knew that the competition was putting up a tough challenge. Our position off the start-line needed to improve significantly.
That evening, the Race Post Mortem was washed down with drinks hosted by Robin Batt both on Slipperway and on the pontoon alongside. Our chairman, Merrick Rayner had invited the crew of Roedean the join us who kindly brought canapés. The group then split, Support Rally to Murray’s and Race Crew to The Cowes Yacht Haven for dinner and prize giving.
Sunday morning saw the fleet split, the top four from Saturdays racing went on to Match Race whilst the remaining 21 boats had 2 fleet races to contend for the Charterhouse Bowl. Unfortunately for Team OP, our starts line position had not improved. However, in the final race of the regatta, we had a cracking start at 3rd over the line. The light wind had also improved as we closed-hauled it up to the windward mark, holding our position. On rounding the mark, the Spinnaker went up as perfectly as it had done all weekend but a bad jibe on the downwind leg and we lost all the ground we had made.
We finished the regatta 14th which would seem unfair considering how hard the crew had worked and performed in both practice and racing. However, the top 4 boats had knocked off the usual winning suspects, proving how high the standard of sailing was this year.
Next year’s campaign starts in earnest!
The 2017 Crew:
Peter Kewish (’89) – Skipper
Hugh Botterill – 1st Mate
Ian Kirton (’88)
James Morrow (’87)
James Minter (’88)
Andrew Gilruth (’88)
[Photos courtesy of Alastair Cameron]
OPYC Nab Tower Race – 7th October 2017
Andy Roy – Skipper
Peter Kewish (’89)
Ian Kirton (’88)
Robin Myerscough (’88)
Nick Woods (’88)
The Nab Tower Race is the last of the Island Sailing Clubs Inshore Series. Put simply, it’s a race from Cowes to the Nab Tower (6 Miles South of the Eastern Solent) and back again, some 24 Nm. 54 yachts raced in two fleets this year.
The OP crewed Swan 46 ‘Troubadour’, crossed the start line in 3rd position and, once the spinnaker was flying, quickly caught up with the back end of the first fleet. A beautiful run easterly past Ryde and Seaview before tightening up to the wind and sailing South towards the tower. Unfortunately, once the spinnaker was down, a loud ripping noise came from the front of the boat as the luff on the Genoa parted company from the rest of the sail. This was ‘Game over’ for Troubadour and she retired from the race.
Thanks go to Andy Roy for the use of his lovely yacht.
Rear Commodore – Events
Keith Russell Hiscock (68-73) died suddenly at the age of 62 in Hastings, New Zealand on 26th April 2017. His sister Carol May writes:
“Keith left Pangbourne College in 1973, having represented the school in rowing in the 1st V111, rugby in the 1st XV, and gymnastics, particularly cutlassing.
He emigrated to New Zealand in 1977 with his first wife, Susie, a New Zealander, and son Daniel and became financial controller for a New Zealand branch of an Australian Company specialising in agriculture and livestock. He lived initially in Wanganui and subsequently in Auckland before retiring to Hastings, shortly before his demise.
Outside his corporate responsibilities, he enjoyed a very active life in New Zealand pursuing his interests in outdoor activities with his love for gardening, fishing and general husbandry on at least two smallholdings.
His funeral was attended by family relatives in New Zealand with his younger sister, Susan a resident in Auckland, and also his elder sister Carol who travelled from the UK. Keith’s parents were not able to attend, his mother being to ill to travel and his father had just returned to the UK having spent some time earlier in April in his new home in Hastings.
In addition to the eulogy of his life read by Carol and Susan, his fellow OPs Rob Hole, Tim Quinlan (68-73) and Mike Wray sent a message of condolence and fond memories.
Keith leaves three sons – Daniel by his first marriage, and Matthew and James by his second marriage to Louise, all of whom still live New Zealand.”
The 4th Flower Festival in the College’s history, and the first since 2007, closed its doors October 15th with a short service in the Falklands Islands Memorial Chapel following a highly successful two-day show that attracted more than 1,200 people to the College.
Designed to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Pangbourne College and the 35th Anniversary of the liberation of the Falkland Islands, the festival took months to organise and was put together by more than 30 local flower clubs and individual volunteers. The title of the show, ‘Century of Change,’ was chosen to reflect and celebrate the school’s centenary and to illustrate the enormous changes which have occurred in the College’s experience since 1917.
Spread around the ground floor and upper balcony of the FIMC, the displays interpreted and reinforced various themes from the College’s history. They included many of interest and connection to OPs including life at Pangbourne then and now, the advent of girls, sport, the role of Drum Major, uniforms past and present, links with the village, Flag Values, the World War 11 memorial window, ‘Eternal Father, Strong to Save,’ the Paravicini blazer and the school’s royal connections.
The Falklands conflict was highlighted in several ways including a display in front of the evocative main window, through an explanatory display about why the chapel is at the College and another around the RFA Sir Galahad Bell, and by a connecting display to the memorial to the fallen at Mt. Longdon on the Falklands.
Life at Pangbourne Collge in the 21st century also came across strongly. Imaginative displays interpreted the school’s Flag Values, its commitment to the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, the importance of academic study and research in 2017 and the role the FIMC plays in the life of the school today.
In the words of the Headmaster, Thomas Garnier: “It was a stunning display.”
- The Old Pangbournian Society, Cyprus Branch is celebrating the Centenary year on Friday October 27th At the moment there are just two Old Pangbournians living here Louis Carrel ( Illawarra ’62-67) and Mike Jones ( Illawarra ’62-66) but there are rumours that there might be a few in Paphos and knowing O.P.s from our era there must be a few hiding in the Turkish North of Cyprus which has is no extradition agreement with the UK.Mike writes:“We are holding the event at the internationally-renowned Syrian Restaurant, Georgiou A’, Germasogeia, Limassol ( it’s close to Louis’s house) . Drinks beforehand are on the patio at his house and after the meal dancing under the stars ( weather permitting and if we are sober enough or still have the energy ) around the pool back at Chez Carrel.Should any O.P.s happen to be in Cyprus on that date we would love to have them and their better halves come along. Further information from:
Recently we received the following email message from Phil Williams in Australia:
“In this the centenary year I thought that it may be of interest to you that my uncle Cyril Williams (17-19) was the number two cadet when the College first opened.
My uncle was the youngest of four brothers. His three older siblings went to Highgate School.
He entered the Merchant Navy and, after some years at sea, spent most of his life in New Zealand. He spent some time at New Plymouth where he was a harbour pilot and, during the Second World War, he lived at Rawene on Hokianga Harbour in the far north of the country where he ran a ferry service.
Subsequently he owned a shoe shop there and from the mid-1950s moved to Whangarei on the east coast of New Zealand where he worked as a ship’s chandler. He died circa 1980.”
[Ed Note: CB Williams was “lost” for many years. Notice of his death has never appeared in a Pangbourne publication until now]
Jeff Beech-Garwood (71-75), the OP Rep. in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, reports that Chris Dodwell (71-75), who was at Pangbourne with him, came over to the States to celebrate his 60th birthday this year. “That was a very pleasant surprise and we had a good time.”
The pair then returned together to England for the funeral of Paul Persson who, with his wife Ann, used to live on Green Lane in the village where they led a youth group called Meeting Point, through which Jeff became a Christian. “At the funeral I met several folks from Meeting Point, one of whom being Denny Hollands who is, I believe, a Counsellor at the College. We didn’t have counsellors in my day.”
Chris Dodwell is married with three children. He is an accountant and lives near Bracknell.
Jeff also was in email contact with Patrick Roberts (70-75) (the Bursar at Cranleigh School; new governor at the College) during the summer. “Patrick and I have the connection that he was walking with me into Pangbourne village on the day in 1971 that I was run over by a bus.”
Michael Keigwin (86-93), founder and director of the Uganda Conservation Foundation, will be in London in late November, amongst many things giving the Tusk Trust annual lecture at the Royal Geographical Society. He writes:
“I’ll be sharing the podium with a close friend Charles Tumwesigye the Deputy Director of Field Operations at the Uganda Wildlife Authority. It would be fantastic if OPs could come and support us and hear all about what I have been up to over the past two decades!”
Tickets are available at: http://www.tusk.org/events/
Cutbacks in the Metropolitan Police in 2016-17 led to Chief Inspector Steve Edwards (80-87) leaving Chiswick Po9lice Station for anothe post in nearby Feltham. He writes: “With our restructuring in the Spring, we had to reduce the number of posts and it was decided that the post I held, covering the Brentford and Chiswick areas, was to be amalgamated with Hounslow. I decided that this was not for me and it was time for a change, so I have moved to Feltham Police Station. I now run one the 24-hour operational teams that operate from there. I was sorry to leave Chiswick, but our service is forever moving and changing and I have got used to just going with it!”