The OHA is sorry to announce that the following Old Haberdashers' have passed away:

Roger Lyle (1955) (Former OHA Secretary). Died April 2021

Jack Hurst (Staff). Died 26th March 2021

Simon Wayne (2000). Died 18th August 2020.


Roy Lidington (1945). Died 15th March 2021

Peter Cook (1970) . Died 15th February 2021


Brian Binding (1943) Died January 2021

Bernard Dawkins (1943). Died 21st January 2021

Michael John Bovington (1951) OHA Past President. Died 17th January 2021

Abhishek Banerjee-Shukla (2007). Died 14th January 2021

Donald W Wells (1948) OHA Past President. Died 13th January 2021

John Lidington (1948). Died 12th December 2020

John Mitchell (1963). Died November 2020

Henry Tillotson (1964). Died November 2020

Colin J Hogg (1943). Died October 2020

Richard Bright (1987). Died August 2020


John Whittenbury (1956) OHA Past President. Died 28th August 2020

Norman F Barnes (1957). Died 22nd August 2020


Harold Couch (1954) OHA Past President. Died 23rd July 2020

Julian Farrand (1954). Died 17th July 2020


John Patrick (1944). Died 22nd May 2020

Rev Canon Beaumont L Brandie MBE (1959). Died 19th May 2020

Margaret Flashman (Staff). Died 8th May 2020

Graham B Jones (1950). Died 5th May 2020

David Gadbury (1959). Died 26th April 2020

Richard Rowlinson (1953). Died 21st April 2020.


John Carleton (Staff). Died 13th April 2020


Tony Weston (1961). Died April 2020


Eric Escoffey (1945). Died 12th April 2020

Anthony "Tony" Alexander (1962) OHA Past President. Died 11th April 2020

David Newbury-Ecob (1944). Died 4th April 2020

Dick Benbow (Staff). Died January 2020

Geoff Ogden (1956). Died 26th January 2020

Dr Michael Levin (Staff). Died 22nd January 2020

Simon Gelber (1973) OHCC Past President. Died 1st January 2020

Sidney Holt (1944). Died 21st December 2019

Ashley Alterman (1974). Died December 2019

Christopher Jenkins (1957). Died 22nd November 2019


Michael Long (1955). Died 2nd November 2019


Rex Charles Harris (1945). Died 24th August 2019. 

Peter Mitchell (1956). Died 19th August 2019.

Neil Johnson (1974). Died 7th August 2019


Wendy Morelli (Prep School Teacher) Died July 2019


Ivor Benjamin (1974). Died 4th July 2019


Huntley John Norman (1950). Died early July 2019

Royalton Summerfield (1943). Died 23rd June 2019

Paul Birkby, AKA Paul Darrow (1957) Died 2nd June 2019


Major Frank Milton Partington (1943) Died 14th May 2019


Mrs Myra Hardcastle (Staff). Died 8th May 2019

Thomas Jessell (1969). Died 28th April 2019

Dr Rob Bailey (1974). Died April 2019


Roger Skinner (1963). Died 6th April 2019

John Munday (1955). Died 9th March 2019

David A Sutcliffe (1957). Died 1st March 2019

Roger Easterbrook (1953). Died 18th February 2019

Neville Mark Cooper (1955). Died 2nd January 2019

Professor Wallace Peters (1942). Died 26th December 2018


Tony White (1946) OHA Past President. Died 23rd December 2018


Alan Taylor MBE (staff 1961 to 1996) Died 23rd November 2018

John Weiss (1951) Died November 2018

George Morrison (1952) Died October 2018


Russ Hakes (1961). Died October 2018

Sir Dennis Landau (1945). Died October 2018

David Pennington (1962). Died September 2018

Stefan Tietz (1945). Died 21st August 2018

Rex Tasker (1948) Died 24th July 2018

DFB "Dave" Wrench (staff 1962-1970) died 18th June 2018, aged 81.  

Robert Pascall (1962). Died 8th June 2018

Ed Raw (1971). Died 22nd May 2018

David Seaman (1961). Died 19th May 2018

Norman David Hummerstone MBE (1937) died 1st May 2018

Anthony Vernon Peacock (1948) died 28th April 2018

David Grossel, History Teacher (1973-79), author and Fulham supporter. 

Gordon Bourne, former Governor, after whom The Bourne Hall at Elstree is named. 

Duncan McInnes died on 27th February 2018

John Frederick Eyles (1940) died on 21st February 2018

We would appreciate friends and family sending us obituaries to post.


Jack Hurst (Staff)

We are sorry to inform the Habs Community that Mr WJ (known to all as Jack) Hurst, former Habs’ Head of Languages from 1968-1991, peacefully passed away on 26 March aged 91.

Jack was appointed as a teacher of languages in 1961 when the School moved to Elstree. It quickly became evident to the Headmaster, Tom Taylor, and senior colleagues that a truly exceptional teacher and polymath had joined Haberdashers.  He became Head of Spanish in 1964, Head of French in 1966 and Head of Languages in 1968 – a post he held with great distinction until his retirement in 1991.

Jack was a first-rate teacher whose passion for his subject was boundless and generations of pupils benefited from his infectious and compelling enthusiasm for languages. Former colleagues also remember him as a true friend, and a lovely, generous man with a real zest for life. 

Simon Wayne (2000)

A nine-year-old North-West London boy has raised close to £30,000 and counting for a charity that has helped him cope with the sudden loss of his father.

Alexander Wayne wanted to thank Grief Encounter, which has supported his family since his dad Simon died, aged 38, after suffering a heart attack during a Portuguese holiday last August.

Inspired by the efforts of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore — who raised almost £33 million for NHS charities by walking laps across his garden — Alexander will undertake a 5k run next month in his father’s memory.

“We used to love running together,” he said. “We ran three times a week during the first lockdown.

“I would like to raise money for Grief Encounter because they have been supporting me, my sister [Olivia] and my mum.” Although he had thought that that he “wouldn’t be too sad” after a few months, “I now realise that it’s not that easy. Therefore, I want to raise money so they can continue to support children like me.”

In an emotional interview with the JC, Mr Wayne’s widow Natalie said her son’s charitable efforts showed that “through utter devastation and sadness, there can be inspiration. Alexander is only nine and he set up something with a purpose. People can take a leaf out of his book.”

Prior to her husband’s death, the family had been spending more time together than ever before because of Covid restrictions. Mr Wayne, a senior lawyer, and Natalie, the head of product at a technology company, would balance work with home-schooling. Like many in lockdown, they also acquired a puppy.

“We had gorgeous summer months together with barbecues and having dinner as a family, which we never used to do.”

In August, they decided to travel to Portugal for a two-week holiday with friends, booking a villa. They enjoyed meals, sport and watched the sunset on the beach. Mr Wayne booked a surprise boat trip in Faro, in the Algarve, and dinner to celebrate his wife’s 39th birthday.

Two days later, he sat down to breakfast after a 10k run saying he felt light-headed and nauseous. The family assumed it was dehydration but called emergency services as a precaution.

Coronavirus protocols precluded Mrs Wayne from accompanying her husband in the ambulance so she followed by taxi. “I never saw him alive again.

“I got to the hospital and was waiting in the reception for a few hours. After three hours, I became worried. I didn’t understand what was taking so long. I thought they would put him on a hydration drip and send him home.

“But then the doctor told me Simon had a severe heart attack and the next 24 hours were critical.

“It didn’t make sense in the context of Simon,” she added. “He was 38-years-old, a fit guy. He had no pre-existing conditions. He would play football and squash.”

Her husband was transferred to a hospital in Lisbon and his parents, in-laws and Mrs Wayne’s sister arrived. But he suffered another heart attack and died on August 18.

On the advice of the Grief Encounter, Mrs Wayne used “simple language” to tell the children what had happened.

“It was the most heart-breaking conversation I have ever had,” she said. “I could not let that be the lasting memory of the holiday. On the last night, we went to the beach and toasted Simon.”

Since returning to London, she and her children have moved in with her parents, the extra support helping them to cope during the pandemic.

In December, family and close friends released 39 balloons from Hampstead Heath to mark what would have been Mr Wayne’s birthday.

The couple met as teenagers on a Reform Synagogue Youth Israel tour. “We were together for 23 years. We were married in 2009 over the Amalfi coast. Life is not the same.”

She praised the support of Grief Encounter at such a difficult time. “We have all had counselling online over Zoom. The charity has been amazing, a safe space for us to talk.

“My kids are my ‘why’. I can play and talk to them. I am a mum first and foremost. I make sure what they need is taken care of. In the evenings, I reflect. Simon was the most incredible person — I cannot lose sight of that.”

Launching the campaign last week, she expected to raise around £1,000 and was shocked when donations exceeded £20,000 in two days. “The response has been unbelievable,” she said. “I thought just my friends and the families of Alexander’s friends would support it. Now so many people are sharing and talking about it, even people we don’t know.”


Reproduced from The Jewish Chronicle 11th March 2021

Peter Cook (1970)

Peter was born on 20th January 1952.


Having left Haberdashers in 1970, Peter went up to Leeds University, where he studied Geography. After graduation, he returned to London and studied to become a Chartered Accountant. On receiving his Articles, rather than working as an accountant, Peter worked for a number of companies, mainly in project and crisis management, putting them back on the straight and narrow and often referring to himself as the company‘s doctor. His last major project, running over a number of years, had been setting up one of the first closed loop recycling plants turning plastic waste back into food grade plastic for re-use. 


Peter was a keen rugby player and made his debut for OHRFC in 1970, amassing 325 appearances for the club, including two for the 1st XV, as a wing forward. He will, however for many people, be remembered as Captain of the A XV for a number of years in the early 80s, introducing many a young schoolboy to the joys of Old Boys rugby and making Cookie‘s ‘A‘ XV a team to be played for. Remembering Peter so many of these people have commented on how he went out of his way to make them feel welcome and to ensure they really enjoyed themselves both during and after the match. 


Peter sadly suffered a severe stroke in October 2014 and spent his final years in a care home. He received his first Covid vaccination in early January, but unfortunately succumbed to an outbreak of Covid in the care home in the days thereafter and died a few weeks later.


Our thoughts are with his widow, Karen, and daughters Harriet and Katherine.


Written by Charlie Betteridge

Brian Binding (1943)

My former teacher Brian Binding, who has died aged 85 from complications of Covid-19, was a lifelong student and teacher of literature; a musician of some prowess, playing both the viola and the harpsichord; and a man of great style and integrity.

Brian was born in Harrow, north-west London, to Evelyn (nee Martin), a hairdresser, and Edward Binding, a potman working in pubs; his parents later separated. He achieved scholarships to Haberdasher’s Aske’s school, in Elstree, Hertfordshire, and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied English. FR Leavis was the guiding spirit at Downing, establishing literature as a cultural barometer, and it may have been Leavis’s crusading zeal that persuaded Brian to become an English teacher rather than follow his musical passions and pursue a career in the arts.


He took up his first post in 1958, at Latymer Upper school, in west London, where he taught for more than a decade: Alan Rickman, Robert Cushman, Mel Smith, Raphael Wallfisch and Christopher Guard were among those who benefited from his rigour and good humour. His own star quality could be gauged by his BMW motorbike, his cashmere overcoats and his ever-present pipe, used to emphasise a point or signal a pause. With these characteristics, coupled with an incisive intellect, he made it cool to be clever, and improved the quality of life immensely – well beyond the confines of school – for those he taught.

In 1969 he moved to Bilborough grammar school in Nottingham, and then from 1972 to 1988 he was head of English at the Latymer school, in Edmonton, north London.

Brian loved fine food and wines, and relished conversation and companionship. He could play the fool with gusto, and featured in a number of school pantomimes and entertainments. The irresistible mixture of gravitas and mischief endeared him to generations of pupils. Who could forget his gently sardonic approach as a rowing coach to the less than Olympian efforts of the crews he nurtured?

After retiring from teaching in 1988, Brian studied European languages to a higher level and became a freelance translator. He shared his sense of adventure with friends and family; at the age of nine, his nephew Nick received a fully operational hot air balloon kit as a Christmas gift. On another festive occasion, he tobogganed down Richmond Hill in the snow, egged on by an ex-student and his girlfriend, the evening ending with a violin sonata, hot chocolate laced with brandy and bouts of sparkling laughter.

Brian needed support in the final three years of his life, suffering from microvascular disease, which limited his mobility, memory and joie de vivre. He is survived by his nephews Nick and Philip.

Reproduced from The Guardian with thanks

Michael "Mike" Bovington (1951)

Our father, Michael (Mike) Bovington, died at the age of 88. Born in Golders Green he attended the school from 1943-1951.  He married Joan in 1962, having proposed at the rugby club after a match. Luckily they shared a passion for rugby!  He was a devoted family man and brought up three daughters and various boxer dogs in Croxley Green.

Sport was a passion. He played cricket and boxed, as well as playing rugby at school (1st XV, 1948-51; Colours, 1949-51. 1st XI, 1950-51. Then,  for many years, he played rugby for the OHRFC.

After studying law at King’s College London, Dad worked successfully as a solicitor for the Coal Board pension scheme for thirty years, travelling up to London. The opportunity for early retirement came and Dad embraced this, spending many happy years in retirement.  Holidays were often walking holidays across Europe and he spent time developing the Croxley Tennis club. He continued to play until he was 80.

Dad was a generous man and took on roles as a governor of a secondary school and for many years delivered meals on wheels, with Mum, in their local area.

He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

Memories of Mike Bovington by Peter Vacher

I was four years younger than Michael but recall him best as one of the senior sixth-formers at school,  a Prefect resplendent in his colourful Prefect’s blazer and tasseled Cap.  Definitely a figure of authority.  He left the school in 1951, having started at the Westbere Road site in 1943.

After school, Mike played for OHRFC for a number of years and was in the 1st XV in 1956-57,  before moving down to the AXV where in the following season he played in 19 matches alongside his older brother and fellow OH Alan, who appeared in 22.  Further stretching the family connection, Mike was in brother-in-law Harold Couch’s AXV in 1959-60.  In other words, Mike was a pretty constant member of the club throughout these classic years and played at a high level at a time when we regularly fielded six teams. He went on to captain the AXV, our seconds, for two seasons, from 1960 to ‘62, a role also fulfilled at one time by Alan, and succeeded Harold.   In the 1961-2 season he made a remarkable 27 appearances.

We became friends once I had joined the rugby club [1955 onwards] and attained the dizzy heights of the Extra A XV, OHRFC’s third team, during the time that Mike was that team’s Captain [1962-1964].  He led by example, always a competitive and quite feisty scrum-half and we seemed to get on pretty well.  I took over from him for the following two years [1964-66] with Mike still in the team, and he very kindly organized a commemorative inscribed tankard to mark my time as skipper, a gesture that was both very touching and entirely consistent with his character.  During those years, our families overlapped too: Mike and Joan’s three daughters, plus Boxer dog, were often on the touchline watching the games as were Patricia and our three daughters.  We didn’t have a dog!  Ironically when I gave up the captaincy [or was it re-possessed?], Mike took over again for a year.

As to Mike’s non-rugby life, I believe he served in the London Scottish TA unit, as had his brother, and he qualified as a Solicitor in 1954, having studied at Kings.  He worked first in in private practice and then was with the National Coal Board based at Hobart House in London.  He and Joan [née Couch] lived very happily in Croxley where they were stalwarts of the local tennis club and Mike was Governor of a local school.   Their house in Green Lane was a delight to visit and the garden was stunning.

In later years, Mike stayed involved with the Association and for many years oversaw the Benevolent Fund which exists to help those OH or their family members who need financial help.   He became the Association’s President in 1993-4 and most appropriately arranged for his Presidential Ladies Night to be held in the august premises of the Law Society.   Mike was also a very regular supporter of the Retired Members or Old Lags lunches which had brightened the Association’s year for the past  two decades or more until brought to a juddering halt in 2020 by COVID-19.  Deep-voiced, slow-speaking yet unfailingly cordial, and with a wry sense of humour, Mike was a pleasure to know and is a great loss to our Association. 

Memories of Michael  by Ron Partington

He was known to all his colleagues as Bov during his time at school and it was only later that he was called correctly as Michael. He did well academically, in the Schools Certificate, Matriculation and Advanced level. He achieved prize awards in four consecutive years,  together with a Governor’s leaving award.

Michael was involved in many sports and school activities. He was small of stature which was a challenge when playing rugby as scrum half. What he lacked in height he made up in speed of reaction. However, he did get flattened into the mud when caught by opponents.  He was in the cricket first XI and the Boxing team. He was a prefect, became a senior N.C.O. (non commissioned officer) in the Cadet force and involved in the School Dramatic Society.

Michael was a loyal and kind friend. He would be supportive in whatever might be asked of him. He was always thoughtful  and considered in his responses to questions, so you got a valued opinion.

After completing our National Service commitments as Lieutenants in the army, and a period playing for the Old Boys rugby teams, our ways parted and contact was maintained principally by telephone calls or the Christmas card. In 1958 Michael became my Best Man, when I was married in Bury ( now Greater Manchester), and he was obliged to stay locally overnight. Because my in-laws were strict Methodists there was no alcohol at the wedding breakfast. It was an expensive and long way to travel for a lemonade cocktail! He and Joan attended my golden wedding celebration and I was pleased to say in my speech that it was a pleasure to give him a decent drink for duties performed 50 years previously!!

Michael was my oldest and most loyal friend. I shall always remember him for his kindness, modesty, sensitivity and sense of humour. I will miss him greatly.

Abhishek Banerjee-Shukla ('07)

I am stunned and heartbroken beyond words at Abhishek's passing. What a rollicking, laughter-filled year we had together in Austin, Texas.

Abhishek was an absolute gem. He was, of course, extraordinarily gifted––and in every way that someone can be. But for all his towering gifts, not to mention his astute fashion sense, I remember most fondly Abhishek's unfailing kindness.

Abhishek was always unassuming and humble, sweet and generous, smiling and hysterical. He radiated joy and brought such infectious good cheer and laughter to the court. Everyone in Texas was hopelessly charmed by Abhishek's very proper British accent, which he happily auctioned for charity at the Court's annual holiday auction (agreeing to record a voicemail greeting for the winning bidder).

I am devastated at the passing of this brilliant, wondrous light. And I pray that his family's profound sorrow will, in time, be lightened knowing how universally beloved Abhishek was. He was a true treasure, and my life is far richer for having known and served alongside him.


May Abhishek's memory be a blessing to his dear mother, whom he adored, and to all those who loved him.

Justice Don Willett, Supreme Court of Texas

John Lidington (1948)

For most of you it will come as no surprise that our Dad, John was a very organized and meticulous much so that this funeral has been planned, and this eulogy written, for at least the last decade. Fortunately for all of us he lived longer than he had perhaps expected but not as long we would have liked. Before his passing I did get permission to go off script a little at times, so that I can bring my own flavour and perspective to what was a long, fun-filled and happy 89 years.

John was born in May 1931 - the year of the great depression, unemployment and strikes. It was the year that King George V persuaded Ramsay Macdonald to form a coalition government. It was the year that the Empire State Building was opened in New York, by President Hoover, as the tallest building in the world. It was the year when it was announced that following the successful trial of traffic lights in London, they would be introduced all over Britain. These were hard and difficult times for most people and families.

John was born in Edgware, Middlesex to his parents Grace and Norman, where he was brought up with his brother Roy, 3 years his senior. He attended Edgware Council School and at the start of the second world war at the age of 9 he was evacuated with Roy to Anglesey in North Wales for 2 years in the care of his grandmother, Rhoda. Despite being away from home these weren’t unhappy times and it was while in Anglesey that my Dad developed two traits that would be lifelong characteristics. Firstly he created an unbreakable bond with his brother Roy. Roy recently told us that in their almost 90 years together they never fell out and rarely had a crossed word. Secondly, although being away from his parents was hard, he wrote to them religiously (all of the letters he still has) and he maintained a strong relationship with them despite the distance that separated them. For the rest of his life he was able to maintain strong ties with family and friends despite any time or distance that separated them.

In 1942 John and Roy returned to London and it was only by the determination and sacrifices of his parents that both he and Roy attended Haberdashers school, at that time located in Cricklewood, North London. His 6 years at Haberdashers were to prove an important and valuable part of his education not just in terms of academics but also to his future sporting interests and the formation of friendships that he maintained for the rest of his life. Dad played both cricket and rugby for the school and captained the first 11 cricket team on many occasions. He graduated school in 1948 and started his working career with Higgs and Hill, the building and civil engineering contractors on a five-year Apprenticeship. During which time he obtained his qualifications as a building surveyor.

In 1953 he undertook 2 years national service in the Royal Army Service Corp and spent most of his time in Hong Kong with the rank of sergeant in a supply depot. More important to him at that time was the enjoyment he derived from playing cricket for the army, as their wicketkeeper, in many of their representative matches.

After national service the major part of John's career as surveyor and project manager was spent with John Laing’s the International building and civil engineering contractors. He joined them at the time they were awarded the contract for the first 50 miles of the M1 motorway and he enjoyed working on a number of their major contracts at that time including the Barbican in London and the Milton Keynes shopping centre and he also was privileged to be introduced to the queen on 2 opening ceremony occasions.

It was a while on a touring holiday in 1959 that John and Shirley first met in Lugano Switzerland they were married at Shirley's hometown Stow Bardolph, near Downham Market, Norfolk in 1961. The birth of 3 sons Jonathan, myself and Michael followed fairly swiftly. We were all born in our parents first home in Radlett but moved to St Albans in 1970, where Mum and Dad have lived for 50 years and built many friendships.

He was a great Father and a traditional husband.....dinner on the table at 7:00, kids scrubbed and ready for bed, barely knew how to boil an egg. He’d stop by the Cat and Fiddle in Radlett for a swift half on his way home, bring us a bar of chocolate by way of a bribe, swing as around by our ankles to wind us up before bedtime but he was always there to tuck us in and read us a story that he would typically make up on the fly.

My Mum and Dad would have been married for 60 years in April, he probably already had a speech prepared! But on their 50th anniversary he said a few words that I know he would want me to repeat today. What he said, on that occasion was that nothing in his life exceeded the pleasure and satisfaction of having Shirley as his tolerant, understanding and loving partner and together enjoying the reward of three considerate and (somewhat) successful sons, 3 delightful and caring daughters-in-law and 7 priceless grandchildren. No one could ask for more.

Not to say that there were not other interests and other people I know he would wish to acknowledge and to express his sincere thanks for their help, love and much valued friendship. His brother Roy particularly with whom he’s shared a close and an unbreakable bond. Roy’s entire family with whom we’ve spent many special occasions particularly at this time of year. His cousins Michael, Wendy and Beryl. His friends from his school days (particularly Mike Rideout for whom he was best-man and Don Lundie and Doug Gainsborough who have subsequently passed but I’m hoping Joan and Gill are online today). They were great friends.

I also want to say a special thank you to the many members of the Old Haberdashers Cricket Club where he played for over 25 years and was both captain and president and I’m told he amassed over 300 games for their first eleven. I know he would have been particularly proud of that stat.....I won’t mention though his average run rate. He would have also been very proud of a quote from his good friend Geoff Wheal: “John was probably the best wicketkeeper the old Haberdashers ever had and if he’d been playing for a better team he could have played at a minor county level”

There were also members of the Hale tennis club that he remained in touch with since the 1950s and more recently members of Harpenden Golf Club where he spent many hours, not all of them on the course, but as the years passed an increasing number at the 19th hole.

Similarly there is just a chance there may be present the odd friend and drinking partner from the Six Bells, the Holly Bush, the Three Hammers....I think I’d better stop there. He also had friends at the arts club, here at St Michaels Church and at the choral society from the Abbey and many friendly neighbours within the street. It may sound like an alcoholic lifestyle but he assured us in the family that it was all for the good of everyone!

In summary my Dad was a proud and loyal man, in the last 5 years he also showed his caring side and his culinary skills as he took on the role of caregiver to my Mother. This was a side if him we hadn’t seen and one that he did with amazing patience and determination. He was a humble man that made friends easily and maintained friendships for life. He was incredibly sociable and he a loved a good laugh. When cleaning out his draws I found a folder full of old jokes and humorous clippings.....if any of them were in anyway clean I would have read one out today.

Dad, thank you for teaching Johnny, Mike and I to be good fathers. For teaching us to give people the benefit of the doubt, to be loyal to those who you love and to value friendships above everything except family.

I will miss our regular banter but promise to continue your work in encouraging “real cricketers" to reject twenty-twenty and for the board of England selectors to instigate a policy of picking only “specialist wicket keepers" in the future.

Martin Lidington February 2021

John Mitchell (1963)

My father, John Mitchell, who has died aged 75, was the founder of Carbohydrate Polymers, a scientific journal which grew from humble roots to become one of the publisher Elsevier’s lead journals. John recognised the need for this much-needed outlet for research into polysaccharide science – the branch of food technology focused on the carbohydrates found most often in plants, algae and micro-organisms

Born in north London, the son of Albert Mitchell, who was in charge of general election campaigns for the Conservative party, and Marjorie (nee Woodcock), a homemaker, John attended the Haberdasher’s Aske’s school for boys, followed by Newcastle University, where he read physics. He married a fellow student, Susan Simpson, in 1967 and they raised three children. They divorced in 1988.

John’s first job was at Unilever, where he played a key role in developing the formula for Quavers crisps. At Unilever, he discovered a deep interest in food technology and left to study for his PhD at Nottingham University in 1970.

At Nottingham, John was appointed a lecturer, reader and in 1993 professor of food technology, latterly emeritus. Described by his colleague Christopher Gregson as “the Patrick Moore of the food materials science world”, John was an engaging teacher. Undergraduates relished lectures as John walked across the dais with, say, one foot stuck in a wastepaper bin, or trying in vain to put his hands in the pockets of his inside-out lab-coat. Before his inaugural lecture, colleagues had to attach multiple safety pins to stop his academic gown from falling off.

In 2005 he was a founding member of the European Polysaccharide Network of Excellence (EPNOE), a platform for sharing research and expertise. In 2008 John was awarded the Food Hydrocolloids Trust Medal, a recognition of influential knowledge leaders in the food material science area. In setting up global research networks, John was grateful to be able to travel widely and valued the strong friendships he built with colleagues around the world.

In 2003, he set up his own company, Biopolymer Solutions, to provide scientific consultancy services to manufacturers across the pharmaceutical, biomaterials and ingredients sectors. John enjoyed helping both small and large companies. He used his knowledge to create products ranging from novel breakfast cereals to gelled pet foods.


A true polymath, John played chess for London and Hertfordshire and later for Leicestershire. He was an active member of Loughborough Chess Club for 50 years and was committed to helping the development of junior chess players. He loved music, playing the piano and clarinet, and travelling widely with his second wife, Margaret (nee Hill), whom he married in 1993. He knew everything about politics and economics. A kind and generous man, with a strong social conscience, he always went out of his way to help people.

He is survived by Margaret, his children, Hugh, Rose and me, and his granddaughters, Tess and Juliette.

Kindly reproduced from The Guardian. Written by Johanna Mitchell.

Colin Hogg (1943)

Back in the 1940’s Colin hoped to join up with the Indian Army but was told he had a heart defect so his hopes and plans had to change. Quietly slipping away last Wednesday at the age of nearly 94 one wonders if they got it wrong!


Colin was born in Liverpool in 1927 – he never knew his father who died as a result of injuries received on the Western Front when he was 2 years old. His mother remarried but Colin did not get on with his stepfather. His lifelong friendships with the Draycott family, the Griffiths' at Wigmore and his friends from Haberdasher's Askes provided the family he missed. He forged a successful career as an advertising executive, working for such diverse companies as GEC, Goya, BEA and British Rail.


He travelled extensively in Europe, often bringing home a soft toy for Alison. He had a keen interest in photography, and loved books, classical music and gardening. He was a perfectionist, had a sharp and lucid mind, an awareness of current affairs, and an incredibly strong grip!


Colin married Jean in 1954 and their joy at receiving a Telegram from the Queen congratulating them on their Diamond Wedding is one of our fondest memories before Mum's dementia closed in. Alison was born in 1958 when they lived at Hughenden Manor in Buckinghamshire. Margaret came along in 1963, and there is a wonderful photo that Colin took with Jean cradling her squawking baby, and Ali looking on as if to say “What on earth have you brought home Mum!”


They shared a love of Alsatian dogs and 7 lovely “girls” shared our lives.

Changes in Colin’s job meant a family move to Harrogate in 1969 where his passion for gardening – especially orderliness and a green striped, weed and worm-cast free lawn, caused much amusement.


His lawn was his pride and joy, and no-one, not even the dog, was allowed on it – poor Mum had to tip toe over the lawn with the washing line and remove it by the time Colin got home from work.


North Yorkshire was a beautiful place to live, but when ill health forced Colin to take early retirement, he and Jean decided to move house and return to his beloved Herefordshire.


They, along with Chris the gardener, created a beautiful cottage garden in Buckton, and lived there for 10 years. But there was a bit of Colin that could not cope with muddy lanes so they moved again, this time to Ashford Carbonel and got the best of both worlds – a lovely village life but no mud on the roads.


In 2015, due to Jean’s deterioration and Colin’s increasing frailty, they moved to Lynhales Hall Nursing Home.


Sadly Colin’s last illness meant he had to be admitted to hospital and he was not to return. We are both touched by the kind messages we have received from members of staff at Lynhales.


Colin and Jean had four grandchildren – Joey, Fiona, Dan and Jono; it is sad that Dad left this world without meeting his first great granddaughter, Clemmie, who was born just 5 days later.


Colin’s faith was strong, he was a Church Warden and spent many hours cutting the grass in the graveyard where he chose to be buried. It seems particularly apt that he will be laid to rest with Mum in the area that he dug and cleared himself.

Richard Bright (1987)

My friend Richard Bright, who has taken his own life aged 51, was a director and executive producer of many acclaimed and illuminating arts documentaries. His recent credits as an executive included Angela Carter: Of Wolves & Women, the moving Werner Herzog film Nomad: In the Footsteps of Bruce Chatwin and the humorous Greg Davies: Looking for Kes.

Born in Eastcote, north-west London, Richard was the son of David, a teacher and Saracens rugby player, and Jennifer (nee Yeoman), a headteacher. I met him at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school in Elstree, Hertfordshire, where he devoted his energy to rugby, record shops and indie gigs. He went on to do a degree in German and politics at Cardiff University (1989-92) and then a postgraduate diploma in documentary film production at the Cardiff Centre for Journalism Studies (1994-95)

Subsequently he developed a huge variety of TV shows for BBC Bristol and independent companies including RDF, IWC and Flashback, before landing a job at the BBC on The Culture Show in 2010. He was soon directing full-length documentaries, including Tom Waits: Tales from a Cracked JukeboxAlan Cumming’s The Real Cabaret and Dangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life of Egon Schiele. He also did much work with BBC Scotland, creating films for other directors.


Laser-focused at work, Richard was amiably disorganised at leisure, with a love of late-night drinks with his many friends and of unreliable vintage cars, Coronation Street and meandering journeys across eastern Europe.

In 2017, he married Livia Papp, whom he had met on the steps of the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest. He asked her for directions and they hit it off so well that she ended up giving him a tour of the city. Richard and Livia made the perfect couple – entertainingly quirky, bohemian and devoted to each other.

Richard was a loving son and provided high-quality care and frequent visits for the four years his father suffered from Parkinson’s. Balancing this and his subsequent grief with the extraordinarily high standards he set himself at work proved demanding, but, with Livia’s help, he was able to cope.

Tragically, during the coronavirus lockdown Richard’s coping mechanisms unwound and he suffered a breakdown. He had the strength to seek professional help, and those close to him did everything possible to provide support. But in the end Richard found that he could go on no longer.

He is survived by Livia, his sister, Kathryn, and five nieces and nephews.

Wriiten by Richard Nash for The Guardian

John Whittenbury (1956)

Many of you have known John much longer than I have.  It would be his custom at this point in any speech for him to say that he won’t keep you for more than an hour and forty- five minutes and judging by the length of this, I would get comfy if I were you.


John Rowsell Whittenbury was born on the 14th April 1939 to Grace and Jack Whittenbury into a very traditional Family.  They had been led to believe they couldn’t have children and when grandma finally realised that they were expecting Dad she was six and a half months gone. They had initially mistaken dad for the early onset menopause.


Being born at the beginning of the war he was subsequently evacuated to Berkley, just up the road from here.  His Aunt and Uncle were tenant farmers at the Dower House to Berkley Castle, Peddington Manor, and Dad was moved down here to spend some very happy formative years.  He was fond of telling the story of his uncle going out with the shotgun to collect the German fighter pilot who had crash landed in the back field.  Although the pilot wouldn’t accept a cup of tea in case it was poisoned, he was apparently quite happy to have been caught.


A keen Scout in his youth who, being located not a million miles from Wembley Stadium, was a steward there.  He was selling programs for FA cup finals, challenge cup finals and other events. One of which being the Stanley Matthews cup final.  Never a huge football fan though, he would always keep an eye on the Pompey score, which was his fathers favourite team.


Sport and competition were always very important throughout his life, he loved to watch sport and his memory for figures and statistics was sharp as a tack right up until he passed.  Even a week or two before the end, he could recite test match figures, knowing who played, did what and the year it happened.  A few weeks ago, Mum switched the TV on for him and he dozing in bed, but just by hearing the commentary he suddenly told mum it was the first test between England and the West Indies and the year of the match.


As a child, his father used to take him to cricket, and his love of the game carried through to old age.  As you will know, if you know the family well, he managed to indoctrinate most of us with a love of sport.  It was the competition he loved the most though.  He hated losing with a passion.  Never saw the point of coming second but when he didn’t come first he was always very gracious, whist already working out how to win the next time.  He played sport only for as long as he was competitive, with cricket he gave up and became an umpire when he felt he was no longer good enough.  After that he would play only if it meant playing with David, or on 1 occasion myself.


After passing his Common Entrance he went to Haberdashers School. A move that began a connection that remained for the rest of his life. He would be the first to admit that he had lots of potential, but also happy to admit that he was bone idle when it came to his studies. Sport was a major contributing factor throughout his time here and his great sporting loves cricket, rugby and of course rugby fives. He would always say that if his talent had matched his enthusiasm, he would have gone places. He had no real ability in all but fives but loved to compete (I Know the feeling).


He left School at 17 years old after battling through Glandular fever pass his O-levels, but taking the decision not to complete his A Levels, he went straight into accountancy school to train towards becoming a chartered accountant.  His association with Haberdashers would continue for the next 65 years including stints as president of the old boys cricket club, fives club and finally his one-year presidency of the Old Haberdashers Association, which was one the proudest moments of his life.


After school he loved his training for business and accountancy because numbers were really his thing. His social life was sport, he learned to play bridge and would step in to play bridge if his mother and father needed an extra player.  Although he didn’t properly meet Mum until 1967, they had had an encounter through a fellow Old Haberdasher, John Rotheroe, who was married to Mums sister Jackie, about 2 years earlier when mum had gone to watch John play fives. When I asked mum about this a few days ago she said she thought he was distinctly odd. (Always a good judge of character my Mum)


They next met two years later in 1967 over dinner at Jackie’s.  The rest, shall we say, is history.  They were engaged in 1967 and married in 68. Fifty-two and a half years of Marital Bliss.


Life proceeded at pace for mum and dad, with first David and then Anna.  They moved into Stoke Meadow and were blessed with many ,many happy years. The highlight obviously being my arrival in 1982!!


I don’t remember a quiet Christmas at Stoke Meadow.  In fact, I don’t think I remember a Christmas with less than 20 people, until I was well into my teens.  Mum would cook, Dad would carve. Granny and Grandpa would wash up.  David would get up late with a hangover and be in the doghouse and Jackie would come over with Dom and Abigail.  There would be Grandma and other stragglers who would intrigue me and scare me in equal measure.  Dinner around that dining table was always special and of course no dinner was complete without dad booming out his Family toast. Welcome to our festive table!!!


Always memorable and always something friends would talk about for a long time after.  Many of my close friends used to love coming over for the food, the fun and of course the family toast.  Dad was such a good host, just ask Debbie, who would have a large glass of wine in her hand within 2 minutes of walking through the door.  Mum and he made such a great team even if at times they could have strung each other up.


By the time I came along dad was well into his bridge. Playing competitively and to a county standard.  Such was his mind he could recall a hand of cards he had played weeks before or even 10 years before and would tell stories about how he had played them with such pleasure and gusto.  Still to this day, I have no idea what 6 no trumps means but I would always raise a smile when he told a story again.


Dad found pleasure in competing with his bridge, slowly but surely, he worked his way up through the EBUs points system.  I will not pretend I understand these things, but he was proud of his achievements. In later years and since he moved to Stroud, he had his regular Bridge partners Sian and Carol and when he could he had Mum as well. He would always love to play with other partners, but they had to be of a certain calibre.  As a director he was a natural with a reputation that proceeded him.  His loud booming voice helped, never one for the oldies who wanted to plod along.  He liked things to move along at a pace. When they ran the bridge club in Cookham where they met Sian many years back, I remember being party to a conversation where he told Sian he was a financial advisor she replied ‘Really love, I thought you were a Sargent Major!’


I have this image in my mind of Dad wherever he might be now, talking bridge with his dear friends who have been saving a place at the bridge table, awaiting his arrival. We put a pack of cards in his coffin that Tom and Ollie gave him along with umpires counters that Anna made for him 30 years ago. I think he would have liked the thought that he could take a pack of cards on this journey, and he always loved the counters Anna gave him and was never without them when umpiring.


When I was young there was a rugby season where he and I went to every home and away game with Wasps. Early on a Saturday morning we would be up on a train going here there and everywhere he would always have a pack of cards with him we would play Whist or Rummy for hours.  I will never forget the look on his face as I slowly finished dealing and he realised he had already won.  He knew the % chance of each hand and usually had a fair idea what I had.  I would win occasionally, but he was always far too good for me.


He loved going to watch rugby home and away both Wasps and England, he enjoyed watching us play even more. He would go all over the country to watch David and I as children. He always told the story of driving up to watch David’s first game as Captain of Denstone Cricket. First ball 6, second ball out, 300 miles driven.  One game of rugby I played as an adult, I came on with about 5 minutes to play and was put on the wing.  I ended up with the ball in my hand on the opponents 22 with dad about in line with me on the touch line.  Dad took off with me, ‘Go Steven Go’! As he ran with me on the touch line – Go Steven Go – which soon became – Come on Steven as in his excitement he had overtaken me and was 5 yards ahead. He loved to take part and loved seeing us do well even more.


Of all the sports Dad played, fives was the one he really excelled at.  I have never played a game or seen one live.  he would travel all over the country for this and was very good at it I am told. David said dad was probably in the top 20 players in the country.  His last game of fives was against a 16 year old David.  David came from behind to beat Dad, and at that point he decided it was a good day to retire.  Knowing Dad, I would think that made him very proud to call it a day then.


By the late 80’s and early 90’s he had stopped playing sport but still umpired cricket.  Both David and I have memories of him at the other end. David as he scored runs and kept wicket very well, and me with him shaking his head as I missed a straight one.  Always impartial! fair to the very end. ‘You can’t score runs if you’re back in the shed Steven!’


I never learnt!!!


Both Anna and I have many memories of our younger years sat in the car or wandering aimlessly around the boundary whilst dad umpired, and David played cricket.  In later days, once we moved to Stroud he would still be umpiring, I would be playing, Mum would be scoring and Anna if she was really lucky would get roped doing the teas!  So many people have fond memories of Dad hopping around on one leg trying to get mums attention whilst she was having a coughing fit, Dad shouting “SCORER”. Usually followed up by mum telling him to go away in not such elegant language. These scenes are legendary around Stroud Cricket Club.  As is dads Battle cry which he inadvertently gave the lads one day as they went out to field. ‘give them hell boys’ the lads loved this and still use this today.


In 2001 and the decision was made to move to Gloucestershire with mum and Dads.  A house was found, and many happy memories were made.  Stroud on initial inspection was an interesting place with some very quirky folk. The Whittenbury’s fitted in well!


Shortly after arriving, Mum and Dad found Stroud Cricket club, a move that would affect all of our lives forever.  We found lifelong friends, some of whom have been able to come today.


For myself, David and Anna there was one common theme.  Any and all of our friends were welcome.  A close friend of mine emailed me a few days ago to say how much and his wife would miss him.  If they rang up, he would always answer the phone in his big booming voice ‘WOODVILLE’, always welcome us to his festive table and would invariably have a turn of phrase to adequately describe something such as ‘You might find Steven in his pit.’  Not too far from the truth in those days.


In 2003 David and his wife Debbie welcomed the arrival of Tom quickly followed exactly one month later with Anna and Nick welcoming Catherine to the family.  Then along came Ollie, a couple of years later. Dad took immense pleasure from each of his grandchildren and their achievements. Dad loved hearing the scores from each of the boys various sporting achievements and Catherine who in so many ways shares her grandad’s ability with numbers. Catherine and Dad would tease each other on end. He recognised in Catherine a shyness he felt as a child and in recognising this he suggested sending her to Drama for a few years to help with her confidence. Now you try and stop her talking.


He also loved to take her riding, although I think this had more to do with the bacon butties sold there than the riding itself. 


He was ever so pleased when Oliver became a Scout.  He found all his old scouting badges out from who knows where and gave them to Ollie.  Things like that gave him lots of pleasure, and knowing Oliver was in the Scouts made him very proud.


During Lockdown he and Mum loved their daily phone calls from Tom. A check in to make sure they were ok.  Tom and Dad would talk about sport on end.  To put this into perspective, if David or I got 3 or 4 minutes before he found someone to hand the phone off to, we would count ourselves truly lucky, Tom got 30 or 40 minutes at a time. A true achievement.


I couldn’t talk about dad without bringing up his love of his Madeira holidays.  During these trips, Anna and Dad would play hundreds and hundreds of games of Backgammon.  Anna claims he stopped playing her once she began to win consistently.  Many happy Holidays were spent there and only the lure of a Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005 would encourage him away from his Madeira holiday.  That isn’t to say that the odd weekend city trip with Mum wasn’t out of the question.  They loved a weekend trip away to places such as Paris, Venice, Athens and Vienna.


In business dad was a natural born salesman.  He was honest until the end and made sure he got the very best for his clients at every step.  The number of letters from clients and their children Mum has had saying just this has been a real pleasure.  Over the years of Whittenbury and Co and JWFS he met some lifelong friends and was grateful he could pass JWFS on. So many people would come for a meeting, Mum would cook an amazing meal and Dad would do what he was good at. Entertaining, helping people and of course selling. He would provide an ear if there were problems, and he would always say he was available 24 hours a day to his clients, but it would cost a little bit more at 3am.


Dad was able to see his children married and settled before he went. Sam and I were so happy we could have him at our wedding.  During his last days and weeks mum and Anna gave him all they had. They helped him move around and live the best life he could have. Sian nicknamed Anna the Duracell bunny in relation to her never stopping.  Her care and love for him in the end was amazing.  Dad made sure at every turn that his children were cared for. Anna and Catherine living with mum and dad gave dad great pleasure.  How he lived in a house with 3 women I don’t know.


I would like to finish with two things both instrumental in Dads life.  The first one is his faith. Dad had a faith in which carried him throughout his life. A faith that helped him, and one that gave him great comfort.  I would like to take this time to say thanks to Dr Richardson. Dads friend and mentor throughout his illness providing dad with spiritual counselling to get to the end with bravery and the firm belief in his faith.  He gave him the inner peace in what was to come, and will always envy Dad’s steadfast belief in his faith, and will be forever grateful that it gave him so much hope.


Finally, I would like to talk about the most important person in Dads world. The person who above all else everything was done for.  Our wonderful Mother.  Although for nearly 53 years Mum and Dad would argue and bicker on end.  Dads first, second and third thought was for Mum.  All disagreements were settled with the poking out of the tongue after possibly a slammed door or two or a storming exit but that is what made them Mum and Dad. 


Recently, as we started to look through his things, I found some old mementos including his speech from their wedding in January 1968.  If I could read his handwriting, I would have given you some gems, but it was just as unreadable 53 years ago as it was 3 days ago. Alongside these were the letters they wrote to each other before they were married and other precious but private keepsakes.  In many he was he was a very private and sentimental man, and it has been a great consolation to know he had kept these little treasures.


Throughout his illness, he was at every step the brave and stoic man you all knew. He never complained and on a bad day if asked he would tell you he was ‘Middling’. He never called it cancer it was just an ailment; it was just a challenge to be beaten.  This turned out to be his biggest challenge and he beat if for 13 and a half years, fighting hard until the end. Positive throughout.


He set goals to be achieved and like everything else in his life he worked hard to achieve them. My wedding, his 80th and their 50th wedding anniversary. All were targets to be achieved and they were.


Dad we will forever miss you and always be grateful for what you gave us.  


Rest well and in whatever competition you play in ‘Give them Hell old boy!

Eulogy given by Steven Whittenbury 7 Sept 2020

Norman F Barnes (1957)

Norman passed away peacefully in Huntington, New York on August 22, 2020. Norman was President and CEO of his family specialty food importing business, B&R Classics. Previously he was President and CEO of Walkers Shortbread Inc., based in Hauppauge, New York, a subsidiary of Walkers Shortbread Ltd. of Aberlour, Scotland, where over twelve years he more than doubled its presence in the USA and expanded the business from specialty stores into many other trade channels. He served for five years as President and CEO of Swiss cookie company, Kambly, USA.


For more than 30 years, Norman was a senior marketing executive with Campbell Soup Company culminating his career with the company as President, Campbell World Trading Co., Inc. He had an extraordinary wealth of experience in both the mass market and specialty food industries and was always happy to share his wisdom and knowledge with others.


Born in London shortly before the start of WWII, Norman spent most of the first five years of his life being cared for by his mother, grandparents and aunts while his father served in the British army in Dunkirk, India and other locations. He was very proud to have attended The Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School from 1950-57. Norman spoke fondly of his time at the School, particularly as a member of the 1st  Rowing VIII and the Army Section of the School's Combined Cadet Corps (in which he attained the rank of Sergeant).


It was Diana, his beloved wife of 58 years, who suggested Norman apply to a job opening at Campbell Soup Company in Norfolk, England in the early 1960s. They moved from London to the Norfolk countryside and so began Norman's lifelong career in the food industry that would take his family from England to Belgium, Canada, and finally the United States.


Norman was a bon viveur and loved entertaining, fine food, wine, travel and music. He leaves behind his wife, Diana, two daughters, Karen and her husband Christopher Riley, Julie Barnes and her partner Michael Coulson, and two grandchildren, Emma and Jonathan. He will be deeply missed.

Harold Couch (1954)

Harold left the School in 1954, followed immediately by National Service from 1954-1956.  He was commissioned in the Middlesex Regiment serving in Cyprus at the time of EOKA, followed by 14 years in the Territorial Army.

He studied to be a Chartered Surveyor whilst working in the Prudential estate department.  Soon after qualifying he joined Hillier Parker May & Rowden and became a partner in 1969.  Harold specialised in the retail sector and the planning, development and management of shopping centres.

He served as President of the British Council of Shopping Centres (BCSC) and in 1991 became a Trustee of the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) and Chairman of the European board of ICSC.  His work took him to over 20 countries in Asia, Europe and North America. 

Following retirement, he was actively involved in a variety of voluntary organisations, ranging from The Glebe Committee of the Oxford Diocese, trustee of a gastrointestinal trust, governor of a pre-prep school, to managing a Regimental War memorial homes estate, and that is not yet having mentioned his involvement with The Old Haberdashers’ Association.

Harold died on 23 July in St Mary’s Hospital, having failed to recover from collapsing on the golf course two weeks prior. To his wife Dorothy, children Lizzie & David and grandchildren we offer our sincere condolences on their sad and sudden loss.

Peter Vacher writes:

As will be evident from the reminiscences and comments we have collated here, he was both a companionable friend and support to many in the school and OH communities, as well as someone who excelled in many different fields of human endeavour.  With his fine school career as a springboard, he completed a distinguished period as a Territorial Army officer and was awarded the Territorial Decoration, attained high office in his chosen career as a surveyor, captained his golf club and was a stalwart member of the Reform Club in London, while enjoying the many rewards of a happy family life.

Like many others, I remember Harold as a Prefect at HABS but from afar – he was a ’54 leaver and in Joblings while I was in Russells and a ’55 leaver.  As Peter Shiells makes clear Harold’s OHRFC rugby was split between the 1st and  A XVs teams.  I remember him as a boisterous presence on Easter tour, one time leading the assembled post-match mob in songs of a robust nature doubtless learned from this TA days and also, more alarmingly recall him leading a group through our hotel room long after we’d attempted sleep and exiting through a window on to the roof for what he described as a ‘boarding party’.  Don’t quite know how he ever got go down.

I was also fortunate to work with Harold on a group project to re-assess the future structure of the Association itself and to witness at first hand his willingness to listen but, above all, his clarity of vision. He knew that we needed to increase our range of services that we offered to members and saw to it that we began to embrace electronic communication and to build on our connection with the School. This clear-eyed approach continued to be evident in his year as President of the Association [2000-2001], where he chaired the Executive Committee in a manner that was both concise and to the point, while always showing a degree of personal warmth that made him a pleasure to be around.  He knew that I had some knowledge of the UK jazz world and was always happy to talk about various musicians that he had enjoyed hearing at the monthly concerts at the Reform Club.

Undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the OH cause was in his exemplary leadership of the Relocation Committee where, for over a decade-and-a-half, he brought the full weight of his professional expertise to bear on what turned out to be an extremely complex – and, eventually, unresolvable set of planning problems.  That aside, Harold turned out often for the OH Golfing Society and was an active presence at various Clubhouse and School events including the highly populated Pre-1966 luncheon at the OHA clubhouse in 2014 and the equally splendid 1950s Reunion Lunch held at the School a year earlier. –


Peter Vacher '55

For further memories of Harold please see OH Notes edition 212

Julian Farrand (1954)

In September 2019, the eyes of the nation were on the Supreme Court where its president, Baroness Hale of Richmond, was delivering the justices’ ruling on a challenge to the government’s plan to prorogue parliament. Watching from the gallery was Julian Farrand, Hale’s ever-supportive husband and a distinguished legal academic. “He never, ever tried to influence me,” Hale said not only of that case, but also of the many others she heard. “But he would offer a commentary afterwards.”

As a law commissioner in the 1980s Farrand had been involved in changes to the rules on making land contracts, to the ways in which land is co-owned and to the execution of deeds. Most significantly, he chaired the committee that examined the monopoly that solicitors held on conveyancing, leading to the establishment of the profession of licensed conveyancers.

Yet increasingly he was drawn to resolving financial complaints, especially for ordinary people. He spent five years as insurance ombudsman, at the time a voluntary industry body, before becoming the statutory pensions ombudsman, where he was known for his combative approach and acerbic commentaries, particularly when the courts took issue with his rulings.

Although he gave short shrift to consumers “trying it on”, Farrand found an insurance industry doing everything possible to avoid paying out on policyholders’ claims, including hiding behind 19th-century precedents. One case involved a holidaymaker whose leather jacket from Italy had been stolen in Spain. “The insurance company refused to pay out on the grounds that he had not paid duty on the jacket when he travelled from Italy to Spain,” said Farrand. “Someone in the company had an instinct about the case. I say never mind that, look at the facts.”

His work was as much about changing the attitudes of insurance and pension companies and being able to “resist their bluster” as it was about resolving individual complaints, important though they were. “I made the industries realise that their view was not the only one,” he said when publishing his final report in 2001. Another job involved adjudicating complaints about premium-rate telephone calls, often adult chat lines. Faced with ribald comment from some colleagues, he was quick to point out that he was looking at call rates rather than call content.

Although much of his career involved inspecting financial contracts, Farrand was pessimistic about his personal dealings. Speaking to The Observer in 2001, he gloomily admitted: “I go into most transactions expecting to be done.”

Julian Thomas Farrand was born in Doncaster in 1935, the elder of two sons of John Farrand, a tax inspector whose work involved moving around the country every five years or so, and Ena, a former teacher. His parents, staunch atheists, had met through the Young Communists; Julian inherited their atheism though not their political sympathies. During the Blitz the family lived in Southsea, near Portsmouth, and Julian was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School’s prep school, which was evacuated to Bournemouth. After the war they moved to London and he attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, which was then in Hampstead, where he devoted his energies to rugby, cricket and chess, which he continued to play throughout his life.

 In 1957 he married Winifred Charles, a secretary. He is survived by their children: Tom, who is a trademark agent with Marks and Clerk; Sarah, who was a legal executive with the Solicitors Regulation Authority and now runs a horsebox hire company; and Rachel, who leads a private life.

Farrand read law at University College London and qualified as a solicitor but almost from the outset pursued an academic career: at King’s College London, the University of Sheffield and Queen Mary University of London, where he helped to set up the law school. Recalling his early days as an academic he described how making money had not been a priority. “We expected nuclear war and saw no future, so there was no reason to save,” he said.

He was the author of Contract and Conveyance (1963; fourth edition 1983), the dry title of which belies the wit of his writing that had students and chancery judges alike laughing out loud. “The style is generally bright and breezy, and rather far removed from the sonorities of the more practical works,” noted a review in Cambridge Law Review of the 1968 edition, adding that it included a reference to Alice in Wonderland. His other works included Emmet and Farrand on Title, a loose-leaf publication for which he often prepared new pages.

In 1968 Farrand was appointed professor of law at the University of Manchester, where one of his colleagues was Brenda Hoggett (née Hale). She recalled him encouraging younger academics, often sending opportunities their way. Although he was patient with students struggling to understand the mysteries of land law and tax, he was less so when queueing for a coffee. He was fond of France and French culture, but struggled with the language. On one occasion he signed up to take an O level in the subject, but news of his studies leaked out and he learnt to his horror that the students were watching intently to see how their professor fared: fortunately he got an A.

Farrand and Hale both became law commissioners in 1984 and in 1989 he was appointed insurance ombudsman before becoming pensions ombudsman five years later. He sat on various tribunals hearing national insurance, benefits and rent assessment cases. As a chairman he was informal yet orderly, acquiring a reputation for fairness and being even-handed.

His first marriage was dissolved in 1992 and ten days later he married Hale, who in 2004 became a law lord. She also survives him with a stepdaughter, Julia, who works in financial regulation. When not in London, home was a late-Georgian house near Richmond, North Yorkshire, with an annexe and a garden cottage that are occupied by his daughters and their families.

Farrand, who had white wavy hair and twinkling eyes, took great pride in Hale’s achievements, even though these took him to places such as Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Gray’s Inn chapel, which, as an atheist and a republican, were not his natural stomping grounds. Encouraged by his wife, he wrote a novel, Love at All Risks (2001), set in an ombudsman’s office.

He was a theatregoer, with an eclectic range of tastes. Hale introduced him to opera, his first being Britten’s Turn of the Screw, which became a favourite. They would spend a week each summer with friends at the Edinburgh festivals, renting student flats. Hale booked their shows at the international festival while Farrand selected their fringe choices. He also took his turn at treading the boards. When his wife was treasurer of Gray’s Inn he took part in their Christmas shows, once as Oberon in a legal mash-up of Shakespeare, and on another occasion as Dionysius in a lawyers’ take on Greek myths.

Hale once told Farrand that his driving style was “like Toad of Toad Hall”. Soon afterwards he presented her with flowers in a pot that he thought resembled a toad, but it was actually closer to a frog. Thereafter frogs remained a theme in their lives, with various figurines lined up on her desk, all tributes to her husband. She began wearing brooches to liven up the sober suits that were a necessity in the family division. Her first was an antique spider and others soon followed — including the silver spider that achieved fame in the Supreme Court, a £12 purchase from Cards Galore, with Farrand watching its wearer supportively from the gallery.

His greatest interest outside work and his family was chess. Holidays were spent at whichever seaside resort was hosting that year’s British championships. Occasionally in retirement he would disappear with a small group of friends for chess-playing breaks that Hale described as his “Last of the Summer Wine holidays”.

Julian Farrand, legal academic and former ombudsman, was born on August 13, 1935. He died of a pulmonary embolism on July 17, 2020, aged 84

Obituary Reproduced from The Times

John Patrick (1944)

John Patrick, who was at Haberdashers from 1939 to 1944, died last Friday (22 May) at the age of 93. He had been in a nursing home since August of last year, following a stroke and a fall.


Growing up in Harrow, as with so many of his fellows, John cycled to the School at Westbere Road. By the time he left School, London had become the target of the flying bomb, though John did not remember people being over-worried by them (even if one came over while he and his friends were cycling to and from School). In his last year at Habs, John took part in fire-watching from the roof of the building, although the time of incendiary bombs (to light up the area for further bombing) was mostly over.


On leaving school John served in the Royal Navy as a radio mechanic and became interested in the wider discipline of electronics. His training on board also provided the skills that formed the basis of a 43-year career at the General Electric Company at the Hirst Research Centre in North Wembley, where he rose to be an engineering manager.


In his early years at the GEC John studied part-time at Chelsea Polytechnic and obtained a BSc degree.


John enjoyed a wonderful 64 year marriage with his wife, Mary, who sadly predeceased him by five weeks. Our thoughts are with their son, daughter and their families.

Rev Canon Beaumont L Brandie MBE (1959)

A priest for over 50 years, Fr Beau gave his heart and soul in service to the Lord and his Church. He had a deep devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham and led many pilgrimages from his parishes in Brighton.


He was a member of the Order of Our Lady of Walsingham and will perhaps be most remembered by pilgrims as Chief Steward of the National Pilgrimage, a role he undertook for some 36 years with extraordinary energy and dedication.

On completion of the Milner Wing in 2006, in recognition of his outstanding service to the Shrine, the Guardians named the arch leading into the Shrine Grounds in his honour. His remains will one day rest under the Brandie Gate.

Margaret Flashman (Staff)

We are sorry to have inform you that Margaret, the wife of Basil Flashman, the much respected and fondly remembered Headmaster of the Habs’ Prep. School, passed away on 8 May 2020. She was 91 years old.


Having spent the War years as pupil at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School for Girls, Margaret re-joined the School at Acton in 1968 proving to be a popular and inspirational teacher of Domestic Science, as well as an appreciated and approachable colleague. For a number of years, she also taught the joint Boys’ and Girls’ Schools Sixth Form General Studies (now termed `Enhancement & Enrichment’) Domestic Science course. After twenty years sterling service to the Girls School, Margaret retired in 1988. 


Basil, meanwhile, had been made Headmaster of the Boys’ Prep. School in 1966 and, as the Head’s wife, Margaret was in her element. She maintained a great enthusiasm for meeting people, hosting School occasions and making new Prep. parents feel welcome via newly initiated cheese and wine parties and coffee mornings with mothers – all vital to the building of the Prep School’s reputation as a caring and sociable institution.  Margaret was a wonderful ambassadress for the School and was known as such throughout the Habs community. Such was the affection for the Flashmans that when Basil retired in 1989 the Prep. parents gave them a superb evening reception, which they were driven to and from in a specially provided Rolls Royce.


Basil died in March 2014. Margaret is survived by her son David and daughter Geraldine (both of whom were educated at Elstree) and ten grandchildren.

Graham B Jones (1950)

Graham joined Habs in 1943 – the start of a life long friendship with Alistair Dickson and Dan Lundie.

Sport played a large part in his school life where he boxed, played rugby and was an Army Cadet, but cricket – he was a quick bowler- was always his delight, both at school and in later life. He started the West Country Cricket Tours whilst he playing for OHCC.

Graham left school in 1950 to do National Service which took him to Korea and Germany then, upon returning, took up his place at St Catherine’s College Cambridge to read Mathematics. He also met his wife Mary at Homerton College and they married in 1956.

Graham worked for ICI Paints in Slough for some years before he decided to teach Maths and, living in Beaconsfield, taught first at High Wycombe Technical College and then at Sir William Borlases’s Grammar School in Marlow. Elstree cricket was a feature during these years!

In 1966 the family moved to Rousdon in Devon in order for Graham to work at Allhallows School where he was Head of maths and cricket. He became a Housemaster, ran Ten Tors Teams and was involved in the CCF. Upon “retirement” he taught for 5 years at Exeter School.

Whilst he was Head of School, he was “bound” apprentice to Haberdasher Colonel Bull, the Chair of Governors and, having served his apprenticeship, became a Liveryman of the Haberdashers Company.

Graham is survived by his wife Mary, his four children and eight much loved grandchildren.

David Gadbury ('59)

A second generation pupil at Haberdashers, David died aged 78 on 26th April 2020 as a result of extensive injuries in a road accident whilst cycling near his home.


He pursued a career in finance in Local Government and later with Southern Water at the time of its privatisation and on its takeover by Scottish Power. After retirement he advised Royal National Institute of the Blind. With his interests in languages, history, reading, gardening, tennis, football, cycling and a passion for American blues music he lived an active life up to his death.


He leaves his wife Brenda and daughter Helen.

John Carleton (Staff)

It is with great regret that we have to inform the wide Haberdashers community of the passing of John Carleton, the School’s highly respected former Second Master, who passed away peacefully in the early hours of 15 April 2020. He had been suffering from dementia for three years.

John Carleton was born in Paddington Green General Hospital, early in the New Year of 1938. When the Second World War broke out and the Blitz began, John was evacuated with his mother to his grandmother’s house in Wales. Here the family stayed for the duration of the hostilities, before returning to West London but not without John having assimilated a distinctive Welsh accent (at times….) – which many of his teenage charges at Haberdashers will recall.

He attended St Clement Danes secondary school in Hammersmith and then in 1956 went to Exeter University to read Chemistry and whilst there met his wife Janet.

John was appointed to the role of Chemistry teacher by Headmaster, Tom Taylor in 1960 and very quickly proved himself to be a first-class educator. Passionate about his subject and an outstanding classroom practitioner, he earned the respect of boys and colleagues alike, while also providing guidance, support and care for those who were lucky enough to find themselves around him.  

In 1966, Tom Taylor approached John to become Head of Chemistry, and never one to shirk a challenge (he was already the School Liaison Manager for the construction of the new Phase Two Science Block – which has since been replaced by the Aske Building) John embraced the opportunity.

In 1970 John became acting Head of Science and was confirmed in this post in 1972. Under his tutelage, science flourished at Haberdashers with the recruitment of a group of young colleagues whose wish to adopt new methods of teaching was matched by John’s steadfast encouragement of innovation. Many Old Haberdashers of that generation owe so much to John and his refusal to settle for second best, always gently coercing his 6th Form pupils to strive for the `outstanding’ and not just for the `very good’.

On the retirement of Dai Barling in 1982, John was an immediate first choice for the role of Second Master at Habs. As Bruce McGowan’s right-hand man for five years, he effectively ran the School during Bruce’s Chairmanship of the Headmasters’ Conference in 1985. When Bruce retired in 1987, John again was a great ally, friend and source of support to Keith Dawson, and his wise and sage advice helped to ease Jeremy Goulding (as John’s fourth Headmaster at Haberdashers) into his new position in Aldenham House in 1996, before himself retiring in 1998.

In retirement, John and Janet kept in close contact with Habs and were enthusiastic supporters of School Music and Drama as well as attending the near annual gathering of the Termites (Habs members of staff who had spent 100 terms or more at the School). They also enjoyed travel and spent much time in France, a country they loved and knew very well.  

A dedicated family man, John was intensely proud of his children Andrew and Louise (who both attended the Schools at Elstree) and their own families, based in the UK and Germany.

In Keith Dawson’s own words:

"He was one of the best friends the School can have had in its long history. John had the essence of Habs in his bones and he gave more than a professional lifetime to serving and supporting it. He was straight as a die, a firm and trusty friend who could be relied on to speak difficult truth when necessary. The boys he taught admired him and spoke of him decades later with warm affection; those he hadn’t taught respected him as an understated but resolute disciplinary rock who kept a tight ship without any hint of vindictiveness.

John was also a man of rare, hidden talents. My wife, Marjorie, vividly remembers his coming to the rescue when someone helping in the Head’s House had locked her car keys in her car. With deft, and evidently practiced, use of a credit card John had the driver’s door open within 20 seconds. Jaws dropped, awestruck.”

David Lindsay, Habs former School Chaplain, recalls:

"John gave his life to Habs – a fine teacher, a superb administrator, but, more than that, a thoroughly decent man with a caring and compassionate heart". 

Finally, for those of us who were fortunate enough to be taught at Habs during John’s long time there, the words of David Thomas, his erstwhile colleague at Westbere Road, ring clear.

"He was all that a schoolmaster should be".


(With thanks to the late Simon Boyes on whose valedictory piece in 1998’s Skylark this tribute is based)

The above was issued by the School 17th April 2020

Clive Hyman ('79) adds:

I was privileged to be taught chemistry by both Simon Boyes (his first job post Cambridge) and John was head of science when I was a sixth former and was taught chemistry by John in my 6SSc 7th term entrance exams to Cambridge.


He inspired me to succeed and helped and supported me through the period of my sixth form at School and was a very able second master  It was a privilege to have known him and be taught by him.


I have very special memories of him as a teacher and dare I say as a friend.


May he rest in peace.

Tony Weston (1961)

Tony, who has died at the age of 78 was a remarkable man. During his time at Westbere Road many of us will remember him as an individualistic presence in the art room, where he was a protégé of art master Roy Keevil. Tony was also a member of the Boat Club, and rowed at No 4 in the school first eight in 1960, competing with some success in the Tideway and Reading ‘Head of the River’ races as well as in numerous tideway regattas.

Throughout his life Tony was creative in the true sense of the word. When he left school, he went to work at the (then) London County Council (LCC) as a draughtsman. But not for long - in between commuting he was restoring old houses to a professional level, including the Nuthampstead house (Bundle’s Barn) that he, and his wife Bundle, eventually lived in.  But that wasn’t enough: in addition to being an accomplished potter, he also taught himself the skills of making stringed instruments. Not in any amateur fashion; 12 cellos, 15 violas, two double bass and a violin – all sold to professional musicians except for one quartet, which he kept. The Nuthampstead house even incorporated a small theatre – Tony was a keen and competent actor and excellent singer. But above all, he was also an accomplished poet – in the 1970s he telephoned me seeking guidance on obtaining a passport quickly. He had been nominated as the poet of the year by the United States Poetry Association and at short notice needed to go to New York to collect the award. He published numerous volumes of poetry; the last one ‘That Cardboard Boy’ was published by Winwaloe at the end of January 2020 as was the previous volume, ‘Might Have Been Nice.’

In later years, Tony volunteered to organise the weekly Cambridge Craft Market on Trinity Street. He would demonstrate the art of throwing his beautiful pots in the market, as well as selling them to visitors from all over the world. And Bundle would sell her exquisite enamel brooches on the stall next door to him. They were always a close, affectionate team.

Tony Axon 24th April 2020

The picture used is a self portrait painted in the last few weeks of Tony's life

Anthony "Tony" Alexander (1962)

Tony Alexander touched a lot of peoples lives.  His influence was felt in whatever he was involved.. 


He was born in Birmingham, 11th January 1945 his mother and Father, Sheila and Terry and the family was completed with  brother Nigel born Nov 1952


He was brought up in brought up in North West London and went to to Haberdashers Askes School at Hampstead, and latterly Elstree,  following his Father and subsequently his Brother


He left school in 1962 and worked for a company in Tottenham.  He caught the bus every morning at 6.30am along the North Circular Road until he bought his first car – a Sunbeam Talbot, put on some weight, joined the TA Parachute regiment, did his jumps to get his wings and started playing Rugby for the Old Haberdashers


Married to Angela in 1966 and moved with his work to Newcastle under Lyme. He played rugby for his local club and played at county level for Staffordshire and daughter Jennifer born in 1969


His career in Distribution and Logistics developed and they moved to the North East of England, to Ryton outside Newcastle.   Tim was born a Geordie in 1971.  Tony grew his love of the place and people of that part of the country as well as an encyclopaedic knowledge of the best pubs in the area.    


Work brought them back to London in 1976 and in due course he set up his own Warehousing and Distribution Company, which was to define his subsequent business career.  Terry and Sheila died in 1978.  As Nigel recalled, Angela gave love and support to them both at that very difficult time.  Tony re-started playing Rugby for OH and became a regular member of the first XV alongside his brother.  They really enjoyed playing together, Tony maintained, but Nigel disagrees, that their father never saw them in the same OH side. Someone needs to check the facts, something that never bothers the Alexanders!


Tony moved to Bushey and Maggie became the most significant part of his life.  His business ventures ebbed and flowed but despite some major setbacks and challenges, he always managed to find a way through.  It was that determination to succeed and never give up which has marked the last twenty five years of his life. Maggie has been a constant loving partner providing support advice and consistency to him during this time. Tony joined her in collecting for the RNLI, and she was always by his side at many official and social functions as Tony became deeply involved in all aspects of the Old Haberdashers Association and the Old Haberdashers Rugby Club..  He also became the almoner of the Old Haberdashers Lodge and, through that organisation, he extended help and support to many families and to those who had fallen ill.  Tony and Maggie regularly played Golf together and he enjoyed the Tennis Club socials that he was at with her.  At the last occasion that Tony attended, a Rugby Club Past Players lunch, she was alongside him with her warmth and smile.   


The delight which he had in his Children and Grandchildren and his own family,  as well as Maggie’s extended family was evident.  He liked nothing better than having as many of the family together as possible for a summer party in the garden at Little Bushey Lane.  Maggie and he travelled to the Caribbean and around the Mediterranean on holidays and lately developed a taste for cruising the great rivers of Europe.  Wherever he was he would make sure that everybody knew and that he was having a great time with a glass of “Something Local” in a picture.


To his absolute delight the Old Haberdashers Rugby club have had ten years of outstanding success.  He would be found on the touchline at most games, encouraging the players, advising the referee on technical aspects and admonishing opposition supporters.  But after the game he could be found in the Clubhouse with a beer, talking with players and supporters of all sides, always interested and engaged.  When you met him, be it the first time or had known him for many years, he was there alongside you as a significant presence.


As somebody has already said, the World will be a duller place without him.  He lived for the moment and the moment lived in him.

David Newbury-Ecob (1944)

Died 4th April 2020

David was born in Farnham Royal one of four sons and lived in Mill Hill.  He was educated at Haberdashers School and after serving in the British Army Royal Engineers in the Middle East studied Engineering and Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge where he met his late wife Rae.

They married in 1952 and settled in Harpenden, Herts where he worked for General Motors Vauxhall and the National Children’s Home. Following retirement he served as a Liberal Democrat County Councillor with an interest in health and education.

He was a passionate European and travelled widely. He spoke fluent French and German enabling him to participate in Harpenden twin town exchange visits to Alzey and Cosnes and until a few months before his death he attended French and German conversation evenings.

David served as Churchwarden and member of the St Albans Diocesan Synod. He had a great commitment to the local community and was an active participant in many local organisations.

A keen sportsman having played rugby at school, university and early career he continued to attend lunches and events at Harpenden rugby club. He played squash and enjoyed sailing with his elder brother.

David will be greatly missed by his extended family for whom he and Rae provided endless hospitality.  He will be remembered for his intellect, charm and social conscience.  He is survived by his 5 daughters, Clare, Helen, Ruth, Louise and Frances, 10 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.

David was buried in private family funeral at West Herts Crematorium and the family will be having a service to celebrate his life once normal activities can be resumed. 

Geoffrey Ogden 1956

Geoff was raised in Kenton, Middlesex, and attended Priestmead Primary School from where, at the age of 10 years, he passed the entry exam to Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, then at Hampstead. He was a very bright lad and more than held his own with others a year older. He represented the school at cross country running, his stamina having been developed by cycling some 25/30 miles each day to school with John Parker and me. He was involved in school theatrical productions and became the warrant officer in charge of the Combined Cadet Force.


After A levels he attended the London School of Economics where he was involved in the rather tricky area then described as logic and scientific method, without doubt the fore runner of the world of computers and modem management systems. He also represented the LSE in long distance running.


He left the LSE with a very good degree and later qualified as an accountant eventually moving into financial management in large organisations developing alongside that experience, his knowledge and expertise in the use and application of computer systems in various settings.


After initially working in the the UK he had several postings overseas and lived for many years in South Africa. His returns to the UK would always be marked by very fluid meetings with John Parker and myself in various London hostelries and with his LSE colleagues, notably Frank Stoner, who is here today and other friends such as Peter Denny.


Geoff eventually returned to the UK where he undertook commissioned work with

local authorities and NHS boards throughout England and Wales. He became involved in politics and did a great deal of work in support of the Conservative Party locally. With John Slade, who is here today, he organised fund raising functions and political meetings. He also canvassed extensively at election times. This and his professional career afforded him direct access to many prominent people which he would often put to use to assist others. He would spend much of his leisure times canal walking.


He was always proud of being an Old Haberdasher and supported both the school and the Old Haberdashers' Association. He played a bit of rugby for the old boys in his younger days but whilst he may have been powerful in the business world he was pretty hopeless in the line outs. He was however good in post match matters. He attended many social functions both formal and informal in support of the Association.


Geoff never married. Sadly, when in his thirties, his intended fiancé was killed in a car crash.

The last few years of his life were not good to Geoff. He suffered a stroke some seven years ago which curtailed his ability to walk. This gradually worsened leaving him bed ridden for the past three years. He also had had a kidney removed when he was in his thirties and this with his weakening condition left him prone to infections. He bore all his inflictions with inspirational cheerfulness and resolve, maintaining his passion for white wine. During one of his many stays in hospital a consultant described him as the most resilient person he had ever met.


Geoff was a good and loyal friend, (for over 70 years to John Parker and me, over 60 years to Frank Stoner, nearly 60 years to Peter Denny and over 30 years to John Slade) A kind and a caring person with an impish sense of humour and a brilliant mimic.


He will be greatly missed. RIP dear friend.

Ken Davies (OH 1956)

Dr Michael Levin (Staff)

Michael Levin, who died on Wednesday 22 January aged 86 after a long illness, taught Physics with great accomplishment at Habs from 1972 to 1997, and for those of us who were taught by him his enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject was second to none.


He also was a vitally important member of the Careers department as well as overseeing a very successful generation of Habs Chess players.


Michael was himself an Old Haberdasher, joining the School at Westbere Road in 1946 and leaving in 1950. After obtaining excellent degrees from Imperial College, London, and spending some years working for the National Coal Board, the lure of Haberdashers was such (as with a number of OHs) that in 1972 he returned to teach – having been recruited by the then Headmaster, Tom Taylor. Michael’s sons Jonathan (OH 1980) and David (OH 1982) both came to Habs, as indeed did a number of his nephews.


Our thoughts and condolences are with his whole family, and most especially his widow, Henny.

Simon Gelber 1973

We are devastated to receive the news that Simon Gelber, mainstay of the Old Haberdashers’ Cricket Club and a key member of the Association’s management team, passed away on New Year’s Day after suffering a major heart failure on Christmas Day. He will be sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched.


We attach below a transcript of the words addressed in his memory by Colin Blessley, OHA President, before a lunch preceding two rugby home games at Croxdale Road on 4th January 2020. A minute silence was observed on the field before the kick-off of each match.


Rest in Peace, Simon. We will remember you.

Simon Gelber

A tribute by Colin Blessley - 4th January 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, guests.

I wanted to say a few words before we proceed.

I think that most of you will have heard by now that Simon Gelber passed away on New Year’s Day.

With his passing, we have lost a true OH stalwart – he was involved in many aspects of the OHA’s activities, not just those of the Cricket Club, of which he was a very effective defender of the faith within the overall Association universe. Simon steadfastly conserved good relations with the School, when, on other fronts, there had been major breakdowns in the relationships.

Without him, the OHCC Annual Dinner at Lord’s would not exist. Indeed, he was risking the cricket equivalent of doing a Nobbly, still playing until the end of the last season.

He was often on the touchline at our home rugby matches – one of a dedicated group of supporters who attended regularly over the years. He was also quite a fair referee.

Being well- read, for many years, he was the Editor & Correspondent for OH Notes – a pretty thankless task, as a number of his successors will bear witness. Getting publishable material from contributors was like getting blood from a stone. However, this did not diminish his great sense of humour.

In view of the fact that his professional career was in the catering industry, it is hardly surprising that, together with David Heasman, he founded the black tie “Gourmet Dinner” programme held here at the clubhouse, with Simon doing all the cooking and plating up – maybe we should hold one in his memory.

He was also historically involved in the clubhouse bar management, a role which, at my request, he re-assumed last summer. Most of the improvements in the bar product offering are down to Simon’s hard work – ably supported by Pauline – so please, by your custom henceforth, ensure that his efforts are recognised.

Simon was the man to call when an item of kitchen equipment needed some TLC. His business, Court Catering, performed wonders on emergency call-out and many potential disasters were averted. He master-minded the installation of the new appliances, which are proving so valuable on occasions such as today.

Although not an accountant, he had a fine eye in financial analysis and (as I know to my occasional cost) actually read accounts from cover to cover. He was the only member of ExCo to pull me up because a footnote cross-reference was incorrect.

We shall sorely miss all of his contributions – indeed, I ask myself who and how can we replace him. The answer is we cannot – his unassuming but always constructive presence was just him. It will not be the same without him.

Go with God and Rest in Peace, Simon.

Sidney Holt 1944

Sidney Holt, who has died aged 93, aimed to live long enough to save the great whale species from extinction – something he had been fighting for since being appointed to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in 1961 to give scientific advice on annual catch limits for each hunted species.

He managed to curtail the slaughter but did not succeed in halting it until 26 December 2018, when Japan left the International Whaling Commission and announced it would no longer kill whales in Antarctica, at last guaranteeing the great whales a sanctuary where their seriously depleted numbers might continue to recover.

Holt’s battle to save the whales began after he had established himself as a world-renowned scientist in the field of fisheries, having co-written a book published in 1957 on how to calculate fish stocks and therefore work out sustainable catches. The book, On the Dynamics of Exploited Fish Populations, was a collaboration with a fellow UK Ministry of Fisheries and Food (Maff) scientist, Ray JH Beverton. It became the must-have textbook for fisheries scientists.

Holt had worked out the equations that formed the core of the book while camping on Rannoch Moor in Scotland, waiting for wood ants to return to their nests. He had been sent out on a motorbike to scout for areas of Scotland that could be turned into nature reserves, and out of curiosity began weighing the ants when they set off to forage in the morning. He marked them with tiny spots of green paint so he could identify individuals when they returned and weigh them again.

He posted off the fishery equations to his co-author and four years later the ministry published the results, establishing the international reputations of both men.

Holt, who had an intense curiosity, believed in spreading his knowledge and had already represented the UK at various international conferences on fishing. Four years before the book was published he was asked by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to run a training course in Istanbul, after which he was recruited to work full time.

Holt and his wife, Nan (nee Meadmore), known as Judy, whom he married in 1947, went to live in Rome, and he spent the following 25 years working for the UN. His reputation continued to grow as he produced more than 400 scientific papers and articles. He served as director of the fisheries resources and operations division of the FAO in Rome, secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and director of Unesco’s marine sciences division in Paris.

In 1961, as a part-time additional job, he became one of the so-called “three wise men” – independent scientists advising the IWC, which was intent on devising sustainable limits to catches of great whales. Although he officially retired from the UN in 1979, he continued work to limit the slaughter of whales, first for the IWC until 2002, and then as a scientific adviser to various anti-whaling countries, including the Seychelles and France, as well as environment groups.

After retiring from the UN he became first director of the International Ocean Institute in Malta and helped draft the Convention on the Law of the Sea (1982).

He won many accolades for his work on protecting marine mammals, animal welfare and fisheries science, including the Global 500 award of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Blue Planet award of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Sidney was born in the East End of London. His father, also Sidney Holt, was a briar-pipe maker, and his mother, Ethel (nee Fryatt), had worked in a confectionery factory. They moved to Colindale and Sidney won a scholarship to Haberdashers’ Aske’s boys’ school before going to Reading University, where he got a first-class degree in biology. He wanted to continue studying but his parents could not afford to support him and he joined Maff, working in its Lowestoft laboratory.

Although he began his research life at sea, sewing buttons on plaice and releasing them to determine where they had migrated when they were caught again by fishermen, he was soon in demand elsewhere. He was keen to accept a job in the US at five times his Maff salary, but was refused a visa. He later discovered he had been labelled a communist for helping two visiting Russians translate their scientific paper into English.

Instead of America he worked at Nature Conservancy in Scotland before joining the UN in Rome. Holt was proud to have worked for the UN, but it was saving the great whale species that became his passion. He used his scientific, communication and diplomatic skills to turn the IWC from pro-hunting to a conservation body, a process that took decades of dedication.

The first great milestone in saving the whales came when a moratorium was introduced in 1984. However, Japan immediately invented “scientific” whaling – killing whales to check their age and the state of the stock – a loophole that allowed it to continue to slaughter the mammals for meat, also exploited by Norway and Iceland.

The annual meetings of the IWC were a political battleground in which Holt was ever present, patiently explaining the science and revealing to journalists the “bribes” of fish plants and cash sums used by Japan to get small nations to vote alongside it.

As he got older he grew more radical and became a Greenpeace representative, helping to found Greenpeace Italy, advising the IFAW, and finally endorsing the work of the Sea Shepherd organisation, directly confronting the Japanese whaling fleet as it hunted in the designated Antarctic sanctuary.

When Japan announced it had stopped “scientific” whaling in the Antarctic the news was hardly reported, but last September, when Holt was physically ailing, a group of prominent whale campaigners from around the world made a pilgrimage to his home in Umbria to celebrate and thank him for his immense contribution to their cause.

He met his partner, Leslie Busby, while they were working at Unesco. She survives him, along with his son, George, from his marriage to Judy, from whom he separated in the late 1970s.

Kindly reproduced from The Guardian 8th Jan 2020

David Seaman 1961

David Seaman died on the 19th May 2018 (OH informed Dec 2019) in Cardiff, which had been his home since the 1980s. Born in Hendon during the Second World War, his family moved to Mill Hill soon afterwards, where they lived for the next 20 years or so.

David played the piano from a very early age, rattled through his graded examinations and then attended the Royal Academy of Music in his early teens. He attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s School Hampstead before going to St Catharine’s College, Cambridge to study Music, obtaining both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music degrees. Whilst at Cambridge, David won a prize for his arrangement of the Coventry Carol, which was then performed by the choir of King’s College in the Chapel.

After Cambridge David studied conducting at the Guildhall School of Music in London. He trained as a repetiteur at the London Opera Centre and toured the UK with Opera for All.
Applying for positions in the UK he was told he was too inexperienced, so David applied for and was awarded a scholarship to study conducting in Hamburg. This set him up for the next 12 or so years, leading to positions as a repetiteur at Deutsche Oper Am Rhein in Düsseldorf, as 2nd Kapellmeister for Städtische Buhnen in Nürnberg and 1st Kapellmeister for Landestheatre in Coburg. In 1974, during his time in Nürnberg, he co-founded Pocket Opera Company (POC), Germany’s oldest independent opera company, which presented alternative full-length productions of operas, initially using David's own reduced orchestrations and then branching out as it became established. David continued to work as Musical Director of POC until 2003, adding to his library of arrangements which were toured extensively, both in Europe and throughout the world. The company still prospers to this day.

David and his wife Christine, who met in Germany where she was a ballet dancer, decided to return to the UK when the eldest of their three children reached school age. With 12 years
of work in Germany behind him, David now found he was too experienced for the positions he sought in the UK. However, he was offered a role at Welsh National Opera (WNO) as Conductor and Assistant Chorusmaster and the family moved to Cardiff in the mid-1980s.

Following from his success with POC, he conducted his version of Hansel and Gretel for WNO as the first of their circuit tours, which took opera to chamber theatres across Wales and the South West of England. The huge success of the first tour led to WNO commissioning David to arrange and conduct three more operas - Don Pasquale, Macbeth and finally La Cenerentola. Amongst his credits were the preparation of musical editions and then conducting the Orchestra and Chorus of WNO in animated versions of operas including The Magic Flute, which you can still find on YouTube.

In all, David prepared reduced orchestration versions of over 20 operas, from the best loved repertoire pieces such as Carmen and La Traviata to less well-known operas like Der Vampyr (Marschner), which played all over the world, including the USA, Mexico, Japan and New Zealand as well as many European venues. He did not confine himself to mainstream operas either, working on a number of other arrangements such as John Eaton's Songplay, with music by Kurt Weill, which he conducted in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. He continued to write and to arrange throughout his life, always exploring new ideas, such as his swing arrangement of Die Fledermaus (Swinging Fledermaus) and his own opera.

David’s approach to arrangements was to build from scratch with what was indispensable to the music rather than stripping away instruments from the full score. His scores have been performed by a variety of companies across the world, to great international acclaim. His famous and world’s first Der Ring an einem Abend (yes, Wagner’s full Ring-cycle, condensed into one evening) has been particularly successful, with performances in Germany, the UK, all over North America and elsewhere. "The edition works so succinctly, one scarcely notices that about ten hours of music are missing" – Die Zeit

David was loved and respected by the singers at WNO, with whom he worked tirelessly and always enthusiastically, coaching and helping them prepare for their operatic performances. 

As well as being a wonderful pianist he was also a consummate organist and played at various churches in the Cardiff area over the years. When not working on operas for WNO, coaching singers, accompanying them in recitals, or working with other instrumentalists, he loved to take music into the community. Through playing in small scale recitals with singers and players to founding a community-based opera company with family and friends to take small budget productions of operas like Hansel and Gretel to towns and villages that could not support large touring groups, he did all he could to spread the joy of his art.

Christopher Jenkins 1957

Chris was 75 years old, the only son of Arthur George Jenkins (Jenks) who attended Haberdashers for a short time in the 50s.

Unfortunately the school did not suit him and for the rest of his education he attended a local Comprehensive. He joined Elliot’s in Borehamwood and helped build an enormous computer hence his lifelong interest in that field.

Chris joined the OHRFC, his Brother in Law being John Hanson, past OH Captain, playing for the junior sides in the second row although he was like a pipe cleaner at that time! He married Margaret, Tony Alexander was their best man, then moved to Oxfordshire where he joined Cholsey rugby club and maintained his interest in Rugby throughout his life

Chris was also fascinated by the stars and gave several lectures in Oxford regarding that work. He built an observatory in his back garden which he was able to access from his study.

He cared for Margaret when she was too ill with her non Parkinson’s lymphoma and they both laughed like drains when Chris tipped her out of the wheelchair going up a kerb!

Chris is survived by Charlotte and Hannah and three granddaughters. His cancer was a short lived disease and it was a shock to everyone when he died. He was in pain but had palliative care at the end.

Liz Hanson – Sister

Peter Mitchell (1956)

Peter Mitchell died on 19 August 2019 at the age of 80. Many OH will remember Pete from school. At the age of 8 Pete had polio which left him with a withered left arm. In spite of this Pete achieved much with his life.

He left school for the LSE where he graduated in 1959. He then moved to Truro where he joined the planning department of Cornwall County Council where he was to spend the rest of his working life. Though he was born in London he came from a Cornish family, and this was to be his home for 60 years.

Pete was very active in the life of Cornwall. He was a Crusader leader, Secretary of Truro Baptist Church, active politically with the Liberal Democrats amongst many things.

I only really got to know Pete well on my frequent visits to Cornwall. He loved and knew Cornwall and her people well. He was always interested in old school contacts, which included TEC in his retirement in Cornwall. Quite a number of OH were spontaneously contacted by him.

Our sympathies go to Pete’s son Andrew and his sister Jane. 

John Kirkby (1957)

Rex Charles Harris (1945)

Rex Harris was born on 29 April 1927 in London and from Hampstead Garden Suburb Primary School obtained a scholarship to Haberdashers in 1938.  


In 1940 he was evacuated to Dorset and attended Bridport Grammar School, where he stayed for two years until he matriculated.  He returned to Haberdashers in 1942, where in his last year at School (1944-1945) he was School Captain at Chase Lodge, Mill Hill.  He was also a member of “the fire-watching elite” at Westbere Road.  


Rex was a keen sportsman and played Rugby for the 1st XV, captained the 2nd X1 Cricket team in an unbeaten run of two years, and represented the School at the Public Schools Cross Country running event at Blackheath.  He also attended the summer working camps at Seal and Lambourn during the last years of the war and was a Sergeant in the JTC. 


His National Service was spent in the Army Intelligence Corps, where he learnt Russian.  He went on to study Modern Languages and Economics at Caius College Cambridge and it was at a dance there attended by Old Haberdasher undergraduates that he met his future wife Lavinia (née Dalby).  Rex and Lavinia married in Cambridge and recently celebrated their 69th year wedding anniversary.   


On leaving Caius College, Rex joined J. Lyons & Co as a management trainee, working in various parts of the UK, before returning to London as Chief Executive of their Bread Bakery Division, which later merged with Spillers to form Spillers-French Baking Ltd.  When Spillers closed down its Baking Company, Rex joined Grand Metropolitan's Contract Services Division as Executive Development Manager, running management programmes both in the UK and in the Middle East. 

In 1985 he set up his own highly successful training and management development consultancy.  


Following retirement in 1996, Rex greatly enjoyed reunions at The Clubhouse with fellow Old Haberdashers and with his three sons, Christopher (1971), Keith (1974) and Neil (1979), where they usually provided the largest family contingent of Old Haberdashers at the Fathers & Sons Dinners. Christopher is married to Carol, the daughter of another Old Haberdasher, Ian Stuart-Kregor whose son Paul (1972) is also an Old Haberdasher.


Ever since his latter years at school, Rex was very keen on jazz and swing music, giving talks to the School Music Society on the subject.  This interest was taken up again in retirement, when Rex presented many illustrated talks and recitals to a number of Big Band Societies, going on to form The Woburn Sands Big Band Society when he was 80.


Rex passed away peacefully on 24th August after two years of ill health and is survived by his wife Lavinia who lives in Woburn Sands, Buckinghamshire and his three sons.

Huntley John Norman (1950)

Huntley John Norman was born on 26th December 1931 in Hull. At the start of the Second World War he was living in North London and so in 1939 he was evacuated to Wiltshire. By the end of the war he was back in North London attending Haberdasher's School until 1950.

Like many of his generation he did national service and was part of the Royal Artillery parade lining the route of the coronation of the Queen in 1952.

After national services he trained and qualified as a quantity surveyor. It was during this period and in the early and mid-1950's he played rugby and cricket for Old Haberdashers before injury forced early retirement from both. However he continued to enjoy watching both for the rest of his life.

By the 1960's Huntley had moved to Horsham in Sussex and married his beloved wife Pamela in 1961. 1965 saw the birth of his first son Graham flowed by Andrew in 1967.

During this period and until his retirement in 1996 he worked as a quantity surveyor for various firms including a period of self-employment. He worked on a variety of projects from Heathrow Terminal 4 to the Farnborough Wind tunnel to the naval dockyards at Rosyth as well as large housing developments and school building at Trinity and Whitfgift in Croydon where he had moved in 1980.

His love of sport never left him and he encouraged his two sons supporting them through thick and thin, rain or shine in whichever sport they chose. He also served as a committee member for 3 years at the Old Whitgiftians Rugby club watching his son play for over 15 years including games against Old Haberdashers. He could also be relied on to solve practical issues such as cutting holes for windows in walls or to producing picture frames for his daughter in laws paintings.

In 2009 he moved down to Worthing to be closer to family. He passed away peacefully with his family at his bedside on 28th June. He is survived by his wife Pamela and sons Graham and Andrew.

Ivor Benjamin (1974)

Ivor was not only a well-respected director of theatre, but a tireless campaigner for directors’ rights, and was heavily involved in the work of both the Directors Guild of Great Britain and the Directors Charitable Foundation. 

Below, Chair of the Directors Charitable Foundation Vladimir Mirodan writes in remembrance of Ivor, and his formidable life and works. 

Theatre director and writer Ivor Benjamin, who died recently following a long illness, dedicated much of his professional life to helping directors as well as to celebrating the art of directing in all its forms. In her eulogy, given during a moving funeral ceremony attended by over two hundred mourners, his widow Amanda described him as a ‘rescuer’ – of people as well as causes. Nowhere was this more in evidence than in his long and dedicated support for the aims and struggles of directors.

Born in 1956 into a close-knit Jewish family in North London, Ivor was educated at Haberdashers Aske School and in the late 1970s read English at Trinity College Cambridge. A production he directed in his final year gained him a Best Director award at the National Student Drama Festival; this in turn led to his first professional appointments: first as Assistant Director at the Youth Theatre, then as Staff Director for the main company at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (1982-84). During the decade that ensued Ivor also directed at the Birmingham Rep., the Bolton Octagon, the Harrogate Theatre and the Contact Theatre in Manchester. Notable productions included an adaptation of Animal Farm, Willy Russell’s Stags and Hens and the UK cast premiere of Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! In all, Ivor directed throughout his career over 60 stage productions in Britain, Canada, Ireland and Israel as well as writing 14 plays and film scripts. His adaptation of Rashomon, based on the original Japanese stories, toured internationally to Ireland, the USA, Singapore and the Philippines. 

Forever in search of the new, Ivor was an early adopter of the use of computers in the arts: this led him to gaining an MSc in Systems Analysis (City University, 1993) and as early as 1995 to lecturing enthusiastically on the possibilities of using virtual reality in the theatre. During the 2000s Ivor was actively involved in promoting Chinese film in Britain and chaired for several years the jury of the China Image Film Festival in London as well as being on the international jury of the Beijing Film Festival. Coming from a family of engineers, Ivor combined his professional interests with a life-long passion for dismantling, constructing and riding vintage motorbikes.

Ivor joined the Directors Guild of Great Britain soon after its formation in 1984 as the only organisation representing directors in all media. An enthusiastic promoter of directors’ rights, Ivor was soon elected to the Guild’s Council and eventually became one of its Vice-Chairs. In this role, he was at the heart of the various struggles and mutations the organisation underwent through the 1980s and 1990s and took an active part in planning and delivering the ‘rights strike’ which led to TV directors getting a much-improved deal from the broadcasters. When screen directors decided to form Directors UK, Ivor’s steadfastness enabled the DGGB to continue as an organisation serving mainly theatre directors, who would otherwise have been left homeless. Through Ivor’s vision (and occasionally his financial support), the DGGB was restructured as the executive arm of a charity, the Directors Guild Trust. Under Ivor’s chairmanship, between 2005 and 2015 the DGGB offered its members a sustained programme of craft-related workshops and social events as well as organising the Peter Brook Lectures, which involved well-known directors such as Brook himself, Phyllida Lloyd or Mike Leigh and were open to the general public. In 2015, the Directors Guild Trust joined forces with Directors UK and the recently established Stage Directors UK to form a new charity, the Directors Charitable Foundation. Ivor was instrumental in the creation of the new charity and became one of its most valued Trustees, working tirelessly for it until his illness prevented him from doing any more.

Ivor will be remembered by all who knew him for his boundless energy, his gentle wit and above all for the warmth and generosity of his friendship. His was a truly gracious spirit: instinctively and effortlessly he saw nothing but the best in everyone and everything. 

Ivor Benjamin died on 4 July 2019, not long after his sixty-third birthday. He is survived by his wife Amanda, his daughter Jilly and son Joe. He will be sorely missed. 


Reproduced with thanks to Directors UK  

Major Frank Partington (1943)

Born 8th September 1925 in Liverpool. Educated at Haberdashers Aske’s Hampstead School. Joined Royal Signals in Spring of 1944 and trained as a technician. Served in British Liberation Army (BLA) 1945 until VE Day. Given emergency commission 1946 and served in Northern Italy and with Royal Artillery in Palestine and North Africa until 1950 during which time obtained regular commission. Service continued as instructor Army Apprentices’ School Harrogate, TA Adjutant, instructor officer training, Staff Officer to Commander Royal Signals Malta, Squadron Commander 3rd Infantry Division Signals and Signals Staff Officer War Office/MOD. Awarded SQ (Staff qualified).


Following appointment as 2nd -in-command 16 Signal Regiment, qualified in colloquial Arabic in Aden prior to secondment to the Federal Regular Army (FRA) as Signals Advisor until November 1967. Prior to retirement from the British Army April 1975 served as SO2 Engineering in NATO (HQ AFCENT) and GSO2 in MOD. Joined SAF Signals on contract May 1975 until December 1983 as SO2 Signals/2nd -in-command and also CO.


Awarded WKhM (Distinguished Service Medal). On return to UK worked briefly (18 months) with the Internal Audit Section of the local council in Fleet, Hampshire, where he lives, as well as involvement with Citizens Advice, Royal British Legion, Royal Signals Association, Aldershot branch (Welfare Member) and Church. For a number of years was also Treasurer of the local Hospice Support Group

Dr Rob Bailey (1974)

Rob Bailey was at Haberdashers’ Aske’s School Elstree from the prep, until graduating from the 6th form in 1974. He was an enthusiastic participator in many school activities, including school plays, including ‘Much Ado About Nothing’, which toured Germany; choir and rugger. He made many friends at school, keeping up with some of them for the rest of his life.

Rob was a GP in Peterborough for the last 30 years. He qualified in 1980, having studied at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. Rob had both FRCS and was elected FRCGP, for services to the Royal College of General Practitioners. He gave superb service as a GP at the Minster Medical Practice. Many of his patients testified how he “went the extra mile”. Visiting his patients when they were admitted to hospital was, for him, routine practice. In addition, he had sessions at the local hospice, and was a key contributor to end of life care in the Peterborough area. He was also a breast surgeon, with sessions at the local hospital.

Rob was a keen cyclist and walker with huge energy, despite living with type 1 diabetes for 40 years. He was also a keen choral singer.

Sadly, he died suddenly, shortly before retirement, whilst walking in the Alps. He is survived by his wife Ita, and children, George and Siobhan. He will be sorely missed by them, and his wider family