The OHA is sorry to announce that the following Old Haberdashers' have passed away:
Alan Phipps (1968). OHA Past President. Died 18th January 2022
Nicholas Godman (1954). Died 29th November 2021
Andrew Nicholas (1963). Died 28th November 2021
Commander Tony Higham (1967). Died 24th November 2021
Nick Twissell (1960). Died 1st November 2021
Sir Thomas Harris (1963). Died 12th October 2021
David Barker (1947). Died October 2021
Professor Chris Bryant (1955). Died 15th August 2021
Neil Forsyth (1945). Died 25th July 2021.
Henry Edwards (1941). Died 16th May 2021
Timothy Baxter (1953). Died 15th May 2021
Tony Woolf (1942). Died 15th April 2021
Roger Lyle (1955) (Former OHA Secretary). Died 10th April 2021
Jack Hurst (Staff). Died 26th March 2021
Simon Wayne (2000). Died 18th August 2020.
Roy Lidington (1945). Died 15th March 2021
Julian Leff (1955). Died February 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
Nicholas Britton (1972). Died December 2020
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
We would appreciate friends and family sending us obituaries to post.
Andrew Nicholas (1963)
Few of the newbies to Westbere Road in 1956 were blessed with a Greek Cypriot waiter for a father, a half-Italian seamstress for a mother, and lived in a one-bedroom flat on Great Portland Street. Andrew benefited from the now-defunct Direct Grant system: the London County Council paid the fees of six scholarship boys each year for the duration of their schooling. Every class register suffixed your name with an L, so that all should know that you were a scholarship boy, but Andrew wore this mark of Cain lightly. He was a popular boy; respected for his catholic curiosity and his prodigious memory, liked for his sociability and his infectious giggle. Being a sports-lover also helped; when the lunchtime football crowd played on the school field, Darwinian selection ruled. Andrew ranked alongside the likes of Tony Everitt and Dave Kearton, and would be picked early, whereas your correspondent would be picked last-but-one; only saved from complete humiliation by Simon Schama, now known to the world as a popular historian, but remembered by a few as a truly terrible goalie.
Andrew was also one of that small group of trainspotting fanatics, who hung round on windy platforms hoping to record a new locomotive. The love of trains never left him; his last outing a few weeks before his death was to York and the National Railway Museum. The last photo is of him and his wife in front of BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0, number 92220 Evening Star, the last steam locomotive built by British Railways. Eat your heart out, Rog. Putnam!
When the time came to enlist in the CCF, Andrew was one of the very few not to join. Ironic, given his lifelong interest in military history, but Andrew’s father had heard stories of the British Army in Cyprus and would not countenance the idea. So, Andrew joined the SSU. While others paraded up and down in their khaki, the Special Service Unit did gardening.
Another lifelong interest was kindled when a motley crew of Habs boys signed up for dance lessons at Camden School for Girls. The attraction was not the dancing. At that time Andrew’s stated ambition was to meet a Swedish nymphomaniac whose father owned a pub. A trifle unrealistic, but the ambition fuelled many doomed years of searching.
When Haberdashers moved to Elstree in Summer 1961, Andrew was one of the student volunteers who laboured to help it happen. The so-called ‘removal men’ have reunions still, though a diminishing band; most recently losing ‘Beet’ Alexander.
Leaving school with A Levels, Andrew went to work in the Civil Service. But his interest had been pricked by a random encounter with a book on sociology, and this proved the key to focussing his disparate talents. After a year at work, he returned to education at (the then) Enfield College of Technology, taking an External London University degree in Sociology; did extremely well, and went on to gain a B. Phil. at York University, then a Masters at Manchester. He began his academic working career at Hatfield Polytechnic as a Lecturer in Sociology, and went on to spend most of his working life there. Hatfield Poly transitioned into the University of Hertfordshire, and Andrew eventually retired as Director of Studies and Chair of the Board of Examiners, Social Science.
In retirement Andrew continued his lifelong passion for military history, and in spite of indifferent health, was still giving occasional presentations to the Letchworth military history society until his death.
Andrew suffered from poor health throughout his retirement. He had serious heart problems, advancing Parkinson’s Disease, and leukaemia. Typical of Andrew, he used to joke that he couldn’t wait to see which condition got him first! Ironically, he was felled by Covid-19.
Andrew is survived by his widow, the lovely Judith, whom he married over twenty years ago and who belatedly brought him the happiness and contentment that he craved and deserved. Thank you, Judith.
Chris Frew L, Habs 1956-63
Commander Tony Higham (1967)
Tony Higham had a lifelong affiliation with water. If he wasn’t sailing the seas with the navy or taking part in an ocean race, he was leading the campaign for flood defences in the Hampshire village of Hambledon.
Even being at the centre of a lifeboat operation in August 1970 did not deter him. On that occasion he was skipper of a crew of six naval cadets on the Temeraire, a 36ft Bermudian rigged sloop, which was reported missing. Penlee lifeboat was launched, other shipping stood by to assist and two helicopters began a search. The Temeraire was eventually sighted 30 miles south of the Lizard light, but Higham managed to rerig the yacht, which sailed into Falmouth under its own steam. “When rounding the Scillies we began to encounter the most vicious storm I have ever been in,” he told The Times. “Off the Lizard the seas were reaching the top of the mast, about 35ft, certainly enough to overpower a small yacht.”
There were less choppy waters when he was sharing duties with Prince Charles, his fellow sub-lieutenant on HMS Norfolk in the early 1970s. For security reasons he once stood in as a body double for the prince and was driven down Main Street, Gibraltar, in the ship’s open-top Land Rover while his royal colleague slipped quietly on board via a back route.
Higham competed in many of the world’s great ocean races, including the first Whitbread round-the-world race in 1973-74, when he steered a Nicholson 55 yacht for 5,000 miles through the Southern Ocean with no rudder. He represented Britain in six Admiral’s Cups, which he won in 1977, came fifth overall in the 1980 Sydney-Hobart race and was involved in several Fastnet races. He was captain of the Royal Naval sailing team for seven years, skippering an 80ft Maxi yacht known as Broomstick in the 1994 Britannia Cup at Cowes.
In 2013 he received a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society after helping to pull three people from a blazing car on a country lane near Winchester. “We could hear the burning and I could feel my right buttock getting a bit hot,” he recalled. “But we were focused on getting this chap out.”
Anthony Higham was born in Hendon, north London, in 1948 to Maurice Higham, who on D-Day drove one of the landing craft that delivered troops on to the beach in northern France, and his wife Winifred (née Child); he had a brother, Mike, a retired headmaster. By the age of 11 Tony had recovered from tuberculosis, survived being knocked down by a car, fused the entire street’s electricity supply by sticking his finger in a plug socket and escaped with packing chemicals into a mustard tin as a homemade rocket
He won a scholarship to Haberdashers’ School in Cricklewood and then Elstree, where he was a member of the combined cadet force. From school he joined Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he acquired the nickname “Yachts”. It was the start of a 37-year career in which he served in six Royal Naval vessels
In 1973 he took part in the Cape Town-Rio race. To get there he secured a first-class passage on a cruise ship, the Edinburgh Castle. On the voyage he met Lindy Andrews, who was on her way to become a medical secretary with Christiaan Barnard, the heart-transplant pioneer. They were married in 1975 and she survives him with their children: Duncan, a former Royal Marines officer who now runs an American medical company; Nick, a partner at McKinsey; Alex, a property developer; and Charlotte, a solicitor. He was not always practical around them or his 12 grandchildren and once inadvertently made a cup of tea for the builder using expressed breast milk from the fridge.
Higham’s naval career featured a fair share of diplomatic work; at Nato he was involved in integrating the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland into the alliance. He helped with planning the Queen’s golden jubilee celebrations in 2002 and his final appointment concerned the commemorations in HMS Victory in 2005 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
Untroubled by self-doubt, Higham wrote letters on a range of subjects to national newspapers. In Hambledon, the birthplace of cricket, he led a campaign that led to a £3.9 million investment in the local flood defences, keeping villagers updated by firing off email bulletins. “We have a large number of hungry workers and volunteers round the clock,” read one. “Ladies of Hambledon (and gentlemen), I have sampled your delicious cakes and sandwiches. Any chance of some more please?”
Over the past decade he worked with the organisers of Strictly Come Dancing, his favourite television programme, to provide tickets for the show to 30 veterans around the time of Remembrance Sunday. On other occasions he organised concerts in Hambledon village church that together raised more than £165,000 for Royal Marines charities.
Higham was never happier than when on his yacht Windsong with a glass of champagne. He was a regular participant at Cowes Week, eventually becoming flight director for the air display. In 2018 he arranged for the Red Arrows to fly over the Solent during a rare parade of Cunard’s “three queens”, the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Immediately after the flypast a titled lady leant across to him and said: “My good man, would you mind terribly asking them to fly round again so I could get some more photos?” It was perhaps the only time he was unable to get something done.
Commander Tony Higham, BEM, yachtsman, was born on October 12, 1948. He died from a brain tumour on November 24, 2021, aged 73.
With thanks to The Times 21st December 2021
Sir Thomas Harris (1963)
Thomas Harris was enjoying a quiet retirement when he found himself back in the public eye in 2019, having been inadvertently caught up in the dispute about the Duke of York’s alleged sexual encounter with 17-year-old Virginia Roberts at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York home in April 2001.
In his interview with Newsnight Prince Andrew claimed that on the night in question he was staying at Harris’s official residence as consul-general. Harris responded in a newspaper interview that he had “no recollection” of the prince staying and that, given there was no mention of the stay in the Court Circular, “it doesn’t sound like he stayed with me”.
It was not the first time that Harris had been thrown into the epicentre of events. The duke’s purported visit was in the same year as the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US and Harris’s role meant that he was a key figure in the British response. Most immediately he kept the British government informed about what was actually happening on that bewildering and traumatic day as hijacked jets crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Later he hosted top-level visitors from London to New York in the aftermath of the attack, including members of the royal family, one of whom was the Duke of York, and the prime minister, Tony Blair.
Meanwhile, his office and home also became the focal point for a great humanitarian challenge, co-ordinating the search for British victims of the attacks, and assisting and consoling their families as they desperately sought information. He and his staff helped to organise memorial services while protecting individuals from intrusive media attention. He was knighted in 2002 in recognition of his role in the crisis.
Harris was always proud of his ability to mix easily with people of all backgrounds, something he attributed partly to his own upbringing in a world distant from that of many in the diplomatic elite. Thomas George Harris was born into a working-class household in north London in 1945, the son of Kenneth, a skilled tool-maker, and Doris (née Phillips), whose parents had been immigrants to Britain from southern Italy. They had lived after their marriage in a small rented flat above a shop.
He showed early academic ability and with the aid of local authority scholarships and inspirational teachers at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school he won a place to study history at Cambridge aged 16. Rather than going straight to university he took an extended gap year to travel abroad for the first time, working as a construction worker in West Germany and then hitchhiking with a friend around the Middle East, north Africa and the Mediterranean.
During his university studies he won a travel scholarship to embark on another journey which, he believed, was the turning point in his life. In 1963 he took the Trans-Siberian railway en route to Japan to study a collection of English labour history documents held at a Tokyo university. On his first evening there he met Mei-Ling Hwang, daughter of a Taiwanese pearl dealer, who was studying in the US and spoke four languages. After maintaining a long-distance relationship they married in 1967 in London and had an unconventional honeymoon, accompanied by Harris’s new mother-in-law because of a problem with return flights to Japan.
They were married for 54 years, with Mei-Ling building a successful floristry business based in London while supporting her husband in his diplomatic life. They had three sons, Ian, Simon, and Paul, all of whom had careers in finance.
Harris had come top in the 1966 civil service entrance exam and began his Whitehall career as a high flyer working for the Board of Trade. He was private secretary to ministers including Michael Heseltine and John Nott. His international interests and linguistic ability secured him postings to the British embassy in Japan to promote UK exports and as a commercial and trade specialist in Washington, after which he moved permanently to the Diplomatic Service. Initially he worked in Nigeria and on a range of crises in Somalia, Rwanda and Sierra Leone as head of the Foreign Office’s Equatorial Africa Department.
In 1992 he was appointed British ambassador to the Republic of Korea in Seoul. It was an auspicious time, with the country in the midst of what he called “unrelenting economic growth and prosperity” as it embraced global trade and finally emerged from the long shadow of the Korean war. Memories of his first travels in east Asia as a student back in the 1960s had given Harris a strong sense of how dramatic this change had been. Years of double-digit economic growth, he recalled later, had “replaced the refugee squatter camps I recall from my first visits to Seoul”.
As well as fostering much closer trading relationships between South Korea and Britain, Harris also helped to encourage cultural links, including a quadrupling in the number of Korean students studying in the UK. John Major visited the country as prime minister during Harris’s final year there.
Although trade and commercial relations may have been most prominent in his work, Harris was also closely involved in monitoring the nuclear threat posed by the paranoid communist dictatorship in North Korea. Much later, in 2010, he visited there when working as a banker and was deeply shocked by “a country which combines a nuclear technology capability with an economic system which cannot feed its people”. He saw great poverty, with the masses unable to afford basic transport, buildings unheated and in darkness owing to lack of power, and intense repression by the authorities. Although he normally relished any kind of travel, visiting 166 countries, in this case he left “with no wish ever to return”.
After his time as ambassador in Seoul, Harris had a brief spell back in Whitehall as director-general of the UK’s trade and investment organisation. However, he found managing change in such a large Whitehall entity less appealing than diplomatic work abroad so was pleased to take up his post as UK’s director-general for trade and investment and consul-general in New York in 1999.
In 2004, after retiring from the Diplomatic Service, he became vice-chairman of Standard Chartered Bank, using his Asian contacts and expertise in particular, with frequent visits back to South Korea. He was also a trustee of the Imperial War Museum.
His awkward moment regarding Prince Andrew apart, Harris enjoyed his retirement from public life by lecturing on history to local groups in north London, supporting his beloved Tottenham Hotspur, and spending time with his sons and grandchildren. He always encouraged in them a love of travel, whether to far-flung places or simply a new part of London, searching for the kind of new experiences and encounters which had so transformed his own life in the 1960s.
Sir Thomas Harris, diplomat, was born on February 6, 1945. He died of undisclosed causes on October 12, 2021, aged 76.
Reproduced from The Times with thanks.
David Barker (1947)
Our Dad was born in Stanmore in 1930 to Frederick and Violet and was the middle of three sons, Dennis being the eldest and Ken the youngest. The family home was a traditional and happy one – with Frederick busy running his own insurance company whilst Violet looked after the family, doting on her three boys. Perhaps it was Violet’s motherly love which got Dad so accustomed to being looked after – he couldn’t believe all the jobs we used to make him do so often at home!
Attending Haberdashers’ Boys School from the age of 11, Dad quickly immersed himself in sport - becoming an accomplished cricketer, batting for both his school and later, Hatch End Cricket Club. Much of Dad’s education was disrupted by the outbreak of the war and he recalled having to dive down onto the ground during cricket matches after seeing bombers overhead. Arguably though, the more disruptive influence was his friendship with his best school mate, Tony Bell - the two of them known for getting up to all sorts of mischief in class. A friendship they’d enjoy for over 75 years.
It was only aged 17 when Dad finished his schooling that he discovered his love and talent for tennis. Wandering across to Elms tennis club – his local club - inspired by what he saw, he decided it was a game to pursue. Totally self-taught, he thoroughly enjoyed playing every day that summer. Dad was disappointed when his father told him he had secured a job for him starting at 9am on Monday morning at the Guardian Royal Exchange - a large British insurance business. Little did he know this would signal the start of a blossoming career and tennis would soon become an integral part of his life, going on to play at both club and county level.
Dad’s career had only just begun when it was halted at the age of 18 to undertake his mandatory National Service. Joining the RAF, he was assigned the responsibility of guiding young training pilots into land. He never quite knew how he managed it as it was pretty much a case of learning on the job, but Dad’s methodical and calm approach probably equipped him well. Although he’s never stopped reminding us about the cold showers and horrible meals he had to put up with!
Dad was delighted once he was finally back in his more natural environment in the City and he soon discovered that he was suited to a career in insurance. Working hard and rising through the ranks, his first big move came at the age of 35 – taking on a role at insurance firm, FE Wright. Dad has always dubiously claimed that it was his gruelling National Service that prepared him well for the world of work, but we all think that his progression was more down to his unrivalled ability to charm clients over long, boozy, City lunches!
However, there wasn’t a hint of arrogance in Dad – he was far more aware of other peoples’ talents, than his own. But he thrived in the company of others, and they loved working with him. With an innate ability to gently influence, he quietly led by example and brought out the best in people. He was eventually appointed Chief Executive at FE Wright and only left the company after 25 years to take on the Chief Executive role at Holman Insurance where he was tasked with turning the company around and leading them into the Lloyds’ insurance market within 18 months. He ended up being persuaded to stay for 7 successful years, finally retiring at the age of 67. Remarkably, he even managed to go his whole career without having to learn how to use a computer or send an email as his secretary loved doing everything for him!
Family life was always busy for Dad. Having had his first son, Andy, at the age of 30, he then embarked on new family life twenty years later, having Lucy and I after meeting our mum in 1977 and their marriage three years later. Their mutual love and unwavering dedication and loyalty to each other, coupled with their complementary strengths, made them the perfect team. The incredible times they’ve shared, and their achievements together is testament to that. As a family, we kept Dad young - but probably kept him poorer than he would have liked too!
In the second half of his life, Dad could invariably be found at Cumberland Tennis Club - where he immersed himself in club affairs and spent countless hours on court – and thanks to many of you – even more time at the bar! It’s no surprise it’s where he cultivated some of his closest friendships, this was where he felt most at home, and these were some of the happiest years of his life. I’ll never forget the many years spent up there as a family – me playing with Dad and desperately trying to copy his rock-solid volleys and trademark backhand slice. He inspired me to play the game. An overriding memory is Dad roaring with laughter at the bar surrounded by his friends.
Tennis took Dad all over the world, to the US as part of Lloyds of London tennis team, county week at Eastbourne and he even won a tennis tournament in Vale do Lobo at the age of 50 – and he was only there for a week’s family holiday! In 2015, he and mum went to watch the Semi-finals of the Australian Open in Melbourne, finally completing his lifelong ambition to attend all 4 tennis majors.
Dad turned his attentions to golf in his retirement and became a member of Hampstead Golf Club. Taking the game up late and insisting he didn’t need many lessons, this game proved not to be as easy. It didn’t start well, because at the end of the first hole of his playing-in round at Hampstead, he realised he had left his putter at home. But of course, even with a putter down, Dad managed to charm his way in. Hampstead soon represented a huge new part of his life to enjoy every week with his friends. Unsurprisingly I always saw him produce his best golf going up the last, in full view of the clubhouse. And we know he enjoyed being able to order any cakes of his choice afterwards - food options that weren’t routinely offered at home!
Some of my fondest memories are playing golf with Dad and the attempts alongside mum and I to take on some of the finest courses in Europe. Dad always hacked his way round and he lost more balls than I can remember. On one early holiday in the Algarve, leaving mum to look after me at 6 months old, Dad nipped off with Luce to grab some lunch and came back with a Quinta do Lago timeshare! What an investment that turned out to be, enjoying magical times with the family pretty much every year since – relaxing on the terrace in the sunshine and visiting his favourite restaurants – always enjoying a bottle or red and his favourite sardine pate!
I will deeply miss our Dad. His smile, his infectious laugh, and the funny stories he recounted – his huge presence. He was an amazing Dad, who had a huge influence on me in every area of my life, including my passion for sport and choosing a career of my own in the city.
He showed that – coupled with hard work - life is to be lived and the best way is alongside family and friends, to have a good laugh, doing what you love, often with a bloody good bottle of wine! To always appreciate the small moments of joy. Quite frankly, I have huge admiration for the times that Dad lived through and all that he achieved. And with the way our Dad conducted himself throughout his life, he deserved every bit of it.
Dad’s life was certainly a life fulfilled. He very much leaves a legacy shown by his friends and family in this room. I think we can all agree that the elegance, balance, and touch of class that Dad showed on a tennis court was mirrored throughout his life.
Eulogy given by James Barker (David's son)
Professor Chris Bryant (1955)
Professor Chris Bryant, a member of the ANU for almost 60 years, was born in 1936 at Hampstead, North London. He attended schools at Buckingham College, Harrow, and Haberdashers' Aske's, Hampstead and in 1955 gained a County Award to Kings College London where he graduated BSc with honours in zoology in 1958.
After completing an MSc at University College London, he moved to King's College Hospital to work for his PhD on the effects of anti-inflammatory drugs on subcellular metabolism in animal tissues, supervised by Mervyn Smith.
While working for his PhD, Chris married Anne Roberts, an Australian nurse and upon graduation he applied for academic positions in Australia. Chris had several offers from which he chose to accept a lectureship in zoology at ANU.
The zoology department at ANU had been established in 1959 under the headship of the noted parasitologist, Desmond Smyth, and Chris was quickly impressed with the quality of both staff and students.
Desmond, Warwick Nicholas, John Clegg, Mike Howell, and Chris soon established the ANU as a highly regarded centre for parasitological research in Australia.
With generous funding from the Commonwealth government, Chris established a research laboratory studying the adaptive biochemistry of parasitic cestodes, trematodes and nematodes.
Thanks to Canberra Times for the Obituary
Neil Forsyth (1945)
OHA Past President
This Eulogy given by Neil Forsyth’s three children
Wednesday 18th August 2021 at St John The Baptist Church, Chipping Baret
Dad’s first piece of advice for anyone who was standing up to speak was keep it short and include some long words like ‘marmalade’. So, we have tried to follow his advice as we share some of our favourite memories of him today. The only requests he gave for his funeral were that we should sing ‘Lead us Heavenly Father lead us’ and not talk about him. Sorry, Daddy, but we will sing your hymn.
As this hymn suggests, at Dad’s core was his belief in the Lord, it underpinned everything that he did and all he stood for. We were aware of his quiet, deep faith when we were young but it became more evident as he got older and, just a few weeks before he died, he assured three of his grandsons that “better things are to come”.
We’ve found comfort in all the stories that you’ve shared with us as they highlight his integrity, humour and friendship as well as the mischievous twinkle in his eye. His affection for family and friends was usually marked with a nick name such as the one given to his great friend David James (‘47) who suddenly became ‘Pendergast’ on a skiing holiday when Daddy was introducing him to a group of girls.
In the 50’s & early 60’s Neil was busy working hard at John I Jacobs the Shipbrokers, playing rugby for the Old Haberdashers, helping at Crusaders, a Christian organisation for boys and sharing a flat with his good friend, Prendergast. At work he met our lovely mother, Elizabeth. They tried to keep the romance quiet, but Dad’s colleague & friend, Bill Williams, realised something was a-foot when Daddy started slinking off early to take Elizabeth out. They married in 1964 and together created a loving, happy home for us all. They were a marvelous team. We feel so blessed and so grateful to have had such wonderfully loving, giving and good-humoured parents.
In the mid 80’s Dad retired and Dad was over the moon to become a grandfather. The grandchildren were especially precious, after the sadness of losing his dear wife and our mother, Elizabeth, when she was only 51.
In the last few years, things slowed down and visitors to Buckers will have met Faith who provided wonderful care for Dad. It didn’t take long for him to nickname Faith ‘Nanny’ and we are so grateful that, with her expert support, he was able to stay in his own home until the end. Faith has been a real blessing.
Although work, sport, his garden and Old Haberdashers were important to Dad, his family, friends and (his) faith were closest to his heart. He made us laugh, he was unflappable, a constant, steady and loving presence in our lives and of course he was our hero.
Dad was born in Hendon, in 1927, a brother for Wolly. The family moved to Liverpool during the war so that Grandfather Joseph , a marine engineer, could assist with the vital Atlantic convoys.
Dad was quick to slot into scouse life and I loved hearing his stories from that time. One of my favourites was how he & some friends distracted a member of the home guard whilst other scallywags helped themselves to ammunition from a spitfire which had crashed on the banks of the Mersey. Dad then worked out how to get the rounds to fire without a gun. He tied a piece of string to the bullet end of the shell and threw them in the air allowing the shell case to land hard on the ground each time and go off. This occupied them for hours. Not one to try at home!
He had further tales of mischief during the war.
On returning to London Dad attended Haberdasher’s. During his Latin School Certificate paper there were a total of 7 air raids. This enabled him to liaise with the Classics scholar in a dark corner of the air raid shelter which proved very fruitful and I think he got a credit in this exam!
On leaving school he trained in the Fleet Air Arm on the Swordfish torpedo bomber. Dad found that he suffered the most appalling motion sickness in a small plane, fortunately, this training course was cut short allowing him to transfer to the Navy where he trained as a Radar expert. Dad completed his training at the end of the war, and I think he was rather frustrated at not being able to do his bit for the effort.
After demob he declined a place at Oxford – presumably because he could not rely on the Classics scholar to assist with tricky exams! Instead he started working as a junior shipbroker at Jacobs in the city. He remained there for some 40 years and had worked his way up to main board by the time he retired. Dad and I had a mutual client in the shipping world who was sent to Jacobs to learn broking under Dad’s wing. He now owns one of the world’s largest shipping fleets. I will quote his words about Dad.
‘(Neil’s ) calmness and quiet steeliness impressed me, particularly when combined with his perfect manners, kindness and generosity. It was a perfect example of how determined business can be conducted very effectively with charm and principles’. I think this sums him up beautifully.
As Helen has mentioned, the Old Haberdashers was very important to Dad and he relished supporting them from playing rugby to becoming Old Haberdashers Association President (‘88/’89). When I played for the Old Haileyburians against the Old Habs, Dad would come and watch and when I asked Him where his loyalty lay, he tactfully responded with the line – Well, with the OHs, obviously!
It is impossible to distill the essence of the most significant parts of someone’s life into a brief tribute – especially 94 well packed years. I hope we can all enjoy sharing further stories in Church House after the service.
For me, I will always remember my Dad being the kindest, most supportive and caring father.
Editor: P John Egan (‘56), Paul Eisenegger (‘58), J Bill Felton (‘56), C Rodney B Jakeman (‘61)attended.
Thank you too to the Family for allowing us to print the above extracts from their combined Eulogy.
Henry Edwards (1941)
Henry was born on 9th July 1925 at 25 Queen’s Court, Wembley, as the first of two children to Tommy and Betty Edwards. Mary followed a little later, and sadly passed herself earlier this year. Tommy and Betty originally hailed from Carmarthen to settle in Wembley once Tommy de-mobbed to join the Post Office having served in the Royal Signals in Belgium and France during WW1.
Henry attended the Haberdashers' School in West Hampstead, leaving in 1942 as a prefect, as captain of Hendersons house and as secretary of the chess club. And where he was an enthusiastic, but not very successful, rugby union and fives player. Henry became articled as a chartered accountant – which was interrupted from 1945 – 1948 when commissioned as a second lieutenant to serve in the Royal Signals. He saw no active service, though on being stationed in Armagh, Northern Ireland, his only comment was “it was incredibly cold!” On qualifying in 1949 Henry’s working life was spent mainly in two companies:
Firstly, it was the Rank Organisation PLC, where he became Finance Director of the Consumer electronics Division
Secondly with Babcock International PLC, as Group Financial Controller, at the London head office, retiring in 1988.
The irony was that Henry didn’t enjoy being an accountant. Yes, he worked hard, and was successful, an absolute top accountant, though in fact, his personal feeling was that big business was quite immoral, in fact! The only reason he ever worked in the profession was his very dominant father’s drive; Tommy knew what was right! and pressured Henry into the role. Given his own choice, Henry would have chosen being a sportsman. Henry’s own being compulsive meant he encouraged Pete’s involvement in sport (who personally felt: not a natural) result: Henry’s drive actually put Pete off. Every waking hour of weekends came with Henry being in a foul mood unless he was playing golf (that was, unless Pete managed to out-drive him on the fairways!) or tennis.
Home for Henry was Queen’s Court before his first marriage, then it was Preston Road, near to Wembley Stadium where John and Peter joined the family in 1953 and 1954 respectively. In 1960, it was then Northwood, before Moor Park in 1966. Henry chose to keep the Moor Park house when the marriage was dissolved in 1984. Henry’s interest in and passion for history, historic places, buildings, monuments, architecture, across the world, reared up to protect a house next door to him in Moor Park. The son of one his neighbours purchased a property to redevelop – demolish and replace for a quick profit – much to the neighbours’ horror, Henry mounted a defence of the property and rallied his neighbours to halt the works. Those due to profit were not happy, they only looked at the money; as Peter says: when money talks, truth is seldom spoken. Henry’s in-built integrity could not, and would not accept such. In his mind, even if destitute himself, and one of the world’s richest men dropped a £2 coin without noticing, Henry would ensure he was given it back, regardless of his own needs. That was his level of integrity.
It was 1987 when Henry met Marit Sargint from Norway. The story goes: Marit was accepted to study architecture in Lyons, and with three months spare, she decided to improve her English working as an au pair in Cambridge for friends. However, it was through her Naval uncle’s girlfriend – who lived in Albert Hall Mansions – that she was invited to a party where she met Dicky, her first husband of 20 years. As a widow, with a friend in Northwood, Marit was invited to a singles party, the same one Henry was drummed into attending (he thought the idea silly). Henry called Marit afterwards, and despite her Roman Catholic reservations due to his divorce, they hit it off, she met John and Peter, all went well, and they wed a year later in 1988.
Henry had a keen interest in travel with many holidays in and around Europe including France, Germany, and the former Soviet Union. With Marit, they would travel several times a year until the last few years; Henry liked obscure destinations and choices. When travel became too much, he would add guidebooks, and travel brochures to see the places, to wish he was there. His travel book collection included most countries of the world.
In retirement, Henry managed to build up extensive library built around his interests (in reality, he was a bit of a polymath in his interests). Topic themes include reference books about animals from insects to elephants and he became, like John, a fellow of The Zoological Society of London, choosing to visit as many major animal parks as possible. Architecture and historical houses were another huge part of the library, as were stories from his younger years – Biggles, Just William, and Reginald Crompton (grown up schoolboy books). And an exemplary music collection of classical CDs – Handel, Mozart, and Bach, in particular.
Henry remained a compulsive, but not very successful, games player throughout his life, he managed to play golf, tennis and squash into his seventies. And his rugby union passion continued with watching any England international match – absolutely, and compulsively – so much so, that nothing would stop him; it was five and six nations, and of course, the world cup. He also enjoyed a daily game of chess with his computer chess set. With Marit, came another irony in Henry’s life (he was never keen on cold or snow) yet she was a skier from early life, and so holidays home to see family in and around Oslo and Bergen, came with skiing.
Henry was very particular in his views, choices, and his tastes – when it came to food, whilst not particularly fussy he was an Anglophile in what he ate (which meant, no rice, pasta or foreign foods). It was English breakfast everyday with an ideal meal of roast beef with Yorkshire pudding; redcurrant jelly with every meal; apple tart with evaporated milk, custard, or cream. If it was fish, smoked salmon.
Henry was a pedantic hater of smoking – he could never understand how everyone in the army smoked, for he thought it a disgusting habit. And he frowned on drinking alcohol, never approving of Marit’s evening drink, though this never stopped her.
Alongside Henry’s book and music libraries was his enjoyed vast DVD collection of crime and detective dramas that ranged through and included both TV series and film: Agatha Christie characters, especially Poirot; The Saint; Hawaii Five-O; Vandervalk; The Avengers, and Sherlock Holmes.
Timothy Baxter (1953)
Timothy Baxter’s childhood was a life in music with musical parents. He began with the piano and the cello whilst in school. His formative years were very much centered around the church, first as a choirboy and later as an organist, and so naturally his compositional work started early. The motet, O Most Merciful, was written when he was fifteen years old and heralded a promising career as a composer.
He began his musical studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London specialising in both piano and composition. His initial composition teacher, the South African Priaulx Rainier, was a pivotal and encouraging figure, who had the young student enter the Academy’s yearly composition competition, which he won. This early success led to Baxter directing his attention primarily to composition, and so further competition success followed. In his younger days he won a number of prizes.
Amongst his later teachers in composition were Anthony Milner and Alan Bush, and his attendance at the Dartington Summer School of Music led to contact with a diverse and influential range of composition teachers such as Stefan Wolpe, the Polish composer Witold Lutoslawski, and the American composers Elliott Carter and Aaron Copland.
He also studied conducting with Peter Gellhorn (BBC and Glyndebourne). He had a B.Mus. degree from the University of London.
Baxter was also a freelance performer for a number of years, for example with the London Philharmonic Choir, Ballet Rambert, the London Ballet Company, and the Martha Graham Dancers. He has also been vice music director at The Old Vic Theatre and cantor and organist at St. Philip the Apostle, Finchley. As a freelance pianist he worked together with the cellist Jaqueline du Pré.
He was Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London from 1965-1990 and Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music (FRAM). In addition, he was an international examiner for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music from 1966-2005.
Since 1990, he has lived in Denmark and was a member of the Danish Composers’ Association and of Komvest (Vesterbro Komponistforening) since 2009 and chairman for a number of years.
Baxter has continued to write works for the church, including choral pieces, cantatas, organ works and liturgical arrangements. Furthermore, he has written much chamber music, ballet music, orchestral music and educational pieces.
His musical ‘The Birth of Jesus’ has been produced three times at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and has also been recorded. 3 CDs have been published.
His music can be heard in concerts in Denmark and abroad. His educational music is in much use all over the world.
Tony Woolf (1942)
Tony Woolf, who died aged 95, was born in London. He was an unexceptional pupil at Haberdashers Aske’s School, who, when informed that Tony wanted to study medicine, advised his parents not to waste his time and their money. He nevertheless commenced his medical studies at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London, in 1944, qualifying in 1948. In 1949 he was granted a National Service Commission as a Flying Officer and was appointed Command Gynaecologist for the Far East Branch of the Royal Air Force based in Singapore. By the time of his discharge from active service in 1950 he had been promoted to Acting Squadron Leader.
On his return to the UK, Tony worked as Resident Medical Officer at St Mary’s, followed by the same post at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital. In 1952 he married a fellow doctor, Hélène (Paddy) Goodman, DM, FRCS, whom he had met on the steps of the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and with whom he had two daughters. Paddy pre-deceased him in 2010.
In 1954 Tony became Senior House Officer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Hackney Hospital and two years later gained Membership of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (MRCOG) subsequently becoming a Fellow in 1969. He returned to St Mary’s as Casualty Officer in 1957. After gaining his RCS Fellowship in 1959, Tony was appointed to a series of posts, starting as Registrar at Fulham Hospital, then Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at University College Hospital (UCH), before his appointment in 1964 as Consultant at Hackney Hospital, where he remained throughout his practising life.
He taught Obstetrics at UCH and served as an examiner for both the RCS and the MRCOG. Other appointments were as an Honorary Lecturer at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, and Honorary Obstetrics and Gynaecology Consultant at St Andrew’s Hospital, Dollis Hill. Tony was also an active member of the Royal Society of Medicine, attending meetings up until his final years.
Before making the decision to retire at 72, Tony had a very busy private practice in Harley Street and though his patients included royalty, aristocracy, and many well-known names, the same dedication, duty of care and commitment was accorded to all his patients, private or NHS, no matter how well-known or undistinguished they were.
As a student doctor, Tony played rugby for St Mary’s and for the RAF in Singapore. He was a great cricket enthusiast, and he was proud of his membership of the MCC, which he held for over 50 years. While he was in practice he regularly played in a tennis “four” on weekends when his permanent “on-call” status allowed, and when he retired he took up golf, playing regularly into his nineties. He was extremely sociable and enjoyed good company, good food, and very good wines. Those who knew him well were also privileged to enjoy his dry and, at times, wicked sense of humour.
Tony was held in the highest esteem not simply by his patients by also by his colleagues and the junior doctors and students he taught. When, in his nineties, his health started to decline, many of his own consultants were doctors he had trained.
Above all, Tony was a “Man of Honour” setting himself high standards in his work and in the way he lived, and he challengingly expected the same of others. He served his fellow “men” generously and we shall greatly miss him, but never fail to remember him.
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
Roy Lidington ('45)
Roy was born on St, George’s Day, 23rd April 1928 at Finchley in N.W. London.
Soon after his birth, his parents, Norman and Grace, bought a 3 bedroom, semi-detached house in Edgwarebury Gardens and it was there that he and his brother, John, lived for the early part of their lives.
Roy attended Edgware Infants and Junior Schools and, in 1939, he won a scholarship and free place to the Haberdashers’ Aske’s School which at that time was situated at Hampstead. Towards the end of 1939, soon after the outbreak of the Second World war, both he and John were evacuated to Beaumaris in Anglesey to avoid the London blitz - they were away from home for just over a year, living with their widowed grandmother, at first in a mansion named Brynhyfred, where an uncle and aunt ran a strange religious community and, later, in a house of a former mayor of Beaumaris, Mr Roberts, whose lovely terrace house overlooked the Menai Straits with distant views of the Snowden mountain range and the Great Orme at Llandudno. Roy attended Beaumaris Secondary School for one term and then transferred to Friars Grammar School in Bangor which involved a journey of 6 miles, often by bike, alongside the Menai Straits and over the Menai Bridge.
Early in 1941, Roy and John returned to live in Edgware for the remainder of the war, sleeping in a Morrison shelter in the living room and, in the mornings, often picking-up shrapnel from anti-aircraft shells and, occasionally, listening with apprehension to the frightening sound of German ‘doodle-bugs’ and rockets which sometimes exploded within a mile or two of the house but , fortunately, never really close by.
Roy continued his education at Haberdashers’ and, in 1943, was successful in the
Matriculation and School Certificate examinations and then, two years later, he passed the Higher Schools exam with Honours. His parents could not afford to send him to university and there were very few scholarships available at that time so, having been rejected for National Service, due to asthma and a suspect spine, he had to seek some form of useful employment. He had always had a fascination and interest in maps and building plans and, quite fortuitously, in 1945, his mother spotted an advertisement in ‘The Times’ by a firm of surveyors, auctioneers and estate agents who were seeking a school leaver to serve articles for a period of 3 years and to study for the professional examinations.
So it was that, on the 20th September 1945, Roy arrived at the offices of Messrs Britton, Poole and Brown on Wellington Road, St Johns Wood - right opposite Lord’s Cricket Ground - to begin his apprenticeship. On that very same day, an attractive, slim, dark-haired girl of 15, by the name of Rosa Thorn, also started work in that office as a switchboard operator and filing clerk. It was far from love at first sight! Roy did not even ask her out for a date for nearly 12 months and it was not until Rosa left the St Johns Wood office to work at Hoare’s Bank, in Fleet Street, that the relationship really blossomed. Roy eventually proposed to Rosa in St James’ Park one glorious sunny evening, after a theatre outing, and they were married at St James Church, Edgware in March 1953.
Married life began in a top floor flat of a Victorian house in Christchurch Road, Streatham Hill but Roy was still having to spend a great deal of time studying for the professional examinations of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the
Chartered Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute and, in the 1960’s, the Chartered Land Agents Society, eventually becoming a Fellow of all three professional organisations.
Roy and Rosa’s first son, David, was born in 1956 and, two years later, just before
their second son, Peter, was due to be born, they bought a house in Northwood on the NW outskirts of London. Then, in 1961, their third son, Tony, was born.
Having finished his apprenticeship in 1948, Roy began working as a junior surveyor in the County Valuer’s Department of the Middlesex County Council - he was to remain in local government service for the rest of his working life. Over the years, he progressed up the ranks in the Department and, by the time that the Middlesex County Council was abolished in 1965, he was the County’s Deputy Estates Manager. On transferring to the newly created GLC in 1966, he became Principal Land Agent and , by the end of his professional career, in 1983, he enjoyed the grand title of Assistant Director of Recreation and the Arts with a supporting staff of over 500 officers.
Roy’s experience and expertise were exceptional and far-reaching in terms of property management. His responsibilities extended from managing over 20,000 acres of Green Belt land around London (including 49 farms, 105 smallholdings, 14 golf courses, several mansions, extensive woodlands, lakes and sand and gravel pits); to the daily operation of all the landing piers on the River Thames from Tower Bridge to Richmond; to the South Bank Arts Complex and countless public open spaces in London. He loved his work, especially that involving agricultural estate management. He often related his most satisfying and rewarding achievements as being responsible for the first farm open days on land in public ownership and the establishment of a Farm Interpretation Centre at Park Lodge Farm, Harefield which included a rotary milking parlour, with viewing gallery and a herd of 150 Friesian cows, where schoolchildren from deprived inner city areas of London, such as Poplar, Tower Hamlets and Whitechapel, were brought to see for themselves, often for the first time in their lives, real farm animals, farm machinery and the countryside.
The Centre continues to this day. Roy retired from public service in 1983 and his retirement party was attended by over 60 farmers and smallholders.
Roy was always interested and involved in sport. Encouraged by his father, he concentrated on cricket and, for 3 years, was in the Haberdashers’ School 1st Xl as an opening batsman and occasional off-spinner. Soon after leaving school, he became an active member of OHCC and played regularly for over 25 years and, mostly in the 1st Xl. He made 179 appearances for the 1st team, scoring 1760 runs, taking 58 wickets and 41 catches, mainly in the slips. He became an active member of the cricket committee, was Fixture Secretary for a number of years and went on to become President between 1975 and 1977. He was particularly proud to be President in 1977 when Peter was captain of the School 1st Xl - a ‘double-act’ that had not been achieved before then nor since. He took up golf in 1966 as a member of Pinner Hill and, later, he joined Enfield and, for a short period, Lyme Regis Golf Clubs. He was also President of the GLC Golfing Society for 2 years.
After retirement, Roy and Rosa moved to Dorset, in 1986, and settled in Rectory Cottage in the village of Symondsbury. In 1993, having been forced to give up playing golf due to back problems, Roy decided to try his hand at bowls and, very quickly, he became a keen member of both the indoor and outdoor bowling clubs in Bridport. The highlight of his bowls career was in the millennium year, 2000 - he was men’s captain and the club were winners of the Ist Division County League title as well as winners of the South Dorset President’s Cup. In addition, he was one of the team which won the County Fours Competition, thereby qualifying to play in the National Championships at Worthing. Of special significance too, in that same year, was the fact that, at the age of 72, he won his first club competition, the Junior Cup, having been a losing finalist on 18 occasions in various competitions during the previous 7 years! After 2 years as men’s captain, he became Bridport Bowling Club President in 2002 and he felt greatly honoured when elected a Life Member in 2014.
He also represented the Dorset Men’s County bowls team on 46 occasions, the last time being in 2017 when he was 89 years old - which might be some sort of record in itself! Finally, in his later bowling years, he became a highly respected umpire in the West Dorset area.
Roy and Rosa were married for 66 years, celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 2013 and Roy never ceased to be grateful for the love, help and support Rosa always gave him. He was especially indebted to Rosa for her part in bearing and raising 3 sons of whom they were immensely proud. On several occasions, Roy recounted that some of the most memorable events in his life were associated with his sons - listening to the maiden speech of his oldest son, David from the public gallery of the House of Commons; watching his second son, Peter, scoring fifties and centuries for the Haberdashers’ School 1st Xl and for OHCC; and being in the audience on the first night of theatrical performances by his youngest son, Tony, particularly the premiere of his one-man production of ‘Grimaldi’ at Richmond in Yorkshire.
Roy was a dedicated Christian. In his early years, he accompanied his parents to the City Temple Church and to Westminster Chapel in London. In Symondsbury, he regularly attended services in the church of St John the Baptist; for a short time, he served on the PCC and ,for 10 years, he undertook all the maintenance of the churchyard - a task he thoroughly enjoyed in addition to the endless care he gave to his own cottage garden which was always much admired.
Roy enjoyed life to the full, made many friends and will be remembered as a person of quiet determination and good humour; a man who hoped that by his example, he could demonstrate the practical and spiritual benefits of a Christian faith; a man immensely proud of his loving wife, Rosa, and his family - he was a wonderful father and grandfather. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
(adapted from the eulogy given at Roy’s funeral on 8th April 2021 - largely written by Roy himself)
Julian Leff ('55)
My friend Julian Leff, who has died aged 82, was a psychiatrist who broke new ground in the treatment of schizophrenia, including through an approach that involved intensive group and individual work with families instead of just the patient alone. He also invented avatar therapy, in which patients create computer avatars of the voices they hear and thus find a way to talk back to their hallucinations. It has proved so effective that it is now being pursued in four centres across Britain.
Julian was born in Kentish Town, north London, to Vera (nee Levy), a writer, and Sam, a doctor. He left Haberdashers’ Aske’s school at the age of 16 and went to University College London medical school, where he qualified as a doctor. He worked as a house officer at University College hospital and the Whittington hospital before turning to psychiatry.
The main part of his career, from 1972 to 2002, was spent at the Institute of Psychiatry at the Maudsley hospital in south London, where he became professor of social and cultural psychiatry and director of the Medical Research Council’s unit. It was during these years that he pioneered his group and individual sessions with schizophrenia patients. The work led him to visit many other institutions around the world that were keen to have him talk about, and run workshops on, his approach.
During the era when large, old-fashioned mental hospitals began to be closed in favour of care in the community, Julian was director of the team for assessment of psychiatric services at the Maudsley, and from 1985 to 2005 conducted a study of the emotional and social effects of the deinstitutionalisation on 1,500 former patients who had lived in various hospitals. Creative even in retirement, it was after he had finished at the Maudsley that he came up with avatar therapy.
Julian wrote more than 200 papers and nine books on psychiatry, with much of his attention focused on family work with patients in the community. He won the Royal College of Health’s Starkey prize in 1976, the Burgholzli award from the University of Zurich in 1999, the Marsh award for mental health work in 2010, and the Pelicier lifetime achievement award from the World Association of Psychiatry in 2017.
He was a popular personality whose remarkable sense of fun stood him in good stead in the last few years of his life, when he faced a degenerative disease with calmness and humour.
He is survived by his second wife, Joan (nee Raphael), a psychoanalyst who is my first cousin, their three children, Jessa, Jonty and Adriel, a son, Alex, from his first marriage, which ended in divorce, Joan’s son Michael from a previous relationship and nine grandchildren.
Kindly reproduced from The Guardian and written by Matthew Lewin
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
Donald W Wells ('48)
OHA Past President
Donald was born on the 6th of January 1930 at Muswell Hill. Christened Donald William, he was the youngest of 3 children of Reginald and Elsie Wells. He had two brothers Douglas and John.
Donald went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s school from 1940 to 1948. After that, he did his national service between 1949 and 1953 in the army with the 5th Regiment Royal Horse Artillery at Larkshill Barracks in Bulford Wiltshire.
Later that decade, on the 21st June 1958, Donald and Scottie were married at St James Church in Friern Barnet. We have a local newspaper cutting of the event which reported that several members of local rugby clubs were among the guests, that his brother John was Donald’s best man, that Scottie looked splendid in a white lace dress and that after a reception at the red lion hotel in Barnet they left to honeymoon in Paignton.
Donald and Scottie’s marriage was a happy and long one…they were together for more than 62 years, living in this area, or ‘parish’ as Donald was apt to say, throughout their life together.
His working career was spent at Morgan Grenfell, where he was a Director in the bank’s Corporate Finance Division. He had numerous responsibilities during his many years at MG, including the recruitment of staff and underwriting the bank’s mergers and acquisitions – he was considered to be an expert by many in the City. He also had responsibility for the Division’s administration team and was instrumental in setting up a scheme whereby the Bank’s pensioners would receive a hamper at Christmas and be invited to an annual lunch.
Away from work, Donald had a number of passions and interests.
You will recall that he attended Haberdashers’ school ….and in many ways he never really left. He was a member of the Old Haberdashers’ Association, frequently attended their dinners and indeed was the Association’s President in 1966/67…an altogether much more acceptable ‘President Donald’ than the one we have been used to in recent years! He also played rugby for the old Haberdashers, attended their dinners and made many lifelong friends. And finally, Donald belonged to the Old Haberdashers’ Lodge where he was Master in 1979 having been Secretary from 1969 to 1978. Indeed, he was due to be recognised last March for 60 years’ service, but the presentation was been delayed by the Covid Pandemic.
Another passion that Donald and Scottie shared was travel. Despite seemingly being wedded to the north London N20 postcode, they had an enormous appetite for seeing the rest of the world. It would probably be quicker to name the places they did not visit on holiday or on cruise ships, so long is the list of their expeditions. Thailand, Bali, Canada, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Alaska, Boston, China, the North Cape and Spitsbergen (to see the northern lights) to name just a few. Many of you will also know that they had apartments in Almeria Spain and used to go there very regularly. And many of these trips were undertaken with their good friends, Christine and Norman.
Donald had many other interests. He loved gardening. For years he grew dahlias in his garden that he had nurtured for 40 years or more. He was very particular in sourcing the correct shade of scarlet geraniums for the front garden every year and always put on a fantastic display, to match his 30-year-old standard roses. In years gone by he had a greenhouse, in which he grew wonderful tomatoes and nurtured a splendid grapevine. Donald’s passion for gardening was shared by my father and has clearly passed along the genetic line to both myself and my brother and indeed to my eldest son, Ben, who is currently landscaping his own garden at his new home in Folkestone.
And when all these passions were not keeping him occupied, he could be found in front of his television watching Formula 1 racing no matter what time it was taking place or chatting to friends at the Friern Barnet Club where he had been president for many years.
But what about the man himself? You only have to look at the tribute website to get a good idea of his many qualities. I will quote just a few of the words written about Donald. A man of huge integrity; always helpful, patient and kind; a man who was generous and caring; the kindest of men; a man of principle and compassion; a man of great integrity, humour and humanity; always supportive, offering guidance and held in the highest esteem.
All these words truly describe Donald but if I were pushed to single out one of them, I think it would be generous. He supported a large number of charities; indeed, you will know that people were invited to make a donation to one of Donald’s favourite charities, the Queen Elizabeth Foundation for Disabled people, in place of flowers today. He and Scottie were also the most generous hosts. Whether you were simply popping round to Church Crescent for a coffee – my children, when young, were always impressed when Scottie would wheel in a tea trolley with biscuits and cakes and the boys even more so by Donald offering them a San Miguel beer instead - or whether they were hosting large numbers of friends and family at wonderful parties and lunches to celebrate key milestones in their lives. Often these grand events took place at one of their favourite places – the West Lodge Park hotel. Indeed, they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary there and Donald had expressed the wish that his ashes be scattered around the tree which was planted in the hotel’s gardens to celebrate that event. He also wanted everyone attending his funeral service to enjoy refreshments, a characteristically Donald expression, at West Lodge Park Hotel as a reminder of the many happy hours they had enjoyed there. Clearly that can’t happen today, but we will arrange such a gathering to celebrate Donald’s life as soon as the pandemic allows.
Nick Wells, Donald’s nephew
Nicholas Britton ('72)
My husband, Nicholas Britton, who has died aged 67 of bone cancer, was a pioneering mathematical biologist whose research covered a huge range of subjects, from how malaria is transmitted to the growth of tree rings, and dialects in bird song.
His teaching and work on modelling techniques made an important contribution to inspiring and training the generation of researchers who are currently applying these skills and knowhow to solving the problems of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nick was born in London, to Barbara Ferris, a teacher, and Geoffrey Britton, a university lecturer in medieval English. Sunday lunch was punctuated by debates about seemingly obscure facts. At Haberdashers’ Aske’s school, Nick developed his mathematical talent and also enjoyed Russian and learning to play the clarinet. With a scholarship, he studied mathematics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he played bridge and rowed, graduating in 1975. Completing a DPhil in two years, he won the university’s prize for the best DPhil in 1978.
After a couple of years as a lecturer at Oxford and then Liverpool universities, in 1980 he accepted a lecturing post at the University of Bath, which became his academic home for 40 years. There he founded the international Centre for Mathematical Biology, which opened in 1994. Working at the confluence of two disciplines, in his case maths and biology, demands patience, respect and teamwork, and Nick honed these skills. He wrote a guide to the subject, Essential Mathematical Biology, published in 2003.
His varied research included: how human tumours grow, the growth of tree rings, validating the “gate control” theory of pain, bird-song dialects, social exclusion dynamics, and disease transmission in malaria, influenza and dengue fever. With Nigel Franks, he unravelled complex ant colony behaviours such as decision-making. His final publication shows how damage to honey bee populations is caused by the deformed-wing virus in varroa mites.
Nick’s students and colleagues recall an enthusiastic teacher, generous with inspiring and life-changing ideas. As head of mathematical sciences (2006-09) at Bath, he nurtured significant expansion in the field. Through chairing a committee of the International Society for Mathematical Biology (2008-15), he initiated modelling workshops, realising a commitment to support low- and middle-income countries.
After retiring in 2016, he put his lifelong concern about disadvantage into practice, becoming a financial adviser for Citizen’s Advice in Bath.
We met at a concert at Bath festival in 1983, and married in 1987. We shared a love of jazz, opera and ballroom dancing. Private, gentle, wry and modest, Nick was a devoted father to our daughter, Rachel. They loved exploring rock pools and hunting for fossils, and countryside walks. A confirmed internationalist and insatiable traveller, he visited 67 countries in his lifetime.
Nick is survived by Rachel and me, and by three sisters, Alison, Hattie and Edwina, and his mother.
Written by Suzanne Skevington and reproduced with thanks to The Guardian
John Lidington (1948)
For most of you it will come as no surprise that our Dad, John was a very organized and meticulous person......so 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 Jukebox, Alan 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.
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.