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

Roger Henry (1960). Died 7th December 2022


John Slate (1946). Died December 2022


Peter Peretti (1945). Died 20th November 2022

David James (1947). Former OHA President. Died 28th October 2022

David Scott (Staff). Died 21st October 2022

Barry Goater (Staff). Died 29th July 2022

Kenneth Pearce (1949) Died 22nd July 2022


Geoff Hickman (1945 and Staff). Died 7th July 2022

Dick Newman (1937). Died 29th June 2022


Brett Rolfe (1969). Died 13th June 2022

John Wade (1948). Died May 2022


Vince Williams (1981). Died 7th May 2022

John Henry (1960). Died 4th May 2022

Howard Chesney (1967). Died March 2022

Michael Jack (1944). Died 30th March 2022


Ken Maddocks (1944). Died 30th March 2022

David Griffiths (Staff). Died 23rd March 2022

David Bowers (Staff). Died March 2022

Tony Pettet (1955). Died March 2022

John Hanson (1954). Died 14th February 2022.

Brian Nicholls (1945). Died 27th January 2022.


Alan Phipps (1968). OHA Past President. Died 18th January 2022

Dr Peter Barry (staff). Died 13th December 2021


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

Ian Rutherford-McTurk (1975). Died 25th October 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.

Michael McLoughlin (staff). Died 22nd 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

Dick Benbow (Staff). Died 13th January 2020

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

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


David Scott (Staff)

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David Scott was Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies 1973-1980.


David Scott, Habs much-loved Chaplain and Head of Religious Studies, died on 21 October at the age of 75.  He had been suffering from dementia for several years, and since 2019 had been living in a care home in Kendal.


As David’s successor as Habs Chaplain, David Lindsay, has said


`David will always be remembered by former pupils and colleagues with huge affection. More priest and pastor than schoolmaster, he endeared himself to just about everybody in the school - a gentle, caring, and most lovable man, who was also a fine wordsmith.’


As Chaplain, David led the school assemblies for seven years, often dealing with tricky and controversial subjects, but always with good humour and wit. Famously, at the start of one such assembly he jumped out of a large cardboard box to illustrate a point. Depending on which of the students who were present that day are relating the tale, this unexpected turn of events either amused or horrified the Headmaster and Second Master, Dai Barling.


As Head of Religious Studies, David initiated and encouraged discussions with students on a vast range of topics and his influence should not be underestimated. His five-minute crash courses for new students in learning each other’s names are legendary and his lessons could sometimes be at odds with more senior members of staff who sadly mistook for impropriety the loud sound of laughter and fun from his classroom.  As a counsellor, David was always approachable to students and staff of any faith or none, with any advice he was able to give being both positive and thoughtful.


At Habs, along with Richard Brett, he was the instigator, writer and producer of the first Junior School Plays, also writing the celebrated Captain Stirrick (later filmed by the Children’s Film Unit) and after his time at the School a number of plays for the National Youth Music Theatre, - including Bendigo Boswell, which was televised in 1983. He, himself, was a very accomplished actor, appearing in a number of Habs Staff plays to great acclaim, in particular Hay Fever and A Penny for a Song.


David also became a very active member of the Friday afternoon Special Service Unit (now called School Community Service), taking groups of students to visit people with learning disabilities at Leavesden Hospital, where his gentle and attentive humour was greatly enjoyed by all.


Meanwhile, David’s poetry attracted national notice when his ‘Kirkwall Auction Mart’ won the Sunday Times/BBC poetry competition in 1978. This was to be followed by A Quiet Gathering (1984), his first collection of verse, and then by Playing for England in 1989 and, among other works, How Does It Feel? (1989), a collection of poems for children. It was no surprise that his talents made him an ideal speaker for Radio 4’s `Thought for the Day’ and was very much in demand as a preacher and speaker outside the School.


Leaving Habs in 1980, he became vicar of Torpenhow and Allhallows in Cumbria, and in 1991 moved to Winchester to become the Diocesan Warden of the School of Spirituality and Rector of St Lawrence with St Swithun-upon-Kingsgate.

He was made an Honorary Canon of Winchester Cathedral and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Winchester and continued to publish volumes of outstanding poetry. In 2008, he was awarded an Honorary Lambeth DLitt by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams - himself a fellow poet.

Roger Llewellyn November 2022

Barry Goater (Staff)

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The bare facts state that Barry Goater (who has passed away shortly before his 92nd birthday) taught Biology at Haberdashers between 1954 and 1988 and was Head of department for 30 years between 1958 and 1988. However, these facts could never fully pay tribute to the influence Barry had over generations of Habs students enthused by his love of the natural world, athletics and most especially running.   

Barry was born in Southampton and attended Peter Symonds School in Winchester from where he went to study for a BSc in Botany at University College, Southampton.   He already had a fervent interest in the study of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies) as this had been a family hobby shared with his beloved grandfather, who would allow the young Barry to accompany him collecting specimens.

Leaving Southampton in 1952, he then spent two years in the Royal Air Force completing his National Service and while there in 1954 had the accolade of being the Corps’ Half Mile running record holder and champion.  

Shortly afterwards, Habs’ Headmaster Tom Taylor appointed him as a master teaching Biology, the first of his many roles at Haberdashers. Within four years he had been made Head of Department, while also taking over from Geoff Hickman as master in charge of cross country. The Goater Cup, the major inter-school cross country race, which was first held in 1963 and continues to be run to this day, remains a lasting tribute and reminder of his devotion to this sport. He spent 21 years as a Senior Officer in the School’s RAF section and set up the School’s Ornithological Society, taking boys and staff to nature reserves up and down the country in search of rare and sometimes exotic birds.

In 1988, Barry took early retirement, having spent 102 terms at Haberdashers, thereby qualifying him to be respectfully called a 'Termite', being one of the few Habs staff to have completed 100 terms at the school. (Although unable in recent years to attend the annual Termites celebratory lunch, he always requested that his very best wishes be given to his fellow members of this august fellowship.)

But this early retirement was not so that Barry might improve a golf handicap or take an academic interest in carpet slippers, but rather so that he might devote time to the study of European Lepidoptera, travelling widely in Europe between Portugal, Lapland, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria  - but mostly in Spain and France. In 1989, he was made both a Freeman of the City of London and the Haberdashers Company and from 1992 was appointed a Visiting Fellow at the University of Southampton. He was the President of the British Entomological and Natural History Society and having written and co-authored hundreds of learned papers on Lepidoptera he was awarded the Butterfly Conservation Marsh Award in 2005 for services to Lepidoptera Conservation.

Former colleagues have said that the four things Barry held the most dear were 'Family, Habs, Cross Country and Moths'. There was never any doubt that 'Family' held sway, but there might be considerable disagreement as to the following pecking order. Visitors to the family home in Bushey found rooms bedecked with family cross country and athletics trophies and nets hanging with moth pupae.  At times he was able to combine all three interests when leading a cross country practice run, as recalled in a recent tribute provided by the son of Vincent Williams (OH 1981) whose own death sadly predeceased Barry by a few months:

"My father, Vincent Williams, spoke of a man called Barry Goater. Barry was his running coach at secondary school, whilst on the side being an expert on butterflies and moths. He’d take the kids to the south coast for pre-season training and have them run along treacherous cliff tracks under the pretence of `improving coordination’. On one of these death-defying jaunts, my dad spotted a particularly striking butterfly. Barry, giddy with excitement at my dad’s discovery, improvised a container with a pinched pint glass in which to take it home. Barry left a lasting impression that spawned a lifetime love of running."

In the early years (1955 to 1962) of his time at the school, Barry took parties of Habs students to the Beaulieu Road Station area of the New Forest to work on biological research projects. These were then written up by the students and detailed accounts, called 'The Beaulieu Tomes' were kept by Barry which have recently been archived in the Hampshire Record Office, in Winchester. In Barry’s clear hand The Tomes record the factual details of these projects, ranging widely from all the boys present flora to bird distribution, to butterflies, moths, newts, leeches and bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts).  Barry has since been hailed as the first person to bring biological field work into the national curriculum, as well being the inspiration for the careers of many a Habs student in nature conservation, ecology, and environmental concerns. One of the many students who benefited from these residential trips to Beaulieu Road was the celebrated author of `Waterlog’ and `Wildwood’, Roger Deakin (OH 1961). In 'Wildwood', Deakin wrote "A formidable lepidopterist, ornithologist and all round naturalist, Barry infected us all with his wild enthusiasm….he was the instigator of an extraordinary educational experiment."

This infectious enthusiasm also bore along many students who initially had no great interest in things scientific or the natural world. For a curious Habs student there could have been no greater pleasure than to accompany Barry on a walk around the school’s grounds as he pointed out the plants and trees unique to the vestigial remains of the old Aldenham estate (once said to have rivalled Kew Gardens for its wide variety of flora) or to sit in a bird hide with him at Fen Drayton trying to spot a Red-necked Grebe.

Fiercely competitive, Barry was a demon player on the Staff Common Room billiards table, and his noisy playing would sometimes annoy not only those in the rooms below in the Craft workshops (Geoff Hickman, Dick Benbow, John Lear and Charlie Dinsdale among them) when a hard ball landed on the parquet flooring with a thud, but also Laurence Broderick next door in the Art Printing room.

Our thoughts are with Barry’s sons and their families at this sad time. Generations of Habs staff and students have much to be grateful for, to a truly inspirational man whose enthusiasm expertly and kindly carried others along with him.

Roger Llewellyn August 2022

Kenneth Pearce (1949)

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Kenneth Walter Pearce died earlier this July at his home in Cumbria, aged 89 years. He left HAHS in 1949 to attend University College London for his BSc and PhD degrees in chemical engineering, graduating in 1955. 

He had a distinguished career in his science, starting with rocketry research in lieu of National Service and then working for many years at Steetley Magnesite in Hartlepool, until its closure in ca 2000. Thereafter he was at Windscale, the Cumberland nuclear plant.

 He lived alone, nearby in the Lake District, in a fine old rebuilt barn, elegantly renovated by himself. He was a great traveler, cycling over almost all of western Europe with his schoolfriend John Holmes in the 1950's and later joining him in many sailing adventures in the UK and Canada, and in retirement they made very long trips together by campervan in the Australian outback and in arctic Scandinavia.


He leaves his children Jonathan, Patrick  and Anna, the latter with his four grandchildren in Brisbane.

John Holmes 08/22

Geoff Hickman (1945 & Staff)

Geoff Hickman in October 2021 at Habs.jpg

If the only legacy to Geoff Hickman, who peacefully passed away on 7 July 2022 (a month before his 95th birthday) would be the numerous small tables, magazine holders, trays and picture frames made over the space of thirty years by generations of boys in the School’s Woodwork shop, this would surely be enough to justify his position as a celebrated and fondly remembered teacher at Habs.

However, Geoff occupied a more unique role in the history of Haberdashers Boys School, as pupil, teacher and Housemaster


Geoff joined Habs in 1937 at its Westbere Road site in Cricklewood. When part of the School was demolished by a bomb in 1940, he moved with the other junior boys to the Chase Lodge playing fields in Mill Hill where the changing rooms were used as classrooms  - only returning to Westbere Road one day a week when the senior boys swapped places and went by tram to the alternative school accommodation.


Before Geoff left school in 1945 to do his National Service in the Royal Navy, he played for the 1st Cricket XI and was a Calverts House platoon sergeant in the Junior Training Corps – the precursor of today’s CCF.  Returning to `civilian life’ in 1946, he returned as a pupil for a further year, becoming both 1st Cricket XI captain and Captain of the School.


After two years’ training at Trinity College, Carmarthen, Geoff was invited to join the School’s staff in September 1949, with responsibility for teaching woodwork, metalwork and `small bookwork’. Outside the classroom, he devoted his time to the development of cross-country running at Habs, coaching the 2nd Cricket XI and helping to run the School’s CCF Naval section, initiating training courses in Gibraltar and Malta .


Following the move to Elstree, in 1966 he was appointed Calvert’s Housemaster, a role he held for eleven years and which greatly benefited from his quiet, kind and unassuming nature. One of Geoff’s last actions as Housemaster, before handing over to Paul Hayler, was to appoint his successor’s first House Captain, Deputy House Captain and House Recorder. Paul was told by Geoff " They aren't necessarily the ones I would have chosen for my own House officials but they are the three I think will work best with you. I think you will get on well with them and that they will fit in best with your style of leadership".


As Paul reports, this judgement was absolutely right, and the team was just what was needed to ease the transition of Housemasters.


Meanwhile, Geoff was not idle in the Woodwork shop. He constructed and transported the stage-sets required for the annual tour of the senior School play to cities in Germany; was official supervisor of the School printshop for nearly twenty years; and, as the needs of the School developed for precision craftsmanship, he made various tables (especially for the Brett Study Hall), furniture for the Staff Common Room, cabinets, memorial woodwork, library tables and the altar in the School chapel. He was a superb craftsman, even if he had managed accidentally to `plane off’ a part of one finger.


He struck up a notable friendship with fellow legendary staff member, Eric `TEC’ Carrington, and they regularly lunched together discussing the inadequacies of modern youth.  They had cleverly worked out how to get quicker waitress service in the Staff Dining Room and their table was therefore where younger colleagues would also gravitate, but with the knowledge that they would be assailed with strident opinions on hair length and drainpipe trousers.


After a bout of ill health, in 1979 Geoff was offered early retirement by the then Headmaster, Bruce McGowan, which he gratefully accepted.  He then relocated to Suffolk, and finally moved to Oxfordshire to be closer to his son, David (OH 1973) and daughter-in-law, Ann. Throughout the last 40 years, he maintained a great interest in the life of Habs and was frequently in touch with the School, visiting when able and taking great delight in the new equipment available in today’s equivalent to his Woodwork shop – the Design and Technology department.


Geoff’s steady influence over generations of Habs students should never be underestimated. The time and space afforded in the Woodwork shop, allowed pupils to benefit not only from Geoff’s sound advice on technical matters, but also life-skills. I also suspect that many reading this will still have the small table made in that workshop, well over forty years ago…

Roger de H Llewellyn (OH 1983)

Dick Newman (1937)


Richard Harry Newman, more familiarly called Dick, was born on 8 January 1920 and lived with his parents at 79 Wembley Park Drive, Wembley Park. His father bought a laundry in Acton (Schoolbreds) and it was assumed that Dick would follow his father into this business.

Dick’s earliest memory was of being taken in a pram by his mother to the 1924 British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. From 1927-1931, he attended The Gables Primary School in Wembley which was run by a Rev. J.H Kerridge. On 29 September 1930, his father registered him for a place at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School then situated a short walk from Cricklewood Station on Westbere Road. His first day at Habs was on 21 September 1931 (he was placed in Calverts House)  and he then spent the next six years there before leaving on 31 July 1937 without many qualifications (he described himself as not a model pupil).

Dick enjoyed his time at Habs, particularly the co-curricular life of the school. He was in the School Shooting Team helping win tournaments at Chase Lodge (the School’s Sports Ground) and also enjoyed archery. To get to school involved getting the 8.31 train from Wembley to Kilburn and then, with a number of other boys, walking for just under an hour to get to Westbere Road in time for Assembly and Prayers at 9.30am. At weekends, as there was Saturday school, to get to the Chase Lodge Sports Ground at Mill Hill for Saturday sport or shooting involved getting two buses from Wembley. The school day ran from 9.30am and stopped at 4pm, after which many stayed until 6.05pm when the school officially closed (in order to get their homework out of the way for the evening).

Dick was in the first cohort of the newly formed Cadet Corps at Habs, joining in 1935. Looking back he reflected that if he had his time again, he wouldn’t have joined the Corps as they did too much drilling ad marching, and in hindsight Dick felt very uncomfortable with militarism. But not quite as much as those boys who wrote in paint in large letters on the School’s front steps `The Corps means War’ – which proved very difficult to remove. The Corps was run by a Sergeant Major from the Guards Regiment (who used choice language Dick had not heard before!) while the uniform they wore was from the Royal Signallers Corps from the Great War.

Dick’s favourite teacher at Habs was Mr Knight who taught Chemistry. He was noted to be very patient, never gave the answers to questions, but coaxed and encouraged the boys to get to the right solution on their own. He remembered Dr Henderson (who gave his name to one of the school’s houses) dying during the time he was at Habs, and camping on the South Coast with Head of the Lower School , Rev. Blunt. Getting pocket money on these trips was referred to as `visiting Blunt’s Bank’.

Dick asserted that there was never any bullying during his time at Habs, but on one occasion the school’s boxing champion decided to `take him on’ during a lunch break.. As a younger member of the school, his knocking to the floor of a larger, older and more practiced protagonist raised his profile and earned him the respect of the school community no end.

Dick left Habs on 31 July 1937, his father having agreed to pay for his ticket on a trade ship going through the Mediterranean (with the proviso that he then join the family laundry business on his return). Leaving England, on board he soon found the ship skirting Spain and the Spanish Civil War’s naval blockades and also looking after the ship’s accounts. (He couldn’t believe how little the ship’s apprentices were being paid.)

In November 1937, Dick returned to England and joined his father’s laundry business as planned. However, the lure of the sea was too much and before war broke out in September 1939, Dick had trained as a ships’ Radio Officer and joined the SS Voco as a paid employee. On his first voyage, the first port of call was Philadelphia  and on the way there saw his first floating mine in the North Atlantic.

He spent one year on the SS Voco, still not officially called up, and then joined SS Glazedale where he was one of three radio operators on a vessel transporting cargoes of wheat from the US to UK.

He then joined the ‘coaster’ SS Adjutant (which had a lovely, friendly crew) initially transporting cargoes of beans. The SS Adjutant sailed to the Clyde and was loaded with naval ammunition, then went in convoy to Gibraltar. On the morning of the invasion of North Africa, Dick’s ship was sent to Algiers, then travelling on to  Tripoli and Malta in convoy with a tanker and two destroyers.

The SS Adjutant then went to Palestine and Egypt, - on the way Dick witnessed  the British preventing Jewish refugees in their small vessels disembark at Haifa - before being sent out to the Pacific in a big tanker and completing three or four more trips across the ocean.

At the end of the War, Dick returned to England and his father once more wanted him to take over the laundry in Acton. This, however, did not work out, so Dick began his own business.

In 1951 he married 'a wonderful girl from Ealing', Audrey Venables, whom he had met at the Badminton Club. They had four daughters Jane, Sally, Mary and Vicky in the space of six years, of whom he remained very proud. He said he had 10 grandchildren and 'too many great grandchildren to count’.

At the age of 54, and then living in Southgate, Dick’s wife spotted an advertisement for Blue Badge Guides required in and around London. This piqued Dick’s interest and having completed the required training, Dick was a Blue Badge Guide for the next 17 ½ years, being employed by travel agents to take groups of tourists around London or beyond. He was equally at home with small or large groups and when requested would take them by car (which he drove himself) or coach to the likes of Salisbury, Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge  - where longstanding forged relationships with the porters allowed him and his groups special access to parts of the colleges closed to others.

Dick’s relationship with his alma mater, Haberdashers, continued to the very end of his life.  He was frequently in touch with the Director of the Habs Foundation, Roger Llewellyn, by email or phone, with whom he shared the biographical details stated above.  Having had the new developments around the School explained to him, he admitted to being 'very impressed' by the direction in which the School was travelling. Having suffered a fall, it was much to Dick’s regret that he was unable to drive and collect Roger from the local train station for his final visit in June 2022.

Completely attuned to modern technology, Dick not only emailed regularly from his iPad, but also played online chess with opponents around the world. When Dick sadly passed away on 29 June, on opening his iPad the chess board popped up – in the middle of a game with one of his older grandsons.

Brett "Bertie" Rolfe (1969)

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I’m very pleased to say that I knew Bertie for 60 years I even used to know him when he was called Brett!! I don’t even know where the name Bertie came from??


Over the years I have shared my bed with a number of Old Habs....on various rugby , cricket and walking tours. This was inevitably the result of my lack of skill at spoof a game that Bertie loved to play but also wasn’t very good at (or maybe we were just unlucky). Surprisingly I think we only ended up in a bed a couple of times and on each occasion I can report that (unlike many other losers) he accepted this uncomfortable situation with grace and good humour and obvious fatalism just as he did with nearly everything in life including his devastating diagnosis just before Christmas.


As you know Habs in our days was a rugby school but most mornings before school and during mid morning & lunch breaks we all played football in the playground. It was highly competitive and very combative and this was enough to spawn the birth of our very own football club...Elstree Hurricanes. It was also, possibly, the start of Brett’s love of sport and especially team sport . Brett immediately claimed the left back position for himself with his robust tackling & a “you will not pass” attitude which soon earned him the nickname of Chopper Rolfe at least I think that’s why he got that name.


We were to football what Eddie the Eagle was to Ski jumping. Playing in this team provided a great introduction on how to deal defeat... heavy defeat... with and still come back for more it was a great precursor for playing for OH rugby club in the 70’s and early 80’s where victories were often hard to find.


It was even the beginning of a life long habit of leading with his nose . . .a part of the body which over the years suffered a disproportionate number of injuries. I can’t imagine why.


Brett was a scholarship boy at Habs which by definition means he was brighter than the average. That’s why I always found it strange that he ended up in the same form as me (one of the certified thickos) once the classes were streamed . On reflection it’s blindingly obvious why he just loved having fun and that tended to get in the way of school work, and homework. There was only ever going to be one winner. Any opportunity to put a smile on his face and those around him & he was up for it. A trait that was to stay with him throughout his life. I don’t really know very much about his career at work with firstly the Admiralty but mainly with Cable & Wireless who he was with for over 40 years???) but I have no doubt his manner, his approach, his man management skills, his good humour and sense of fun were always on display there too.


I can honestly say that I have never seen him lose his temper with anyone and he invariably had that wry grin on his face.


Bertie & Maggie (in comparison with the rest of us) were relatively young when they got married. Brett was always very keen on his creature comforts and I think that the thought of sharing a flat with a bunch of hairy arsed blokes, doing his own cooking and washing wasn’t on his agenda.!!


Fortunately living at home until marriage enabled him to save money and buy himself some relatively flash sports cars of the day....


Triumph spitfires & MG’s His love of stylish cars remained throughout his life. But the arrival of Ollie & Guy put a stop to this passion for a while It was a small price to pay for the pride, the enjoyment and the fun that he discovered through family life he loved spending time with the boys and really enjoyed their close company Never was this more appreciated than at the end where their

support and presence was fantastic for him.


Luckily a group of us shared a number of family holidays with the Rolfes when our children were young. These were always fantastic fun for both the younger and older members of the party the human pyramids, the Dad’s dancing, crabbing on the quayside, body painting quad bike riding, digging for lugworms and of course heavy drinking & the farting that was just the children!!! By the way, a little known fact which was revealed recently by Ian MacCarthy is that it was Bertie & Maggie who first discovered The Swan in Bushey and put it on the map among our group that in itself is a notable life achievement as will attest many of the people here today.


He was a family man at home & also an integral part of the OH Family. Much as he loved his fun he also cared deeply about others and their families when they experienced their own misfortunes & tragedies. Being part of a family and community is obviously a two way street so ..... When his own illness was diagnosed I know for sure how much it meant to him to be part of that Community and to receive all the good wishes, the videos, the jokes and in particular the Christmas video messages. Just a look at the Yo Bertie WhatsApp feed will show the fun, the laughter and the love.


We are here today to both pay our respects to a fantastic friend, a true gentlemen and to celebrate his life. I have never heard anyone have a bad word to say about him and would suggest that the number of people here today is testament to that.


He would not want a lot of glum faces, but loads of banter, reminiscing and encouragement to live for the moment DJ passed me a phrase that he found on a condolence card which says it all “Although Bertie can’t continue to travel with you, the memories of the shared fun times will always be your companions” Michael Brett Bertie Rolfe....may you rest in peace. We loved every minute of your company.


OHRC has been at the centre of his social life both as a player and as supporter and administrator. His administrative duties included being on the ground committee for many years and also being A15 captain in his early years with the club. He just quietly went about these duties in his quiet unassuming but very efficient manner even the organisation of the infamous and legendary A15 dinners which usually descended into mayhem and with a distinct possibility of arrest was accomplished with the minimum of fuss and NO arrests!! I don’t really know very much about his life at work with firstly the Admiralty but mainly with Cable & Wireless who he was with for over 40 years) but I have no doubt his manner, his approach, his man management skills, his good humour and sense of fun were always on display.


Peter MacKie (1969)

John Wade (1948)

John Wade.jpg

The key to my friend John Wade’s consistent showbusiness career as a magician was his capacity to adapt to changing times. John, who has died aged 91, contrived to broadcast on radio more than 200 times, something of a record for a magician. He also “closed” the Windmill theatre, being the last act to appear on the Windmill’s London stage in 1964, and he crossed the Atlantic 22 times, entertaining on the Queen Elizabeth II. In addition he was involved in television as a consultant, and made occasional appearances on screen in the 1970s, on the David Nixon show and as a co-host alongside Paul Daniels and others in the For My Next Trick series.

His card display was central to the closing credits of the sixth series of The Avengers in 1968. He performed his famed invisible pack of cards illusion on The Good Old Days in 1979, and footage from the show can be found on YouTube.

John was born in London, at Barts hospital, and was brought up in suburban Eastcote. He was the only child of George Wade, a civil servant, and Amy (nee Smith), a housewife. John attended, with scant affection, the King’s preparatory school, Harrow, and the Haberdashers’ Aske’s school, Elstree.

His rather sober parents were not enthusiastic about John’s early interest in trickery, but, after intermittent jobs and RAF national service, during which times he pursued his delight in magic, he made his full-time debut as a conjuror. This was on the variety bill of the Tonypandy Empire for a week and with a £12 salary in June 1953.

A smiling and resourceful wizard, John was a welcome addition to summer seaside concert parties, among them the Sunshine Follies at Torquay in 1955, and, later and more famously, seasons with Sandy Powell and Billy Cotton. He also figured in panto: for example, he was Abanazar in Aladdin at the Sunderland Empire in 1976.

He was stoutly recognised by his confrères: he was made an honorary life member and Gold Star of the Inner Circle of the Magic Circle and an honorary member of the Academy of Magic Arts and Sciences, Hollywood. At the time of his death he was the longest-serving member of his beloved Savage Club, which he joined in 1962 and chaired from 1991 until 1993. In 2002 I wrote his biography, As One Stage Door Closes … The Story of John Wade; Jobbing Conjuror.

John was married in 1955 to the singer and music teacher Elizabeth Gordon, who died in 2008; and secondly, in 2009, to the singer and harpist Blanche Birdsong, who died in 2021. He is survived by David and Lucy, the children of his first marriage, and by two grandchildren.

Thanks to Eric Midwinter The Guardian, 3rd June 2022

John Henry (1960)


Born in London and the family was living near Marble Arch whilst he was at Haberdashers' in Westbere Road from 1952 to 1960.  Went from school to the University of Bristol where he graduated as a pharmacist.  Started working with Boots at their branch at Harrow Road and retired in 2011 as consulting pharmacist with a group of 15 privately owned pharmacies northwest of London. At that time he moved to Whitsable, Kent.  Diagnosed with motor neuron disease in December 2019, he was quadriplegic by early this year.


He was in many ways a renaissance person. He loved music, particularly Jazz, at various times played the piano accordion, the trumpet, and always the piano.  Did quite a lot of painting and travelled extensively.  Also, after moving to Kent he took up birding.  Dancing was one of his great pleasures particularly the tango.  He met Yvonne at tango classes, and they even went to Argentina to gain expertise in the intricacies of the dance.


Following on his father he was an avid Freemason, and led many of their fundraising efforts in Kent.  At various times was a volunteer leader in various positions in the Scout movement.  Yvonne said that he lived life to the fullest. 


He is survived by a brother, Roger, wife Yvonne, two sons, a daughter, and two stepchildren.

John Davis December 2022

Kenneth Maddocks (1944)

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Ken was the eldest of six children and was educated at Haberdashers Aske’s Hampstead School leaving in 1944.


After graduating from Cambridge with a law degree he joined Shell in the Trademark department, from which, not suiting his interest, he engineered a move to the oil side of the business and as a result saw his swift advancement through the ranks, being posted to Columbia in 1960 and Trinidad via Venezuela in 1965, returning to the UK in 1969 on the Queen Mary, to continue for a while his career on home territory.

Ken returned to the OHRFC after Cambridge and played regularly for 1st XV from 1951 with his last top side appearance being in 56/57 season. Over the next four seasons he continued played for the A XV on 92 occasions, and captained the C XV to round off a decade when the club overall enjoyed some of its most successful rugby.

On returning to the UK he was appointed a senior executive with Shell UK Oil, being instrumental in arranging the split between BP and Shell Mex.

In 1976 Ken was offered the chairmanship of Billiton International Metals which was a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell. He was based in The Hague where under his leadership he turned the Company round from a loss into a profit.

Leaving The Hague in 1983 he was appointed Chairman of Billiton UK which, being a promotion, he was invited to join the main board of Royal Dutch Shell. In 1984 due to his years of overseas service the company offered Ken early retirement.

Thirty seven good years of retirement followed which he enjoyed to the full. Indulging in his main interests of horse racing, rugby and cricket followed closely by eating and drinking well. He entertained his many friends and family at his London flat, enjoying taking them to watch cricket at Lord’s and then on to one of his favourite restaurants. He was also a member of a small, exclusive group of veteran OH who who enjoyed meeting for lunch or dinner in pleasant surroundings in town.

As the years drew on Ken moved in with his son, David and Vivvy, who looked after him extremely well. David, although an Old Shirburnian himself, was very keen to ensure Ken maintained his OH contacts, and over many years drove Ken from Sussex to The Clubhouse in Elstree to enjoy ‘Old Lags’ lunches and other such functions to ensure friendships were maintained in those later years of a memorable life well lived with style, generosity & wit, spanning 96 years.

A celebration of Kenneth Maddock’s life was held on 22nd April 2022 at St James The Less Church, Sussex and we express our thanks to Richard Maddocks (Son) and Michael Milner (’48), who attended, for the their substantial contribution to the aforegoing.

Rodney Jakeman 

Michael Jack (1944)

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Written by his son, Anson:

Where do I begin?  Michael had so many things going on in his life that one hardly knows where to start, what to include and how to finish.


There are several themes I will develop and revolve around Family, Friends, Sport, Work and Military service, and voluntary work and other interests


And each of the themes has many legs, not surprising when you have led a full life for over 95 years.


I will start with the family


  • Family

    • Second son of Constance and Arnold Jack

    • Happy childhood on Chicken farm with cricket and (sailing boats and aircraft) model building with brother Laurie

    • Punctuated by fathers farm going bankrupt and moving to St Albans – Family included Aunt Ida Biggs, sister of Constance

    • Went to Haberdashers’ Aske’s school in Cricklewood where he captained the Cricket Team, and House (Joblings)

    • WW2 ruined the family with the loss of (Major) Arnold to a heart attack in October 1940 and (Lieutenant) Laurie to a German torpedo in November 1940 – went from third male and youngest son to the only male in the household at the age of 13. Not surprisingly, Constance never really recovered from these family tragedies and Michael was very reluctant to talk about these events for understandable reasons

    • Was engaged to another lady who broke off engagement and sadly committed suicide

    • Met Vivien (Bing) at the 134 Bus stop on Friern Barnet Lane while commuting into London for work. 

    • Married Bing at St James Parish Church on 8th September 194X

    • Moved into 54 Church Crescent with support from Sydney 194X

    • Vivien born in January 1955 

    • Anson born in October 1956 

    • Anson followed Michael to Haberdashers and St Edmund Hall, Oxford

    • Anson Married Cath in 1982 and living in Northampton

    • Vivien Married Ian Bowles in 1984, initially living in Barnet and then Watford – where Zara (first grandchild) was born in 1986

    • Vivien had a career in Retail Sales, raised Zara and spent 20 odd years as the kingpin in a security company – most recently as Finance Director

    • Anson had a varied career in the railways 1979-2015 and more recently as a professor at the University of Birmingham (2015-2021)

    • Anson and Cath delivered grandchildren in 1989 (Robin), 1991 (Tom) and 1993 (Simon)

    • Bing (Vivien) died in 2012 Aged 83 having celebrated 60 years marriage to Michael with many friends and relations at West Lodge

    • His third great grandchild tragically passed just a day before her birth and eight days before Michael passed

  • Friends

    • Michael made friends with people he met in all walks of life – family, neighbours, business, sport, bridge, charity and other interests.

  • Sport

    • Love of sport started with playing cricket with his brother, and then captaining the Haberdashers School 1st Team.

    • As an adult he played cricket for Brondsbury and then Ashridge Cricket Clubs in North London.

    • He played Rugby Fives for Oxford University and many other sports for his college.

    • After University he played Badminton and Tennis, briefly playing at the Occasionals, before joining All Saints (Badminton) where he and Bing played for many years, introducing Vivien and Anson to the sport

    • Totteridge Tennis Club in 1952. He and Bing had a brief spell at Oakleigh Park LTC before rejoining Totteridge where he remained a member and senior statesman until his passing. In his time at Totteridge he was a member of the mens team, mens singles champion, mens captain, chairman, Life President and Trustee. All of his immediate family have held positions of responsibility there including Vivien who has been joint Chairman and is now a life Vice President

    • Golf – like all good North London tennis players, he continued playing well into his eighties, but also took up Golf – becoming a prominent member of North Middlesex Golf Club and captaining the club. He was also a prominent member of the London Captains and the Truants Golf Society – where he took Barry Green and son Anson around Woburn with him, Barry winning the visitors prize and Anson winning the number of lost balls prize

  • Work/Military Service

    • Joined up in the Navy as soon as able to before the end of the war

    • Trained and had brief command of a small naval vessel before the end of the war – did not see direct action but led the successful rescue of an allied crew in difficulties during a storm

    • Joined the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve and participated for several years after the war

    • Went to Oxford as a sponsored ex military serviceman and studied English at St Edmund Hall

    • After the military service joined associated newspapers – initially working for the Daily Mail in all sorts of project jobs associated with the Ideal Home Exhibition

    • Subsequently Joined the London Evening News in the circulation department, which involved working Saturdays – the biggest sale of the week being for the classified football results

    • In 1964 Joined The Guardian as the national circulation manager, and in 1967 joined the Board as Circulation Director – a post he occupied until retirement on his 60th Birthday in 1987. During his time at the Guardian he managed several important changes in production and distribution of national papers, significantly increasing the circulation and taking on the Times as a serious competitor, he created Guardian Business Services, a business consultancy, created the Guardian Young Businessman of the Year Award, he project managed and delivered the 150 year celebration of The Guardian which was attended by the Chancellor of West Germany, Willy Brandt, Prime Minister Ted Heath and the Archbishop of Canterbury and many others at the Mansion House in 1971. Championed the Guardian Golf Society and Old Ben (The newspaper industry benevolent society) as well as being a prominent member of the Association of Circulation Executives (ACE)

  • Voluntary work and other interests

    • Bridge

    • National Trust

      • Organised many UK based coach trips for 50+ people to see far flung NT properties, and lots of tea shops

    • U3A

      • Shakespeare group

    • Holidays/HPB/Cruises

      • All over Europe, often by car, starting in 1968 driving the family to Yugoslavia

      • Investment in HPB (over 50 holidays)

      • Cruises around Britain, Iceland, Baltic, Danube, Transatlantic, Scandinavia

      • Long Haul Holidays off the back of industry conferences to California, South America, Singapore

    • Baxendale – Trustee for many years – negotiated with council over the development of Ever Ready House. Only his passing in March 2022 prevented him personally trying the care facilities of Baxendale during the first week of April

    • North Finchley Round Table

    • Icabods

David Griffiths (Staff)

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David Griffiths, the much loved and inspirational Habs former Head of History and Head of Sixth Form passed away peacefully on 23 March aged 85 in Watford General Hospital.  He had suffered a serious fall last week at home in St Albans from which he never recovered.


David grew up in the suburbs of Cardiff and while showing himself to be a natural academic all-rounder at his boarding school, Malvern College, his passion for the study of History led him to win a place to study the same subject at Queens’ College, Cambridge – which he duly took up after spending his two years of National Service in the RAF.


He might have become a full-time academic but the lure of imparting his enthusiasm and joy to others for all things historical and after a year’s PGCE took him firstly to teach at Embley Park School in Hampshire, closely followed by his appointment as Head of History at Silcoates School, Wakefield while still only on his 20s.


At the invitation of the then Headmaster, Dr Tom Taylor, David joined Habs in September 1968 and very early the true width and depth of his vision and interests were recognised when he was approached to assume responsibility for 6th Form General Studies (now termed Enhancement & Enrichment) and the Special Services Unit (known now as the School Community Services). He also coached a Rugby XV and led numerous school trips to West Africa, Italy, Eastern Europe and - a much celebrated one closer to home - to Northumbria and Hadrian’s Wall in 1969.


In 1977, Bruce McGowan appointed him not only Head of History but also a Boarding House Master and it was his job ultimately in 1983, along with David Davies, to oversee its closing. He remained Head of History until 1989. In these twelve years, David is said to have been widely regarded by Oxford and Cambridge tutors as the finest Head of History in the country. Indeed, in 2000, soon after he was appointed to Habs, our current Head of History, Stephen Clark, wrote to his Oxford History tutor to thank him for his reference. The tutor wrote a note back that simply said "Haberdashers, well done! The one with the buses and the brilliant Welshman."


In 1989, David became Head of Sixth Form  - a role he imbued with wisdom and great sensitivity until he retired in 1996. Many a Habs boy who passed through Sixth Form in this time has commented on David’s sympathetic ear, his thoughtfulness, sound advice as well a being a source of endless support. One Sixth Former simply summed him up in two words, saying David was a `diamond geezer’ and no-one could gainsay this estimation.


In the short time since his passing, the Habs jungle telegraph has been alive with tales of David’s endless kindness, wit, friendship, intellectual curiosity, generosity of spirit and, most of all, humanity. There have been reports of his prowess as a musician, singer and composer;  rave reviews of his performances in Habs Staff plays (his Governess, Miss Prism in `The Importance of Being Earnest’ was a particular triumph) and the Griffiths’ family’s assistance in the organising and running of the annual residential holidays for children with learning disabilities (the precursor of today’s annual Habs MenCap Days) which cemented him long and affectionately in the memory of the many dozens of participants.


Many generations of Habs students and staff owe so much to him. All who were taught by David at Habs, or who were fortunate enough at some time to have been in his orbit, will have their own special memories of him, and while remembering these we should be thankful to have known a truly wonderful man – a gentle man and a gentleman.


Our thoughts are with Flora, his ever supportive and wonderful wife and their children, John and Fay, and grandchildren Zuzanna, Matthew, Helen and Oliver.


In retirement, David was a popular and much sought-after volunteer guide at St Albans Cathedral, and it is highly appropriate that his funeral should take place there. This has been confirmed as being on Friday 22 April 2022 at 10.30am in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral. (For those who do not know the Cathedral this is accessible via the Visitor Centre and is next to St Alban’s shrine).


All are very welcome to the service and the reception directly afterwards which will be in the Abbot's Kitchen (the Cathedral Cafe).

David’s family have requested that in lieu of flowers should anyone wish to make a donation to do so, please, to the DEC Appeal for Ukraine.

David Bowers (Staff)

Red Gerbera

David grew up in Iver in Buckinghamshire and his happy family included two younger brothers Robin and Paul. He had early memories of being a toddler playing (no doubt quietly and sensibly) at the back of his mother’s classroom – she being a teacher of the youngest children at the local primary school.

David proceeded to Slough Grammar School where his academic prowess led to him taking Lower School Certificate (the equivalent of the GCSE today) a year under-age. Two years later he won a place to read French and Spanish at Balliol College, Oxford. He remembered his student days with great affection and was regular in attending reunions. He subsequently did his PGCE year at Oxford with a term’s teaching at Colchester Royal Grammar School where the following year Mike Anderson did his teaching practice with both student teachers remembering Dick Norton as a pupil there. All three became Mod Langs colleagues at Habs.

As a linguist David had a fine ear, a natural precision and a remarkable memory. He was also very musical. Early involvement in a church choir led to commitment to faith – a quiet but deep experience which stayed with him throughout life. He was a fine pianist and played the church organ for many years. He was a composer and had works performed in concerts by amateur orchestras. Teaching took him to grammar schools in Hitchin and Portsmouth, to the Licensed Victuallers’ School and Harrow School. At Habs there was a time when the timetable worked only because David taught all four of the main languages: French, German, Latin and Spanish. He subsequently taught at Mill Hill School – and then kept his hand in with supply positions in various schools.

In his private life he was known as a caring friend and neighbour – and he showed great dedication in patiently supporting his wife Penny through a long period of illness. He looked forward to family reunions when brother Robin would come over from the USA. He was an active and loved member of St. Michael’s Church in St. Albans for over 40 years. He reached the age of 80 years in reasonable shape but a stroke shortly afterwards led to a loss of activities and independence. He gave up driving and the piano. He said goodbye to the beautiful garden he had created with such diligence. In all this he never complained. Finally he moved to a Care Home in Thame where he was regularly visited by Paul. His last few months were very hard but he bore it all with gentle dignity.

David’s self-effacing honesty and peaceful nature may reawaken memories of gentler times. A faithful servant rather than a self-promoter, he expressed loyalty and acceptance at every stage of life

Stephen Wilson March 2022

John Hanson (1954)

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As a cricket supporter and watching some of Shane Warne’s team-mates expressing their sadness at his passing, made me think of my friends, made through cricket, rugby and golf who are no longer with us. It is amazing how sport brings us together and gives us such good memories.

John, or JJ, has now joined this select group – they form a formidable team and accolades are again due.

On the rugby field John was a feisty competitor. I think it was on his return after National Service that he took over from me as scrum half for OH on 16th November 1957 – that is 65 years ago this year! I had the pleasure of playing with him as his fly half and remember the accuracy of his pass – even in those days when the old leather ball was extremely slippery. I also spent most of my career as Full Back so was able to admire his strategic ability from behind.

He practiced diligently – even on his own – using the cricket site screens as a target. He played a number of games for the county p- but for some unaccountable reason not very often with his OH partner Marshall Lumsden. In those balmy days we had representatives playing county rugby for Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Surrey and Notts Lincs and Derby.

John was Club Captain in 1966 and 1967 and, as it was my 300th game for the Good Friday game at Cross Keys in Wales in 1966, John gave me the pleasure of being captain for the day. This game did not go well as two members of our front row – our hooker Roger Leverton asked his prop, Dick Owen (on his first appearance in the 1st XV) to exert some pressure on the opposition front row. Dick took the law into his own hands, a rare fight – unlikely to be won by ex-public schoolboy against 3 strong Welshmen took place. Roger received a black eye. Dick was sent off and we were down to 13 men – (no replacements in those days) with the inevitable result of a 26-3 drubbing. Thanks John!

In total John played 283 games for the 1st XV – and I think all at scrum half.

There are many other experiences that we shared, such as Easter tours with young families in attendance; the Celebration Dinner at the School in 1998 and I was looking at a picture showing Liz and John at my wedding to Christine in 1960 (62 years ago!) with both John and me sporting full heads of hair – those were the days!

It is lovely to see Liz and the family here today, and though a very sad time for them I hope the association of this place from the days of Liz’s father (after whom the pavilion extension is quite rightly named) remains strong in the family for years to come.

One day last year John was here and we spent a happy hour watching the game together and chatting about our many experiences in the Blue White and Magenta – but as our memories became cloudier – as they say, what goes on tour, stays on tour!

Now I would like you to charge your glasses and remember a fine stalwart of the Club – to John!

Peter Shiells’ Toast at Past Player’s Lunch in Memory of John – March 2022

Alan Phipps (1968)
OHA Past President

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Alan Phipps was born on 17 October 1949 in Edmonton, North London to parents Bert and Joan and was the eldest of three children with a brother, Neil, and a sister, Susan.  The family later moved to Stanmore where Alan attended Stanburn primary and junior school. From an early age he was talented at maths and was top of his class.  He was a bright boy and he later won a scholarship to Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys School at Elstree where he showed his sporting acumen and played cricket and some rugby.


Sport has always featured large in Alan’s life.  From an early age he played cricket with his father and brother on Sundays at Hampton Court and subsequently he played for Cheshunt and then for Old Haberdashers.


Going back to his childhood, Alan, being five and a half years older than his brother, Neil, had him bowling at him in the back garden for hours on end until Neil managed to get him out and Susan, being seven years younger than Alan, was used as the ball girl when tennis was being played and had to go to all the neighbours to retrieve any stray balls. 


Neil described his brother as calm, considerate, loving, always free with good advice and he felt he was fortunate to have Alan as a brother.   He thought all big brothers were good at cricket but he came to realise that Alan really was very good, especially when it took so long to bowl him out.


As for sister Susan she paid this tribute to her brother.  Alan was always greatly supportive of me throughout my life.  He always encouraged me, even if I was not very good.   I could always rely on Alan and Jane for their heartfelt support and advice for which I am truly grateful.


In the past few years it has been difficult for Alan as his Parkinson’s got worse but he always had a twinkle in his eye when he did something unpredictable. 


Alan and Jane, his wife, celebrated her last birthday at Pizza Express.  The service was not very fast and Alan told the waiter in a lovely way with a bright smile that it really shouldn’t be called Pizza Express.  It was the old Alan which was wonderful to see.   It is a memory that will remain with us forever.


Jane has been amazing at looking after Alan.  Her dedication was boundless and we are so grateful to you Jane for making the last few years of his life as enjoyable as possible.   Alan was taken from us far too soon.  He was such a lovely, kind, understanding, beautiful brother and a friend as well as a husband but he is now at peace.


But going back to Alan the man himself, when he left Haberdasher’s he went to Sussex University where he studied biochemistry.   Interestingly this had nothing to do with his subsequent life. 

His sport would take centre stage ahead of his studies but nevertheless he did gain his degree and he took the decision to go into a career of accountancy.  He became articled initially to the well known firm of chartered accountants Coopers & Lybrand and qualified in 1974.  He would remain with the firm until 1979 when he subsequently joined IBM.  


 During his time at Coopers Alan worked in the audit department and he specialised in banking and financial services.  He lectured on the banking course, which was run by Jane’s boss.   Alan’s subject was loan evaluation.  He must have made the topic very interesting because he always had top marks when the speakers were evaluated by the students attending the course.  That said, he had one small weakness: he was always the last one to hand in his slides and course notes so had to be chased by Jane, which is how they met.   Each year the firm had a dinner and dance at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane around Christmas time and Alan asked Jane for a dance.   They subsequently arranged a first date on New Year’s Eve and Jane arranged to stay with a work colleague so that she was in London that evening.  She was rather surprised when Alan picked her up with his friend, Dave Collins and even more surprised when later in the evening when the clock struck midnight, the first kiss went to Dave!   Well that obviously didn’t deter them – romance will have its way – and Alan and Jane went on to marry on 12 May 1979 at Watford Register Office with their reception at St Michael’s Manor in St Albans. Having honeymooned in Malta, they settled down to a long and happy marriage of forty two years living in Radlett and they celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in 2019.


 Jane described Alan as not only the man who had made her a better person but importantly as her best friend and her sole mate.   Together they enjoyed a wonderfully full and varied life with so many shared interests, holidays, watching sport together, yoga and socialising with many of you here today.


Alan and Jane enjoyed holidays all over the world.  India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and France were just a few of the places they visited.   Alan loved to video when they were on holiday and was always found lagging behind filming.  It was whilst on the Old Hab’s cricket tour of Zimbabwe that they were not only pursued by an elephant but participated in white water rafting down the Zambezi.  Alan laughed when they were asked to sign a waiver that if they were injured or killed, the company running the activity were not to be held responsible but it was exciting and really very dangerous.  Alan drew the line at bungee jumping.


Alan played table tennis to a high standard and ran the Radlett Table Tennis Club for several years.  


He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2006.  He was a proud man and really did not want anybody to know he was ill.  He just wanted to soldier on.  He never complained and he led a positive life, in no small part due to the love and support of Jane and of course the rest of his family and friends.  He would gradually have to give up his sport but towards the end of last year he and Jane were still managing to have little table tennis knocks across the living room which they enjoyed.


Going back over the years Alan was very much involved in the community in general.   He was a governor of Manor Lodge School for several years eventually becoming the Chairman of Governors and he really did love his association with the school.  The Headmistress paid this tribute to him.  “Alan played such a large part in shaping Manor Lodge and helping it to become the school it is today.  I shall always be grateful for his dedication and obvious devotion to the staff and to the children.”


As well as his significant contribution to the OHCC in his younger years, he was also heavily involved with the Old Haberdashers’ Association, being it’s President in 2001-2, a member of the Executive Committee and responsible for the ground at Croxdale Road before handing over to David Heasman.


But there were so many facets to this gentleman’s personality.  He was a very kind man who never had a bad word to say about anyone.    He always talked a lot, was very witty, amusing and very well liked.   He has been described in the many cards of condolence that have been received by Jane as a lovely man, a dear and special friend, a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humour, intelligent and so much fun to be around, an all round good character, quite simply a man of many talents. 


Alan was lost to us on 18 January 2022 at The Peace Hospice at the age of 72 and will be sadly missed.

Andrew Nicholas (1963)

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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)

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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

Ian Rutherford-McTurk (1975)

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Ian Rutherford McTurk, 64 years old, of Valdosta, Ga passed away suddenly at South Georgia Medical Center on Monday October, 25, 2021.

Ian was born in Belize on March 14, 1957 to the late John Rutherford McTurk and Ann Marie (Bosch) McTurk. Ian lived a charmed life, traveling the world as a child as his father opened international Hilton Hotels all over the globe. At age 11 he followed in his father’s footsteps by entering the prestigious Haberdasher’s Aske’s Boy’s School of London. He moved to Valdosta his senior year and graduated from Valwood. He went on to receive a business degree from Valdosta State College.

In the early 90’s, Ian began the career that he is most noted for with St. Jude Medical. He soon became known as “The Pacemaker Guy”. Ian assisted cardiologists all over the southeast with their patients who required pacemaker insertion and care. He continued the relationships gained during that period up until his death. More recently Ian ‘s business endeavors shifted toward toxicology. He was currently the CEO of Clarity Clinical Toxicology.

From a young age Ian had a love for the outdoors. He grew up competing in swimming, scuba diving, playing cricket and rugby; but his true loves were hunting and saltwater fishing. He spent countless days towing many friends and family around the waters of Long Pond, making generational memories for many.

Ian was a kind and caring person with a quirky sense of humor. He could show a ruff exterior at times, but he was always ready to help anyone in his or her time of need. Ian has been a mentor and wonderful friend to many.

Ian is survived by his wife, Anita Sinnott McTurk, of Valdosta. Sister: Sharon McTurk (Tom Przybojewski) of Ft. Lauderdale. 

Sir Thomas Harris (1963)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

Simon Wayne.jpg

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)

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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)

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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)

Yellow Flowers

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)

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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 Wells.jpg

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)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martin Lidington February 2021

John Mitchell (1963)

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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)

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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)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wriiten by Richard Nash for The Guardian

John Whittenbury (1956)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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

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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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

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


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


He will be greatly missed. RIP dear friend.

Ken Davies (OH 1956)

Dr Michael Levin (Staff)


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


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


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


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

Simon Gelber 1973


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


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


Rest in Peace, Simon. We will remember you.

Simon Gelber

A tribute by Colin Blessley - 4th January 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, guests.

I wanted to say a few words before we proceed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go with God and Rest in Peace, Simon.

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