Coronavirus Update

Along with many other organisations, we have had to cancel some up and coming events, of which I am sure you will, not only be unsurprised by but will also be fully understanding.

Old Askean Association Annual Lunch at RAF Club – if you have sent your cheque to Roger Pawley, he will no doubt be in contact with you

OAA Committee Meetings, these are now taking place meeting via Zoom

OA Rambling Club five night break at Stourport on Severn – cancelled

OA Rambling Club Rambling Programme,  – including the Capital Ring sorties

– cancelled until further notice

Askean Rugby Club – All League matches have currently been postponed and will in all probability not be played

Askean Rugby Club – Annual Supper 1st May -Cancelled for this season

FRIDAY 25TH OCTOBER – 4 NIGHTS – GROVE HOTEL BOURNEMOUTH with the OARC

See their website:   thegrovebournemouth.co.uk

Only 9 members travelled to support this event, the 10th year that we have carried it out.  The Friday arrival was distinguished by torrential rain and busy roads, and by 3 members, Bob Nason, Ann and myself, being stuck in the hotel lift for about 2 and half hours, 15 mins after we arrived. We were well supported by Manager Brendan, and by his staff, and it became quite a social event, three of us stuck about 3 feet below floor 2, the doors open and conversation etc taking place. We were even asked whilst stuck to choose our evening meal from the menu handed down – not just room service but lift service then!

Saturday brought dreadful weather, and a bit of concern for our walk on the Sunday.  But lo! We were treated to a lovely warm day with no rain and no wind.  The numbers were boosted for the walk by three of Ann’s family.   Two of our group were not walking, so the number setting off from The Grove was 10.  Our destination was Hengistbury Head, walking along the seafront.   Three dropped out at Boscombe Pier, and the magnificent seven made it to the target in good time.   Ann was in charge of logistics, picking up from Boscombe Pier and twice from Hengistbury Head.  Walkers were rewarded upon return with a complimentary cream tea.

The following morning Brendan came to our breakfast table to thank us individually, and we were presented with two framed certificates in appreciation of our efforts over the ten years, one for the OARC and a personal one for myself.

Ann’s family joined us for the evening meal on the last evening, the group photo in the lounge includes all us.  The total raised was £770, contributed by those staying at the hotel, some contributions by both Ann and my family, and by one OARC member who did not attend at the hotel.   I express my personal appreciation for the support of  all those who took part in any way.

Obituary – Keith Frederic Spurgeon 11 June 1932 – 3rd March 2019

I  am grateful to son Paul for this eulogy read at Keith’s funeral held on 25th March at St Lawrence Church Bidborough.  The small church was overfull; the congregation reflected Keith’s wide interests, and included three O.A.’s, suitable attired in striped blazers.

Intro

Dad was always fond of talking about his past, his childhood and his roots.  Whether telling  Caroline and me about his experience of cycling ten miles to school every day through wind,rain, snow and searing heat (not always at the same time) before letting us out of his car at the school gates, his adventures in East Africa as a young shipping agent for Union Castle, or his experiences during the war (I think his favourite story was when a nearby bomb scared his white cat Snowy into running up the chimney and coming down as a black cat Sooty).  And although I never met my grandparents, Dad would often share his memories of them, his Dad Fred stopping a runaway horse and cart on Lewisham High Street, and his mum Vi’s love of singing musical hall songs at the piano.

As a tribute I’d like to share some slightly more recent stories of the things I remember about him as a father.

Sport

I think we all know that Sport was a massive part of Dad’s life.  I’ve not really inherited his talent, but Dad tried hard to get me engaged.

Although tennis, squash, and lately golf were his main passions, Dad had also been a keen footballer, playing one or two matches for one of Charlton Athletic’s reserve teams, and after taking me to a couple of matches as a child, they also became my team. For a short time in the late 1990’s this was quite exciting, and I remember returning the favour and taking Dad to see them play in their first (and only) premiership season.  Dad also tried hard to get me into playing football, driving me to and cheering me on at cub scout matches, and even managing to get the legendary Jimmy Hill (who Dad knew from tennis circles) to write in my autograph book wishing me and the team good luck.

Domestic

Dad came from a generation when domestic duties were more clearly divided between men and women than they are today, although I’m told he did change the occasional nappy, which was apparently quite modern for a 1970’s dad.  Cooking was definitely not one of his passions, andso whenever Mum was out it was normally a choice between eggs on toast or lunch at a local pub.   Most times, we would both agree on the second; I have fond memories of lunchtimes spent at the Beehive pub whenever Mum was away … and slightly fuzzier memories of a few years later when he would always be happy to pick me up from the same pub after it had become the favourite hangout for me and my friends.  Thanks Dad.

Even if he was reluctant to pick up a saucepan, Mum kept him busy with a constant list of gardening jobs, which he would diligently work through with only occasional grumbling or outsourcing to me … it’s a big lawn for 50p).  Perhaps part of the attraction was the chance to compete with the laws of gravity and impress, sorry, scare the living daylights out of, Mum by balancing precariously 30 feet up a ladder with a chainsaw under his arm.  

In later years, although his nappy changing days were behind him, he was always delighted and entertained by his lovely grandchildren (and not just as an excuse to indulge his and their sweet tooths).  One of our fondest recent memories was him singing along with Clara and Amelie to Delilah as part of the entertainment put on at the care home for his Golden Wedding celebrations (his 30 years of training with the Orpheus choir not so easily forgotten perhaps).

Amiable

One of the things I most admired about Dad was his confident and easy-going nature.  He just seemed to get on with everyone and if he ever needed a favour people were generally happy to help him out.   I remember age 9 or 10 Dad taking me to Wimbledon on finals day, and finding all the seats were taken in the Umpires section of the stand, he persuaded the scoreboard operator to let me sit with her under the scoreboard to watch Navratilova play Hana Mandlikova.  He had some explaining to do when we got home and Mum had spotted me on TV, but I think we got away with it and I’m pretty sure I was allowed back the next year.

I think Dad would have been proud that I was visiting garages recently as part of my career with Shell.  This brought back happy memories of “bring your kids to work days” with him, watching him leverage his family man credentials to convince site managers into switching to Shell oils, and bribing me with Smiths Crisps to keep quiet and smile sweetly.

I hope you can join us later at the tennis club to share your own memories of Dad with a pint of his favourite Harveys or, if you prefer, the legendary “Poult Wood Pinky”.

Conclusion

I think it’s no exaggeration to say Dad made the most of his 86 years, focussing on the things and activities he loved.  This shone through in his personality, always seeing the bright side, even near the end when his mind and body wore out well before his patience and charm.

We’ll all miss you Dad, but you leave us with a lot of happy and proud memories.

Obituary – Neville Charles Hodgson 7 February 1935 – 8 January 2019

The funeral for Neville was at St Martin’s Church Ashurst on 29 January 2019. There were no tributes at the service but I want to put some of my own thoughts on record concerning his passing.  I was pleased to read the Old Askean Grace at the conclusion of the Service.

It was with great sadness that I learned of his death.  Ann and I did visit him and Barbara just before Christmas, he was frail then and I believe it was his heart that gave out on 7thFebruary.   He was at home, with wife Barbara and is succeeded by his wife and children Andy and daughter Kathy.

He was a thoroughly good fellow, always willing to give advice and assistance. Although he was a little older than me, we ended our time at Aske’s in the same form, 6th Remove.  We were both courting girls from the Girls’ School at the time, we later found out that the girls were cousins, subsequently both couples were married.  Thus, we were close friends over a very long period.  Until a couple of years ago when his health deteriorated, he and Barbara were enthusiastic supporters of OAA events, including the Rambling Club, Advent Lunchand City Diners.

Neville was a skilled rugby player, back row I think.  I don’t know for sure whether he played for the School 1st XV, but I do know that during National Service he was selected to play for the Army team.

Together with Barbara he was able to establish what is now a sizeable business being run by son Andrew (Advartex, Screen Printers) This firm was established by Barbara and Neville’s hard work and dedication and has resulted in a busy and sound business.

He spent some years as an Ordinary Member of the OAA Committee and he was especially helpful in haberdashery matters and played a significant part in the 2006 Blazer Project. Neville was able to attend the reunion last September of those that started school in 1947 or thereabouts, and with Barbara in recent years he has kindly hosted the OARC Annual picnic in the garden of their home at Linkhorns Farmhouse, Ashurst.   The Rambling Club will return there this year, with fond memories of a good friend.  He is sadly missed by many of us.      Dennis Johnson