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

Rambling Club Provisional Dates 2019 -2020

TUESDAY 13TH AUGUST  –  CAPITAL RING  – WIMBLEDON PARK STATION –RICHMOND. 7 miles  DJ /JL

TUESDAY 27TH AUGUST  –  RICHMOND –OSTERLEY, 4 miles  DJ/JL

SUNDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER –TBA

TUESDAY 8TH OCTOBER  – LONDON CHURCHES 

Meet at Platform 1 at Victoria Station at 10.30am.  The walk will be about 2.0 miles and finish at St. Brides Church in Fleet Street which is close to City Thameslink station.  Pret-a-Manger in Fleet Street would be a convenient place for lunch. Led by John Lissaman.

Sunday 13th October   Start 2 pm – Leigh Church Grid Ref 224469 in Church Road.  This is Leigh near Reigate and NOT Leigh near Tonbridge. Park in road adjacent to the church.  The Plough pub is in the same road postcode RH2 8NJ distance 4.5 miles.  Tea afterwards at the Lissamans’ house, Woodlands, 14 Seale Hill, Reigate, postcode RH2 8HZ which is about 2 miles from Leigh.

FRIDAY 25TH OCTOBER   – 4 NIGHTS – GROVE HOTEL BOURNEMOUTH.  Contact Dennis Johnson

SUNDAY 10TH NOVEMBER  – PIGGY BACK – BLACKHEATH RAMBLERS FOR THOSE WHO LIKE A PACEY  WALK WTH CULTURE THROWN IN. CANNING TOWN  UNDERGROUND –

CUTTY SARK DLR   7 MILES  LEADER  – AYSEN BEKIR

SUNDAY 1ST DECEMBER   – CAPTAIN’S WALK – THE ROOKERY STREATHAM COMMON 2.5 MILES

SUNDAY 12TH JANUARY

SUNDAY 23RD  FEBRUARY

SUNDAY 15TH  MARCH              

SUNDAY 26TH APRIL  – COTMANS ASH

MONDAY 18TH MAY – 5 NIGHT BREAK – RETURN SATURDAY 23 RD   MAY

SUNDAY 7TH JUNE   – 

SUNDAY 28TH JUNE  PICNIC  LINKHORNS t b a

WEDNESDAY 21ST JULY  – EVENING WALK

THURSDAY 6TH AUGUST  AGM/DINNER  ?

City Diners – 18 October 2019, The George at Southwark

The date for this year’s Old Askean City Diners Autumn Stag Lunch is Friday 18th October.   We will be revisiting The George Inn at the Borough assembling at or about noon sitting down at 1:00pm.

Please invite your guests who may wish to dine in historic surroundings in a convivial atmosphere.  As always, we especially welcome Old Askeans who may not have previously attended (even if not members of the Association). At our last function, we had 3 members who attended for the first time.  The cost of the 3 course meal will remain in the region of £37.00 including wine.  I will circulate the menu next month and, those of a more delicate nature, may wish to opt for a 2 course meal.

So, ensure you put this date in your diary and please let me have your intention to attend with numbers and names of guests

Steve Homewood

020 7398 2315

07795 445404

e-mail steve.homewood2@towergate.co.uk

Grove Hotel Bournemouth – Sponsored Walk 25th Oct 2019 for four nights

Get it in your diary!!

This opportunity is open to all OAA members, not just the Rambling Club

Since my wife Margaret died of ovarian cancer in May 2009, I have organised some fundraising for the above hotel. We benefitted from the charity during her illness and found it an inspiring facility.   A number of members have supported this event previously and I am flagging up the date well in advance.

This year it is Friday 25th October for four nights (although you can adjust the number of nights if you wish) The walk will be on the Sunday 27th, and will probably be our flat stroll from the hotel in central Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head, with the option of crossing the head to Muddeford Spit, either on foot or by the land train.  Probably an 8 mile walk.

The hotel is sponsored by the charity Macmillan Caring Locally.  It is unique, the only of its kind and is exclusively for those suffering from cancer (and now other life-threatening disease) and their carers.   Normally the public cannot stay there but I put a case to the Trustees that by allowing our Group to stay (at an off-peak time) it would achieve two objectives a. to publicise the place and b. to raise some money for their “wish list”.

This was agreed and I undertook that we would raise support to the amount of a minimum £50 per room occupied.  This donation can be gift aided too.

This will be the tenth such event.  I gained some publicity in the Bournemouth Echo for the first walk, at that time the hotel was in Southbourne. Its possible we may get a newspaper mention this time, so I hope for reasonable numbers.   The cost has been held at £55 pppn, dinner b&b and there is no single supplement.   For those who have not been before, the hotel is of a reasonable standard, with ensuite rooms and it is situated within 3 or 400 yards of the pier in central Bournemouth.  Bring your bus pass, there is a good service!   I have provisionally booked 5 double/twins and 5 singles.  You are welcome to be with us whether or not you undertake the walk, there is plenty to see in the area and the New Forest.

If you are likely to attend it would help if I could have names as soon as possible, to firm up the booking.  No deposit is required, and of course you can cancel with reasonable notice.   However, I can possibly leave it until say a month before.  Dennis Johnson,  senixa@hotmail.com

Old Askean Annual Lunch, RAF Club, 2nd May 2019 –

The Old Askean Association Annual Lunch was held at the RAF club on Thursday 2nd May 2019. Some 50 members and guests enjoyed a splendid meal, an interesting talk from the Federation Principal Mr Alex Williamson about fostering closer liaison between the former pupils associations and the college.

This was an excellent occasion and hopefully next year there will be an even larger attendance.

 

Menu

Smoked Salmon with brown bread and butter

Roast Sirloin of Beef with Yorkshire pudding, traditional roast potatoes and a selection of vegetables

Apple and blackberry crumble with vanilla custard

Coffee and petits fours

 

 

 

View from the Heights – May 2019

  The Heights Hotel overlooks Chesil Beach and Weymouth Harbour. Since the rambling club was last here in 2006 the Olympic Rings had been constructed because, in 2012, some sailing competitions took place off the coast. Sunsets were spectacular from our dining area, and the views are outstanding.

  The first ramble was on Portland itself and involved going part way up the west side and down the east, with a path linking the two. However it appears a housing estate had been built since the guide map was devised! It took some time to navigate our way out but there was, needless to say, a pub for us to ask locals how to find the route, over drinks. The footpath appeared to be especially steep and Dennis and Roger went to investigate. As a result the rest of us waited for three walkers coming in the opposite direction who remarked on Roger’s red tie, and were greatly impressed by his correct dress code for Old Askean ramblers. He was able to tell them that the club was founded in 1889 for cycling and camping, with rambling as a lesser activity. After easy terrain it was a shock to find a small rocky ‘ravine’ to cross. As four of us arrived a woman on a horse came and plunged down and up the other side! I was helped down but, not to be outdone by a mere animal, attempted the climb on my own and fell, causing cuts and grazes to my hand and arm. I was patched up by a passing walker and we continued to the Lobster Pot near the lighthouse to eat. There were pots along much of the coastline, their position indicated by floating markers.

  Since Diana and I were staying for only a couple of rambles I looked back in my diary for memorable events in June 2006 before I was reporting for the magazine. Among them was my unsuccessful attempt to climb Pulpit Rock, on which two of my aunts were photographed near the top in 1928. The caption reads ‘Edie and Win with the wind up’! Unfortunately the quality of the picture was poor, so Uncle Harry is shown climbing instead.

  We didn’t have much joy at pubs on the rambles back then. At The Sunray the distinctly unsunny landlord wanted to charge Roger £10 for parking his car for the afternoon, even though we had eaten there. On a hot day between Higher Brockhampton and West Shalford, I was asked to prevent the leading ramblers from passing a thatched pub. Imagine our dismay when we found it had burned down a month before. Fortunately we were able to cadge water at the village hall where an event was ending.

  Having declined the five-mile walk by the River Frome, Diana and I suggested a short walk through quarries close to the hotel on our last day. Sculptors were working at one and beyond it was a sculpture park with completed figures of an elephant, octopus, lion-faced man and a grinning dog among others. On a rock face Antony Gormley had carved a human figure he called Still Falling– something I am resolved, if possible, not to do again! I will not do so in OA rambling company, anyway, since I regret that this is my last report for the magazine. Age has caught up with me.

  Back in 2006 we had sung The Sandbin outside by the War Memorial but this year, for the benefit of Diana and I, it was sung the night before this ramble and we stayed in the restaurant to sing.  

 

 

Sixteen of us assembled for ‘standing orders’ at our hotel along with Rocky a Border terrier, rescued by Hazel and Roger, previously owned by a friend who could no longer cope with him. Three more members joined us later in the week. Rocky accompanied every ramble and even appeared to lead some, but to claim that would be denigrating the skills of Dennis and Roger! 

When Bill Bryson wrote A Walk in the Woods his understated title referred to trekking in the Appalachian Mountains. However the first Rambling Club walk, a stroll through the forest, was just that. The forest was the New Forest in Hampshire and we began at Lyndhurst Heath near the hotel at Cadnam where we stayed. It was only three fairly easy miles, starting on open heathland with a single cow (an escapee?) and several ponies which would came right up to you. Once among trees navigation was difficult, but modern technology saw through to Beechen Lane and back to Lyndhurst. Presumably ‘beechen’ is the local plural of beech, as in children and oxen, and there were beech trees on both sides of the lane. 

The next day our fittest four accepted an invitation to join the New Forest Ramblers for a fiveandhalf mile ramble beginning at Millyford Bridge. Fearing I would merely stroll and hold up the others I was not one of the four. I understand there were some tricky paths with fallen trees to be negotiated, and the pace was brisk. I also didn’t take part in the slightly shorter ramble at Keyhaven by The Solent on a hot, sunny day. Those who were not taking part in any of the walks went to towns like Lymington where there are cobbled streets and the church has a huge gallery erected in 1798. There are attractive villages such as Minstead, gardens noted for azaleas and rhododendrons, Beaulieu Abbey and The National Motor Museum. 

The final ramble began at Burley which seems to be a village obsessed by witches and things occult. I usually find something historical to write about when recording Old Askean rambles and this time it was a stone rather like a milestone but placed on the edge of the village in 1802. It reads ‘Peace restored 27th March 1802. Rest and be thankful’. This refers to the fourteen months of peace, agreed at the Treaty of Amiens, during the wars with Napoleonic FranceThe path took us along a disused railway track and through Holmsley Bog which fortunately lay below road level. 

Blazers were worn for the last meal of the holiday and The Sandbin was sung more tunefully than in the recent past. Unfortunately there was no Welsh choir present to appreciate our efforts. Jenny set the quiz which was won by Ann Johnson (on her own she insisted). 

Vic Harrup

Rugby Club – Pre-match Lunch Saturday 6 April

The final Pre-Match Lunch of the season wase held prior to the final match against Sittingbourne on Saturday 6th April.  It was a good event and we were graced with the presence of the Andy the club president. A great time was had by all and despite losing the XV played with great verve and spirit.