At Long Last! Together again at the 2021 Advent Lunch

At long last after a hiatus of some 20plus months we could gather in person again. The occasion was the 2021 Advent Lunch held on Thursday 18th November at Chislehurst Golf Club. Some 40 plus members and guests including the Head Boy, Oisin Murcott, and Head Girl, Elize McDonald, of the School and a senior master, Glenn Hancock, met in the Napoleon Room and enjoyed a good meal and each others company. Glenn Hancock is Head of Enrichment!! This covers sixth form sports, Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme and the like. Judging by the dinner conversation the school is in good hands.

Glenn  is also the first person that I have met to have played for “my” rugby club – Mellish RFC who play in Midlands 3 East(North) which sounds more like a map reference or postcode rather than a Rugby Football Union league.

Head girl Elize McDonald drawing the first raffle ticket
A motley crew singing the Sandbin at the end of lunch

It was a really splendid lunch. Perhaps it was the effect of having been away from each other for so long; but it was the most enjoyable Advent Lunch for many years. A massive thank you to Roger Goodman, our Social Secretary, for organising it all. I for one cannot wait for our next social.

Barry Mellish

OA Links with the School

Our President, Andy Jordan Smith, has been communicating with the School in particular our liaisons following the decision by the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Trust to drop the Aske part of the School’s name.

The School Principal is keen to maintain the links and has invited Old Askeans to attend a tour of the school. This will be held on Thursday 11th November meeting at 8:15 sharp in order to attend the Assembly which will include a Remembrance Service, a chance for us to reflect on all those who did not survive past wars but especially those of our alumni.

If you wish to attend, we need to provide names to the School by 22nd October, so please contact Andy Jordan Smith direct on 07787 243530 or e-mail him at  atjordansmith@hotmail.com

Statement from the Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Statement outlining the outcome of the Robert Aske Legacy consultation

Robert Aske (1619-1689) was a silk trader, merchant and Master Haberdasher and one of this Trust’s greatest benefactors.  Thanks to the legacy (£32,000) he left to the Haberdashers Livery Company on his death, the Aske Charity was created.  Today there are 14 schools which are the beneficiaries of the Aske Charity, and over the 350 years since he left the legacy more than 100,000 pupils have received the benefit of an Aske sponsored education.  

Despite his philanthropic work, Aske’s life and work is not without some controversy.  In 1672, he made an investment of £500 in the Royal African Company.  This was a trading company which traded slaves from Africa to the West Indies between 1660 and 1708.  The majority of investors came from the City of London business community, and included the Duke of York (later King James II).  The history of the Slave Trade is painful and difficult to consider. It makes us question our assumptions about the past; answering these questions can deepen and enrich our understanding of our heritage.

The Trust began an extensive consultation in the summer term which concluded in July. There were a wide range of opinions from all stakeholders including pupils, parents, staff, alumni, local community and governors. Since the outset of the consultation, openness and transparency have guided discussions. 

The consultation focused on three key areas:

  • the current motto of ‘Serve and Obey’;
  • the use of ‘Aske’ in the name of the Trust and schools; and
  • the statue, paintings and other items related to Aske.

In some areas complete agreement was found on the way forward, in others, opinion was divided. But the Trustees took all points of view into consideration before agreeing the action to be taken.

The current motto, ‘Serve and Obey’, will be dropped by the Trust and by our schools. There was overwhelming agreement that its 16th Century origins need explanation and are no longer relevant to the society in which we live. It is important that pupils and staff feel a connection to any motto or strapline that will be adopted and discussions will begin on a new one as part of the Trust’s ongoing work on culture. 

There was a wider range of views regarding the use of ‘Aske’ in the name of our Trust and schools. Those in favour of its removal think that Aske’s investment – however small – was offensive, unacceptable and at odds with today’s values. Others thought that our school names are overly complicated and need refining, and that an opportunity has arisen to do this.

Those in favour of retaining ‘Aske’ believe that, through the legacy that founded the Haberdashers’ schools, Robert Aske benefitted generations of children. They also felt that historic acts should be viewed in the context of their time or that removing the name could be seen as tokenistic. 

Having taken all views into account and accepting that there will be inevitable disagreement, Trustees have decided that ‘Aske’ will be removed from school names and from the trading name of the Trust – this includes letterheads, signage and visuals in everyday use. It will be retained in the formal, legal name of the Trust, in recognition of the significant contribution made by the Aske Charity. The new trading name of the Trust will be Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South. This will be in use with immediate effect. 

Changes will be made on websites, letters and prospectuses and these changes will be seen quickly. The process for uniforms and school bags will take time and there is no expectation that current pupils purchase new uniform until they would ordinarily have done so.

This has been a challenging and complex discussion and every single voice has been an important part of the process. The Trust now has a range of learning opportunities: to support the understanding of historical acts, to look at events from different perspectives and to encourage the debate of difficult issues. To support this, we will seek to re-purpose the statue of Aske at Hatcham College. A formal committee will meet to review the extensive restrictions over its treatment and aim to contextualise it in a way that ensures alignment with the Trust’s values and longer-term educational objectives. 

There is an understanding and acknowledgement that not everyone will agree with the actions that are being taken, there will be some people who do not. Despite this difference, there is a unity for all involved and a genuine shared interest of our schools and pupils at heart. 

Fifty Years On

2009 was 50 years on since I started at Aske’s, along with a large bunch of other “weeds”. I thought of organising a reunion on Founder’s Day 2009. Reunions can be tricky things, there is always the question of will they get on when people haven’t met for years. I thought that Founders Day, where there is the church service followed by drinks and food at the school (at the “exorbitant” cost of £5) would be a suitable “melting pot”. Folk would then have the option of leaving straight after the wine and finger buffet or carrying on at a suitable local pub.
Despite an initial enthusiastic response to posting on Friends Reunited and the Old Askean Yahoo Group there were just three of us who made it from the intake of ’59. Myself, Peter Sidgwick and Bob Miller. Pete and Bob saw one another regularly; in fact they had been on the stage at a school prize giving as they had been sponsored by pupils on long distance charity bike rides that they had taken part in.

I had met Pete a few times since school but not seen Bob for some forty years although at school and home we were good friends. As always, the Founders Day service was well run and the standards to do not seem to have changed since I was at school. It is remarkable that in today’s society the prefects still wear gowns and seem to carry the same authority as they did when I was at school. Dermot Poston who was one of our best remembered teachers was there at we had a good reminisce with him. At the time we did not realise (at least I didn’t) that 1959 marked his first year as member of the staff.

After the wine and buffet what to do? Somehow, we found ourselves at the Market Porter at Borough Market. Arriving there at about 3:30 ish meant that the lunchtime crowd had gone and it was too early for the evening mob. We had a great few beers together. As seemed inevitable, since we had all been members, we ended up talking about the Explorers’ Club and the expedition to Norway. As we chatted on, we were asked by a group of Norwegians of all people if we would take a group photo. We asked them to join us and we explained what we talking about. The beer continued to flow. After a couple more rounds each we decided that we should call it a day as none of us were up to the third round, certainly not after the lunch-time wine! All in all a good day, a shame that more of us were not present and that the only photos of the three of us are on a Norwegian’s camera! Maybe more of us will be there in 2019!

Barry Mellish (1959 – 1966)

Old Askean AGM 8th July 2021 – Draft Minutes

Minutes of the 134th Annual General Meeting of the Old Askean Association

held by Zoom on Thursday 8th July 2021.

         The President A.T. Jordan-Smith took the chair and opened the meeting at 6 pm.

Present:                        NR Goodman                          R J Sandler

                                      S K Homewood                      A Bolton

                                      D C Johnson                           D Barrett

                                      A Jordan-Smith                       G Fairburn

                                      B R Mellish                             A Ayling

                                      M R Nason                               T Pitman

                                      M J Nicholls                            G Lambert

                                      D G Powell  

          Apologies for absence were received from the following members: 

                                                M C Black                              P Ayling

                                                R Pawley                                 G Bunce

                                                G V Wickens                          P Duggan

                                                R Noble

1.   To consider and adopt the Minutes of the 133rd Annual General Meeting (published in the Old Askean edition Nov 2019)

      Proposed:   B Mellish      Seconded:  T Pitman  Carried

2.  OLD ASKEAN ASSOCIATION – PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2021

Ladies, gentlemen, friends, family and of course all Old Askeans, young and old. As my third year in office comes to an end, who would have thought the past 15 months would have caused us so much upheaval and uncertainty in the world that we are now living in. So here we are for which will be our last (I hope) OAA AGM, and committee zoom meeting, I for one am looking forward to getting back to normality, or whatever it looks like at least post pandemic….

I would like to follow on by thanking all of you that have helped me in my third term, albeit under zoom meeting conditions and as President of the Association, it again, has been an honour and a privilege to undertake this role. 

At this time in the proceedings, I would normally have reported what a bumper year that we have had through our social’s events and the like bit COVID put pay to that and here we are at the AGM and still not managed to see you all face to face. Worry ye not!! The committee has come together bi-monthly to hold their meetings via zoom and as always, they have been fun and productive, and we have been thriving behind the scenes.

This year the committee have met to discuss OASLA, the School Pavilion Development and more recently Robert Aske and his association with the slave trade. Thanks goes out to those who have given input and your feedback has been greatly received.

We have seen some changes this year on the committee, notably Dennis Johnson finally leaving us to enjoy some peace and quiet. A massive thank you from me for all that you have done, not only for me, but the committee and all Askeans, you will certainly be missed and tough shoes to fill. I hope that this does not come as news to you all, but Gary Bunce has now taken over as Editor of our ever-popular magazine and all contact details can be found on the OA website. 

Whilst I have been in office the OAA Golf Society has been resurrected and again we are waiting for dates where we will be able to thrash a few balls around and sup a beer or two. The City Diners again will be advertising some lunch dates in the not-too-distant future, and we will be resuming our Advent lunch in November. Please look out for all dates on the website as we again have arranged our Annual Lunch at the RAF Club next April. http://www.oldaskean.org.uk/dates-for-your-diaries/

The Askean RFC has survived the COVID season, and this again is down to the continued support and hard work of the committee and in particular Ian Lunn. A big thank you goes to the current squad who have stuck together and look forward to next season resuming. They have an event coming up which I would like to share with you.

ASKEAN RFC EVENT

I am very pleased to announce that the End-of-Season, New-Season, Launch of the Friends of Askean RFC Charity Dinner is to be held on: –

FRIDAY 6TH AUGUST

The event is at RECTORY FIELD

7.00PM – DOORS OPEN

7.30PM – FREE ‘CHAMPAGNE’ BAR

8.00PM – SIT DOWN 2 COURSE MEAL

SPEECHES – PRESENTATION OF AWARDS + LAUNCH OF ‘FRIENDS OF ASKEAN RFC’ CHARITY

1.00AM BAR CLOSES

ALL FOR JUST £25 A HEAD

This is a unique night for the Club, particularly with the launch of our new Charity – it is open to all members/players/supporters/your partners/family etc. What better way to celebrate our enforced incarceration? Come along and join us for an evening of fun, food, drink and, most importantly, a chance to meet with your old (ex) teammates to discuss lockdown stories and tales of yesteryear.

As usual, we will be looking for good friends of the club to help the younger members who may otherwise not be able to join in. Remember our younger days when we were ‘entertained’ by the older club members plying us with alcohol. It will be greatly appreciated if you can confirm to me your contribution, whatever sum you are able to offer. Just confirm to me how much you would like to contribute, and I will give you my bank details to make a transfer.

The committee are always striving to organise events throughout the year as to accommodate everyone’s tastes. It goes without saying that without your support and attendance, these events would not be able to be held and I must say in some beautiful and historical buildings, so I urge you to keep supporting them and ensure that you bring another OA or a friend along to the next one, as we can only grow and get better. 

Thank you again for all your support and look forward to seeing you soon.

Andy Jordan-Smith

President

Old Askean Association

2018/19; 2019/20; 2020/21

Proposed B R Mellish     Seconded A J Bolton             Carried

3.   To consider and adopt the Annual Accounts of the Association for the years ending 31st March 2020 and 31st March 2021. The Treasurer mentioned that no queries have been raised and there is a large surplus due to little activity and no items sold. The magazine costs have been covered by subscriptions. The Accounts were discussed and put to the meeting. 

Proposed:    A Jordan-Smith             Seconded:  T Pitman           Carried

  4. To elect the Officers of the Association for the year 2021-2022

      There were no nominations from the members, therefore the Committee has nominated:

      President………………………………………………………………………….. A T (Andy) Jordan-Smith 

      Immediate Past President…………………………………………………… M J (Mike) Nicholls

      Senior Vice President………………………………………………………… G (Gary) Bunce

      Junior Vice President…………………………………………………………. P (Peter) Ayling

      Membership Secretary and Registrar…………………………………… A J (Alan) Bolton

      Secretary…………………………………………………….      R J (Richard) Sandler                                                                                

      Treasurer……………………………………………………………. S K (Steve) Homewood

      Social Secretary                                                                            N R (Roger) Goodman

      Proposed:   R J Sandler         Seconded: A Jordan –Smith       Carried en bloc

  5. To elect two Ordinary Members of the Committee for the years 2021-2022

      P J (Paul) Duggan is retiring and has offered himself for re-election

      The committee has nominated M C(MC) Black and P J (Paul) Duggan

      BR (Barry) Mellish is deemed to have been re-elected in 2020 (when covid19 prevented   the holding of an AGM) and has one year to serve. The Committee has been unable to nominate a second member and will fill the remaining vacancy under Rule 5.10 

      Proposed:   R J Sandler         Seconded:  A Jordan-Smith               Carried

6. To consider any Resolutions or Business previously given in writing in accordance with Rule 8·4. 

    None were given 

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

The President said that Dennis Johnson is stepping down from the Committee and was warmly thanked by all members for his many and valuable years of service

Alan Bolton gave a list of new members and a list of those that have sadly died since the last AGM in 2019 and they are:

New Members since the last AGM in 2019

  • Alan Ayling
  • Mark Bowen 
  • Gareth Davies 
  • Hatim Dungawalla
  • Ian Ferguson
  • Joe Grossi 
  • Ian McAllister
  • Trevor Pitman
  • Carl Thomas

Members who have died since the last AGM in 2019

  • Donald Ballantyne
  • Phil Bingham
  • Peter Collison
  • Robert Dawe
  • Peter Dunkle
  • Harry Edwards
  • Tony Harding
  • Alan Scott
  • Roy Smith
  • Ian Valentine

The President reported that he has found some more information relating to Peter George Fogden under the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ and as some of you remember it was, he who was remembered by the Askean RFC Scoreboard. AJS hopes to put a small piece together for the next addition of the magazine highlighting his relatively short live until he was MIA presumed killed.

There was a general discussion over the controversy of Robert Aske and his links with the slave trade. Steve Homewood stated that the school has a 3 stage plan to investigate by research; canvassing the views of students, parents, teachers and alumni and finally evaluating what they find before coming to any decision. The Haberdashers Company, who still owns the land, will not permit the removal of Haberdashers from the school title. . The company still funds to the extent of £300000 pa and therefore has a major stake in what is to happen at the school.

The President reported that the school motto “Serve and Obey” is under severe threat as not being appropriate for the modern era.

Dennis Johnson pointed out that the statue of Robert Aske is listed and therefore safe from removal at present. 

The views of The Hatcham Association were of interest to the meeting and Steve Homewood reported that the 3 representatives at the zoom meeting were firmly against any change of name.

From a social perspective, Steve Homewood reported that the City Diners would restart in September. Roger Goodman confirmed that the Advent Lunch is still, at present, going ahead.

Finally, Geoff Fairburn has an original artist’s impression of The Kidbrooke Squash Courts which he will pass on to the Committee.

The meeting closed at 6.35pm with a vote of thanks to Barry Mellish for facilitating the use of Zoom for the meeting

Signed………………………………………………………………………….

Pete Collison RIP

It is with deep sadness that we have to announce the death of Pete Collison who died a few days ago. Pete was at Aske’s from 1959 – 1966. Pete lived in South Africa and his memorial service is being held on Monday 19th July. The service will be streamed and details will be published when known. We offer our condolences to his widow Lindy and all his family and friends.

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.