News and recent events

Download: OARC AGM Minutes 2017

I have just been given details of the arrangements for Dick Lawrence’s Memorial Service by Charlotte Lawrence, Dick’s daughter. These are as follows.

St Francis Church, Greencourt Road, Petts Wood, BR5 1QW on Monday 27 November at 12pm.

Sometimes parking in Greencourt Road is difficult by the church, so you may need to try further up that road, or Princes Avenue or St George’s Road are good alternatives. The church is a 10 minute walk from the station.

All are invited to join the family afterwards at the Dulwich and Sydenham Hill Golf Club, Grange Lane SE21 7LH.

If anyone has any queries I will try to answer them through the family, as I m not familiar with the church.

Dick Lawrence RIP

I am sorry to have to tell you the sad news that Dick Lawrence died on 14 November 2018. His family have asked me if you could let all Askeans know. The funeral is private, but there will be a Memorial Service at St Francis Church, Greencourt Road, date and time to be advised. I will let you know about this.

Dilys Cross – RIP

Dilys Cross’s Funeral will be held at 12 Noon, on the 18th. Sept at the Vale Crematorium, Butterfield Road,  Luton, Beds., LU2 8DD.   For those who wish to send donations in Dilys’s memory, the chosen charity is Pancreatic Cancer Research fund, PO Box 47432, London, N21 1XP Charity Reg. No. 1155322. Tel 0208 360 1119  Please mark your donation to  the memory of  our late friend Dilys Cross.

Dermot Poston RIP

We have learnt that Dermot died last week (written 13/3/2017). Full details will be published when known.

Demot was a lovely man and an inspiring teacher. He will be long remembered by all who knew him. Personally I feel as if part of my youth has died. I was fortunate that I still saw him at Old Askean events and was able to keep fanning the flames of friendship.




The mid-May 5 night break 2016 was to Marston.  Vic Harrup has kindly penned this account of our visit there.
Rambling in Lincolnshire
Those who have read my reports of Old Askean rambling holidays in previous years might have concluded that, not only do Hazel and Roger seek out hotels with swimming pools for us to stay at, but ask me about historical connections with the places where we stay. They don’t, but you may recall the Jacobites turning round and returning to Scotland in 1745 having reached Ashbourne in Derbyshire. Then there was Joseph Arch, the founder of the Agricultural Workers Union who lived at Barford in Warwickshire, and finally Falstaff and the Battle of Shrewsbury. This year we stayed in Marston, Lincolnshire and there is another historical connection I can make. To the east of Marston there are a number of villages and place names incorporating the name Willoughby, and the Willoughbys held property there from the sixteenth century. One, Lord William Willoughby of Parham (in Suffolk), led 1,500 men from Lincolnshire to help put down the rising known as Kett’s Rebellion in Norwich in 1549. As many as 3,000 rebels were killed. Willoughby’s grand house was at Knaith near Gainsborough.
The hotel is just off the A1 road and we had to go south on the road for part of the way to our first walk starting at Woolsthorpe. Here a canal lock is being restored and there were frequent views of Belvoir Castle just over the county boundary in Leicestershire. The remaining rambles were accessible without using the A1, and the next began at Barkston. Ten of us assembled and all reached the top of Minnett’s Hill, just! It was a long climb and led to the stone wall around Syston Park. A RAF training airfield was nearby and we were buzzed by trainee pilots in light aircraft. Perhaps distracted by them and the directions from the 1972 book of maps, we failed to notice the estate wall, described as ‘ruined’ had collapsed completely in the intervening years. It reminded me of verbal instructions I received once, ‘turn right at the garage that used to be there’. Thus we missed the path, and after a long discussion as to whether we take a road to a brewery and try and find our way from there, or turn back, sadly but probably wisely, we chose the latter. Syston church has a Norman doorway with figures of saints carved in limestone above, but like all the other churches we visited, was locked.
Wednesday was wet and the walk abandoned. People went visiting places such as Lincoln, Stamford, Burghley and Belton Houses and several, who didn’t ramble, visited other attractive destinations. A 95-year-old friend stationed in Lincolnshire during the War was told of a signpost to two villages that read ‘to Old Bolingbroke and Mavis Enderby’, to which some wag had added ‘a son’. Wednesday was also the evening for wearing blazers and singing The Sandbin. We were concerned that a party of Welsh women, also staying at the hotel, sang beautifully the night before and left early, after eating, on ‘our night’. Did this mean they had been warned about us? Anyway seven of us sang and I reckon we used four different keys! Even worse the Welsh ladies returned and we had to perform again, this time using only two keys, one dominant, so just about acceptable, and they responded with their national anthem.
The final ramble was at Haverholme and included part of the Sleaford Canal and the old River Slea. The canal had a life shorter than a hundred years and closed in 1878, so resembles a river rather than a man-made structure. The east Midlands is ‘enclosure country’, with hawthorn used to enclose the old open fields, so hedges, when left to grow tall, were full of May blossom and a lovely sight. Evedon church has a squat tower, which is beginning to subside, but some unusual graves near the porch have stone ‘lids’ sloping in the other direction.
Dilys provided an excellent quiz again, and it was noticed that the names of the winners of the Chicken Book in 2013 (Peasmarsh) and 2014 (Shrewsbury) had not been entered, nor the winners in 2009 (Ipswich). If you know you won, or who won and when, please let Dennis know.
Vic Harrup

OARC Walks 2015 -2016

Sunday 20th September
AA 50 Walks in Surrey No 6 “The Six Wives of Crowhurst”.  Eight hardy souls led by the Captain set off on a walk in darkest Surrey just moments from the A22 and visited the area once familiar with Henry VIII who stopped off at Crowhurst Place on his way to court Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle in Kent. Crowhurst was not new and had been in the Gaynesford family since the time of Edward III one of whom John married six times in pursuit of an heir (something familiar there) and had 15 daughters before the son arrived. A very pleasant walk through the finest of English countryside with some pubs discovered and worth revisiting.
Sunday 18th October
100 Walks in Surrey “Leigh a pastoral Scene”
In the words of Craig Revell Horwood “A dissaarster daahling!”  Brian B led four other members into the abyss. The pub was overflowing with MG enthusiasts – nowhere to park. Twenty two stiles of the meanest creaking variety. It did not help that we started out following the map the wrong way, and there were a lot of ploughed fields. Enough said!
Sunday 8th November
100 Walks in Surrey Limpsfield chart
John Lissaman did a grand job of leading, 9 walked.  Overcast, but not raining. Longer than anticipated, and tiring.  Much of it through woodland paths/bridleways which would be lovely when fine weather, but we encountered mud and water under deep leaf cover. Made it more tiring and we were all glad to get to the car boot tea and cakes! it was quite a tortuous route and quite a few stiles, some not in good condition.  Enjoyed by all.
Sunday 29th November
The Captains Walk
As is customary the walk started off at the Captains House, this time the new apartment at No 4 Bath Court. The walkers fortified themselves with mulled wine and smoked salmon sandwiches before 12 of the hardiest stepped out into the gloom and howling winds to tackle the wilds of Sydenham and Dulwich. Dulwich Park was an oasis of calm but Dulwich itself was abuzz with the College’s Christmas fair. The walk ended with a climb of Everest proportions from Sydenham Hill station back to base. The party by this time had increased to 25 who thoroughly enjoyed the customary feast prepared by Hazel and Gill and all the helpers. A good end to the year.
Sunday 10th January 2016
Teston Bridge along the Medway, Leader Dennis Johnson.
The first walk of the New Year and nine of the regulars joined the leader on a mixed day. Dennis had warned that the walk would be flat but could be muddy. After about 200 yards we were stopped by the Medway in flood and bank side fields under water. A quick council of war decided that the walk should re start at the mid-point going in the opposite direction. Whilst there was a small decrease in the amount of lying water, progress was still difficult. At one point it was suggested that we name the club as the Swimming Club. However, despite the difficulties a lot of laughter was heard and the rain held off until the very last minute. It was agreed that the walk was worth re walking in the summer.
Sunday 3rd February
Blackheath Ramblers Piggy Back Walk. from Falconwood Station 10.00 am. Some 5 OARC members, with perhaps 40 others set off south through the woods, on to Avery Hill Park, Eltham Palace, and rural Eltham, with fields full of ponies, and donkeys. Further on the Tarn at Mottingham was looking very good in the early spring sunlight, kept tidy with the help of the Friends of the Tarn. A comfort stop at Mottingham station, when they found the key, and then tea coffee, toast, or chips, at the greasy spoon, who were overwhelmed by the numbers. We continued on through a series of parks to New Eltham station, and home for Jan Jarrett who had asked for a local walk.
Wednesday 16th March
It was a cold and windy gathering outside Highgate underground station, on the Northern Line, we set off up Highgate Hill to the Whittington Stone, marking the spot, where legend has it Dick Whittington, with his cat heard Bow Bells calling him back to become the Lord Mayor of London. He in fact held this office four times, in 1397, 1406, 1407, he was Lord Mayor of London, and Mayor of Calais [keeping the Froggies in check], and finally Lord Mayor in 1419. Moving on to Swains Lane where on both sides we had the huge Highgate Cemetery with many famous people including Karl Marx. On past Lauderdale House the one time summer retreat of Nell Gwynn, through to Highgate village and it’s splendid shops and watering holes. More beautiful, and historic houses, and on into Hampstead Heath, 800 hilly acres of mown grass, scrub, and rough woodland. Steeply down , between two lakes , and then steeply up winding through to Kenwood House, and the stop for lunch. Refreshed we continued along many criss-crossing paths to arrive in “Appy Ampstead”. We then pass by a multitude of architectural gems, the former homes over the centuries to the rich and famous, John Keats, John Constable, Robert Louis Stevenson, John Galsworthy and hundreds more too many to mention. We finally piled into Burgh house for a welcome cup of tea, and then to Hampstead underground station, and off home.
Sunday 10th April
Four Elms, Kent Ramblers Walk 36, Leader Elizabeth daughter of Pam Beale. A total of 13 including Elizabeth, Clare daughter of John Lissaman, Elizabeth’s dog and 11 members set off on a glorious afternoon bathed in sunshine and with a light breeze.
Two words best describe the walk, mud and bluebells. There had obviously been considerable rain over the last few months and the ground everywhere was soggy. On a number of occasions acrobatics were required to proceed along some very muddy narrow hedge lined paths. Our members as always triumphed and no adversity was allowed to stop the conversations. The walk was a lovely mixture of fields, woods and Bough Beech reservoir, the Kent countryside at its best. The estimated time of 2 and a half hours proved a little optimistic but the tea and cakes were very much appreciated as usual.
Sunday 24th April 
Sunday 24th April was the birthday of senior OARC member Roy Christmas, his 87th.
We celebrated with a short walk from Cotmans Ash bungalow, 8 members walking including Roy and led by a relative of Brian Doe, Brian unfortunately being in hospital.
The tea party that followed was enjoyed by 13 of us which included Heather Doe and one or two family plus a couple of our non- walkers. Roy enjoyed our chorus of ” happy birthday”, and we all enjoyed sharing a tasty cake thoughtfully provided by Hazel and Roger.
Sunday June 19th
Bedgebury Pinetum. Having visited the Pinetum previously and given the uncertainty of the weather for the last couple of weeks it seemed like a good idea to have a short walk round a clearly defined route and follow it up with the usual tea and chat. Unfortunately, a number of circumstances combined against the nine hardy souls who turned out. The Leader Brian Burgess had forgotten quite how far down the A21 Bedgebury is, and had assumed that after three years the road works on the A21 would have been completed, they had not. The weather which had been quite cold and wet for a couple of weeks was sunny and warm. Every person in Kent with a bicycle had decided that the only place to be that day was Bedgebury, nevertheless a gentle walk was enjoyed by all and the tea cakes and conversation were as good as always.
Wednesday July 13th
Evening Walk
The evening walk (6 members) was led from Eltham Park South by Dennis Johnson.
Despite a cloudburst earlier the rain held off and the stroll of about an hour took in the woods and Falconwood, Riefield Road, Gravel Pit Lane, and back to the start. Pam and Tony Beale kindly provided generous hospitality at their home afterwards where a further 4 members plus Pam and Tony enjoyed fine fare and good company. A very pleasant end to our season of walks.
The sponsored walk for the Grove Hotel (Macmillan Caring Locally is the charity) took place on Sunday 25th October 2016, walking from the hotel in the centre of Bournemouth to Hengistbury Head, and on to the Muddeford Spit, Close on 10 miles.  11 of us walked, staying at the hotel and occupying 8 rooms.

It was dry weather but with a strong easterly wind. Around £750 was raised for the “wish list”.

OARC Walks 2014 -2015

Sunday 14th September: Penshurst Leader Dennis Johnson.

And then there were five. Not an auspicious start to the annual programme, but a very pleasant walk around the villages of Penshurst and Leigh. No steep inclines, no rain and pleasant company what more could one ask for. But horror of horrors no Hazel to provide the tea and coffee. We had been warned however and everyone bought their own mug. There was of course more than enough cake as usual.

Sunday October 12th Brockham Park. Leader John Lissaman.

The weather had been very changeable for the whole week and eight hardy souls set out in some trepidation for a typical Surrey walk along the river Mole and around the villages of Brockham and Betchworth. An easy 5 mile stroll was promised and apart from a slippery descent down a long set of steps, so it was. With immaculate timing John got us back to the cars just before the heavens opened. The afternoon was rounded off with a lovely tea at John and Angela’s house.

November 2nd 2014 Farnborough Kent from High Elms car park Leader Roy Christmas.

12 Ramblers and a dog called Amber set out in fine weather with good conditions underfoot for a six mile walk. Walking through the grounds of. High Elms House the walk continued up through Cuckoo Wood, pleasant woodland and old chalk excavations (dene-holes) found us at the Downe end of Shire Lane. A rat run for motorists, but bounded by ancient meadowland. In June/July this area is awash with wild flowers and is much prized by Bromley Council. Then downhill through an old orchard to the outer edge of the estate. Here the writer’s family and Amber left us. Crossing the lane we followed a path through woodland and meadows to Farnborough village, where the renovated smithy still remains. Rounding the church, we had a downhill walk through farmland and along the drive of the mansion.

Tea followed and a smattering of rain did not trouble the ramblers.

I am glad to say that the dog recovered, but I am sure she is not responding to “walkies” as in days of yore. I trust most ramblers do!

See you sometime.  Roy Christmas.

Sunday November 23rd Captains Walk

Due to inclement weather, the Captains Walk was postponed but the annual party was much enjoyed by everyone.

Sunday January 11th Oxted Downs. Leader Dennis Johnson The walk that was in the programme for the Club on this Sunday (1 p.m. from Oxted Downs) had to be cancelled. Fly tipping had blocked access to the car park where we planned to start. Instead Dennis led a walk of about 4 miles from Chevening, Kent. Sheet 147 GR489577, close to Chevening House which has a sat nav address as TN14 6HG. Although much of the walk was firm underfoot, there were patches of deep mud/puddles. After one climb up on to the North Downs Way our 8 ramblers found it easy walking. Sunshine helped to provide very good views along the route.

Sunday 1st February. Leader The Captain.

A small group of us joined with the Blackheath Ramblers, meeting at New Cross Station, we had a very enjoyable 4 – 5 mile walk around New Cross, Deptford and Greenwich, where we had a stop for lunch by the Cutty Sark, then back to New Cross by a different route. There is so much history, and points of interest, in these back lanes, parks, and riverside vistas, in what was once our home patch.

Sunday February 22nd Chatley on Line. Leader The Captain

The originally planned walk at Chatley in the Guildford direction was deemed too far away for a short winter’s day, so instead we did the central London walk which had been rained off as the Captains walk.

Meeting at Sloane Square, we made our way through roads of beautiful properties, past the Guards cricket ground and the Army museum to the Royal Hospital Chelsea, home of the Chelsea Pensioners. We were able to visit their chapel completed by Wren in 1687, and admire the statue of King Charles 2nd. Then via Battersea Bridge a walk around Battersea Park where as forecast it started to rain, and we each made our way back to the start.

Sunday March 15th all day walk in London. Leader Peter Smith

Meeting at Hays Galleria, for another London walk lead by Peter Smith, in his own inimitable way. Over Tower Bridge, through the dock, hard by the Tower of London, past St. Pauls, through Fleet Street, and a lunch stop by the Law Courts. After lunch back to our starting point, past more of London’s Historical landmarks, regaled by Peter’s tales of yore, and then tea at Southwark Cathedral.

Sunday April 12th Dennis Johnson/John Lissaman the Poppy Walk.

A reprise of one they had done last November sponsored by the Royal British Legion. After a coffee break start in Hays Galleria the 6 attending walked around the Tower area, the City of London, across Waterloo Bridge and along the River Thames back to the London Bridge station. Disruption to train services at London Bridge created some problems but it had proved an interesting stroll exploring historic areas of London Town, and most of us learned a little more about our Capital City.

Sunday 14th June Newdigate and Capel. Leader the Captain.

Taken from 100 walks in Surrey, written 21 years ago, and revised 20 years ago. Avoid walks which tell you to turn left at the haystack! What is a haystack? The Captain had done a recce earlier in the week with limited success. It all went well for the first part, but there were still sections which gave us problems. On reaching Capel, a recreation ground, which had a few days earlier been abandoned to the Gulls, was now a hive of activity, with some 20 teams of very young cricketers from all over Surrey. Cricket balls whizzing all over the place, we picked our way through as best we could. On the far side we met with a large Russian Tank, under the command of a local farmer taking a turn through the country lanes. We later met up with the rest of the collection as we passed by his farm.

When we got back to the church at Newdigate, we were more than ready for the tea and cakes before we set off for home.

Sunday 5th July, The Picnic. Leader Dennis Johnson.

Thirteen amblers decided to work up an appetite by following Dennis Johnson on a walk around the upper reaches of the Medway. Having discovered that the walk had been invaded by brambles three of the party armed themselves with secateurs and proceeded to attack the undergrowth in a manner reminiscent of Stanley and Livingstone.

There was some occasional moaning about the amount of uphill, but this was soon quashed with the arrival at the Cherry stall by the roadside. With just enough walking to raise the hunger, the traditional excellent picnic was consumed with gusto.

A road accident on the A264 on the return journey lead to a diversion that seemed to takes us via Brighton, but which did not spoil a splendid day.

Wednesday 15th July: The evening walk. Leader Dermot Poston

It was a humid but very overcast evening when 9 intrepid walkers set off from Glenesk road and walked through the woods and uphill to Severndroog Castle, to be met by Dermot Poston and four more interested members. The views from the top of the Castle are enthralling and Dermot who was instrumental in securing the money and overseeing the restoration of Lady Anne James Castle built in 1784, in memory of her husband William and commemorating his victory at the battle of Suvarnadurg in India. Having climbed up it was now time for a pleasant stroll down to the home of Jenny and Dermot where eighteen sat down to a magnificent buffet supper.

Rodney Smith 1934-38 RIP

News from Mrs. Veronica Stubbington, daughter of Rodney
SMITH who died 22nd December 2016 in a taxi on his way to local
Alzheimer’s Society Christmas party. He was a volunteer there.

He was 95 years old and attended between 1934 and 1938

Funeral at Southampton Crematorium Baffett Green Road, Southampton
10:45 on 4th January 2017

The OAA AGM was held on 30th June

Some twenty members attended the AGM, a wlcome sight was taht of some younger members, by the look of them under forty and probably at least one was under thirty! The meeting ran smoothly and outgoing President Roger Goodman installed Richard Sandler as President. Richard in turn installed Mike Nicholls as Senior VP. The new committee was voted in en-bloc.

After the formal meeting we were joined by the ladies and a very enjoyable dinner was partken by all, A good evening, may this be a portend of a revival in the Club.

It is with regret that we announce the death of Past President Colin Andrew Wilson

Did you go to Russia in the summer of 1964?

Bill Ruston is seeking to contact all the pupils who were with him on the school trip to Russia in the summer of 1964. If you were one of those puils please contact Bill through this website.