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Chairman's Blog

george buntingRead news here from and about OWs that comes to me directly or on the grapevine. I will also draw attention to and comment on matters of interest. If you were at Wells, do send me snippets or tweets about what you or other OWs are doing to make this blog live, up to date and interesting!

You can add your responses and comments to my blog posts on our Facebook Group.

(Please note that throughout this site, OW years refer to the year the group left Year13 (Upper Sixth). Individuals may have left earlier)

George Bunting, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks to Gabrielle Close!

Gaby Close

A big thank you to Gabrielle Close (née O’Meara OW 1987) who has done a fantastic job in organising more than 20 of her yeargroup (so far!) who will join us at our summer reunion on Saturday 1st July.

Gaby showed her leadership skills from an early age as House Captain and Captain of Netball at Wells and she won the UVI Languages Prize. She has been a loyal OW over the years and also organised a 2007 reunion for her year.

After Wells, Gaby went to University of Surrey to read International Studies and Linguistics. She went on to Sandhurst and later served in The Royal Signals Corps.

After leaving the army she went to Brunel for a Masters in Education (SEN) and is now Interim Head of Special Educational Needs & Disability Operations, Autism Strategic Lead at Surrey County Council. A major focus of her recent work has been the opening of four purpose built highly specialist centres hosted by local schools in Surrey where the number of children and young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder has risen by 50% since 2009.

We very much look forward to welcoming Gaby and all her friends next week for what promises to be an excellent occasion.
(Booking for the reunion closes this Sunday)

James Buckle at the ROSL

James Buckle

Congratulations to trombonist James Buckle (OW 2011), who won the Gold Medal and £10,000 first prize at the finals of the prestigious Royal Overseas League Music Competition at Cadogan Hall last week – the first brass player to win the Gold Medal in its 65 Year history.

The international competition, open to musicians across the Commonwealth, is of the highest standard, with previous winners going on to win Grammys, enjoy solo international careers and take Principal positions at some of the world’s leading orchestras. James played three pieces for the final including Schumann’s Adagio and Allegro, and New Orleans by Eugene Bozza. He was accompanied by Alison Procter (OW 1986).

James was a specialist bass trombone whilst at Wells, Captain of Cedars House and a good tennis and cricket player. He won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in 2011. Since graduating he has played regularly with the Philharmonia and the Royal Philharmonic and has been picked to study with celebrated trombonist Ian Bousfield in Bern next year.

Lieut. Charlie Croom – killed in action

Charlie Croom3

From The Wells Journal of Friday, June 15, 1917:

DINDER

KILLED IN ACTION. – The sad news has been received in the village that Lieut. William Chas. Croom, youngest son of Mrs Croom, was killed in action of June 7th. Lieut. Croom, who is the first villager who has been killed in the war, enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles in October 2015, and in June, of last year obtained a commission in the 1/6 London Regiment. It was whilst leading his men in a company of this regiment that he was killed. He was educated at the Wells Cathedral Grammar School, and proceeded to the Wisley Royal Horticultural Society Garden. The late Lieut. Croom, who was 20 years of age, was well known and highly respected in the village, over which a gloom was cast on the receipt of the sad news of the passing of so promising a life. – A memorial service was arranged to be held at Dinder Church at 7.15 pm. yesterday (Thursday).

William Charles Croom (OW 1915), or Charlie as he was known to everyone, was the youngest son (of six children) of his widowed mother of Lower Farm, Dinder. His father died before his was born. After Wells he went to RHS Wisley to train in horticulture and is commemorated on a plaque there. He first joined the 28th (Artists Rifles OTC) Battallion, the London Regiment and his initial commission in July 1916 was with 10th (County of London) Battalion, known as the ‘Hackney Rifles’. He was then attached to D Coy of the 1/6th (City of London) Battalion.

In June 1917 the regiment took part in the great attack on the Messines Ridge overlooking Ypres, where the Germans were dug in and from which they could see every move the Allies made. Shortly after 3 o’clock in the morning of 7th June, sappers set off huge mine explosions under the German positions, so loud that Lloyd George heard them in his study at No. 10, Downing Street. Then the attack took place. Charlie Croom’s battalion left their trenches at 0530 hrs, about an hour after dawn, to attack south of the Ypres-Comines canal. Charlie was a 2nd Lieutenant, the rank of officer most likely to be killed, and he would have been out in front leading the men of D company. Fighting was characterised by brutal hand to hand battle in and around the concrete bunkers the Germans had constructed along the ridge and Charlie Croom was killed during one of these encounters. The place where he died is now a golf course. Thirty private soldiers of the Battalion died in this attack, and two officers, of whom Charlie Croom was one. The successful British offensive which followed cleared the Germans off the high ground south of Ypres. His body has never been found, and he is commemorated at the Menin Gate Memorial.

About 60 people packed into the church at Dinder for his memorial service a week after his death. The children brought flowers, and the Rector Geoffrey Porcher described Charlie as ‘one of the best. Many of you had known him all his life. He went out to France fully realising that it was quite probable that he would be killed; but he was eager to go all the same, because he knew that if he should be called to die, he could not die better.’

We will remember them.

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Matthew Austen leads a big band

Matt Austen

To the Royal Bath & West yesterday where we are drawn to the big band of the Parachute Regiment and are delighted to find it led by Matt Austen (OW 2003) playing sax and clarinet.

Matt has been in the army since 2006 and has had an exciting international army music career within 16 Air Assault Brigade. This has included time in Afghanistan and most recently in Jordan where the band gave concerts for Syrian refugees. A major highlight was when in 2015 he had the honour of directing music at Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Reception at Buckingham Palace, a glittering occasion of white ties and tiaras.

He began his fusion of music and military at Wells where he was a chorister and specialist sax player and later became Flight Sergeant in the CCF, gaining his private pilot’s licence at 16. He has fond memories of his saxophone teacher at Wells, Mr Don Close who was also there to hear him yesterday at the show.

After Wells he studied jazz at Leeds College of Music and has since played in off duty ensembles including the Matt Austen Quartet. He is married with a young daughter and lives near his base in Essex. Next year Matt leaves the army for a quite new stage of his life, training to become an Anglican clergyman; a third connection with his formative years at Wells. We very much look forward to hearing more of his new career – and especially more of his music.

Four OWs cook up a Reunion

Composite 26-05-17

While we look forward to our 2017 Wells Reunion on 1st July, four 1968 OWs are forward planning a summer 2018 event for their fiftieth anniversary. Nick Ralph, Mike Stirling, Richard Harman and Nick Pickles (clockwise from top left) are contacting all of their year and the memories are already flooding in.

Amongst these are recollections of the WCS cuisine of all those years ago which they say provided them with backbone, moral fibre and true grit of various textures and consistencies. Quite unlike the fine flavoursome fare expected by (and provided to) Wells pupils today.

Nick Ralph is a chartered accountant and management consultant who has lived and worked in Ottawa for many years, until recently as a partner in a firm and now as an independent. Mike Sterling has been living in London for most of his working life. He was with The Probation Service and CAFCASS for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2010 and since then has been enjoying an active life.

Richard Harman works part time as a systems Programmer & Consultant and has published some important railway history books. He was also Secretary of your Association for eighteen years to 2012. Nick Pickles began his career as a teacher and then moved to accountancy and became a company director. He has since run environmental campaigns and a food business in the beautiful part of Cornwall where he lives.

We look forward to meeting many more 1968ers next year!

Jacqueline Leung makes an album

Jacqueline Leung

Good to hear from Jacqueline Leung (OW 2001) in Hong Kong who is creating her first solo piano album via Kickstarter with “a track to suit every mood, whether you're sipping a coffee or a cocktail, just doing household chores, or just want to listen to a good tune.”

Jacqueline performs and teaches internationally and has won awards in the US and other countries. She has collaborated with some of the world’s distinguished musicians including our own Iestyn Davies and also adjudicated many competitions. She is a board member of the Wells Music Society of Hong Kong, where she is based and was recently elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM) in recognition of her significant contribution in the musical field.

Music has also enabled her to reach out to people with disadvantages and she has made recordings and performances for a wide range of charitable groups.

Ben Kench

Ben Kench 3

I am so very shocked and saddened to report that Ben Kench (OW 1990) died suddenly today. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences go out to all his family, especially his wife Abbie (née Clements, OW 2001), his first wife Abi White (OW 1994), his four children, brother James (OW 1989), sister Anna (OW 1994) and other members of his band Safehaus.

His acclaimed musical career began at an early age and he began to form his style at Wells. A final year gig with band Insomnia is well remembered when he performed an Eric Clapton number. He later went on to form Safehaus, playing acoustic guitar and vocals and writing, producing albums for international artists and Ben also taught guitar at Millfield. The band reached a global audience when their track Leave it All was used on a release trailer for the video game Dark Souls III and they have played across Europe. They are also scheduled to perform in Cedars Hall in only three weeks time, how very tragic that Ben will miss this return to his old school.

Ben was Head Boy at Wells and a fine sportsman. He was Captain of Cricket for two seasons and was selected to play hockey for Somerset U18s. He continued his cricket and was still scoring ‘superb centuries’ for village sides in more recent years.

We have lost a precious and much loved member of our Wells family.

Henry Brown – success with sticks and stones

Henry Brown 2012

Following my theme of last week, news of hockey player and geologist Henry Brown (OW 2012) who has returned to Wells to coach Y12/13 hockey. The teams’ stats have improved for the third year running, beating (narrowly) the OW side this season.

Henry played hockey for the school and was also known as a quick scoring cricketer. After Wells he went to Plymouth University to do a BSc in Geology, Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences and also continued his sport. This was followed by a year travelling in South East Asia “exploring the culture and cuisine of the region. After returning to the UK I’m looking to start my career in oil and gas with prospects in both the UK and Canada.”

No doubt he will in due course follow many other Wells geologists whose successes I have recounted in this blog!

Jacob Connock represents Welsh Universities

Jacob Connock

Congratulations to Jacob Connock (OW 2014) who was selected to play for the Welsh Universities hockey team in a Home Nations Tournament over the Easter break. He scored in the match against England which ended in a draw after penalty flicks.

Jake studies Sport and Exercise Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University and he now plays for Cardiff & Met Men's 1s which has only lost one out of 20 matches this season.

He has been an outstanding sportsman from the earliest age; from captaining U9 hockey at Wells through many teams to 2014 when he played for Team Bath Buccaneers which won the England Hockey U18 Boys Club Finals in which Jake scored 3 of the 4 winning goals.

He was a leader throughout his schooldays, from when he stage managed Hood & Co. in the Junior School with “a tight grip on all in a true theatre style: his word was law!”, through to captain of the cricket 1st XI, for whom he also designed new kit, in his last year at Wells.

A mention also for his brother Harry Connock (OW 2016) who was Head Boy and also a fine sportsman and of course for his mother Mrs Connock, a teacher at Wells and fondly remembered by generations of OWs.

Francesca Smith – aiming at a golden future

Francesca SmithEarlier this year I met Francesca Smith (OW 2012) who is an analyst in the legal investment banking team at Goldman Sachs. She tells me she is considering options in investment banking and in law.

After Wells, Francesca completed a history degree at Exeter where she also continued to play netball and was a student ambassador.

Francesca is warmly remembered as Head Girl at Wells, an academic achiever and a keen sportswoman. She rode for the school team and did well in chase, show jumping and dressage events. She was a 1st XI hockey player and swimmer. As Head Girl, she hosted a visit by Sophie, Countess of Wessex before which she admitted a little apprehension but soon found herself in comfortable conversation. She was also an NCO in the CCF, as was noticed by the Wells Journal…

Francesca Smith 2

We wish her every success!

Alistair Toop looks in from Australia

Alistair Toop

It’s always a great pleasure when OWs return to Wells and last week saw a visit from Alistair Toop (OW 1970) and Graham Fudge (OW 1969) both of whom I remember well.

When in his twenties Alistair married and went to live in Australia and in 1978 he began a career in the grocery industry. He built wide industry experience with multinational companies and in 1994 founded Newbridge & Associates, an independently owned company in Western Australia providing brokerage services to stores across the state.

Alastair and his wife Susan are keen explorers of the natural heritage of his adopted country. He is also Ride Master for the Joondalup Branch of the Ulysses Club, a social club for motorcyclists over the age of 40 which provides ways in which older motorcyclists can get together for companionship and mutual support.

Now that Alistair has retired from his company we hope we shall see more of him at reunions in the UK – perhaps for the big one in 2020?

Hannah Wood clicks on success

Hannah Wood

Congratulations to Hannah Wood (OW 2012) who has just been promoted to Senior Account Executive with digital marketing agency SearchStar. She tells me that she is “working in Bath on a vast array of client accounts all over the country.” This fast moving company helps clients manage their Pay Per Click buying to optimise conversion rates and provides a range of other services.

After Wells and A levels Hannah studied Marketing, Advertising and Communications at the University of Gloucestershire over four years including an internship at Nudge Digital and continuing to play the hockey she had enjoyed at Wells. She then went to Sparkol, creators of Tawe and VideoScribe, the instant video apps.

We were delighted to see Hannah at our London dinner and glad to hear that she keeps in touch with many Wells friends.

Peter Baines – President of the RFU

Peter Baines2

Wells was honoured with a visit from Peter Baines (OW 1959) who this year is President of the RFU after a lifetime of service to English rugby. Peter was founding chairman of St Alban’s Rugby Club which has a remarkably familiar team badge (see pic), based on the arms of the town.

At Wells Peter was Head Chorister and trained in classical clarinet and played piano, but his real musical love was traditional jazz as player and singer in the East Liberty Stompers - I think Peter still has the recording that the band went to Bristol to cut onto wax. He had also a spectacular sports record with (of course) the 1st XV where he ‘excelled at full back’ with ‘accurate touch kicking’ and also 1st XI cricket and hockey, athletics and swimming. Peter was also Cpl in ACF and an academic prizewinner, in fact a classic Wells all rounder.

After Wells he went to St John’s, Cambridge to read law (and play in the Vieux Carré jazz band) and he then practiced as a solicitor for most of his life in St Albans where he still lives with his wife Sue.

He has been at the top of rugby as an RFU Management Board member for over 10 years and has been Chairman of the Finance and Funding, and Governance Standing Committees and then Vice-President. He was also a founder trustee of the Injured Players Foundation and chaired the RFU for Women Integration Task Group, helping to ensure a smooth integration of the women’s game with the RFU. He is currently Chairman of the Agents Review Board.

We hope we may tempt him back to Wells again soon – he would certainly enjoy today's jazz (and maybe even the rugby).

PICTURE: MENDIP TIMES

Quilter memories and honours

Quilter sisters

I was so sorry a long planned trip caused me to miss the dedication of the Quilter Hall at Wells in memory of Alan Quilter, Headmaster 1964-1986. Among the guests were Carol Passemard (née Quilter), Tricia Broxup (née Quilter, OW 1973) and Lizzie Crumlish (née Quilter, OW 1978), all of whom we regarded from afar when I was at Wells (then almost entirely a boys’ school). Alan Quilter was the architect and primary creator of the specialist music scheme which is the foundation of what the school is today. Wells has recently launched the Quilter Family Bursary Appeal in honour of his and Sheila’s memory.

After Wells, Lizzie trained as a primary school teacher at Exeter University, specialising in Art & English. She has held a number of teaching posts and then gravitated to the software industry where she worked for Aldus Europe (now Adobe), as European Trainer. She is now with Draco, a property management company where she has responsibility for the back office processes including IT, administration, accounts and “all the jobs no one else wants to do.”

For much of her married life with husband David, Lizzie was an army wife but now they have more time together and have developed a business building traditional Bespoke Shepherds Huts. They are also of course parents to Clementine Crumlish (OW 2010) and Georgia Crumlish (OW 2011).

We are hoping we shall see more of Lizzie in the future.

With Mark McGeoch in Singapore

Mark McGeoch

Just back from the Far East and in Singapore I happily met Mark McGeoch (OW 1974) who lives in the wonderful city. My photo shows me and Mrs Chairman next to Jessica and her partner Mark.

Mark has had Singapore connections for over ten years and for the last five has been based there full time as Director (Global Construction Practice) with Navigant, the US specialised expert services firm. He provides expert advice in major construction disputes across a region in which, as we saw ourselves, concrete is being poured ever faster and higher.

Mark and Jessica met over Mandarin tuition and they guided us round the menu of an excellent local restaurant. The only setback was the high price of alcohol in the abstemious Republic; Mark advised that the best way to forget about this is to have another beer, so we did and a fine evening was had by all.

Lieut R V Knight killed 12 March 1917

Sub Lt Ronald Knight

 

The Wells Journal of 16th March 1917 records the death of Sub-Lieutenant Ron Knight RN (OW 1912) on 12th March. He was buried three days later leaving a young widow and baby daughter:

THE LATE LIEUT. R. V. KNIGHT

FLYING FATALITY

It is with deep regret that we record the death of Flight Sub-Lieut. R. V. Knight, of Milton, who was killed in a flying accident in Lincolnshire on Monday. The receipt of the sad news cast a gloom over the city, where he was known to everyone and highly respected. It appears that he was up in the air about 11 a.m. on Monday, and when at a height of 200 feet his engine stopped with the result that the machine nose-dived to earth and was wrecked. Death was instantaneous.

Educated at the Wells Cathedral Grammar School, the late Lieutenant R. V. Knight, who was 23 years of age, proceeded to Bedford Grammar School. At the outbreak of war he was at Guy’s Hospital, and without hesitation offered his services to his country. After training at Bisley he proceeded to France early in May, 1915, to fill a vacancy in the commissioned ranks of the 8th Batt. of the City of London Post Office Rifles. During six months’ service in France he fought in the battles of Festubert and Loos. Leaving the front on Friday, November 12th, 1915, after having been in the trenches for a fortnight, he came home to England, and on the following Wednesday, November 17th, was married at St. Cuthbert’s Church to Miss Gwendoline Dawkes, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. F. Dawkes, of Sunnyside, Portway, the officers, non-commissioned officers and men of the 259th Co. of the A.S.C., then stationed in Wells, forming a guard of honour after the ceremony. The late Lieut. Knight did not return to France, but was offered and accepted a position in a London Cyclist Corps, a section of which he commanded for some time prior to joining the Royal Naval Air Service. In this branch of the service he made rapid strides, and obtained his pilot’s certificate in a remarkably short space of time. For some months past he has been one of the assistant instructors at an East Coast flying school.

Ron., as he was affectionately known to his many friends, was well-known in athletic circles, his splendid physique standing him in good stead in the many branches of sport in which he excelled. At Bedford Grammar School he was captain of the Rugby XV., and at the outbreak of war was captain of the Wells Rugby Club. As a three-quarter he was always dangerous, his fine turn of speed enabling him to score many tries, whilst as a place kick he had few equals. His prowess in this branch of sport was known far outside the city, for he held Somerset and east Midland County caps, and would without a doubt have figured in an England XV. after the war, having already been chosen as a reserve in an international match before the outbreak of hostilities. At Association football he played a good forward game, and in swimming was an expert. The city and country is the poorer by the death of a true sportsman, who, no matter what treatment he received, always played a clean and sporting game, and who by a genial and upright character drew around him a host of true and devoted friends.

The sympathies of citizens are extended to the young widow, who is left with a daughter a few months old, and his bereaved parents.

The funeral took place yeaterday (Thursday) afternoon, and was marked with the greatest sympathy and grief. The first part of the burial service was held at St Cuthbert’s Church, where the body had reposed overnight. The Vicar (Preb. Farrer) conducted the service which was fully choral, assisted by the Rev. J.L. Williams. Members of the Wells Detachment of the Somerset Volunteer Regiment attended as bearers, and provided a firing party, while a number of wounded soldiers were also present. Deceased’s Corps was represented by a brother officer and personal friend, Lieut. Black, and amongst those also following in the procession to the Cemetary where the interment took place, were Col. A. Thrale Perkins, CB., Capt. A. J. Mayer, Capt. Knowles, M.C., Capt. C. Hinks, M.C., Lieut. Haydon; and Lieuts. R. G. Harris and W. J. Brown.

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We will remember them

 

Lizzie Robertson on the move

Lizzie Robertson

A warm thank you to Lizzie Robertson (OW 2012), a specialist musician at Wells, for news of her progress both in her medical career and on her cycle (not forgetting her oboe!). Lizzie writes;

“When I left Wells I moved to Cardiff to begin medical school. It’s been a busy five years – and I am currently taking a year out of medicine to undertake a Public and Global Health degree. I have continued to play oboe in the symphony orchestra and have become a keen cyclist. I’ve also done lots of travelling and adventuring to Asia, Africa and Europe. On graduating as a doctor next year I hope to become a paediatrician, hopefully training in Cambridge!”

Terry Thomas – animated comedian

Terry Thomas

At our recent reunion I am pleased to hear news of Terry Thomas (OW 2012) who is a visual effects specialist with a taste for comedy. After Wells, Terry went to Bath university for a degree in Natural Sciences and then then stayed to do an MSc in Computer Science, studying visual effects and computer graphics. At Bath he founded the Comedy Writing, Improvisation & Performance Society and he tells us he is “keeping up with performing musical comedy and sketches, making animations and all the while looking for a proper programming job for VFX and films in London.”

Terry developed his interest in animation at Wells …

... and gained the interest of a stop-motion software company for his Red Bull Canimation entry

Since then his Polar Where? won a Best Animation Prize at the Rouen Short Film Festival 2014 and among many projects he has completed a music video 5476 Miles for the Nigel Thomas album Travelling Man.

Terry is also a guitarist and has played acoustic sets at local festivals – truly an all-round creative!

Freya Evans - not without drama

Freya Evans

Our five-years-on celebration season continues this week with Freya Evans (OW 2012). Freya was a memorable musician at Wells but from an early age revealed a ‘dramatic personality’ and it was the stage rather than the concert hall that called her when she left Wells. Telling the school she was taking a gap year she went to London to become an actress.

She trained with the Fourth Monkey Theatre Company on their one year programme with workshops in clowning, Shakespeare, voice, movement, circus skills and stage combat with influential practitioners from all over the UK. She recalls “a turbulent few years that included bed bugs, homelessness, cockroaches and a landlord that watched me sleep.”

But Freya is now establishing her reputation and got good reviews for playing a fairy godmother Jane Austen “with bubbly charisma” in a pantomime based on Pride and Prejudice at the Cockpit Theatre, London.

“Now” she says, “hopefully the dark times are over. I am currently performing Olivia in Twelfth Night and Bushy in Richard II with Clatterhouse Theatre Company at the Drayton Arms Theatre in London"

Olivia says:

Fate, show thy force: ourselves we do not owe;
What is decreed must be, and be this so.

... but it seems to us that Freya is taking charge of her destiny and we wish her the very best of it.

Tobi Seymour – back from the Bagels

Tobi Seymour

Lovely to hear news of many OWs at our London dinner; first mention goes to Tobi Seymour (OW 2012) who is developing his career as an artist. Tobi says;

“After Wells I did an Art Foundation in Leeds and then a BA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art. Finishing that I packed my bags and headed off to America to seek fame and fortune. After a lot of musing, an exhibition No More Bagels in Los Angeles and an election, I find myself back home continuing to make work and hoping to do so for as long as possible”

Last year he also had an exhibition Colourspace in Bristol and became involved in Slippers, which aims to help aspiring artists exhibit their work including by means of an app. Cars have also featured in Tobi’s life. He is remembered at Wells for his huge Land Rover and he later staged performance art Carmonica Harmonicar in C Major which involved fixing six harmonicas to his red MX5 and creating music as he drove through Cheddar Gorge. Sadly the MX5 has since had to go but we wish Tobi all the best for his future art – and motoring.

Lydia Gosnell – Beware the Spider!

Lydia Gosnell

How nice this week to hear from Lydia Gosnell (OW 2009) with exciting news of her music, including Palisander, her recorder quartet with upcoming concerts at St John’s, Smith Square and a CD launch Beware the Spider! on 16th February 2017.

At Wells, Lydia joined the school's first trip to Guangzhou, China, where she learnt Chinese bamboo flute and gourd pipe. She recently gave a performance and talk about these at the Horniman Museum for the charity Live Music Now. Nine years later she is still in touch with her Chinese flute teacher and will see him perform in London in the summer.

After Wells, Lydia went to the Guildhall and gained a distinction in her Master's degree as a recorder player and historical flautist. In 2012 she performed in the London Olympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies, primarily as a drummer! Since graduating, Palisander has been her main focus, as well as teaching, which she loves.

She says “I'm still in touch with my Wells friends and we'll be meeting for tea and cake in a couple of weeks.”

Simon Baggs on Australia Day

Simon Baggs Copy

In honour of Australia Day yesterday, a mention of our most active antipodean, Simon Baggs (OW 1973). Simon is CEO and owner of Lateral Events, an energetic Sydney company that creates public, corporate and signature events across the continent. Lateral was set up in 1996 and has had a number of memorable coups; e.g. this year they have persuaded Sir David Attenborough to do another tour of Australia and a first of New Zealand.

Simon was an international traveller from an early age and has had Australian connections since his twenties. I see he has always manged to be at the heart of things. We shall be celebrating this year the dedication of the concert hall at Wells in honour of Alan Quilter and find in the 1965 school photograph that a third person is front and centre…

AKQ 1965

A mention also for his brother Stephen Baggs (OW 1970), a good friend of mine at Wells (and also for previous members of the family who were at the school earlier in the C20th).

Simon has organised many events for OWs in Sydney and we send him and all our Australian OWs our very best wishes for more happy reunions.

Richard Stowers in Washington, DC

Richard StowersUS flagAs the whole world looks towards the US capital today I naturally get in touch with Richard Stowers (OW 2008), a Wellensian living within walking distance of the landmark event. Richard, a US citizen, came to Wells to round off an international education at one of the oldest schools in the UK before going on to the second oldest university in America, The College of William and Mary for a BA in Pre-Medical Studies and French. He followed this with a Master of Public Health at Tulane University in New Orleans. He is now a Performance Associate at Privia Health which works to achieve value for money in health care.

The Wellensian records a sixth form theatre trip to London which Richard fondly remembers. The group set out to show him the sites but discovered he knew them better than they did! So it was decided to settle for a box of Krispy Kremes (after all, it was Thanksgiving Day) and a visit to Harrods. He is also remembered as a very useful 1st XI soccer player.

Richard had his own big event last year when he inaugurated his marriage to Alix whom he met at W&M where she was studying art history. About today he says “A few months ago my wife and I thought it would be very exciting to walk to the inauguration but instead are headed north for the weekend as the "Make America Great Again" hats roll in...”

We send them both our very best wishes and hope that we shall keep in touch.