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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.

Nike Koch in music and pictures

Nike Koch

We were delighted to see Nike Koch (OW 1999) back from New York and contemplating coming to our London Reunion if some others from her year group will join her – please contact Nike asap!

After Wells, Nike spent a pre-degree year at Trinity College of Music before her BA at Bristol University. She followed this with a Masters in Music Business at University of Liverpool. She has been a Senior Manager in Global Operations at Sony Music for 12 years now and last year spent six months in NYC. She has responsibilities in international Operations and Supply Chain (including work on vinyl recordings!) and ensuring global Product Compliance.

Her other great passion – and great talent – is photography. Her superb images “take you on a journey to beautiful and amazing places - from some of the world's busiest cities, all the way to scenic countryside locations.” She now makes her photography available to purchasers as decorative artwork and we wish her all the best in building this business.

Phil Barton tidies up

Phil Barton

We are doubly delighted to hear from Phil Barton (OW 1973) who not only sends news but also has been tidying up his loft and thoughtfully offered some school calendars to fill gaps in our Living Archive. Phil was Chief Executive of Keep Britain Tidy which has been campaigning against litter and waste for over fifty years.

At Wells, the Living Archive records that Phil was a notable all-rounder – House Captain and Editor of The Wellensian and also a successful sportsman; Captain of Sailing, first team hockey, a good rugby player, badminton for the school and an athlete at county level who broke several school records. He also developed his environmental values at a young age, speaking aged 16 at the Debating Society in favour of organising “to make this planet a better place to live in”.

After Wells, Phil went to Keele University and gained first class honours and then spent 35 years active in environmental regeneration in Manchester, the North West and then nationally. He was founder director of RENEW North West, which became Places Matter!, the architecture and built environment centre for the North West. He was director at Groundwork UK, initially as North West Regional Director and latterly as national Director of Corporate Strategy.

He has now started a second career as an artist. "I am currently studying for a MA in Art and Science at Central Saint Martins in London, trying a different route to persuading people of the desperate urgency to act as we suffer climate breakdown and continue with the sixth great extinction, the great challenges of our time"

We very much hope that Phil will continue to keep in touch and support the Association.

Rachel Carberry broadcasts

 

Rachel CarberryMy final OW mention of the year is for Rachel Carberry (OW 2000) who joined us at our London social.

Rachel is a Broadcast specialist, currently with Virgin Radio which is in a state of excitement about the arrival of Chris Evans in the new year, although Rachel may be moving on to Berlin with Google.

Rachel also has a long-time commitment to volunteering. Last summer she went to Cambodia with the International Citizen Service of VSO and she is a worker with their London Supporter Group.

At Wells she was specialist musician French horn and piano player and after leaving took a gap year which included a tour to Japan with the National Youth Music Theatre. She later went on to the Guildhall to continue her music and after uni worked for a while in hospitality before beginning her career as a sound engineer.

We look forward to hearing more news of her soon!

Happy Christmas wishes to Wellensians around the world

Wells Cathedral by Harry Constantine2

However long ago you were at Wells - and wherever you are now - we send best wishes to all our old (and young!) friends. Please do keep in touch.

PICTURE: Harry Constantine

Mark Harrison connects

Mark Harrison

At our London Social we caught up with Mark Harrison (OW 1998) who is Director of Localisation & Access Services for American multinational Viacom who “connect with billions of people in nearly every country in the world.” Mark’s special expertise is in subtitling, dubbing and translation which he has developed since completing an MA in Screen Translation at Leeds University following his first degree in languages at Manchester.

At Wells he was a well regarded member of Mr. Ken Sowden’s Ritchie House and clearly had an early interest in entertainment. He is remembered for his drama performances - as half of a typically English suburban couple, prone to random fits of madness in The Bald Prima Donna and earlier in When We Are Married and Bugsy Malone.

After leaving Wells he took a gap year and taught for seven months at at Muljibhai Madhvani College in Wairaka, Uganda.

He is now living and working in London and has been married for ten years. He says he is “very much in touch with OW chums” and long may this continue.

Antonia Showering – a fine art

Antonia Showering

Great fun yesterday with over 40 OWs at our London Social including Antonia Showering (OW 2010) who is a blossoming artist (self portrait above). She currently has shows in London at Bloomberg New Contemporaries, South London Gallery (until 24 Feb 2019) and 15 Works on Paper at The Whitechapel Gallery (until 12 Jan 2019). She has also exhibited this year in Los Angeles and at many other galleries in the UK.

She had a clear focus for her education after Wells, beginning with a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Chelsea Art College, then to a first degree at London Art School, culminating in a Masters in Fine Art at the prestigious Slade School.

Antonia has fond memories of Wells and so we were delighted to see her at her first reunion event. Her family has had a long association with the school and Antonia generously supported the WCS Foundation Gala Auction in 2016 with an oil on canvas commission for a winning bidder.

She mentioned that she has “no children yet but I recently became an aunt … my 25 year old brother beat me to it!” We very much look forward to seeing her again and seeing more from this inspired artist..

Tom Eastment is LinkedIn

Tom Eastment

A warm welcome to Tom Eastment (OW 2018) and five other OWs who have joined our LinkedIn Group this week (BTW: we would like you as well!)

Tom is in his first year of a law degree at Cardiff University and is already making his mark; he has been appointed to represent his year in the University Law Society and is hosting on Xpress Radio. An interest and skillset he has developed since he was 12 is in social media. His expertise has been sought out by advertisers and he assisted a health food start up to reach 393,000 followers.

At Wells, Tom was a 1st XI footballer (full colours) and also played hockey and was a promising chess player. He comes from a Wellensian family, so important to the continuity of Wells. His father is Peter Eastment (OW 1965) and his younger brother is still at the School.

Tom, do let us know how we can extend our Wellensian social media reach even further!

Kaiya Kim-Saville is on the case

Kaiya  Kim-Saville

As promised, I am very pleased to mention Kaiya Kim-Saville (OW 2014) who is organising, with Jake Spooner, her yeargroup’s first big reunion on 1st Feb in London with many other OWs of all ages and friends from Wells.

Kaiya is a solicitor in training with Linklaters – “a global law firm focused on bringing legal certainty in a changing world.” After Wells she went to Durham University and achieved a 1st class honours law degree. She was also secretary of the university netball club and since leaving has run the alumni team.

This was a continuation of her sport at Wells where she was a strong netball player; she was in the U15 and U16 teams that were Somerset County Champions and nearly won the South West Championships. She also was a noted hockey player and cross country athlete and played football in her younger days.

Kaiya was Head Girl at Wells and was strong academically, winning 11 A* grades at GCSE and excellent A-level results. She achieved a Gold Dof E award.

We greatly look forward to seeing Yeargroup Ambassadors Kaiya and Jake and all their friends at the RAF Club.

Alice Hudson - military musician

Alice Hudson

To a packed Cedars Hall this week for a splendid concert from the Band of HM Royal Marines which includes BdCpl Alice Hudson (OW 2009). Alice played Zapateado, a lightning fast solo violin piece and also trumpet in other items.

Alice joined the Royal Marines School of Music straight from Wells and on passing out after three years training she won the award for best young RM musician and a medal from the Worshipful Company of Musicians. She then joined RM Band Portsmouth for three years and is now with RM Band Lympstone.

The musicians provide a parade band and Corps of Drums, wind, dance, big and jazz bands, a symphony orchestra and a number of small chamber groups. Alice has played around the world including Finland, Mexico and Switzerland. She has also found time to complete her BMus degree and begin a Masters as well as playing hockey and tennis for the Corps and stewarding at the Wimbledon Championships.

At Wells, Alice was a prizewinning specialist musician. She also developed her sports at school; she once swam nearly ten miles in a swimathon in the school pool to raise funds for a cover, she played hockey and was Captain of Girls’ Tennis. She gained straight As at A level and in her final year she joined the conservation expedition to Honduras, spending two weeks in forests and on an uninhabited island.

We hope she and the Band will march out to Wells again next year!

We will remember them

Picture for 11-11-18

As the nation commemorates the centenary of the end of the Great War, we too remember OWs who gave their lives for their country during that conflict:

Cpl George Percy Abram (OW 1896) 27th Bn, Canadian Infantry, killed in action 15 September 1916, aged 38.

2nd Lt Henry Richard Bussell (OW 1896) 5th Bn., Somerset Light Infantry, killed in action 17 August 1917, aged 38.

2nd Lt William Charles Croom (OW 1915) 10th Bn., London Regiment, killed in action 7 June 1917, aged 20.

Evan Harte Davies (OW 1912) 12th Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment, died 14 October 1918, aged 24.

Victor Albert Edward Gardner (OW 1915) HMS Natal, killed 30 December 1915, aged 18.

Flt Sub Lt. Ronald Victor Knight (OW 1912) RNAS, killed 12 March 1917, aged 23.

Cpl Arthur John Laver (OW 1910) 13th Bn., Australian Infantry, killed in action 3 May 1915, aged 22.

Cyril Joseph Parsons (OW 1910) 12th Bn., Gloucestershire Regiment, killed in action 3 September 1916, aged 24.

It might appear that Wells suffered fewer losses than some other schools until you remember that at that time the school was very much smaller.

N.B. The (OW Years) follow our modern convention of when the yeargroup would have left at nearly 18 years old, actual dates of leaving Wells were earlier.

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Jake Spooner – to Russia with love

Jake Spooner

Excellent news that 2014 Yeargroup Ambassadors Jake Spooner and Kaiya Kim-Saville (of whom more next week) are getting organised for their big yeargroup reunion in London on Friday 1st February 2018.

Jake got back a few weeks ago from driving with two mates (aka The Mendip Explorers) on a 10,000 mile rally from the Czech Republic to Ulan Ude in Russia, raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in particular memory of Niall Mellis, another Wells boy and a dear friend who lost his life to cancer at the age of 18. They drove a Fiat Panda (named Fortuna) and made it despite six major breakdowns.

At Wells, Jake was Head Boy, Captain of Boys’ Tennis and won many awards, both for academic achievement and in sport and outdoor activities.

After Wells and a gap year, Jake went to Oxford Brooks University and gained a first in International Business Management. He has now started as a Business Development Manager for The Goat Agency –“ the world’s fastest growing influencer marketing agency, working with top global brands to drive guaranteed results”.

We greatly look forward to seeing him and his yeargroup with many other OWs and Wells staff at the RAF Club.

Bernice Ooi - settled in Sweden

Bernice Ooi

A warm welcome to Bernice Ooi (OW 2004) as the 2,033rd OW to join our Facebook Group! Bernice is a professional violinist and joined Kungliga Hovkapellet, the Royal Swedish Orchestra, in January last year.

She is humble about her beginnings in music and says she was surprised to be accepted at Wells; “There was nothing that I think was favourable in my playing - maybe they saw that I just loved music.” But her developing performance was notable and her talent is reflected in the fact that she received offers from both the Royal Academy and the Royal College of Music.

She chose however to go the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University and was awarded a Performer Diploma, Master of Music and BSc in Mathematics. She has since played all over the world, her Christian faith helping to guide which opportunities to seek. She returned home in 2014 to play part time with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. Two years later she went for audition in Stockholm and was one of only two candidates out of twenty to win a place with the KH. She has now been granted tenure, a lifetime appointment if she wishes it.

We are glad that she has found her calling (for now at least!) and hope to see her back in Wells one day.

PHOTO: Ibrahim Mohtar

Andrew Ashton back with the team

Andrew Ashton

Andrew Ashton (OW 1968) joined a large cast of contemporaries for his 50th anniversary reunion at Wells this year. Andrew is a solicitor and has over 40 years’ experience in company, commercial and probate law, most recently as a director of Beechwood Solicitors in Oxfordshire.

At Wells, our Living Archive recalls that he was a first hockey team player who provided a “strong attacking force” and an NCO in the Air Training Corps. He also found success on stage in the Merchant of Venice and as “a decent likeable Hardcastle” in She stoops to Conquer.

After Wells he went to Nottingham to read law and then to the University of Law. He was a partner and consultant of Herbert Gowers and HMG Law LLP.

He is a keen traveller with wife Pat and they have a son and daughter who is European Champion at Ultimate Frisbee.

Pte Evan Harte Davies died in war service 14th October 1918

Evan Harte Davies

We remember the last OW to die in the Great War and be commemorated on the School Roll of Honour. The Wells Journal of October 18th 1918 recorded the sad death of Evan Harte Davies (OW 1912);

THE LATE MR. E. H. DAVIES. – Sincere sympathy will be extended to Mrs. Evan Davies, Portway, the Commandant of the Cedars Red Cross Hospital, in the bereavement she has sustained in the death of her eldest son, Evan Harte Davies. Mr. Davies was in Canada when war broke out, and returned to England, joining the “Bristol’s Own” in November, 1914. He served in that regiment until March, 1915, when he was discharged owing to heart trouble. He then went in for munition work in Bristol, and in a short time was appointed Government examiner in the National Factory. Afterwards he was sent to Southampton, where he worked hard until October 4th, when he was taken ill with influenza. Double pneumonia followed, and from this his death resulted. Mr. Davies was only 24 years of age, and was greatly beloved by all who worked for him.

Evan was only five when his father (a solicitor) died; his mother was evidently a lady of considerable spirit to bring up Evan and his younger brother. She had to pursue a career - as an insurance agent - and in 1915 took charge of the Cedars Hospital until the final year of the war.

Evan was a winning sportsman at Wells and after leaving went to Sussex to study fruit farming before going to Canada. After his return, in September 1914 he joined a Field Ambulance Unit of the RAMC but within two months requested a transfer to the 12th ‘Bristol’s Own’ Battalion, The Gloucestershire Regiment which had recently been formed.

Because of his weak heart he was discharged in 1915 and he continued his war service in munitions production. When he fell ill three years later, his aunt Gertrude (who lived with his mother) went to Southampton and was at his bedside when he died – how sad his mother must have felt not to have been there instead. Perhaps it was she who made sure that her son was included in the Wells Roll of Honour when this was set up in 1919. She lived to see her Cedars Hospital become part of the school in 1926.

We will remember them.

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Jane Tapp – long haul Wellensian

Jane Tapp

We were delighted to see Jane Tapp (née Kinnersley, OW 1978) again at our last reunion. Jane has spent her whole career in air travel with 15 years as BA Cabin Crew and now on the Ground and in the Executive Lounge at Southampton Airport.

At Wells, Jane was a winning athlete and tennis player in area competitions and represented the School in netball and hockey.

She now lives in a pretty village in the New Forest with her husband Jon and two children. She has kept in regular touch with her school friends over the years – loyal members like Jane are the heart and soul of our Association!

Alex Wells – success in shades

 

Alex WellsA mention this week for Alex Wells (OW 2003) who (I hope!) has had the ideal summer for his firm. Alex runs Wells Umbrellas in Winchester and supplies high quality large parasols for commercial and top end private use.

Alex has come to his current business via a worldwide life experience. After Wells he studied sports science and went on to spend three years as a diving instructor in Koh Tao, Thailand. He then came home for a year to teach diving at Vobster Quay before a further year abroad in Fiji. Finally in 2012 came a complete career change that saw him join Craigie Woodworks, a bespoke kitchen company in Somerset. From there he launched his own business the following year.

At Wells Alex was a noted rugby player, joining the 1st XV at age 15 and meriting a “special well done” in the team annual report.

Long may the sun shine for Alex!

Emily Smith’s runaway success

EmilySmith

Congratulations to Emily Smith (OW 2014) who is studying a Business Major at The Eastern Michigan University and is a member of the EMU women's cross country team which recently won pole position at the George Dales Invitational in Three Rivers, Michigan. EMU finished the 5k with all nine runners within the top-15 and Emily claimed fourth place, running to a time of 17:56.6

Emily was a renowned athlete throughout her years at Wells, including competing at county and national levels. She was Captain of Athletics and of Hockey, was a CCF NCO and on a Lower School Ski trip won an award for the ‘noisiest skier’!

After Wells, Emily went to Loughborough University to study Physics and Sports Science and earned first team honours in both cross-country and track and field. She was placed second in the 3000S at the British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Championship in 2018, achieving a personal best of 10:16.

Our very best wishes to her in her sports and in her studies.

Hannah Wheeler at the Met

Hannah Wheeler

We are delighted that Hannah Wheeler (OW 1988) has agreed to join the Executive Committee of your Association, her energy and enthusiasm will be a big asset as we move into a new era with a new Head Master at Wells.

Hannah is a Chief Inspector with the Metropolitan Police Service where she has served for 25 years. Her varied career has taken her from uniform and CID roles in Ealing Borough, work on the Crime & Disorder Act crime audit, a move to Brent Borough on promotion to Sergeant and to Hendon Police Training School as Inspector. Further promotions followed and she is currently seconded to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services where she has a portfolio concerned with mental health inspection - how effectively police in England  & Wales respond to mental health crisis.

At Wells, Hannah captained in hockey and was noted for her drama performances. She keeps in close touch with her school friends and will now be known to many more OWs.

Nicola Lewis – a leading vet

Nicola Lewis

Thank you so much to Dr. Nicola Lewis (née Morton, OW 1991) for sending news. Nicola is Associate Professor in Infectious Diseases at the Royal Veterinary College and also the Deputy Director of the International Reference Laboratory for avian influenza, swine influenza and Newcastle Disease at the UK APHA-Weybridge laboratory.

She recalls “I met up with Simon Shercliff (OW and Head Boy 1991) in Nigeria a couple of years ago for Remembrance Sunday when my husband was working in Lagos; Simon was with the FCO in Abuja and he kindly put us up. It was humbling to have OWs in remote parts of the world observing the Armistice (whilst somewhat sweltering in local conditions).

Nicola was Head Girl at Wells and played oboe, reaching the second round of Young Musician of the Year. She won her hockey colours and played 1st VII Netball. From her early years she was a keen member of the Young Ornithologists Club and her interest in animals became her vocation when she went on to the Royal Veterinary College. After qualifying as a vet she worked in general vet practice in a number of countries around the world.

She says “I'm still based Cambridgeshire/Essex though my husband is working in Bangladesh now. Our two teenage girls are at Uppingham maintaining the family hockey and netball feats. The younger one plays for Cambridgeshire hockey, the older for Leicestershire.

Nicola is maintaining her City of Wells connections, “we were fortunate to be invited to the 690th Lord Mayor of London's inauguration and procession. During the Mayor's tenure we were invited to a dinner at Mansion House where we met up with residents of Wells and villages.”

Nicola has been a good supporter of our Association over the years and we hope to see her again soon.

Siân McInally - many strings to her bow

Sian McInally

Nice to hear news from Siân McInally (OW 1988). She has now been a violinist with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for over ten years and has performed concerts all over the world. She has played on hundreds of classical & commercial recordings, including If I Can Dream featuring Elvis Presley archive vocals and regularly works with Graeme Stewart (OW 1988) who mixes albums for Radiohead.

At Wells, Siân was a specialist musician and played netball for the School. After Wells she studied the performer’s course at the Guildhall and then freelanced and taught in London before joining the orchestra of Northern Ballet Theatre and touring the UK for five years. She now lives in Calne, Wiltshire with her son and three stepdaughters and has an extensive local teaching practice which currently includes Primary School workshops with Emily Isaac (OW 1992).

Hamish Martin still yomping

Hamish Martin

Our picture shows that Hamish Martin (OW 2008), who was a 35 mile Ten Tors yomper at Wells, is still enjoying big treks in all weathers. He returned in the summer to celebrate his ten year reunion and said, “Thank you for some of the best years of my life. So good to come back and see how much things have changed for the better!”.

Hamish was a 1st VI tennis player and academic prize winner who went on to Bristol University to study Geography. After uni he joined Grant Thornton and qualified as a Chartered Accountant. He has achieved several promotions, previously working in the commercial audit team, leading to his current position as Corporate Finance Manager advising clients on mergers and acquisitions and raising finance.

We hope he treks back to Wells again soon!

Caroline Hamilton – Island musician

Caroline Hamilton

We were very pleased to see Caroline Hamilton (née Cowan, OW 1998) travel from Jersey to join a very select party of contemporaries for her twenty year reunion. She has long been a Channel Islands resident and is now married to Max and they have three children.

In the LVI Caroline was shortlisted for the national Spirit of Enterprise award for a piece of work on West End musicals and was “outstandingly believable” as Jocasta in Oedipus. In her final year she was Captain of Haversham House.

She was also a vocal specialist at Wells and went on to Warwick University for a BA in English & Italian Literature. A legal career followed and she was called to the Bar at Inner Temple. However her music has continued to be her main love and she is a jazz singer performing at festivals and other gigs. She did a charity concert recently for Afrikids, to celebrate the arrival of her new Steinway piano!

Caroline is also a perimusic teacher and Talitha Arts practitioner - this is a charity which supports, through creative arts, clients who have suffered extreme trauma.

She will be moving next year from one beautiful island to another when she relocates to Barbados for a term in Jan 2009, but promises to keep in touch.

Anna Jackson keeps in touch

Anna Jackson2

I hear from Anna Jackson (née Lake OW 1992) that she always likes meeting other OWs and catching up about Wells even if she has not been in touch for a while. We were very pleased to see her at our reunion along with her sister Catherine Shakespeare (OW 1990) and to hear news of her sister Victoria Lake (OW 1997).

After Wells Anna went to the Royal Veterinary College and qualified as a vet. Following several years in equine and small animal first opinion practice, she then completed a clinical residency at the University of Bristol in veterinary dermatology in which she holds the RCVS certificate. She now works in the pharmaceutical industry as Ethics and Compliance Advisor for Elanco and lives in Midhurst, West Sussex with her husband and two sons.

At Wells she was a notable sportswoman from her early years, remembered for her determination and going on to captain basketball and play first team hockey and tennis. She was also Captain of her house. Our Living Archive recalls sundry snippets of her school life - she opened the door for the Queen Mother to enter her car after visiting Wells, movingly recited Siegfried Sassoon's poem Everyone Sang in the cathedral and played Alibius's wife “with sweet brutality” in The Changeling.

We hope all three sisters will continue to keep in touch!