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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.

Henry Bussell killed in action

 Bussell final

We honour our fellow Wellensian, Lt. Henry Richard Bussell (OW 1897) who died for his country exactly 100 years ago, on 17th August 1917 at Langemark, near Ypres.

Henry was serving with the 5th Battalion (and attached to the 7th Bn.) of the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert’s). The Battalion was part of 61 Brigade, 20th Division and fought in the battle of Passchendaele, an allied attack which had begun on 31st July.

On 16th August the Brigade was responsible for a front about 700 yards wide on the western bank of the Steenbeek brook less than half a mile from the village of Langemark. From zero hour at 4.45am, the Brigade crossed the brook and had a comparatively easy advance (apart from endless deep mud) with 7th Bn. Somerset LI and 7th Bn. King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry advancing to take the first two objectives, coming under fire from Au Bon Gite until that was taken by 12th Bn. The Rifle Brigade of 60 Bde. The advance continued, taking a blockhouse west of Langemarck and Langemarck Station. 12th Bn. The King’s (Liverpool) Regt and 7th Bn., Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry then took over and continued to the final objective by 7.45 am.

So, the day before he died, Henry took part in the advance across the Steenbeek within a few hundred yards and on the same day as Harry Patch (7th Bn. Duke of Cornwall’s LI), ‘the last Tommy’, who died at Wells aged 111 in 2009.

On 17th August the Battalion War Diary records;

“At 2pm OC 7/Som LI was ordered to arrange a further attack on the enemy in conjunction with 60 Bde. The 7 DCLI & 12 Kings were each allotted half of the task with 7 KOYLI & 7 Som LI in support. Zero hour was at 7pm. At 6.30pm advanced Bde HQ was established in a concreted bunker NE of the village. Our artillery commenced on objective at 6.30pm and as soon as it commenced the enemy commenced shelling the NE end of the village and heavy machine gun fire came from the right flank and rifle fire from the left flank. At 7pm the 12th Kings having moved forward, C & B coys 7 Som LI occupied the line vacated by them. At about 7.30pm OC 7 Kings sent back a message to say that he thought a few of his men had reached the objective, that he had had heavy casualties and asked for reinforcements. B & D coys were pushed forward with orders to join the 12th Kings and found them held up by the boggy and impassable ground. The Battn on the right was also held up so OC 7 Som LI gave orders to dig in & OC 15th Welsh agreed to take over the situation as it stood and carry on with the relief which was completed by 1am.
Casualties estimated at 4 officers killed, 8 officers wounded. OR: 33 killed, 18 missing and 121 wounded.”

Sadly, one of those officers was 2nd Lt. Henry Bussell aged 38. His body was never found and his name is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial and also at the Estate Duty Office.

At Wells, Henry was a star scholar. In the fifth form he won a Bronze medal, The Dean’s Prize for English Composition, The Plumtre Memorial Prize for Greek Testament and The Collins Prize for Drawing. In the previous year he had also won four prizes.

He was the younger son of Prebendary Barton Bussell and Mrs Catherine Bussell who lived at 4, New St., Wells. In Feb. 1904 Henry joined the civil service at the Estate Duty Office at Somerset House. Immediately on the outbreak of war in 1914 he enlisted voluntarily as a private in the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles. In 1916 he was gazetted an officer with the 5th Battalion Somerset Light Infantry.

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We will remember them.

Holly Beale – an orient express OW

Holly BealeMany pupils are welcomed to Wells from HK and mainland China – now we have news from Holly Beale (OW 2007) whose fast moving career has taken her in the opposite direction and 3½ years in China.

After Wells, Holly graduated BA in philosophy at Southampton University and then joined US and international casual wear retailer Abercrombie & Fitch on their Manager In Training program. She has since held store management positions in the UK and in 2013 she moved to Beijing as part of a major new strategic direction for the company. There she took an immersive course in mandarin and after only two months passed the HSK2 exam. Management jobs in Beijing and Chengdu have followed and Holly is now a General Manager and working towards her HSK4 exam which requires an ability to communicate fluently with native Chinese speakers.

She was sorry to miss our summer reunion in Wells and says she was thinking of all her old friends. “I am greatly enjoying my new adventure in Asia. Naturally I am missing home but appreciating my opportunities. Wells will always be a special place.”

Holly particularly valued her time in the CCF(RAF) at Wells and recalls her Three Peaks Challenge expedition. She is also remembered for her drama performances which included Sleeping Billy, Cabaret, As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing and Little Shop of Horrors which clearly has no connection with her current endeavours. We very much look forward to hearing more from her soon.

Bassoonist Ashby Mayes blows us away

Ashby MayesA hero among our newest OWs has been Ashby Mayes (OW 2017) who masterminded the 2017 Yearbook with most admirable efficiency. The Association sponsors this every year as a lasting record for VIth form leavers of their final years at Wells. Often there is a fair bit of post-production work required before printing, but Ashby edited and delivered the book polished and print ready.

YEARBOOK 2017 Page 001He said then, “the past few months have been very busy, sending email after email, nagging for that final baby photo to be sent in, formatting the 109 profiles into a 70,000 word document. I’m sure the whole year is fed up of seeing yet another email from me but at least it’s over now! I have been honoured to make this yearbook. Reading through everyone’s profiles, it’s so nice to see people sharing their favourite memories at the school as well as many random in-jokes and nicknames I will never begin to understand…  I hope you treasure this so you don’t forget what an incredible place Wells Cathedral School really has been for all of us.”

At Wells Ashby was an accomplished specialist bassoon player and sang in the Chamber Choir. He also won a place with the National Youth Orchestra of Greta Britain as principal bassoon. After a holiday in Italy he is looking forward to going to the Royal College of Music in September.

Alice Tapfield – award winning matchmaking

Alice Tapfield 3

I hear exciting news from Alice Tapfield (OW 2000) who is heading up the New York expansion of award-winning British matchmaking firm The Vida Consultancy. Alice has consulted for Vida for six years and assisted setting up the initial London network.

She says "We will officially launch in the autumn in NYC, but over the summer I'm starting to invite eligible single men and women to join us. It's usually $400 for our open membership but I'd be happy to waive this fee, pre-launch, for any Old Wellies. So if anyone is looking for love in NYC, please just email me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ".

Alice spent her early years in Australia before moving back with her family to the UK and came to Wells for her sixth form. She then went to Exeter University and obtained a 1st Class degree in Politics with French. This included a year studying in Provence, where Alice became fluent in French. She subsequently developed her client relations background predominantly in London, and also in Dubai and France.

At Wells she was an acute watcher of life and people and The Wellensian records her insightful observations of her contemporaries.

Alice moved to Manhattan in summer 2016 after her marriage to Pavan Uttam, a New Yorker-via-Delhi. They were married in St John's Church Glastonbury, and held their reception at the Bishop's Palace in Wells.

We very much look forward to seeing her at a future NYC reunion.

Adam Fosberry in the swim of things

Adam Fosberry

Good to see Adam Fosberry (OW 1987) in fine form at our reunion. Adam says he is “growing old disgracefully” but by profession he is a highly respected nurse practitioner at Yeovil Hospital. He lives in Glastonbury with his wife and daughter and remains a true Somerset man, “good food, good cider, good company, fantastic scenery, fantastic schools”.

He has fond memories of his time at Wells which was sadly cut short by one day. He was suspended on the last day of term for swimming in the Tudway Quilter’s pool at Milton Lodge after the sixth form ball. Knowing Elizabeth TQ and remembering David I am quite sure they would have turned an amused blind eye, but no doubt rules are rules!

We very much look forward to seeing Adam again at a future reunion.

Slightly envious of Carol Outerbridge

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How very excellent that Carol Outerbridge (née Taylor OW 1977) came from Bermuda to join her yeargroup at our Wells reunion. Many of us would like to travel the other way as her island home, it must be admitted, is almost as beautiful as the city of our school.

Carol returned to Bermuda in 1981 and she and her husband Bill (from one of the oldest island families) founded Pembroke Tile & Stone in 1989 after careers in the construction industry. They introduced Bermuda to concepts in tile and stone that were not previously available and offer ‘a style for every lifestyle’.

Carol and Bill have a daughter Catherine and are now semi-retired. They love boating and are planning to go cruising the Bahamas and USA in boat Grand Cru. She is involved in dance as a trustee of the Bermuda Civic Ballet which promotes community inclusiveness and contributes to Bermuda's cultural heritage.

She is still in touch with Lucie Amos and Hilary Barefoot and sends a big thankyou to Chris Neave for organising the 1977 yeargroup to come back to Wells.

A Sparkling Reunion

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A grand reunion last weekend of over seventy OWs and friends at Wells, some of whom in my photo stayed late to enjoy Mrs Elizabeth Cairncross’ port and brandy. The Wellensians were also of a fine vintage, and 1977, 1987 & 1997 OWs were well represented.

There was also much else to see and do at Wells in mostly glorious weather, capped by an OW win on the cricket field on Sunday.

On Monday a smaller team of us welcomed 108 sixth formers individually into life membership of your Association – and so the eternal cycle of our 1,100 year old school moves on.

Glasto welcomes Vicki Stone

Vikki Stone Glasto2017

Our own Vikki Stone (OW 2001) was at the festival on Sunday afternoon on the stage at the Astrolabe Theatre. She performed her debut orchestral work Concerto for Comedian and Orchestra with 26 musicians from the WCS Chamber Orchestra.

As the title suggests, it is an orchestral piece, but the concerto “soloist” is a comedian. It is a spoken word concerto (with some equally fine music), focusing on comedy and is the first work of its kind – “a sort of Peter And The Wolf but with jokes”. We loved the debut performance recently in Cedars Hall and she will be taking it to Edinburgh and elsewhere this summer.

The piece has been in development for a year, and has already received support from Arts Council England and the PRS Foundation Women Make Music scheme.

Vikki also had a spot on the Cabaret Stage at Glastonbury and is busy with work for TV and other live performance. She is great fun and we love her!

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

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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 he 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

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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…

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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

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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.