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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.

An invitation from Eleanor Corr

Ellie Corr

Some good news from Eleanor Corr (OW 2010) and Rosie Bowker (OW 2011) who have reached the finals of the prestigious St Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Competition with their flute, violin, cello and piano ensemble, Pocket Sinfonia. The final is a public concert at St. Martin-in-the-Fields next Tuesday, 26th March at 7.30pm and they say “if any Old Wellies want to attend, we would love that!" (and quoting Pocket Sinfonia when booking gets 25% off tickets!)

Ellie came to Wells aged 9 as a specialist violinist, and says she remembers joyful times in Polydor House playing music in the corridors, and inspirational SCO rehearsals with Matthew Souter (OW 1980) and Phil Dukes (OW 1985), discovering the wonderful experience of making music collectively. “This joy has stayed with me through and beyond my musical training at the Royal Academy of Music”, where she was a prize winner, orchestral leader, and held a full scholarship.

After graduating, she joined the English Touring Opera, leading several performances, and she has also played with the LSO and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Her work has taken to the world's most northerly concert hall in Svalbard, Norway, to Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and China, and also to the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room, Buckingham Palace, Wigmore Hall, St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Brighton Early Music Festival.

Eleanor says that an all-consuming career path blurs professional and personal life and she is lucky to travel with Emil, her boyfriend of 3 years and close friends Rosie and Tom in Pocket Sinfonia. “I miss beautiful Somerset but tours have enabled me to indulge a passion for swimming and hiking in Norway. The rest of the time, you're likely to find me enjoying good food while having a good laugh with friends.”

Nancy Lunnon – food science in two hemispheres

Nancy Lunnon

I hear from Nancy Lunnon (OW 2014) that in the summer she will be completing her four year BSc in Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds University. This course has provided a great international experience, involving an exchange year at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane studying nutrition, health, education and sport.

This was not her first antipodean adventure; after Wells she took a gap year as a tutor at Huntley School, a prep school about 100 miles north of Wellington, New Zealand.

Sport has always been an important part of Nancy’s life. At uni she has continued her netball and enjoys snowboarding and water polo and her plan for next year is a Masters in Sports and Exercise Nutrition.

At Wells, Nancy was Captain of Haversham House and school Swimming Captain. She played in the 1st Netball VII and was in the U16 team that became county champions. She achieved DoE Gold.

Our best wishes to Nancy for her finals.

Jonny Forsey – creating connections

Jonny Forsey

Exciting news from Jonny Forsey (OW 2014) about his new business. Jonny has created HOLO Founders Club, an exclusive brand and community for early stage start up entrepreneurs to help them get connected and on the map. He is well placed to do this, having gained a first at Northumbria University in Entrepreneurial Business Management. At uni he founded Enactus Northumbria, a social enterprise “committed to using the power of entrepreneurial action to transform lives and shape a better more sustainable world.”

He also has a well developed skillset in videography and is currently working to create and measure advertising on paid media channels for Flash Pack, a multi award-winning travel company aiming “to revolutionise the outdated image of the group travel sector with an on-point and aspirational lifestyle brand experience.”

At Wells, Jonny was a noted athlete and rugby player who “gave the team a cutting edge” and “scored one of the best tries of the season”. He also won DoE Gold.

Jonny comes from a family of Wellensians, his father is Julian Forsey (OW 1979) and also a business entrepreneur and his brothers are Alexander Forsey and Francis Forsey (both OW 2016). Other generations of OW Forseys stretch back to the 1920s.

We shall certainly keep tabs on Jonny!

Shannon Kemp climbs three mountains

Shannon Kemp

We were delighted to see Shannon Kemp (OW 2014) down from Scotland for our reunion. She is studying medicine at University of Aberdeen and has just polished off an intercalated one year BSc in Anatomy during her medicine course.

At Wells, Shannon was a Symphony Orchestra cellist and a pianist and she retains her love of the arts. She performs piano, accordion, cello and voice at gigs. She is also a member of the Aberdeen University Dance Society, the biggest and the most active society under AU Students' Association, which teaches everything from street dance to ballroom to Scottish country.

Last year she participated in the National 3 Peaks Challenge in aid of Friends of ANCHOR which raises money for cancer research. This adventure across the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales involved 13 hours of walking (including 3,064m of ascent)  and 11 hours of driving, all in 24 hours!

Our fond best wishes to Shannon for her future.

Anson Chau has a career in mind

Anson Chau

I hear from Anson Chau (OW 2014) that he has recently graduated from University of Edinburgh with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology.

Anson is planning a career in mental health as an NHS Clinical Psychologist and has undertaken several voluntary roles to build his experience. He provided inpatient academic support to children in Kwai Chung psychiatric hospital in Hong Kong and worked as a camp counsellor in a residential camp for children with special needs in New York State. Since graduation he has been a support worker with the Scottish Association for Mental Health, enabling clients to improve their independency.

At Wells, Anson sang in the Chapel Choir and the Barber Shop ensemble and was a Peer mentor and Student Ambassador. We were delighted to see him at our London Dinner and very much hope he will keep in touch.

Olivia Morley in shock

Olivia Morley

Liv Morley (OW 2014) tells me at our recent reunion that she “drowned in Physics for four years at the Duck (aka Emmanuel) College, Cambridge” to get her undergrad and MSc degrees but this has not put her off pure science. She is now researching shock physics and high temperature/pressure optical spectroscopy but is pleased to report that she “has not set herself on fire yet”.

At Wells Olivia had an impressive academic track record, winning many school and external prizes including a gold certificate in the UK Chemistry Olympiad. She achieved all A*s at GCSE and top A levels.

She played hockey and was a CCF Sergeant - one of five Wells cadets who took part in Exercise Wyvern Warrior which tested the their fieldcraft skills, tactics, weapon handling and leadership. “The Wells cadets performed magnificently, outwitting the enemy (King Edward's, Bath) and demonstrating Impressive command and control.” She has continued her sport at uni, captaining the Ladies’ Badminton team.

Liv characterises her working life as “not in the real world” but of course it is research like hers that advances our understanding of the universe we live in – a key to making the best of our real world. We greatly look forward to seeing her again.

Heads together at a great Reunion

London Dinner 2019

May I add my appreciation for the OWs and friends who joined us last week for our London Reunion. Our guest list of 60 included eight ex Head Girls/Boys and we were only sorry that some of the Wells party (including another Head Boy, the Head Master and Head of the Junior School) were snowed in and could not be with us.

Partying carried on in the bar until midnight (and beyond that for the 2014s who continued elsewhere) and thank you for wealth of jottings which I shall cover over the coming weeks, though I am not sure if Boris the crocodile, Durkin the geico and an XL snake without a name are really pets or just manifestations of the RAF Club claret.

We now start planning for our summer reunion in Wells on Saturday 22nd June 2019 – do Save the Day!

Tom Cholmondeley’s Biggest Fibs

Tom Cholmondeley

A must watch last night (or on iPlayer) was Lucy Worsley’s American History’s Biggest Fibs directed by Tom Cholmondeley (OW 1987) for BBC Four.

Tom is a BAFTA nominated director with a long track record of films that bring history to life with wit and sharp attention to detail. “I have had the privilege of directing people I really admire such as David Suchet, Paul Merton, the Lord Chief Justice and Mikhail Gorbachev.”

After Wells, Tom went to Reading University for a science degree. He spent some time teaching, including in Zimbabwe (following his brother Richard (OW 1984) who was so sadly later killed in a road accident in Portugal) but then found his true vocation in television as a researcher with Channel 4. He has since done work for Channel 5 as well as for the BBC and through his own company Cholmondeley Films.

Tom has had contact with the school on various occasions over the years including coming to Wells in 2005 to cast a young Albert Einstein for Einstein’s Brain and awarding the part to Toby Scadding (OW 2013). As a big history TV fan I look forward to more of Tom’s great documentaries.

Ed Curtis throws his hat into the ring

Ed Curtis

I hear from Ed Curtis (OW 2016) that he will be graduating this year in Marketing Management from The University of Greenwich. He is aiming for a career in the automotive industry and would welcome contact with other OWs in marketing and/or automotive sectors.

Ed was a noted athlete from his early days at Wells and a rugby player who was “often putting his body on the line for the sake of the team” On a school ski trip he won the award for “most cheerful skier” from Mrs Bridson and Mr Smyth. He also “held the stage stylishly" with Lizzie Hubner (OW 2016) in So You Think You Can Dance?

He says he is missing Somerset and Wells but “looking forward to throwing punches in the world of business.” We are sure he will be a (metaphorical) heavy hitter and wish him well in his forthcoming career.

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 in aweek or two) 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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