No, not a case of poor spelling – this choice of title refers to the glorious event which has brought the term to a wonderful climax. Yes – for those who recall either of the first two similar happenings – the staff have once again found the courage to tread the boards, to the immense delight of their dear charges! The assembled multitudes who had gathered in the MFT for ‘the Headmaster’s Lecture’ witnessed instead several extraordinarily varied items performed by a differing selection of staff ensembles. These were presented live and in recorded format, the thread being provided by episodes of ‘Star Wars’ which indeed starred several members of staff in full George Lucas/Universal Studios mode! The children’s reaction rapidly moved through the whole gamut of emotions, from bewilderment to total joy as the staff revealed amazing talents heretofore modestly hidden away!
And so, on to other equally joyous events for the wider alumni family. Andrew Northern announced his engagement to Jessica Clauser on March 7th and ten days later, most appropriately on St Patrick’s Day, Ronan and Rachael Chilvers were delighted to welcome their first-born, a son, Kit. However. at the end of February there had been the arrival of another first-born, when Lousie Squires and her partner Ed Mills celebrated their move to Cornwall with the unexpectedly early birth of Jasmine Kate Elizabeth – would her great-grandma Bessie have commented, “There’s no such word as can’t”?!
At this time we are also thinking of dear Terry Barnes, who tended our school gardens so wonderfully for many years – his wife Mary died in Combe Martin, North Devon on March 8th. As many will recall, their Findon Valley home was ‘open house’ to all those who took part in his gardening activity. I know that some of you have kept in touch over subsequent years.
It has been good to hear recently from Charlie Clarke and Robert Arbuthnott, who, amidst the warm recollections of their time at Windlesham, send greetings to contemporaries. Indeed both have retained strong Windlesham friendships down the years. Another with vivid memories of his time at the school is former Raleigh housemaster, Michael Faunce-Brown, with whom we had lunch a week or two ago. He has returned from ten years in Queensland and is happily settling in to life in nearby Ferring and again putting down some West Sussex roots.
Another delightful meeting was a recent chance encounter a friend of mine had with Pierro Niel-Mee. I had spoken to her of his part in the current RSC productions at Stratford of ‘Wolf Hall’ and Bring up the Bodies’ and after seeing both ‘in one sitting’ as it were, she happened to meet Pierro after the show in the Dirty Duck. Pierro will be embarrassed I know, but my friend was ecstatic and has spoken fulsomely about the wonderful part he plays and was hugely touched to have been made so welcome in that conversation with him. The two plays will be transferring to London soon.
It was very interesting to note that on the first day of the recent Cheltenham Festival there was a very special memorial race, the Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase. Needless to say Laura and Libba were two very proud young ladies. Remaining in a kind of sporting vein, the talented Otto Pyper continues to play chess regularly for England, and was recently representing his country in Belgium.
It was wonderful to meet Toby Fenwick-Wilson, husband of dear Polly Renton, who was visiting Windlesham last week. He brought very upbeat news of all the Renton and Fergusson branches of the extended family. Likewise, Headmaster Richard Foster was pleased to meet up with alumni in both Hong Kong and Singapore when he was out in the Far East recently.
A couple of families have found themselves n the media spotlight in the past few days. Firstly Tom and James Malcolm-Green featured in the latest edition of ‘Sussex Life’ in an article about their ‘Wax and Tallow’ candle-making company. They have also been mentioned in the ‘Homes and Gardens Magazine.’
The other newspaper coverage has been of the Bouwens family, Carel, Caroline, George and Lizzie, who have now returned from their successful climb of Mt Kilimanjaro. Their efforts have generated a marvellous amount for the Cancer Vaccine Institute in memory of George’s fiancée Lucy. There is an article in their local Wiltshire press and Lizzie herself was featured in both The Times and the Daily Mail in items that made positive comment about the charitable use of her John Lewis bonus!
It is the time of year where good wishes need to be extended to up-coming marathon runners. On April 6th Georgie Frew will be taking part in the Brighton Marathon, while Nick Clinch will be across La Manche for the Paris Marathon. Those events are, of course, followed only a week later by the London Marathon. So far I have heard of the following being involved: in the ladies camp are Jessica Harber, Emily Bull, Martha Lambert, Georgina Richards and Imogen (Minnie) Griffiths. However, apart from Tom Malcolm-Green, where are the boys for this capital run?! I guess there must be others – it would be great to hear of them. In the meantime, we wish each of you every success as you face these challenges in the name of various worthy charities and a Happy Easter to one and all thereafter.