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1974 Leavers Celebrate 60 Years Young!

Monday, 6 June, 2016 -- Helen Wilson

How do you celebrate your birthday when you get to 60?  The 1967 entrants to the 2nd Form enthusiastically embraced a suggestion from Ken Wells and decided to hire an antique river craft on which we set sail for four hours with our spouses, partners and guests (including some of our former teachers -- David Pickard, Geography and Geology; David Keysell, History; and Nick Roche, Modern Languages).  Think ... Livingstone on the Zambezi, ... Carey on the Hoolgy, ... or Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn in The African Queen.  Or, .. perhaps not, .. on 14th May our "OE safari-boat" was the Steam Launch Streatley, sailing the kinder waters of the Thames at Windsor.  Mike Kiernan kindly lent his camera for our team photograph at the Promenade.  Having managed to avoid de-stabilising the boat while this was taken (something of a spectator event) we pulled away from the bank-side swans, turned, and headed down-stream, under the river cliff below the Castle, through the Romney and Old Windsor Locks, to Runnymede.  Time passed all too quickly. Turning there, it was then back again, passing en-route the Windsor Home Park and its well-groomed equine entrants to the Horse Show, a company of Morris Dancers, and once more, the swans. 

As could be expected, the company was excellent.  After considering the matter we decided against singing boating songs to Elthamian words (although it was indeed "jolly boating weather"); and although we had at least two historians and a lawyer on board, the relevance of Magna Carta to the 21st Century was also left for another day.  We thank David, David and Nick for remembering us (when they will have taught so many in their long teaching careers).  David (Pickard) brought the photograph of his first school rugby team -- to David's surprise and enjoyment, many of that team were on board, including Ripley Oyler who has to get the prize for being the youngest-looking of us. 
 
The 60th Birthday Cake with Eltham College crest!

There were 39 on board, and a lot of water had passed under several bridges since the OEs amongst us had grown up together 42 (and more) years before.  We owe many thanks to Helen Wilson at the school for helping find many of us and for issuing regular communications.  There were and are of course many achievements that could be reported.  A few to mention here are that Mike Winter was British Council Head in Sao Paulo (after a 28-year career with the Council through several countries including Turkey, France and Japan, where he was awarded an OBE), and now represents the University of London internationally.  Stuart Ball is Professor of Modern History at Leicester (and is a leading authority on Churchill).  Philip Poon was a Consultant Pathologist in the North East of England.  Howard Lutley has had a significant career in minerals and energy in Canada.  John Walker's academic career spans Cambridge, Oxford and London Birkbeck where he has written well-reviewed German academic books.  Guy Collins has covered much of Europe with Reuters and Bloomberg, including setting up the Bloomberg Paris Bureau.  And, although not present, we wanted to congratulate Simon Gass who became Ambassador to Iran and received a knighthood; Philip Page who is Professor of Chemistry at the University of East Anglia; and Colin Veitch who became CEO of a major Cruise company based in Miami and is now consulting and on non-executive boards.

Pictured above is OE Colin Veitch with Donald Trump on the US set of The Apprentice.

We ended the day all together on the top deck with a few closing words from Ken Wells, Guy Collins and Andrew Edwards.  Andrew read some cheerful anecdotes kindly provided by Colin which culminated with an oblique reference to his (Colin's) appearance in the US-version of The Apprentice.  Andrew confirmed unexpectedly seeing the episode on US television.  John later said that he too had come across the film: "Colin having been invited by his business colleague Donald (Trump) to judge a competition between two teams of competitors, doing something like selling 1000 ice-creams in an hour on Broadway, New York".  Andrew was sporting his First XV Colours blazer for the occasion, which prompted his wife Anne (first girl pupil at the school and now a governor) to remark that Andy had again become a school-boy.  The same could be said for us all -- for four hours we were "16 again" -- before being reminded that in fact the number started with a six followed by a zero!  Our 60th birthday cake, made by Rebecca Wells and decorated with the Eltham crest, rounded off a memorably happy day on which we renewed past friendships, and reflected on great teaching and the enduring and beneficial influence of our school.

Old Elthamians and guests aboard the SL Streatley celebrate being 60! 

On lower deck front row from left to right: Namita Modi, Rebecca Wells, Andrew Rees, Liz Oyler; with Ken Wells and Ripley Oyler behind (Ripley is looking out through the gap in the awning).

On upper deck front row seated from left to right: Catherine Walker, Judy Houlden, Judith Staley, Anne Collins, Vicki Howie, Jo Lutley, Anne Edwards, Helen Titley, Thea Ricketts, Lizzie Beaty, and Mossy Roche. 

On upper deck standing from left to right: Chris White, Deepak Talwar, Charles Tytheridge, Gilly Ball (behind Charles), Kim Poon (behind Gilly), Stuart Ball, Philip Poon, Neale Houlden, Christine Pickard, David Pickard (Teaching Staff, Geography and Geology), David Keysell (Teaching Staff, History), John Walker, Douglas Howie, Guy Collins, Mike Winter, Robert Drysdale, Mike Kiernan, Howard Lutley, Martin Ricketts, Nick Roche (Teaching Staff, Modern Languages), David Beaty, and Andrew Edwards.

Footnote: Messages of good-will were also received from a number who could not be with us:  Steve Burnett, Simon Gass, Simon Girdwood, John Hammond, Andrew Jarman, Peter Kapff, Paul Mansfield, Andrew McCulloch, Andy Mercer, Philip Page, Paul Ranford, Tim Saxon, Mike Scofield, Colin Veitch, Simon Ward, Dave Whitehorn, and Chris Wright.