Issue 33
June 2014
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Dear <<Salutation>>,

Apologies for the delay in sending out this newsletter but we're in a transition period. The wonderful Stuart Davies who has been responsible for sending these out has had to step down after many years of service to the OTA and we're having to get to grips with all the technology. So if this newsletter has some glitches, you will know why.

Some urgent and sad news: Ken Bailey died on June 22nd. His funeral will be held on July 2nd at 2 pm at St Mary's Church Thame. All friends are welcome to attend.

We have various snippets of news – thank you to those who provided them. We also have an inspiring article from Chris Giles who has recently retired.

Conversely if you are about to start out on your extended life journey after school and need some funds for further education, please fill and send the application form for moneys from the JHWMF.
There was a flower festival on the subject of ‘Memories’ in St Mary’s, Thame this year – many flower arrangements were on the theme of Word War 1.

Bridget Trueman (Chairperson OT 2011-14)


What's on and when ...

    13.09.2014    1000    OTA Committee Meeting
    07.11.2014    1730    Sixth Form Awards Evening
    08.11.2014    0845    Founder's Day
    09.11.2014    1030    Remembrance Parade, Thame High Street
NEWS ... NEWS ... NEWS... NEWS ... NEWS ...NEWS ... NEWS ... NEWS

Thame Museum exhibition

Do visit the current WW1 exhibition at the museum and the 'Thame Remembers' project.  LWGS pupils feature in both though of course they are not solely concerned with OTs.  The Thame Remembers project formally opens on 3rd August with a commemoration at St Mary's and the laying of crosses on the graves of those who died in WW1, amongst whom are several OTs. The research team members have expanded the information about OTs who died beyond that which appears on OT website


Brand Spanking New Website

At last, the new website is up and running with much of the content of the old site transferred and once again available.

The new site can be found at

Hopefully, you'll find it informative; interesting and a significant improvement.

Please let us have your feedback, comments and observations!

Members Letters ...
Chris Giles reflects on a life teaching

One year on from retirement after thirty five years in the classroom seems an appropriate time to reflect a little on my life as a teacher and the influence of my own education at Lord Williams’s School.
After school and four years at Oxford, my career followed a fairly conventional path: English, drama and PSD teaching in three large London comprehensive schools over eleven, seven years as a Head of Year in Barking and ILEA and a period as Head of English and Head of Faculty in Redbridge. 

Two children later, it was time for a very radical move to Orkney in 1989, a place we had discovered in 1978 and visited every year since then. My first post was in a small junior high school as teacher of English and drama, but, these places being what they are, I often had to teach maths, PE, science, home economics and just about everything else when the plane couldn’t land with the peripatetic teachers. That experience, together with my appointment as Senior Teacher, deputising often for the headteacher, taught me more about teaching than any course I’ve ever been on. An additional challenge was having to teach my own children.

Eleven more years on brought another change and I became part of the peripatetic team, teaching drama in 23 different school schools, with pupils aged between three and sixteen and in classes ranging in size from three to thirty three. This brought the thrill of flying to work, catching boats on rough seas and exploring every road in Orkney, but most all the challenge of teaching many hundreds of children, all in their infinite variety and in a huge range of schools. I suppose I must have taught, in total, three or four thousand children over those years; and worked with several hundred colleagues.

I ended my career as Principal Teacher of that same itinerant service, with management responsibility for 26 art, PE, music and drama teachers and instrumental instructors. It was a huge privilege to work with so many talented and inspiring colleagues and I learned a huge amount about creativity in education. My proudest moment ever in teaching was to see seventy of our most talented musicians play in a concert with the BBC Symphony Orchestra; and, in the same arts festival, twenty children with special educational needs playing with member of the BBC SO and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, using new technologies.

So what has all this to do with education in Thame from 1966 to 1973?  Apart from a brief and deluded period of wanting to be in the Royal Navy, teaching is all I ever wanted to do, and I think that has everything to do with my experience of some of the teachers at Lord Williams’s. All of my English teachers, and especially Gerard Gould, opened my eyes to a completely new world for a very ordinary working class boy from Thame. I discovered the transformative joy of reading from them, and they were part of the gateway to a life-changing liberal education at Oxford. I have never forgotten the discovery of the wonders of being on stage brought about by Colin Brookes and the joy of choral singing from Robin Nelson. A moment from 1967, when someone was allowed by Mr Gilbert to bring in a copy of Sergeant Pepper, and play it to the class, is also a seminal and special one. Above all, my best experiences at school have taught me over the years to value education and to inspire others to value it too.

I have to say that the opening up of the school to a comprehensive intake was itself an inspiration and I have never wanted to work in any other institution than an inclusive one. It is a privilege to work here in Scotland, where there are very few selective schools, and in Orkney where there are none. Every child here attends their local school, so the intake is totally comprehensive - and yet the standards are enormously high. My own children have benefitted hugely from the commitment to comprehensive education and this is reflected in their successful careers in the caring and creative fields. 
I am sure that many Old Tamensians may not agree with me, but I view the demolition of the state education system in England by the last and current Governments with horror. Above all, I fear that the love of creativity inspired in me by my best teachers at Lord Williams’s may be lost forever.

Old Tamensians of every vintage are welcome to visit us here.

Chris Giles (1966-December 1973)
Gordon Wells 1950-57

Hampden House, Rugby and House Colours…contemporary of Buckle, West, Woolfrey, Tarr, Menham, Whitehouse, Porter, Green, Hawes, Shurrock, Stevens, Howells, Nixey etc etc.

Retired in May 2000, after 30+ years in the Motor Industry (BL and Jaguar), mainly running laboratories and Materials/Process development. Next 10 years was mainly spent running the IT Dept. in the local Primary School in Kenilworth.

We (Wife Chris and I) emigrated to New Zealand in Nov. 2012 and are living with Daughter and family in Avonhead, Christchurch. With them, we’re having a house built with a large “Granny Flat” on a new development in West Melton, about 15 minutes from ChCh airport and we now have a Moving-In date of 9th June.

I busy myself with SeniorNet which teaches computer literacy to over 50’s. There are about 90 centres in NZ, and ours has run for nearly 20Yrs. with currently about 900 members. We have 3 Courses every day except Thursdays and various Help sessions as well as Home visits. If you are interested see  I run two web-sites, one for our centre and one for Selwyn District SeniorNet group.

I intermittently help with Open Nights at the University Observatory in West Melton which will now be more active as winter and dark nights on upon us. We’ve just had the first real snow of the winter on the Southern Alps which we can just see from our new back garden.

That’s about it...anyone who wishes to converse; I’m ..

Gordon Wells 1950-7
Alan Morton

Just to let you know that Alan Morton died on 29th April with Lung Cancer. Alan joined the school in September 1947 and played for School's 1st 15 in 51/52 and 52/53. He lived in Horspath and was a regular attendee to the annual "Class of '49" reunions.
Brian Wallis

Bernard Henry Dodwell
Thanks for the latest newsletter. You asked for more news. A few snippets:

The first relates to Bernard Henry Dodwell. A photo of the 1915 football team first appeared in the Thame Gazette with a request to identify names. (NB: The story can be found on the OTA website)  Following that article I was able through the archives to assist Andrew towards identifying other members of the team.  This was because Dorothy Fitch née Shaw,  headmaster Alfred Shaw's younger daughter who taught at the school during WW1, later presented the school with several photos of that period, amongst which is the football team for the previous year 1913-1914 (featured on the Flickr website). Incidentally the photo you feature should more properly be labelled 1914-1915. Dorothy named the people in the earlier photo and by checking these against the team lists given in the Tamensian it is clear that around half were in the team in both years.  Andrew now has a copy of the 1914-1914 photo and the list of names so hopefully he can do some matching of faces and names.

This illustrates a more general point: that the process of cataloguing all the school photos in the school archives is nearing completion. Some 600 photos are now catalogued and indexed. Though this is considerably fewer than the 4000 on the Flickr site and the photos are far less accessible, an advantage of the archived photos for OTs is that the name index allows the search for a particular person, as in the case of Bernard Henry Dodwell. There's also a subject index. The proportion of named photos varies considerably.  The greatest proportion occurs for the first two decades of the 20th century and the 1960s/70s.

I am always happy to follow up any particular request for information.

Derek Turner
Thame Flower Festival

There was a flower festival on ‘Memories’ in St Mary’s, Thame this year – flower arrangements were on the theme of Word War 1.

The OTA provided an arrangement in memory of the fallen students, in the old LWS colours – the design was based on the tie

The Great War    1914 - 1918

This coming year, we will be celebrating the Centenary of the Great War. During this time, we will feature stories about the OTs who died and those who fought in the War.
One starting point is to look at the work that's been done by the Buckinghamshire Remembers web-site. They've brought together an overview of all the OTs who died - with each of their stories linked from this page:

OTA Digital Footprint

Lord Williams's School web-site
This not only has all the most up to date information about the School but also features the monthly School newsletter “Take Me Home”.

Also there are two static pages for the OTA and the John Hampden War Memorial Fund:

OTA Page on the Lord Williams's School site

JHWMSF Page on the Lord Williams's School site
OTA Flickr Site
We now have well over 3700 photos to view: a permanent and regularly updated repository of all things Lord Williams's School, OTA and `Thame - from the foundation of the School through to the present day. Maintained by the OTA

Please leave comments and, if you can identify people, please also record their names in the comment box as well.

OTA web-site
Our brand new web site is now on-line. We have a new format, however a lot of the content has been transferred over as we know people found it useful.

You can find the site at:
Quite a few of the OTs, including several on the Committee, are members of this LinkedIn group and are 'chatting'.
We now have a new Old Tamensians's Page that is run by the OTA but is an informal group and can be updated directly by OTs who have 'liked.'

The new URL is:
OT Twitter (Tamensian)
Run by the OTA but now regularly updated. Please join us in the Twittersphere!
There is no dedicated channel although there are a couple of OT videos on YouTube including the ATV documentary Star from the late 1970s and Matron, a home video from the mid 60s. They can be easily searched.
OTA Rugby
David Ratcliffe set up set up an Old Tamensians rugby page on  Here is a link directly to the OTs page.

OTA Flickr Site

Do we have the biggest on-line archive?
The OTA archive is certainly one of the biggest for a private body. Certainly the biggest for a school in the UK.

We now have over 3200 images online that cover, the School, the OTA and, since acquiring Norman Lilley's own archive, an expanded section on Thame.

And as we've grown, so have the number of visitors. The biggest number of views on a single day thus far is over 11,000.

The subject matter is diverse as you might expect: the earliest image is from the 14th century - a petition written to the King. We have plans to upload Lord Williams's will. (It's not a straightforward task.) And then we have images of people, events, artefacts, letters, albums, educational material, anything and everything that might be of interest. (And out stats show that indeed the diversity of what is looked at is much more than one might expect.)

We have at least another 1000 or so images to upload. And we're always looking for more. So please post or e-mail anything you have. Scan if possible. If not take a photo and send it through. The archive is becoming a research source and hence has great interest beyond just OTs or people connected with Thame.

And please make comments; identify people if you can. The more the interaction, the better the archive.

We now have almost 4000 images to view in the OTA albums: a permanent and regularly updated repository of all things Lord Williams's School, OTA and bygone Thame - from the foundation of the School through to the present day. In October, the flickr site peaked at over 33,000 views.

Please leave comments and, if you can identify people, please also record their names in the comment box as well.

Email us at:
Lord Williams’s School Prayer Group

We warmly welcome you to join us to pray for the life of the School and into some of the issues that affect us and our young people, as we journey together through these challenging years! 

We'll be meeting once a term, on Wednesdays in Meeting Room 1 at Upper School, from 6.45-7.45pm. 

If you'd like to be kept informed of when the meetings will take place or have any particular prayer requests, or comments please contact us at:
Old Tamensians' Association - Keeping you in touch with Lord Williams's School

Have you some news to tell us?
The email Bridget at:

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Then send these to: or update your details here
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