Some progress has been made towards dissolving the Past Pupils’ Association. However, the Committee is still at the stage of discussing such matters as procedure and how we will dispose of our funds. The final word will rest with you, the members, as you have to be consulted. This will involve having a postal ballot and a resolution at an EGM. We will have our customary AGM at 2pm on Saturday 12 May when a date for an EGM can be agreed. Careful thought should be given to the matter of funds disposal and the Committee hopes to put forward suggestions for consideration by the membership.
Having got the ‘boring bit’ out of the way, I am delighted to be able to tell you that Saturday 12 May will also be a Day of Remembrance at the School for Brother Lionel, or Brother James Kimpton fsc, to give him his formal title. He was a most remarkable man who dedicated his life to helping the poor of village India and established an organisation which is continuing his good work. Mo Houlden, the UK Co-ordinator of Reaching the Unreached (RTU) based in Fordingbridge, has organised this event with us in mind, as many of us continue to support the work of RTU. So we will start with our own event, the AGM at the School at 2pm. This will be followed by a memorial Mass in the School chapel at 4pm which will take the place of our own Mass held about this time of the year. As quite a few will attend this Mass who are not members of our Association, numbers may result in the Mass being held in the theatre. This remains to be seen. After the Mass, there will be a talk and film about Brother’s work at RTU, the charity he founded in India. To conclude the proceedings and as if Mo could read our thoughts, she has also organised an informal Memorial Dinner in the new canteen with an Indian theme at 6 for 6.30pm. Those of us who were sad to lose our Annual Dinner now have the chance to get together for an evening of nostalgia! The event is open to all, supporters of RTU, us and friends and family. So I hope to see a good number of us there. We will be sent or emailed details and a form very soon so that Mo can get an idea of numbers of those who want to attend the Mass and talk or all events. The Dinner will be reasonably priced at £20.
Several members and friends have died since Christmas. Some of you will remember Tony Sheehan’s wife, Rosemary, from her days as the headmaster’s secretary at Corpus Christi school. More recently, Ralph Cooper died. He had been the Headmaster at Christ the King school and was often seen at our social events and Masses. We were also sorry to hear that another of our supporters, Eileen Dunton, had died in January. While writing this article, I have just heard that Robert Pigeon’s mother has just died. Merville was very active in the parish life of St Thomas More church at Iford. Robert was at the School in the late seventies and was a ‘brain box’ by all accounts, achieving Grade A in 13 GCSE’s and five A Levels, which got into the Guinness Book of Records. For your Committee, its greatest loss has been Peter Raxworthy, who died on Christmas Day. Peter was still active on the Committee, despite increasing health problems in recent years, borne without complaint and even making light of them. With Peter as Chairman, our meetings were always enjoyable because he had the ability to spread a feeling of warmth and happiness, probably without realising it, and we never had serious disagreements under his leadership. We did have plenty of laughs with him. As Chairman at an Annual Dinner, he said he was sorry that Father Moore, our chaplain, was unable to be with us. Clearly, Peter had forgotten that Father had died some months earlier! We will miss a good man.
Our Vice-Chairman, Mark Staff, has been a good source of news in recent weeks. For many years on bar nights in the old clubroom you could find a number of Mark’s contemporaries propping up the bar or serving behind it. They included Peter Lowe, who has had to cope with serious health problems lately. Others included Pete and Sue Mundy and Richard and Sarah Barnes. The former are both living locally and the latter have been living in France for a number of years. Mark still has continuing health problems and would be happy to hear from anyone who may remember him. You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org
My past pupil email inbox has been relatively quiet of late. David Goodenough, (1969-1977) did email to enquire about the future of the Association. I was only able to say we were making some progress as above. Paul Agidigbi’s son, Albert, emailed to ask for a letter of reference concerning his stay in Scotland. This I was able to provide, as Paul had been a younger contemporary of mine at the School when he was a boarder. Paul is alive and well in his home country of Nigeria, Benin City to be precise. Mick Reidy, a past Chairman, has had to go into a local care home, ‘The Evergreens’, on the corner of Talbot Avenue and Berkley Road. I am sure he would welcome a visit. I have just been contacted by Ian Jones (1970’s) with more news. His brother, Roger Carr Jones (1970’s) will be a familiar face as the Deacon at the Sacred Heart church. He has recently been appointed by the Bishop as a foundation governor at the School. Congratulations! Ian and Charles Hancock also told me about the recent sad death of Steve Ferris’s sister Maggie. Steve will be familiar to many as a retired teacher who taught at the School. There was good Association support at the funeral from Tim Driscoll, Anne McKinney and Eddie Miller. Ian also tells me that former past pupil, Elizabeth Wogan, has been appointed as St Peter’s School Head of Primary at the Iford site.
Early in the year, I was contacted by Annie Winiecki, the sister of past pupil, Chris Winiecki. Annie is helping to organise what will sadly be the last annual reunion day of the Convent of the Cross past pupils. It will be held on Sunday 1 July beginning with Mass at Corpus Christi church at 11 am. Afterwards, refreshments will be served at St Thomas Garnet School and it is hoped that a tour of the former convent can be arranged in the afternoon. As quite a few girls came from the convent to St Peter’s, it is fitting that we are all invited to attend the last of these events. We will endeavour to give this more publicity when arrangements are finalised.
Please do keep in touch with me or any other member of the Committee with your news.
Terry Leonard, past pupil (email@example.com)
Association AGM – 2pm, Saturday 12 May, St Peter’s School
Brother Lionel Memorial – 4pm (Mass and talk), 6pm (Dinner), Saturday 12 May, St Peter’s School
Convent Reunion – 11am (Mass and refreshments) Sunday 1st July, Corpus Christi church & St Thomas Garnet School