Old Uffingtonians Association (1994)

   Willesden County Grammar School                         Ex-Pupils 1924-1967                    


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Spring 2011 Newsletter


Spring 2011


Committee : Chair : Keith Gladden, Secretary : John Gowlett, Treasurer : Ken Thurlow,
Archivist : Tony Skellett, Social : Janet Baggett, John Bottrill, Membership : Patrick Henson,
Standing Members : Paul Benton, Veronica Lupton-Hird


Secretary : John Gowlett :  email : john.gowlett@btinternet.com  (01277 218084)
Membership :  Patrick Henson : Tel 0788 408 5822 (email address changing in May)
Website : www.olduffs.org

* Please see the enclosed membership renewal/notification slip for 2011.

Date of Next AGM/Reunion : Sunday 2nd October 2011


Word From The Chair:  

At the last AGM/Reunion at the Bushey Police Sports Club one of the members of staff informed a member of our committee that the cost of hiring the hall for future meetings would be quintrupled. The assembled Old Uffs expressed their concern at this bombshell. It was decided that the committee would make enquiries into this matter.

Those enquiries have been made and a senior member of staff has stated that there are NO plans for an increase.

See you all in October. Same place. And same price! 


Minutes of the 16th Annual General Meeting of the

 Old Uffingtonians’ Association (1994) held on

 Sunday, October 3rd 2010 at the Metropolitan Police Club, Bushey


1.         Welcome:     The chairman, Keith Gladden, opened the meeting at 12.34pm and welcomed everyone to the 16th AGM of the Old Uffingtonians’ Association (1994).  He stated that he would combine Agenda items 1 and 3 but, basically, he had nothing to report. 

            He concluded by saying he wished to thank the Committee on everyone’s behalf, which was received with applause.  Keith concluded by reminding everyone that approximately 5,000 pupils had passed through the ‘hallowed portals’ of WCGS between 1924 and 1966 and that if anyone knew of any old Uffingtonians who were not members of the Association to encourage them to join and come to the annual reunion.  

3.         Chairman’s Report:           See item 1, above 

4.         Minutes of the 2009 AGM:            The Minutes were accepted as a full and accurate record of the proceedings.  (proposed by Joan Snow and seconded by Mike Smith).

2.         Apologies for Absence:   were received from 53 members   

Barbara Pavitt (neé Clarke)          37/41

Diana Holland (neé Day)               55/62

Sylvia Barnes (neé Hardwick)        38/43 

Lillian Mirkovic (neé Sindic)          55/61

Grahame Smith                              40/42

Jon Kornbluth                                 55/62

Paul Rata                                         43/50

Linda Roberts (neé Arthur)           54/60

Margaret Rata (neé Wiles)           44/51

Jill Gist (neé Salvidge)                  56/63

Michael Mansbridge                     46/53

Colin Jones                                    56/63

Geoff Croft                                     47/54

Barry Fielder                                  56/63

John Pearson                                47/54

Lynda Cracknell (neé Day)           56/60     

Ron Lewis                                     48/53

Jacqueline Dowse (neé Smith)   56/61

Frank Stoner                                 49/56

Sandra Tyrrell (neé Owens)         56/62

John Bishop                                  49/56

Lynne Tollman (neé Robinson)    56/61

Linda Bishop (neé Salvidge)      56/58

Christine Embury (neé Smith)      56/61

Alan Nethercot                              50/57

Erica Bignell (neé Reading)         56/61

Trevor Baker                                 51/57

Enid Nell (neé Jackson)                56/61

Michael Podd                               52/58

Terry Henson                                 57/63

John Hobbs                                  52/57

John Redshaw                               57/64

Jane Baker (neé Braybrook)      54/61

Michael Anisfeld                           57/64

Susan Walker                               54/61

Susan Kershaw (neé Hyde)         57/64

John Bottrill                                   54/61

Tony Skellett                                 58/65

Jonquil Nicholls (neé Ley)           54/61

Helen Simpson (neé Anisfeld)     59/65

Noel Rousseau                             54/57

Margaret Montgomery (neé Roberts) 61/68

Pat Hillman (neé Wood)              54/59

Philip Redshaw                              62/69

Keith Holland                                54/59

Lynne Redshaw (neéJeffcoate)  64/69       

Patrick Hussey                              54/59

Brian Clark                                    48/55

Vernon Harris                                48/55

Gordon Palmer                              48/53

Greta Harris (neé Johnston)         49/54

Richard Cotton                              49/56

Rita Clark (neé Jones)                  51/57


















65 Members attended as follows: 

June Stacey (neé Clakestaff 54/58 34/41

Edgar Jones                                 32/38

Fred Whitham                   staff 57/64

Joan Snow (neé Shackman)             34/40

Mary Mallinson (neé Townsend)staff 57/60

James Scarlett                              37/42

Morag Wilson                    staff 57/72

Bernard Mitchell                            40/45

Alan Howells                                 41/44

Ralph Land                                    42/47

Alan Curtis                                    45/49

Tony Marshall                                45/49

Roy Sear                                       45/52

John Brown                                   47/52

Richard Halling                             48/54

David Jenkins                                47/52

Judith Lovell (neé Izzett)               48/53

Richard Collman                            48/53

Barry Sear                                     48/53

Hazel King (neé Derrett)                       49/54

Sylvia Sear (neé Trendle)             49/54

Isabel Beddison (neé Moseley) staff68/70 & ? 49/56

Victor Taylor                                  50/52

Ray Cammack                               62/67

Jim Hendrick                                 50/55

John Little                                      52/57

Sally Little (neé Spiller)                 52/57

Kaye Sear (neé Duxbury)              51/58

Patricia Coffey (neé Turner)         51/58

Peter Bennett                                51/58

Richard Morris                               52/59

Michael Smith                                52/58

Ann Ashton (neé Rookes)             52/57

Jill Smith (neé Gulson)                  53/58

Fred Shirvill                                  


Keith Gladden                               54/61

Ken Thurlow                                  54/59

John Gowlett                                 54/61

Paul Benton                                   55/60

Carmelle Denning                         55/62

George Wyatt                                54/59

Jeff Chivers                                   55/61

Janet Baggett (neé Morley)           56/61

Ian Bergman                                  56/61

George Rishi                                 56/63

Rochelle Haussman (neé Shavinsky)56/63

Mick Cater                                    56/63

Tony Pinnock                                57/61

Eric Cadbury                                 57/62

William Lodge                               57/62

Lyn Owen                                      57/62

Anne Slight (neé Verrinder)          57/63

Pat Henson                                   57/64

Sandra Griffiths (neé Reeves)      57/64

Christopher Jackson                     57/64

Rodney Wilson                              58/64

Ann Ashurst (neé Marshall)          58/65

Viv Lovery                                     59/62

Ann Fergusson                             58/65

Valerie Lefrere (neé Karran)         59/66

Judith Bruni (neé Summers)         59/66

David Swayne                               59/66

Bob Crundwell                              59/66

Glen Lovery                                   65/67

Gywn Havard                                56/63


The following also attended although not currently membersof the Old Uffingtonians’  Association (1994)


  Richard Willey                               59/65
Susan McCleon (neé Clarke)           59/66 Brian Wright                                  59/66
Clare Goldschmidt                                  59/66 Jeff Bardell                                    59/66
Alan Lovelock                                            60/67  


5.         Matters Arising:      None

 6.         Membership Secretary’s Report:           Pat Henson reported that there had been a very good response to the chairman’s request for financial support by way of donations.

            Subscriptions were received from 105 members below the age of 70.  We also received donations from 101 members some of whom were life members.  Of the 282 life members, 17 replied to Pat and confirmed their continued association with the Old Uffs. It is now clear that with more than one third of the membership being life members, we are becoming increasingly dependent on donations. 

Keith Gladden reminded the meeting that those members over the age of 70 did not need to pay membership fees but could make donations if they felt so inclined. 

7.         Social Secretaries’ Report:         Janet Baggett reported that no social activities had taken place since the previous reunion and AGM.  She then raised the issue of the timing of the AGM/reunion and invited comments from the floor and whether there might be consensus changing the date from the first Sunday in October.  Many interesting opinions were expressed including the following:

·        Ask the people who didn’t come

·        Watch the sports fixtures

·        Don’t pander to people who can’t organise themselves

·        They either didn’t want to come or they’ve died!

 It was decided to leave the fixing of the date to the social secretaries with a preference to making sure the event took place before the ending of BST.

 8.         Archivist’s Report              No report had been received.  The excellence of the website was noted and the meeting wished to record its thanks to Tony Skellett for all the work entailed in keeping it up-to-date.

 9.         Treasurer’s Report:           Ken Thurlow tabled his report of the Association’s Income and Expenditure Account for 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.   The Account was inspected by Keith Holland F.C.I.S. (hon. auditor) and signed by him on the 25th September 2010 as being accurately reported as at 5th April 2010. The funds held at 5th April 2010 amounted to £1,660.02. 

 Ken pointed out to the meeting that he had been told that the booking fee for 2011 for the present venue of the Metropolitan Police Club was due to rise from £145 to £750.  Members vehemently expressed their disgust at such an exorbitant rise in costs and instructed the committee to clarify this amount, investigate the possibility of a substantial discount and also to seek an alternative venue if negotiations came to nothing.

 10.       Election of Officers:           No proposals for positions as committee members had been received and so, on the basis of, ‘There is no point in changing a winning team’, all existing committee members were re-elected unopposed:

                                    Chairman                               Keith Gladden
                                    Treasurer                               Ken Thurlow
                                    Membership Secretary         Pat Henson
                                    Secretary                               John Gowlett
                                    Social Secretaries                Janet Baggett, John Bottrill
                                    Archivist                                 Tony Skellett
                                    Committee Members           Paul Benton, Pat Hussey, Veronica Lupton-Hird

11.       Any Other Business:         From the floor, Len Snow thanked The Old Uffingtonians for their support in purchasing his books over the years and offered for sale his recent anthology on Willesden and Wembley.  Ralph Land made a charity Appeal on behalf of Cancer Research in memory of his wife who died on 24th October 2009.  He and his twin brother, Frank, weregoing to make their first ever parachute jump on 24th October and both asked for Old Uffingtonian sponsorship support.  Details were available though a website to be advertised later to members.  Photographs would be made available for a future newsletter.  Everyone wished Ralph and Frank well and hoped to see them next year. (Frank and Ralph raised some £13,000)

12.       Date and Venue of next AGM and reunion:    To be confirmed.
          (Post  meeting note:  Provisional booking for Sunday, October 2nd 2011)

The meeting closed at 12.57pm

Members Lost Since 2009 AGM





Died October 2009





Died March 2010





Died 19th April 2010





Died 16/6/09





Died 20/5/08





No Details





Died 23rd April 2010





Died 2010





Died 30/11/09





Died 5/10/10


Memory Lane 

From Grahame Smith: 1940-42

 Is there anyone out there who remembers being evacuated to Northampton during the blitz of 1940?  I’d love to hear from you!

In that glorious summer of 1940, my mother, sister and I were living in Riffel Road, Willesden Green while my father was out on Canvey Island manning an anti-aircraft gun.  (He was 39, but being in the ‘Terriers’ was called up just before the war began.)  I was coming up to 12 years old and joined WCGS that September.  My memory of the first few weeks was first, morning assembly – then an hour or so in our classrooms, followed most days, by the siren wailing and the orderly (?) scramble down into the shelters.  These took the form of long tunnels under the playfield where we all sat in rows, facing each other, on slatted benches and the teacher was half-a-mile away down the far end.  We held our books on our knees.  How we were ever expected to learn anything I’ll never know.

 If the ‘raid’ was still on at 4.30pm we were let off to go home – if our parents had given permission.  Nothing ever happened, as far as I can remember.  But the nightly blitz was a different matter.  Heavy bombers, all heading for Willesden Junction marshalling yards and bombs dropping everywhere, including an incendiary through our upstairs flat while we were with the landlord’s family in the Anderson shelter in the garden.  Luckily it failed to ignite properly and the ARP wardens put it out.  But it was enough for our mother.  In early October, she and my sister went to friends in Cheshire where she got a job as a teacher and I joined the WCGS exodus to Northampton. 

Together with boys from Kilburn Grammar we were elbowed into Northampton Town and County School on the Billing Road.  The Northampton boys did the morning shift at school and we interlopers did the afternoon.  We were given plenty of work to fill in our mornings.  Most evacuees lived with the good folk of Northampton, but for some reason I was billeted in a small ‘country’ house at No. 101, dead opposite our new school.  There were about 20 of us – first formers like me, to sixth formers and the billet was run by Mr and Mrs Parker.  She was a bit of a ‘dragon’ – well, with a bunch of testosterone fuelled lads like us, she had to be!  Mr P. was a mild mannered bloke and his day job was chemistry or physics master, I think. 

There was a small dining room, and considering we were rationed, Mrs P. fed us well.  A front room was converted into a classroom with old fashioned desks (including ink-wells!) and it was here we worked in the mornings.  At the back of the handsome house was a large ‘billiard room’ and this became our Common Room where we gathered to fool around after school and make model aircraft – British, German and later American.  There was a serious stamp collecting group and some of us made cat’s whisker radio receivers from stuff we bought in a local junk shop. 

Upstairs – as well as the Parkers’ quarters – we lads slept in small dormitories – 5 or 6 to a room in single beds.  I remember mine well and I’d like to name the boys I was with in case any of them are still around and would like to contact me. 

The 5 of us were all first formers and I was by the door, facing the window.  On my left, was my best buddy, Dennis Spurgeon (WCGS) and next to him, in the corner, Chaffer, a Kilburn lad.  Opposite Chaffer was another Kilburnian – Dimbleby and under the window, Walton, also WCGS.  We all seemed to mix together very amicably.  I wonder where you all are now?

 We played the usual boys’ school games – soccer and rugby during the winter and cricket in the summer.  There was a huge swimming pool in the town at Midsummer Meadows, I remember.  It was just a large hole that had been cheaply and simply lined and the water came from a diversion of the River Nene – in at one end and out back into the river at the other!  Present day ‘elf and safety inspectors would have a fit!  The river had taken the waste from half-a-dozen tanneries up-stream before we enjoyed its cooling, murky water on a hot Saturday afternoon.  But we all learned to swim, which can’t be bad and it must have helped our immune systems to overcome countless bugs in later life.  Although I have to say, the pool was closed for a time one year when a diphtheria epidemic swept the town.  Along with other boys at No. 101 I got a mild dose.

 For major holidays, like Christmas, Easter and Summer, we all went home.  My friends, of course, returned to London, but I had to thread my way on the railway to Cheshire.  Northampton – Rugby – Crewe – Manchester and finally Altrincham.  The trains were crammed with forces personnel and as a 12 year old I quite enjoyed it, as I’d enjoyed the excitement of the blitz, I guess.  I’d spend the journey sitting in the corridor on my suitcase, handling a Lee-Enfield rifle, lent to me by a friendly soldier or wearing a sailor’s hat!

 But it was not to last and life moved on.  My mother got me a place at Altrincham Grammar School starting in the September of 1942, so after two happy years with WCGS in Northampton I caught my last train home and started a new school, where I stayed until 1946.  This was followed by 3 years at London University and a degree in Civil Engineering.  I failed my medical so I wasn’t conscripted.  Had that nasty, smelly swimming pool in Northampton put a bug in my lungs after all?  It didn’t seem to matter as I spent the next 40 years working around the world building things with an international civil engineering contractor.

 When our son with wife and two granddaughters emigrated to Perth in 1996, I was retired so my wife and I followed and have never regretted it.  So if any of you out there were in Northampton from 1940 – email me on: gsmi3841@bigpond.net.au.


BBC4 Documentary

 Does anyone have any photos featuring Stan Noble (1949-56) at the school? Desperately needed for the above.  

Old Uffs (1994) Membership Renewal/Enrolment Slip – 2011/2012

 Please enrol/renew me/us/my/our membership (NB : free if age is over 70)

 I enclose a cheque for £7/£10 (joint membership) in respect of this request :


Payable to: Old Uffingtonians (1994) Association



 Years of Attendance : ………………………………………………………………

 (*New) Address & Telephone No. : ………………………………………………





 Postcode………………………………………….Tel ...……….............................


email address : (your’s or a friend’s)


 (* if applicable)


   Please send me an invitation to this year’s AGM on 2nd October 2011

Please return to Patrick Henson,
15 Ashlyn Close,
WD23 2EJ

Tel : 0788 408 5822                               

 (email : will change in May)