Sunday, 21 December 2008

Stouts Hill Reunion 2009

Alan Davis has pointed out that March 2009 will be the 30th anniversary of the closure of the school, so it seems an appropriate time to hold a reunion of ex-pupils and staff. He's visited Stouts Hill (now a holiday resort) and found that we could have the use of part of the building for such a reunion.

Alan lives near Stouts Hill and seems willing to take responsibility for organizing the event, so three cheers for Alan! He's already sent out a message about it through Friends Reunited.

If you're interested, please contact Alan directly so that he can add you to his list. If you don't have his address, you can find mine here. You can add comments to this topic if you want to join in a public discussion; remember to add your name, unless you want to remain anonymous.

For Stouts Hill's own Web site, see the link 'Stouts Hill now' on the right-hand side of the page.

Newsflash, 2 Nov: Alan tells me that so far 21 ex-pupils have expressed interest in the reunion, including himself and me, and not including family members who may wish to come along too.

Newsflash, 27 Nov: Alan tells me that Stouts Hill is willing to let us use three rooms (main hall, drawing room, Blue dining room) for a fee of £50, to cover any cleaning up that may need to be done after the visit. The cost of a buffet lunch will be estimated in the near future. If a large number of people turn up, there are concerns about car parking and the fact that there is only one 'public' toilet in the main building. As an alternative, Miles Wachter (Stouts Hill ex-pupil and ex-master) may be able to offer lunch at Beaudesert Park School, where he's now deputy headmaster. Regarding a date, Alan is now considering a Sunday in July or August, but he's still welcoming your opinions on this subject.

Newsflash, 2 Dec: Please read Alan's recent comments about eating arrangements (among the comments on this topic). As one alternative, he's found a pleasant pub at Nympsfield (a short distance from Uley) that can accommodate about 60 people. He'd like your opinions.

11 Dec: As Alan is now a Contributor to this blog, I'm hope we'll see further news on this subject directly from him.

21 Dec: Alan tells me that "feedback on the reunion has come in at... absolute zero! What to do? There are only six possible dates, so I think that by new year if I still haven't got any feedback, I will approach Stouts Hill and ask which is the best date out of those for them and go with that." Seems a reasonable plan to me.

30 comments:

John Morris said...

Aha!
Something along these lines has been at the back of my mind too.

I'd have to describe myself as uncommitted given I too don't live in the UK.
It might work, and 30.03.2009 is a fair way off.
We'd have to avoid anything that resembled nothing much more than two strangers meeting in a car park in the rain!

Charles Llewellyn said...

A reunion sounds a splendid idea.
Would it be possible to hold it in the school or club or timeshare or whatever it calls itself now? I suppose that it does not actually have to be on the 30th March 2009, nor that it has to be in the evening.
Easter 2009 is in April so perhaps round then might be possible?

Julian Williams said...

I would be tempted to come if some of the staff who still live locally could be invited to come also, especially Mr Cromie and Sue.

Jonathan said...

Hello, Julian. Alan tells me that he plans to invite them if we get enough other people expressing an interest.

Anonymous said...

Funnily enough I was working in Dursley in the Summer and drove back through Uley -popping in to the old place. It was a beautiful day and the receptionist was happy to let me wander through the grounds, over the cricket pitch and around the lake. It held may good memories.
I live in Wilsthire and would be up for a reunion. I could contact Chris Coley, the Needhams and a few others.

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Anonymous; maybe we'll find out later who you are? I recommend getting in touch with Alan by e-mail so that he can keep a list of possible attendees.

Alan Davis said...

Messages are starting to filter through from former pupils via the Friends Reunited site. So far everybody seems positive about a reunion, which is a good sign.
Can I just point out that although there is a date of the 30th March, that represents the actual day the school closed as opposed to a reunion date. This is due to a date having to be put into the form field. The actual date is yet to be decided but seems likely to be in the summer. Feedback on this would be appreciated as to when would be best.
Alan Davis

Robert Darell said...

Reunion sounds an excellent idea and if a date is announced then I will write to some of my contemporaries whose addresses I still have to ensure they know about it. My brothers Charles, Richard and James will also be there. I sense this could have a real snowball effect as I think anyone who went to Stouts Hill carries the memories with them
forever.

Robert Darell

Robert Darell said...

As for a suitable date, why not go for the Easter date ? Summer is always difficult with holidays etc.

Jonathan said...

Hm, I suggested to Alan recently that we avoid any date around Easter, because people take holidays around then too, which tends to make travelling more difficult and expensive than usual.

Quite a few ex-pupils, including me, live outside the UK and would have to fly in. But I suppose the roads and railways within the UK will also be more crowded than usual around Easter; is it not so?

Alan Davis said...

I have just spoken to the resort manager today and she advised me that she would be putting our reunion to their committee when they meet on the 23rd November. I will know soon after if there wil be a charge for the rooms.
Also it was suggested that the event be held on a Sunday. This is due to the fact that Saturday is their changover day, and there will be a flurry of activity from cleaning staff, vacuum cleaners etc.
It was also mentioned that there may be limited vacancies for apartments should anybody wish to stay, even though it will be in the summer. However because we don't have a date yet it's difficult to know.
As far as numbers are concerned, it was decided to put a limit on fifty.
Food can be be provided by an outside caterer if required (this will cost!)but only as a buffet, not a sit down meal. Then again there wouldn't be room for one anyway.
Comments are welcome on the above please.
Alan Davis

Jonathan said...

Thanks, Alan. Eating at Stouts Hill would be simple and convenient, and a buffet meal would be informal (which I count as a plus).

Alternatively, there are probably some local restaurants accustomed to catering for large groups (weddings), or a smaller group than fifty might fit into a pub.

I don't really mind, unless the Stouts Hill meal seems seriously overpriced.

Julian Williams said...

I expect many of us will want to bring our partners (or our partners will not want to be left at home) so 50 becomes 25 ex-pupils. A formal dinne would be wonderful, especially if it were in the old school dining room, however there is no reason there could not also be an informal aspect to the occasion allowing some of us to make our our luncheon arrangements

Jonathan said...

Good point, Julian. My party would consist of either one or three (with wife and 8-year-old son). Certainly not two.

Anonymous said...

I was surprised and amused to see me appear as anonymous! This is Richard Madley (68-70) brother of Paul (69-72) and part of that Welsh contingent who followed the Needhams over the bridge. I am in contact with Stephen Fry -who is unable to make March 30th -which I (incorrectly) told him was the date of the reunion. A Sunday (lunch?) is a good idea -but there again I only live 45 minutes away-so am very flexible. Very happy to help generate activity...

Jonathan said...

Hello Richard, thanks for revealing who you are!

Whenever you put a comment on the blog, you can choose various options to identify yourself: Google/Blogger if you're already registered with Google or Blogger, OpenID if you're registered in various other places that support OpenID, Name/URL to enter your name manually, or Anonymous if you don't want to reveal your identity. You seem to have been choosing Anonymous so far. Many people choose Name/URL (the URL is optional).

John Morris said...

I thought I'd better update my initial response made in Jan 2008.

I would like to attend a reunion.

Travelling to UK at the right time is really the only issue for me. So, as and when a date is fixed I will then try and plan the other things I need to do in the UK around that date, and thus combine several things into one trip. I am likely to come with my wife.

There seems to be a very odd grapevine manifesting itself here!

Seeing Richard Madley’s name made me think Sherborne and thus made me wonder how many of us could reach other former Stouts Hill pupils via the old boy’s associations of our former Public Schools. (Is anything along those lines worth a try?)

John M

John Morris said...

Getting caried away I know, but...
At what point are there going to be enough people likely to turn up at any reunion that Alan will have to start thinking about organising a soccer/rugby/cricket match as well?

Tim Ridley said...

This all sounds like a jolly good idea to me. Just hoping it doesn't end up happening in the first couple of weeks of April when I'm away. Would definitely want to bring spouse and possibly kids. Currently living and working at Marlborough as a music teacher (somewhere in the blog I am described as the organist Nicholas Ridley, but he's a deceased Tory MP...!) and every now and then we pop over to Uley to go walking on the Bury. I took my wife (then girlfriend) there on only our 2nd date as it's such a special place for me. Be great to meet up back at the old school and please can we get as many members of staff there as possible. Miles Wachter is still around, possibly at Beaudesert, though he may have/should have retired by now. Only joined Stouts at the end of its life, but made a great impression on me. Anyone know what happened to Tony Thomas, the music teacher?

Jonathan said...

Hello Tim, welcome to the blog. I suppose you left the school in 1979; do you remember when you arrived?

I searched the blog today and found no mention of any Ridley, but the search failed to find your comment, so perhaps it doesn't search the comments.

Tim Ridley said...

There's a mention by Alan Davis in a comment to the blog "Sing to the Lord with Cheerful Voice" about me playing the organ at Uley church. I joined Stouts Hill in 1975, left when it closed to finish my year 7 and do year 8 at another school, so missed out on four terms in total. I'll always remember the great sadness that abounded when the closure was announced. Besides Miles and Tony, other members of staff who meant a lot to me were Jim Bruce, the Scott- Clarkes and the Cromies of course. Sad to discover from this blog that Jim died back in the mid 90s. He inspired me to read the contemporary fiction of the time (whether appropriate or not!) and was a great advocate of the historical novelist Ronald Welch, whose stories I now read to my kids!

Jonathan said...

OK, Alan stands corrected.

I didn't know until now that Miles Wachter was a member of staff in later years. He was a pupil at the school, leaving in 1960 to go to Cheltenham. So he must be in his early sixties now, wherever he is.

In my day, Mr Birchall used to pass me his own rather eccentric selection of books to read; as far as I remember, they were 20th century but not quite 1960s.

Alan Davis said...

Jonathan, Miles Wachter still, I believe, lives in Shadwell which is in effect to the right of the Stouts Hill grounds. He would as I recall climb over the fence, walk through the woods, cross the games pitch and on at least one occasion tap on the classroom window so he could climb in through it! He taught Latin and Maths as well as PE.
I will attempt to 'smoke out' Tony Thomas for Tim (who was in my form). I last encountered him in the pub about twenty years ago and he was over the moon at seeing a former Stouts Hillian(?) again.
I will add Tim and family to my ever growing list. All we have to do is wait for the verdict on the 23rd November.
Alan Davis

Justin Hunter said...

Hi, at Stouts Hill I was Justin Tugwell 1970 – 77. Thanks to all concerned for arranging this reunion and I will make time available to come along. I still see Joe Roberts and Robin Duncan in Bath, I will let them know about the reunion, I too hope it snowballs.

Jonathan said...

Hello Justin, thanks for the encouragement!

John Morris said...

Richard Madley’s contribution to the blog made me think of my photo of the Madley brothers with Sarah Cromie and got me wondering if anyone knows what happened to the Cromie children: Sarah and Andrew?

Justin Tugwell (as was) and Joe Roberts are boys I remember well. Joe Roberts used to draw very good and clever cartoons. And I seem to remember that Joe was one of the few boys that a lot of people called by his Christian name.

As well as trying to get former staff to attend any reunion how about former Matrons too (or assistant Matrons!)?

Richard Madley said...

Delighted to hear that we can have three roms in the building for £50.Would much prefer to hold it here than at Beaudesert-which would defeat the object of the reunion. Was working in dursley again this week and drove through Uley and the vilage Hall where "The King and I", "Oliver" and "My Fair Lady" were just three of the productions I remember.
Sad to hear Jim Bruce passed away some time ago-his brother Lionel taught me English at Sherborne.
Am relying on my brother Paul to spread the word through South Wales and rally support for the get together.

Alan Davis said...

Richard, we will make every effort for the whole event to take place at Stouts Hill, however it is down to numbers. What has gone through my mind, and I have mentioned this to Jonathan, is for there to be a get together at Stouts Hill and then for us to go on to the Rose & Crown at Nympsfield or the Hunters Hall at Kingscote for a 'sit down' meal. I will be investigating the viability of this next week.
The down side of doing this is that it wouldn't be as sociable as mingling around with a buffet type meal. This is where Miles has offered the facilities at Beaudesert where this could happen.
If we could guarantee good weather then any amount could be accomodated at Stouts Hill as we could eat outside. With the last two summers having been hopeless this is a long-shot!
If a 'sit down' meal is more desireable to everyone then we could go with that. Comments again please folks!
Alan Davis

Alan Davis said...

Further to my previous message, I have been to see the Rose & Crown in Nympsfield. They could easily cope with sixty odd people for a meal so long as they knew in advance what everybody wanted. It is a very pleasant pub. I also went to the Hunters Hall but doubt it has enough space. Your collective thoughts please!
Alan Davis

Anonymous said...

Mr Derek Brian Hulme would like details pf reunion 2009, i have never been intouch since leaving Stouts Hill in the early 1950's
please Email : derek_hulme@yahoo.co.uk