Thursday, 20 August 2009

Stouts Hill Reunion, 16th August '09

Identity parade

Well, we did it! The first Stouts Hill reunion since the school closed just over thirty years ago. I can say that I was pleased with the way the day went and how much those of you who attended the event enjoyed it too. I think everybody considered it to have been a worthwhile exercise.

The planning over the past ten months or so had gone smoothly with Stouts Hill Resort being most helpful and letting us have the three rooms and a staffed bar for very reasonable rates. Thanks go to Maureen, the resort manageress, for making it happen. My biggest concern was parking, but with dry weather in the week running up to the 16th meant we could use the field and not inconvenience those in residence.

Shopping for the buffet was done the day before by myself and my sister Lesley and stored in the fridges and freezer at Stouts Hill meaning we didn't have to get up quite so early on the Sunday. Many of you sampled Richard Evans' very kind contribution of wines from the bar. I must also thank Richard for his wife's help in the kitchen in preparing the buffet.

First to arrive was Robin Duncan sporting his boyhood cap. In fact there was several other items of uniform on display including various straw boater hats, 'Old Boy' ties and a scarf. I had brought my tie but wasn't brave enough to put it on until realising I wouldn't look too daft in putting it on.

Arrivals were steady after midday with Sue and Anthony Cromie walking to the school to greet others as they arrived. Their daughter Sarah came along too. Other staff present were Paddy Scott Clark and her sister Jane, John and Christine Flood and a later visit by Chris Coley. Some of us only had a few miles to travel, but some hardy souls travelled from Yorkshire, London, West Wales and to show true commitment Miles Wachter and his wife came back from holiday in Devon for the day!

Sadly, quite a few who had said they would attend didn't make it for whatever reason. They missed a great day! I made an effort to try and record all who attended. Here is the 'register' for the 16th August. Sorry if I missed anybody out.

Justin Bodle
Jeremy Blatchford
Michael Cromie
Jason Crossley-John
Robert Darrel & elder brother (sorry, didn't get your first name!)
Alan Davis
Peter Dawson
Edward Dolby
Robin Duncan
Douglas Edwards (Jan '42 to July '47!)
Richard Evans
Robert Evans
Emile Farhi
Andrew Gordon-Johnson
Derek Hulme
Michael Lawson
Charles Llewellyn
David Mackinley-Woodhall
Digby Macpherson
Andrew Needham
Grant Needham
Jonathan Palfrey
John George Phillips
Jonathan Phippen
John Poulton
Michael Read
Laurence Robinson
James Sillivan
Miles Wachter
Julian Williams

Apologies: Christopher Clift, John Morris, Richard Madley, John Corps, Justin Tugwell and Tony Thomas (music teacher)

Also, there were wives, partners and a small collection of (well behaved) children who enjoyed the visit. I think the most popular observation was how pretty the location was and what a splendid building to have as a school. There was the opportunity to have a look around the grounds to see how the place has changed over the past thirty years.

One thing that pleased me more than anything was how most really made a day of it! I was expecting departures from 3 p.m. and as such made sure we had a group photograph. However, this proved to be only an interlude and everyone seemed to carry on reminiscing for a good couple of hours afterwards.

Needless to say, the question was raised as to when it was going to happen again. As I had only planned for this to happen just the once, I was slightly shocked, but the enthusiasm was certainly there. I think it could be a possibility in the summer of 2011.

Several very generous individuals did ask me to let them know if I was out of pocket in financing the reunion. I think I managed to collect from everybody a contribution, with some donating more. As such I managed to pay all expenses and was left with a small profit! As mentioned above, if we are to do this again sometime then I can simply 'carry over' the balance.

Thank you all once again for making this reunion the success it certainly was and to those who have sent e-mails and 'phone calls of thanks to me over the last few days.

Alan Davis

Mr Cromie

Anthony Cromie, known as Crinkles for some unknown reason, was a fairly young master and dangerously alert: the master mostly likely to materialize out of thin air and pounce on you.

I don't recall whether he ever taught me in class; but he was ever-present around the school. I also spent a short time (one or two terms?) in the dormitory located in his house, which Robert says was known as The Cottage.

Jonathan Marler thinks that Mr Cromie was already related to Mr Angus in some way before his marriage. Jonathan adds that he had “a good sense of humour and a certain charm”.

In his retirement letter to parents in July 1969 (copied to me by John), Mr Angus provided the following information about his successor as headmaster:

Anthony was educated at Wolborough Hill Preparatory School Newton Abbot and Sherborne School, Dorset, where he became Head boy and played Rugger for the 1st.XV and Hockey for the 1st.XI. He was called up for National Service, joined the Infantry and was commissioned in 1952 and later did two Overseas tours with the 1st.Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment - the first to North Africa at the time of the Negnib coup d'etat in Egypt and then saw action against the Mau Mau terrorists in the Aberdare forest in Kenya. He later went to Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained a Second Class Honours degree in Modern History and Political Science.

Anthony is 36 years old, joined the School in 1955 and has had 10 years teaching experience. In 1960, he married my daughter, Susan, and they have a son, Andrew, and a daughter, Sarah.

Andrew Pike believes that Mr Cromie went on to work at the Old Ride School after Stouts Hill closed.

Anthony and Susan Cromie continued to live in Uley until about 2010.

In 2005 he published a slim volume of children's stories with attractive colour illustrations, called The Adventures of Jonathan Jackdaw. Copies were distributed at the 2009 Stouts Hill Reunion.

Announcement found at

Anthony Cromie passed away peacefully at home on 21st February 2016, aged 83. He will be sadly missed by all the family and friends. A service will be held at Hereford Crematorium on Saturday 5th March at 10.45am followed by a Thanksgiving Service at New Life Church, Llandrindod Wells at 2pm. Any donations can be made to The Bracken Trust.

Jane Angus/Oldridge

Jane was the fourth of the Angus daughters, and a pupil at the school from 1947 to 1954. According to the 1973 Stouts Hill Magazine, she was married on the 12th of May 1973, to Mr. Robin Oldridge.

John Morris says:

Jane was a great swimmer and lovely in a swimsuit too. Jane blushed very readily, e.g. if she noticed that you had noticed that she looked lovely in a swimsuit.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Reunion, Sunday 16th August '09

I am starting to receive messages checking that all is okay for the 16th. I can confirm that everything is still very much 'on'.

I paid Stouts Hill a visit a few weeks ago to finalise a few things, the main concern being parking. So long as the ground isn't wet it will be possible to park on the grass. We will also be hoping that all the residents will have gone out for the day too leaving the car park available. If any can car-share it will make things easier.

I am thinking that an arrival time of about midday will be best. This means that those who are travelling from home on the day will not have to make too early a start.

With the help of my sister (and maybe my mother, who used to be a Matron at the school) I will be laying on a Finger Buffet around mid-afternoon with tea, coffee and squash. Up to then it will be possible to take a look around the grounds and parts of buildings or find old friends. It would be a good idea if we manage to get a group photograph of everybody before we go our separate ways later on.

In order to cover the cost of room hire and food, I am asking for a contribution of £5 each. Also, dress code for the day is informal, but I will leave that up to the individual.

I will be away for a week, commencing the 1st August so will not be able to reply to posts, messages, etc. However I can be contacted on +44-1453 756461 or +44-7866 326617 if anybody needs specific questions answered promptly.

We must try to have as many present as possible; so, if anybody still keeps in touch with old school friends, make contact and get them to come along!

Alan Davis

P.S: There is a bar available too that we can make use of. I am assuming it is cash only.

Residents may start returning around tea time and also the staff may want to do any residual cleaning so it may be wise to call things a day around 6pm-ish.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009


Charles Llewellyn has sent me a couple of questions that I can't immediately answer, so I'll put them up here in case any of you can manage it.

  1. The motto of the school was in Greek. How is it pronounced and what does it mean?
  2. What is an old boy of Stouts Hill called? “Old Kingfisher” would appear to relate to those who were members of the Old Kingfisher Society. However, after such a passage of time, are we all Old Kingfishers? Or Old Stouts Hillers/Hillites/Hillonians/Hillsides? Or doesn't it matter at all?

I think I saw a translation of the motto somewhere in recent years, but can't remember now what the translation was or where I saw it. And yes, I did study Ancient Greek at Stouts Hill, but that was 42 years ago. A little research suggests that the motto (τοις μελλουσι) may have been pronounced tois melloisi (roughly).

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Stouts Hill Reunion Date 16th August '09

At last we have a date set for our reunion at Stouts Hill. It will be Sunday, 16th August 2009 and we have use of the main hall, the former music/drawing room and the former 'Blue' dining room. These rooms are all linked through.

As I have stated in previous messages on this blog, the catering will be determined by numbers. At the time of writing, there are enough for Stouts Hill to cope with so it will be possible for us to have a buffet type of late afternoon lunch. I am awaiting a price and menu from three caterers whom Stouts Hill use from time to time.

I have also spoken to Mr & Mrs Cromie and Mr & Mrs Flood who are very keen on attending. I think there are more members of staff who may be able to come as and when I track them down.

If you know (or when you know) that you will be able to attend, please send me a message. More details will be posted as I get them.

Update: 21st January

To answer a couple of questions that have come my way, I think the event should be informal so no need for your Sunday best suit and shoes (remember them!). Regarding a start time I am thinking of perhaps midday onwards with a buffet mid to late afternoon. This should give ample time for those who turn up later to still have a look around and meet others before eating.

I am still a bit concerned at the price of the buffet. If turnout on the day is low, I could be landed with a substantial bill. Another idea could be to just have tea/ coffee and some light snacks. It might be I could organise this myself and significantly reduce the cost. Those of us who might wish to go for a sit down meal at Nympsfield afterwards could then do so.

Update: 9th May 2009

I am pleased to be able to advise everybody who wishes to attend the reunion that Anthony & Sue Cromie, Paddy Scott-Clarke, Mr & Mrs Flood and Major & Mrs Ormsby have all confirmed that they wish to attend.

I have also sent a reminder message to those who are listed on Friends Reunited. This will, I hope, inspire as many to make it to Stouts Hill as possible. Please let me know, if you haven't done so already, if you are to attend. Post on here if you like, I do check quite often!

Alan Davis

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Mr Dealey

Robert remembers John Dealey the butler, and so does Stephen Fry. I'm afraid I don't remember him myself (sigh).

The Stouts Hill Magazine reports that he came to Stouts Hill in February 1940 and worked there until his death in June 1975, apart from a short spell in the Royal Navy during the Second World War. He was survived by his wife Sue, their children Colin and Valerie, and grandchildren. He was “a very sincere Christian and played a full and active part in the life of the Parish Church.”

Friday, 3 April 2009

Newspaper cuttings

Today I've added a new Web page with two newspaper cuttings about the closure of the school in 1979, and the announcement of the founding of the Kingfisher Society in 1970.

Recently I've also added three new photos from Michael Read to the 1959-67 collection.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Catering for the Reunion

I have the menus for a buffet lunch if we hold this at Stouts Hill. Again this is dependent on numbers. The approximate cost of the buffet and room hire will be about £25 per head. As stated in other posts, we do have the option of making our way to the Rose and Crown at Nympsfield for a sit down meal (so long as they have your order in advance) which may, dependent on your appetite, work out roughly the same price.

I have about 20 confirmed for the reunion so far. Suggestions are always welcome but I do need to know soon from attendees as to which option they prefer. I will go with the majority.

Update: 29th January

The menus I mentioned above are quite elaborate, which of course adds to the price. I think that this is not really necessary and so long as we have tea, coffee and soft drinks with some finger food that should be satisfactory. I will probably arrange this myself with my sister and her friend helping out as she has been kind enough to offer. There is a bar where the Headmaster's study used to be and we can make use of that too. Stouts Hill may be able to staff it, if not I will attempt to arrange somebody to help. If anybody wants to have a hot meal afterwards, there is still the option of the Rose & Crown. This should keep the cost down to a more manageable level and also reduce my financial risk!