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.