Details of OW (surnames starting R-S) as previously featured on the Old Walhamptonians website
Alison Reekie [now Mckittrick] (Santiago, Chile)
Left in: Dec 78
I went on to St. Mary´s Calne and then Manchester to study History of Art. I was a picture researcher at Thames and Hudson publishers. Married Rowan, a hydrogeologist, in 1992 and then moved to Tegucigalpa, Honduras (1993-95) where I managed to work on a archaeological programme. When we came back to London, I worked on the Pevsner architectural guides at Penguin. We had a short stint in Bangladesh in 1999 before coming to Santiago, Chile in 2000 where we have been ever since. 3 children (8, 5 and 1). We love it here but plan to move back to England in 2008 to be nearer family and to experiment with British state education. Would love to see any OW´s.
Best memories: It was wonderful to be exposed to so many activities. I remember especially the hours I spent in the caravan, riding across the heath, woodwork and iced buns under the beady eye of Miss Edmond. Mrs B and JB, Mr Kealy and his pipe and the Murray Walkers were very special people, like an extended family. Worst memories must include getting stuck in the music practice rooms with the lights off, and the runs.
Jonathan Reekie (Woodbridge, Suffolk)
Left in: Jul 77
2 daughters aged 12 and 11
Working arts first at Glyndebourne, then Almeida Theatre London, now Aldeburgh Music Suffolk
Chief Executive of Aldeburgh Music since 1997, responsible for Aldeburgh Festival, Snape Maltings Concert Hall and other musical/educational activities. www.aldeburgh.co.uk
Best memory: Summer camps. Worst memory: capsizing mirror dinghy in front of Isle of Wight ferry.
David Restall (Toulouse, France)
Left in: Jul 78
Canford School, Liverpool University. Became a chartered accountant and went into aerospace 12 years ago. Have been working for a US company as finance director with 2 years in Seattle and now the last 5 years in Toulouse. Married Fiona in 1995 and have 2 boys, Alexander aged 9 and Christopher aged 5.
Played National League hockey at Guildford for 4 years and continue to play a lot of golf (handicap 2). Ski at the weekends in the Pyrenees when possible.
Finance director at Goodrich Aerospace Europe, a French subsidiary of Goodrich Inc. www.goodrich.com
Best memories: wide games on the heath, rugby 7’s practice in the snow, summer history camp on the canals through Shropshire and North Wales and at Lake Conniston in 1978 (Thank you Chris Knox), cricket tour to London in 1976, Rosslyn Park Seven’s, Tennis at Hurlingham, Stowe Putter (Golf)
Worst memories: Rugby 7’s practice in the snow (the rest of the school had snowball fights!), cold showers, cross country runs
Chris Rycroft (Uxbridge)
Left in: 1971
Awaiting Chris' news.
Saleem Shamash (Marston Meysey, Wiltshire)
Left in: 1974
I went to Charterhouse, which was a great school, but sadly I was the only OW there. I enjoyed my time there, but it was very different to Walhampton, although I suppose for us all life suddenly became more grown up and serious with real exams to contend with. Common Entrance was evidently not serious – in History one question asked “What was the biggest naval threat to the UK in the Second World War?” Charterhouse marked me about 70% for writing about the U-boats sinking the Atlantic convoys. Ulrik Lawson got about the same from Wellington College writing about the sinking of the Bismark, the German’s largest battleship (a very literal boy obviously). I became head of my house, but had an otherwise undistinguished career.
I spent much of my gap year studying and travelling in Canada and the US, but looking back feel I wasted too much of what is now so precious time.
I then went to the South Bank Polytechnic – my poor (by then) parents could never come to terms with having spent fifty million quid on my education, to send me to school which had roughly one in four leaving for Oxford or Cambridge and half of them achieving scholarships and exhibitions and my ending up at a polytechnic. I can see now that it was my relaxed days at Walhampton that hindered my ability to knuckle down and do some proper studying – not that I was dim.
Polytechnic was probably good for me – I encountered socially for the first time in England, people who had not had the benefit of a private education and was amazed to find that I was in a minority of people who had taken 3 A levels.
I read Estate Management and qualified as a Chartered Surveyor and then also as a Chartered Town Planner.
When in London in the mid eighties and early nineties, I came across a number of OW’s - Grant Cordner who was working for Charles Jordan, Adrian Bird who was with Ove Arup, Patrick Coghill who was then in catering and Mark Harris who was in the army and I saw him also after he resigned his commission and had got married. I was also a Trooper in the Honourable Artillery Company and came across William Cussans, who I last saw at a fairly debauched stag night in Rules for a fellow Trooper, although I shall deny publicly that I ever ventured there. William I do recall behaved far better than me. Sadly I am no longer in touch with anyone.
I married Elizabeth, a wonderful girl in 1993, who is now a Rheumatology Consultant. We lived in London initially, but moved near Marlborough in 1998 when Elizabeth got her consultant post in Swindon. We have two lovely children, Lucy (8) and Ben (6) who are both at Pinewood, a nearby prep school. We recently moved to Marston Meysey, near Cirencester because we wanted a bigger garden for the children. We have been carrying out major works and hope to finish later this year, but it has all been very worthwhile.
I initially worked in London, for GL Hearn & Partners, JR Eve, Drivers Jonas and King Sturge (moving to Bristol with them for a short period). I then established my own little planning consultancy, Triscape Planning Ltd alongside another niche practice in 1998. In 2000, we sold out to Crown Castle International, a communications company who amongst other things owned and operated the BBC transmission network. Crown Castle then sold out to National Grid and we became National Grid Wireless. We have recently been sold again to a Macquarry owned company and so I have gone from working for the UK’s largest utility to the world’s was acquisitive merchant bank. Anyway, I lead a team of town planners and we are currently busy sorting out the permissions needed to convert the whole of the BBC television network from analogue to digital. I am lucky enough to work mostly from home. National Grid Wireless – www.nationalgridwireless.com
Best memories: I loved ragging around in the woods and by the lakes and fighting to take/defend the mound. Expedition week holds some great memories, especially my first (I think) – a walking tour in the Lake District, which was punctuated at either end by a very long car journey driven by a very patient Mr Elphinstone in an almost pre motorway era. I also have very fond memories of my last expedition, The French Trip down in Provence an area of France I keep on meaning to return to. I still have a photo of Andrew Johnstone - Burt flashing some false boobs out of the back of the van, which no doubt would wreck his successful naval career. Mr Kealy had a sense of humour failure about that, but I recall that he was very game about our scrutinising (for educational benefit) some rather pornographic drawings at a Picasso exhibition in Avignon.
Corny to say, but my worst memory was my last day when I remember crying much of the way home as I knew that I would miss Walhampton and all my friends so much. My first day also sticks in my mind as one of total bewilderment. I suppose to a brighter boy being taken to Bastick’s to buy pyjamas, slippers and a dressing gown would have sent some obvious signals, but even when my parents took me to the Lodge and a dormitory filled with beds and a number of equally small boys in floods of tears the penny did not really drop. It was only when I was standing alone by the massive front door seeing my parents car disappear down the drive that it finally dawned on me that the sods were actually leaving me. And they would say that they have paid for it ever since, although in fact I loved boarding as I am sure my own children will – my eldest Lucy starts flexi boarding at her prep school next academic year.
I was very sorry to have been unaware of the earlier reunion in London and am greatly looking forward to revisiting the school at the end of June. I felt very nostalgic reading everyone’s entries and especially saddened to read that so many of our number have already passed away.
James Steele (Southampton, Hants)
Left in: Jul 73
FAMILY: Divorced (married for thirteen years), children: two boys (Ollie, b. 1987, started Uni. 2006-7; Theo, b. 1992, started GCSEs 2006-7)
- BA (1986) and PhD (1993), Dept of Archaeology, Uni. of Southampton
- Research Fellow (1993-1997) and then employed successively as Lecturer/Senior Lecturer/Reader (1997-2005), Dept of Archaeology, Uni. of Southampton
- Since January 2006: Reader, Institute of Archaeology, University College London.
Interests: Finding time for a bit of sailing and hill-walking, now with my own children (the Mull Camp spirit lives on!)
Currently working for http://www.cecd.ucl.ac.uk
Best memories: Very many and diverse good things all ultimately arising from the fundamental decency and good will of the staff, the visionary leadership of JB and his team, and the school’s Outward Bound ethos.
Worst: Nothing specific that wasn’t my fault! I did miss my family, though.
Ian Stewart (Eydon, Northants)
Left in: Jul 77
Director of Rathbone Pension & Advisory Services Limited – Bond Street
Married to Victoria (May 1999) one son, Ben (born 31 August 2004)
Rathbone Pension & Advisory Services Limited – www.rathbones.com
Best memory – British Bulldogs on a Sunday evening, sailing in the Solent
Worst – the food!
Eliza Strachan [now Harford] (SW London and Cayman Islands)
Left in: Jul 76
I moved to the Cayman Islands in 1991, and worked as a journalist on the local national paper from 1991- 2004. I am married with two children, who board at Cheam School near Newbury. I live mainly in Grand Cayman, but also spend some time in England and France.
I would love to see any Old Walhamptonian/staff coming to the Cayman Islands - they can contact me at email@example.com.
Jessica Strachan [now Deguara] (Witney, Oxon)
Left in: Dec 75
After Walhampton I went on to Sherborne and Rugby. I then trained as a physiotherapist in London and took a few years out travelling to India and Italy. I returned to live in Oxford where I met my French husband, Patrick, who is a chiropractor and coach. We have two girls, Emma aged 9 and Mary 6.
I work part time as a community physio and spend a lot of the rest of my time enjoying my family and getting involved in the community. My children go to the local school which is certainly a very different experience for them from my experience of Walhampton. No British bulldogs, grand libraries and vast grounds but a good sense of community.
Best memories; going on camp and fighting off about 4 boys in British bulldogs,
Worst memory; being told off by a v. frightening Mr Kealy for missing detention (was in field looking down rabbit hole!).
Ian Swain (Lymington, Hants)
Left in: Dec 78
Qualified in Hotel Management in 1984 but changed career path to teaching and qualified in 1996.
Married to Karen in 1994. Have 2 children
Assistant Headteacher, Bransgore Primary School (Hants County Council).
Best memories: School camps to Mull, and France (Saumur)
Do not have any bad memories!
Would be great to meet up with people from the era!
Chris Swingler (Pyrford, Surrey)
Left in: Jul 77
University of Sheffield 1982 – 1985 BA (Dual Hons.) Accounting & Financial Management & Computer Science
Worked in New York for 6 months in 1985 before returning to work as a programmer for CAP Group in Reading and then as a Pre-Sales Consultant for Prime Computer in London.
In 1989 I moved to Paris to work for Prime Computer in France. I also met Claire and we married in 1992. We have 2 sons Richard (12) born in 1994 and Melvyn (soon 11) born in 1995. In 1991 I started to work for Progress Software in France as a technical consultant and trainer and travelled extensively accross France to customer sites. After 5 and half years at Progress, I set up my own freelance consulting business in 1996 based on providing consulting and training on the Progress product set. At this same time most of my work was in the UK but we also moved to Provence in the South of France (to be near Claire’s mum and also to be near Nice where Claire is from originally), so I was travelling regularly between home (between Nice and Marseille) and England.
Sadly I lost my mother to cancer in 2000 and soon after our family broke apart aswell. It’s been quite tough since then trying to keep as much of family life for my sons as possible but we’re doing well and have shared the caring and upbringing more or less 50/50. Over the past 2 years I have been in the gradual process of returning to live in England and am currently based at my father’s house near Woking in Surrey. I have theoretical plans to move to settle in the Bristol area in order to offer the possibility of life and school in England for Richard & Melvyn in the coming months. I am currently working for The White Company in Perivale in West London and am interested in any work opportunities in the Bristol area...
As a sideline, I have established a business to promote fine organic wines from Provence in France to the UK market as well as holidays in the Vineyards in the heart of Green Provence. If you are interested, it’s best to view my web site www.tasteorganicprovence.com
My own freelance IT consulting business Propath Consulting Services Ltd. www.propath.info
Best memory: All the varied activities from the Model Railway to the Printing Press to the Ducks in the Garden to Sailing in Mirror Dinghies to the Isle of Wight with the Stickleys, the Wide Games in the New Forest etc. etc. just one great fab time and plenty of happy memories
Worst memory: I never got on the Mull trip!
Jonathan Symons (Rowlands Castle, Hants)
Left in: Jul 76
Currently working for Shazam - mobile phone based music recognition. Based in London and planes.
Remarried to Alyssa, with extended family of 4 children: Chris 16, Dominique 14, Megan 12, Bryony 10.
Hobbies: Jive dancing, swimming, sailing, tennis, skiing, running....
Nick Syrett (Nairobi) NEW
Left in: Jul 74
Cranleigh, RMA Sandhurst, then 7 Para RHA and MOD as an ADC; Foreign Office from 1989, postings in Angola, Bosnia, Colombia, Kenya and, most recently, Iraq. Married to Nina with two children – Tabitha and Luke. Family living in a house in Karen, Nairobi associated, we think, with the four Chitty brothers, contemporaries at Walhampton.
I am now a diplomat working for the FCO.
Best memories: sailing on the Solent with CK and/or JE: large amounts of tea and sandwiches and splendid renaissance conversation – education at its widest and best; two history camps – one in Shropshire and one in North Wales; unbeaten (almost perhaps) rugger season 1973/74; the high swing; British bulldogs; wide games on the heath; kind Miss Dundas, and Australian matron Miss Grokie (?) who did running somersaults down Tiger dorm; stories read by Gerald Carey (how we hated that nasty Frau Rottermeyer in Heidi); Home Entertainments; sneaking around the grounds at night; Arthur Milner’s masterful reply during the Schoolboy election of 1973 (?) when asked by a clearly aggrieved Miss Dobin why his party was called the Imperialist Party: ‘Actually, I think Imperialist is a jolly nice name, you know’.
Worst memories: Fighting Adrian Bird who had an almost irresistible sort of swing throw; practising piano in those dark cellars after assignments; French tests seemingly every morning – ‘Five marks – FAIL;’ hopeless assaults on scholarship maths papers; caught on the roof after sneaking around the grounds at night; .