FROM DAVE POSTLES 1960-67 I have some news about two people formerly associated with City Boys'.Michael Denison Palmer (1933-2015)Mr Palmer arrived as history teacher during my O-Level year, I think 1964. Despite growing up in Brixton, where his father was the incumbent, he retained a tinge of his native Australian accent. He had previously taught at Aldenham School, after graduating from Oxford University. He consequently (and perhaps disconcertingly) referred to homework as prep, and always wore a bow tie. He took charge of the fifth-year football team. I had not realised he played for his college 1st XI at Oxford. I assumed he was some sort of clogger, watching his refereeing! He moved from CBS to various schools as Deputy Head and then Head. He died on 8 September 2015, predeceased in 2008 by his beloved wife, Margaret. He leaves behind three children.Kev EamesKev and I knocked about in the sixth form. He went to Manchester University to study English and German. He had a long career as a teacher. After retirement he received a PhD for a thesis on educational motivation. He also taught at Bath Spa University. He and his wife, Sue, have two daughters. In his retirement he is closely involved with U3A and Trowbridge Civic Society, where they live. I met them a few years ago when they came to Leicester to visit his widowed mother.
FROM LES OSWIN 1935-39 In my early years at CBS I did not take much interest in RE lessons, in spite of regularly attending Sunday School and singing in the choir of our local Unitarian church. In my final year I opted out of RE, thinking that was the end of my association with religion. But in Autumn 1942, at Trowbridge whilst in the Royal Corps of Signals, on Sundays it was either church parade or spud bashing, and church won the vote. Around my nineteenth birthday I accepted an invitation from my pal John to spend a Sunday with his family in Gloucester. We caught the train and used our passes, stopping halfway to change at an unidentified station. The signs had been removed to confuse Fifth Columnists, as well as the passengers! The Salvation Army served tea in jam jars, as there was a shortage of cups. In Gloucester we walked to John's family home where, in spite of rationing, we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast. We were encouraged to hurry, as the family would be attending morning service at the beautiful nearby cathedral. We were met at the front entrance, and as VIP's guided into special seats behind the magnificent choir where we participated in the service. After seventy four years I still remember it, along with the pleasure of being a welcome guest of John's lovely family. It was the first time I had been inside a cathedral.
Spookily, on the day before your reunion invitation arrived, I was reviewing some personal documents and came across programmes for two Annual Prize Distributions at De Montfort Hall, one on Thursday 13th November 1958 and one on Thursday 26th July 1962. It must be forty years since I last saw them, and I didn't know I had them. Each programme, after the front cover and details of music and poetry for the evening, lists six impressive pages of school prizewinners, 'O' and 'A' Level examination results, university acceptances and Successes of Old Boys. I remember prize-givings as being bizarre events with us boys there reluctantly, while a smattering of the keenest parents came to support their embarrassed offspring.
All the teachers displayed the colours of their degree-awarding colleges ontheir gowns, providing a coded reminder of the staff room's real pecking order. I seem to recall that several members of staff outshone the Headmaster in the academic reputation of their universities. We lads generally felt our evenings wasted as we fidgeted while the ritual ceremony of exhortation and reward played out before us. I wonder now if the real beneficiaries of prize-givings were the staff. Each year, below them they scanned the crop of young people who they had developed in some way, whether by grinding in useful facts and formulae or by widening cultural or sporting experiences. This surely must have boosted the teachers' own morale, professional pride and sense of purpose. Or perhaps not… I also found a newspaper photo (which must have come from the Mercury in 1962), the caption of which reads: Captain of the school J.W.Mawby, centre left, pictured with award winners at the City of Leicester Boys' School annual prize distribution at the De Montfort Hall last night. Left to right are A.P.Bowden, I.R.Tweedie, J.A.Bennett, C. Smart and A.R.Watts. Other pictures will appear in tomorrow's Star - lunchtime - edition. Most of us looked keen and remarkably cheerful (Iain has kindly donated the documents mentioned to the memorabilia collection - Ed)