Friday 10 May 2024

Fwd: OWT MAY 2024

MAY 2024

EDITORIAL    I have held the latest three contributions back, as the basis for the next OWT.  Please consider sharing your memories, however trivial they may seem.  I reserve the right to edit material, usually to make it more concise and thus easier to read.  Anything considered hurtful to individuals, or libellous, will not be published.  Send to  If possible please include your dates.

   My running at CBS was remarkable for its unremarkableness, unlike the eminent John Offord!  I seem to remember Rushey Fields in 1965, next to the house on Melton Road where I spent the first four years of my life.  And there was token running round the cricket pitches at Grace Road.  Moving to Downing Drive, Jock Gilman introduced us to the joys of cross country.  The course was Chatteris Drive, into the fields across Bushby Brook, up to Thurnby.  Down Stoughton Road, then along a wooded path.  This ended in a mud bath known as the Amazon Basin, out of respect for Mr Wardle's evocative geography lessons.  I must have run the full course, but the Basin was memorable as a hangout for reluctant athletes.  Track running was for Tony Baxter's Bradgate House, wearing red jerseys.
The 6th form involved motor cycling.  My second bike was a monster Honda Dream (aka Nightmare)? the first 100mph 250cc.  Shutting the throttle brought a sound like an approaching thunderstorm.  A bored-out version is featured in the book Zen and the Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance.  My bike featured in the sixth form-science gazette The Pubs of East Leicestershire.  The headlight was prone to switching off when I changed gear, which made cornering interesting.  One night it gave up completely, and the late-lamented Kevin Flint and I pushed it for miles back to his house.  A few years later I was in full-on Bob Dylan Triumph Highway 61 Revisited style, though unlike him I never crashed.  I went on to be The Health & Safety Guru, as the tabloids referred to me.
I went to St Andrews to study astrophysics.  Our house, St Regulus Hall, did early morning runs along the west sands, splashing through the water.  The idea was stolen by the film Chariots of Fire.  The running was done by the shinty team, which is hockey without rules.  My first match was as a sub against the Glasgow police team, after one of our players went off to hospital.  I spent the match running away from the ball, or whatever the wretched thing was called.
Only in my mid-thirties did I abandon machinery in favour of human power, with long-distance cycling events.  These included Lands End to John O'Groats and coast-to-coasts.  It does mean I can look at the weather map and say 'Yes, done that.'  At the same time I was doing martial arts, aikido and laido.  Paradoxically Zen Buddhism is pacifism at the point of a Samurai sword.
Running did not return until I saw the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games.  Watching the marathons made my eyes light up.  I had to have that!  But no more Amazon Basin hideouts, I joined Sale Harriers - the Manchester United of the running world.  Clocking up the marathons, I think I'm now at twenty seven.  The Marathon marathon, New York, Venice, Rome and the 2012 Olympic marathon, Shropshire's Much Wenlock version, where the modern Olympics began in 1850.  During 2012 Graham, my brother (also ex-CBS) and I ran with the athletes' Olympic torch - rather than the ceremonial one.  We were part of the relay on the twelve-mile stage across Leicester in the middle of the night, passing the old school in Humberstone Gate.  I also returned to the school cross-country course wearing my New York marathon vest.  That was for old-time's sake, and was a pleasure.
I am now addicted to park runs, as a visitor at Victoria Park and on my home course at Abbey park.  I joined my local athletics club, and run with the youngsters and a few over-seventies.  There is something about communal running, as if dating back to being hunters - evolutionary psychology at work?  As if time was running backwards I acquired the juvenile disease of type one diabetes.  It is controlled, and contrarywise my personal bests are being smashed.  But I would not recommend it as a training regime.  So that is how a reluctant runner became a compulsive one.

FROM DAVID 'FOGG' POSTLES  1960-67   Nick Miller asks for news of Michael Palmer, a history teacher.  He died a few years ago.  Michael became a head teacher in Surrey but, during the cutbacks, was redeployed as the Surrey County Archivist.  His wife, Margaret, pre-deceased him, leaving Michael bereft.  He is survived by his children.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   Michael Palmer chose to take orders.  He left the school mid-year, I think late 1967.  My recollection is that he went into a retreat at one of the reclusive English monasteries.  He only taught us in our third year for a short while before leaving.  I remember Michael because he was one of those teachers who seemed able to teach any subject under the sun, so could fill in when a member of staff was away.  I hope he found peace.  Perhaps someone could provide more details?

FROM TONY WAKEFIELD 1951-52   The class photo dated March 1952 is of 1A.  For some reason I am in civvies at the back, but I did own a uniform!

FROM MURRAY WALNE   I shall always remember a highly amusing incident involving Flo Willan soon after we moved to Downing Drive.  There was a small sixth form intake of new pupils from other city schools, and naturally they did not know the staff.  Now, Flo always wore a brown lab coat - in fact I don't recall him ever wearing anything else.  At break one morning a lad was violently sick in the corridor and one of the new recruits, being helpful, spotted what he thought was a caretaker.  He flicked his fingers and asked the chap to clear up the mess.  Of course it was not a caretaker but Flo Willan, who needless to say was not amused.  But the rest of us thought it was hilarious.

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK  1965-72   The correct chorus of the school song:
Vivat, crescat, in aeturnum floreat                              May it live, grow and flourish for ever
Schola quam laudamus                                               School how we praise/extol thee
Primem lucem juventutis                                            First light of youth
Semper te amamus                                                     We always love you

Taken from the COLS 1968 prize distribution leaflet.  Have we a definitive answer as to who composed it?  I was told that Mr Gimson wrote the music, but not the words.
Below is the glorious translation effort from webtran:  Long live the youth will always be increased at the first sight of eternity, we praise you, we love it flourish and be a school than

Jon Prithett, who knows me but possibly wishes he didn't, might recall I was in Charnwood House and made a spectacular absence of contribution to its sporting achievements.  After failing selection for football, Geoff Elliott put me at No 8 in the rugby squad.  From there I was successively relegated to inside centre, full back and, finally, wing.  Everyone knows that in schoolboy rugby you end up on the wing because wingers never get the ball so can't cause any damage with it.
But I should point out I was also in the Boy Scouts, and learned a lot of rope work.  Thus in the gym I could scale a rope up to the ceiling, touch it and come down again without falling off.  I doubt I was the fastest, and it probably wasn't even considered to be a sport, so I probably was not much help to Charnwood House.
References to concerts at De Montfort Hall are relevant to the school from the mid-sixties.  That is because there would be quite a large group of us hanging about outside before the concert began.  As OWT does not accept tales of illegal behaviour I shall be delicate!  I think my first concert was The Incredible String Band, circa 1969.  None of us paid for a ticket, though I don't think that fell into the category of genuine illegal behaviour.  I shall say no more...  I mean,what if you really were helping a roadie to carry in a Marshal stack?  Or what if David Bowie had said you were allowed in, but to sit down and not make a song and dance?  Yes, we were clever.  The school taught us well.

FROM ALAN FISHER  1964-71   Tony Baxter's mention of his involvement in the school plays triggered memories of my own participation.  By that I mean scene shifter.  However that did involve the wearing of costumes, as Mr Baxter liked to have scene changes taking place in front of the curtain or, in the case of Sergeant Musgrave's Dance, amidst the audience.  The play was performed in the round, with the audience seated round the acting area.  I was also involved in Mr Baxter's excellent production of The Tempest.  Fantastic memories! 
Mr Baxter was the only teacher who almost enabled me to understand maths but, through no fault of his own, it was a dismal failure. Strangely, arithmetic has played a major part in my business career - eg, budgets and accounting.
I experienced one year at Elbow Lane, one year of Friday mornings at Humberstone Gate and Vestry Street baths and six years at Downing Drive.
Keep up the good work.

OBITUARY   David Bates passed away January 1st 2024 after a short illness (Dates believed to be 1953-60)

FROM JOHN SKEVINGTON  1945-53   I was sorry to hear that Ivor Bufton (1944-52) had passed away.  He was one year ahead of me, but I remember his keen involvement in school affairs. I recall a crossword clue in the school magazine This person claims to have something that no one has ever heard of.  The answer - Ivor Bufton!
Before writing more reminiscences I glanced at OWT 106 to make sure I did not repeat myself.  However, whilst we had close involvement with pupils in our own year, memories of those ahead and behind us become tenuous, and I might be the only one from my lot still standing!  So I will confine myself to teachers, who will be known to a larger cohort.
Ivor's father aws a history master at CBS.  During one lesson he reeled off, from memory, all the English monarchs from 1066.  Pure showmanship, but we were greatly impressed.
I remember Bud Fisher as a very kind person.  My specific memory is of an RE lesson (Presumably based on the miracle of the raising of Lazarus) when he told of an old man he knew in his childhood who was nicknamed Dead 'Un.  This was because he had once been pronounced as dead, and was in a coffin in the parlour so friends could pay their respects before the funeral.  But while a few friends were talking in another room they heard a great clatter, and in walked Dead 'Un in his shroud!
Bull Smith has been mentioned.  I remember his phrase when he enlisted the help of a pupil with a chemistry experiment: Stand on that nail, small boy.
Finally, Bill Sykes.  He seemed to obtain reasonably recognisable orchestral performances for concerts and speech days.  When trying to get us to sing a piece in class he would be constantly yelling at us, in his Yorkshire accent, to observe the syncopa-a-ation.  One day he handed out the score of a work called Boot, Saddle, To Horse and Away.  It was really good, and I was even more impressed when I noticed the composer's name was H H Sykes.

FROM DAVE POSTLES  1960-67   I didn't know that Mick Bromilow obtained an Oxford Blue for cross country.  I remember running with Mick and Tag Taylor for the school, and the training ground in Abbey Park on Wednesday (?) evenings when the three of us formed a little group of mediocreties. Sometimes we would visit the biscuit counter at Lewis's after a race.  I recall sitting on the packhorse bridge in Anstey after one race, nattering away.

FROM DENNIS BIGGS  1949-56    I have arranged a boating holiday on the Broads with my son and grandson, this being after I told them about the week I spent there in Easter 1951 with the Green Howards  Yacht Club.  This was run by one of our teachers, Chas Howard and his brother.  Unfortunately my memory is hazy after so many years.
But I thought my musings might prompt further memories from other pupils.  I was just a cabin boy, with no boating experience but keen to learn.  My overall memory is being constantly wet, as we had a lot of rain and I was not properly dressed for the conditions.  But we still had lots of fun.
The yacht did not have an engine, and I don't think the conditions were ideal for sailing.  Sometimes we had to quant - using a punting pole - or tack endlessly to catch the wind.
Not sure where we went, though I do recall visiting Beccles.  'm not sure how long the Green Howards continued after my adventure, as I think Chas Howard left the school shortly after  (Chas  was at CBS when I was there 1959-64 - Ed)
I don't remember much about the food or conditions, but it was very cramped.  Hopefully we will have more room and comfort on our four-berth cruiser, with better weather.
Does anyone else have memories of those school visits to the Broads?

FROM MICHAEL ROSINGER  1962-69   OK, Mr Baxter, you have shamed me into writing something!  I can remember a few lessons as if they happened yesterday.
Biology with Mr Willan, my scariest teacher.
'Rosenger, what do you call the movement of digested food into the cells where they are used?'  A series of ums and errs result in Mr Willan erupting with rage.  Assimilation was the word, and it has remained with me forever.
'Rosinger, what is respiration?'  After more umms and errs my answer is 'breathing.'  I feel the class waiting for the onslaught coming my way.  Mr Willan's face screws up as if in agony, followed by the explosion.
Physics.  Mr Lawson asks 'what causes the sound of thunder?'  I remember my father telling me it was clouds banging together, and up goes my hand.  Thankfully Mr Lawson asks someone else, who provides the correct answer..  I was so relieved, I would have looked such an idiot.,
During the next lesson, Mr Lawson asks, 'What causes the tides?'  I remember my father telling me it was something to do with the moon,
but quickly refrain from raising my hand.  How ridiculous, I think to myself.
Woodwork.  I have a lot to thank Mr Hutchinson for.  A stick across the hand, when I decided to liven up a lesson by playing a tune with my mallet and chisel.  That gave me bragging rights for future conversations regarding corporal punishment in schools.  Everyone seems to have a story about being caned, and thanks to Mr Hutchinson I have one too - albeit with a bit of exaggeration here and there!  
By the way, my book stand and table lasted for over forty years in my mother's house.  She was so proud, and didn't seem to notice the poor mortice and tenon joints.  Or probably she did, but didn't say anything.
Musical Appreciation.  Mr Reminton's lessons in the sixth form were a great way to finish the day.  No pressure, no questions, just listen to some Debussy.  By the end of the lesson I was perfectly relaxed, and prepared for the future University Challenge music questions.
Many lessons at the City Of Leicester Boys' School (Notice the correct use of the apostrophe, Mr Whitbread) prepared me for the future.  I can order a beer in French or German; I can use a chisel.  And if the Times quick cryptic crossword ever has the following clue, I will be the first to get it:  A small phone card with great happiness I hear, for this biological process.  But no one prepared me more than Mr Baxter who, to me and many others, was truly inspirational.  For many years I taught maths in secondary schools in Sheffield and Nottingham, followed by three wonderful years training maths teachers at a university in Tanzania.  I return there each year to continue the training.  So my sincere thanks to Mr Baxter for setting me off along that path.

AND FINALLY...   The next episode of my disastrous CBS musical career - Ed)  We have reached circa 1962, with my own violin ignored and stored with the spare school ones in the corner of the hall by the stage.  It was there before we broke up for Easter, as I checked.  But when we returned I was dismayed to note my violin case had vanished. Compared to the tatty school ones, my case was rather smart, so I made what, at the time, seemed the reasonable assumption it had been stolen.  There was nothing for it but to tell my parents, who immediately contacted Mr Bell.  Consternation ensued, as in those days such a thing was unheard of, and a full enquiry was launched.  Eventually the caretaker was interviewed, and he was able to solve the matter.  With good intentions he had moved my violin to the storage area under the stage, and it was duly produced.  The resulting enquiry did my already dodgy reputation no good at all, both with my parents and the school.  But what I recall most of all is the humiliation of being hauled into Jill's office (School Secretary, and still with us as Jill Povoas!) and being handed an adhesive label.  I wrote my name on the label, and stuck it on the inside lid of the case, all the while being closely watched by Jill and Mr Bell.  Next tine I will recount the tale of an even worse violin disaster - I was my own worst enemy and no mistake...

Dennis J Duggan  (1959-64)
May 10th 2024

Monday 18 March 2024

OWT Memorial Edition March 2024


MARCH 16TH 2024

EDITORIAL   The recent sad passing of John Larry Lawson and Dr Arnold Doc Burrows prompted several Old Boys to share their memories of, and appreciation for, our teachers.  As I grow older, and more nostalgic by the day, I often think back to my own unfortunate time at CBS.  I have always admitted to being my own worst enemy, especially during my first year (1959-64) but still can't decide whether I was simply a bone idle, deceitful boy, or if I had some sort of mental health problem which no doubt would be diagnosed today.  The truth will never be known!  What has become apparent is that several teachers were more than willing to go the extra mile if they felt a particular pupil showed exceptional promise, and clearly many of those pupils appreciate that to this day.  Here are a few of my own memories.  Wally Wardle walking so quickly his gown billowing out behind him.  Alan Jasper Mercer's lunchtime meetings of the Crusader Club.  Bill Sykes regular temper tantrums, which resulted in heads being smacked indiscriminately as he went round the classroom.  Jock  Gilman standing at the staff room door, reading the proffered excuse notes.  Ken Witts breezing into the room, banging his briefcase on the desk and shouting, 'OK, you lot...'  Basher Brewin, the only teacher who ever made me cry, via a public humiliation accompanied by rapping me on the knuckles with a ruler.  He had fought in World War 1, and once told us that because he was such a short man he was provided with a box to step on so he could leave the trench more easily!  And meeting Brian Sadie Thompson on a cruise to Iceland in 2002.  One day we shared a lunch table, and he noted my Wyvernians tee shirt.  He did remember me, but for all the wrong reasons, as he was my form master during my short tenure in 1 Alpha.

FROM PETER BATES 1953-58   Thinking back almost seventy years is not too difficult with regard to John Lawson.  He was the form teacher in 3A, went with us to games sessions at Grace Road, taught me maths every day.  Physics and chemistry were double periods once per week.  I loved those lessons, and (apart from games) was quite successful.  And that success was due in no small way to Mr Lawson.  He commanded my great respect, and there was always a hint of his great sense of humour.  John was a great motivator, and made his lessons interesting.  He was a brilliant teacher who was kind. I had problems at school, but John was fair and sympathetic, even when I deserved punishment,  How I regret being unable to attend the annual reunions.  I would like to say a belated thank you
to a brilliant teacher, who was kind and compassionate even to naughty boys.  Rest in peace.

FROM DAVE 'FOGG' POSTLES  1960-67   There have been many references to the late Michael Palmer, along with eulogies,  Here is the link to an obituary written by his daughter, Emma.
Regarding history teachers, I value the short time that John Anderson was with us.  I had the benefit of his teaching in the third year sixth.  He widened my horizons, offering to lend me his copy of Das Kapital.  He mentioned people such as William Davies, the supertramp, and Eric Fromm's Fear of Freedom.  I met him subsequently when I was working at Leicester Museums.  He brought in a school group from Desford to work on archive material.  A wonderful man, I wish I'd had a greater association with him.  In our short acquaintance he really helped me to mature.

FROM BOB CHILDS  1976-2009   Written from information in Andy Marlow's book:  John Lawson can be seen on page sixty, as a member of the First XI cricket team, which he went on to captain in 1946.

Some readers will be aware that John was an all-round sportsman, and in the 1945-46 season was a regular member of the First XI football team.  Indeed, in 1946 he was noted on speech day as one of the school's top three sportsmen; this is marked by a photo of the winners on page sixty eight.  John is sitting on a bicycle at the front of the Humberstone Gate building.

In 1952 John was appointed to teach maths and physics.  Soon he teamed up with Dave Lawrence, another gifted sportsman and physics teacher.  They can be seen together on page 102, in charge of the 1957 First XI cricket team, which included Frank Whitelam. 

 John was a real enthusiast, and set up a squash club.  This used the facilities of the Leicester Squash Club on London Road.  By the time John's twenty-year stint at Downing Drive ended he had morphed into teaching physics and electronics in a department led by Dave Lawrence.  This included Bill Mann, and Dave Sarson, one of his ex-pupils.  If you have access to the book look at page 221.  You will see a photo taken at the 2002 reunion of what we might call The Famous Five.  Messrs Burrows, Baxter, Lawson, Thompson and Mann.

Some Further Information   John was born on July 12th 1929.  In 1939 he was living at 37 Doncaster Road, Belgrave.  The rear wall of the house was adjacent to the footprint of the Cossington Street baths.  His father is described as a Traveller Grocer and Wholesale Merchant.  No 37 appears to be part of a terraced block called Burfield Villas.
A Personal reminiscence   I always found John to be a helpful and cheerful colleague, so I hope he forgave me for this unusual incident.  It took place one Saturday night  in the early eighties.  As a cricketer myself, for Newtown Linford, I enjoyed the non-league fixtures in September against different clubs at different grounds.  This incident followed a match against Wigston Town, their team included an ex-City footballer - Howard Riley??  I can't remember the result, but do know I stayed longer in the bar than was wise.
Thankfully my drive back to Wintersdale Road, Evington, was uneventful - until I drove past the school on Downing Drive.  I noticed the lights were on in the block of twelve classrooms.  By the time I reached the shops opposite The Dove I had resolved to turn round to investigate  (Think Starsky and Hutch, but in a Ford Fiesta!)  I slowed down by the unlocked main entrance, and turned off the engine and lights.  To my horror, I saw a shadowy figure loading computers into a car.  Not wishing to confront the burglar I shot to the nearby telephone box (No mobiles then) and called the police.  They took my details, saying they would meet me outside the school.  On returning, I was horrified to see someone lock the gate and drive off towards Evington.
I decided to do my own version of Z Cars and followed the vehicle to Whitehall School with the registration number committed to memory.  Then I returned to Downing Drive, where I found three police vehicles, a very lively police dog, blue flashing lights and powerful torches.  With a warm glow I described what I had seen, and passed on the number of the car.  I was then instructed to sit in my own vehicle.
By now it was around 10pm, and the police had conducted a complete sweep of the site.  And then I looked on in amazement as the police produced a boy called Michael Trickett, one of our pupils, plus his girl friend.  Even more surprising was to see our Head of Music, Dr Peter White, in full evening dress.  He had been round the back looking in his car for sheet music.  Then the sergeant told me they had traced the suspect vehicle.  Did I know a Mr J A Lawson...?  Briefly my brain recoiled at the thought of John Lawson being a master criminal, and it was not until Monday I learned he had taken the computer to see if he could repair it.
The sergeant thanked me for my actions, but strongly advised me to return home without delay, without asking me to blow into a bag.  For some time hence certain colleagues delighted in whistling the theme tune of The Pink Panther films every time I entered the staff room!!

FROM DAVE WINTER  1959-66   I was never taught by Doc Burrows, though he had an informative influence on me through the swimming team.  'City Boys' Sweeps the Board' had been a familiar headline in the Leicester Mercury swimming gala reports even before the Doc's time.  That success and status was due in no small part to the school's proximity to Vestry Street baths, and to the energy of Mr Brushe, a French teacher who left the school just as I joined.  But when Doc Burrows took over, the whole enterprise moved to a new level.There was a sense of serious purpose, almost professional, in his approach.  The frequency and intensity of coaching and training increased.  Any boy displaying a degree of ability was talent-spotted and encouraged to join the sessions.  Finer points such as starts, turns and take-overs were practiced rigorously.  The team acquired its own strip - lightweight tangerine trunks!  Speedos had just come on to the market, and had instant wow appeal.  Doc Burrows - the early adopter!
Inter-school galas across the Midlands became regular events.  I would regularly get out of lessons to travel by coach to Hinckley, Loughborough, Ashby, Burton On Trent, Leamington Spa, Derby and Nottingham.  The only school we feared was King Edwards Camp Hill in Birmingham.  Through this serious commitment there arose a real team spirit, which was important as swimming is, in many respects, a highly individualistic sport.  This team spirit manifested itself most during the return journey.  Led by senior boys in the rear seats we would roar an impressively wide repertoire of appalling songs.  These included, The Hairs on a Dicky Dido, As I Was Walking Through a Wood - to the tune of The Old Hundreth - and an absolutely filthy adaptation of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  I don't know what Doc's classroom manner was like, but I'm sure that many of his colleagues would have stamped on such dubious bellows and guffaws.  But throughout the journey he would sit serenely at the front, never batting an eyelid.
As I grew older my role in the team diminished, and by the sixth form I only made the freestyle relay squad.  But it left me with a lifelong enjoyment of competitive swimming, which I am pleased to have passed to my children.  And they, in turn, to their children.  And for that I am grateful to Doc Burrows.

FROM ED FEATHERSTONE  1959-65   My failing memory tells me I first came into contact with John Lawson in 1 Alpha, when he taught us maths.  Rather more clear is the memory of being on the receiving end of a well-aimed piece of chalk for not paying attention.  However, as a football enthusiast - though not a very good one - I recall the dedication and effort he devoted to the sport. On one games afternoon John was refereeing another game when a player broke his leg.  We all heard the crack.  Instantly John calmly took charge, dealt with first aid and arranged for the boy to be taken to hospital.   On many a Saturday morning I would join John and the Junior XI at yet another fixture.  I was the reserve, so seldom got to play, but he noted my constant attendance and loyalty.  So to my surprise I was awarded my football colours.
Later, between leaving 5L and joining 6A1 (English, history, geography) I was awarded a scholarship to the Royal Naval College.  All I had to do was matriculate in order to take my place.  Very soon the headmaster was invited to a weekend conference in Dartmouth.  When he returned Ernie was full of good ideas, and summoned me to his study.  He was convinced I was taking the wrong 'A' levels.  He said the navy wanted scientists, and wanted me to switch to physics, maths and geography.  I pointed out that I only had 'O' level general science, and my 'O' level maths was not designed for those taking it at 'A' level.  Anyway, as Ernie would be sending written reports to Dartmouth each term I though it best to do as I was told.
To catch up, I was offered one-to-one tuition with Tony Baxter (Maths) and John Lawson (Physics)  By the end of my first term in the sixth I had caught up sufficiently to join the main classes.  There is nothing like one-to-one tuition to get to know someone, and I developed a deep respect for John and Tony.  I owe them both an enormous debt of gratitude.  I enjoyed being taught by them, and I know my fellow classmates felt that too.
At one of the reunions I told John that you definitely needed to be a scientist to be a naval engineer,  I, as a seaman, might have made a more successful naval officer had I stayed with the 'A'levels with which I had a greater aptitude.  John replied, 'So we failed you?'  'Absolutely not,' I replied.  Being a naval aviator requires a good grasp of maths and physics.  But, more importantly, John Lawson taught me how to apply myself to learning a subject outside my comfort zone.  Thank you, John Lawson.

FROM MARK HAYLER  1956-64   So sorry to hear that John Lawson has passed away.  He was my 5S form master 1960-61, and also instrumental in my obtaining a pass in 'A' level physics.  We had some very clever mathematicians in our year (I was definitely not one of them!) who would spot any errors on the blackboard and quickly point them out.  To which he would respond, quick as a flash, 'Well done.  You spotted the deliberate mistake.'  RIP Mr Lawson, and thank you.

FROM MIKE RATCLIFF  1958-64   I was very sorry to hear the news about John Lawson.  He was always the most enthusiastic, approachable and friendly of teachers.  He, together with Bill Mann and Dave Lawrence, formed a very strong team teaching physics when I was in the sixth form.  In later years we had a few interesting conversations after the reunions, as John would park his car on Toller Road, off London Road, and complete the journey into town by bus.  On several occasions we were on the same bus together as we headed back towards Knighton and Stoneygate.

FROM STEVE TAILOR  1973-78   So sad to hear about John Lawson.  I was a Downing Drive pupil, and started the school electronics club.  Despite the fact that Mr Lawson had never taught me physics, he immediately offered to stay after school as the supervising teacher.  John helped me to believe in myself so as to have a long and continuing career in electronics.

FROM BRIAN SCREATON  1959-65   I shall always remember John losing his walking stick at the first Wyvernians lunch, and a frantic search of the building ensued.  Then, to everyone's amusement - especially John's, the stick was found hanging on the back of his chair, concealed by his coat!

FROM TERRY HOLT  1954-59   Very sad to learn that John Lawson and Arnold Burrows have passed away.   They were two of the most inspiring teachers I was privileged to encounter during my time at CBS.  The last time I spoke to John at a recent reunion I reminded him of the encouragement he gave to those of us interested in amateur radio.  He had informed us he was clearing out his garage and one Saturday morning I, along with Dennis Brown and Terry Cox, went over.  We were gifted with lots of components, and asked if we required any more!  One of our favourite haunts for such components was Dick Kerr's Army & Navy surplus shop, opposite the Odeon.  We must have been a real nuisance to John, as we often knocked on the door of the staff room at lunchtime to seek his advice.  But he never seemed to mind.  A really kind and inspirational teacher. 
Arnold Burrows gave me the best career guidance I ever received.  My interest was jet and rocket propulsion, and he encouraged me to apply for an engineering apprenticeship at Rolls Royce after sixth form physics and double maths 'A' levels.  I only completed one year in the sixth before leaving at sixteen to follow Dr Burrow's valuable advice.  I spent twenty four years with the company, and for over fifty years have been a chartered engineer M.I.Mech.E.  My grateful thanks to two outstanding and inspirational teachers.

FROM JOHN OFFORD  1958-63   The passing of John Lawson was sad news for me.  He was responsible for me becoming an athlete.  It wasn't school policy, but he cared enough to give me his thoughts on the potential danger of wearing spectacles whilst playing for his Junior XI team.  He knew I would be disappointed, but had seen enough evidence to show I should concentrate on running.  John's support gave me the confidence to change, and he was proved correct. We chatted about it at the reunions, and I always thanked him.  I know he was proud that I became an international runner.  John was a kind, approachable teacher, always generous with his advice and help.  RIP.

FROM ALAN RICHARDSON  1970-77   I was very touched to receive a message from John Lawson's son, Peter.  Enclosed was a letter I had written to John in 1982, after I had started my first job in Rochester.  Peter had found the letter amongst John's papers, he had kept it for forty two years.
John taught me physics in the second form and the Upper Sixth.  I was top in the form, and also top in most subjects for almost all my time at the school.  It was not an unconditionally popular situation, and for much of the time I tried to avoid too much attention.  In those days Oxbridge had an entrance exam to which students could put themselves forward.  It could be taken in the fourth term of the sixth form, or sometimes after staying on for 'A' levels.  Despite my academic accomplishments I did not put myself forward in the fourth term.  Instead I applied through UCLA and gained conditional offers from Leeds and York.
I was in the Upper Sixth when John went to work on my mum and dad at a parents evening.    He insisted I should apply to Cambridge.  It was a transformative intervention, and following top A & S grades I returned to the City of Leicester School in August 1977 to apply to Churchill College and to prepare for the entrance exam in November.  But I was offered a place in early September, so left school then.
At Cambridge I achieved a first in maths, vindicating John's judgement, and after three years working on antenna design for C & S Antennas, Kent I returned to Cambridge and joined Cambridge Consultants.  They are  a product development consultancy.  I stayed for thirty four years, including fifteen as a director, and five years as CEO.  I doubt any of that would have happened had I not attended Cambridge university, which would not have happened without John Lawson's advice.
I met John again at the 2015 reunion, but he did not remember me.  Not surprising - there were so many different faces over the years!  But I will never forget John Lawson.

Dennis J Duggan (1959-64)
March 16th 2024

Tuesday 27 February 2024

Fwd: OWT March 2024

MARCH 2024

FROM HOWARD TOON  1951-57   Does anyone remember the regular bicycle inspections?  During my time at CBS I was a keen racing cyclist, and I spent the money from my three paper rounds on replacing the steel components with alloy equivalents.  Amongst these was a single-ping bell, as opposed to the usual ting-a-ling-a-ling version.  This incurred the disapproval of Johnny Jeeves, the inspector, who would not listen to my protests that the Tour de France  riders used them.  He threatened to bar me from cycling to school unless I reverted to the old-style bell.

FROM DAVID ATTON 1955-62   I first met Doc Burrows at the beginning of the 1957 spring term when I was in 3 Alpha.  He was my chemistry teacher, a replacement for Mr Guy.  When I asked the latter, 'How does litmus paper know how and when to turn blue or red?' he barked back, 'I'll ask the questions round here.'
I was twelve years old, Doc was twenty seven.- almost certainly one of the youngest teachers at CBS.  However, looking back his no-nonsense professional approach, and his ability to clearly explain subject matter using impeccable green/yellow chalk presentations, were remarkable given his relative inexperience.
He persuaded my parents and myself that I should pursue science in the fifth form, on the basis that I was a solid student and eventual career options would be wider.
In the sixth form Doc taught me how to study, work hard, and the best way to approach exams and interviews.
My cohorts, Bruce Adams, John Herrick, Bob Neill and Jim Taylor, were more talented academically.  Doc was extremely helpful in my being accepted at Oxford, as were Adams and Herrick.  Neill and Taylor attended University College, London.
Doc's  most enduring influence was to show how to study privately, to work hard and use the distractions of university life for fun.  That formula not only made me successful and happy at university, but also in my business career and retirement.
Thinking of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, the Doc's approach to teaching was more akin to the ambitious Irwin than the devil-may-care Hector.
I owed Doc a great deal, and I made that clear to him at several reunions.  However I owe more to the school which these newsletters commemorate, the school I chose to attend simply because soccer was the winter option, not rugby.  Most of all I made some great friends, and still correspond with many from my home in the USA.

FROM JOHN BLAIKIE  1955-62   The passing of Doc Burrows was sad news indeed,  He was a much-liked figure, a very good teacher who never lost his cool.  Others of my era who took chemistry through to 6Sc3 can better confirm that, as I dropped chemistry and only took maths and physics.
My only distant memory of Doc is when we were doing an experiment involving phenolphthalein.  He made it very clear we should avoid ingesting any, as it would involve us sitting in one uncomfortable place for a long time.

FROM DAVE 'FOGG' POSTLES  1960-67   I was saddened to hear that Doc Burrows had passed away.  I only have vague recollections of lessons in the labs at Elbow Lane, where Mick Quincey and I shared a bunsen burner. 
I do remember the Neill brothers, the older brothers of Alex, remarking on their respect tor The Doc, who assisted them on their passage to Oxbridge.  I send my good wishes to all remaining Wyvernians.

FROM JOHN BENNETT  MBE  1956-63   I received the very sad news of Arnold Doc Burrows' death from his son, Simon, soon after his passing.  Doc was a very special person to me.  He was not only my chemistry master during my sixth form year - 1960-63 - but also a big influence on my later life, for which I will ever be grateful.
After taking my 'A' levels, and receiving a distinction in chemistry, I stayed on for a third year in the sixth form.  At my father's suggestion I applied for a place at dental school, and was accepted at London, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.  I then had to decide which one to choose, and went to Doc for advice.  His response was: 'Before you decide, I think you should consider taking the scholarship examinations at Oxford.  And I would recommend you apply to Christ Church, because this school hasn't had a boy at the college, and to read biochemistry, because it is a less popular course than chemistry.' 
So I applied, and in March 1963 found myself in the huge hall at Christ Church taking the exams.  I didn't get a scholarship, but was awarded a place at the college.  Dentistry was abandoned, and I spent four very happy years at Oxford, met some lifelong friends and met my wife, to whom I have been married for fifty three years.
Rather then being a retired Leicester dentist I'm a retired banker, having retired in 2005, then having a second career as a local politician in the City of London, where I chaired several committees and was the City's Chief Commoner, the 'Leader of the House'.  I stepped down in 2023, and continue to live very contentedly in London.  This is in stark contrast to what I could have been had I taken my father's advice rather than Doc's.
Several years ago I contacted Doc through the Old Wyves and asked if he remembered me.  He responded immediately, saying of course he did and recounted things I had long forgotten.  He reminded me that during my time in Oxford he had attended Wadham College as a school master fellow.  We continued in contact via Simon, his son who, like me, is involved in the City livery movement.  None of what I describe would have happened if I had not had that decisive conversation back in 1963.  I owe Doc a very great deal, and I am so sad at his passing.

FROM BRUCE PEGG 1971-78   (Editor's note - the following item is taken from Bruce's book Goin' Down De Mont, and is reproduced with his permission via a third party.  The book was mentioned more fully in the February OWT)  My endearing memory of the show [Showaddywaddy concert, De Montfort Hall, Tuesday June 25th 1974] is of getting there.  A few of us pupils from City Boys had bought tickets to the show, only to find out it was on the same night as the school prize giving.  A week or so before the show we met with our headmaster, Mr Bell, and begged him to let us out of the evening. 
But he ignored our pleas, even when we told him that we would be out the price of the tickets.  In no uncertain terms he told us that our attendance at the school that night was mandatory.  In those days, if a headmaster told you to do something you did it or you suffered dire consequences.  We had no choice, or so it seemed.
Then Rog Mortimer pleaded with his mother to drive us to the De Mont as soon as the evening ended, which she agreed to do.  So as soon as the last note of the school song was over, we flew out of the assembly hall, ripped off our blazers and ties and piled into the waiting car like bank robbers leaving the scene of the crime.  Off she sped, down Whitehall Road, up Evington Road, breaking every speed limit on the way.  Finally she dropped us off on Granville Road and we sprinted into the Hall in time to see Showaddywaddy take the stage.  We may have missed the support band, and we were still wearing part of our very uncool school uniform,   but at least we were able to join the sweating throng and scream for our hometown stars.

FROM TONY WAKEFIELD  1951-56   The photo of 1952 is my class, 1A.  For some reason, I am at the back in civvies though I did own a school uniform.  The teacher is Flash Gordon.
Unfortunately, without any encouragement, I wasted much of my time at CBS, ending up in 5F and getting three 'O' levels without studying.  I was too busy enjoying life away from school to bother, much to my regret.  My ambition was to be a Teddy Boy, which I achieved, but I still have strong feelings for CBS.

FROM DENNIS BIGGS 1949-56   One of the teachers to make a lasting impression was Mr Goddard, who taught us basic German grammar in 3 Alpha.  I still recall him striding between the rows of desks, ruler in hand, drumming into us the declension of the definite and indefinite, articles in the nominative, accusative, genitive and dative cases so we could chant them forward and backwards to him.  This grounding stood me in good stead, as later I took 'A' level German and later in my career I lived and worked in Germany for twelve years. 
One of the impressions and experiences of working in Germany was the general recognition of the preventative benefits of keeping fit and healthy through outdoor exercise, perhaps a legacy of earlier generations.  Employers, and the health care system, fostered the tenets through their policies of allowing workers to undertake exercise and sports. 
All workers can spend four weeks or longer on a spa break, to regenerate their health and learn better ideas about nutrition, diet and outdoor activities.  I attended such a spa break where we spent our time doing hiking, swimming, gymnastics and other sports as well as learning about diet and leisure activities such as yoga, pottery and weaving etc.
One of the lasting ideas and legacies was the teaching of Dr Kneipp that we undertake exercise in water, and to tread water on a daily basis to promote good health as well as drinking medicinal spa water.  I returned to work a stone lighter, I think in the fittest state of my life.  I am sure we in the UK could learn lessons that prevention is better than cure for many of today's ailments.  It seems to me there is not enough emphasis on the idea that a healthy mind and body are the best way to enjoy a long life.  I have continued to take holidays in several German spa towns, as well as breaks in Buxton and Harrogate.  I recommend them to maintain a state of good health.

FROM NICK 'NED' MILLER  1961-68   A belated tribute to Mr Palmer in a new book on Leicestershire Church History.  Several folk have mentioned the inspiration they gained from Michael Palmer, a history teacher during the sixties.  In particular they have recalled the Saturday excursions, which were such great fun and really brought history alive.  I was particularly taken by the treasure hunts.  On Saturday mornings we collected a sheet of clues concerning places round the county and set off on our bikes to seek the answers.  We all hoped to be in the winning team, thus the prize winners, when we returned in the late afternoon.
Many clues were about churches, not surprising given that Mr Palmer was the son of a clergyman.  Somehow that interest has stayed with me, even though my career took me far away from history and far from Leicestershire.  Inspired by an old 1950 British railways poster showing Hungarton church up on its hill, encouraging people to visit this historic county, I have written a book. Church History in Leicestershire 520 pages, plus 41 colour illustrations, it's just been published by Book Guild ISBN  9781916668065 at a giveaway price of £14.99.  Find out more at  The book is for the general reader, you will find something about everything! 
Michael Palmer is duly acknowledged in the introduction as planting the seed for the book.  It might have taken over fifty years to germinate, but great to see it flowering at last.  Mr Palmer receives due thanks, as compensation for the pranks we played on him.  (This was originally written 22nd January 2024 - Ed)

    (The following will be published in the local church magazine, but it is also relevant here - Ed)  This little tale is true, a rather trivial story of a guilty conscience and atonement.From 1959 to 1964 I was a pupil at the City of Leicester Boys Grammar School.  Apart from the secretary, and a few dinner ladies, it was an all-male environment. Christian names did not exist.  Most of the masters were old-fashioned disciplinarians, and wore gowns.  At least one had fought in the first world war, and several others were hard-bitten veterans of the second world conflict.
Physical punishment was common, but we accepted it as part of school life and never complained.  The teachers demanded, and for the most-part received, our respect. That said, two or three of the younger teachers had a more sympathetic approach, which endeared them to the more timid boys such as myself.  They managed to strike a balance between the very strict traditional approach and a gentler one, without losing the respect of the boys.
One of these was Alan Mercer, who taught maths.  Alan was a devout Christian, and formed a lunchtime club called Crusaders which met weekly.  As I recall, it was religious but not overly so.  I think it was mainly bible stories. I was not particularly religious, but went along because I liked Mr Mercer, and it was something to do over lunch (The school was in the city centre, so most boys stayed for dinner)  My pal Peter McDermott joined for the same reasons.  I think there were about a dozen of us in total.
Now to the point of this story.  Around 1962, just before the Easter holiday, Mr Mercer - obviously we did not refer to him as Alan, his nickname was Jasper - set a competition for us to enter.  Over the holiday we were challenged to write a bible story in our own words, and the prize was a book. Naturally I decided to have a try, but such matters took a back seat in favour of more interesting pursuits. Before I knew it the holiday was almost over, and I had not put pen to paper once!
It so happened our bookcase held a book of bible stories, and here the trouble began.  I opened it to find an idea for a story, but ended up copying one word for word, which I submitted without any feeling of guilt or shame.  It was Jonah and the Whale. Not surprisingly I won the competition, and duly received the prize.  I still have the book, The Third Curiosity Book for Boys, by Montague Goodman.
And there the matter might have rested, except in 1998 I created an Old Boys Association, which put me back in sporadic touch with Alan Mercer. Late last year he sent me an email, saying he had terminal cancer and his end was near.  He had declined treatment,  having 'no wish to prolong my already miserable existence.'
This provoked my repressed feelings of shame and guilt about my deceit of sixty years ago to resurface.  I confessed, and hoped I would be forgiven. The prompt reply, 'Of course I forgive you,' brought a tear to my eye

FROM FRANK SMITH  1959-66   (Frank is our IT guru - Ed (Guru's a bit tooo strong a word to describe my "skills"! - Frank))  I received this Facebook message from Rebecca Jacobs-Farnsworth.  "I just wanted to say thank you so much for this page.  I did a random search for images of my father and came across one.  It brought a big smile to my face, so thank you.  It's wonderful to find a photo I might otherwise never have seen."
I asked Rebecca for more details and offered to try to find more references to her dad, and she replied, "My father's name is Derek Green, date of birth 19.01.45.  He was good friends with Dave Hornby and Jim Gilfedder.  That's so incredibly kind, thank you.  I just appreciate you looking, anything on top of that is a bonus.  I was over the moon to find the photo.  My father passed away twelve years ago"  Derek Green is listed on the online database as attending the school from 1956-61.

FROM KEITH NICHOLSON  1961-68   I arrived at Elbow Lane September 1961, when Tony Baxter commenced his teaching career.  He was my form master, and made a bold statement on my end-of-year report regarding my maths abilities,  Turned out I did not disappoint, as I went on to Cambridge to read maths.  I was awarded an exhibition for my final year, having just missed out on a scholarship.  I must confess I was not displeased, as I spent my final year playing various sports for my college without having to fret about expectations.
My early years at CBS were unremarkable - I suspect consistent with most of my contemporaries.  I was more of a late developer than a star. 
My first memories are of the trip to Russia.  Even today, friends regard it as an extraordinary venture for a school in 1966.  Sad to say, I have not been back since, but would very much like to do so.  I have, though, returned to Berlin many times, mostly on business.  One member of our party attracted the attention of the border guards.  He refused to wake up and leave his couchette, so they could search for anyone trying to escape from East Germany.  The rather large guard managed to throw the boy out of the couchette.  The second occasion concerned our departure from Russia.  The boy had bought a camera - in those days Russian cameras were very good compared to those available in the west.  The issue was that its value exceded the money he had taken into the country - he had been trading on the black market!  He was allowed to depart and, from memory, take the camera with him.
Our maths set during 1965-68 was very small, only five.  Neil Darlison, Mick Bromilow, Steve Preston, the late Steve Zanker and myself.  At the end of the school day we regularly played cards.  Unsurprisingly it was usually bridge, though we also played poker from time to time.  Stakes were the old penny and halfpenny.  I recall the head sometimes dropped into the room after school when we were playing poker.  Coins were quickly brushed into laps, or the odd one onto the floor, but he never uttered a word.
My last memory is of Tony Baxter giving Neil and I, in his words, some experimental teaching experience.  We taught a first year sixth maths group for two terms, and set their year-end exam.  I had one further experiment - keeping a lower-school English class quiet whilst they carried out set tasks.  I was also invited to play for the staff cricket team on one occasion - it must have been as an honorary member of staff.  No doubt Tony Baxter hoped the experience would turn us into teachers, but it never happened for me.  However, I did head KPMG's training department for two years.
Tony wanted to know where people are now.  Neil Darlison went to Oxford to read maths.  Steve Preston headed to Lancaster University, and Mick Bromilow to Oxford, he became a lecturer in the Open University, and was heavily involved in athletics in Milton Keynes, for which he was awarded a BEM.  He also won blues for cross-country and athletics at Oxford.  There was a brief obituary for Steve Zanker in an earlier OWT.  But I did not keep in touch with anyone.
I went into The City, joining the firm that is now KPMG.  I qualified as a chartered accountant, picking up a prize on the way.  I became a partner, and eventually headed their UK insurance practice, as well as being an honorary partner in the Swiss firm until I retired in 2009.  I was also a member of the UK Auditing Practices Board, with special responsibility for setting standards in the audits of financial sector firms.  I should add that another Old Wyvernian, Stephen Purse - he was younger than me - also became a partner at KPMG.
Today I can be found in Sussex playing tennis four or five days per week, having retired from all my diirectorships.

AND FINALLY...   Having rashly volunteered to join the school orchestra, I was duly issued with a violin.  One day per week we had a lesson after school, with Bill Sykes and a peripatetic music teacher called Mr Hall.  They were held at Elbow Lane, in a room off the gym,  To complicate things further, my parents conceived the idea I was a musical prodigy, and enrolled me on a course of piano lessons at a house on Aylestone Road.  We had a piano at home, and I practiced for half an hour per day after school.  Now, one of my many failings is a short attention span so after a while my interest in music began to wane.  But by then my parents had purchased a lovely violin for me, so I had to keep going!  By the fourth year the remaining trainees were ready to join the orchestra, and I took part in at least one concert in the Great Hall, with parents present.  The orchestra rehearsals took place once per week after school, and lasted one hour.    By that time the piano lessons had long-ceased as a waste of money, and I began to skip the odd orchestra practice.  I had to make sure my parent's suspicions were not aroused, so I spent the hour wandering round the city centre before catching the later bus home.  Carting the violin to and from school was a right nuisance, so I began to leave it in the corner of the hall with the spare school instruments.  When my parents queried this, I fed them a cock-and-bull story which, because I was such a plausible liar, they swallowed hook line and sinker.  I thought I was being clever by attending occasional practices after school to keep Bill  happy, but unbeknown to me the first of two calamities was about to befall me  (To be continued - Ed)

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
February 27th 2024

Wednesday 31 January 2024

Fwd: BONUS OWT Online February 2024

Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2024 at 12:53
Subject: BONUS OWT Online February 2024


I am pleased to announce that we now have so many contributions I am able to offer this bonus edition of OWT.  Please keep them coming so we can keep the memories of our old school alive!!!

EDITORIAL   Submissions are always welcome, subject to the following provisos:,
i) I reserve the right to edit articles if I consider it necessary.  Reasons include, to correct errors in grammar, punctuation or spelling;  to make an article more concise, and thus more readable; to remove any allegations against individuals, founded or unfounded; to remove any hurtful comments regarding individuals, founded or unfounded; tales of bad or illegal behaviour, however innocent they seem now!
ii)  Topics are basically restricted to your time at CBS, and/or your career path.  You can also include sporting activities etc. 
Having said all that, I wonder how many errors will creep into the text below!!
Please send contributions via email to   Text only, please.  Send photos direct to Frank via the facebook page.

ARNOLD 'DOC' BURROWS   The Doc's funeral took place on January 25th, and was attended by six Old Boys.  More details can be found on the fb page.

FROM CHRIS HOWE   Sad to read of the passing of Doc Burrows.  He helped a great number of pupils during his career.  During my time in the sixth form, 1963-65, he encouraged a small number of us to stay after school - I think it was Fridays - and attempt some of the preparations in the Finar organic chemistry text book.  He was doubtful as to whether or not they would work.  His advice to initially treat published data with some caution stood me in good stead.  I only forgot it once, during my naval and MoD career, and luck rather than judgement subsequently saved my bacon.  When I was offered a place at Leicester University, Doc was unimpressed and thought I could do better.  I think he had forgotten I was a linguistic moron, so could not pass the French 'O' level required by most universities at that time.  My late mother-in-law also remembered The Doc. It seems he carried the cross at her wedding in St Barnabas church, Humberstone, in 1945.

OBITUARIES   John Page informs us that Richard Thompson (1949-56) passed away January 8th 2023.
From Alan Pykett Sid Lee (1959-66) passed away around November 2022.  Sid had lived in Scotland for many years, most recently Jedburgh.  I met up with Sid in 2017, when he went to see Elgin City play.  I believe we were in the same forms for our seven years at CBS.
From Keith Brown  Dennis Brown (1953-59)  died in Toronto in 2017.  Although never a great academic (I have his school reports, which make rather amusing reading - they daren't write them like that any more!) he was a keen member of the school Army Cadet Force and an accomplished marksman, qualifying at Bisley in the one hundreds. Thwarted in his ambition to pursue an army career, Dennis did government research in early data communications, then emigrated to Canada in 1969.  He worked for Air Canada, ending up as a maintenance technician on flight simulators.  It was a job he loved, and always said it was the second-best job at Air Canada - after the President!  Working for the airline fostered his interest in aviation, and allowed him to indulge his passion for travel, which he did extensively.  Dennis was a keen amateur pilot with his own aeroplane, on which he lavished attention and indulged his passion for flying.  He retained a fondness for his old school, and attended the reunions when in this country at the appropriate time.  He succumbed to a rare form of cancer in June 2017.
Don Hillier passed away May 2022
Martin Fretter  1959-??
Passed away during September 2023.  Martin grew up in Thurnby Lodge, and worked in banking and electronics.  He celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in March 2023.  He was very active locally, particularly in matters of history, and until 2019 was editor of the LRFHS journal.  In his later years Martin developed health problems, and passed away in hospital.
From Trish Kenyon   My brother, Ron Melia, born 14.5.38, passed away on December 15th 2023.  He attended CBS from the age of eleven, but I don't think he stayed on in the sixth form.  I have often been asked about him.  (Trish was a very welcome and regular visitor at the reunions, and is one of two female honorary Wyvernians, the other being Stephanie Duggan - Ed)

FROM STEFAN WOZOWCZYK   1965-72   How wonderful that OWT has returned.  A couple of names excited me.  I'm not going to name the teacher, but I passed maths 'O' level in 1970 with grade 1 then two years later achieved a grade A at 'A' level.  It was my subject, but I could not have done it without the finest teacher I ever had.  He knows who he is!  But I will name Alan Eales.  He was a fine maths teacher in the sixth form, and is seldom mentioned.
They both might like to know I studied maths at university and failed horribly.  I spent the next fifty years wandering round the world.  I too ended up in Australia, perhaps we should form an ex-pats group?  I never lost the love of learning given to me by CBS.  Even now my wife sometimes gets up in the morning and tells me, 'You were up late last night.and been at them prime numbers again.'  Well, I can't help it!
I didn't know that Rob Willson's name had two L's.  We were in the same class and I too was on the SS Uganda   And my dad couldn't afford it either.

FROM ALAN MERCER   (Alan was a teacher at CBS in the early sixties.  Sadly, since he sent this item last year, Alan has passed away - Ed)  I wonder how many remember a ski trip to Hoch Solden, Austria, in 1963?  We 'lost' three pupils on the return journey.  Interestingly, in the staff room before the trip, it was suggested that if we did lose any boys they were the ideal candidates!  The instructions were to get on the ski lift, which only held four at a time, and meet in the valley below.  But the three culprits decided to walk down the mountain.  The snow was crisp up at the hotel, and the ground in Solden dry.  But n between it was slush, then mud.  Consequently we missed the local train to take us into Switzerland, where we would change to the Alberg Express at midnight.  The station master came to our rescue.  For a fee of 17 schillings they would stop the express.  It was a wonderful sight to see the sparks fly as the enormous engine was brought to a halt.  In the end it worked out far better, as we no longer had to change at midnight.  Perhaps after sixty years it's time to thank those boys!
On another topic, at lunchtime in the main staff room in Humberstone Gate there was a bridge school.  But at Elbow Lane we had a slate board for shove ha'penny  (The pub variety)  A young French teacher was very good, and admitted he had spent too many hours playing it whilst at Oxford.  He blamed it for his 4th class degree,, that being in the days before 2i and 2ii degrees were awarded.

FROM BRIAN STEVENSON  1959-65   I was sorry to hear that Alan Mercer had passed away.  As stated, he was one of the younger, less harsh teachers.  Although this occasionally exposed him to a bit of 'playing up' he was never in danger of completely losing control - as per Bill Sykes or Dickie Diack.  His nickname was Jasper, he taught me maths in 3 Alpha.  I still remember the time and trouble he took with me, as maths was not exactly my strong point.  He rapidly identified this weakness, and made a habit of taking me aside after a new maths topic was introduced and going through it patiently on an individual basis.  I've always been grateful for this, and I rank him as one of the two best maths teachers I encountered at the school The other was Basher Brewin, who had a somewhat different style but somehow he got this maths dimwit an 'O' level!

FROM JOHN PASIECZNIK  1971-78   (This was written in January 2023 - Ed)  My classmate Bruce Pegg (1971-78) has written a book covering sixty five years of rock and pop concerts at De Montfort Hall.  I attended the book launch at the Marquis of Wellington, London Road in November 2022.We had group photos taken inside and outside at the famous venue.  Bruce has included many people's memories of rock and pop concerts over six decades at the De Mont - stories about The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin.  Plus Leicester favourites Englebert and Showaddywaddy are all included.  There are also amazing photos of  tickets and a comprehensive list of concerts from 1957.  You can order Goin Down De Mont. A People's History of Concerts, for £19.99 via

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72   I was a member of Charnwood House, and being of a sometimes-obsessive sporting persuasion I was always keen to take part in as many inter-house events as possible.  However, Charnwood and Abbey always seemed to be over-powered by the might of Bradgate and/or De Montfort, especially on sports day, though I have no facts to back that up.  Time can cloud memories, but I have recollections of some fearful beatings, with the possible exception of cricket, during my seven years at the school.  So I took it upon myself to question the allocation process of first-year boys, as I was unhappy that Charnwood were always so short of sporting talent.  I think it was Ken Witts who told me that names were drawn out of a hat, by whom he did not know.  Maybe it was just during my time this disparity seemed to exist, or maybe the masters associated with Bradgate and De Montfort identified the sporty types and manipulated the system accordingly.  Surely not...  (I was allocated to Abbey 1959-64, but was never interested in any type of sport, though did enjoy cross-country.  My own recollection of that period is Abbey being very successful on the whole.  But I have no positive facts to back that up - Ed)

FROM DAVID BILLSDON   An enjoyable reunion (March 2023) when I met up some familiar faces and one or two I had not seen since 1966.  Several people queried the meaning of the school song chorus, here is the Google Translate effort.  Can any Latin scholar improve on it?
Vivat crescat in aeturnum floreat                    May it live and grow forever
Scola quam laudamus,                                    The school we praise                             
Primem lucem juventutius                              The first light of youth
Semper te amamus                                         We always love you

FROM NICK (NED) MILLER  1961-66   I discovered the Wyvernians web site pretty late in the day, and I hope someone can answer my enquiry.  Does anyone know the whereabouts of Mr Palmer, he was referred to as Arnold and/or Percy, I think, but I never knew his real name.  He was one of the history teachers in the mid to late sixties and organised Saturday treasure hunts.  They involved cycling from Downing Drive to East Leicestershire, searching for answers to history clues in various villages.

FROM JON PRITCHETT  1965-72   (A second contribution - Ed)  Thankfully smoking is now seen as more socially unacceptable than hitherto, but during my days at Downing Drive witnessed it often.  Sad to say I was one of the many who went to some lengths to enjoy a fag whilst in school uniform.  The bike sheds were the go-to sanctuary for a nicotine fix, though I recall a little recess to side, or rear, of the woodwork room which was also used.  In the summer one could wander off across the playing field, also in foggy weather, with minimal fear of detection, though I suspect the staff were well aware what was going on.There were periodic purges to catch the miscreants, one of whom (I think it was Ken Witts) developed a technique of flicking water under toilet doors, then presenting a detention to boys seen with wet shoes!  All quite laughable really, as whenever you had resson to visit the staff room, or worse, Jock Gilman's office, you were met with clouds of smoke when the door was opened.

FROM RICH WAKEFIELD  1961-69   (Rich's hat trick was to attend Elbow Lane, Humberstone Gate and Downing Drive - Ed)  Cast your minds back to a glorious afternoon (Come on chaps, try hard, you can do it...) and think of that sun and blue sky illuminating the lush grass of the Downing Drive sports field.  Visualise that grass gleaming greener and brighter than ever before.  An idyllic scene, in fact.
That lovely afternoon is very special, one of the great events that graced the school calendar.  A red-letter day, one looked forward to by the whole school.  Yes, it was the day that eleven noble masters, mainly from the younger end of the age spectrum, elected to reveal their knees.  In order to justify the spectacle of bare patellas a subterfuge was employed, that being a sporting football encounter between the bare-kneed staff and the school first eleven.
The game was going well.  The masters, though not as nimble and speedy as the boys, had experience and guile on their side.  The game remained tight, but then the masters pressed forward, swamping the first-eleven penalty area.  The defenders struggled to keep their goal intact.  Then suddenly, it happened.  A hefty boot sent the ball hurtling towards the halfway line, just inside the left-hand touchline.  It was an early demonstration of what the redoubtable Jackie Charlton referred to as the 'W' plan.  The ball rolled swiftly over the immaculate grass, getting closer to the attacking half of the pitch.  A first-eleven player was making good speed along the wing and gaining on the ball.  Sadly, he was unaware of the danger.  A fleet-footed master, Mr William Mann, was also making a bee-line for the ball from an oblique angle so unseen by the heroic first-elevener.
The crowd feared a collision or, even worse, that Mr Mann might reach the ball first thus depriving the first-eleven the chance of launching a major assault.  Then it happened.  A voice from the touchline alerted the first-elevener to the danger by calling, 'Watch out.  Don't let Bill get it!'  The now-bemused Mr Mann swivelled, at the risk of putting his hip out, and delayed his progress by waving an admonishing finger at the schoolboy who had raised the alarm. But to be fair, he also grinned widely.
This was the chink in the masters' armour.  The boy took possession of the ball and sped towards the goal  It looked like him versus the goalkeeper, as the entire masters' team was now stranded and making their laborious way back to stem the danger.  The race was unequal, with the boy putting more yards between himself and the labouring masters.  He finished his run in fine style by confidently stroking the ball into the net, to the joy of the crowd and the first-eleven.
And that, my friends, is how I came to 'assist' a goal for the school first-eleven from my position among the standees on the touchline.

AND FINALLY...  I too can claim a hat-trick, as I attended Lee Circle, Elbow Lane and Humberstone Gate.  The 1959 intake was the last to use the former British Restaurant 'huts', before they were demolished to make way for the multi-storey car park.  Boys watched  the work from The Pen, noting the novel use of tower cranes.  I recall the gas fires in the classrooms.  My desk was at the back of the room, directly in front of the fire, so I was often uncomfortably too warm.  The laboratory was also used as the hall, the staff room being nearby.  Wally Wardle was in charge.  During the intake's first morning, Wally burst into the room to enquire if any of us had an interest in joining the school orchestra.  It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to show a bit of enthusiasm, so without thinking it through I raised my hand.  It was a decision that led me into all sorts of trouble, both at home and at school.  I have told the sorry tale before, but it was many years ago so I will repeat it in a future OWT.

Dennis J Duggan  1959-64
February 2nd 2024