OCA UK – Spring 2013 Newsletter

Message from Mr. Peter Stringer

Our Secretary, Gursant Sandhu has invited me to relate my report adding to his Spring Newsletter.

Having said many times before as we grow older correspondence begins to wane. However, my efforts to tell the stories in our lives sometimes is not all that interesting. Life does slow down and slowly there is less to report. Meeting friends and making new acquaintances socially helps to keep going. So just to remind you – “KEEP THE SPIRIT OF BCS”.

Late as it maybe I thank you all for your Christmas wishes and New Year greetings and hope Santa hovered over your rooftops and sprinkled good cheer for 2013! Last year flashed by. Suddenly all at once comes to mind – tributes to our Sovereign Queen in her Jubilee Year celebrations, the British victories in both Olympics. Our own OCA (UK) successful Reunions here at Fairlands and the Bombay Brasserie. The Stringer family summer holiday in the Cotswolds. The faltering world economy and the US has given Obama another term (which I am sure did not please many). The ferocious hurricane storm Sandy we watched in horror on TV. Our own dreadful summer with devastating floods leaving thousands broken hearted and homeless and at Christmas time. And last 8th December recounts my arrival at London’s only international airport Heathrow 54 years ago. Stepping off the Iraqi Airways tin-bird and walking in the chilled evening air to the immigration check desk in a quaint building. Leaving the desert wilderness of northern Iraq, and down through Baghdad, having no clear idea of my future just ecstatic joy to finally be in Ole Blighty approaching the holiday Season. But my inner feeling sadly unsure, after making the desperate decision not to return to INDIA and my family, but to head West in search of better opportunities for my future career. These serious thoughts I have carried and always cherish the love of my dear late parents. Even today in England ‘fings aint wat they used to be!’ Gosh how times and things have changed– starting at Heathrow – beyond recognition and vast. London Town now manifests a towering skyline, roaring traffic, and populated with people from all over the world jabbering their own language. Lost is the articulate quintessential Englishness of Old England.

1st December 2012 OCA(UK) boy’s fun night-out winter Reunion at the Noura Restaurant in London’s posh district of Belgravia. Around thirty attended; young and younger OCs was a delight to meet, unable to record all the names. Adding a little Lebanese sophistication to the venue we were pleasantly entertained by a youthful beautiful belly dancer. Greatly enjoyed, the evening was organised by Chairman Kuljinder Singh Bahia and Secretary Gursant Sandhu.
Heading the list of veterans were Lance Jones L 36-39 (who will clock 89 this year-came with his son), Peter Tavers (R 42-45), Gay Niblett (R40-47), Raj Lamba (L49-59), brothers David and Homer Gill (L 66-73), Rana Dattar Singh (L), Vijay Bhalaik who recently attended his 25 Year Reunion at BCS-telling us the School was looking good. His parting shot was OCs from all chapters should begin to address a profile to improve the grade of teaching staff at Patina.

The status of teacher’s job in a school is defined by more than just pay. It is actually the respect we give that roll and how to encourage them to enter, cope and stay. In my school years we had respectable and dedicated masters who strictly maintained discipline and fairness throughout. Above this I had the love of my parents and a truly grateful for their vision in choosing to send me to BCS. Exclusive and very fortunate – favoured from among umpteen millions, to attend such an institution situated in outstanding and delightful elevated surroundings, with such clement weather.

I am heartened to hear the exchange students with Marlborough will full operate from April. Thanks to the great effort and valuable time Gay and DC have spent. Gay very kindly keeps me in his circle by e-mail (through my daughter Marnie), phone and letter. Jal Boga in Canada who regularly corresponds by e-mail too (through Marnie) hopes someday to visit Simla one last time. Peter Johans in Switzerland expresses the same wish and tries to coax me to accompany. Coincidentally Elisabeth and Peter Johans came over to spend the month of February in their English home at Walberton. We were planning, as they asked us to spend a few days with them. Peter rang, surprisingly back in Switzerland; Elisabeth’s mother who I believe is 92 had quite suddenly taken ill – pray all is well.

Sheila Reed was over one afternoon having visited her daughter Caroline, near Esher. She has penciled in Saturday 4th May for OCs get-together at her cottage in Barford, Warwickshire.

Arthur Jones and I are in regular contact over weekends on the phone. He has moved into a bungalow after selling his house in Fulbourne, Cambridge to be closer to his daughter Julie. He rang telling me to watch the NDTV program as Ruskin Bond (BCS ex-pupil) was on-Walking the Talk. Very good, I last saw Ruskin in 2004 in Mussoori. He is such a congenial easygoing fella.

Vinny Nanda and Raja Lamba are the only younger OCs who chat to me over the phone now and then. They tell me they do not hold any committee meetings like we used to at Vinny’s home. We did enjoy all those occasions and the Indian Khana later.

John and Catherine Phillips keep regular contact and last December Catherine celebrated a milestone birthday inviting Clive and Shirley Hardie, Elisabeth Evans (late Lumboo’s wife), Evelyn Petters (late Malcolm Petters wife who was on holiday from Perth Australia) and Maggie and I. Elisabeth fully animated recounted her month of charity work teaching and stay at a young children’s orphanage close outside New Delhi. Occasionally I have a call from Dactaree Allan Bapty who tells he hears by e-mail from Peter Maidment (40s) who would like news about our UK Chapter. Wendy Dewan rings from New Delhi with long exchanges and Napinder Chahal Singh from Patiala rang to wish me a happy 80thBirthday! His brother Joginder and Dorothy Chahal returned earlier in the month after spending over six weeks with them in Indiaaah! Joggy informs me the Patiala wallas that I met on my trips are slowly beginning to fade away. I sometimes receive calls from Albert Morley (I 42-47) outside Perth AUZ. (Albert was my mentor in his father’s company career training me as a ground-drilling engineer). Johnny McLaughlin in Michigan and Deep Sidhu in New Jersey correspond to my letters. Canadians Paul Jones in Vancouver and Gerry Godhino in Toronto have dropped off my radar. I was delighted to receive news with a Christmas card from Kathleen and Bunny Price (I 32-40) in Ontario who were moving house to downsize. (Kathleen is late Freddy Brown’s sister).

Fascinatingly surprised is how our BSC fraternity in England has survived-(established in 1928). The Spirit of our chapter lives on even after my 66 years leaving Patina and knowing my fellow contemporaries. Is that not something we can be proud of? What is more amazing, is when I consider many now in our 80’s and still share this common unique distinction!!

I’ll raise a toast to that and may it continue.

Finally, to add more good news – Puneet Singh has returned from Paris and joins the Fold again and willingly takes up stewardship as our Association Treasurer. March 23rd, Maggie and I have been invited to Shirley and Clive Hardie’s Diamond Anniversary (Clive was my House Lefroy and School Captain 1947).

D.V. Wednesday 26thJune, Maggie and I will host our Fairlands ‘Khana on the Lawn’ from OCs=please let us know if you will come? TILL THEN look forward to meet at the Reunion.

Message from Mr Gay Niblett

I am writing to let everyone know how we are getting on with the pupil exchange programme between BCS and Marlborough College.

Last year Max Adams and Rory Manley from Marlborough spent a long and very successful time at BCS on the first exchange. They later joined OCs at the Bombay Brasserie for the Annual Lunch.

This year Sam Green and Hugo Wilson went to BCS from 15 February for a month. However, prior to going up to BCS they were entertained at the HQ of Anand Group India in Delhi, having received the hospitality of Mr Deep C. Anand’s guest quarters in Gurgaon. A Reception was organised by Mr K.C. Anand where the Master of Marlborough College, Mr Jonathan Leigh and his wife Emma were Guests of Honour, along with the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, (an Old Cottonian himself) Virbhadra Singh (Ibbetson). The Headmaster of BCS, Mr Roy Robinson and his wife came down from Shimla to be at the Reception along with a number of distinguished OCs and their wives. Speeches were made and the Master and his wife were given a number of mementoes from BCS including the book celebrating our 150 years. In all, a most successful gathering to help cement the bond between our two schools and their Heads. Hugo and Sam were accompanied up to the School and are living and working there under the eye of Mr Praveen Dharma who has been the liaison office in BCS, working with Mr Mark McVeigh – International Liaison Coordinator for Marlborough College. These two gentlemen, along with Mr K.C. Anand are now involved in ensuring that Raghav Gandhi, School Captain of BCS and his fellow pupil Manvendra Tomar, obtain their travel visas for the UK and then make their journey there on 20 April. They will be met, looked after and spend a month in Marlborough College as the first boys from BCS to live and enjoy the experience of life there.

This programme has been the result of the work, dedication and support of the Master of Marlborough College together with Mr McVeigh (who will be joining Marlborough College, Malaysia in August as 2nd Master). Background assistance has come from Mr Martin Evans, Secretary of the Old Marlburians and Jane Pendry, Alumni Relations Manager of the Marlburian Club. From BCS we have the support of the Headmaster Mr Roy Robinson and Mr Praveen Dharma. Mr K.C. Anand has helped in the promotion and organising of the boys, their parents and various officials and Mr Deep C. Anand has been most generous in putting up the Marlburians and providing his HQ for the Reception.

All these people are acting in the promotion of a closer relationship between our two schools. It is helping to provide opportunities for boys of both schools to gain experience outside their home environment in a new country which will stand them in good stead for not only their higher education but for life in this very globalised world in which we all now live.

A vote of thanks to them all. Hopefully we shall see all four of these boys at our Reunion Lunch in London at the end of June, when we might also have the Master of Marlborough and his wife as our guests.

Message from Kuljinder Bahia (Lefroy 1990)

Greetings to all the Old Cottonians. We had a successful summer 2012 and an action packed winter 2012 reunion. It gives me great pleasure that so many Old Cottonians attended the 2012 reunions and I hope that the summer 2013 renuion will also be attended by many from mainland United Kingdom and also from overseas. For me (and I hope for all the OC’s), the reunions are remarkable in the sense that they kindle memories of my school days spent in the “crowned hills” and these memories bring tremendous joy.  I hope that we can keep the OCA UK Chapter alive and build upon the foundations of the hard work of Mr Peter Stringer, Mr Gay Niblett and all the other dedicated OC’s.  I look forward to our summer 2013 annual luncheon and I hope to see all of you there.

Note from Gursant Sandhu (Ibbetson 1983-1990)

Details for the OCA (UK) Chapter’s Annual Summer Reunion are as follows:

Date : Saturday 29th June 2013

Time: 12:00 hrs

Venue: The Bombay Brassiere (off Gloucester Road Tube Station).

I request all OC’s to attend and to complete the attached attendance slip and return to me.  I take this opportunity to thank all OC’s who took time from their busy schedule to attend the 2012 annual Luncheon and also to those who attended the 2012 winter reunion.  I also wish to thank Mrinal Vijay, a younger OC, who has helped in getting this newsletter to your doorstep.

Details of Committee members:

  1. Chairman: Kuljinder Singh Bahia, Palmoak House, 19 South Road, Southall, Middlesex UB1 1SU  Tel: + 07801181044 e: kuljinder@southalltravel.co.uk
  2. Senior Committee Member: Raj Lamba 12, Western Court, Huntley Drive, London N3 1NX    Tel:+44 20 8349 1041
  3. Senior Committee Member: Vinod Nanda, 37 Melbury Avenue, Norwood Green, Southall, Middlesex UB2 4HS     Tel: + 44 20 8843 0027 e:vinod@tata.co.uk
  4. Secretary: Gursant Sandhu  86 Cranbrook Rise, Illford Essex IG1 4PD Tel: + 44 7788 716525      e:gursant@yahoo.com; gs@lloydsolicitors.co.uk
  5. Treasurer: TBA

2 thoughts on “OCA UK – Spring 2013 Newsletter

  1. Richard D'Abreu

    The oc’s UK newsletter is welcome reading for me and a few of the OC’s in Australia. I especially relate to the messages from Peter Stringer, whose brother John I knew as a friend and sparing partner in my days at BCS. and Gay Niblett The names David Tavers, John Phillips (in the same Curzon House as I was) the late Malcolm Petters wife Evelyn, , Freddy Brown whom I knew both as a Cottonian and then later my House Master, Peter Maidment whom I talk with on Skype every week, he lives in Sydney. I shall be meeting up with him in November when my old 79 Squadron holds a four day reunion in Sydney. I look forward to these newsletters from time to time……Cheers…..Dick D’Abreu…Curzon 1936 – 1946. .

  2. Deepak Thakur

    Peter Stringer: Even if ‘fings aint wat they used to be!’ it was a great pleasure to hear from you and all the other Older OCs in the Newsletter Report. As you so rightly said, “KEEP THE SPIRIT OF BCS.” Three Cheers to Patina. Deepak Thakur, Rivaz 1964-73

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