Tag Archives: News Letter

Keeping the BCS SPIRIT

Wishing Old Cottonians where ever you are
A VERY HAPPY NEW Year.

Since I discovered OCA (UK) in 1972 I have attended every Annual Reunion under the Chairmanships of Dick Bayliss, Tony Sinha and Gay Niblett, Vivek Bhasin & Kuljinder Bahia.
That is a proud record of an ordinary pupil of Bishop Cotton School in Simla.
Completely unaware of the Association’s existence when I first arrived in England on a cold winter’s afternoon in December 1958 and made my way to the home of a girlfriend from New Delhi, living in Brighton.

My elder Brother John Stringer (L42-45) who many years later followed me to London was employed by a refrigeration service company. After completing his service duties at the then great departmental store of Elyes of Wimbledon he was directed to the manager’s office of Mr. Elye-Dodds. Taken by surprised to find it was no other but Sparrow Dodds (I 40s). ‘Spaggy’ gave my brother information details of the Old Cottonians’ annual reunions organised by Lumboo Woods the legend co-founder of our School’s Association (London Chapter). Unfortunately I have never met Dodds at any reunion.

For me all this discovery has been a profound experience and pleasure. It created outside my family and working life an endearing circle of dear chums brought on from our unique heritage and formal school years. Sorry to recall that my eyes moisten up when rekindling memories of individuals, so many of them that are no longer with us. I will not recall their names – many of them older before I was born and some even far older; a very ‘chota’ youngster, compared to the Bigsters we called the Seniors during my School years.

All a rewarding relationship that has inspired me after taking over hesitantly the reins of the UK Fraternity when Ted Cuzen deposited the books and files of the Association on the table in front of Chairman Dick Bayliss. It was the year after Ted’s retirement, as Head Teacher for a parochial school of Inner London at Clarkenwell. At that Reunion perhaps no more than a dozen OCs and some wives were present over 30 years ago at the public house, The Merlin Caves around the corner from Ted Cuzen’s place of work. It was Dick Bayliss with his gentle manner and direct approach that guided me to the stewardship of Secretary and Treasurer. Luni Dunne, Roy Nissen and Henry Lincoln championed me and I was forced to accept this official undertaking. With my wife Margaret’s help we held it together and Dick the Godfather steering us on. Maggie’s domestic commitments forced her to hand over the Funds & Treasury to veteran Henry Lincoln for awhile. Our numbers kept steady and from nowhere Anil Bhasin (C 62-69) appeared. He at the time owned in family partnership the Green Park Hotel off Piccadilly. With him he ushered in younger OC life & generously offered to stage our future Annual Luncheon in the Green Park Hotel at much reduced cost.

Dick Bayliss and I ceased the opportunity and embraced the influx of younger Indian Old Cottonians. We formed a committee of six in all. Dick, Tony Sinha, Vinod Nanda, Kamal Behal, Tony Verma and yours fraternally!!

By this time OCA India began to take note. Deep C Anand was President elect OCA New Delhi and Surinder Jain his Secretary. OCs late Mudoo McBean and Robert Reed with Arthur Jones (L 42-49) and their wives visited BCS on an organised tour by an old Sanawarian in 1990. Spearheading the welcome Col. Bill Dewan and some other OCs in Simla and New Delhi promoted closer links. DC Anand sent SM Jain to attend our 1991 Reunion at the Green Park Hotel with open invitations and persuade our Chairman and me to come out to India and visit the School. All paid for and settled they flew us out, Ron Plunkett (C 43-50) and Arthur Jones accompanied us, at their own expense – 1992.

It was a poignant visit filled with nostalgia – dear Dick was our treasure (returning 70 years after leaving Patina) and I coming back after 45 years brought a tear to my eyes as I walked across the “First” flat. It was even more emotional when departing back to Delhi and the lump in my throat was staunch. We had presented an English oak Shield (I had designed and carried to Simla) -Dick presented it to further encourage learning; it now features as The Bayliss Challenge Shield.

Setting the trend in motion I have returned with parties to Simla in 1994, ’97 and 2000, with Maggie; 2004 in a smaller party and by myself in 2006.

Finally in 2009 we joined in the eventful Sesquicentennial Founder’s Celebrations. Every visit has been warmer and the response closer, meeting many OCs and making good acquaintances. A chapter of my life has harvested sheer joy and shared with Old Cottonians of all ages and scattered around the globe.

I have personally met the last two and present Headmaster and have tried to offer my support without interference.

At the Reunion Luncheon 2006 members of OCA(UK) in London honoured me handsomely for my diligent tenure as Secretary. The main donation endorsed my own finance and encouragement from Johnny McLaughlin (I 41-48) to visit North America with my Maggie. What an epic adventure! John made all the arrangements – Helen & John met us when we landed at Detroit and welcomed us to their home in Williamston. We four attended a Canadian OCs Reunion in Toronto.

A fleeting stopover at Niagara Falls, before returning south of the border to sleep the night and then John drove us down to New Jersey. Stayed a few days at the home of Gurdip Sidhu (L 48-52) & affectionate wife Jagdish – taking in the sights of New York & Liberty! On to Maryland to meet with, once ex-Treasurer Kamal Behal (I 58-67) and his charming wife Nawel, staying at their home. A whistle-stop-tour of Washington – onto a lunch in Virginia with a few more OCs, followed next day a long drive back to Michigan.

Resting up days for Maggie – two of us flew down to Gracelands. Three day stopover then we flew to LA to join again with Johnny. Staying a few days doing the sights & finally for a Dinner Reunion with OC Californians on Wiltshire Avenue. Up in the air next morning we followed the Rockies to Vancouver. Met with Paul Jones (L 36-46) – spending a few more days & finally to meet at a Lunch Reunion with West Canadian resident OCs. Lucky to meet a Stringer cousin Paul arranged to meet in his penthouse flat. Our return was a long tiresome flight back through Dallas to Michigan. Few more days rest with Helen & John in Williamston – too soon IT was all over & we crossed the Pond for Home.

Old Cottonians have come and found us; we have extensively laboured to locate others. We found some of them and our numbers increased and then we lose some, but life must go on. Through the years we have held Reunions at Steak Houses, Public Houses, The Overseas Club, Veeraswamy Restaurant, The Green Park Hotel, The Cumberland Hotel, The Regent Hotel, The Bombay Palace and the Bombay Brasserie. Year on year the Committee guided by each Chairman has boldly achieved success, the Luncheon better every time. But without doubt Marlborough College, in the name of our Founder, has secured a divine place in our hearts and unforgettable. For me the Commemorative Service in the magnificent College Chapel lifted our hearts and voices to remind us of our dear Holy Trinity Chapel and years at BCS. What a dignified honour to the man George Edward Lynch Cotton after 150 years founding our place of learning.

We pray for the good and future of Bishop Cotton School, Marlborough College and Rugby School the strength in fellowship grows to usefulness to one another.

Grateful thanks to everyone for giving me the honoured privilege & experience

OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD

Peter A Stringer (L43-47)

OCA UK Newsletter 2016

Dear OCs

How quickly our Annual OCA(UK) lunch seems to come around. I must really be getting older – certainly our younger members resemble more my grandchildren. However, there are still some tough old birds about – like Lance Jones in his ninety second year and still rooting for Arsenal – and that takes some loyalty.

I was in Delhi on St. Valentines’ Day at the OCA(India) gathering with some 200 other OCs and their wives. A beautiful sunny day in the magnificent grounds of Deep C. Anand’s office HQ. All the House flags were raised and Dark and Light blue cotton screens surrounded the white, table-cloth covered tables and the serving tables, heaving with dishes from all parts of India and of course, the extra busy table laden with drinks.

Chairman Sukhi Singh valiantly tried to say a few words above the never-ceasing chatter which was only silenced with our Chairman got hold of the microphone and demanded quiet in order that the brief speeches could be heard. Of course OCA(India) also had its old and respected ninety-year old General Bhatria present – looking in fine form. I was kindly presented with a model of the School building which our Chairman was able to bring back to the UK.

There were quite a number of young OCs, but sadly the Headmaster was unable to be there as he had to be at the School to invigilate the last year exams there.

Meanwhile back at in the UK, our Chairman, Kuljinder Bahia, was being presented with the Asian Business of the Year 2016 Award as C.E.O. of Southall Travel, by Mrs Priti Patel, Employment Minister, at the prestigious Asian Awards Dinner. During the ceremony the Asian Rich List was also announced and Kuljinder was named 19th Richest Asian in UK.

Our Chairman continues to expand his Company and their destinations but never forgets his duties to the OCA and his old school. He is now getting the Pupil and Masters Exchange Programme underway and investing in the School at the same time.

We hope that once more there will be a good turnout at our annual luncheon which is to be held on Saturday 25th June (11am onwards) at the Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London SW7 4QH.

With best wishes to you and your families.
Yours sincerely,
Gay Niblett
Hon. Life President
OCA(UK)

OCA Reunion (batch of 1989)
By Gursant Sandhu – Ibbetson House

I am so glad that I could make it for the Old Cottonians 1989 batch Silver Jubilee celebrations in Shimla, 18th – 20th September 2015. I would like to share my experience with you so I have written this short article.

Firstly, I along with my batch mates are ever so grateful and indebted to our respected Headmaster, Mr Robinson who opened the School gates and hosted us for three days. We very much appreciate that our reunion was during a busy period in the School Calendar. My batch mates and I would also like to thank Mr & Mrs Robinson for all their hospitality. A very special thank you to all the Teachers, Administrative Staff, non-teaching Staff and also to all the young Cottonians who made our experience such a memorable one.

As soon as Kuljinder Bahia and I landed at Chandigarh airport on 16th September, we were greeted at the airport exit by Kamal Kishore. Although this greeting was meant to be a brief one, we had Kamal Kishore travelling with us to Shimla and his boxing skills from our School days could not defend or match Kuljinder’s persuasive skills. In the next 24 hours, there were lots of phone calls finding out where our batch mates were, who is travelling with whom, have they left Chandigarh, what time will everyone be in Shimla etc. – the excitement was building up as some of us, for one reason or another, had not met since passing out of School. On the 17thSeptember, Sam Grewal was speeding up to Shimla with Amit Bakshi, Sukhtep Arora and Ankur Rohtagi in one car followed by many others. By about 8pm on the 17th, we were under one roof – at The Marina Hotel.

The first day (18th September) of our visit to School kick started with a very touching and a heart-warming chapel service. The Headmaster in his speech confirmed that Kuljinder Bahia has donated 50 lakh rupees to the School and that these funds are held in the School’s Bank Account. From the Chapel we headed to the main Dining Hall for tea and a game of football which was of course won by the young Cottonians. Although we were beaten, some of us bruised by falls, and admittedly followed by days of muscle and joint aches and pains, it was nonetheless the spirit of the game and the participation which we enjoyed. Seeing some familiar faces on the first flat after the game, namely Mr Robin Sinha and Mrs Kaul bought back some lovely memories.

I hope that the interaction session between the 1989 batch and the Upper Sixth Form was productive for the budding Cottonians who will very shortly leap into a very competitive world. Ideas about business, professions, academic routes, self-development etc. were raised. General aspects of life in School, the Cottonian brotherhood, inculcating discipline and English speaking within the campus were also touched upon. Visits to Chelsea, St Bede’s College, Auckland House, town leave etc. did not go amiss. Mr and Mrs Robinson opened the doors of the Headmaster’s Lodge for us for some enjoyable drinks (as a student, a visit to the Headmaster’s Officer or Lodge meant some serious and deep trouble!) followed by Headmaster’s Dinner in the Irwin Hall. The whole day was full of activities, interaction and was thoroughly exciting.

Although we had a very long and tiring first day, we kept to our punctual timing and were on the first floor flat at 10am on the 18th September. Our match with the School XI cricket team started at 10.30, winning the toss we elected to bat first. The game which was witnessed by the whole School, Teaching and Administrative Staff did go in favour of the School team. Nitin Arora bowled very well and I could hear the cheering from the Cottonians, which included the shouts of “c’mon He-Man” (being Nitin’s school name). These cheers were probably instigated by the bubbly and jovial Abhinav Sikka (a keen tennis player from Kullu) and Inderpal Singh Dhillon. Rakesh Thakur badly injured his finger. Many catches were dropped by us, including one by yours truly. All the action was caught by Amit Bakshi on his camera.

Lunch on the second day was also in the main Dining Hall. It was delicious! There was then a brief stopover at Mr Bhardwaj’s office where we verified our ICSE marks as there was some banter about some students claiming more marks than what they had achieved, flicked through The Cottonian, general gup-shup. We had a few hours to kill post lunch, so most of us headed back to our nests. The masseur at Hotel Marina had a rather profitable day, given that by this time everyone was queuing for his service. Late afternoon, we witnessed a very competitive and enjoyable Inter-House Hindi Play Competition – a great job by all the students who participated, the organisers and the House Masters. At the request of the Upper Sixth Form boys, Kuljinder Bahia approached the Headmaster for town leave. This was immediately granted, so a good result for the boys. Another sumptuous dinner was laid for us in the main Dining Hall.

Day three (20th September) began with a Campus Tour. The Junior School has since 1989 been completely transformed. It was so nice to see Mrs Modi still active in her duties. Immediately after the Campus Tour, Kuljinder very generously donated an additional 10 lakh rupees for the development of Lefroy House cubicles! We enjoyed another lunch in School, this time with all the main school boys.

We hosted a dinner at Hotel Marina for the Headmaster, Head of Junior School, Senior Master, Second Master, Bursar, Administrative Officer, House Masters and all the teaching staff. By the time we started, the Shimla weather turned for good from a light drizzle to a dry one (although slightly cold). It was an honour for us that the such a large number of invitees attended. The Headmaster distributed souvenir plates, which had been sent all the way from Delhi by the OCA Delhi Chapter.

Kuljinder Bahia’s action of gifting 60 lakh rupees to the School is praise worthy. It takes a huge heart to make such a generous gift, irrespective of how successful one is in his business or stable in his financial affairs. I hope that Kuljinder Bahia continues to contribute to his Alma Mater not only financially but also with his experience as successful entrepreneur. He is also liaising with the Marlborough College regarding an exchange programme for students and teachers, and we all hope that it materialises.

I take this opportunity to thank Mr Vijay Bhardwaj for many things, which include his dedication to the School and its past and present student’s, for always motivating and showing his students the correct and righteous path and for his politeness and humbleness. I have liaised with Mr Bhardwaj over the last 12 months or so trying to organise dates etc. for the reunion and as always I am grateful for the time he has given me, his guidance and support.

Thank you to Mr Dhaliwal, Mr Dinesh Thakur, Mr Danny Singh and Mr Gurprit Singh for their unbiased umpiring!

A big cheer and thank you to Mr Praveen Dharma for his time and effort in co-ordinating and supervising all the activities.

Kuljinder, Dhiraj Sardana and I left Shimla early morning on the 21st September. Never shall I forget the memories attached to my batch reunion. Still kindled and strong are those friendships and bonds – which will never die. I carried along the School Service book which I read regularly.

Please forgive me if I have missed anyone or any important aspects in this article, given that I had compiled this article under some time constraints

Before I conclude, I must thank those batch mates who made it to the reunion, including the day scholars and for all those OC’s who contributed towards the dinner hosted at the Marina Hotel. Sukhtep Singh, Pronthep (Pawanjeet) Singh and Umesh Pandey came all the way from Thailand, so the OCA Thailand Chapter survives! I look forward to meeting all of you again, hopefully for the OCA (UK) reunion on 25 June 2016 in London.

All OC’s and their family members are invited to attend OCA (UK) annual lunch, which is to be held on Saturday 25 June 2016 at the Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London (closest underground station is Gloucester Road)

OCA [UK] Spring Newsletter 2014

OCA UK NEWSLETTERAnother year and the silent roll call goes out to all our members and guests – come and share the afternoon Reunion luncheon at our favourite venue The Bombay Brasserie on SATURDAY 28th June.

May I now take the opportunity to thank you for your Christmas cards and good wishes, and all your letters and correspondence keeping me in touch?

The southern Britain and especially the coastline has taken some punishment from the fierce Atlantic weather blowing in with much flooding and disruptive high winds.  In Surrey many areas are still under flood warnings.  Whyteleafe lays in the Caterham Valley where streams join the River Bourne and one such runs through a culvert that gurgles away under the perimeter fringe of our bungalow lounge.  Before reaching us it flooded the gardens and seeped into homes that lie on the left hand side, three times water washed over into our first lawn.

The third, Valentine’s Day was the worst – rapidly rising up over our patio, hastily I opened the rear and front garage doors, flooding our front garden and allowing it out into the main road.  The A22 the main route that is our Godstone Road, into Purley and Croydon has been closed completely for some time.  I did read somewhere this is the Chinese year of the Horse and they predict a drought!!

The ocean white horses have blown high 40-foot waves along Devon and Cornwall as we watched on TV, sad for poor souls in the Somerset levels.  The deep snow covering North America has caused loss of life and hardship.  California is suffering drought weather and the record hot temperatures Downunder – does it not tell us global weather pattern has altered by carbon emission causing climate warming.  Universal drastic measures immediately should be enforced or we shall all call for Noah and his Ark!!

Before I move on there are some dates of some interest for your diary…

Saturday 3rd May OC’s are invited to late Bobby Reed (R 41-47) wife Sheila’s “Day @ Home” – Watchbury Cottage, Barford, Warwickshire

Wednesday 28th May The Himalayan Hill Schools Reunion at the Clay Oven. ALPERTON.

Wednesday 25th June Maggie & I will host our final “khana on the lawn”.  Just to remind you – if you can make it, or not been before – you will not be disappointed.  Please let me know?

Recently I was talking with Secretary Gursant Sandhu who informs me that new BCS school leavers to the UK is drying up.  This is direct Government stricter visa sanction to colleges and university and increased enrolment fees.  Will this see the demise of OCA UK chapter that begun in 1928?  My ears herald the words an elderly OC years gone by disclosed ‘Old Cottonians do not die, they just fade away’.  Or as Lumboo Evans used to say – “we must carry on dancing!”  So I am looking forward to seeing many of you in June. Napinder Singh Chahal rang me on Christmas Day to tell me of a celebration party for his grandson (17 years) who had conquered Everest earlier last year.  This appeals to my youthful conscious years at Patina.  Always marvelled at seniors trekking down the khud and up to the summit of Taradevi and back in time for Sunday Evening Chapel.  I did not mature to a senior leaving at 14 end of 1947.  Astonished at the young generation who are groomed and encouraged by their schools to embrace such undertakings.  My head and heart begin to rejoice whenever memories come flooding back from Simzy.  Those lovely nature walks down through pine-woodlands.  I am reminded listening to birds chirping in our garden, an endless source of re-countable memories; count myself lucky my parents, choosing to send me to BCS.  It was not only the classroom education but also the all-round instruction of discipline, good manners and behaviour, honesty and courage with other development for our future.  Taught by dedicated masters who were remarkable individuals and I pray BCS still abide by the age-old traditions.

With these endearing thoughts I shall begin the countdown to JUNE when we shall all meet again and exchange our news, share and evoke old memories.  Wishing you all a cheerful happy good 2014 Barra Salaams!

Yours fraternally,
Peter Stringer (Lefroy 1943-47)

Dear Old Cottonians

I have continued my efforts with the Pupil Exchange Programme between BCS and Marlborough College. Two Marlburions Douglas Seaton and James McPherson, spent a month in BCS – having quite an adventure getting there, as the road to Shimla was blocked by snow and they had to spend a night at a hotel. Sadly, the two BCS boys – the School Captain and House Captain – both Rivazites – keen to perform to their House Motto ‘Sirvamus’ were unable to make Marlborough. It was decided by Marlborough, with BCS agreeing, that last year pupils, would be unable to let boys back at school have the information and experience related to them, as they left school without returning for another year. It was thought it better if 1st year VIth Formers went, starting maybe next year. Meanwhile, the BCS Headmaster would spend some time at Marlborough and would then be able to plan future trips.

Meanwhile, we hope Mr Robinson will be able to take up the invitations, issued by our Chairman Kuljinder Singh Bahia to join us at our Annual Lunch.

Older OC’s are still meeting with others in smaller groups as at Mrs Sheila Reed’s house. We hope our younger leavers will find time to join us at our Annual gathering at the Bombay Brasserie.

With best wishes to all OC’s around the world.

Best regards.

Yours sincerely
GAY NIBLETT
Hon. Life President
OCA (UK)

Dear Old Cottonians

I am sure that all OC’s are looking forward to our June 2014 reunion. I was fortunate to meet Mr Niblett twice during his recent visit in March to London, and Mr Stringer kindly invited me to his home in Whytleafe for an afternoon of “gup-shup” and tea – also in March. The initial meeting with Mr Niblett was also attended by our chairman, Mr Bahia. Several issues were discussed in our meetings, and I have been requested to summarise the main issues, which are listed below for your information –

  1. There was a general fall in numbers for our June 2013 reunion. Like previous years our reservation at the Bombay Brasserie was for 80 people, but the turnout was a much lower figure. OCA (UK) had to dip into its savings, to pay for the extra covers which were stipulated. I would be most grateful if you could confirm whether or not you will be attending this year.  An acknowledgement slip accompanies this newsletter. However, you can also intimate your attendance or non-attendance, as the case may be, by sending an e-mail to gs@notarypublicgs.co.uk; call 07788716525 or send a text to the same number.
  2. Bombay Brasserie will charge us £28.50 per person for food.
  3. This year we will have to purchase our own drinks from the Bar at the Bombay Brasserie. We believe this would be the most cost effective and a fair manner in which each of us in charged. The following should give you an indication of the cost of drinks, but please note that this is for indicative purposes only.
    1.      Bottle of house white / red wine – £24.20
    2.      125ml glass of house white / red wine – £6.60
    3.      Beer – £6.60
    4.      Soft drinks – £3.30

However, to kick start and warm up our reunion, Mr Niblett, our Chairman Mr Bahia, and younger OC’s will pay for 10 bottles of wine for all the OC’s to enjoy.

  1. Mr Robinson, the current Head Master and Mr Bhardwaj Acharya who is a Hindi teacher at BCS have been invited to attend this year’s June reunion.
  2. Mr Niblett carries on with this tremendous and great work in respect of the student exchange programme between BCS and Marlborough College. Mr Niblett has also mooted the idea that we should invite two students from BCS for the next year’s reunion, one being whosoever is the top sportsperson and the other the top academic. This would no doubt be subject to permission being granted from the Head Master, the boys’ parents and visa being granted. This was endorsed by Mr Bahia, Mr Stringer and I, as we believe that it would be motivational for Cottonians to perform well and also beneficial for the school.
  3. I would be grateful if you could check towards the end of April 2014 with other OC’s in your circle/contact as to whether or not they have received this newsletter.  If you become aware that anyone has been missed out, then please let me know.
  4. The winter reunion was attended by 20 OC’s. It was an enjoyable evening and the attendees of the 2012 and 2013 winter reunions will no doubt spread the word as to how good these were!!! Lots of food, wine and dancing!!!
  5. Our newsletter with details of the next winter reunion will be sent to you by end October 2014, and the reunion will be either on 6th or 13th December 2014. Time and venue will be confirmed in due course.

With kindest regards.

Yours
Gursant Sandhu

When I Look Back
(By Mrinal Vijay)

As I lay back now to reflect on those twelve precious years that I spent in Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, I become more conscious of how important this place or institution has become in my life. It was truly a great experience to have been able to study at a hundred and fifty four year old school.

Being part of this institution (1993-2005) was the biggest achievement that I could have earned in all my twelve years of schooling. Everyday used to be a great sense of responsibility and accountability. I learned from everything I did in my last year of schooling, from day to day, from class to class and from person to person.

The life in school is the most unforgettable parts in any individual’s life, which leaves an indelible impression on one’s life. A recollection of memories built in school is cherished forever and talking about them always tend to bring a smile on both the narrator and the listener. School days are indeed blithe days without any worry for hearth or home. There is only one work to do, and that is to study and then play, makes friends and indulges in all sorts of pranks. The exploits done during these years are a delight to recall in later life.

Discipline, punctuality, dress and decorum are the other hallmarks of school life. Though at times one has to bear the force of their ruggedness, they leave an ineradicable imprint, by making one more convivial and disciplined in life. The punishments for a group or individual misconduct or mischief are also happy experiences, which one cherishes and recounts with nostalgia in later life. That is the euphoria of the moment, that even in punishment one finds joy and amusement.

Apart from academics, there is time to cultivate the friendship, which last a lifetime. One learns to appreciate the spirit of brotherhood and teamwork, which are the essence of school life. This is amply demonstrated in the playing field. The worst of enemies turn out to be the best of friends at the end of the day. School life teaches one the importance of teamwork and inculcates a sense of loyalty and devotion to the group.

My school will always be an important place because,

The school has been a Friend…….. a Comrade,

A support that I will always have,

Through sunshine and storm, I’ve kept my calm,

A hundred and fifty four years to the rescue,

Day and night we carried on,

And in return, I was the carried one.

In the days of valette……………

Time was ticking like a countdown clock, and……

There have been twelve years of love in my every tear drop.

Hundred and fifty years on our shoulders IT rested,

Twelve years on ITS shoulders I rested.

This is why the school is not a preparation of our lives……….It is Life.

In the end, all good things must come to an end, in the hope for better things to come. And all better things must come to an end too, because the best is yet to come.

One cannot but agree with Robert Frost’s vivid expression of such sentiments when said, “The woods are dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

———————————————————————————————————————

Details of our 2014 annual reunion are as follows –

Date      28 June 2014 (Saturday)

Time     11.00 am onwards

Venue   Bombay Brasserie, Courtfield Road, London SW7 4QH

The closest station is Gloucester Road.

——————————————————————————

OCA UK Newsletter 2013

Once again our Secretary, Gursant Sandhu requested me to send in an account for his Winter Newsletter. Collecting my thoughts and reminding you the Spirit of BCS still dwells within and my passion continues for dear Patina and the fraternity.

Indubitably we have enjoyed a glorious dryer summer after the previous awfully wet years. Remarkable events and performances scattered over the months of 2013 deserve high recognition in each of our own historic diaries and will long be remembered.

Sovereign Queen Elizabeth gracefully achieved a milestone for Britain’s Monarch of history. Meanwhile OCA (UK) encourages us to attend the Reunion after another successful occasion. Remarkably again the younger OC set outnumbered the old guard register as fewer veterans rally to support our very unique social chapter and may it flourish in the new life. Andy Murray finally captured the British Wimbledon Victory the nation has long waited for. Chris Froome the second Brit to win the French Tour after Bradley Wiggins last year. Winning the Ashes now does make the Aussies look upto us. What better to round off Britain will one day again have a King George, as the media have driven everybody crazy before and after the birth. Bless Him!

Moving on and into the Cottonian circle one must believe and engage the The Association, as we come together in closer fellowship. I have found over the years my contact with OCs here and abroad has brought much joy. Sadness too as OC lives have expended. This year, Des Sardar (R45) in New Delhi and my dear friend Ken Richards (L 38-45) Wiltshire in April. I truly miss the fellow, as our friendship grew after the connection made through Marlborough College. We shared many happy hours here at Fairlands and Ken’s home in Oare. Together we travelled to New Delhi, Chandigarh and upto Simla and returning via Patiala and renewing old acquaintances. Ken kept us entertained, capturing hearts along the way, with endless acting, he truly was a showman singer, charming and delightful character.

Unfortunately I did not attend his funeral and fully respect his family’s reserve of commitment. At the invitation of his wife Nikky, for OCs to come to the Special Tribute Day for Ken and his life, Maggie and I accompanied by John McLaughlin attended. Around 50 relatives and friends gathered at his home on a lovely afternoon, 20 July. We will always remember him.

Johnny McLaughlin (I41-48) who lives in Williamston Michigan was unable to attend the Annual June Reunion. Earlier regrettably Helen his wife fell over and broke her upper right arm. As Helen slowly recuperated and returned from re-hab gave John his chance to fly over. The two weeks break fulfilled a dual purpose. His elder cousin Jack Creswell (BCS Bangalore) and his wife live in Australia and visit their English home each summer. Last year the Creswell’s could not make it. John felt it imperative to meet them and stay with his other cousin Margaret Christie who lives near them. Staying with us for the start, he tells me he did enjoy our undivided company and hospitality. My main concern at the time was the debilitating severe pain in my right hip. Thank you John for your kind consideration and the time we spent gathering old memories. John dropped me a note telling me he was off to Toronto, 28 September. Jerry Godhino was pulling OCs together again, after completing advance studies in financial planning. What news?

Reminding of late OC tributes Sheila Reed faithfully held the family open house meeting for OCs on 4 May, entering the seventh year of Bobby Reed (R41-46) passing. Daughters Caroline and Jancis doing the honours of looking after nine OCs and seven wives. Maggie and I usually stay over from the Saturday. Kindly Sheila drove us over to Sue and Bambi Mujamdar (I56-59) suburb of Birmingham on the Monday for a late lunch on a beautiful summer afternoon. Starting with sipping champagne in the sunshine and dining on good food and wine. Great hosts, another great day!

1 June I attended a Sherwood College Reunion, held in a church hall in East Croydon. Having attended quite a few over the years made familiar acquaintances, our meeting link threads with Indiaaah. Recounting and exchanging the many similar experiences and tales of happier childhood days. Remarkably a much younger ex-scholar expressed his thoughts to me, in words to the effect, life in India during our era must have a wonderful place as he listened to shared memories, how refreshingly true. I must say the Sherwood Reunions are rather informal and really a meaningful mixture of the meeting both in minds and personalities that share in a unique background. A common heritage we cherish with sincerity and admiration for the education we received and the respect we were taught and above all the love our parents gave us. Just to attend this annual event all that is expected is bring a dish of Indian nosh and perhaps a donation gift for the raffle, if you wish to oblige. Believe me the buffet table when laid out (about 20 feet) has a truly delightful choice of mouth watering khana. If you like alcohol, bring your own other refreshment were plenty.
Our Fairlands khana on the lawn was well down on OCs, still did not deter us from the enjoyment of the assembled good company and the weather held out. One must be prepared for the falling numbers. Well She or won’t Maggie support my School chums Whyteleafe meeting new year?

I am still in awe from the morning, many weeks ago I took a call from Napingder Singh (C43-50) in Patiala. Nappy’s grandson who is a student in Sanawar and only 16, had that morning at 4.20am, first of his six accompanying peers to ascend the summit of Mount Everest. Absolute incredible, when as boys, we up in Simla, it was some feat to khud-walk down from school and hike up Taradevi Hill.

I received this years School Pictures Calendar, the month of April printed in bold, Bishop Cotton School Shimla The First School in India to introduce scuba diving. Amazed how outreaching advances schools are progressing and I marvel at youth today, the world at their feet and how swift they are mastering the computer age. IT for me is moving too fast for mu capability as I can just about cope tapping out this letter on my computer.

Nap’s younger brother Joginder Chahal (44-50) and charming wife Dorothy dropped by on the way from an Aunts 99th Birthday celebration to meeting a friend in Hillingdon, middle of August. I listened with interest as Jog (an agnostic) explained involvement in Dorothy’s local church. Telling me the church warden, away on holiday and the lady Vicar, strict on her time limit appearances, why, he unwittingly drafted in, coped with the Church event. My latent answer was that he was a good BCS boy! I also received an e mail message passed to Chris Kishanan (ex La Martinea) from Vivek Bhasin to say his daughter has made him a grandfather. Congratulations and welcome to the special club!

Gay Niblett (R40-47) is cruising the Med after fostering encouraging closer relationship for BCS with Marlborough College. Doctari Allan Bapty (R36-44) keeps contact over the telephone from deep Devon. Arthur Jones (L42-49) has settled into his bungalow after much refurbishment. Vinny Nanda (L58-66) chats with me over the phone and tells me he sometimes meets up with Anil Bhasin (C62-69). I also get a call from Rajah Lamba (L49-59) sometimes and also hear from Paddy Singh (C53-59) in Wiltshire. I often chat with my old school captain Clive Hardie (L40-45) or his charming wife Shirley. John Phillips (C39-44) rings and brings me up to date. Pete Travers calls from Woking to gather news. Another school captain Jal Boga (C45-53) is presently spending a holiday in Karachi from his home in Canada. Albert Morley (I42-47) an old cam padre lives in Western Australia was visiting his sick sister, who lives in Banbury. He stayed with us for a few days. We met up after leaving school in Calcutta. Albert was working for his father, who ran his own water well drilling company. Al persuaded his ole man to take me on as an apprentice. Always very thankful for setting me off on my feet and moving on in the drilling business that started with Albert in East Bengal, on to Bihar, UP the Punjab, Iraq, Iran, Libya and the UK. Thank you Albert as we reminisced of school life and our early working years together, vivid memories that do not fade with age!

The falling leaves tell me 2014 is fast closing in, before closing this epistle let me wish you all A MERRY CHRISTMAS and PROSPEROUS HAPPY NEW YEAR and adding , that whatever is good for you gets better.

Yours fraternally
Peter A Stringer (LEFROY 43 – 47)