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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)

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

OCA UK Newsletter – Winter 2011

OCA (UK) Winter News letter

Capt. Vivek C.Bhasin
Greetings from the OCA (UK) Chapter

Greetings Dear Old Cottonians here in the UK and those across the Channel in Europe, those across the pond in the Americas both South, Central and North, those in the Middle East, in the great African Continent, the Indian ,Pakistan and Bangladesh Sub-Continent, SE Asia, The Far East and Oz and New Zealand.. ( I guess I have covered the Globe!)

We are in the third week  of December 2011 and its still beach weather here in Surrey….!! Though the trees have turned in to solid gold, red and pink and come raining down as I take my walks along the Thames here off Weybridge.  The mercury is languishing on its hammock and it’s a mild 10C, though the weather Gods predict, the milder it stays for a longer period the harder the on coming winter will be.  Yes it just snowed in the North and Scotland.

The year is rapidly passing by. …I have been admonished by Peter Stringer Sahib for running late with the newsletter and so its pen to paper.

Our Summer Luncheon on the last Saturday of June 2011 was a grand success and the congregation of Old Cottonians was indeed an amazing and welcome sight at the Bombay Brasserie. The diehards continue to make it across from the US, Australia, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Pakistan and India. We remain ever grateful to all who made it; especially D.C Anand, Anil and Lena Mehra, Ronny and Mrs Das, ALL our Seniors and Juniors, AND  Anil Bhasin, Homer Gill and Kuljinder Bahia( it requires tact and diplomacy to coax these three dudes to attend!) Also young Charanji, who is doing his Hotel Management in Switzerland.  Special tributes were paid to the Ladies by yours truly; these sweet and gentle wives of us OC’s who have endured and tolerated us through the ages… without them we would still be in shorts, house shirts, gym shoes and holes in our socks, forgetting to brush our teeth and apply Vaseline on our faces!

Our committee has not met that often but I appreciate the constant contact with Gursant Sandhu Secretary and Puneet Singh Treasurer. Sam Grewal another die-hard OC has set up the OCA (UK) Face Book page where all are welcome to become friends!!

I know for a fact that both Senior Committee members Raj Lamba and Vinod Nanda are always at our beck and call whenever we need them. Many young OC’s were invited by Senior OC Dr Daljit Jaijee and his wife Mohinder Pal to the Hounslow Gurdwara in October 2011 to spend some very divine moments in the midst of prayer and song.  Daljit’s Son and daughter-in-law were visiting from Australia and it was a wonderful evening spending time with the family. Daljit’s beautiful and gentle daughter too did a great job in organizing the event.  OCs who attended were Raj Mohinder Singh from Delhi, Rana Datar, Sam Grewal, Gursant Sandhu, Puneet Singh.

On Friday 02 December 2011 I drove down to Whyteleafe to meet Maggie and Peter Saheb. We spent a few hours enjoying each other’s company and I relished the samosas and the ‘Gaajar ka halwa’ that Peter had made especially for the occasion.  Que Rico!!

Honorary Life President Allan Gay Niblett continues to be a pillar of great strength to the fraternity. He has taken upon himself the task of strengthening ties between BCS and Marlborough College.

LETTERS from Old Cottonians:

So what I now wish to do is leave ample space for Allan Gay Niblett Esq., as he writes to me; his letter has great significance and is please be taken as addressed to ALL  of us: Continue reading

OCA UK Newsletter : Spring 2011


Old Cottonians Association (United Kingdom) Spring Letter 2011

Message from: Chairman Captain Vivek Bhasin ( Lefroy 1961-1970)
Greetings fellow Cottonians, our esteemed Seniors and our ambitious juniors residing in the United Kingdom or for that matter anywhere on this planet or in outer space.
It is soon coming to a year since I took over command of the good ship OCA (UK) from an incredible, passionate and philanthropic gentleman Alan Gay Niblett, who steered and guided this chapter for over a decade. Gay serves as Honorary Life President and continues in his very generous ways, helping and assisting our fraternity. His present object/project is to establish a firm foundation between Bishop Cotton School and Marlborough College. There are numerous possibilities in a joint-venture and studies towards various opportunities are being under taken.

At the same time rock steady pillar Peter Stringer also decided to step down and hand over the reigns to Gursant Sandhu, a young lawyer.  Peter again has ‘ not-been-given-permission-to leave’ and will always be part of the committee. It is he who still maintains contacts with the seniors and makes it a point to attend get togethers of fraternities of the Great Himalayan hill schools here in the UK [……]

Read/download the entire letter here.

Message from the Chairman [OCA UK]

Dear Fellow Old Cottonians,

As you know the OCA(United Kingdom) is the oldest fraternity in the Bishop Cotton School Shimla family.
It behooves all Old Cottonians residing, working,studying and visiting the UK to get in touch with any one of the listed members below and come forward to further strengthen our association. Our Seniors have handed over the Baton to a younger set and it is going to take a lot of hard work; be it coaxing and insistence to ensure the Flag of BCS continues to fly here in the UK. We therefore seek the young generation to come forward, make contact and express their thoughts and ideas. What is a tremendous advantage to all OCs are our connections; networking is so important in today’s fast moving world and the OCA (UK) gives us all wonderful opportunities to connect, seek help and advise and in some cases possible placemnt in industry.


As a start be it known and recorded that a very informal get together is being planned in London in early April 2011. The venue cover food, drinks, music and dance and we encourage all OCs to join in with their wives and girl friends for fun and frolic.
Place & date to be advised.

The Annual OCA (UK) Lunch is confirmed for Saturday 25th June 2011/1200 hrs at Bombay Brasserie (near the Gloucester Road Tube Station), London.
More details will be advised in the next coming months.

In the meantime..
The Weather in London this Sunday evening, 23rd Jan 2011 at 2130 hrs:
Cloudy with temperatures of 7C

My Kindest Regards,
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
Chairman OCA (United Kingdom)