I would like to take this opportunity to send cordial fraternal good wishes for a happy & successful Reunion OCA Delhi next Saturday.Would you be kind enough to add my sadness on behalf of OCAUK:Last evening I received a call from Les Homer (L 43-49) in Bristol to say Ron Plunkett (C 43-50) passed away at 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon in Somerset after a prolonged illness.Pauline with love & devotion nursed him through those years.After leaving school the first time I met Ron again was at attending my first OC Reunion on Oxford Street about 1971. From that meet Ron, Les, Arthur Jones (L 42-48) & I remained in close contact. Ron joined the Metropolitan Police force and retired as Superintendent & settled into a charming homestead on Porlock Hill Somerset. Maggie & I and sometimes accompanied by Shirley & Arthur Jones spent many long weekends and on occasion Sylvia & Les Homer would join all of us. Happy Days & us guys recalling school years & tales of India while our wives rehearsed their exchanges. Pauline & Ron attended all the OCA lunches till Ron could no longer travel after moving to resettle in nearby Allicombe. Phone calls, letters & cards replaced contact & our presence.I can recall the significant return to Patina OCAUK Chairman Dick Bayliss, Ron Plunkett, Arthur Jones & myself made June 1992. DC Anand kindly sponsored & made arrangement with late SM Jain to make our experience an outstanding visit. For all of us an historic moment struck that gave the arrowhead to the Spirit of BCS across the globe.We shall miss Ron and send our united condolence to Pauline, son Shaun and daughter Melanie – bless him another Curzonite to be remembered.Thank youPeter Stringer (Lefroy 43-47)
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)
PETER TRAVERS (Rivaz 1942-45)
Instead of happy Season greetings sorry to be the barer of sad news.
In our post this morning I received a letter from Alison Price, daughter of Peter Travers – Peter passed away 10 December in Woking.
I have managed to make contact and received details –
A Cremation service is at Woking Crematorium. Hermitage Road GU21 8TJ 28 December at 11.45 am
Would you (Gursant of OCA UK) be kind enough to make arrangements for an OCA(UK) floral tribute or you might prefer me to do the necessary giving Puneet permission to meet cost from funds.
There is every chance that I will attend the service with any other OCs who may wish to join me.
Please let me know early as it is the holiday season.
We must cherish & keep the Old Cottonian Spirit.
In the next few days I will send you an obituary please post it on the web :
Peter left when I joined the Main School from Prep. in 1945. Honestly I cannot recall when first meeting Peter in England when he joined our London chapter.
From the start, even though not remembering him in school, we formed a close friendship.
I found Peter a genuine nice guy – a quintessential gentleman, mild mannered and always ready to join in conversation. He often regaled me with many stories – two come to mind. Late Derek Rogers (C 42-45) & Peter at one time were close neighbours in Lucknow. Their signal (send & read) learnt when scouts were used to communicate from each other’s homes by flashing mirrors much to the latent intrigue of parents.
Peter’s boyhood spent in India was rudely dispelled when he arrived with his family in Liverpool docks – grey, dank dark & foggy miserable no sun and no warmth. People in dark clothing, sinister in appearance as everyone hurried past. He longed for India intensely!
He always attended the Reunion Lunches after joining the fold. He was welcome and came to many of our ‘Lunch on-the-lawn at Fairlands’ and a few more to taste Maggie’s curry specials. On many occasions we met at the Himalayan Hill Schools Reunion and latterly he would join me on invitation to the Sherwood College Reunions held in a Croydon Church hall.
Passed away 10 December —We shall miss him he was a fine fellow! Cordial condolence to his daughter Alison Price and Chris his son.
On behalf of Old Cottonians UK.
Peter Stringer (L 43-47)
Subject: URGENT – OCA – ERIC INDRA NATH WAUGHRAY DOB 27 JAN 1932 – SAD NEWS
Dear Puneet Singh and Gursant Sandhu
My father (above) was an OCA member for many years.
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.
Hon. Life President
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)