Tag Archives: Peter A Stringer

Letters from Gay Niblett and Peter Stringer / OCA UK

Thank you for all your information, keeping us up-to-date with the various Chapters in India. It is good to hear how well they are flourishing, keeping the spirit of BCS burning strong.

I am adding two reports from Peter Stringer, now retired, long-standing Hon. Secretary and myself.

Please keep the information flowing. Both the old and new OCs treasure all the news.

With best regards,
Yours truly
Gay Niblett
Hon. Life President


On a lovely summers day there was a healthy gathering of OCs, at the Bombay Brasserie, where a spirit of change and renewal filled the air. Chairman Kuljinder Bahia, had prepared a surprise for us all. He had invited one of his old teachers from BCS as a special guest – the diminutive but beautifully spoken Hindi teacher – Mr V S Bhardwaj.

Mr Bhardwaj gave – without notes – an eloquent and emotional speech, which brought tears to the eyes of many of the young – and old OCs. He spoke of his humble beginnings – chiming with India’s new Prime Minister – and his gratitude to BCS for accepting him and teachers and pupils alike – taking him to their hearts. He stressed his pride in being a Member of the BCS teaching staff and his undying loyalty to the School. He then read a letter of greetings from the Headmaster, Mr R C Robinson – who had encouraged him to accept the invitation to be with the OCA (UK).

This was a “first” in the ongoing exchange of pupils and (soon, we hope, Masters) between BCS and Marlborough College. We have had pupils from the two schools visiting their opposite numbers. This visit by a BCS teacher, will, we hope be the precursor to the BCS Headmaster’s visit next year to Marlborough College, where a Memorandum of Agreement will be signed by the two Heads to layout a permanent future plan for the exchange of pupils and teachers between the two schools. A reduction the costs of visas between the two countries would certainly help!

The other surprise, was also a “first” – a short, speech by Peter Stringer – our retired but still very active, Hon. Secretary, who, earlier, with his wife Maggie, had held their last pre-Annual OCA lunch party at their home. We are all going to miss this wonderful informal gathering. However, Sheila Reed, widow of Bob Reed, continues, with the help of her lovely family, to hold her annual luncheon party at her home, at the beginning of May.

Peter Stringer, writes of the many old boys who attended, along with visitors and the joyous spirit of the young boys, who in increasing members, are attending under the encouragement of the new Chairman, and the Committee of Gursant Sandhu, Treasurer Puneet Singh, Vijay Bhailak and old stalwart Raj Lamba. A big thank you as well to all the OCs who travelled from India to attend – wish that, more of us older members could reciprocate! Peter Johans and wife also travelled over from Switzerland!

Best wishes to you all

Gay Niblett
Hon. Life President OCA (UK)

2014 Letter from Peter Stringer

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 2012 get-together Newsletter


2012 is moving on, MAY & JUNE have come and gone, but the inclement weather still persists. Reviewing these past two months our Old Cottonian fraternity awoke from winter slumber. Believing in March the unusual warm spell herald an early summer – no – no – no!

Nevertheless, late Bobby Reed’s wife Sheila and family invite to their “afternoon at home” ‘Watchbury Cottage’ in Warwickshire, May 5th brought OCs together – Gay Niblett (R 40-47) Catherine & John Phillips (C 39-44) Arthur Jones (L42-48) Raj Lamba (L 49-59) Susan & Bambi Maljumdar (I 56-59) Joan & Jess Pudwell (C 42-47) Paddy Singh (C 53-59) Jagat Aulakh (R 58-66) Dorothy & Joginder Chahal (C 44-50) Maggie and I.

30th May the Himalayan Hill Schools Reunion at the Clay Oven at Alperton near Wembley a handful of OCs attended this biannual occasion – Allan Bapty (R 36-44) John Stringer (L 42-45) Peter Travers (R 42-45) Gay Niblett (R 40-47) Paddy Singh (C 53-59) Elisabeth & Peter Johans (I 44-48) Maggie and I.

The weeklong Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fulfilled the loyal Royalist dream of splendour. The nation rose to the occasion as we watched on television the mighty flotilla of over a 1000 boats sail with Her Majesty along the Thames. The pageantry continued celebrating with thanks a Royal concert, a very special blessing in St Paul’s Cathedral and then a RAF Fly Past. Deep depression was relieved in spirit as Britain smiled with pride followed another Saturday later at the Trooping of the Colours.

Finally OCs smiled too in JUNE on the last Saturday a wholesome gathering at our annual favourite choice – The Bombay Brasserie. Yes we too can celebrate with tradition and honest pride recalling our school days in dear PATINA nestled among the pines down Knollswood Spur Simla EAST! I pause for thought to remind you of the penultimate meet of a few OCs the Wednesday 27th before, at Fairlands Whyteleafe. Maggie & I host our ‘khana on the lawn’ and thank the heavens the sun did shine. Attended – Peter Travers (R 42-45) three veteran Rivazites arrived in style a chauffer driven black limo – Humayun Khan (40-47) Gay Niblett (40-47) and Deep C Anand (47-51). Elisabeth & Peter Johannes Raj Lamba (L 49-59) late Bobby Reed’s wife Sheila, Gursant Sandhu (our new Secretary) and his charming wife. From LaMartinea – Cris Kishanan, his wife Pat and a lady friend from Switzerland. To complete the list Paddy Singh (C 53-59) keeping Indian time as usual arrived after everyone had left at 7pm. I fussed with drinks and Maggie attended his late khana!

What I must add before this bulletin closes – my heart is filled with gladness to have shared another happy and joyful OCA (UK) Reunion. Then I realize that apart from my immediate family, this probably is an important relationship in my retired life. At that luncheon I found the platform is set for the future and a stronger OCA brotherhood. We have chosen well a young Chairman and Secretary that understand the powerful BCS bond that cuts across the generations for your support. So remember using a Kennedy metaphor “Not what OCA can do for you — but what you can do for OCA”. . Each member is important and support is paramount.

OVERCOME EVIL WITH GOOD and God Bless our UK Association.

Enjoy the coming months; hope to meet some of you this year and meet you all again in 2013.

CHEERS from an old LEFROY boy

Peter A Stringer (L 43-47)

OCA UK committee meeting – Feb 2011

At the request of our new chairman Vivek Bhasin I attended a committee meeting on 12/2/11.  We gathered at the home of Vinod Nanda in Norwood Green, Southall, Middx.

Picture: Left to Right are : Vinod Nanda (L59-68) ~ Sam Grewal ~ John Whitmarsh-Knight  ~ Daljit Singh Jaijee (R47-54) ~ Raj Lamba (L49-59)  ~ Vivek Bhasin (L61-70) ~ Rana Data Singh (L 50s) ~  Gursant Sandhu (New Secretary).
Front : Gursaant Singh (C95-00) ~ Puneet Singh (C91-00, Treasurer).

Reunion Luncheon at the Bombay Brasserie is on 25 June 2011.

Best regards
Peter Stringer

Changes… Transitions…. [OCA UK]

Saturday 26th June 2010:

(Capt. Vivek Bhasin : Chairman OCA (UK Chapter)

From Kindergarden to Transition and then to Lower I……
Isn’t that’s the way all Cottonians start?
The OCA (UK) Chapter’s Annual Lunch at Bombay Brasserie was attended by 45 OCs and their wives; in my case my Mother and Brother ( an OC stalwart) accompanied me.
It was my Mother who packed my trunk and my bedding roll, gave me my red attache case and putting on me Black  ‘ tuffies’ shoes from Bata, tying my laces put me on the Howrah-Kalka Mail on the 5th of March 1961……..at the age of FIVE……… The Old Cottonian   has come a long way.

Having accepted the position of Chairman of the Old Cottonians Association  United Kingdom on this date, I wish to first Thank all my Seniors; especially:

-Allan Gay Niblett-Chairman OCA (UK) who is now appointed as Honorary Life President; indeed the most remarkable and dedicated Chairman in the history of the Association. Unfailing in his responsibilities, he makes at least 12 trips a year to London from his Mallorca Home; nearly always at his own time and expense; personally writing such meaningful and intelligent letters in his most beautiful handwriting and ensuring that whatever he says…’will be done….for the Good of the OCA….for the Good of BCS’. To me he is a Father, a mentor and a true true friend. Christine….you are Beautiful.

-Peter Stringer-Secretary of the OCA (UK) who breathes the Simla Air and has dedicated his 150 years( yes he is 150)  for his love of BCS-he too has stepped down,( but I am not releasing him in a hurry). Peter lives in Whyteleafe and has steadily over time, built a small museum of BCS in his pretty home. Maggie his Dear Wife has given him a study where he sits, thinks, paints….Bishop Cotton forever…. To me he is my Rock of Ages.  Maggie we love you.

– Raj Lamba:   A Hard Core Cottonian who always supports and is part of the Committee….permanently.

– Vinod Nanda: The hardest of the core…..a fellow Lefroyian…..Guts and Glory……A committee member…permanently.  Over the last 10 years he has always been there..offering his home for us to attend meetings before we move on to an authentic north Indian khaana at Southall.  Rosy we appreciate it all…… we really do.

-Arthur Jones: A wonderful wonderful person…..always there; Peter Stringer’s true bother in arms…at home and in the pub……God! We do miss Shirley.

-Ken Richards:….motoring down from Marlborough….until… until then….we know how life goes through its changes…..the mind is willing but the body is weak….the last angrez speaking Hindustani…never forgotten.

– John & Katherine Phillips:  John… Tall, bold, Mighty……decisive….and the delicate but firm Katherine. The OCA (UK) will always need you…..for a lot more. Your hard work and sincerity is always appreciated.

– Peter Evans (Lamboo):…….He may live in Amsterdam….and is a more in-depth painter than Van Gogh….A PILLAR of BCS..ageless….forever. His strength is what drives all of us….onwards.

– Bob Myers: A tower of strength; his knowledge and planning excellence knows no bounds.  He too keeps BCS always on his mind…on his agenda.

Shiela Reed: A true Lady Cottonian; yes she is. No doubt.

……and so so many more Seniors whose faces, whose actions,  I can never forget……    Dr Daljit Singh…never ever failing to be there. Thank you Sir.

Dr Humayun Khan……Hashim Khan Esq,…..in a complex world….you make it look …So Very Easy….

On behalf of ALL Cottonians far and wide…… I Salute You ALL.

AND NOW…….(into Transition to a newer and younger generation)…

-Young Puneet Singh:   The numbers Kid…..(Treasurer)….!!! A ROCK, BISON
-Young Gursant Singh…
-Young Gursant Sidhu…..
-Young Mrinal Vijay..
-Young Bunti Singh..
-Young Kuljinder Singh  Bahia…
-Young Rana Datar
-Young Bhawani Singh
-Young Mohit Chowdhury
-Young Marshal Brar
-Young Chaku Talwar
-Young Siddha
-Young Samson Rathur
-Young Ladinkima….

AND every  young, youthful OC who in a way is omnipresent here in the UK.


We need to come together more often..
Very good suggestions and ideas flow from the young….We need to Listen, we need to sit together and make this work…..for ourselves, for future OCs and for Bishop Cotton School.

Lets also be frank and open.. We need Cottonians who have the infrastructure, organisation, financial capacity to come forward and assist whenever/wherever possible.

1. We need to have at least 4 to 6 get togethers here in London. Suggestions are Welcome!!
2. Culminate in the Annual Get Together on the Last Saturday of June every year..
3. As suggested the ‘out-of -towners’ and the younger chaps in College need to be supported by way of  subsidised travel/accommodation to attend the same.

In clear terms,   every OC in the UK is part and parcel of the Association. Every OC visiting the UK must make contact..
Networking plays a great part in today’s world.
The OCs worldwide form one of the greatest networks..we need to develop this further.

We are Blessed and Proud that  we were Born Cottonians.
Lets make the most of it! Help each other….Help our School  and enjoy ourselves

May God Bless the OCA (UK) and Bishop Cotton School.

My Sincerely Regards

Capt. Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy 1961-1970
The Old Cottonians Association, United Kingdom