OCA UNITED KINGDOM – ANNUAL REUNION LUNCH 2009

OCA UNITED KINGDOM
ANNUAL REUNION LUNCH

MARLBOROUGH COLLEGE
MARLBOROUGH
WILTSHIRE SN8

Time:           11:00 am
Charges:      £ 25 with drink refreshments
Dress:          Tie and Blazer or lounge suits please  

Chairman’s Letter

The great day is upon us – 1st July 2009.

Old Cottonians are gathering from East and West, from India, Pakistan, Europe, Canada and the USA for this once in (our) lifetime meeting.

We have the most privileged venue of Marlborough College – thanks to the kind invitation of the Master.   The Head Masters of Rugby School and Westminster School will join him and his staff; the two other schools where Bishop Cotton taught and was taught.   We also hope to have His Excellency the High Commissioner for India with us as well as members of the BCS Board of Governors – Deep C. Anand (Chairman OCA India) and Anil Mehera and from Pakistan Dr. Humayun Khan – former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador and (Director Commonwealth Foundation).

We shall have a Memorial Service and the Annual Cricket Match to see between Marlborough & Rugby.   For this OCA(UK) is presenting the Bishop Cotton Challenge Cup, in future to be contested annually. And after a celebratory glass of Cava, an excellent lunch and tea before returning home when stumps are drawn for the day.

All this for a modest £25 per head.

A free coach service from London will take you to and from Marlborough College.   Please let us know now urgently if you need a seat (s) on the coach.   Pickup point Hyde Park Corner Time 8:30 Definite departure by 9:am.

So come and join us with your family.   We look forward to seeing you on this historic occasion.

Yours sincerely

Gay Niblett.

 

Secretary’s notes

Well here we are the year we have talked about, the year we have waited for and One Hundred and Fifty years ago when George Edward Lynch Cotton scanned the Simla hills and  founded the School at Jatog. It later moved to the present site on the spur of Knollswood above the old tiny village of Patina – (my Seniors informed me and I believe them).

So we have decided to mark this special year in the history of OCA(UK) and for that matter dear BCS as well.    

With our members we have proudly held the Association together since its formation in 1929 by the late ex-Headmaster

Rev. J.R. Peacey MA, MC. (1927-35), while on home leave and with some very senior Old Cottonians.

It is with a lot of thought from the committee and tireless effort from your Chairman that we decided to dedicate this year to our School Founder celebrating with emotive gratitude for our own formative years spent at PATINA.

Our Chairman persevered to include the three Head Masters of Westminster, Rugby and Marlborough (as in his letter). Unfortunately Headmaster Mr. Roy C. Robinson has had to decline as he has too many commitments already.  Old Cottonians are proud of their heritage to be associated to this jeweled necklace and hope the link never diminishes over the years.

We hope to gather at Marlborough College the largest number of OCs from around the Globe and the UK and trusting many of you willingly fulfil our ambitious request to come and join with us.  

 Wednesday 1st July 2009 and make it a great Day.   

We understand the credit downturn may prove difficult for some to be adsum.  Here and now we ask again for those of us who can afford to give that little extra – please do?    We will be grateful for your gracious donations.     We also know of those who are still studying and working to make arrangements to take that day off! 

For those of you who have never attended the Annual Reunion, for whatever reason, please come and I promise you will share a new and genuine experience.    

As we focus on this year’s events around our Alma Mater I urge all OCs who receive this Newsletter or hear of it, please persuade other OCs to join in.   It is a Roundup call that we expect will bring us together and give an abiding opportunity to rediscover the past, exchange memories and recount experiences and rekindle the inner young spirit – in every man there is a forgotten boy!    I do believe for quite a few it will be the ultimate time we get the chance to all meet. This will be even more true for those of us who are still able to return to Simla in October.     I count myself extremely lucky to have returned several times in the recent past.    But this return for sure will be awesome.    BCS and OCA India are jointly preparing to put on the finest show of events.    We want and warmly wish that these 2009 engagements will be cherished and lasting.    Perhaps they will renew a page in our life’s chapter raising us above the doom and gloom we all presently face today.

The OCA(UK) main celebration venue will be held at Marlborough College Wednesday 1st July 2009.
This replaces the annual Reunion Luncheon that has been a fixture for the last Saturday in June.
(Please make a note of this.    Follow the information you should have received and PLEASE send in your replies).

For those who are interested to attend celebration events at BCS 2nd-6th October 2009

  • A reserved OCA train from Kalka to Simla on 2nd October
  • Release of a 150 year history journal of the School
  • Musical evening by a National / International band
  • Three Gala dinners and Two Lunches at BCS
  • Post & Telegraph India will strike a new commemorative stamp.

 Please advise us of your wishes.    If you require any further information please do not hesitate or delay to ask.    This would be of great help in co-ordination of numbers and movement.    

 

Vivek Bhasin (L 61-70) … What Bishop Cotton School means to me   The year 2009

Echoes of the past constantly enter my head, from a young squealing little five year old entering Linlithgow to the little chump and later teenager.    Having finished my ISC at the tender age of 15 I left School after Sixth Form wearing a rag of a Lefroy shirt, a rusted metal badge and my roll number that could have well been tattooed on my arm – forever 123.

Today Sunday 8th March 2009 and the time 20:27 hrs UTC* as I sit here in Weybridge Surrey.   Outside its windy as though the ‘ winds of doom just howl and moan’.    A shiver runs down my spine and a feeling of melancholia envelopes me.    I am not sure at this moment if it is sadness or remembering something from the past that flashes by and the echoes return.   It’s been 37 years since I left, with a song in my heart – singing  ‘we sing of days now past and gone, we sing of days to be…!’

I seem to connect everything to my days in School – my life, my work, my friends, someone winning a golf tournament, the birth of my children… someone in hospital – in anguish, in a dilemma, upset …. the happy, elated, overjoyed and all the good stuff that goes with it……..

I realize then what it feels to be an eagle flying high in the sky with 6/6 vision – and down there on terra firma, the land may looked parch I can see these tiny creatures emerging from all over.   They arrive as little boys and as they approach the entrance gates now they have matured.    Some clean shaven, some with shaven heads, some beards – full, some with goatees, some having wigs, some walk with sprightly energy, some lumbering along with old walking sticks and some with Burberry umbrellas.  Some in blazers and flannels and wearing School ties.   They congregate in large numbers from parched plains, from the hills and valleys, from across oceans, from neighbouring borders, from roof tops and next door.    The eagle up high accepts this moment of truth…. Nay …. He ain’t going to swoop down with claws and flaming beak … never at this time.   Full well he knows what a Reunion of such great significance means to these men.   They are coming around full circle.   He then stretches his wing and soars higher and higher!

Its now time for Bishop Cotton School to celebrate 150 Years  …. Its time for the Boys to worship in the Chapel, the ground, the flats, the dorms, the classrooms, the bogs, the shortcuts, the memories and much, much more.

For all you Cottonians – Small, Big, Tall, Straight, Crooked or Bent …… remember we are Blessed that we are HERE!    We must make the effort to give back what we have received and let the world know the meaning of BCS – par Excellence!             Yes, its time for the Boys to come Home,        

                                *UTC = Universal Time Coordinated / Greenwich Mean Time

 

To add to all this we have a message from

Deep C. Anand (R 46-51) President OCA India. Member of the School’s Board of Governors.

 With our Alma Mater’s 150th Anniversary around the corner, it is as much a time for rejoicing as for reflection.
It is time to reflect on the future direction that the School needs to take so that it can provide holistic education to its students to enable them to become World Citizens.    Apart from focus on academics, the students will need skills to equip themselves to face the challenges of living in the 21st Century.   Equally they will require understanding of multiple cultures and traditions as borders and time lines become blurry.

At the same time, BCS has to increase its standing amongst the Public Schools in India and aim to be counted amongst the top five Boarding Schools.  Currently it is listed as no.11.

The OCA fraternity in India is preparing a VISION STATEMENT FOR BCS which will define the Way Ahead!   We would welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

I look forward to meeting many of you in Simla during the Sesquicentennial Celebrations in October 2009.    This indeed is an historic event and we are fortunate to be around to join the celebrations

 

KEEPING IN TOUCH

I thank you for all your Xmas cards and letters and find great joy in receiving them. Old Cottonians that phone me from time to time, for this, I must express my pleasure. I never tire from these exchanges for this does lift my spirits.     Not always is it confined to OCA or BCS affairs.  It is a shame we have not the power to enlighten our national authorities to follow our thinking.    We are sure life would be made easier and less complicated.

Wanda & Reg Button (I 41-48) writes from their Paradise Point in Queensland.  Climate changes in November – violent electrical storms had broken the long drought with torrential rain causing millions of dollars in damage around Brisbane.   They spent Christmas in New Zealand with the remaining half of the family.

He confirmed what Johnny McLaughlin told me last year – Reg arrived BCS in April 1948 and had missed out as selected Captain of Ibbetson.   His parents and grandparents had lived out of boxes through 1947 being advised by P & O that they would have passages to Australia by late ’47 or early ’48.   Well, because of a contingent of ‘Poms’ paying £10/- for a passage to Australia his family was advised to wait till end of 1948 or early ’49.   He convinced his parents that he should return to BCS (from Lahore, Pakistan).  

He telephoned Mr. Fisher the Headmaster, who accepted.   His father had to escort him to Simla and returned again at the end of term.    Finally sailed away February 1949 to Australia and then onto NZ.

Wanda adds Reg was due back in hospital early 2009 to have the prosthesis in his shoulder taken out.   Followed by 12 weeks of massive antibiotics and treatment.    Unfortunately Reg fell over about 3 years ago and shattered his shoulder and has suffered much pain.   Hopefully this should restore the use of his left arm.

It has been a year they have lived on Ephraim Island with their cat, in a new apartment and find the change a challenge not having a garden.

 Tricia & Allan Bapty (R36-44) writes from Devon – “We have so much to be thankful for in the past year.

Among the children we count 17 in the first generation and 21 in the second generation, all have survived.

(Bearing in mind the common African greetings – ‘Muraho?’ – You are alive! and ‘Ndaho’- I am still here! 

They have all made excellent progress in their lives and work, and we are proud of them.   Some have difficult situations to deal with, they are a lesson to us in their patience and courage.”

Adding a good message to heed ….. ‘ Giving and sending – and receiving & sharing – cards, presents, news, greetings, meals, parties, outings, even postal addresses and recipes! Are such special features just now.    Its good Christmastide comes back every year to remind us too that mankind is being offered the best-ever present, sent with the intention of also being received and shared  

 Neelem & Wendy Bill Dewan (R 47-54) from his mountain hideaway writes “We are well and happy to be back in Simzy and enjoying some glorious weather before the snow sets in Jan.

We attended the Carol Service on the 28th Nov. followed by the formal Supper (which has replaced the ‘Jugh Day Chew in our time).   Next morning was the off for the last exams and thereafter the boys left, and will return on 28th Feb.

The Carol Service was outstanding, the best I have attended.    The Choir sang all the old favourites in the past.

The new Music Master Mr. Parker was proud of his boys.   The best singer (solo) was the HM he sings very well.

The School Football team did us proud beating Sanawar 5 – 0, Doon School 3 – 1, YPS Patiala 5 – 0 !”

 Dishant (I 98) I forgot to mention he visited me for a day, after his holiday last June from Virginia USA – writes and apologises for not keeping in touch.   “I had a great time in the UK, it was everything I expected it to be, rather even more.   With the nice tour you gave me, I just couldn’t keep from thinking about how beautiful Simla is, as everything reminded me of Simzy.

Thank you for being such a nice host and sharing your memories with me.   It was very impressive what you have done with your garden.     I promise to keep in touch with you, there is a lot of work to be done to get our OC community at par with other similar communities and I intend to be an integral part of the driving force to achieve this.   I am trying to get in contact with as many OCs as I can from my time, and hopefully will get more people involved in doing things for the betterment of the School and all OCs.

Thank you again for your hospitality, please tell Mrs. Stringer the food was awesome.   Hope to see you again in the UK sometime soon”

 Tony Sinha (R48-49) ex-Chairman OCA(UK) writes from his Hampshire cottage.  “Out here in the rural area most of the trees have given up their leaves, swept by Autumn winds leaving bleak silhouettes against graying skies.  Indoors the fires are lit and one loathe to move too far from their comforting warmth.   The weak golden sunshine is scampering away over the skyline with an array of crimsoned reds and pinks.  I sink further into my armchair, satisfied of the day’s achievements and preparation for the great family Day, counting my blessings at having a lovely, supportive, caring family.   Memories of past Christmases when my family was young and their sheer wonder and excitement which took over from the realities of life.   As you may have guessed, I am a complete pagan or just still a young boy at heart, traditional as ever!   Especially with an extra portion of  Christmas pud, equated with an extra dose of Insulin.

Christmas shopping complete and decorations put up, I sit back and enjoy with my Maggie – a stir of Xmas pud ingredients, a wish and then the aroma of sweet spices bring forth the spirit of Yuletide.

2008 has been a quiet year for us, still reminiscing after last year’s cruise holiday. Shipboard life agrees with me and provides the nostalgia of my years served in the Royal Navy.     Salt water must run in my veins.    Life continues at a slow and mellowed pace.    Nothing in the village (my little bit of England) moves too fast.  Everyone and everything is well laid back.   People have time to wish you the time of the day, stop and discuss the latest news in the village or anywhere, or anything else come to that.”  

 Gerry Godinho (L80-83) from Toronto dropped me some lines with his Christmas card and reminding himself –

“Thanks to my maternal grandmother and Mom’s sister and my female cousins: for the first 12 yrs of my life, I was not sure what I was doing around so many women.   Thanks to them I am a better husband, a better father.    It is important to ‘connect’ emotionally with a wife.     Also thanks to my wonderful female friends -Helen & Marlaina – mucho gracias!

What was I doing in a British, strict boarding school?      Why was I getting whacked with a cane?       BCS made me what I am today.    It taught me manners and discipline, hard work, a love of God and above all loyalty.    Thanks to all the Old Cottonians who have enriched my life”.

 Helen & Johnny McLaughlin (I 41-48).   Writes from his Williamston estate to say they are coming on 23rd June till the

13th July and are looking forward to attending the Reunion in Marlborough College.    Adding that he has been invited to the OC Reunion in Toronto 30th May, that Gerry Godinho has organised at Sanjay Chadha’s place.

By coincidence late Bobby Reed’s wife Sheila is holding an OC get-together, in Bob’s honour, at her Watchbury Cottage, Warwickshire on the 30th May as well.     Please make notes!      We shall raise a glass and toast to you.

 

THE JARMUN TREE

Quietly reclining under the Jamun tree                                      

In meditation and deep reverie and with contemplation             

Images of time spent in the Hills return invariably                 

To stir one’s memories of a golden time.

Remember the full moon over Jakko’s Peak                             

The evening rambles were spent in pleasant jest

One felt the magic of the moon at best

And the beauty that was there for us to savour.

Some precious times were spent on Jakko’s Hill

Wondering up, down and around this unique place

Under the whispering Deodars and Pines

Of that foreign land, magical and divine

The time and place is now  in another Plain

Under my favourite Jamun tree’s deep shade

Where I recall images of times I hold forever

And redeem visions of beauty and place.

by John Alton Price (BCS – Ibbetson ’34-’41) 

By kind permission from Jane his only daughter.   Thank you.   We will truly miss him.

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2 thoughts on “OCA UNITED KINGDOM – ANNUAL REUNION LUNCH 2009

  1. N.Prakash

    Hai
    I would like to know if this association has any link with bishopcottons bangalore?
    Regards
    N.Prakash batch of 1973. Bangalore OCA.

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