Tag Archives: OCA UK

OCA UK luncheon reminder

Dear OCs,
We hope this message finds you in good health and high spirits.

As the date approaches, we would like to remind you of the upcoming OCA UK reunion lunch that is taking place on June 24th. At the last head count we have almost 40 OC, confirmed . Thank you for the ones confirmed, I would encourage others to confirm asap asap. We are hoping the director Simon Weale and his wife to be there.
The reunion lunch is always a delightful affair as we get a chance to catch up with old friends, share stories, and create new memories together but this reunion promises to be even more special as we catch up after a 4 year break. So with much anticipation we are looking forward to reconnecting and reminiscing about our cherished school days with our fraternity.

The details for the event are as follows:

Date: June 24th, 2023

Time: 12 noon – 4pm

Venue: Bombay Palace, 50 Connaught Street, London, W2 2AA

Dress Code: Formal suit

We have planned an enjoyable afternoon with a scrumptious buffet featuring an array of dishes and look forward to welcoming you along with your partners.
To ensure a smooth and successful event, we kindly request you to RSVP as soon as possible. This will help us finalize the arrangements, including catering.

The cost per guest is GBP50 and you can transfer the funds directly to the OCA UK account

Name: Old Cottonian Association UK
Account number: 00126972
Sort Code: 309384
Reference: Name plus number of guests;
Or send a cheque (with your name and number of guests on the back of it) to our Treasurer, Puneet Singh (OC – 1999 (C)) to the following address:
Puneet Singh
1 Frognal

If you have any dietary restrictions or special requirements, please let us know in advance so that we can accommodate them accordingly.

Lastly, we encourage you to spread the word among our OC fraternity. It would be wonderful to see as many familiar and new faces as possible, and make this reunion truly memorable.
Looking forward to seeing you on June 24th and reliving the camaraderie of our school days.

Warm regards,
OCA UK Committee
Vijay Bhalaik – President
T: 07985 060 156
E: vijaybhalaik@nhs.net

Gursant Sandhu – Secretary
T: 07788 716 525
E: gursant@yahoo.com

Puneet Singh – Treasurer
T: 07841 590 990
E: puneetsingh932@hotmail.com

Old Cottonians’ Association United Kingdom President’s Newsletter Vijay Bhalaik MRCS FRCS / OCA UK annual luncheon

Old Cottonians’ Association United Kingdom

President’s Newsletter

Vijay Bhalaik MRCS FRCS

Dear Old Cottonians

I am delighted to take over the reigns of the Old Cottonians’ Association (UK) and hope that I will be

able to do justice to the office. The school is very dear to me and I feel privileged to be representing

the Old Boys in the United Kingdom. Thank you for your support.

I have been off and on attending the Old Cottonians’ lunch for over 30 years. During this time, the

association was brought together by Peter Stringer, Gay Niblett and Kuljinder Bahia. I must thank

Kuljinder for his spirited leadership of the UK chapter. He has very successfully kept the organisation

going and contributed significantly to the school, for which he must be congratulated. Kuljinder has

been supported by Gursant Sandhu who has, as the Secretary of the Association, kept contact with

the membership and Puneet Singh, Treasurer, who has kept the organisation financially afloat. I am

very grateful for their unrelenting contribution.

The last three years have been very challenging for everyone, and the OCA brotherhood was unable

to meet during this difficult time. As a healthcare professional myself, I was in the middle of the

action, but was able to arrange a Zoom meeting with my colleagues during the extreme lockdown in

the UK. Sukhminder Sehmbey, Iqroop Chopra, Raju Singh, Sundar Sidha, Gursant Sandhu and

Kuljinder were a great source of strength in those difficult times.

Since taking over the role of President in October last year, I have had regular meetings with the core

committee of the association, which includes Gursant and Puneet. We have been planning the year

ahead to strengthen the association. The main aim of the association is to support Old Cottonians

in the United Kingdom and liaise with our alma mater. Going forward there are some key areas of

development which we will be working on:

• Updating our membership directory. This will improve our communication with the

membership. I am keen to capture all Old Cottonians in the United Kingdom. My secretary,

Pam Palphreyman, has kindly agreed to support the organisation during my term as President

and has already started to work on this. I would be grateful if you could forward your details

or anyone new in the UK to Pam (pamelapalphreyman@nhs.net) so that the membership

directory can be updated. The organisation will be GDPR compliant, and your details will not

be passed on to anyone outside OCA UK.

• Financial stability of the Old Cottonians’ Association UK. It is important for an organisation to

be financially viable and there are a few models we are working on, and this is an area I am

familiar with due to my role at Health Education England and Charities Trust. We will discuss

this matter at the next AGM in London.

• Develop a framework and touchpoint for old boys in the UK. The thought behind this is that

the association has a link person for every school decade, e.g., 1950-1960 etc. This will

hopefully strengthen the organisation. If this is something that you would be interested in

helping with, then please get in contact. The OCA UK would love to have you onboard.

• Supporting our alma mater. As Old Cottonians, we are very proud of our parent school and

there are many ways we can support it. The OCA UK under Kuljinder supported many projects

at the school and I would hope that this can be strengthened. I am aware that our

membership has very successful businessman/financiers/bankers/doctors and writers. My

plan is to link up with the mentorship programme at the school, so that the headmaster,

Mr Simon Weale can approach you. If you are willing to mentor a young Cottonian, either

during his school time at Bishop Cotton School or after leaving school, please get in touch with

myself or Pam.

• Develop the OCA UK website. This work is ongoing, and we are looking for an enthusiastic

volunteer/volunteers who would be willing to take on the challenge of developing this. The

role would mainly be for content delivery. I am grateful to our last President, Kuljinder, who

is funding the website development. If you have an IT/journalism/content editor background,

please consider getting in touch with myself or Gursant.

• Supporting the Old Cottonians’ Association. I would hope to strengthen the relationship

between the various chapters in India and abroad.

• Annual lunch. We will continue with the tradition of our annual OCA UK lunch on the last

Saturday of June. This falls on the 24 June this year and will be held at Bombay Palace, 50

Connaught Street, London, W2 2AA. All Old Cottonians and their partners are invited, and

the cost will be £50 per head. This is a great social gathering when the younger members of

the Association can network with the senior members. I would encourage everyone to

attend if they are able to. Please RSVP to Puneet (puneetsingh932@hotmail.com or


Sadly, over last few years, we lost many of our older members. I thank Gay Niblett for his assistance

in collating the below information.

Peter Stringer (Lefroy 1941-1947). Peter was the most spirited Old Cottonian I have had the privilege

of meeting. He had great enthusiasm and reminisced his time in school, sharing his experiences with

the members. His leadership kept the association together for the last 20 years. He will be sadly

missed by all.

Dr Humayun Khan (Rivaz 1941-1947) used to regularly visit us from Pakistan. Humayun was one of

the old boys who left school on the 3 June 1947 during the partition of India and later joined the

Pakistan Superior Services. In 1984, he was appointed Pakistan High Commissioner to India.

Sanjiv Talwar (Rivaz 1968-1974). Sanjiv was a brilliant academic student. He topped the Delhi

University in Economics following which he came to the UK and studied chartered accountancy. He

subsequently did a PhD in International Finance, after which he worked in international banking for

many years and then became a very successful independent consultant and finance director of e


John Phillips (Curzon 1939-1944). John was a good sportsman and apparently had an eye for Joyce

Sinker, the Headmaster’s elder daughter, and was a friend when both were back in England. He was

by then a senior member of the Farmers Union in the UK. A stalwart of the OCA(UK)

Bob Myers (Ibbertson 1936-1944) Bob was House Captain of Ibbetson. He was a Prefect and boxed

for the school. He later got a Blue for boxing at Cambridge University. Bob was a great supporter of

OCA UK and regularly invited OCs to his home in Somerset to stay for a couple of nights before the

Annual Lunch, even inviting an Old Sanawarian to his dining table at the same time.

Allan Bapty (Rivaz 1936-1944). Allan was a doctor who did a lot of missionary work looking after

people suffering with leprosy, mainly in Nepal and Africa.

Clive Hardy (Lefroy 1940-1945). Clive was House Captain of Lefroy and an all-round sportsman. He

was a keen supporter of OCA UK

Arthur Jones (Lefroy 1942-1945). Arthur was a keen cricketer and played for BCS. He always attended

the Annual Lunches.

Lance Jones (Lefroy 1935-1939). Lance served in the Indian Police Force and when he returned to

London he was a fervent Arsenal supporter. Despite being rather frail in his last years, he was full of


Douglas Reed (Rivaz 1940-1946). Doug (Dhumchu) was House Captain of Rivaz. He was a formidable

long-distance runner and unbeatable marathon performer.

Robert (Bobby) Reed (Rivaz 1940-1946). Bobby was an outstanding sportsman and academic. We

OCs, however, must thank him and his wife, Sheila, and their family for hosting many lunches at their

home. Sheila continues to attend and was present on an overseas trip to the school.

They are in our thoughts and the OCA UK fondly remembers their association with the membership.

I was fortunate last year to meet the Headmaster of Bishop Cottons School, Simon Weale, along with

his charming wife Rebecca, and the schoolboys on their cricket tour to the UK. The OCA UK, under

our President, Kuljinder, hosted the boys and staff during this visit and it was a delight to meet the

boys and watch them play cricket. Some of the old boys were able to follow and attend as the

Cottonians continued their tour. The school will be visiting the UK again this year for a cultural tour.

Again, this would be an ideal opportunity for the OCA UK membership to meet and support the school.

Cottonians plan to visit Strafford-upon-Avon, Rugby, Bath and London during this period. I am hopeful

that the headmaster and his wife will be able to attend the OCA UK lunch on the 24 June. Their

programme is as follows.

18th June – Arrive in London – transfer to Oxford.

19th June – Visit to Stratford Upon Avon and then Rugby School – visit Cotton House and meet the

Rugby archivist who will show us the archives on George Cotton.

20th June – Tour of Oxford and Oxford University – transfer to Bristol

21st June – Sightseeing in Bristol then interaction with pupils and staff at Bristol Grammar School.

22nd June – Morning in Bath with visit to Kingswood School. Evening tea/BBQ at Cotton House,


23rd June – Visit to Harry Potter World

24th June – Sightseeing in London

25th June – Sightseeing in London including production of Comedy of Errors at the Globe

26th June – Sightseeing in London including visit to Westminster School

27th June – Return

The school has appointed a resident teacher in charge of alumni affairs- Deepa Kennedy. She will be

the point of contact with Bishop Cotton School. She can be contacted by emailaluminibishopcotton@

gmail.com. Please contact her for any help required. This is a welcome step

for old cottonians all over the world who can now keep in touch with their alma matar.

I look forward to seeing you all on the 24 June.

Kindest regards, Vijay

All OC’s and their family members are invited to attend OCA (UK) annual lunch, which is to be held on Saturday 24th June 2023 (12 noon onwards) at Bombay Palace, 50 Connaught Street, London W2 2AA.
1. Bombay Palace will charge us £50.00 per person for food. Please therefore pay in advance by telegraphic transfer (preferred method) or by cheque.
Telegraphic Transfer Lloyds TSB Bank Sort Code
Account Number Reference
30 93 84
Please insert your name (plus number of guests)
Please make your cheque payable to OCA (UK) and send it to our treasurer Mr Puneet Singh, Flat 1, 1 Frognal, London NW3 6AL. Please write your name on the reverse of your cheque. OC’s can also contact Puneet on 07841590990 or puneetsingh932@hotmail.com
** Any donations to OCA (UK) would be greatly appreciated.
2. Soft drinks are inclusive. You will need to pay for any drinks (beers, wines, spirits).
3. If you have any questions about the reunion, then please get in touch with Mr Puneet Singh using the details shown above or Mr Gursant Sandhu on 07788716525 or gs@notarypublicgs.co.uk.

OCA UK – Kuljinder Bahia passes the baton to Dr Vijay Bhalaik

Dear OCs
I trust that this email finds everyone well and in good health.
It has been nearly a decade since Kuljinder Bahia was appointed as Chairman of the OCA (UK) Chapter and as all of us know he has executed his role in a very positive and forward thinking manner. Kuljinder has varied business interests, which require a lot more of his time and personal involvement than what was needed in the past. He has also impressed many times that for the proper functioning and care of the UK Chapter, he resigns and that a new Chairman is appointed. It is time for this change now.
Having consulted many OC’s in the UK including the secretary Puneet Singh, it has been passed that Dr Vijay Bhalaik takes over the reins from Kuljinder.
Whilst I personally wish to thank Kuljinder for what he has already done for our School and OC’s, he has offered his assurance to continue to offer as much support and guidance to the OCA (UK) Chapter as possible.
I also wish to congratulate Dr Vijay Bhalaik on his appointment as the Chairman of the OCA (UK) Chapter.
Given his achievements in school and also professionally, we are in very safe and capable hands to take the UK Chapter forward for many years to come.
Wishing all of you my best,
Gursant Sandhu
OCA ( UK )

Peter Stringer Esq. Funeral 03 Sept 2020

Funeral 03 Sept 2020
His grandson Ryan Stringer whom I first met in 2000 (now a fine looking gentleman) read  our BCS school prayer which his Grandad ( Peter) would’ve liked.  Ryan also wore Peter Sahib’s OCA UK Tie (that he designed whilst I was in the UK), BCS tie bar and cufflinks (pic attached).
Peter was cremated wearing his BCS Blazer, OCA UK  tie and BCS tie bar.
The family expressed immense gratitude to see the School
Flag at half mast, a lovely touch and well received by all members. Explicitly Thanking Director Simon Weale för this gesture that coincided with the nation mourning the passing of President Pranab Mukerjee.
Warmest Wishes and Kindest Regards
Vivek Bhasin
Lefroy House

Dear Maggie,

Our thoughts are with you and all your family, as we bid farewell to Peter and give our thanks for his life, with his dedication and love for BCS and his many friends from there. He will be remembered and missed by us all.
We are sorry not to be there with you, to pay him our last respects. May your many happy memories together, give you strength to bear your sad loss.

With our fondest love,

Gay and Christine xx

Dear Ryan,

I wanted to make sure our message to your Grandmother reached her, so I am forwarding the original message.
You will be reading a prayer from the School, which I am sure your Grandfather would have appreciated. We hope the Service goes well and really are sorry not to be with you.
Your Grandfather was a great friend to me and countless Old Cottonians, supporting and caring for them, as he did for his beloved School.
I will keep in touch with your Grandmother but need your confirmation of her ongoing address, telephone numbers and current e-mail.
With my fond good wishes to you and all your family,
Yours affectionately,
Gay Niblett
Dear all,

To keep you in the picture about Peter’s Funeral/Cremation today.
We have suffered the loss of a great friend and very special Old Cottonian.
Yours ever,


We bid farewell sadly to Peter Stringer / Lefroy 1943-47

Peter Arthur Stringer
18 February 1933 – 10 August 2020.

It is with the greatest sadness that I write to tell you that Peter Stringer died peacefully in hospital early on Monday 10th August. > We pass our deepest sympathies and condolences to all his family and pray for their strength and fortitude in these coming days. We shall miss him terribly.

I really only got to know Peter after coming back to England, though we feature in a photograph of the BCS Choir alongside each other – he is the one with the bow tie askew!

Peter was the beating heart of OCA(UK) during his more than 25 years as Hon. Secretary. His dedication was complete, and Maggie was by his side in support, always.  OCs came from all over the world to call on him, or to stay with him and Maggie when visiting England. They had an Open House for all OC s.  The highlight, prior to the Annual OCA(UK) Lunch in London on the last Saturday in June, was Peter and Maggie’s Lunch, held in their beautiful garden. Now, a treasured memory.
Peter was loved and knew so many OCs and could recount names and incidents across the large spectrum of life and times in BCS and if you wanted to know of or about BCS, or anyone from there, you could always turn to him for an answer.

Peter was also a consummate water colour artist, with beautiful paintings of birds and animals, which he sent out with his Christmas cards. An Exhibition of his work would be a joy to see.

This a cruel loss for his family and for OCs  around the world. But a man is not the Association. It is his work, dedication and enthusiasm, which he leaves behind as his legacy for all Old Cottonians – marked by the motto of the Founder of  BCS, Bishop George Edward Lynch Cotton – Overcome Evil with Good.

Allan Gay Niblett