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News 2003

A Brief Resume by Webmaster

January 2003

The Mail-shot to Postal Members

Last month we sent out 287 letters to our Postal Members (those without email and internet facilities) giving them news from the Chapel Trustees and the Headmaster of the Priory school about the current status of the School Chapel. We also sent out a ten page list of our ~800 members with their postal addresses. They were all asked to reply updating their addresses , years at school etc. and reminding them that failure to do so would mean that they would be deleted from our records after a few weeks.

So far we have had only 76 positive replies of which 26 kindly made donations to the running of the website to the tune of £350 which was most unexpected. They have all received a complimentary copy of Floreat Lewesia. Five letters were returned unopened. We have also learned that Pat Read, Paul Marson, John Saunders, Charles Staplehurst and John Best have died in recent months. Over 200 Postal Members have yet to reply which is not encouraging.

New Material

The biographical piece about Bill Euston from his daughter last month has been well received. You will be pleased to learn that Alan Pett is working on a similar piece about his father Harry Pett which he hopes to have ready in a few weeks time.

Members will have seen the article about Ronald Smith and his 80th Birthday recital at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. We had a member present, who collected a program and other literature about Ron. If any members have a particular wish to borrow these to read please contact your webmaster.

As you will see from the "What's New" page we have a few more photos this month and a piece about a bicycle tour to Yugoslavia in 1962 by three of our members and a letter from NRB to Bill Arnold.

Our automated registration page seems to be working and we are getting a steady trickle of new members using it to become members. We have had one genuine OL who could not pass the test because of an admitted inability to put names to faces but he satisfied us on other criteria and has been admitted.

Unfortunately we have had to let a couple of our members go and their passwords have been suspended because they did not or could not keep to the Terms and Conditions of membership. If any member receives abusive or unpleasant communication from a member and feels that the terms have been broken they should contact webmaster with the details.

February 2003

The Mail-shot to Postal Members

A few more of our Postal Members (those without email and internet facilities) have replied to our mail shot of early December last but I have to say that the overall response has been less prompt than expected. Most of those that have replied have been very supportive and many have sent us a contribution towards the costs of running the organisation. Many of these have been sent complimentary tape copies of "Floreat Lewesia"

The addressees were all asked to reply updating their addresses , years at school etc. and reminding them that failure to do so would mean that they would be deleted from our records after a few weeks. Of the 287 letters sent 196 have yet to reply. Surely they could afford a 19p stamp? It will be a shame if our numbers slump by such a large number.

A steady trickle of new members continue to join as they discover or learn of the Old Lewesians and its website. Quite a few of these have come up with new material for us.

New Material

There are a few new pieces this month as you will see from the "What's New" page. There are also several new photos and short text insertions into existing pages at various places. There is also a pile of more such items on my desk awaiting attention!

Virus Hoaxes

Would Old Lewesians, especially those new to using the Internet, please take note that emails warning that the file "jdbgmgr.exe" in your Windows/system folder is a virus, IS IN FACT A HOAX. This email has been circulating the internet for several years and panics beginners. In fact it is a GENUINE MICROSOFT FILE AND IS MEANT TO BE THERE. If you have deleted it do not worry - you probably will never need it. If it should be required it can be downloaded from the internet.

I issue this notice because many of you have been sending copies of the HOAX email to everyone on their address book. This is a NUISANCE to recipients and an EMBARRASSMENT to the sender when they learn the truth! Bob Seager has pointed out that you can check out the authenticity of viruses and read more about the hoax virus phenomenon online where a whole website is devoted to the subject.

There is no need to worry about viruses. There is a zero cost excellent solution. Remove any existing anti-virus software from your machine first. Then go to and down load and install their FREE anti-virus software - it takes a few minutes. After it is installed you can set it up so that it automatically looks for the latest update to virus signatures from the grisoft website every day. I have mine set up so that it automatically visits the grisoft website every lunch hour while I am having my lunch. They up-date every few days. ALL FOR NOTHING!! Paying for AV protection from the likes of Symantec and Mcafee is a waste of good money and a lot more hassle.

Mr Bradshaw

For well over a year we have been trying to build up a body of detail about the life of Mr Bradshaw and we have made several surprising discoveries. We are not yet in a position to compose a definitive biographical sketch of the man and we appeal to all of you who may have odd scraps of knowledge of him, his family background, where he went to school, his experiences in the First War, his days at Merton College Oxford, his interests outside school, etc. to let me know. There is already a small page of basic facts about him on the "Biography" menu that you should read first. Did he ever recount to anyone any small details of his early life? Did he ever speak about his brother Ronald? Do you know why he was so keen on amateur dramatics and rugby football? The answers to questions like these may provide clues to help us put the jigsaw puzzle together.

Recent Losses

We have heard from members of the passing of several OLs in recent times.

Freddie Cosstick writes:-
Yesterday I attended the funeral of
Denis John Roy THOMAS (23 July 1922 - 7 January 2003) [LCGS 1935 to 1940]
He was a Head Boy, captain of cricket and rugby, commisioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment, fought with the Chindits in Burma, demobbed with the rank of major. He took an Oxford Honours degree from St Edmund Hall. He had a distinguished writing career with books on the French Impressionists, Picasso, etc.
[More details can be had by email from Freddie Cosstick at]

Philip Styles writes:-
Robert Faulkner was (I believe) one of the founder pupils of LCGS. He came from Uckfield and I would certainly never have known him except for the fact that when we moved to Thame (Oxon) in 1978 he was the local vicar and it transpired that we had both been to LCGS. Subsequently, he baptised both of our children and I attended his retirement party (I think in 1985) when I read a small entry about him from a 'Barbican' which I found in the loft. Bob had been the local vicar since about 1960.
"Bob' Faulkner was a Lt. in the navy and, I am certain, saw war service (the dates would suggest so). There is a lovely little story that his wife Barbara never recovered from his deciding to leave the navy for the church since the uniform was not nearly as attractive!
Bob and Barbara retired to Woodstock, nr Blenheim Palace and he died last year. I was extremely sorry not to be able to attend his funeral but I was out of the country at the time. It could be that there are a few OL contempories of Bob who remember him and would be interested to know.

March 2003

New Material

AS you will see from the "What's New" page there are a dozen major new items added to the website in the last month. There are also several minor additions to existing pages.

The bulk of our new material this month are the Barbicans, Nos. 3, 4, 6, 7 and 8, from the mid 1930's. There you will find many interesting pieces that fill in the last "hole" in our history of the school. Now ALL of the Barbicans have been transcribed to the website and we have as complete an account of the school as is possible from this source.

We have also revamped and expanded our collection of speech day programs. As you will find we have reproduced the programs from 1939,40,41,42,43,44,45,47,48,50,51,52,57 and 1960 but do not as yet have programs from 1931 to 1938, 1946, 1949, 1953 to 56, 1958 and 1959. It is not known if speech day programs continued after the Bradshaw era - perhaps you can tell us ?

Several members have sent in photos which appear in various parts of the site. If you too have something of interest please let me know. Photostat copies of photos are, of course, quite useless for reproduction on the website and few OLs have the necessary equipment and know-how to scan photos to the highest possible quality. Experience has shown that the best quality reproduction is achieved if members send the original photo to me for processing. They are sent back by return of post.

Mr Bradshaw

As mentioned last month we are doing our best to build up a biography of Mr Bradshaw, who is one of the central figures in any history of Lewes County Grammar School. Already several useful lines of enquiry have been opened and new information is emerging. One thing leads to another and with the help of the internet we are confident that a very interesting body of data about his past will emerge later this year. If any of you are privy to even the smallest nugget of information about NRB, outside of common knowledge, please let me know about it - even a small piece of the jigsaw could lead to unexplored parts of the full picture.

Minor details of his family background, where he went to school, his experiences in the First War, his days at Merton College Oxford, his interests outside school, etc. could be vitally important to the whole picture.

Recent Losses

We have heard from members of the passing of several OLs in recent times.

Philip Murphy (57-64) reports :-
DAVID BLACKWELL, an OL at school between, I believe, 1957-64 died in the Royal Sussex County Hospital on 7 February 2003. He was 57. An obituary appeared in the Sussex Express on 14 February.

Jim Gillett says :-
I was recently advised by his wife/widow (Colleen) that IAN LAMBOURNE (left Lewes in summer 1970) died on 22nd July 2002 of lung cancer. Ian was a very good friend at school and we had kept loosely in touch since the 25-year reunion of the "Class of '69". It is a shock to hear that he is no longer with us.

April 2003

War - no news - only propaganda

May 2003

Pax Americana - no news - only propaganda

June 2003

Colin Silk

Last month saw the passing of Colin Silk, our former English and Rugby master. He died on May 21st 2003 in Lewes, aged 93, after a long and happy life. His funeral Service took place at St Peter’s Church, Offham at 12 noon on June 3rd 2003.

Old Lewesians who wish to send their condolences to Beryl Silk and family are asked to write directly to Beryl Silk at the Silk's family home. The postal address can be found on the Member's List in the Members Only section. Please do not send condolences by email.

Any donations in memory of Colin should be for either the Lewes Little Theatre or St Peter's Church at Offham, nr Lewes. These donations should go via Lewes Funeral Care, 48A Malling Street, Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2RH.

Work in Progress

Although there is not a lot of new material on the OL website this month it does not mean that nothing is happening by way of preparation for the future. Your webmaster, with the help of certain Old Boys, has been busy researching the life of our founding headmaster, Neville Bradshaw. This has entailed visits to his place of birth and accessing many archives. The work is not yet finished but should appear on the website later this year as a collection of webpages on different facets on his life story. I can promise that you will be amazed and delighted by our findings!

Changes to Our Server

The Old Lewesians website does not run its own server. The pages you download from the internet come from a commercial server run by a company called Compila. On 31st May they moved their operations to a new high security server system located in London's docklands - Canary Wharf.

When your computer accesses your computer will be directed to the new server automatically. An unfortunate side-effect of this change is that your machine will have to download all our text and pictures again just as if it was a website that it had never been to before. Pictures and text stored on your machine from previous visits will need to be replaced by newer versions from the new server.

This means that browsing the Old Lewesians website will be tediously slow at first. However, the effect is temporary. Once your machine has stored new copies of the pictures and text these will be used and the amount of downloading will be small and fast.

July 2003

Dennis Wicks

Dennis Wicks of Ringmer (36-41) who made his name as an opera singer at Glyndebourne and elsewhere, died on 24th June. A short biography appears on our Biography index.

"In Memoriam" Old Lewesians

At the suggestion of John Davey, Chairman of the Old Lewesians Organisation, we have created a page where members can post notices relating to Old Lewesians who have passed on in recent times.

The page works just like our Forum pages. All you need to do is to LOG ON at the Members Only index using your Surname and Password, then click the "In Memoriam" link. You can then browse recent notices and if necessary post one. You can also delete your notice should you wish - which is quite useful should you find a mistake after submission and wish to try again.

The page can be used for very recent deaths to give details of funerals, or it can be used to add appreciations, biographical detail, or thanks for the life of the deceased.

Biography of Neville Bradshaw

Our researches on this topic are coming to an end and the final version will appear in the next few weeks. This will be one of the largest items on the website and will be of great interest to all those who knew him. Even those OLs who came to LCGS after 1960 will find it of interest for it explains so much about why the School, which was very much his creation, was as it was - a very good school.

August 2003

The Bradshaw Story

OUR researches on this topic have concluded and the final version can now be seen on the website. It is one of the largest items on the website and has an index of its own under "NRB" on the top line.

The details of his early life will no doubt come as something of a surprise to most OLs who knew him in his later years. His patrician style and polished manners as a headmaster seem hard to reconcile with his humble origins in Victorian times. But that is a measure of his determination to make something of his life by self-improvement, hard-work and dedication to his chosen profession.

There is a forum "NRB Forum" at the end of the biography where OLs can discuss and give their views on his life and contribution to Lewes County Grammar School and its pupils. At the moment there seems to be some hesitation on the part of members to comment because, presumably, they are still coming to terms with the facts. We trust that when the biography has been digested that there will be some interesting views expressed.

It maybe that a few will feel betrayed by the fact that he came from a poor family and was not born with the proverbial silver spoon but that would be sheer snobbery of the worst kind. The fact that he could make his way from such beginnings should double our respect for his achievements.

September 2003

The Summer Holidays (aka "the Silly Season")

Unlike the tabloids and other media outlets we do not fill our pages with concoctions and confabulations designed to titillate the swanicles just because it is has been exceptionally hot and fine and most sensible people have been enjoying themselves. Hence we have, I fear, no news, real or invented, for you this month.

When the weather turns we hope that some of you will put your minds to something that would grace our website and bring more memories of the past to our members or make some proposals for the future of the Old Lewesians and its website.

October 2003

An Indian Summer

England has enjoyed a warm dry September that will have encouraged many to wander in the dappled sunlight of the woods or explore places not visited for many a year. Those lucky enough to be retired are making the most of what promises to be one of the best autumns for several years.

Those who are less fortunate should relax when they can and let their minds wander to the fine autumns of the past - apple picking, gathering chestnuts in the woods and mushrooms in the fields, the smell of bonfires and chutney being made in the kitchen. Happy days!

November/December 2003

A Possible Reunion in Autumn 2004

THE Old Lewesians Organisation is currently taking soundings from its members about the possibility of holding a Reunion in Lewes in the autumn of next year. Those, like you, who can Log On to the OL website will find a link on the Member's Only index to "Reunion ?". This brings up a page where you can register your intention or otherwise to attend. You can add or remove your name to the list as often as you wish should you change your mind.

By March 31st 2004 we will assume that you have finalised your intention. If there are a sufficient number on the list then arrangments will be made. If there are insufficient numbers the event will not take place. The possibility of 2005 would then become an option.

Postal members are currently being ballotted on this issue and their votes will be entered on the records as their replies arrive. Those who opt to attend will appear on the list of names.

Revising our Members List

We have recently made a bulk mailing to 318 members, mostly postal members (those who do not have access to our website) and also to some others from whom nothing has been heard since last year. They are asked to return a pro-forma slip with their current details. This procedure will allow us to remove those who have passed on, moved away or have no further interest in our activities. This will of course reduce our membership size but will help to keep it up to date as far as possible.