Girls Blazer Badge Boys Blazer Badge

News 2006

A Brief Resume by Webmaster

Jan - Jun

Updating our Membership Details

T his year we are having a spring-clean of our Membership List. Time moves on and it is now several years since we made a determined effort to bring it up to date. The longer it is left the worse the situation gets so now is the time for a clean-up. We hope that you will play your part in this program.

The members' details on the database become outdated for a number of reasons mostly concerned with their addresses and location. If their addresses are incorrect we all lose contact with them.

The data kept for each member are their Full Names, Email Address (if they have one), Postal Address, Phone Number (for my use only, in special circumstances), their Birth Year and their First and Last year at LCGS. We also keep the date of the last known contact with the member, the number of times he has logged on, the date he first became a member and whether or not he has made a donation to the OLO funds.

Problems arise when members move house, change their email address or telephone number but forget to keep me informed either by email or by using the "Update DB" page to change their details on the database directly. And, of course, members can die but we are never told.

Their most frequent mistake is changing their email address, either because they are trying to escape from spam, or they find a better email service, or they go broadband or they just want a more suitable name. Whatever the reason they usually forget to tell us here. We can do wonderful things with the internet but our telepathy services are still under development!

The next most likely circumstance is the member moving house which necessarily means a change in Post Address and Phone Number and sometimes Email Address as well. This often happens when a members retires, changes job or moves due to old age and infirmity. When all three of these addresses change we have no easy means of finding him! He becomes a "Lost Soul" to us.

As you can imagine it takes some ingenuity to identify whose data is incorrect and find means to get it rectified. We have devised a strategy that has several schemes to get the members to provide us with the correct data and make the task as easy as possible. With 800+ members I need all the help I can get! Let me tell you what I have done so far.

Firstly an email was sent to all members with email addresses, containing a clickable link that would update their "date of last contact" automatically. When the member does this it establishes that his email address is correct (otherwise he would not have had the email delivered) and that he is still alive and actively using the internet. This has re-established about 200 members. Unfortunately the technique is somewhat flawed because not all email software will successfully do this particular trick. But it has had a dramatic effect on our knowledge of who is currently alive and active.

The aforementioned email also identified about 75 members whose email addresses were incorrect and whose former email postmaster returned an "undeliverable" message back to me. Of these about 20 have no Phone Number on the database so they were sent letters by post asking them to send me an email or a letter with their correct details. I have had less than 10 replies so far. The other 55 with incorrect email addresses do have phone numbers but I have postponed any attempt to "give them a bell" because it is time consuming, tedious and expensive contacting that number of missing members. I will try other schemes to whittle the numbers down first!

We have created a page of "Lost Souls" accessed by a clickable link on the "Welcome" page. This displays a list of names of those whose emails were returned because of an invalid email addresses. It is hoped that those visiting the website will spot their name and make an effort to give us the correct data.

The next gambit will be a special page that cannot be avoided when one visits the Old Lewesian website. This page will ask all visitors to check their details by entering their Email Address, Post Code (not address) and Phone Number. They will NOT need to use their Password or give their Name. These addresses will be checked against our records and where they are incorrect or incomplete they will be invited to provide correct versions. This page will appear soon but will not be a permanent feature.

There are no doubt quite a few members who have email addresses and internet access but do not make much use of either. They simply are not interested. For all practical purposes they are no easier to contact than Postal members. When we have exhausted all other means of making contact we will be reduced to using the phone or sending a letter - both of which consume time and funds.

A special problem arises with overseas members who have "gone off the radar". Making contact by phone or letter is that much more difficult. However we have had some small success in Australia where Alf Rogers in Sydney used the local phone service to enquire about three of our members. One was found, another has moved on and left no trace and the other, Jim Essex, has regrettably died. His widow has however passed on some notes that he was writing and these are now being put on the website under "Anecdotes" and "Jim Essex".

I do hope that you will help to make this process a success. If you can help in any way please let me know. The most helpful thing you can do now is to ask yourself if you have changed your email address, postal address or phone number in the last three years. If you have then send an email to

O L Webmaster

and let me what they now are. Alternatively, if you can remember your password, then use LOGON and open the "Update DB" page on the Members Only index and carefully make the necessary changes there.

Jul - Dec

Updating our Membership Details - Was it successful?

AS MIGHT have been expected, updating our membership details on the database has met with only partial success. The database currently holds details of 860 members, 694 with email addresses and 166 without. Of those 694 with email, 548 have made contact with the Old Lewesians during 2006. Almost all of these will be alive today and taking an interest in OL affairs. However that leaves 65 not heard from since 2005, 41 since 2004 and 40 since 2003 or earlier. It is probable that many of these have passed on. A rough estimate based on life statistics would indicate that we may have lost about about half of these 146 email members who have not been in contact.

Of the 166 postal members we have only heard from 7 this year. So the status of the other 159 is unknown. Many of these are our oldest members and so the losses may well be substantial. Next year I will probably send out a letter to the postal members on our database which should clarify the position for some of them.

There is now a new web page called "Who's Alive" on the Welcome index which gives the names of members not heard from since the last reunion in 2004. This may perhaps bring forth some information on their current status.

The Next Reunion

Next year we will be contacting members via the website to gauge the degree of support for another reunion in 2008 or 2009. If there is to be one it may well be the very last reunion held by the Old Lewesians. With the diminishing membership and the absence of anyone to take over the running of the OLO from John Davey and Maurice Hobden, reunions beyond 2010 are most unlikely. If there is insufficient support for one more reunion then we have already had our Last Reunion!