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Bedford Who Charity Con 3

Bedford’s third annual Doctor Who Convention comes to the Quarry Theatre. Special Guests: actors and behind-the-scenes crew will be attending; please see the convention’s website: In previous years, we have welcomed Katy Manning (Jo Grant), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Nicola Bryant (Peri), John Leeson (K9), Anneke Wills (Polly), Deborah Watling (Victoria), Terry Molloy (Davros), Mike Tucker (special effects) and Paul Cornell (writer). There’ll be on-stage interviews, with lots of audience questions; the chance for you to meet and chat to the guests; autograph and photo sessions; a charity auction and lots more too.


Saturday 8 April 2017


10.00am – 5.30pm


The Quarry Theatre


£22.50 14yrs – 18yrs and full time students
£15 under 14yrs

Family Tickets
£50 (1 adult & 1 child under 14yrs)
£55 (1 adult & 2 chilldren)
£80 (2 adults & 1 child) 
£8 for each additional child 


Buy online 

01234 362237

Running Time:

All day 

Age Suitability:

9yrs + 
Children under 12yrs must be accompanied by an adult


OB Sports Weekend 2017

We are delighted to report that the annual OB v School Sports Weekend which took place Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th March, was a great success. Around ninety OBs returned to the School over the weekend of sporting activities which included Squash, Rifle Shooting Football and, Hockey and Fives. Many thanks to them all, and to the students and staff involved, for a wonderful weekend of events.


The OB’s fielded two teams against the School, with one victory and a loss. The Captains XI, led by James Smith (09-16), won 6-3 against a strong School side. The OB’s experience told early on when James Smith’s through ball split the defence, and Oli Keary (99-10) neatly finished in the corner. Goal of the game was from Jon Lamb (90-00)– now leading OB scorer with 11 goals. He flicked the ball over his marker and volleyed in from the edge of the box, giving the keeper no chance at all.

The referee (Phil Waterhouse) was determined to make it an even game and awarded a penalty for a handball nobody saw! Frankie Hearnshaw sent the keeper the wrong way. He later equalised for the School making the half time score 2-2.

With no substitutes – the OB’s played the conditions well with Toby Walker contributing with a couple of assists from defence. The OB’s scored quickly from resulting corners with Will Robertson and MoM Frankie Lawrence (94-05). The speedy Julian Kitson added a further brace. 

There was still time for another School penalty, Daniel “De Gea” Walker (81-85) pulled off an excellent save debuting in goal. There was still time for Alex Rennie to grab a consolation goal for the School making the final score – 6-3

The OB 2nd team came up against the 2nd XI side and eventually went down in a very close fought 5-4 loss.

Overall, it was a great day for football with a fantastic turnout!

Daniel Walker (81-85)


Prior to this year’s match the OB’s started to suffer from what can only be described as a nasty bout of trepidation. The causes were far ranging. Some felt mother nature had gently caught up with them. Others had clearly forgotten how emails worked and a few were frankly just not feeling themselves this year. On top of this word had reached us that the school’s much loved No 8’s had been replaced by some new fangled Anschutz thingy. Worrying times indeed

After much cajoling our slightly dodgy VI became a not quite fit for purpose XII and we descended as usual on the Three Tuns for team tactics, reminiscing, food and a little something to settle us down

At 2pm we duly arrived at the school range with a swagger for all the wrong reasons. Worryingly the school team had that look in their eye which seemed to suggest they were pleased to see us but really….is this your best?? This was going to be their year…

Details of Group, Rapid, Snap and 5 Bull smoothly ensued. The school were clearly well drilled, the coaching pertinent and precise and the scores worryingly good. The OB’s on the other hand were heard to mutter that the firing point seemed awfully low this year, couldn’t the lights be a little brighter?…and one’s arthritis was not responding well to the ambient temperature….

And then it was all over. 

You can always tell when a match is tight as the scorers go quiet shortly followed by the arrival of the magic scoring gauge….just to double check those close calls you see.

After sufficient time had elapsed to make decent in roads into the school tea MiC Lumley-Wood announced that the OB’s had stolen a win – 1448 versus 1434. A 1% margin.

Top scorer was OB Rupert Riley with 193 ex 195. However as he dresses up in camo for a living – perhaps no surprise. The school clearly has some talent. Top shot was Max Erdmann with 187 but Smithson, Tsao, Hine and Flicke were all close behind. This was a contest that could easily have gone either way

The OB’s would like to thank the coaches and the school VIII for their kind hospitality and good humour in putting up with the ever more eclectic visitors. This match has a long history and it remains a genuine pleasure for the OB’s to visit their school again, meet old friends and shoot in the range

Looking forward challenges face both teams. The school is losing 4 of its top shots so will need others to step up to fill some big boots. The OB’s on the other hand need to harness the talent leaving the school and welcome them into the Bedfordians RC. Only in this way will the annual contest continue to go from strength to strength. 

Thank you to all those who contributed to the day. It is much appreciated. 

Steve Lyon (73-84)

Watch this space for more details on Squash, Hockey and Fives.

3 OBs – 1 Brewery

Quality Session Ales is the strap-line for a new venture, Blackpit Brewery, started by three OBs: Ben Williams (91-02), Duncan Wheeler (95-02) and Oliver Whiteley (92-02).

The Old Bedfordians, who left in 2002, struggled to find their ‘academic calling’ but now operate a successful events company with a ready-made route to market for beer. After a few late nights and a couple of pints, the trio decided to indulge their passion by starting Blackpit brewery, in Buckinghamshire, with a real focus on quality hand-made session ales.

To launch the brewery, they’re hosting an opening party on the 17th of June and will welcome everyone with a free pint & slice of pizza. For more details on the opening event and the brewery, please visit their website.


We warmly invite boys, parents, OBs, staff and friends of the school to watch the 1st XI play their first round of the HMC T20 Tournament on Friday 28 April at 4.45pm.

It is always a wonderful afternoon (hopefully with sun!).  There will be a cash bar for refreshments, and you are most welcome to bring a picnic to enjoy as you watch the cricket.

We do hope you can join us and support the boys.

A Trio Of Bedford Memories

This weekend just gone by was the anniversary of the great fire at
Bedford School on the night of 3rd March 1979. 
You have heard a lot about this recently.  Firstly, we had Josh Taylor’s wonderful
artistic memorial to the fire, when he burnt his own excellent painting and
then projected it onto the building itself on last year’s anniversary; then an
assembly from Mr Eadie, who taught here for 45 years and remembered the fire
personally; and then Mr Baker’s own story, that before he had even taken up his
appointment at the school, his father phoned him to tell him that it was on the
news, burning down.

Earlier this year, someone asked me if we would be closing for snow
this winter.  I responded that of all
schools, this school would never close; it is not that sort of place; we get on
with things no matter what is thrown at us. 
If we don’t even miss a lesson when the main school is burnt down, we
will not be missing one for snow.

The reason for mentioning it now is that three key Bedford men have
died just recently, all within three months of each other, and all of whom are
central to the story of the fire; part, therefore, of our key history has just
been lost to this school, and so today I pass on a little about these men to
you for safe keeping.

Just before half term I attended the memorial service for Ian Jones,
popularly known as CIM (due to his initials C-I-M), the headmaster at the time
of the fire.  You can see his portrait
three to the right as you leave the Hall. 
CIM Jones was a boy at Bishops Stortford School, where Mr Silk was
deputy head recently; he then went to Cambridge University where he won four
hockey blues and also played first class cricket for the University; on
leaving, he played cricket for Hertfordshire, hockey for Southgate Hockey club,
where Mr Mee has played in recent years, and then hockey for Great
Britain.  Whilst embarking upon a
teaching career, he played hockey in the 1960 Rome Olympics and the 1964 Tokyo
Olympics.  After retiring from the game,
he coached the England Under 19 team and then managed the full England team in
1968.  Only seven years later, he was
appointed Head Master of Bedford School. 
To those of you playing hockey today, CIM Jones should be a genuine
hero.  It was he that sparked a revival
of hockey at the school.  He appointed a
number of ex-GB hockey players to the staff, including Mr Watson, and raised
the profile significantly, through being an ex-international himself.  Those in the U14C team at the moment, do make
sure you ask Mr Watson about him.  It was
also CIM Jones who delivered a speech to the school that all OBs from the time
remember, on the Monday morning after the fire, which can even now be read in various
publications.  It was instructive that at
his memorial service in Norwich, international hockey players and old
Bedfordians made up a large percentage of a full church.

The second of the trio from that period to die recently was his Bursar,
Donald Mantell.  Donald Mantell was in
fact an OB himself.  He was born in Egypt
and then sent to the Inky aged 10 to spend his childhood years boarding at
Bedford School.  Even at that young age,
he saw his parents briefly only twice a year – they visited England at
Christmas and then he went home to Egypt in the summer.  Consider this.  The trip home took 12 days by boat (and he
had to get himself to London first), so he managed just 3 weeks with his
parents before starting out alone on the journey back – all at the tender age
of 10.  Leaving Bedford in the middle of
the second world war, he joined the East Riding Yeomanry, an armoured regiment,
and found himself part of the initial assault force on D-Day.  Amazingly, the tank landing crafts that they
were supposed to be using were not available due to a dock workers’ strike, so
they had to use bigger ships, from which each tank was offloaded onto its own
smaller barge half a mile off shore, before being towed to the beach under full
fire from the batteries overlooking the bay. 
Aged 20, with unbelievable bravery, he fought his way through France,
Holland and Belgium before leading an assault across the Rhine into
Germany.  Who better, then, to be in
place as Bursar of Bedford School in its greatest hour of need?  It was he, alongside CIM Jones, the
ex-international Hockey player, who masterminded the swift response to the
fire, thus setting up a legend that survives in the spirit of the school today.

The third character in the story did not play a central part, per se,
but instead recorded it.  Peter Stileman
was Head of English.  Stileman had been a
Housemaster and one of the editorial advisors to a radically alternative
magazine to the Ousel called Mosaic.  It
was he that co-authored the book you can find in reception entitled “Bedford
School and the Great Fire”.  In it you
can find the words of CIM Jones on that Monday morning assembly.  Jones said that he expected the entire school
to play its part in the coming months, by being “the best they can possibly be in
work, in games, in music, in drama, in general standards, in all our activities
and interests.”  But most of all, with
the building burned to the ground, the Head Master of the day, said this: “we
want people to say of masters and boys and everyone at Bedford that they have big

So, three men of Bedford, who played a significant part in our history,
who died just recently.  May we all
continue to remember them today as men who had big hearts.

Equality and Respect

Many of you in here will remember Miss Garrett’s brilliant talk last
year on feminism.  She acknowledged the
work that old style feminists had done in previous decades; but she sought to
argue, rightly, that we should all be feminists on the grounds that what feminism
really meant was that we subscribe to an equal and fair society.  I think there should be few in here who
disagree with that.  I am often asked by
prospective parents about the nature of a single sex school and whether or not
you boys grow up knowing how to interact with members of the opposite sex.  I reply that we aim to teach you all to
respect other people, and such a notion cuts across race, religion and also
gender.  I hope sincerely that you would
respect girls and women to exactly the same degree that you respect boys and
men and indeed yourself.

I read something over the weekend which reminded me both of my daily
meetings with prospective parents and of Miss Garrett’s talk; and the article
provided its own interesting slant on the matter.  The Spectator magazine was reporting about
gender imbalances and it hit upon two separate and apparently contradictory
themes.  The following is an excerpt to
provoke some thought, I hope….it starts with a re-assessment of the reporting
of the pay gap between the genders:

“For years, various statistics have been used to exaggerate the gender
pay gap. The point most often concealed statistic is that the pay gap has been
virtually eliminated for anyone born after 1975. This is cause for celebration:
the idea that a woman should be paid less than a man for the same work is
repugnant and indefensible. Happily, the vast majority of British employers
agree. For older women there is still ground to be made up. But any sober
assessment of the pay gap needs to take in its virtual absence among the

Such sober assessments are in short supply: it’s far easier to use
crude figures to generate headlines. PricewaterhouseCoopers this week published
a report claiming that the UK has a gender pay gap of 17 per cent. This figure
was created by ignoring the fact that men tend to work different hours to
women. When, like the Office of National Statistics, you compare the hourly
rates of pay, the average gap across all age groups is 9 per cent.

Even that doesn’t tell you the whole story. Among 22- to 29-year-olds,
the gap is usually negative, with women earning more than men over much of the
past decade. For women in their thirties, it is a negligible 1.5 per cent less.
The problem that remains is for women in their forties (13 per cent) and
fifties (16 per cent). Factor in career breaks for child-raising and the
problem persists. So yes, there is still work to be done.

But among the younger generation a new issue is emerging. For those not
yet in the workplace, the grave equality problem comes in the form of a school
attainment gap. There is no biological reason why boys and girls should not do
just as well at school, fare just as well in exams and stand the same chance of
thriving at university. But today, gender inequality in school is far worse
than in the 1960s — except this time it’s the boys who are suffering. For three
decades now, they have been less likely than girls to get decent GCSE results.
They are now 27 per cent less likely to apply to university and 30 per cent
more likely to drop out if admitted. Men now make up barely a third of law
graduates, and two in five medicine graduates.

To her credit, one who has paid attention to the underachievement of
boys in education is Mary Curnock Cook, retiring chief executive of UCAS – she
of course spoke here in the Great Hall last year. She points to schools where
the only male staff member is the janitor, and asks about the lack of male role
models at a time when 15-year-olds are more likely to have a smartphone in
their pocket than a father in their home. As she recently pointed out, if the
university gender imbalance were reversed there would be no end of inquiries
and initiatives to address the problem.

Harriet Harman’s memoir recalls an era when the feminist agenda was
synonymous with the struggle for equality. But slowly, these two notions are
coming apart. The pay of the over-40s is a cause for concern, but the
educational attainment gap of under-20s is another. Anyone genuinely concerned
about equality in Britain should be worried about both.”

A response to the above could well be the re-emergence of single sex
education.  It is worth remembering that
these statistics have been gained from an overwhelmingly mixed education system.  An education such as ours, where the focus of
the whole school is to specialise in the attainment of boys, has to be in your
favour.  So too does a boy’s natural
competitive instinct; together you can, and indeed do, defy these figures.  Two pieces of evidence back this up.  In 2016 education data analysts SchoolDash
produced figures to show that 55 per cent of pupils in mixed schools achieved
five good GCSEs including English and maths, while single-sex schools
maintained a higher proportion with 75 per cent of pupils getting the same
results.  Much of this was due to girls
doing better in all girls’ education; but it was also attributed in part to the
same being said for boys.  At A Level,
the results seem even more stark.  The
Telegraph’s analysis of exam results for 2016 show that 41% of pupils
registered at an all-girls school got AAB; 38% of boys in an all-boys school;
but only 18% of pupils in mixed schools got the same results.

Still people worry that not mixing education with the opposite sex in
some way disadvantages you socially. 
Well, you have the opportunity to prove them wrong: not only can you
show that you can gain wonderful results from an all boys’ school, but also
that you can mix well and treat all people, no matter what their gender, with equal



An evening of Oenology for the Mitre Club

The final Mitre Club Dinner of term took place on Friday 24th March and it was great to see “Team Gee” in action. The President of the Mitre Club, U6th Former Charlie Gee, son of OB Tim Gee (75-79) took great pleasure in welcoming his uncle, William Gee (72-77) back to the School. William spoke about his interest in wines and talked those assembled through the different wines he had selected for each course. For both the staff and boys it was fascinating to hear about the wines, the regions where they were produced, different varieties of grapes and the subtle variations in the wine making process. Both novices and more mature wine drinkers alike learnt an enormous amount. It is always much appreciated when OBs return to the School to talk about something they are passionate about, particularly when it involves tasting delicious wines from some of the best vineyards in France! 

Victory for 1st VIII

For the first time in Bedford School’s history, our 1st VIII were victorious in the 1st 8s category at the Schools Head of the River Race.

Despite the fact that the course had to be shortened from 4 miles to just over 1 mile due to the extremely windy conditions and high waves, the Bedford School 1st VIII proved victorious.  The crew now have their sights firmly set on the 1st 8 Child Beale cup at the National Schools Regatta; a win here would be another first for the school but a strong possibility for this outstanding VIII.

The other Bedford School crews also battled hard in the tough conditions.  The 2nd VIII finished 10th in the 2nd 8s. The Colts A crew finished 2nd in the J16 1st 8s and the Colts B crew finished 3rd in the J16 2nd 8s. Both crews have made huge improvements in speed this term and put in superb performances.  The J15 A crew finished 12th in J15 1st 8s, the J15 B crew finished 6th in J15 2nd 8s, the J15 C crew finished 12th in J15 2nd 8s and were the 3rd fastest J15 C crew.

Double Badminton Success

Bedford School’s Badminton U16 and U14 teams enjoyed double success with Gold and Silver at the East Region Round of the National Inter Schools Badminton Championships.

On Monday 20 March, the U14 team – Josha Mital, Finlay Cumings, Arin Mital and Ashlesh Chandrapu – won their group after defeating Colchester Royal Grammar (Essex) 5 – 0 and Culford (Suffolk) 3-2. Unfortunately, the boys could not repeat their winning streak in the final; losing to Richard Hale School (Herts) 1-4 to take the silver medal.

The following day was the turn of the U16 team – Alvin Choi, Oliver Medley, Leon Zhu and Edric Yeung – who also won their group by beating King Edward’s Grammar School (Essex) 3-2 and Neale Wade School (Cambs) 5-0.

The boys then faced J.H. Newman School (Herts) in the final; a school with a strong record in the competition and finals places for the last two years.  The exciting match came down to the final doubles match, which Leon Zhu and Oliver Medley won by 21 points to 19 to take the match and the regional title. The boys, who remained calm under pressure and supported each other throughout the tournament, are now looking forward to the national final in May at Milton Keynes National Badminton Centre.  This will be the second consecutive year that Leon Zhu and Oliver Medley have competed in the national finals.

Congratulations to all the boys on their superb achievements.