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OB Wins Global Best Teacher Prize

Congratulations are in order for David Massiah (94-96) on winning the annual ESU Global Best Teacher Prize, beating teachers nominated from across the globe!  The ESU (English Speaking Union) is a prestigious society that was founded in 1918 for the advancement of education in the English-speaking world and has 55 branches around the world. 

In his application, David highlighted how the role of oracy (speaking and listening sills) is not just about giving individuals skills, but empowering them to bring about social change: “The values of leadership and service are made central to an active and activist culture of oracy.”

David, who is based in Chile with his wife Corina, has many fond memories his time at Bedford and thanks his old English Master for inspiring him: “Dr. Palmer was my English teacher and the key teacher who inspired me and believed in me at Bedford School.” He even returned to Bedford in 2008 and had his wedding reception at the school.

When asked about his approach to teaching, David stated: “I try to help every student see what kind of leader they are in classes and develop the ‘nobility of excellence’ in the full school community and wider region.”

We hope to welcome David back again in the near future.


Networking at The Castle

We’re delighted to report that our first London networking event of the decade was a real success with forty OBs joining us on Thursday 27th February at The Castle – a charming pub in the heart of the city. Club Chairman, Craig Mitchell (64-74) welcomed everyone and it was great to see both regular attendees and some new faces. We were also pleased to be joined by former Vice Master, Colin Baker (79-16), and current members of staff, Mike Beale and Mike Cassell, who many of you will remember fondly.

Thank you to all those who came for making it such an enjoyable and fun evening. If you work in London and would like to host one of our networking events in the future, do get in touch with us at the OB Club Office – we’d love to hear from you!

See Photo Gallery

OB to Appear in Blockbuster TV Series Starring Al Pacino

OB Jonno Davies (01-10) will soon be back on our screens, in Amazon Prime’s new 10 part blockbuster, Hunters, released on 21st February.

Starring film legend, Al Pacino, in his first TV role since his very first on-screen job as an actor, Hunters tells the story of a diverse band of Nazi hunters living in 1977 New York City, who discover hundreds of high-ranking Nazi officials are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the U.S. The eclectic team, led by Pacino, set out on a bloody quest to bring them to justice. 

Jonno, who plays recurring character Tobias in the series, spent the whole of last summer filming Hunters in New York. The Big Apple has become his second home since starring in the off-Broadway production of A Clockwork Orange in 2017. His theatre performance impressed the New York Times’ Michael Paulson enough to name Jonno as the only actor in a special feature titled “Tomorrow’s Marquee Names, Now In The Making” about up and coming talent in the US.

Jonno has made appearances in several TV shows and films, including Kingsman: The Secret Service, Casualty, Hollyoaks, Silent Witness and King of Crime. On stage, he played the title role in Dracula at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014 and made his West End stage debut in the Olivier award-nominated comedy Shakespeare In Love.

A former Head Boy of the Prep School, Jonno is thrilled about attending the red carpet premiere of Hunters in Los Angeles on 19th February.

“Getting to share the screen with acting royalty, like Al Pacino, is a dream come true, and to walk the red carpet with them in LA really is the icing on the cake!”.

It was great to hear from Jonno telling us that fellow OB, Max Dyck (08-10), had helped him master the German accent for the role.  Another example of OB networking success! 

The Phoenix is Rising

We are delighted to have received approval from British Rowing for the resurrection of the Old Bedfordians Boat Club – Phoenix.

This reconstitution of the club is in response to a growing interest from recent School leavers who want to race for the Club domestically with aspirations of competing at Henley Royal Regatta in due course.

This is an exciting development and testament to the longevity of rowing in the School community.  We recently published an article in the Ousel here charting some of the traditions and heritage of the School Boat Club, whilst also highlighting some of the recent successes that OBs have enjoyed in the sport. 

We’ve created a new Rowing Group on Eagle Connect, our new digital platform, which will be used to share current news of Phoenix and the School Boat Club.  In addition, we’ll be sharing historical memorabilia, pictures and stories of our great Club.   

Join us HERE on Eagle Connect.

OB Ousel – Now Available Online!

Dear fellow Old Bedfordians,

Good news – from now on the OB section of the Ousel magazine will be available free online here to all OBs who have the technology to access the OB Club website. Links will also be available on Eagle Connect, Facebook and our other digital platforms! This means that going forward, hopefully most of our members will have access to this major OB Club publication, rather than just the limited number who see it now.

Hard copies of the full Ousel will continue to be made available by post to all OB Club subscribing members, unless they tell us that they would rather just receive the digital version. Some will, some will not. A number of members of the OB Council, for example, have already indicated that an on line version would be their preference, myself included. That said, we do not underestimate the incredibly valuable support we receive from the subscribing members and have no intention of removing this benefit, which is so valued by so many, unless that is their individual choice.

Why have we done this? In one word, accessibility – not nearly enough OBs see the Ousel at present and this is something that has to change. The Club is currently carrying out a review of its communication with its members – much needed as shown by the recent survey results, given the ever changing ways in which people choose to communicate and receive information now, and the costs and effort involved in producing magazines. More will be said on this later.

A huge amount of effort is put into the production of the Ousel and it should be of great interest to all OBs. We know that the OB Review is very popular, the OB section of the Ousel is similar and contains some interesting articles. So it should be just as popular! Now, we hope, we can reach out to the whole Club with this important publication. Enjoy!

President, OB Club – David Murray (1969-76)

See Here

OB Awarded in New Year’s Honours List

We were delighted to see that Old Bedfordian, Dr Jason Wong (85-89), was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to Dentistry and Oral Health. Jason is a General Dental Practitioner and a partner at the Maltings Dental Practice in Grantham Lincolnshire. He also works for NHS England and NHS Improvement as their Dental Local Professional Network Chair covering Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire, Luton, Milton Keynes and Hertfordshire.

Jason, who has an interest in Oral health promotion and Implant Dentistry, is being recognised for work carried out for the Dental profession where he still serves as the Secretary of Lincolnshire Local Dental Committee. He was instrumental in improving Children’s Oral health In Leicester – where the improvement seen since 2012 has been three times that of the national rate.  Jason has also opened the Starting Well Programmes for Leicester city and Luton with the Chief Dental Officer for England.

It was great to welcome Jason back to the School at last year’s OB annual dinner along with many of his 1989 leavers group.

Head Master’s New Year’s Message to OBs

Dear OBs

Happy New Year to you all, though in mid-January, maybe a rather lovely Swedish phrase which I have just come across for this time of year – “god fortsättning”: “good continuance” – may be more appropriate.  I do hope that this start of year letter finds you and your families well.

We are certainly in good heart at your old school.  We start 2020 in a very healthy position, with numbers strong and a busy, happy and thriving community.  Such are the challenges facing the World at the moment, that (as I said to all staff on their training day this week) it feels good to be back in an environment where we can all do something about the future.  Contrary to what you might read in the press, or occasionally see from time to time with your own eyes, this next generation is in so many ways so impressive.  It is a great privilege to be working with some of the best of them; but also, as we all know, a huge responsibility to bear when so much rides on their actions and decisions in the coming decades.  They certainly have a global awareness, a social conscience and determination to live life responsibly, as well as to the full!  I hope that I might be able to welcome many of you back to Bedford in 2020 to witness this at first hand, and (if you like) to participate in our development of the boys in whatever area of expertise you can offer.

One current area that all OBs can play a part in without too much time being consumed is to contribute to our new network of people associated with the school.  You would not be committing to anything at all, but as the world generally becomes more and more connected, this offers another way to do so and to be part of something which will connect you not only to your childhood but to the future too. 

Eagle Connect” is our new global online digital networking platform designed to bring the Bedford School community closer together which went live in mid-December. It enables Old Bedfordians (OBs) once they have left the School to stay connected and support each other in their university, business and social lives, but also allows individual year groups of all ages to stay in touch effectively.  We have been delighted with the response to the launch with over 550 OBs already signed up. New and existing connections have been made, jobs advertised and the newsfeed populated.  Over 80% of those who have signed up have agreed to help other OBs through introducing connections, career advice, mentoring, answering specific industry questions, offering work experience, reviewing CVs and attendance at the annual OB careers fair.   During the next few months, we’ll be widening the membership to current and past parents to ensure that we have the broadest possible reach.  This second stage, I hope, will be particularly attractive to OBs, as our current and past parent body will bring a further breadth and wealth of career experience, as well as genuine love of the School, to add to that which is already clearly evident amongst OBs – and therefore this has the power to be a most useful and supportive network.  Our next milestone is to reach 750 members by the end of March, but the dream is that several thousand people who love this school can stay (and get) in touch with one another, even if infrequently, then at least extremely easily.

It is so hard to summarise in a few words the sheer breadth of a Bedford School education, but if you have time to have a quick look at one particular (and relatively short) publication, “A Year in Review 2018/9”, please do – it provides a really good snapshot into the school and I hope will simply add to your pride in it!

Finally, may I wish you all the very best for a happy and successful 2020.

With all best wishes from your old school.





James Hodgson




Auckland Get-Together

DVP for New Zealand, Ted Shorrock (44-50), organised a pre-Christmas OB get together at Galbraith’s Alehouse in Auckland on Friday, 20th December. Enjoying the occasion with Ted were his wife Chiria, John  Wellingham (60-67), Chris Sansome (78-83), Craig  Mitchell (64-74), his wife Krystyna and their son Oliver (97-02). A fun evening was had by all.

Bedfordians Rifle Club – 2019 Report

It’s been another vintage year for the Bedfordians RC on the ranges and not least due to the increasing form of second-generation Bedfordians (the club was set up over forty years ago deliberately to encompass family members, hence not being Old Bedfordians RC). We now have no less than seven children of OBs representing the club and, in some cases, at international level. 

The early season saw Nigel Penn (65-69) competing in New Zealand in the World Long Range Championships and success for the OBs in the small-bore match against the School VIII at Bedford (top scorer Rupert Riley (79-89) with a perfect 195/195). This was followed by some sterling performances against other old School teams in the Q Match series at Bisley during the spring and early summer.

Following his selection for the England Long Range team in the Mackinnon match in 2018, Rupert Riley was picked to train with the England Development Squad for 2019 and his early season team and individual success (winning the Army Open Saturday Aggregate and the Scottish Open President’s Trophy) resulting in another England cap in the Lawrence Match vs Scotland at Blair Atholl in June.

July heralded the 150th Imperial Meeting at Bisley, the world mecca of target shooting, where the club duly competed in the School’s Veterans (as ‘pure’ OBs) and then in the Astor and a special ‘150th‘ match in club teams, accounting for ourselves well enough against strong opposition and in furnace-like conditions. There weren’t quite the results we had last year in individual matches but the Corporation match (1000 yds) was a happy hunting ground for Phil Dawes (63-72) 12th and Mirek Kirkillo-Stacewicz (69-79) 15th.

Paul Sykes (son of Andy Sykes (62-73), also competing) cemented his position as one of the foremost Target Rifle shots in the sport, collecting amongst other prizes, the Silver Cross for second place in the Grand Aggregate (scores from the majority of the competitions during the meeting) and selection for England in the National and Mackinnon matches (top scoring in the National) and Great Britain in the Kolapore match, ultimately winning against the current world champions, Australia. 

Rupert Riley, dropping some form, still managed to be selected as a reserve for England in the National match and Nia Barnes (daughter of Andy Barnes (76-83), also competing) was selected for the Wales U25 team as a reserve. Paul Sykes capped his impressive performance by being 3rd in the British TR Championship and an excellent 10th place in the Queen’s Prize (disappointingly the only Bedfordian in the final this year). In rounding up the Bisley meeting, special mention must finally go to Andy and Paul Sykes who were worthy winners of the ’Families’ trophy (awarded to any two relatives competing in the Queens Prize with the highest aggregate score). This was especially well received as Andy now lives in Texas and rarely comes over to shoot with us these days!

In August, Andy and Nia Barnes toured Canada with England and Wales teams respectively, with Nia sometimes showing her father how to shoot at long range! Andy was further honoured by being selected to Captain the England team in the Commonwealth Match against Canada.

As 2019 draws to a close, we look forward to next season in 2020 and the possibility of new OBs coming on stream from the School Rifle Club. Any School leaver interested in progressing on to competitive full-bore Target Rifle shooting would be very welcome to join what they should consider their ‘home club’; contact details available from the OB office.

The following represented the Bedfordians RC this year:

Nigel Penn (65-69); Phil Dawes (63-72); Andy Sykes (62-73); Martin Ebbetts (70-74); Martin Schwarz (67-73); Nick Hart (70-75); Robin Hatcher (69-76); Mirek Kirkillo-Stacewicz (69-79); Julian Hilton-Johnson (79-82); Andy Barnes (76-83); Peter Lumley-Wood (84-89); Rupert Riley (79-89); Iain Hutchison (84-90); Marc Smith (86-93); Paul Sykes; Stuart Dawes; Nia Barnes; Max Kirkillo-Stacewicz; Charlie Hart.

Rupert Riley