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Bench Unveiled in Memory of Richard Garrett

On Tuesday 22 December, a bench commissioned by Richard Garrett’s family and kindly donated by the Old Bedfordians Club, in honour of Richard’s memory, was unveiled at the Langham Pavilion. This was a particularly poignant date as it marks the two-year anniversary of Richard’s sad passing. Many of you will remember Richard during his time as Director of the Bedford School Association (2010-18).

“One of the first projects Richard worked on when he became Director of the Bedford School Association (BSA) was the new Langham Pavilion. In addition, one of his favourite things in life was rugby. Whether he was playing it, coaching it, or watching it – it seemed appropriate to place this Memorial Bench on the pavilion steps where people could sit, watch a game, chat and remember Rich while watching a match on Bedford School’s glorious pitches. The fact that there is also a memorial bench for him outside Eastbourne College’s Pavilion, overlooking the pitch where he scored his first ever try, is also extremely apt.”

Emma Garrett

The unveiling of the bench, which will reside on the pavilion steps, was toasted by Richard’s wife Emma and his five children (pictured here) and Hugh Maltby – current Director of the BSA.

At exactly the same time, Richard’s sister-in-law, his father and his niece, were unveiling another bench in memory of Richard at Eastbourne College where Richard attended school.

1982 1st XV Squad Reunited

Members of the 1982 school 1st XV squad got together for a festive drink during the holiday period.  Many of the squad had not seen each other since leaving school almost forty years earlier, although it didn’t take long for the banter to quickly return.   After catching up on each other’s life stories, the conversation moved on to the highlights of the 1982 season – including an unforgettable game against the OBs held in a ‘mud bath’, which reputably featured one of the last competitive outings for the legendary Budge Rogers (49-57).  The conversation also reflected on the many changes to the game since it became professional in the early 1990s.

2020, should have been the year when the school Rugby Club celebrated its 150th anniversary.  Unfortunately, due to Covid restrictions, this was not possible, although plans are underway to celebrate in early September 2021– further details on this to follow as and when they become available.   

1982 – 1st XV against the OB Club. The school won 9-4.

If you would like help arranging a get together with a group of friends, please email us


The Phoenix is Rising!

Members of the Old Bedfordian rowing community got together over the Christmas period to start planning the forthcoming season.  While the spectre of Covid  may have hung over the meeting, there was a general feeling of optimism that there would be a return to racing in the early part of the summer.  Bedford Regatta, if it takes place on the 8th May, was identified as a possible first event for the Club, with the ambition of putting an eight together.  Options of events for the 2021 Henley Royal Regatta (Tuesday 29 June – Sunday 4 July) were also discussed, although the consensus was that it was too early to decide on events at such an early stage.

If you would like to be part of the rebirth of Phoenix Boat Club or would like to find out more, please contact Hugh Maltby at  – we’d love to have you on board!

OBs Supporting Local Charity Auction

We were thrilled to hear from Charles Codrington (74-81) and David Fletcher (58-69) informing us about an on-line charity sale they are helping to organise for the The Rotary Club of Bedford Castle. We were especially pleased to see just how many of these fantastic lots have been donated by members of the OB community (eight in total!).

The auction, which has recently gone on-line, will be held on November 26th 2020 and will be hosted on the night by the auctioneer Charles Hanson, of Charles Hanson Fine Art Auctioneers, famous for his appearances on BBC’s Flog It, Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt. He is sure to make it an evening to remember. We’d love to see OBs join in the fun by sitting down in front of their screens on the night and getting down to some serious bidding – all in aid of some worthy local causes!  

If you are unable to join them live, but would like to bid on some of the items, you can do so online in advance. 75% of all donations will go to Schoolreaders and the remainder to other Rotary charities, including the Bedford Daycare Hospice.

Find Out More and View Catalogue



In the Footsteps of Burnaby

Take a walk around Bedford and you will come across several references to ‘Burnaby’ – from Burnaby Boarding House, to Burnaby Road and even The Burnaby Arms, a charming pub. But have you ever asked yourself: who was Burnaby and what link does he share with the town and, indeed, the school? Former Burnaby Housemaster, Tim Machin (staff 70-05), and Chris Aslan Alexander (86-92), gave an insightful online talk on this larger than life Old Bedfordian who lived from 1842-85.

Firstly, Tim gave a graphic account of Burnaby’s life based on his biography, Colonel Frederick Burnaby, A Great Victorian Eccentric.  He talked about his many accomplishments – Burnaby was a soldier in The Blues and Royals (Royal Horse Guards), an author (with two books still in print), a balloonist, a linguist (speaking 7 languages), a Tory politician, and a War correspondent for the Times; and that merely scratches the surface!

 “To understand Burnaby one must realise that he had three dominant qualities; firstly, as a friend said about him, ‘I have never come across anyone else who was so completely devoid of fear’; secondly, he was very obstinate and single minded, and lastly, he had immense determination. Burnaby seemed to thrive on danger. During his time as a soldier in The Blues, he had the reputation of being the strongest man in the army – and at 6ft 4”, weighed over 17 stone.”

Tim Machin

Chris, who was inspired by Burnaby’s Victorian bestseller, A Ride to Khiva: Travels and Adventures in Central Asia,  then shared his fascinating journey,  where he followed in Burnaby’s footsteps. In 1998 Chris moved to Uzbekistan to work on a guidebook. There, he was ‘adopted’ by a local family, fell in love with the place and people, and stayed. His book, A Carpet Ride to Khiva – Seven years on the Silk Road, tells this story. Chris’s account of living in ‘the Stans’, and specifically, Khiva, where he set up a carpet-making workshop to provide local employment to the marginalised in society, and restore ancient arts of Khivan dyeing and weaving, had us hanging on every word.

To find out more about Chris, and about the book he has written on this subject, visit his website.

For those of you who are interested in walking in Burnaby’s footsteps, Chris is leading a series of Tours to Central Asia in 2021.

We’d like to extend our thanks to Tim and Chris and everyone who joined us for the online talk.  We think you will agree that it was extremely fascinating and showed what an interesting and amazing man Burnaby was.

If you were unable to join us, or would like to watch it again, you can do so using the following link:

Watch Video

If you would prefer to watch the video without the ‘chat messages’ you will need to click on the ‘Fullscreen’ button next to the image of scissors at the bottom of the screen.

Our next virtual event is our first Careers Skills Talk which will be focusing on Networking. Find out more and book your place here.


Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors – Online

One of the highlights of the autumn term is our Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors.  This is an important event in the annual calendar which provides us all with the opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to be part of this wonderful institution and to mark its heritage and the generosity of a large number of benefactors over many generations. 

In light of government regulations and guidelines, we took the difficult decision to cancel this year’s physical event. For the first time in the school’s 468-year history,  we went online and marked the occasion with a short production featuring Miles Young (63-72), Warden of New College, Oxford and Bedford School Foundation Chairman, Lance Feaver (69-74).

Lance opened proceedings and welcomed everyone to our first ‘virtual’ celebration. He particularly thanked all those who kindly support the school, either directly or through their families.  Gifts of all sizes are much appreciated, none more so in these difficult economic times. 

“These are unusual times and, despite the ban on social gatherings, it is very important to recognise the work of the Foundation and the generosity of the various donors. And at this particular moment in time, that support is more welcome than ever.” (Lance Feaver)

Miles, gave a thought-provoking sermon reflecting on the school’s founders and the importance of a supportive, collaborative culture ‘at a time of national and world crisis’. He made several observations, including:

“Institutions themselves have enduring strength if they represent a collective sense of community in a beneficial way. That’s what we mean by culture – and culture is what provides the strength. The culture you find here at Bedford, is not, I think very different to what I find here in New College (Oxford) and what I found as a boy at Bedford. It places a big premium on being mutually supportive, on companionship and, not least, on a sense of fun.” (Miles Young)

Always a moving occasion, we feel that this year’s Commemoration of Founders and Benefactors was, once again, a reflection of our proud heritage as well as our hopes for the future.

If you would like to know more about the work of the Bedford School Foundation, please do not hesitate to contact either Hugh Maltby ( or Bev Marshall (

Watch Online Video

1983 1st VIII Virtual Reunion

While physically gathering for reunions may not be possible in the current climate, a silver lining has been that OBs who may not typically make it back to Bedford have been able to get together online. And so it was when the 1983 1st VIII recently held a virtual reunion, ‘meeting’ for the first time since they competed in the Bedford Sprint Regatta on 10th July 1983!   Although several decades may have passed, it didn’t take long for the playful banter to start as the crew rolled back the years. 

Mark Davies (78-83) is the only crew member who can still be found on the river, regularly competing for Sammamish Rowing Club, Washington, USA where he has won several national masters titles.  Phil Dunne (76-83) and Pete Hopkisson (75-84) have continued to compete against each other, albeit ‘virtually’ on their ergos.  Whilst,  Simon Hemsley (79-84), Paul Birch (77-83) and Hugh Maltby (73-83) can still be spotted donning their best lycra, having swapped oars for two wheels. David Jones (73-83), whose son is now in the Upper School, can be found on the touchline shouting encouragement.

As everyone reminisced and caught up on almost 40 years, they raised a glass in memory of their crew mate Ian Rowe (73-84), who sadly passed away last year after a long battle with cancer.  Also missing from the reunion was Mark Johnson (73-84) who was unable to join us for the evening. 

Remarkably, five of the crew had been in the same class in the Inky! We’ll share the photo with you on Facebook in this week’s Throwback Thursday.

Hugh Maltby, Director of the OB Club said: “It’s great to see how technology now can bring us all together. Although there’s no substitute to meeting face to face and we do hope to be able to do so in the not too distant future.”

If you’d like us to organise a similar reunion, please get in touch with Hugh Maltby at

See Photos


An Insight Into David Hockney

We’re thrilled to report that our first ‘Zoom’ get-together was an outstanding success with over 50 OBs and members of the Bedford School community joining accomplished art historian and lecturer Peter Webb (54-59) for an evening of art appreciation. The power of the internet made it possible for OBs from across the globe to come togethermaking us all feel a little closer. 

Entitled David Hockney as I have known him, Peter took us through the various styles of David’s art and showed us how he has developed over the years to establish himself as one of the world’s foremost living artists. Peter has known David since 1970 and it was fascinating to hear about his personal connection to the artist, adding anecdotes from his various meetings with David which really brought the whole subject to life. 

A particular highlight was his insight into ‘Boy Doll’ which was inspired by Hockney’s admiration of Cliff Richard. The picture contains many hidden references to the singer which Peter was able to share with us. 

Mr Michael Croker, Director of Art at Bedford School, said, “Peter’s lecture was enthralling and provided an excellent and comprehensive overview of Hockney’s extraordinary creative versatility and range. Peter’s enthusiasm was totally engaging and entertaining and his personal connection to Hockney provided a real insight into his personality and working process.” 

Following on from this success, we have created a series of virtual events to keep you entertained this autumn (see below). These events are free, but please do book early to avoid disappointment. The next one will take place on 21st October, when local historian, David Fowler (47-56), will take us through Bedford’s Hidden History, highlighting some fascinating, lesser-known facts about the town. 

BSA Virtual Autumn Events

OB Golf Society Autumn Meeting

Never before has the first OB Golf Society event of the year been the Autumn Meeting. The new normal? Let’s hope not; despite Tim Henderson missing a hole in one by six inches on the 3rd, Stan Lersch’s 10 on the 1st seemingly set a more appropriate tone for many, and by the looks of the scores, all of the ten players assembled had spent lockdown doing anything other than playing golf!

The 2020 OBGS Autumn Meeting and AGM came to the Dukes course at Woburn, bathed in sunshine and made difficult by exceptional putting surfaces and a particularly slow member’s medal out just before us.

As is now the norm for Woburn fixtures, 18 holes singles in the afternoon followed a delicious – albeit socially distanced – lunch of steak & ale pie and cheesecake, with all four trophies on offer.

An extremely brief AGM was held, during which the Secretary was unable to provide a summary of the year’s fixtures – there haven’t been any. Given the write off of the year, the Secretary proposed all officials serve a further 12 months in their respective roles which was unanimously agreed.

Having won the Scratch Trophy in 2019 with probably the worst score in OBGS history, Tom Langley-Poole trumped it with an even worse score, 85. The Medal Salver was more deservedly won by James Lawson with a net 78.

With only two players eligible for The Junior Trophy – one of whom being James Lawson – Charlie Wren was delighted to claim it by default to the amusement of all, also with probably a record low score of 21 points.  Surging back into the realms of respectability, the Senior Trophy was won by Chris Johnson with 29 points. Here’s to hoping for a more ‘normal’ 2021!

Attendees: Tom Langley-Poole (96-06): Captain & Secretary, Tim Henderson (64-71): Vice-Captain, Simon Kimber (58-65), James Lawson (61-66), Stan Lersch (81-88), Chris Johnson (66-75), Charlie Wren (95-06), Seb Wren (02-12), Ben Garrett (04-15) and Jim Black (73-82)

Tom Langley-Poole

For further details on the OBGS and how to join, see our website here.