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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.


An Evening of Beer and Banter

On Friday 11th September, OBs joined our DVP for Bedfordshire, Dr Jason Reddy (79-84), for an informal drinks get together in the Bedford Blues Beer Garden. The event was particularly special as it was the first time we had been able to get together physically since March. There was a real sense of camaraderie and, although socially distancing measures had to be observed, it was a great evening with brilliant company. Thank you to all who came – we hope to see you again soon.

We have been hard at work putting together a series of varied events to appeal to all our OBs. These are both virtual and physical (where possible)  – see our website here for our events schedule and sign up early to avoid disappointment.

See Photos

Colonel Frederick Burnaby: A Great Victorian Eccentric

Former Burnaby Housemaster, Tim Machin (staff 70-05), pictured in the photo above, has recently written a book on ‘Colonel Frederick Burnaby, A Great Victorian Eccentric’. An OB who lived from 1842-85, little is known about him today. However, he was a larger than life character who packed a huge amount into his 42 years, so much so that during the 1870s and 80s, he was rarely out of the news. He was a soldier in the Blues, 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! Burnaby could not resist a challenge. His death in battle in the Sudan was met with much public grief and the Times even wrote a 5000 word obituary on him.

For those wishing to purchase a copy, the book is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback versions. Happy reading!


1964 1st VIII ‘Virtual’ Reunion

One of the few positives of the pandemic has been the widespread use of technology as a means of communication. And so it was recently, when the 1964 School 1st VIII had its first ‘virtual’ reunion.

Members of the eight are spread across five separate continents which necessitated a 10pm start to the call. Despite being separated by thousands of miles, the camaraderie was soon evident with the night spent reminiscing and catching up on each other’s news. As you can imagine, the topic of Covid-19 was high on the agenda and it was fascinating to hear how each country has dealt with the crisis. As the laughter and enjoyment extended into the early hours, it was agreed to get together again at Christmas.

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!