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- Page 54 - May thru Aug 2009 -

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 Howard Air (JRGS 1960-62) recalls a transferred school life in the early-Sixties...

My highest academic achievement was my inability to make the selection at 11 plus! My ability to read well did not cancel out my failures in mathematics. Under the brilliant headship of George Manning I got remission for good conduct at Ashburton School - Mr. Manning had been a Master at John Ruskin prior to his headship there.
  The possession of two O-Levels and some extraneous experience in the world of drama, including a period with Croydon Histrionics, meant that along with another pupil, Peter Ryall, I got to Ruskin aged 16 in 1960 from Ashburton. The first year was very difficult. I was admitted to the elite membership of the chess club. Trips to Reigate or Whitgift were always special, as those schools had a residential side and provided tea! Regrettably, my presence was frankly resented by some of the staff, who made it clear that the correct decision had been made aged 11. Good manners could not apparently disguise my lack of academic ability!
   John Deverill, Michael Lenhurr, Peter Wilson and Graham Beales were among those who showed real friendship and support. John was brilliant at Maths; he became a qualified Accountant, needless to say. Michael and Peter both entered the world of computers - I am still in touch with them. Graham went into Law.
   I did get a small part in the 1960 Macbeth production. I think Mr. Crowe got tired of my sitting at the back of the hall during rehearsals and thought he may as well include me! Barrie Sturt-Penrose was included in the play and afterwards went on to have a marvellous career in journalism.
   Recently, one of my private pupils was the winner of a prestigious award at a drama festival. It is worth explaining that on leaving Ruskin - having taken two years to obtain two more O- Levels and my driving test - I then moved to Bethlem Royal Hospital and a career in Mental Health, youth work and teaching followed. I digress to say that my Christian faith and my training at Bethlem have been invaluable throughout a long career in caring. At the drama festival referred to, being in Purley, I was privileged to find Mr. Smith, Chas. He was very welcoming, he had apparently married very late in life and told me of his two children and grandchildren.
   I recalled that he had to undergo eye surgery at the time I was at Ruskin. He had a reputation as a disciplinarian, but he appeared sympathetic during my time at school. Ironically, when I had struggled up to the Olypian heights of an Open University degree and promotion to Deputy Head at a primary school, I got a reputation for being very supportive of the children who required extra attention.
   One incident of many which sticks in my mind involves a situation in the private sector. A lady school governor, told me that the awards at the London Academy of Drama and Public Speaking festivals were in her opinion, grossly overrated! Before I could recover from this onslaught, she assured me that my teaching of number work, was clearly brilliant! If only, I thought, my past teachers, notably Chas Smith, could have been present to hear this! When I protested that this was clearly a "wind up" she explained that her son was in my class - form is what they call them in Prep schools - the boy had complained he could not add up and quoting dear Jeanette Manger, a lady of Hugenot descent, who I had known all my life, I apparently said, "Don't worry, several Chancellors have been to Eton, and they can't add up either!'
   Knowing what the children suffered, I took careful notes at teacher training and got things down to one rule in each case. It was a joy to observe the improvement in morale. A maths expert at school, said that if we hadn't done the basics properly there was not a foundation on which to build.
   At Bethlem Royal, I never forgot the supportive attitude of the tutors. My first 'rough house' and first dead body terrified me.
   I remember Mr. Murray, the History master, and Mr. Tryon, French master. Mr. Robertshaw was my first form master. I should mention Mr. Dobson. During my second and last year at Ruskin, I managed to get into his Biology class. Actually, there are doctors in my family background and human anatomy had always held a fascination. I owe him much, because my tutors at Bethlem were impressed with the depth of background knowledge that I had learnt from school.

Howard Air, Ashford, Kent. June 2009 Email


 Mike Etheridge (JRGS 1963-65) reports on this year's Bromley Motoring Pageant ...

2009 Bromley Motoring PageantThe annual Bromley Pageant of Motoring was held on Sunday, June 14, at its traditional venue, Norman Park, Bromley. As in previous years, anyone with a pre-79 car was allowed to bring their vehicle to the site and park for free.
   Once again the event proved to be very relaxing and entertaining, with a great range of cars, lorries, buses and military vehicles, together with a  collection of new cars for sale/viewing, etc.
   I thought that the Alumni might be interested in seeing some of the photographs I secured of some favourite cars that date back to the Fifties and Sixties.
   Click here to reach the custom page. 2008 2007 2006 2005

Mike Etheridge, Sanderstead, Surrey. June 2009 Email


 Mel Lambert (JRGS 1959-65) visits with an old school pal in San Francisco...

ML and MP in Alameda - June 2009

ML with Martin & Maxine MP in Alameda - June 2009

ML and Martin in the latter's
recently completed study.

ML with Martin and Maxine Preuveneers braving the wind at Alameda Bay.

During a three-day visit to San Francisco last weekend I had the opportunity to spend time with Martin Preuveneers (JRGS 1958-65) and enjoy a wonderful Japanese meal at Kamakura Restaurant, close to Martin and his wife Maxine's home in Alameda, just across the bay from The City.
   Martin has just returned from an extended trip to England, visiting family and attending to domestic business; he is about to start a consulting project for a local pharmaceutical firm.
   Plans are progressing for the planned JRGS Reunion to be held at The Surprise Pub, Shirley, in early September, for which Martin will be traveling back to England to participate in the proceedings, in addition to celebrating his sister's 60th birthday.
   Click on either thumbnail to view a larger image, courtesy of my partner Merelyn Davis.

Mel Lambert, June 2009 Email

Mike Etheridge (1963-65) adds: By complete surprise, I met Martin's sister at Trinity school about seven years ago. It was on a school open evening and she was ushering parents and potential students around the school building. I just happened to mention to her that I spent two years at JRGS, to which she replied: "Did you know my brother Martin Preuveneers?" It's a small world. (I think Martin's sister taught geography at the school.)

Martin Preuveneers replies: Yes, my sister, Katherine, has taught for many years at Trinity and her subject is Geography. Currently, she is head of middle school there. This summer, Katherine retires from Trinity and then from September will begin teaching part-time.


 John Byford (JRGS 1959-66) meets up with a school icon at Selhurst Park...

Steve Kember (left) with John Byford

I met Steve Kember (JRGS 1959-63) at the Crystal Palace Player of the Year Dinner last Saturday, as pictured left. Click in the thumbnail to view a larger version.
   The Crystal Palace Football Club Player of the Year Dinner featured a Special Achievement Award for the 1978/79 squad who won the old Second Division (now th#John_Byforde Championship) clinching the title in front of over 51,000 spectators, the largest ever crowd at Selhurst Park. Amongst that squad was Steve Kember, who had returned to the club he had supported as a boy after spells at top-flight clubs Chelsea and Leicester. Later he would go on to manage Palace on three separate occasions.
  In all he appeared 291 times for Palace, scoring 38 goals, including the winning goal that took Palace to the (old) First Division in 1969; add the 247 appearances and 19 goals for Chelsea and Leicester and that's a career total of over 530 appearances. He also won several caps for the England Under-23 team.
   We caught up with a few reminiscences of John Ruskin GS, including a word or two about Mr. Smith's longevity. Often to be seen at Selhurst Park watching Palace home matches as Palace remains his club. Steve is currently scouting for Premier League side Fulham, managed by Roy Hodgson (JRGS 1958-65), another Ruskin old boy, and working part time for Whitgift School.

John Byford, Camberwell, London, May 2009 Email

Peter J. B. Wilson (1956-63) adds: Steve Kember was an excellent chess-player in the first form at John Ruskin GS; I remember him playing at the lunch-time chess-club meetings. He dropped out of that - I remember him telling me that he didn't have time for both football and chess. There were tales of him being told (by teachers) that he would never make a living from football. I recall him saying that if he worked very hard at football he reckoned he could make it as a professional footballer. How right he was! I know he used to play for school teams and for other local Croydon sides, all while he was very young.
   I didn't move to Croydon until I was 12. I remember years and years of standing on the terraces at Selhurst Park watching Palace, initially by the half-way line where the Arthur Waite Stand is now, and later in the sheltered terrace area in front of the Old Stand. The first match I saw had Johnny McNichol as Captain, wearing either the number 4 or number 2 shirt. Alf Noakes was at left back and Johnny Byrne wore the number 9 shirt. I remember Byrne going to South Africa after playing for West Ham; maybe he is still there?
   What happened to other Ruskin footballers? I recall Dave (?) Fentiman playing in goal for Croydon, Surrey and London Boys' sides and Mick (?) Noakes scoring bucketfuls of goals for the school. Also Peter Lyle playing in goal for the school, or at least for Beta House. Didn't he join the RAF as a fighter pilot? Peter was also a top-class high jumper. Then there was Robin Clarke who, at that time, was the youngest ever full Football Referee - I think he got that at 13. Memories, memories!

John Byford replies: Johnny Byrne died October 1999 in South Africa, only 60 years old.

Mike Etheridge (1963-65) adds: I met Steve Kember at the Streatham Cricket Club 150th Anniversary meal a couple of years ago, and he confirmed then he no longer played football but was still active at the Old Mid Whitgiftians cricket club. I knew his brothers and sister well as they all played for Croydon Korfball club that was based in the recent past at Lloyd Park. I played Korfball on and off for 39 years! Some other former JRGS pupils played korfball including Ray Harper. A very attractive former JR girl also played - it's a mixed game!
   As John Byford recalls, Johnny Byrne died at the age of 60 in South Africa - he was a member of Streatham Cricket Club in the past.
   And I assume it was Graham Fentiman who played in goal for JRGS.

Harold Fish (1951-56) adds: The "Palace" story reminded me of the time I saw Crystal Palace play Real Madrid, complete with the Hungarians Puskas and Hiderguti, the Argentine di Stefano and del Sol who, I think, was Spanish but I'm not sure. It cost 10 shillings to get in in - i.e. about two weeks earnings on the paper round!
   Palace scored first - or perhaps were allowed to score first? - before Real Madrid pulled out all the stops. The result was a 4-something win for Madrid.
John Byford clarifies: The match occurred on April 18th, 1962; Palace lost 3-4.

 Ian Davies (1958-65) adds: Mention of Steve Kember brought back memories of a brief encounter in Shanghai, six or seven years ago.
   I used to be managing director of an American company, with Asia Pacific headquarters in Shanghai, where regional sales conferences were often held. After a day of intensive sales training, we went out partying on the town, and finished up at a fashionable disco that was packed tight with sweaty bodies moving to the house music, with the crowd of young Chinese and westerners being very drunk. I followed my sales team into the fray, when suddenly there was an altercation across the dance floor.
   One of my sales girls was Indian, very attractive and very well endowed. She had been surrounded by a group of Brits who were worst for wear, and not behaving like "gentlemen." I took on the role of the father figure/protector, and pushed my way through the crowd to the troublemakers. I then found, to my amazement, that the boys causing the disturbance were the Crystal Palace football team, on tour in China. (At the time they had two Chinese players in their side.)
   Within seconds, the situation changed from harassment, to handshakes and smiles, as I was re-united with the team from my schooldays, so far from home. The players then said: "Would you like to meet our manager, Steve Kember?" He appeared and seemed totally non-plussed and lost for words when we met, as I tried to talk about our schooldays and JRGS. To be fair, it was very noisy and impossible to hear one another. We then briefly spoke again at the airport the following day when we all happened to be departing at the same time, with Steve and I exchanging pleasantries at the check-in counter.
   To this day, I have no idea if Steve remembered me, or had any idea who I was! I think he was a little non-plussed meeting someone from his schooldays, without warning, on the other side of the world.
   Maybe we can secure school memories from Roy Hodgson? As I recall, he used to go to dances at the Purley Orchid, dressed in his father's clothes, looking very stylish, and making a real fashion statement.
   My sister, Karen lived in Malmo, Sweden, after graduation, and I visited her regularly. Roy Hodgson and Bob Houghton (also ex-JRGS) were national heroes. Roy took Malmo to two Swedish cups and two championships - a corner of the new stadium is known as "Roys Homa" - Roy's Corner. Ray took Malmo to the final of the European Cup, losing to Nottingham Forest 1-0 in 1979. They are jointly credited with modernizing football in Sweden.
   I also run a company in Bangalore, India, and see Bob Houghton's name in the newspaper from time to time, where he is coach to the Indian national team. However, as India is totally cricket crazy, local soccer gets few column inches.

Roger Adcock (JRGS 1963-67) adds: There I was flicking open the emails in my home office while watching Sky Sports round up of the last day of the season, and at same time reading the item from John Byford of Stevie Kember and of Roy Hodgson.
   Then... "Pop" there Roy is on TV! Banging on about the footie. Mind you, he does talk a great deal of sense. Alan Curbishley [former Charlton Athletic and West Ham manager] was on the sofa with him.
   Click in any thumbnail to view a larger version.

Roy Hodgson on Sky Sports Roy Hodgson on Sky Sports Roy Hodgson on Sky Sports

Images ©Sky Sports All rights reserved, Reproduced here for editorial review purposes only.


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