This year, the Reunion Dinner will be held on the same day as the Memorial Service for Tom Palmer who died last August, details of which are in the February newsletter. This will be a service in which we can celebrate all that Tom achieved in his life, including his 24 years as a member of staff at Abbotsholme. We hope that as many people as possible will be able to attend both the service and the dinner that evening, although some people may, of course, choose only to attend one or the other.
Please note that as the event takes place in school term-time, we will not be able to offer accommodation at the school this year. We have put together a short list of some of the local accommodation available which you can find below.
We are delighted that we have two guest speakers at the dinner this year, Chris Hall and Jenny Richardson. Both are, I am sure, very well known to most of you.
Chris, who was a pupil at Abbotsholme in the 1970s, has always maintained the closest of links with the school. He is a long-standing member of the OA Committee, and he has been a school governor for many years. Over the past fifteen years or so, all three of his sons have been pupils themselves, with Toby, the youngest, still in the Sixth Form. Chris is currently Abbotsholme’s Chair of Governors, and he somehow manages to combine this role with running his own large, successful farm, holding a senior position in Staffordshire Young Farmers and teaching clay-pigeon shooting every week to Abbotsholme pupils. He is an excellent speaker, full of warmth and humour, and his love of Abbotsholme knows no bounds.
The date has been finalised for the Tom Palmer Memorial Day. Full details of events and timings will follow later, but let me give you an idea of what we are planning for the 26th May, at Abbotsholme. In the morning there will be a service in Chapel, starting at 11.00. Lunch will follow, then there will be an afternoon of outdoor activities - all things which Tom himself would have enjoyed. After a cup of tea, there will be a tour of school for those who are interested, then the Dinner will begin at 7.00. All events will be free, apart from the Dinner for which you will need to buy tickets. We will probably not be able to offer accommodation in the boarding houses this year, though.
It’s not every day that you get a chance to write your own obituary, or at least that’s what it feels like.
I write to introduce myself as the new Head of Abbotsholme School: your school. I was educated at Arnold School, Blackpool where I attended as a boarder from 1966-1977 before going on to study a Joint Honours degree in Physical Education and Sports Science and History at Loughborough University. It was here that I also successfully completed my PGCE before taking up a post at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, as a boarder master and PE teacher. Eight years later, I moved to Devon with my wife and two boys to the place where I had been appointed as Head of PE and Games. Something of a ‘Mr Chips’ career followed, and from 1989 to 2013, I experienced life at Shebbear College as a member of the SMT, Head of Boarding, Timetabler, Examinations Officer, Deputy Head and then Headteacher. All of this was in addition to being a PE, Psychology and History teacher.
I retired, as planned, at 55 with the intention of travelling, playing more golf and actively enjoying ‘me’ time: it was a slightly unrealistic plan! Within the year I started to help with the recruitment of overseas pupils, and shortly afterwards was asked by the Methodist Schools to help mentor a young Head at a local prep school. More recently, I have acted as Programme Director for Oxford Royale, running three two-week residential courses for 185 students aged 13-15 who were housed in the halls of residence at Oxford University. Then, in late October, I received a phone call………..and the rest, as they say, is history.