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Chairman's Welcome

Welcome to the Old Aysgarthian Association (OAA) pages of the website. Membership of the OAA enables old Aysgarthians to stay in contact with former classmates and the wider OA community, as well as maintain a connection with the school.

In 2016 we celebrated the 30th Anniversary of the Old Aysgarthian Association and  I am pleased to report that thirty years on the OAA is in rude health. Our membership continues to grow with new members each year comprising School leavers as well as many old boys from pre-1986 who have reconnected with the School either via one of our parties or evolving social media presence. I would like to take this opportunities to welcome all our new members, who have joined the Association in the past year.

Last November we held our 30th Anniversary drinks party in London, with almost 100 old boys and former headmasters enjoying a wonderful evening in Brooks’s Club. Many thanks to Henry Harrison-Topham (1980-85) for hosting us for the evening. Later this year we will be hosting a Northern drinks party, more details to follow during the Summer…

It was with great pleasure that earlier this year we invited Ted Haslam (my favourite geography teacher from 30 years ago) to join the committee as the School’s new archivist. Ted is taking on the management of the archives from Stuart Tate (my favourite maths teacher from 30 years ago) who has done such a fantastic job in creating and managing our archives. We are incredibly grateful to Stuart for all his hard work over the years and his support for Ted who has already hit the ground running and with the assistance of the School facilities team has established a new archives display in the foyer of the Reynolds Hall. The content on display is regularly refreshed as Ted continues to unearth more hidden treasures and he is also providing some wonderful old photographs for our regular “Flashback Friday” tweet on the OAA Twitter page. I would also like to thank various OAs and their families for recent donations they have made to the archives. The Sinnott family made a very generous donation of School memorabilia they have acquired via their connection with Tennant’s the auctioneers, including medals awarded for Sports Day events pre-1930, a fascinating collections of postcards featuring scenes of the school as well as books and trophies. The family of Charles Frederick Lucas (1883-1888), kindly donated the prayer book he used during his time at Aysgarth. Finally Andrew Johnston (1955-60) generously gifted us a silver tankard inscribed with a reference to a former staff members hundredth term and two splendid velvet sporting caps with tassels hanging from the crown and dated 1931-32 and 1926 respectively. 

The OAA bursary this year was used to make donations to two very worthy causes that are close to many in the OA community. Firstly a donation to Digger Cooke-Hurle (1989-95) and his wife Alice who successfully completed the 3 Peaks Challenge raising money for Tommy’s Childrens Charity in memory of their baby. Secondly we sponsored Ned Hillsborough (2004-09) and Mungo Fawcett (2005-10) who in November took part in Edinburgh University’s “Hitchhike2Paris” race.  Ned and Mungo had to get themselves from Edinburgh to Paris as fast as they could, without paying for ANY transport and successfully did so even managing to travel part of the journey by taxi. Their motivation being to raise money for ‘Horatio’s Garden’ in support of their great friend Digby Guthe (2008-13) who suffered a horrendous spinal injury last summer. Thankfully Digby is making great progress in his recuperation and we wish him the very best of luck and thank Ned and Mungo for their heroic efforts in raising money for this fantastic charity.

There were two OA sporting fixtures in 2016, a defeat to the Harrow Wanderers X1 and the annual School XI versus the Leavers. Many thanks for James Wright (2003-09) for organising the Harrow Wanderers fixture. This year we will be hosting the Harrow Wanders (9th July) and the Old Bramcotians (16th July) at the school, so please feel free to come along and enjoy the matches.

Finally, I would like to thank our Honorary Secretary Eileen Harrison-Topham for her tireless support of the OAA and to Niki Pargeter who has also been a great help to the committee this year. It is with great sadness that I must also announce the retirement of Eileen, from her role as Secretary, after 30 years of incredible commitment and devotion to the Association. Quite simple, without Eileen there would be no OAA and for that and all her support over the past 30 years we are truly thankful. There will be a formal thank you to Eilleen during our Northern party later in the year and who knows, we might also be able to persuade her to join us in London in 2018!

With best wishes,

Simon