It has again been a pleasure to receive news of Old Pals from around the country and beyond. What particularly interests me is the variety of life stories which arrive, whether as updates or obituaries. Some members have led decidedly peripatetic lives, while at the other end of the spectrum there are two ladies in this issue who spent their entire lives in Burnham, where they were obviously highly valued members of the community. I guess that the latter type of history will become increasingly rare.
Readers may recall that last year’s Newsletter featured interviews with two Old Pals who had become widely known in their field. Those items were well received but I’m afraid that space considerations constrain many such “extras”. The Association is run on a modest budget and the additional costs incurred in producing a hardcopy document of more than 24 pages (for those without email) are considerable. Therefore, apart from the articles on Jack Hammond and the SGS Army Cadet Force, the emphasis this year is again on members’ news.
Since last year we have suffered a number of losses, including Mr Painter, former SGS Headmaster, and Kathy Clark. Since he arrived a couple of years after my departure, I don’t remember Mr Painter but he was obviously a worthy successor to Dr Long and is remembered with respect by many pupils from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Kathy is probably less well-known but along with several others played a critical role in ensuring the survival of the Old Paludians, which threatened to fold in the 1990s. In different ways we owe them both a debt of thanks. A loss of a different kind came with the news of the impending departure of Mrs Hernandez Estrada, the school Principal over recent years. She has always been willing to give of her time to support the OPA on Reunion Day and will be much missed by us all. We look forward to working with Mark Pritchard, her successor.
Recently one of my contemporaries posed an interesting question: which teachers from our era had we found inspiring? This issue elicited considerable debate via email – maybe we old boys don’t have enough to do. It would have been interesting to hear views from SHS alumni too – maybe next year? Anyway, the discussion came down to the fact that nobody (in our limited group) could actually claim that a specific teacher had inspired him in terms of career or lifelong interest in a particular subject. It was more a case of the effectiveness with which the teacher put his subject across to pupils. Inevitably, some managed this better than others; some succeeded via method and discipline (no names!), while others were more noted for enthusiasm and personability. It was interesting to note that acts of kindness by a member of staff towards a pupil had become lifelong memories for some – presumably, because it was slightly unexpected in a disciplined environment. Of course, acts of an opposite nature have also never been forgotten!
Bob Moss, Editor