Musings from the President

[Taken from Newsletter No. 12, Winter 2013. The President’s picture is among the slides at the top of the page.]

On Friday 13 September last, I was honoured and delighted to be asked, as Guest of Honour, to give the prizes at the annual Senior Speech Day in the Big Hall.

This is a resumé of what I said.
‘The last time that I spoke at Speech Day, I started with a joke about one of the many nicknames that I had been given during my time teaching at MGS. Few people present here would remember it but nonetheless I am going to repeat it in view of the date today, Friday 13th September, and the on-going cull that is happening in parts of the country at the moment. I value my life! (Note: the name was ‘Badger’!).<!--more-->

‘I am fortunate this Speech Day, though I retired nine years ago, to have seen many of you in the course of your years at MGS, if not in the occasional cover lesson then almost certainly during the trials of your examinations where I was invigilating, or possibly during your triumphs or tribulations on the games field when I have watched inter-school fixtures, or fired the starting pistol on Sports Day, or marvelled at the music produced in the school concerts, or at the art work on display in the Art Room and around the school.

‘We all of us here owe a great deal to MGS and it has offered such a wide variety of experiences that our lives should have been enriched; if not then it has been our fault, for the opportunities have been there. For me, I thank MGS for the most rewarding career that I could have asked for and for a host of good and true friends, both colleagues and Old Maidstonians. We may not have enjoyed every moment of our time here – school mirrors life in that it is a learning process, and we learn from our mistakes – but we are all the better for it.

‘I am speaking to you today to congratulate every one of you, whether it be individually or as a member of a group, on your achievements in an increasingly challenging and competitive world. I sympathise with you if you feel you did not fully achieve your potential. When I told my Headmaster at my old school that I intended to become a teacher he looked at me, raised an eyebrow and said he would write me a reference: the main reason being not that he was impressed by my academic progress (which he wasn’t), but that he was a firm believer in the theory that old poachers make the best gamekeepers. I must agree that such ‘poaching’ experiences have held me in good stead during my career – I’ve done everything that pupils vehemently deny they would ever dream of doing!

‘I’m also speaking in my role as this year’s President of the Old Maidstonian Society, to echo the Headmaster’s words about the school as a community and to encourage you, when you have left these buildings and grounds later today, to keep in touch with your contemporaries, even, dare I say it, your teachers. (Seriously, I think they would appreciate it.) Meet up with them at least once a year – and what better time to do this than in March every year at the OM’s dinner, held here in the Big Hall this academic year on Friday March 28th, 2014. Before you leave today get together with your friends and pencil it into your diaries.

‘What a delight it has been this year to watch the revived OM’s rugby and cricket matches over at the Mote and to appreciate the high level of skill that all players have acquired during their time at MGS. Let us hope that football, hockey, even rowing and golf can be added to the regular list. (Any further suggestions welcome.)

‘Finally, my congratulations to all your teachers, your parents, but above all to you yourselves and the very best of good luck, success and happiness in what you
set out to do.’

While on the subject of congratulations, I am sure that all those OM’s reading this would like to join me in congratulating our previous President, David, on the occasion of his marriage to Kathryn recently. I wish them a long and happy time together and hope they will revisit soon and often.

Ron McCormick

(Past) Presidents of the Old Maidstonian Society

1884 Rev. S.M. Crosthwaite 1933 T.J. Bonny 1979 K.E. Loveland
1893 G. Hulburd 1934 A.S. Bennett 1980 A.A. Johnson
1894 E. Hills 1935 F.L. Wallis 1981 J. Winch
1895 J. Clifford 1936 J.H. Taylor 1982 M. Passmore
1896 R. Mercer 1937 J.G. Ambrose 1983 B. Welcome
1897 Dr. Plomley 1938 S. Beaufoy 1984 J.A. Blake
1898 R. Hoar 1939 Rev. Dr. F. Streatfield 1985 D. Chater
1899 J.P.H. Wood 1940-46 K.E. Loveland 1986 G. Bonner
1900 W. Hayes 1947 J.H. Taylor 1987 G. Hosking
1901 A.J. Waterman 1948 P.J. Homan 1988 R. Ratcliffe
1902 H. Day 1949 W. Moore 1989 W.J.C. Caley
1903 H. Monckton 1950 A.L. Ayres 1990 R. Brown
1904 T.R. Betts 1951 E.F. Clifford 1991 B. Rylands
1905 W. Day, Junior 1952 J.H. Pocock 1992 H.F. Weedon
1906 G. Smythe 1953 N.C. Cook 1993 H.C.H. Darley
1907 F. Laurence 1954 M.H. Ayres 1994 J. Clinch
1908 F.W. Ruck 1955 J.F. Payne 1995 B. Mee
1909 P. Smythe 1956 G.G. Earl 1996 M.F. Watts
1910 W.H. Day 1957 G.E. Waters 1997 D.C. Diamond
1911 W.H. Lendon 1958-60 G.B. Phillips 1998-99 Dr. P.A.J. Pettit
1912 A.W. Smith 1961-62 M.H. Couchman 2000 S.J. Delo
1913 A.F. Corfe 1963-64 A.A. Newman 2001 V.A. Bishop
1914 E. Ruck 1965 P.H. Mayor 2002 G.K. Marchant
1915 W. Vaughan 1966 R.L. Oxley 2003 P. Oldham
1916-21 G.T. Cook 1967 P.W. Ewing 2004 Dr. B. White
1922 W. Day 1968 R.R. Rylands 2005 Dr. D.E. Wilson
1923 G. Drayson 1969 Lord Beeching 2006 Dr. R. Parkins
1924 Sir Edward Sharp, Bt. 1970 C.C. Haylor 2007 F. Sando
1925 F.A. Wallis 1971 J.J. Burke 2008 Prof. M. MacCallum
1926 J. Clifford 1972 P.A.W. Howe 2009 Dr A Webb
1927 W.H. Proctor 1973 J.A. Bergg 2010 P. Clifford
1928 W. Clemetson 1974 T.P. Gutteridge 2011 A. Hayward
1929 C.A.W. Duffield 1975 M.A. Gibson 2012 D. Leeke
1930 W.J. Sharp 1976 A. Hart 2013 R. McCormick
1931 W.C. Clifford 1977 R.R. Rylands 2014 G.S. Crawley
1932 A.J. Harland 1978 R. Craske 2015 R. Ratcliffe

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 4.03.
On 10 Jan 2014, 13:40.

Visit by Robert Snare

Robert Snare  OM: 1943 – 1952

Distinguished OM, Squadron Leader Robert Snare, visited the school with his wife on December 18th prior to attending the Carol Service that evening in All Saints. Robert is a graduate of the RAF College, Cranwell and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He retired in 1996 after a distinguished career in aviation from the post of Managing Director of Aviation Training Worldwide – a company which provides qualified flight crew and training captains for many leading airlines.

In his retirement, living in Guildford, Robert stood for Parliament in the Aldershot Constituency in 2010 for UKIP and is Chairman of his constituency associatioSnaren.

The Deputy Headmaster, Paul Smith and the Chairman of the Society, Richard Ratcliffe entertained Robert to tea in the Headmaster’s study and provided a tour of the School. We seized the photo opportunity to “snap” him beside the Honours Board bearing his name – the Boards are currently down for the refurbishment of part of the school corridor.

Robert’s website is quite entertaining – especially the story of how he crash landed a training aircraft whilst at Cranwell, without either killing himself or the residents of Boston in Lincolnshire! (

Richard Ratcliffe: January 2014.