John Francis (OM) and the Paralympics

We have received the following from John Francis’ father, which may be of interest to those of you who were at school with him.

I thought you may be interested in the two links below from online newspapers in respect of my son, who is a former pupil of Maidstone Grammar School (2009). An article has also appeared in the Kent Messenger this week.

John Francis left MGS in July 2009 and started studying Sports Science and Coaching at the University of Worcester. He has continued his studies at Worcester and is currently working towards his PhD.

The PhD is in conjunction with GB Wheelchair Basketball. John has been involved with the Wheelchair Basketball for nearly four years and is Head of Performance Analysis for both the Men and Womens teams, and for Rio, he is also the Men’s Team Manager.

With the Opening Ceremony for the Paralympics due for tomorrow evening and the first games on Thursday 8th September I am sure MGS would wish to support the Paralympics and to roar on Team GB.

Regards,
David Francis

http://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/sports-science-students-heading-off-to-help-paralympic-athletes-in-rio.html

http://www.kentnews.co.uk/sport/maidstone_student_off_to_rio_to_enhance_performance_of_team_gb_wheelchair_basketball_teams_in_paralympic_games_1_4672277

Eric Haslam

I recently made a visit to the OM Website and on inspecting the Register of members noticed that there was reference to our oldest recorded member Eric Haslam who left the School in 1935.

I don’t whether you are aware that Eric died aged 96 on 21st April, 2014.

He was a distinguished Police Officer who was the holder of the OBE and the Queen’s Police Medal for outstanding service.

I served with him at Gravesend in the Kent Force and later followed his career when he became Deputy Chief Constable of Kent and later Chief Constable of the British Transport Police

Best wishes
Denys E. Whatmore
1944 – 1949

Chris Meigh

I don’t know if this information has reached you by other channels, but sadly Chris Meigh passed away recently, and his funeral will be held locally at St. Luke’s Church, Foley Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 5AW on Friday 26th June at 12.30 p.m.

I know that Chris taught at MGS from 1976 to 2010, so I am sure that many will remember him, and some may wish to attend the funeral.

The wish is for no flowers but donations instead to the Barnabas Fund and Practical Action, care of the funeral directors, who are Family Funerals, 6 Marlborough Parade, Beverley Road, Maidstone , Kent ME16 9JN; 01622 260210

Regards,

Mark Stockham

David Lane (OM 1971-78) wins OR Society award

The winner of the OR Society President’s Medal for 2014, for the submission judged to be best practical, implemented, application of O.R., goes to David Lane (Henley Business School), Eileen Munro (LSE) and Elke Husemann, for “Using Systems Thinking to Undertake a Review of Child Protection in England.” The work formed a central part of ‘the Munro Review’ (Munro, 2010, 2011a, b), a high-profile review of state-managed child protection activities in England, conducted for the Department for Education.

More details can be found on the OR Society website.

Jim and Ann Clinch

This from Henry Darley (1957) who advised the following:

“Jim & Ann Clinch are moving to Newcastle to be near their son who is in Holy Orders there.  On Sunday 13th April 2014, Emma Clinch is giving a recital in St Nicholas Church, Otham commencing at 3 p.m.   There is no charge, although attendees will be invited to contribute to a retiring collection in aid of  “Friends of Otham Church.”.  Tea will be served.  The word is that this could be something of a “Swan Song” for Jimmy & Ann.  It would be nice to give them a memorable send off.  His roots are so strongly linked to Maidstone, the school and Otham Church”.

James Clinch was the author of Gaudeamus – An Account of Music at Maidstone Grammar School, and he was  a very prominent member of the OMS, being President in 1994.  He was born in Maidstone in 1927, and was a pupil of MGS from 1936 to 1946.  After National Service in the RAF, he read Natural Sciences (Chemistry) at Jesus College, Cambridge, and was then employed in the chemical industries at Ilford, Essex, at Avonmouth, Bristol and at Maidstone until 1974 when he was appointed to the staff at MGS, where he taught mostly Chemistry until his retirement in 1991.

A keen amateur musician, James started oboe lessons with Leslie Smith in 1938 and was son playing in all the local orchestras, as well as being active in school music.  This led to much music-making at Cambridge and beyond and to a penchant for conducting.  In 1969 he was appointed founder-conductor of Rochester Arts Orchestra, now City of Rochester Symphony Orchestra, a position he held for 26 years.

James married Anne Green in 1952 and they have two daughters and a son who was also educated at MGS.  The book is proof of his affection for, and long-standing knowledge of, his old school.

We wish him all the very best ‘oop North’, and will miss him.  A more erudite and extremely pleasant gentleman it would be difficult to find.

The message has been sent to the entire membership, regardless of location, in case you would like to wish him well.  jimclinch@tiscali.co.uk

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

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! (www.robertsnare.com)

Richard Ratcliffe: January 2014.

MGS Video

There are a number of videos of Maidstone Grammar School. We would like to put links to, or copies of, as many as possible on this page

One available on YouTube, in six parts, is a documentary of the year 1971-72, made by Martin Passmore and Paul Ryan, who both left the School in 1972. The first part can be found at reference us9rKrS0Z10 on YouTube. Here it is: