The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612 e. oas@aldenham.com
Latest News
02 April 2024
The Annual OA Dinner 2024, held on Saturday 9 March, was enjoyed by over 80 guests. Ages ranged from 18 to 84 with OAs representing every decade from the 1950s to the 2020s. The Head of Foundation, Mrs Alex Hems, welcomed everyone back to Aldenham with drinks and canapes in the Apthorp Room in The Wells Centre, where guests gathered at the start of the evening. Newly elected President, Clare Yeabsley (K1988-90) thanked James James-Crook (M1968-72) for his dedication to the role over a seven year tenure and said she will do her best to continue connecting with OAs of all ages and across the world.
A delicious three course meal was followed by first class entertainment from professional magician, Christopher Whitelock (B2000-07). OA sports and social clubs were well represented with members of OAFC, OA Golf Society, Aldenham Fives, OA Hockey & Netball as well as the Old Aldenham Lodge all present and correct. John Griffin (SHO1976-81) travelled from Switzerland and Duncan Wallace (P1963-66) came from Bulgaria to join the occasion.
Great fun was had by all with Instagram poses and Tik-Tok footage put together by younger members of the OA Committee determined to raise the profile of OA events to Generation X, Millennials and Gen Z, as well as the Boomers! Dinner Convenor, Chris Stern (P1973-78) made a point to thank the caterers, Holroyd Howe, who did a fantastic job and also subsidised the wine for the event, to help keep the ticket prices attractive.
The whole evening was a great success and set the bar high for a similar standard for 2025. Photographs taken on the evening may be viewed in the Event Galleries and feedback and suggestions for future OA gatherings are invited – please send all thoughts to oas@aldenham.com
18 March 2024
Funeral Details:
Tuesday 16 April at10:30am
St John the Baptist Aldenham Church, Church Lane, WD25 8BE
Followed by a reception at Aldenham Golf Club, WD25 8NN.
Donations invited to Peace Hospice Care in memory of Mary -
https://marygalvin.muchloved.com/
We are very sad to announce that Mary Galvin, Kennedy’s Housemaster’s wife 1984-99, died on Sunday 17 March.
Aldenham played a large part in Mary’s life as she lived here as a child when her father, David Wallace-Hadrill (CR1950-55 &1962-86) was Kennedy’s 1st Housemaster. She went on to marry Austin Galvin (CR1970-2006) who was initially Head of Biology and then the 3rd Housemaster of Kennedy’s. Mary and Austin's son, Will Galvin, is an OA, Beevor’s 1993-2000 and was married in the Aldenham School Chapel in 2016. Their daughter, Eleanor married Peter Duddles (CR2000-04), a Physics teacher and Martineau’s House Tutor at the School and their daughter, Alice was also married at Aldenham in 2008.
We would like to extend heartfelt condolences to Austin, Alice, Will, Eleanor and Peter and their whole family, as well as to Mary’s brothers, Peter Wallace-Hadrill (B1961-66), Ben Wallace-Hadrill (B1970-74) and Robert Wallace-Hadrill (B1973-77).
Further information and funeral details will be posted here when known.
President of the OA Society, Clare Yeabsley (K1988-1990) says that she will always remember Mary fondly. Clare has kept in touch with Austin and Mary Galvin, since being in their House as a student, this is testament to their kindness and the care that they both showed to Aldenham students.
Our thoughts are with all those affected by this loss.
07 March 2024
At yesterday’s OA AGM, as per my long term intention, I stepped down as OA President and I am delighted to announce that Clare Elizabeth Yeabsley (née McCarty) was unanimously elected as my successor.
My seven year tenure of commitment, continuity, change, connection and contemplation has been thoroughly enjoyable, a tremendous personal honour and privilege during which time I made many significant changes to the OA Society, albeit in my opinion for the better, including developing a more diverse and inclusive OA Committee.
Now is the right time to allow another OA with fresh energy and vision to continue my legacy as the OA Society evolves and thrives one hundred and twenty two years since being founded in 1922.
Clare, a former pupil of Kennedy's House 1988-90, is married to Michael Yeabsley, Housemaster of McGill's and a mother to seven children all educated through the Aldenham system. Clare was elected to the OA Committee in 2015 and is a successful business woman, confidant public speaker, networker and communicator; her brother is Paul McCarty (M1987-92).
Clare Yeabsley now becomes the first woman in the history of the OA Society's one hundred and twenty two years to hold the office as the 28th President of the Old Aldenhamian Society and indeed forty four years since girls were first admitted at Aldenham School. This is history in the making.
I am confidant you will give Clare your full support in her new and important role.
Long live Aldenham. Long live the OA Society.
With my sincere thanks and best wishes.

James James-Crook (M1968-72)
Vice President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
08 January 2024
On Monday 18 December the Class of 2023 returned to Aldenham for the first time since they left in the summer. Over 100 guests gathered in the Dining Hall to offer each other season’s greetings and share news and views of life beyond Aldenham. Former students and their parents were obviously delighted to see each other again.
Festive food and drinks were served on arrival and Alex Hems, Head of the Aldenham Foundation, congratulated all the former students on their achievements as she formally presented them with their hard earned A Level certificates. James James-Crook (M1968-72) took the opportunity to welcome new members to the OA Society and to tell them about the benefits of their alumni organisation; a network of friends, fellow students and professional contacts within a unique community who may be contacted directly or through the OA Office. He reminded them about events that may interest them such as the Annual OA Dinner, OA Day and other reunions that are organised locally, regionally and internationally. Formalities over it was back to eating, drinking, and socialising to continue the celebration.
This event is a relatively new Aldenham tradition in the School and OA calendar, providing an opportunity to reconnect and to stay in touch with old friends and to make new ones. We now look forward to a similar event at the end of 2024.
30 November 2023
Many congratulations to Colonel Alan Jukes OBE (SHE1937-41) who reached 100 on 3 November 2023. He was delighted to receive a card and an Aldenham mug from Alex Hems, Head of the Aldenham Foundation, which took pride of place on his shelf along with a card from the King. Alan's PA told us that he was hoping to get one from Queen Elizabeth and said that "the one from King Charles would do".
Guests at a celebration arranged by Admiral Jellicoe House staff, where Alan is a resident, included the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth and the Royal Marines Corps of Drums gathered to provide the pomp and ceremony befitting a former Naval Officer.
It was a very special day for everyone and especially Alan.
14 November 2023
Jim Robinson (CR1974-85) sadly died on 20 October ‘23.
Jim was Head of Chemistry for all his time at Aldenham and House Tutor in Kennedy’s for ten years.
May he rest in peace.
Jim had expressly wished that Aldenham should be informed by his sister, Alice, who kindly wrote to the Head of the Aldenham Foundation, Mrs Alex Hems. Although he lived his last years in a care home and had very poor mobility Jim kept in touch with the School and OAs, visiting when he could. It was always a pleasure to welcome Jim back on OA Days and the affection he felt for Aldenhamians was matched in return by everyone who knew him.
We will remember Jim very fondly and are grateful to him for his care and support.
Pictured, left on OA Day 2012 with Frank Rogers (SH1953-58), OA Society Hon. Secretary.
We have been advised that Jim's funeral will take place at 2pm on Tuesday 21st November at St Helen's Church, Ainderby Steeple, Northallerton, North Yorks, followed by burial.
10 November 2023
Guests gathered at the Sole & Duck in Trumpington, near Cambridge, for a sociable Aldenham lunch on 12 October 2023.
Old Aldenhamians from the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s enjoyed sharing memories and catching up with each other over a drink before sitting down for a super meal when more stories were told, and life experiences exchanged.
After lunch, Alex Hems, Head of the Aldenham Foundation, updated guests on activities at their old school and James James-Crook, President and Governor, thanked them for their support as he prepares to stand down after seven years as President next spring.
Another great event, well supported by members of the OA Society living in the East of England.
31 October 2023
On a bright, sunny day in Hertfordshire, nearly 100 people gathered to say farewell to Neil, a superb supporter of the OAGS. This included 24 from Aldenham, several from the Lutine Golf Society, Ashridge Golf Club and the Hammers (a golfing group of which Neil and some OAs are members).
Neil’s two sons, Alistair and Jonathan, spoke eloquently about their father.
Jonathan highlighted Neil’s love of family life, his loyalty and his kindness, his passion for golf and his constant desire for maximum enjoyment. Only a few months ago, the whole family had enjoyed a wonderful holiday together in Sardinia.
He was a keen sportsman at school, playing football, hockey, cricket, fives and squash. He was House Captain of Kennedy’s before leaving in 1970.
Alistair described how Neil followed his father into the world of banking and investment where he enjoyed a successful career in Standard Chartered Bank, with a few spells abroad in Johannesburg and Hong Kong, and ending his career with the old established investment firm, Henderson Crosthwaite.
Jonathan has also made his career in the world of finance and was flattered when asked by Neil to manage his pension fund. He was a little surprised too as Neil was perfectly capable of doing it himself but this merely showed Neil’s love for his family.
Both Alistair and Jonathan had some touching memories of family life. At Christmas, Santa’s Grotto was essential even though it took hours and hours to assemble. At Easter, Neil would organise an Easter egg hunt which was fun except that the eggs were never found and Neil could not remember where he had hidden them!
Despite working in the City, he never fully embraced technology but Alistair explained that he did manage to sign up to a 4G network which included:-
Garden – he loved his garden with pond, fish and an (unwanted) heron.
Golf –at Ashridge and with the OAGS, Lutine, Seniors and Hammers.
Gastronomy – a good lunch or dinner with plenty of wine was de rigeur.
Generosity – not just with money but also time and family support.
The heron was arguably the biggest challenge and whatever Neil did, the heron kept stealing the fish. One day in the early morning, just as dawn was breaking, Neil saw his opportunity and sneaked up on the heron and dealt it a huge blow with his 7-iron. Keen to make sure he had succeeded, several more blows were added and the heron lay lifeless on the ground. However, as daylight arrived, Neil’s pride was somewhat dispelled as he remembered that he had recently purchased a plastic heron to scare off the real one. The life of the plastic heron was all too brief.
Neil Melvill – His life as an Old Aldenhamian
I first met Neil when we were both selected for the OAFC 2nd XI. Selection is something of a misnomer – we were both available and needed to make up a full team. He was a skilful, hard-working midfielder and difficult to shake off the ball when in possession.
I also met Gill who was a regular spectator at the OAFC matches. She trudged through the mud on Cooke’s Fields, often in atrocious conditions and joined us in the Three Horseshoes afterwards for a well-earned drink. Neil and Gill married and although they divorced more than 20 years ago, they remained on good terms. It was very good to see her at the funeral and here she is holding an OAGS plaque which we placed on Neil’s coffin.
He was also a good squash player. He has played all his life, including OA squash with Phil Murphy, John Yule et al in the North Middlesex League.
As everyone finds, ones running speed has a nasty habit of declining so at this point Neil turned his attention to golf. Always a steady player, and a delight to play with, he joined the OAGS. He won an OAGS trophy on no less than 36 occasions, the first in 1995 when he and John Yule won the afternoon foursomes and the MT Allen Cup, a cup he won 8 times. Neil loved foursomes, especially after a good lunch, so it is no surprise that he won a foursomes trophy 22 times, 6 of them for the Prevost Salver on the infamous European Tour.
Neil played almost every time there was an OAGS event and is probably top of the attendance chart. A regular tourer in the UK and in Europe, he adored the chance to try out the cuisine in each venue and was always keen to examine the wine list. He was great company and his enthusiasm was infectious – and probably responsible for many of my hangovers. The photo on the next page captures all of that joie de vivre.
As a member of Lloyd’s of London, he survived the worst of the crisis in the 80s and 90s but was always supportive of that great institution. He became a member of the Lutine Golf Society and was a conscientious supporter. It was good to see at least 5 LGS members at the funeral.
I must also thank James James-Crook, President of the OA Society, as well as Alexis Shead and Ann Saffery from Aldenham School for their presence.
All these things made it such a memorable experience.
And so we said farewell to a much loved OA who will long be remembered but not as a drug baron which his black Mercedes S-Class, elongated and with darkened windows, would indicate.
We will remember his 4G connectivity which made him a wonderfully kind, loyal and passionate man who contributed to everyone’s enjoyment of life.
God bless you, Neil, and all your family.
Ian Eggleden (SHE1958-63)
October 2023
09 August 2023
At Taunton Deane Crematorium on Friday 5 August 2023, we said goodbye to Guy Green (SHO1971-73), a great man who died far too young at the age of 65.
The “Big Man” was kind, generous and admired by all who knew him. He had a wonderful sense of humour and always found just the right words for every situation.
He lived life to the full but his family meant everything to him. He and his wife, Elizabeth, moved from London to Bishop’s Lydeard, not far from Taunton. The Old Vicarage was a large house with a beautiful garden where they built a new life with daughter Florence and son Freddie.
Elizabeth’s parents bought the house next door and they have spent many long hours helping to maintain the estate and to grow flowers as well as to develop a magnificent kitchen garden.
We heard from Jon Gatward in the Eulogy that he and Guy were students at Keble Preparatory School in North London and remained friends after leaving Keble. Guy, of course, went to Aldenham (School House Odds from 1971 to 1973) as did Jon’s brother whereas Jon went to Highgate.
After leaving school, Guy went into the printing business but this did not interfere with his love for Spurs. In one season alone, he watched 42 matches, 21 at home and 21 away games.
He also developed an interest in golf and joined Bush Hill Park where he earned the unfortunate nickname of “3-putt”. He loved the social side of life at a Golf Club and many an evening was spent with friends at the bar. These evenings involved, amongst other things, drinking many pints of beer followed by a curry which was required to settle the stomach!
Later, in the 1980s, he joined Frinton where he met many influential characters. One was Chris Boggon (M1940-45), an OA and a highly competitive golfer, who introduced him to the Halford Hewitt Tournament in which he played regularly for the OAs, partnering the legendary Bob Coombes (SHE1944-47), a past President of the OAGS, and then Peter Easby (SHE1962-66), a Vice-President.
All OAGS members will remember Guy with love and affection. It is a wonderful tribute to him that 9 OA golfers made the trip to Taunton and Elizabeth was delighted that so many OA golfers came so far to be there. Here they all are!
David Rawlinson (B1988-93)
Dick Hall (K1969-74)
Shon Williams (M1975-80)
Ian Eggleden (SHE1958-63)
Peter Easby (SHE1962-66)
Steve Lewis (B1970-75)
Ian Wilson-Soppitt (P1958-61)
John Yule (SHE1966-71)
Phil Murphy (K1965-70)
I have no doubt there would have been more of us had it not been the holiday season.
The service was led by Ben Marlowe, another longstanding friend, and we heard many stories and descriptions of Guy from Ben and Jon Gatward.
We also listened to Freddie recounting some of his personal memories of Dad, Big Man, GG and Greenie. Freddie was alongside Elizabeth and Florence – both tearful, of course, but wonderfully elegant and composed. Flo had chosen a poem “If tomorrow starts without me” by David Romano and had asked Peter Easby to read it. The words are deeply moving and Peter brought out all the emotion and beauty of the poem.
And so we must say goodbye to Guy until we are able to meet up again.
We will miss you, Guy, and we will never forget you.
13 June 2023
A celebration of Aldenham's past, present and future.
With over 180 people booked to attend OA Day and the McGill’s 135th anniversary, we were hoping the sun would shine and indeed it did. OAs returned in droves and gathered for coffee in the Sixth Form Centre, which many remembered as the Tuck Shop and where they bought their first Aldenham School uniform. Gradually the guests drifted over to McGill’s House where they were greeted by Mike Yeabsley (CR2008-Presnt), McGill’s Housemaster since 2014, and some student Ambassadors. The House was a hive of activity with OAs from the 1940s to the 2020’s all sharing stories and reliving their youth.
A Service of Thanksgiving brought everyone together in Chapel, where voices were lifted in song and heads bowed in prayer to honour the past, the present and the future at Aldenham. School House Garden then provided the perfect setting for drinks before lunch with some gentle music drifting over more shared memories. Alex Hems, Head of the Aldenham Foundation, took this opportunity to welcome guests and to give a brief overview of her first year at the School. She said that she was delighted to meet so many OAs from across the generations and from several countries including America, Australia, Malaysia and Germany as well as those who had travelled some distances in the UK to join the celebration. James James-Crook also addressed the crowd and announced that he will be stepping down as President of the OA Society at the next AGM after his eight year tenure. He spoke of his pleasure at seeing the changes implemented during his time and the increased diversity of OAs engaging with events and the unique services on offer to members.
A delicious two course lunch was served in the Dining Hall and in the Staff Dining Room by the School caterers, Holroyd Howe. Both areas were ringing with constant chatter and laughter as more legends were chronicled and new memories made of times spent with Aldenham friends.
After lunch guests spread across the School site to enjoy the views and to watch the annual John Dewes cricket match, played in honour of our one and only England Test cricketer to date, John Dewes (B1940-45). Tea was served in at the cricket Pavilion to mark the end of another wonderful OA Day.
OASocWhite
The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612
e. oas@aldenham.com
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