The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612 e. oas@aldenham.com
01 December 2021
Roger Crabb (M1957-61) has sent the following notice: ‘For a racing driver Tony Dron was a remarkably good writer. And for a motoring journalist, he was an exceptional racer – so good, in fact that on one of the many occasions he won a round of the British Saloon Car Championship outright, his works-backed 2.0-litre Triumph Dolomite Sprint beating the massed ranks of more powerful 3.0-litre Ford Capris, the cover of that week’s Autosport carried the headline ‘DRONINGTON’. That year, 1977, he missed becoming overall series champion by one point…
Tony was always meant to be a racing driver. It all began, aged 12, with a 1932 Austin Seven in which he and brother Peter undertook time trials around the garden at the family home when their mother had gone shopping. He had plans – later abandoned – to turn the Seven into an aluminium-bodied special to compete in the 750 MC championship but his racing aspirations became rather more serious in 1968 when, aged 21, he bought a Titan Mk 4 Formula Ford competing against (and often beating) the likes of James Hunt.
Motor racing needs more than just talent, however, and a lack of funds forced him to consider another career. Innes Ireland, another racer-turned-writer, suggested he should try motoring journalism. He entered, and won, the Guild’s Sir William Lyons Award for aspiring journalists in 1968 and in 1971 joined the road test team of Motor, becoming the magazine’s sports editor a couple of years later. Ironically, this new career meant greater chance to go racing. Hoping for exposure in the pages of the magazine, manufacturers and sponsors started offering him drives and he grabbed the opportunities with both hands.
He juggled both careers until the end of 1974 when he left Motor to take up the offer of a seat in a Capri 3000 in the ’75 BSCC only for the drive to fall through at the last minute. Fate was smiling, however, as British Leyland was looking for a journalist to race a second Broadspeed Dolomite in the championship alongside Andy Rouse. As Dron told Octane in 2018: “It wasn’t difficult to be quite a bit quicker than the other journos, so I got the job.”
That year he won his class in the Tourist Trophy and came fifth overall with Rouse in the Spa 24 Hours. The following year he raced a works Alfa and in 1976 he returned to single seaters in a Unipart-backed Dolomite-engined March F3 car. He also managed to win the Porsche 924 Challenge in 1978.
The racing, meanwhile, stepped up a gear with a works drive at Le Mans in a Porsche 924 GTP in 1980 – 12th overall – and a class win in 1982 in a Porsche 934. Throughout the 1980s Tony was closely associated with AFN Porsche. He was always quick in their 928, often taking pole but invariably arrived at the first corner in fifth or sixth having lost out to 911 traction off the line. And ten laps seldom gave him enough time to get back to the front.
In 1982 he stopped selling cars and returned to the keyboard, first as features editor and then editor of Thoroughbred & Classic Cars (later just Classic Cars).
Among many successful outings he won the Sussex Trophy at the Goodwood Revival three years running in a Ferrari 246S Dino and won the 1996 Eifel Klassik outright in a Ferrari 330 LMB.’
Tony Dron died on Tuesday November 16, aged 75, from medical complications relating to his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
On behalf of the OA Society, I send sincere condolences to Tony’s wife, Chris Whitcombe, daughters Amy and Katy also son, Will and his brother Peter Dron (P1962-65). The family has established an on-line memorial book – www.remembr.com/tony.dron – where friends and fans can post their memories of a remarkable man.
James James-Crook
President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
15 November 2021
From a 'Mini Tour' at Burnham & Berrow in Somerset, to a 'Triangular Match' versus Old Leysians and Old Millhillians, and from the mighty Halford Hewitt Tournament to the final of the Grafton Morrish, the OA Golf Society has seen a lot of action this year, with a little less restriction than in 2020, thank goodness.
Full reports have been prepared by the Honorary Secretary, Ian Eggleden (SHE1958-63), for you to read at your leisure, bearing in mind the caveat that ‘what happens on tour, stays on tour'! The reports may be downloaded below.
OAGS members follow the progress of fellow golfer and Professional, Matt Wallace (L2003-08), very closely and were delighted to see him finish 4th in the Zozo Championship in Japan in October and 14th at the Shriners Children’s Open. Matt is now ranked 66th in the World, members congratulate him on his achievements and wish him even better luck in future.
13 October 2021
OA ties were on parade for John Handcock (SHE1944-47) on Tuesday 12 October at a Memorial Service held at the Royal Chapel, Windsor and afterwards at the York Club in Windsor Great Park.
John’s sons, nephews, and godson and other OA friends, including President of the OA Society, James James-Crook (M1968-72) and John Edwards (B1946-51) were among many, who attended to remember and celebrate John’s life.
Tributes were read by John’s sister, his daughter, Nicola and eldest Son David Handcock (SHE1976-80). His godson, James Oliver (SHO1973-78) conveyed his father’s, Alan Oliver (SHO1944-49), memories of their friendship from school and beyond. Alan was best man at John’s wedding to Peggy, who accompanied John to many OA gatherings, was delighted to be surrounded by so many people who had known John at various stages of his life and remembered him fondly.
A printed tribute to John will be published in the next issue of the OA Review following this special service.
Pictured from left to right: James Oliver (SHO1973-78), Roger Handcock (SHE1975-80), Jonathan Handcock (SHE1979-83), David Handcock (SHE1976-80), Peggy Handcock, Ann Saffery, Development and OA Manager, John Edwards (B1946-51), James James-Crook (M1968-72), Trevor Handcock (SHE1979-84) and Stewart Oliver (SHO1976-79).
Photo credit Peter Handcock, David’s son and John’s grandson.
07 October 2021
Having just watched the moving the livestreamed Memorial Service for Jan it is clearly evident that so many Paull’s House girls, Aldenham staff and OAs (boys and girls), held her in such high esteem and looked upon her as a ‘Mother’ figure.
Jan will be remembered by many within the wider Aldenham community, both past and present, as a pillar of Paull’s House for her warm smile, her strength, determination and inspiration. It is lovely to know that Jan was awarded the School tie and that a bench is to be placed in Paull’s House garden in her memory.
Jan was a truly special lady and my thoughts are with Mark, Alex and Gill at this time.
James James-Crook
President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
27 September 2021
Now that the booking deadline has passed and the minimum number of bookings was not met, a decision has had to be taken to postpone this event until next autumn.
Several reasons were received for declining the invitation on this occasion, from work commitments and long-awaited holidays abroad, to a reluctance to gather at this time due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
Although disappointing, it is felt that in a year's time things will have improved sufficiently for the event to run successfully. I hope that more guests will be able to join us then.
Please note that the Annual OA Dinner is currently scheduled to take place at Aldenham on Saturday 5 March 2022 and OA Day will be held in June. Full details for both of these events will be published on the OA website.
16 July 2021
Brian Woodrow OBE DL MA FCIPD died peacefully this morning, Friday 16 July 2021.
Although Brian had suffered poor health for some time his sudden passing is a shock and happened while he was away on holiday. The blessing is that his family had gathered in Norfolk and they were all together when Brian passed away.
A great friend to Aldenham and the OA Society, Brian was brother to John Woodrow B1946-51; uncle to Sarah Jane Costello (nee Woodrow) B1982-84 and Caroline Farthouat (nee Woodrow) B1984-86; an Aldenham Governor from 2004 – 2010 and always a regular at School and OA events. Quite recently Brian was arranging a dinner to be held at Aldenham, for a charity close to his heart.
At School, Brian was Beevor’s House Captain 1956, and played in the hockey 1st XI. He went on to read History at Magdalene Coll., Cambridge and continued his connection with Aldenham through the OA Golf Society. He was appointed High Sheriff of Bedfordshire, 1995-96.
Brian will be sadly missed by all who knew him and we send sincere condolences to his family, especially his dear wife, Sally.

James James-Crook
President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
05 July 2021
James James-Crook, President, welcomes new members to the OA Society with a personal video message.
So many of the end of term events have once again been hindered by the ongoing restrictions forced upon us by the COVID 19 pandemic. This has meant that the traditional Visitation Day, when the President of the OA Society would usually meet the Year 13 leavers and their parents over a drink in the Headmaster's garden, was not able to go ahead. Instead, James speaks to each individual in the personal video posted below.
30 June 2021
Visitation Day is an annual Aldenham tradition and after being forced to go virtual in 2020, due to the COVID 19 pandemic, this year it was hoped that this important event, celebrating the School year, would be able to go ahead again, in front of the whole school community. Sadly, the final lockdown restrictions were not lifted in time for the end of term and Visitation Day had to be live streamed to homes in order for everyone to hear the speeches and announcements, including the prize giving.
Chair of Governors, Trevor Barton (K1971-75), will be stepping down from his role and took the opportunity to welcome his successor, Sarah Altman whose daughter, Phoebe Altman (P2011-18) was Head Girl in her final year at the School.
A recording of the ceremony held on Saturday 26 June 2021 is posted below and to see the viewing options hover the mouse over the icons for a description of their function.
27 June 2021
As OA Day 2021 had to be cancelled due to COVID 19 restrictions, the President, James James-Crook (M1968-720, has recorded his address to OAs and the Headmaster, James Fowler, also sends a personal message to you all.
We hope to see you back at Aldenham next year if not before!
16 June 2021
Over 140 guests had signed up to come back to Aldenham for OA Day and to celebrate the125th anniversary of Beevor's House as well as 40 years since girls first joined Aldenham.
Unfortunately, the event has had to be cancelled since the Prime Minister announced an extension of step 3 of the roadmap out of lockdown.
This is very disappointing for everyone but, despite this, there is a lot to be thankful for and we remain hopeful for the future when events and reunions can be run again.
It is a great shame that so many of the traditional end of term events at Aldenham cannot take place after a difficult year and similar cancelations in the summer of 2020. Several additional activities were also lined up for this part of the term, having not been able to happen so far this year, including meeting the parents of year 7 students who joined the School in September.
The Headmaster is working with the Foundation Leadership Group and Senior Management Team to decide what elements of the various events that are scheduled may still be able to go ahead, but sadly it is not possible for the School to host OA Day.
The John Dewes match will still be played at the School on Sunday 27 June, to commemorate Aldenham’s only England Test Mach player to date, John Dewes (B1940-45).
30 April 2021
The Aldenhamian, the School magazine, has been in production since 1881 and has seen many developments over the years.
Consecutive copies, from the first publication up to issue number 370 in November 1989, are now available to members of the School community and the OA Society to search and view in a digital format. A few later copies, published in the 1990s and 2000's can also be see on the Aldenham digital archive.
This fascinating resource can be accessed by logging onto the OA website and clicking on the Archive tab - there is a link in the text that will take you to the secure website. The magazines are in the 'Restricted Archives'.
Please let us know your thoughts and get in touch if you have any questions about how to use the search facility.
09 April 2021
Today we mourn the death of His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family. As a nation, we owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his selfless dedication to The Queen and Country and the Commonwealth.
RIP
16 March 2021
This was the first ever virtual OA event, organised in place of the Annual OA Dinner on Saturday 6 March 2021 as this had to be cancelled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
The event attracted 130 online bookings and promised a programme of live entertainment, with poetry, magic and opera, a question-and-answer session, an Aldenham quiz, cocktail making and a tour of the recently completed Aldenham Prep School – Vincent House.
James James-Crook, President, compered the evening welcoming OAs as they joined from computers around the world. He introduced an eclectic mix of content to amuse and entertain the audience, in a way that had never been done before by the OA Society announcing that this was “history in the making!”.
To start the evening two current members of the Common Room, Luke Harding (CR2019-Present), Assistant Head, and Al Stewart (CR2017-Present), read poetry created by current students. The poems were written in response to Amanda Gorman’s ‘The Hill We Climb’ and set the scene for an impressive evening. Tom Weil (K1997-2004) was then ready to impress with his mind reading and magic skills from his home in Adelaide, South Australia, but sadly was left waiting in the wings by Microsoft Teams! Tom enjoyed the show as a viewer instead and promises to come back another time. April Koyejo (P2008-10) was another victim of Microsoft Teams email incompatibility and was not able to join us to personally introduce her performance of Je dis que rien n’empouvante from the opera Carmen. Fortunately, April, who is a Jette Parker Link Artist for the Royal Opera, had pre-recorded the piece which was played and enjoyed.
James James-Crook moved the evening on by introducing members of the Q & A panel, which included James Fowler, Headmaster and CEO of the Aldenham Foundation, Clare Yeabsley (K1988-90), Director at McCarty London, Housemaster’s wife, McGill’s, with 4 children at Aldenham, Dr Nick Schindler (K1998-2005), consultant Paediatrician, Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital and David Bott (CR2007-12), Director at the Institute of Positive Education, Melbourne, Australia. It was fascinating to hear the responses from each of them as to how prepared they were professionally and personally for a worldwide pandemic, how they coped with various challenges, what lessons were learnt and what they would do differently in future. Unfortunately David Bott was unable to connect as a presenter but he has agreed to come back and speak to OAs another time. OAs were sending in their own questions via the Q & A facility, demonstrating their engagement with this activity and whilst there wasn’t enough time to answer them all it shows that there is a desire to stay connected to this unique community.
The next element of the evening was an Aldenham quiz, ably presented by Mike Yeabsley (CR2008-Present), Housemaster, McGill’s. Viewers were asked to send in their answers, which many did and a winner, James Jarvis (M2006-13) was duly selected, over Molly and Trevor Barton (K1971-75), who it was felt had an unfair advantage, due to their positions held at Aldenham, as former Development and OA Manager and current Chair of Governors! James will be sent a coveted (by McGillian's), McGill’s bow tie as a prize.
Chris Stern (P1973-78) was the last OA waiting in the wings. Chris was dressed and prepared to demonstrate the mixing of a Vesper Martini. Viewers were left to follow the recipe themselves as Chris was unable to pass the Microsoft security gates! We will do this next time.
Whilst sipping cocktails (those who had been able to follow the recipe provided in advance), the audience were taken on a live tour of the recently completed Vincent Building Development by Vicky Gocher, Headmistress, Aldenham Prep School. It was great to be the first people to see inside this magnificent facility, which was ready to welcome the children back to school the following week. A pre-recorded video provided extra highlights and daylight footage of the new Prep School and the outdoor learning areas it provides.
Finally, Sam Austin (CR2011-19) played Jerusalem on the organ at Bridlington Priory to end the evening, while OAs sang along at home and enjoyed iconic views from Aldenham and images of the beautiful School site through the seasons.
James James-Crook did a fantastic job of holding the event together despite the refused entry of four of the OA presenters. There were a few technical hitches and the loss of wi-fi signal at times but James continued undaunted. It was an ambitious and interesting exercise, a challenge that the OA Society rose to admirably and it has set a precedent for more, similar events that can be broadcast around the world.
26 February 2021
It is with great sadness that we share news about the death of twenty year old Will Rutt (B2012-19). In October last year the Aldenham community rallied to support the fundraising effort being made by Will's parents, Simon and Joanne Rutt for Will to undergo what they hoped would be lifesaving treatment overseas for his advanced cancer. Unfortunately, despite this amazing generosity, which meant that a six figure sum was raised, Will lost his battle with the disease and died on Sunday 21 February.
Will Rutt was a pupil at Aldenham from 2012 – 2019 through Martineau’s and Beevor’s House. A dedicated and highly popular student Will suffered a rare form of aggressive cancer during his GCSE’s in Year 11 which required intense chemotherapy to treat and he had to spend a lot of time away from School. He returned in Year 12, in remission, and worked hard throughout the Sixth Form to achieve his A Level goals whilst maintaining the standards and community spirit of an Aldenhamian. Will gave an emotional talk in Chapel to the whole School about his experiences, focused on the positive attitude and approach that helped him overcome such an enormous mental and physical challenge.
Unfortunately, Will’s cancer returned just before his A Level exams with a similar impact on his education and he was forced back into treatment in his final year. After leaving School, Will made plans for his future, but was never able to defeat the cancer. Despite seeking out and undergoing experimental therapy treatment to try and deal with the illness in late 2020, Will’s condition declined recently, and he passed away peacefully.
Will was a remarkable young man and because we had an opportunity to share in supporting his treatment, his loss is felt particularly acutely by the whole Aldenham community. A Chapel service is available below, which reflects on Will's life and death.
Will’s courageous battle with his illness and his willingness to share that fight with us makes his loss especially painful, but he and his family felt pleased to have been supported by his school, in turn we can feel proud that Will was so much part of our Aldenham community and will treasure his memory for ever.
RIP
James James-Crook, OA Society President writes:
On behalf of OA Society members worldwide, we send our sincerest condolences to Will’s parents, Simon and Joanne Rutt, and all his family at this saddest of times. Will was such a brave young man whose life ahead of him has been so cruelly snatched away. His positive attitude to life made him a shining example of encouragement for us all. His name will live on and he will be remembered.
09 February 2021
Sadly John Handcock passed away on 11 January aged 90.
With excerpts from The Daily Telegraph obituary, John was one of Windsor’s most prominent citizens, longtime Secretary of the Prince Philip Trust Fund for the Royal Borough, Captain of the Lay Stewards at St George’s Chapel, and hailed as an institution who probably knew more about Windsor than anyone.
The Handcock dynasty has strong links with Aldenham including John's two sons, David Handcock (SHE1976-80) and Jonathan Handcock (SHE1979-83); his brother, Michael Handcock (SHE1945-50) married the sister of John’s close school friend, Richard Thwaites(SHO1944-49). John’s two nephews are Roger Handcock (SHE1975-80) and Trevor Handcock (SHE1979-84).
Gaining an LLB at King’s College, London John became a solicitor, later senior partner at Lovegrove & Eliot, the oldest legal firm in Windsor. He was president of the Berks & Oxon Incorporated Law Society, chairman of the Bucks & Oxon Professional Council and a director of the Solicitors’ Benevolent Association. He was president of the Windsor & Eton Operatic Society.
John was instrumental in the planting of an oak tree in Windsor Great Park for the diamond wedding of the Queen and Prince Philip, and the commissioning of two stained glass windows in Windsor Guildhall to mark the Diamond Jubilee. He helped Sir Kit Aston, mayor of Windsor, with the town’s 1977 Silver Jubilee celebrations, one event of which was a rally of 600 Rolls-Royce motor cars, representing every model made. From an unexpected profit of £35,000, the Prince Philip Trust was established, John drawing up its constitution. This was launched with a banquet at the Windsor Guildhall, attended by the Duke of Edinburgh.
John was appointed a deputy lieutenant of the Royal County in 1986 and retired with a CVO in 2002.
His association with St George’s Chapel went back to 1957, and when Dean Robin Woods created the Lay Stewards in 1966, John was a founding member; he was later captain, between 1992 and 2010, and played a prominent part in many services.
Over the years, John attended many OA events and kept in touch regularly with the OA Office and often his wife, Peggy, wrote or called on John's behalf in order to impart news or ask for information. In 2014, he organised a 70th Anniversary reunion lunch for his contemporaries in School House. He will be missed. An obituary and tributes to John will appear in the next OA Review.
James James-Crook
President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
Picture taken at the OA Lunch in Kent, 2014.
22 January 2021
It is with huge sadness and shock that I have to inform you that Tony Laurenson passed away on Tuesday 19 January. On leaving Aldenham, Tony enrolled at Cassio Catering College then set up his first business producing cooked food in his parents’ garage in Northwood.
Eat to the Beat was established in 1983 supplying food to the Music, Business and Film industry. CEO Global Infusion Group 1991 Global Catering, Logistics & Brand Support Live Industry events (GIG).
Queen’s Award in Enterprise for International Trade 2017; Foodservice Event Caterer of the year 2015; Favourite Caterer Buckinghamshire County Business of the year; Buckinghamshire Exporter of the year; Top Dog Awards Best Catering Company; Unsung Heroes Award at The Arthurs.
Tony’s company also supplied Rio Olympics 2016; Baku 2015 1st European Games; The Sochi Winter Olympics 2014; The London Olympics 2012; Universiade Shenzhen 2011; Guangzhou Asian Games.
Tony was an outstanding business person, an exceptional OA and supporter of Aldenham.
On behalf of the entire OA Society, we offer our sincere condolences to his wife, Bonnie, and family, including Harriet May (P2013-15), Oliver Laurenson-Gore (K2002-07) and Charles Laurenson-Gore (K2006-10).
James James-Crook
President, OA Society & Governor, The Aldenham Foundation
Picture taken at Aldenaham.net event in May 2013, which Tony hosted at his business premises in Chesham.
12 January 2021
A message of Peace, Hope and Joy was delivered by the Aldenham School Chaplain, Rev. Jos Perris, through a video link to all students, at the usual weekly Chapel Service on Friday January 8 2021.
This was not the start of term that we had hoped for and the COVID 19 pandemic continues to make life difficult for us all. We want to share the message given to all our pupils with OAs, to help lift your spirits and remind you that we just need to hang on and things will get better. To view the service open this news item by clicking on the heading and you will be able to play the video.
Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you sometime later in the year.
16 December 2020
The whole Aldenham community was saddened to hear news of the unexpected death of our former Headmaster, Stephen Borthwick.
Stephen joined Aldenham in 1994 at a time when the School faced some major challenges and he oversaw a significant growth in the School’s fortunes.
He is remembered fondly by those who worked with him as a caring and thoughtful Headmaster. He was also responsible for establishing the Aldenham Prep School which opened in 2000 and has, of course, now developed into such a successful institution in its own right.
Stephen moved to become Headmaster of Epsom College in 2000 and left behind a strong legacy at Aldenham. He retired to the Wye Valley in 2012 and continued to be actively involved in education as Chair of the Hereford Diocesan Board of Education. We pass on the condolences of the whole Aldenham Foundation to his wife Glynis who also taught at the School.
09 November 2020
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, we commemorate Armistice Day and remember those men and women who lost their lives and gave their tomorrow for our today. In particular, we give grateful thanks to the 288 OAs who lost their lives in the First World War or the Second World War. A memorial with their names incised in the marble tablet is displayed in the School Chapel. Greater love has no one than this: To lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13.
During these challenging and uncertain times, things will get better. Stay safe. We will meet again.
James James-Crook
President, OA Society
OASocWhite
The Old Aldenhamian Society
t. 01923 851612
e. oas@aldenham.com
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