Bolton School Former Pupils
Message from the President of the OBA
It is a great honour to be invited to be President of the Old Boltonians’ Association for 2019. As a 1979 leaver, our year was one of the last where a significant number of us remained in, or returned to, Bolton shortly after graduation, and staying in touch has been relatively straightforward. As you will have seen in the Autumn 2018 edition of The Bugle, 1979 leavers have been very active and were featured for a whole range of successes, showing what a great vintage we were. I am delighted that my Presidency coincides with the ‘9’ Class Reunion and hope as many of you as possible will join me in returning to School on 27th April 2019 to meet up and reconnect.
My connection with the School covers four generations. Both my children attended School from Beech House through to Upper Sixth, or Year 13 as it is now, and my father, son and I are all married to former pupils of the Girls’ Division! My son’s parents’ evenings were always interesting as members of staff who taught me back in the 1970s reported on my son’s progress.
I left School and opted to go directly into the world of work for a small firm of quantity surveyors in Farnworth. By coincidence, at least three other Old Boys were working in the economic powerhouse of Farnworth at that time (Mark Bradley (Class of 1979), John Brownlow (Class of 1978) and Mike Hilton (Class of 1977)). Day release and four years of study saw me qualify as a chartered quantity surveyor. The excitement of the construction industry has never left me: every project is a prototype, unique in its own way. As Old Boy Robin Partington (Class of 1978) reminded me a few weeks ago, a successful construction project requires almost unparalleled levels of teamwork between the many participants who often have very different goals.
The development of my career saw me splitting my working week between the North West and London. This afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the most high profile names in the industry, delivering some extremely prestigious projects and then returning to my place in the country (Bolton) at weekends. A chance encounter with Peter Cunliffe (Class of 1979) in London led to a small group of us meeting up maybe three times a year to discuss some legendary rock music, avoid the key issues of the day and have a few beers. The hardcore of Nigel Edwards (Class of 1980), Simon Green (Class of 1979), Peter and I all look forward to these meetings, but not necessarily the morning after.
My main point of social contact after leaving School was playing football for the Old Boltonians. Usually that entailed goalkeeping for the club’s lower teams, although eventually the opposition worked out: shoot high at the small ‘keeper. So, after ten years, I retired after a 6-0 defeat at Lymm (away) having been chipped three times. Since then, I have been very lucky to be able to keep active through climbing, walking, playing racquet sports, running and, more recently, triathlon. All of these activities have been done at some time or other with Old Bolts. Whilst the element of competition is a key part of the fun, the support necessary to overcome hurdles along the way has always been there from my old School mates.
My children followed my interest in outdoor pursuits and spent a lot of time at Patterdale Hall or on School expeditions. Both were successful in securing funds from the Scott Trust to allow them to plan and organise trips and grow as individuals through their travelling experiences. The Scott Trust is an amazing resource that the students have access to, allowing them to take opportunities to learn important life skills and independence. In 2004, I accompanied a School trip to Peru to trek in the Andes, my first trip outside Europe at the age of 43 (I did not receive any Scott Trust funding!) Family holidays took a turn towards the more interesting after that.
The Association has an active Golf Society and I would urge you to look out for notice of events and competitions. Although attendance has fallen in recent years, the matches provide a great opportunity to catch up and hopefully beat your old class mates. One of the Society’s annual competitions is the Taylor Trophy, a splendid piece of silverware that my grandfather donated many years ago.
I look forward to attending the dinners around the country and meeting as many Old Boys as I can during my year as president. I’m delighted that this year’s London Dinner, on Friday 1st March 2019, is at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, excellently located on Parliament Square. It should be an excellent evening and it would be good to see lots of new faces there.
Old Boltonians’ Association President, 2019