The Old Berkhamstedians

OB News 2011

This page gives you a snap shot of OB activity over the past year, for more details of certain events, please see the event listing.


 5th December

James Rodwell (Fry's 2002) - Dubai Sevens 

James Rodwell (Fry's 2002) was part of the England Team who beat France 29 - 12 in the Cup Final to defend the Dubai Sevens title that they won last year.

England now climb to second inthe HSBC Sevens World Series standings.


28th November

Gerald Laing (St.John's 1954)

It is with sadness that we learnt of the death on 23 November 2011 of pop artist, sculptor and Old Berkhamstedian Gerald Laing (St John's 1954) at the age of 75. His latest work included pop art featuring the late singer Amy Winehouse, and it was during an exhibition of this work in London in October that he paid his last visit to his old school (pictured above at Castle with Principal Mark Steed).

Gerald was one of Britain's best known pop artists in the 1960s and his most  famous works of that era included images of actresses Brigitte Bardot and Anna Karina. He was also a renowned sculptor and created the Four Rugby Players at Twickenham Stadium, Ten Dragons at London's Bank Underground Station and a statue of Sherlock Holmes that stands in Edinburgh.

The Old Berkhamstedians & Berkhamsted School extends sincere condolences to Gerald Laing's family.


24th October

Song for Sandeep

Johny Rhys-Davies has written a song in memory of Sandeep

(Sandeep Shetty, Swift 1997).


CLICK HERE to listen to his song 'Blazing Smiles'

Sandeep's name means 'blazing' in sanskrit


19th October

Projects Abroad Trip to India

This Summer Nicky Peck (Year 12) was sponsored by OB Preetham Radhakrishnan to take part in a Projects Abroad trip to India, to work and live within Indian culture for a four week period.

Click here to hear from Nicky on her experience.

This is the first year that this new award has been donated and we are looking forward to this developing over the forthcoming years.


12th October

Memorial Service for Sandeep Shetty

It is with great sadness that we announce that Sandeep Shetty (Swifts 1997) passed away on Monday 10th October after a three year battle with cancer.

A service was held on Monday 17th October at Chilterns Crematorium at 2.30pm followed by a reception at Deans' Hall at 4.15pm.

Over 400 friends and family including a large number of Old Berkhamstedians and staff of the School attended the service.


 19th September

 OBs Set up School in India

Harry Hurd (Bees 2010) and Edd Ferneyhough (Ashby 2010) set up a school in India during their gap year in October 2010.

The Joshua Playing Project (JPP) aims to give street children on Pushkar, Northern India an alternative to life on the streets

In India it is very common for children to be sent out by their parents or by their own accord to beg from both tourists and locals. Many are subject to abuse, violence and nearly all of them experience situations which no children should.

JPP has the aim of showing these children, care and respect, providing them with and education so that they can escape a life of begging and to allow them to enjoy their childhood.

Click here to view their website


16th September

Will Fraser debut for Saracens

Will Fraser (Loxwood 2008) made his debut for Saracens against Bath in their 28 - 26 victory at The Rec, replacing Justin Melck in the 71st minute.


12th September

Gerald Laing Painter and Sculptor - Amy Winehouse Exhibition

Gerald Laing (St.John's 1954) was commissioned by the RFU in 2010 for a 27 foot sculpture to stand outside the South Stand at Twickenham Stadium. The Scultpure entitled 'The Lineout' joins four existing sculptures of rugby players by Gerald at Twickehams West Gate.

Gerald is also holding a Memorial exhibition of paintings of Amy Winehouse at Thomas Gibson Fine Art, Bruton Street, W1, opening on 10th October.

Click Here for further details and pictures of Gerald's work.


10th September

Old Girls V School Lacrosse Match

Congratulations to the Old Girls Lacrosse team who beat the School team on Saturday 10th September with a score of 15 - 7.

A great crowd gathered for this annual match including current pupils, parents, Old Berkhamstedians and current staff and the Old Girls were victorious for the second year in a row.

Our thanks go out to all the players, in particular Amy Phillips for captaining the team and Caroline Spooner for her continued support in arranging the fixture with the school. Also, mention must be made to the four old girls who were all prepared to do a stint in goal when no goalie could be found for the match.

We look forward to the next fixture which we hope will be held in February to assist the school team with their preparations for Nationals.

A full report and pictures from the match can be found on the OB New 2011 section of the website.


3rd September

The Old Berkhamstedians are now on Twitter !

The Old Berkhamstedians have now set up a Twitter account for all members to join.

Catch up on regular updates about the Old Berkhamstedians and Berkhamsted School.

Follow us @Berkhamstedians


29th August

Under 21 OB Rugby Team make final of Cronk - Cunis Tournament

Congratulations to the Under 21 OB Rugby Team who narrowly lost 7 - 5 to Dulwich College in the final of the Shield Competition at the Cronk - Cunis Rugby Tournament on Monday 29th August.

Results of the Tournament:

Cup Round 1:       Berkhamsted 22      Hampton 0

Cup Round 2:       Berkhamsted 5        Kings College, Taunton 10

Shield Quarter Final:    Berkhamsted 17      Bedford 7

Shield Semi Final:        Berkhamsted 22      Merchant Taylors 0

Shield Final:                 Berkhamsted 5        Dulwich College 7


16th August

Alex Laybourne - 2012 Marathon Des Sables

Alex Laybourne (Churchill 2006) has just been offered a place in the 2012 Marathon Des Sables, a 150+ mile race across the Sahara desert over 6 days and is renowned as the toughest footrace on earth.

Alex is running on behalf of Mencap and his target is to raise £10,000.00.


15th August

OB Sets new World Record for playing non stop darts!

Oliver Matthews (Churchill 1998) has just set a new world record for playing darts non stop for 50 hours. They started playing at 10am on didnt stop until 12.00pm on Sunday - no sleep at all.

He raised $3000 for Multiple Sclerosis Australia

CLICK HERE for the wrap video


27th July

John Bale (Incents 1956)

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of John Bale (Incents 1956). John was a former President of the Old Berkhamstedians and an active member of the Committee throughout his life. The funeral was held on 15th August at St.Nicolas Church in Cranleigh.


18th July

Jim Watkins (Cox's 1991) Directing next Daniel Radcliffe Film

Jim Watkins (Cox's, 1991) is currently directing Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) in a remake of the chilling ghost story 'Woman in Black', due for release in 2012.

CLICK HERE to see the trailer for the film so far.   

woman in black daniel radcliffe

  Young lawyer Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe) leaves his son in London to settle the legal affairs of the recently deceased Alice Drablow. He discovers a series of inexplicable accidents and suicides have forced the parents of her village to barricade their children indoors, as if protecting them from an unseen foe. When Arthur stays the night all alone at the Drablow's foreboding house, he hears the screams of a drowning child and sees decaying children listlessly wandering the marshes. He will soon discover these haunting figures share the same date of death, and the same killer.

The ghost of a scorned woman, who was unable to save her beloved son Nathaniel from drowning, The Woman In Black takes on a horrifying form. Set on vengeance, her veil hides gaping sockets eaten away by scavengers and her curse hides an even darker secret ... whenever she is seen, a child dies.

In the face of hostility from the local residents, Arthur dredges up Nathaniel's skeleton and buries it with his mother, hoping the evil spectre will finally rest in peace. In a cruel twist of fate, the Woman In Black turns her claws towards Arthur's young son. To avoid a fate worse than death, Arthur must now sacrifice everything he holds dear and save his child.


11th July

School Reunion - 50 year Reunion for Leavers of 1961 and those at School pre 1960

Sunday 10th July saw 74 former pupils of the school join together for a great afternoon, touring the school and enjoying good company and good food.

Those in attendance covered leavers from 1943 all the way through to 1963 and all could see the changes and developments that had occured since the time they had left the school.

Tours of the school were undertaken by current pupils and included a tour of the new Nash Harris building.





10th July

Olney 7's - Old Berkhamstedian Rugby Team

Congratulations to the OB Rugby 7's Team - led by Tom Warren who lost in the Semi Finals of the Social Cup at last weekends Olney 7's.

In particular, to Sam Barnes (Churchill 2011) on his first offical turn out for the OBs since leaving last week for his amazing tally of 10 tries.


28th June

J P Morgan Round The Island Race 2011.

Congratulations to the two Old Berkhamstedian boats that completed the J P Morgan Round the Island Race on Saturday 25th June.

With conditions aganst them, lumpy seas, gusts up to force seven and waves of 20ft, the two boats joined the 1900 entrants for an intense day of sailing.

With only 1302 boats completing the race and 438 retirements, the skippers and their crews completed the race and celebrated with a few well deserved drinks

Boat: Becky (Seacracker 33)  Skipper: Gavin Rees (School House 1997).  

Crew: Dan Skinner (Greenes 1997)

Time Completed: 9:08:26          Place: 492

Boat: Melbourne Star (Bavaria 36)  Skipper: Matt Steele (School House 1994) 

Crew: Stephen Piddington (Uppers 1975), Andrew Coles (St.Georges 2000), Andrew Gillet (Greenes 1997), Chris Broadway (Incents 1979), Robert Wells (Cox's 1977) Patrick Allen (Ashby 2006)

Time Completed: 10:02:20         Place: 635


27th June

Dorset & Someset Luncheon

Friday 24th June saw 20 OBs gather for the annual Dorset & Somerset Luncheon held at Winyards Gap Inn, Beaminster.

Our thanks once again go to Richard Fullard for organising this event.


20th June

OB Tennis Tournament & OB v School Cricket Match

OB Cricket

Sunday 19th June saw the skies clear and crowds arrive for the annual OB v School Cricket Match held at Chesham Road Playing fields.

The OBs fielded a strong young team, Captained by Chris Read and claimed victory by two wickets.

OB Tennis

Whilst the Cricket was taking place, we also held our first Old Girls Tennis Tournament organised by Alison Connell (Holme 1997) where 10 Old Girls joined together for some entertaining doubles. The pairs were split as follows:

1. Alison Connell (Holme ‘97) Louise Ryder ('97)

2. Cathy Virjee ('97) Emily Hayes (‘97)

3. Zara Fountaine (‘09) Lisa Fountaine (not Old Girl - mother of Zara)

4. Emily Tyer (Burgh '09) Fiona Welborn

5. Tanya Hart, Gill Baxter

Teams then joined together for a BBQ lunch, which was attended by over 120 people before play resumed on the cricket.

Many thanks to all those who took part and helped organise the day.


17th June

OB Rugby Team - Victorious at Beaconsfield 7's

Congratulations to the OB Rugby 7's Team, under the Captaincy of Sam Dines, who collected silverware at last weekends Beaconsfield Rugby 7's.

The team returned back to Berkhamsted as winners of the Plate Section of the Tournament.


17th June

Wives of War - Edinburgh Fringe 

Wives of War is a new play by former Berkhamsted Student Kat Smith.

It premieres at this years Edinburgh Fringe between 22nd - 27th August.

For further information, please see the following website:


16th June

Paradise Point Play Islington O2 

Cam Jones (St.Georges, 2010) and Roman Kemp (Incents 2011) will be joining the rest of their band Paradise Point on Wednesday 29th June at the Islington O2 Academy.

For more details of the band please see their facebook page:


12th June

Girls 1971 - 40 year Reunion

Saturday 11th June saw 29 Old Girls join together for lunch, a tour of the school and a trip down memory lane. They were joined by members of staff, both current and past as well as current pupils who showed them around the changes to the school.


20th - 22nd May 2011

OB Sailing Weekend


 On a sunny Friday evening, over 40 OBs met in Portsmouth, in preparation for a weekend sailing on the Solent. Three boats had been chartered, including a 68ft Clipper yacht being Skippered by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and a 38ft Bavaria skippered by Emma Westmacott as well four other boats owned by OBs.

After a short period of boat orientation, all crews met in the G Bar in Royal Clarence Marina to get to know each other.

Boats set off the following morning to cruise the Solent, some making it further than others due to a lack of wind, but as the wind picked up in the afternoon, a couple of boats even managed a quick race (congratulations to Matt Steele and his crew for their victory ... although it was close!!)

Meeting up in the evening for a few beers and a bit of dancing on the tables in The Folly on the Isle of Wight, the crews told tales of their day on the high seas and compared sunburn !

The winds picked up to over 35 knots for a gusty return journey back to port, but a great weekend was had by all.

CLICK HERE for pictures of the weekend.


16th May

Berkhamsted School for Girls 1978 Reunion

Saturday 14th May saw 31 Old Girls join together for an afternoon of Lunch, Tours of the School and most importantly a trip down memory lane.

The Old Girls travelled from as far as Australia, Canada and the USA to be part of this event and were joined by two of their former teachers, Polly Rafter and Pat Seaman.

A great afternoon was had by all and thanks go to Lynne Oppenheimer and Sharon Winwright (née Dick) for organising the event.



13th May

OB v School Tennis Match

A match against the School took place on Friday 6th May at 4.30pm.

There were six pairs in each team and unfortunately the School team won 9 - 3.

Sue Wolstenholme kindly officiated and everyone enjoyed a great afternoon of competitive, yet friendly tennis.

Special thanks go to Penny Kent for once again arranging this fixture.

The Old Berkhamstedians are planning a morning of Old Girls Tennis on Sunday 19th June and we would welcome anyone interested in playing. Please contact Vicky Rees at for further details.


9th May

Match Report - OB Football Match v The School - 7th April

Team List: Andy Kirk, Tom Edrich, Martin Iacoponi, Alex Stewart, Nick Minter, Lindon Ryan, Harry Anton, Tom Allnutt, Matt Strachan, Elliot Bickerdike, James Winterburn, Matthew Turner, Dan Parker, Toby Phillips, Ryan Wendleken; Daniel Olney; Chris Bishop.
After the previous year's disappointment of the match being rained off, the Old Boys football match this year was more eagerly anticipated than ever. The Old Boys team was largely made up of the infamous 2007 Crusader Cup winning side with a few more experienced Old Boys players involved as well. The Old Boys had heard that the school team had also enjoyed a successful season themselves, with victories into double figures. Played at Berkhamsted Town Football Club under floodlights, the stage was therefore set for a dramatic affair. The school team exerted some early pressure with Matthew Barnes dictating proceedings early on from the middle of midfield and Simon Minter's long 'Delap-esque' throw causing some early problems in the Old Boys defence. However it was the Old Boys who struck first after Dan Olney applied a neat finish in the box to complete a flowing Old Boys move. The second half proved as competitive as the first and chances were squandered at both ends. When the goal came however it was the Old Boys who again hit the net, after a surging run from Harry Anton set up Toby Phillips to double the Old Boys lead. The school continued to create chances and Andy Kirk was forced into some superb saves to maintain the Old Boys advantage. The school never gave up and were duly rewarded with a goal back with not long to go. The school applied some late pressure but the Old Boys managed to puff their way through to a 2-1 victory. The match was played in great spirit and whilst the Crusader Champions' reputation remained in tact, the school could justly have felt a little hard done by. Many thanks to Berkhamsted Town Football Club for providing the ground and the club house for refreshments, and to the school for providing a referee, a (dodgy) linesman and of course, the opposition. Until next year.


27th April

OB Rugby Club

The OB Rugby Club have started up their Touch Rugby sessions every Wednesday Evening at Chesham Road Playing Fields from 6.45pm until dusk. Head along and Join in!


18th April

Have you got the bottle? .........

OB wins Guiness World Record at the London Marathon!

Gavin Rees took his place in the history books at this years London Marathon with the 'fastest marathon dressed as a bottle' in a time of 3:53:26.

Gavin (School House, 1997) beat three other bottles to the finish line, who were all trying for the record, in the heat of London yesterday and came 7695 overall in a field of 35,000 runners.

Congratulations also to Matt Sparrow (current member of Staff at Berkhamsted School) who completed the course in 4:07:42.

If anyone else ran in this event, please let us know your results so that we can put them on the website.


11th April

OB Football Match v School - 7th April

The Old Berkhamstedian Football team, led on this occasion by Tom Allnutt, took on the current School team on Thursday, 7th April at 7.30pm at Berkhamsted Football Club and were victorious, winning the match 2-0.

Congratulations to the team and thank you to Dave Gibson for co-ordinating the match, and Berkhamsted Football Club for hosting the game.


28th March

The Old Berkhamstedians AGM and Annual Dinner

Friday 25th March saw 85 join together for the OB AGM and Annual Dinner.

As part of her final speech to the OBs, Natasha Charlton (nee Prior, New Stede 1986) thanked the members for their support during her Presidency before handing on the mantle to Stephen Bourne (Lowers 1970). 


21st March

Antony Hopkins 90th Birthday

The composer and conductor Antony Hopkins starts his birthday celebrations on Monday 21st March when the ladies from the local Women's Institute gather on his lawn to surprise him by singing Jerusalem.

Antony wrote scores for several films including The Pickwick Papers and Decameron Nights.

Tonight the Luton Music Club is honouring him and playing two pieces he composed.


7th March 2011

James Rodwell takes training session at Berkhamsted School

Berkhamsted School were pleased to welcome back England International James Rodwell (Fry's / Hawks 2002) for a Rugby training session on 3rd March 2011.

James, who recently won player of the tournament at the Dubai 7's, was on hand to pass on his knowledge and skills to the current team.


21st February

New Senior Girls' House at Kings

A new senior girls' house at Kings next September will be called Wolstenholme, after Sue Wolstenholme (Holme 58), Old Girl of the School who has served with distinction on the School's Governing Body for 35 years.



14th February

New Mailing

The new mailing for TOB was sent this week with details of Forthcoming Events, New Merchandise for the OBs and details of the AGM and Annual Dinner.

If you have not received yours, please call on 01442 358 111 and let us know.


31st January 2011

Birchnells Building Collapses

 At approximately midnight on Saturday 29th January 2011, the building which had formerly been the School Outfitters Birchnells, on Berkhamsted High Street, collapsed. 

 No body was injured in the incident, however local residents were asked to leave their buildings while the incident was investigated.

A structural engineer from Dacorum Borough Council said the collapse was due to a structural fault with the building. A spokesman for Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said there were no gas or electricity problems.The building has now been demolished.