The Old Philologians Association

2015 Archived Items  

Annual Dinner 2015

The 2015 Annual Dinner was held on 23rd October 2015 at the Royal Air Force Club in Piccadilly. A lower than normal group of 65 Old Philologians and their partners attended. They sat down to an excellent meal of Asparagus Soup, Supreme of Chicken Cordon bleu filled with ham and gruyère cheese, followed by Fresh Fruit salad, and Coffee. The chair was taken by Antoni Repa and the after dinner speaker was John Okukenu (1968 - 1975). A copy of his speech may be downloaded here. Regrettably your reporter forgot his camera and therefore we have no photographs to display


We are sad to announce the passing of Sir Michael Beetham.To read his obituary which is published courtesy of the Daily Telegraph Click here.

Annual Dinner

The Annual Dinner will be held at the Royal Airforce Club, Piccadilly on Wednesday 28th October 2015. A ccopy of the invitation can be downloaded here

Wilf Finbow

Wilf's funeral arrangements are as follows:-

Tuesday 23rd June 12.30 Service at St Giles Church, Ashtead, Surrey

14.00 Cremation at Leatherhead Crematorium

Afterwards at The Bear, Leatherhead Road, Oxshott. If you could let members know, and they could reply directly to me at if they wish to attend

Wilf Finbow

We have just had the sad news that Wilf Finbow passed away on Tuesday 5th June. Details regarding his funeral will be announced later.

Sir Brian Vickers

The Association is pleased to advise its members that our President, Sir Brian Vickers, will deliver this year's prestigious Sam Wanamaker Fellowship Lecture at Skakespeare's Globe Theatre on Thursday 11th June.

The lecture entitled "John Ford and Feminine Virtue" will be given in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at 7 pm. This Sam Wanamaker Fellowship Lecture is given in honour of the American actor, director, and producer who founded the project to rebuild Shakespeare's Globe. He died in 1993 after 23 years of tireless campaigning, advancing research into the appearance of the original Globe and planning its reconstruction.

Sir Brian is an academic known for his work on the history of rhetoric, Shakespeare, John Ford and Francis Bacon and was knighted for his services to literary scholarship in the New Year Honours of 2008. Brian attended St Marylebone Grammar School between 1948 and 1957.


Rory Hands

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing of Rory Hands our President Emeritus. He passed away on Thursday 2nd April. He was 96. His funeral is being held at 11am on Thursday 23rd April at All Saints church in Fulham. OP members are welcome. A memorial celebration will also be held on Friday 25th September. There are no other details yet.

I append below Mike Springate's tribute that will be circulated with the Spring Newsletter.


Roderick Kirton Hands known to generations of boys and masters at SMGS as 'Rory', finally graduated to the highest seat of all learning on Maundy Thursday [April 2nd] while I, aptly, was singing [from Arthur Somervell's passion oratorio] "Greater love hath no man…". To define dear Rory, in one phrase - "greater love had no teacher for his boys". Rory devoted his life to those he taught. Among the many inspirational teachers with which our school was blessed, he stands out in our memories for his humour, his lightness of touch, the width of his knowledge of drama and poetry, the ease with which he taught us, his ability to excite enthusiasm, and his demonstrated belief that all boys were capable of reaching beyond their grasp if shown how. Originally destined for RADA, Rory's frustrated ability to perform emerged through his use of music and drama to communicate - and to produce a string of school plays of a quality even noticed by the national press. As I knelt above Tim Robert's recumbrant Caesar, spattered with tomato ketchup, intoning "Oh, pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth" his advice was in my mind: "Don't look at him! You'll just start laughing again. Mourn, Mourn!" After retirement, with his dear wife, Kate, he welcomed the visits of his old pupils and followed their careers and progress with interest and not a little pride. I treasure the moments we spent sitting in his garden at Putney, telling him what we had done, what we planned to do, and reminiscing of a Grammar School non pareil. It is no surprise that his son, Tim, heads the finest academic school in the land. It's in the blood. Final judgement. A teacher who commanded respect with affection. Who made learning accessible - EASY. Exemplar of the ethos of the place. "Well done, boy!" We shall not see his like again. Mike Springate. 13/IV/2015



The first event for 2015 is the Annual General Meeting. This will be held as normal at Abercorn School on Wednesday 25th March. The arrangements are that we meet from 6.30 pm with the meeting starting at 7.15pm. Please advise Peter Walter that you will be coming.