The 'Old Sexonians' Magazine' and 'Sexonian' magazines hold a wealth of information about times gone by...

 

 (This page contains information from magazines from the 1950's onward)

( Remember to check the top of the home-page to see if there have been any recent additions to this section.) 

  

1950 Old Sexonians' Magazine, (Sexey's Archives)

Miss Rendell's editorial thanked all those who had sent in their news for inclusion in the magazines - 'I can promise you that I will answer with pleasure every letter I receive, and even every postcard .'

The following article, 'The War Memorial', was a request by Miss Betty Morgan, asking to receive further names for insertion on the War Memorial 'of those that laid down their lives in the War of 1939-1945'. A request was also made for contributions to the Memorial.

At the start of 'The President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson looks forward to the years ahead - 'With the turn of the half century we say goodbye to the nineteen forties without any regrets, for they were years which had little to recommend them; we sincerely hope that the nineteen fifties will hold better things in store for all of us.

He went on to mention that - 'Mr Lee joined the Staff in September as resident master in place of Mr Bown..'  Mention was also given to the appointment of Dennis Amesbury in the previous November - 'Already he has made a big impression on the heretofore neglected appearance of the grounds.'

A certain amount of redecorating was also going on at the time  - 'The boarder boys' playroom has at last been redecorated, and the illustrious names which appeared mysteriously on the ceiling have been obliterated for ever!'

The next article was written by past teacher (1930-1940) Mrs Penrice (Miss Collins) and is a reflection of her time at Sexey's.  'I remember that during most of the years I was at Sexey's there was a threat of closure hanging over the School. I think this interfered to some extent with the development…. I can easily recall the names of these early sixth formers, Monica Cox, Cicely Young, May Trask, Joan Goodridge, Eileen Mogg, Janet Pierce, Nancy Hole, Joyce Wall, Rich, Puddy, Thiery….'.

The article that followed, 'Memories of Sexey's' was written by Jeanne Penn who had attended the school up until 1948. - 'There are some things in life one can never forget, and for me the memory of Sexey's is one of those things…. I shall never forget my class-mates with whom I worked, for they were a grand bunch…. I loved the exciting Science lessons, with their bangs and pops; what fun we had!... Delightful were the Geography tales and gripping the History passages. English was my favourite - I could have listened to a literature lesson for hours. Singing was a constant joy to me ….

To sum up, Sexey's will not only mean to me a school at which I was taught, but a place where true loyalty, honour and guidance was its highest aim, an aim which I trust will remain with it and with all those who enter its care.' ( I don't think I've ever come across another pupil who was so enamoured with their time at Sexey's - it was lovely to read about it! - MJ)

Mervyn Barton wrote the article that followed entitled 'The Nuffield Organisation'. He wrote, in detail, about the Morris Motors factory at Cowley. - ' To see the vast factory now, with its rows of glass roofed buildings stretching away in the distance, it seems incredible that 'Morris Motors' was once only the tin shed, where perhaps only 50 men were employed ….'  Mervyn went on to describe how the cars were built up and finally assembled.

The three page article that followed was penned by Peggy Burton (nee Lynn) who had been a pupil at the school from 1933-38. Peggy became a missionary to the Congo and in 1948 travelled to a place called Yuli. She was given a rapturous welcome - '… lining both sides of the roads leading into the Mission compound, were about 700 folks crowded together singing and cheering as we drove into the Mission.' Peggy carried out a great deal of work in the hospital - 'The first day at the Dispensary saw us seeing patients solidly from morning to evening and at the end having to send 200 away to return with others the next day.'

This was followed by David Stokes' report of the Summer reunion which had been held at the school on May 28th, 1949.It appears that many started the reunion at the Sexey's Arms before arriving at the school! - ' It was an enjoyable evening and Mr Tonkin made a most able MC, organising dinner and games with great skill'. The big event of the social year (1949) was the Jubilee Reunion Dinner which was held at the Bath Arms, Cheddar. There was a - 'wonderful Jubilee Cake which was ceremonially cut by the President and handed round. A Jubilee gift of a diary was presented to each guest to mark the special nature of the occasion'.

Following the Obituary. Births, Marriages and Engagements sections appeared a photograph of Mr and Mrs Bullen taken with their first grandson in 1949 - they had both been on the school staff in the 1920's.

 

On this occasion many of the past pupils who appeared in the 'News of Old Sexonians' section had their time at Sexey's dated. These were William Martin (42-47); Josephine Ducket (40-45); Austin Pople (44-48); Betty Heal (44-49); Mary Edmunds (45-48); Stanley Nipper (44-49); Mervyn Barton (43-46); Edward Willis (40-46); David Stokes (41-48); Ken Davis {43-48); Ruth Strickland (41-46); Paddy Hudgell (40-47); Betty Banwell (42-48); John Sampson (43-49); Mae Ross (43-48); Joyce Puddy (45-49); Nancy Gray (45-49); Jean Coomer (41-45); Joyce Davey (43-45); Mavis Davey (43-46); Ian Burrough (40-45); Frederick Coombes (41-45); David Parker (39-42); Cynthia Anning(43-48); Olive Carey (26-31); Eileen Tripp (40-44); May Luff (40-45); Ruth Baggs (40-44); Jack and Ken Clarke (30-38); Phyllis Gray (35-40); Mr and Mrs Wright (staff from 39-43); Peter Grant (44-49); Angela Pavey 43-49); Peter Puddy (45-49); Sheila Gray (44-49); Winifred Avery (47-48); Sheila Bryne (38-43); Sheila Sibley (43-48); Gwen Ford (48-48); Margaret Heal (20-24);Nina Vowles (25-30);Geoffrey Foreman (45-49); Rosemary Cary-Elwes 44-49) and John Wilkinson (45-49). ( It's very unusual to have so many pupils' names together with their attendance dates. Hopefully this information will have brought back a few faces and memories, particularly for those who attended Sexey's during the 1940's - MJ)

Finally, came the 'School Notes', which informs us of the staff arrivals over the previous year, these being Mr potter (French), Mr Swallow (Senior Master), Mr Lee (House Master) and Mlle Percival.

Mention was made of the creditable performances of the school sports teams. In the summer term swimming classes were arranged at Wells and dancing classes were held in the school hall during the winter.

Curtains for the school stage were purchased at -'the considerable sum of £80, and were paid for entirely by our own efforts..'.  These were used for the first time at a concert of plays and musical items organised by Miss Padfield and Mr Tonkin at Christmas. During this Christmas concert - 'The carol-singers, lantern-lighted, made their way through the darkened hall, taking us in spirit with them to a Stable in a far off land.'

This nineteen page magazine ended with a list of new OSA members.

 

1953 Old Sexonians Magazine, (Cynthia Ham - now Dean)

In her Editorial, Miss Rendel commented on the pleasing number of Old Sexonians who were coming back to visit the school.

In his 'President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson comments on the low numbers of children enrolling at Sexey's - ' The school has recently gone through another period of uncertainty and one of the main reasons advanced for the closing of the school is the fact that the number admitted to the school during the past two years has been very low….. If the local people will take the bull by the horns and demand Sexey's for their children, they can preserve the school as a vital and permanent institution in this area.'

The next article deals with the dedication of the War Memorial which took place on November 11th, 1952. ' The Memorial, the gift of the Old Students and the Governors, is in the form of an oak reading desk (actually, a lectern - MJ), from which the Lesson is read during Assembly each morning. The names of the fallen are inscribed on the book rest and a silver plaque on the stem of the desk records the occasion.'  (I can remember this lectern being used regularly in the 60's and early 70's but Hubert Fisher tells me (2009) that at some point the lectern was accidentally broken and the names were transferred to a board which now hangs in the Middle School's main entrance by the reception desk. I wonder what happened to the silver plaque? - MJ)

Following this, Mr Tomlinson writes a two and a half page 'Headmaster's Report'. Mr T mentions the changed status of the school brought about by the 1944 Education Act. - '… and so on April 1st, 1948 the school ceased to be an 'aided' school and became a school controlled be the Somerset Education Committee.' He goes on to comment on the work in the 5th and 6th Forms - 'During the grim years of the war it was not possible to maintain our V1th form. Some of our most promising pupils had to be transferred at the sixth form stage to other grammar schools more favourably placed with regards to staff…I cannot stress too much the importance to a grammar school of a strong sixth form, and I hope that more and more parents will see the wisdom of keeping their boys and girls at school until they reach the age of 18.' Mr T finishes the report by making a strong case for the existence of 'country' Grammar schools.

The article that follows, entitled 'A Schoolmarm Remembers' was written by 'C.A.L.' who had been a teacher at Sexey's, starting in 1919 and she particularly remembers that the school was special in many ways - 'Sexey's was different in almost every possible way from anything I had previously experienced in any educational establishment. On the boarding side, there was much of the atmosphere of a well run and happy family. There was a spirit of friendliness which not even the intrusion of an occasional temperamental staff member or unusual 'spoilt' girl or boy among the boarders, could seriously mar.

 I had not been there long, when after a spell of frosty, but brilliantly sunny weather, the school bell was rung one morning at eleven, and there and then, we were invited to make the most of these unusual climatic conditions, and to proceed on foot or on bicycle forthwith, to skate or to slide on the frozen, flooded moors until lunch time! Where else but Sexey's could such a thing happen? So it went on every day while the frost lasted.' (This delightful account of fun 'goings on' merely confirms that Sexey's was a very special establishment to have been taught in - MJ).

CAL (hopefully her full name will come to light at some point) goes on to mention the Sexey's school transport, the Walls Horse Drawn Brakes. - 'enormous and lumbering vehicles, in which we were exposed to wind and weather. In these, staff and pupils to and from Highbridge, Cheddar and the Baths at Weston Super Mare.' (Researcher, John Grant has found CAL's identity - she was Miss CA Lewis who hailed from Camarthen, South Wales. She joined the school in the January of 1919.  MJ)

The articles that followed were 'The Floods in Holland' by Bryan Wilcox and 'OSA Social Activities' - this article is particularly interesting as the guest of honour at the Annual Dinner was a Mrs Porcher and it was her brother, Admiral Somerville, who 'gave' his name to the Somerville house at the school.

The 'School News' section informs us that Roy Mapstone secured a very creditable four 'A' level passes and that Ann Pritchard passed nine subjects at 'O' level.

The next article was entitled 'HMS Pinafore' and covers the public stage performances that the school gave. There were four performances in all and - ' the School played to full houses each night. The old pupils of the school may well feel proud of this splendid effort.'

This 12 page issue concluded with 'News of Old Members' followed by Marriages, Engagements, Births and New Members.

1954 Old Sexonians' Magazine , (Joyce Huett, nee Tripp)

In her editorial, Miss Rendell mentions the large number of visits to the school made by past students - 'it is good to know that you hold the school in your memories with warm affection.'
'We are also glad to report that Miss Padfield is making good progress and we hope she will be at school again by the time this (magazine) reaches you.'

In his 'President's Letter',   Mr Tomlinson comments on the fact that there is now a much more positive outlook for the school after the possibility of closure in the previous year - ' At last the sword of Damacles has been lifted for all time, and the school is to have a permanent place in the County's educational schemes.'

The article that followed covered the death of the Chairman of Governors, Prebendary Palmer.  Mr T wrote - ' He has always been a staunch supporter of the school. During all the difficult years of my headmastership, he has been like a rock. He was genuine and fair in all his judgement, and his friendliness won the hearts of all who came in contact with him.'

The next article, two and a half pages in length, was an account by Peggy and James Burton of their holiday experiences in the Belgian Congo. This was followed by an article of similar length, written by Roy Mapstone. This covered some of his experiences as a Medical Student.

The 'Old Students' Activities' article which followed, covered some of the events earlier in the year as well as some in 1953. These included a Summer Reunion, the Annual dinner at the George Hotel , Wedmore where Jennifer Thorne proposed the toast and - 'made an excellent speech in which she stressed the value of time spent in the V1 form.'  In addition there had been a School dance on February 19th which - 'turned out to be one of the most enjoyable dances we have ever had'.

After this came 'School News' which covered the Speech Day, 'O' and 'A' level passes, the inauguration of the PTA and the successes of the 'Toad of Toad Hall' and 'Trial by Jury' productions.

This eleven page magazine finished with 'News of Old Sexonians', Births, Engagements, Marriages and New Members.

1955 Old Sexonians Magazine, (Cynthia Ham)

 

In her Editorial, Miss Rendel looks forward to a peaceful year ahead - 'We hope, with Winston Churchill, that 1955 will see the beginning of an era of peaceful cooperation with all the nations of the world'.

 

In his President' Letter, Mr Tomlinson gave the good news that - 'The Minister of Education has stated that he will raise no objection to the inclusion of Sexey's School, Blackford, for progressive development in their plan for Grammar school education in Somerset. This means in effect that the way is now clear for getting on with the improvements and extensions to the School buildings. The life of the school is now completely assured for all time.' (If only Mr T could have foreseen what would happen some 20 years later! - MJ)

 

The next, whole page article covered the tragic death, by drowning, of ex-pupil, Max Puddy. The article was penned by Arthur Brown.

The article that followed covered 3 whole pages and was entitled 'The Innocents of Paris (?)', written by Jennifer Thorne. Jennifer was one of five prize winners in a national French Essay Competition.

It appears that the competition had been held in other European countries too as Jennifer and the other 60 finalists all ended up having a ten day holiday in Paris which, presumably, was the prize for winning the competition. The group visited all the sights that Paris had to offer and an enjoyable time was had by all - 'This was a holiday indeed well spent.'

 

Next came 'Rescue Work' by Christopher Podger and was followed by 'Our Church Bazaar' by AEB (who, apparently, had been a Maths teacher at Sexey's in earlier days).

 

Following this came 'School News' which began with a report on Sports Day which had been held on July 19th,1954. - 'This year for the first time the boys competed in the Mile Race for the 'George Ham' Cup, given in memory of George Ham, who lost his life so tragically in a roads accident in 1953. Colin Banwell is the first holder of this cup.'   (Details of this can be found in Colin's article which appears in the 1940's section of the website - MJ)


Mention was also made of Michael Chew who 'distinguished himself' in a French competition organised by Bristol University. He won a prize for 'his acting scenes from 'Le gendre de M. Poirier', and also received a special commendation for the essay he wrote about his exchange visit to France during the Summer holiday. He went to the University of Bristol on December 4th for the presentation, which was made by Monsieur Pierre Boyer, Culural Attache at the French Embassy.'  (Sadly, Michael passed away in 2009 - MJ)

 

At sport, Michael Lockyer was appointed - 'Captain of The Under Fifteens' X1 of the Mid- Somerset Schools Association.'

 

This was followed by 'News of Old Sexonians', New Members, Births, Engagements, Marriages and Deaths which finished off this 13 page magazine.    

1956 Old Sexonians' Magazine, (Joyce Huett nee Tripp)

In her Editorial, Miss Rendell mentions a recent visit by Lord Waldegrave on the school's Speech Day -  (this would have been the 12th Earl Waldegrave who was associated with the Ministry of Agriculture to Somerset at the time - MJ).  Apparently he  - ' gave us a most rousing and encouraging speech, in which he reminded us that it was quality not size, spiritual values not material advantages which count in the long run in the tradition of a school.'

Miss R goes on to mention the building of the new Hall/ Gymnasium - 'In the very near future the School landscape will be changing as building materials are unloaded and scaffolding goes up. Work on the new Hall should begin before Easter….'

In his 'President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson also enthused over the forthcoming Hall  - ' Things are really beginning to move at last! Tenders have been invited for the building of a new hall cum gymnasium and work should begin in February or March, 1956…. The Governors also intend to spend some of their capital reserves on the erection of a building which will serve as a play room for boarders.' - (At the time of writing I'm still not sure which room he was talking about - as an ex boarder I'm going to have to delve into that a bit further! - I've now found its location on Arthur Swallow's school map from the 1950's. It looks as if it was the end 'hut' that was used in the 60's and 70's, mainly for Maths.    MJ)

Mr T went on to comment on the importance of the Old School Association - 'Make your Association a vigorous one and thus lend fresh vitality to the school. It gives us great joy to hear of the successes of old boys and girls, and we do like you to drop in to see us when you are in the neighbourhood….'

Next, came a report of the Association's AGM and the Statement of Accounts for the previous year.

This was followed by a report on the 'Annual Prize-Giving and Speech Day'. Here, Mr Tomlinson stated - ' There is now no further need for any doubts to exist in the minds of parents with regards to the future of the school.'

Prizes were presented by Earl Waldegrave who said that Sexey's was 'an unusual school'. He stated - 'An unusual school merits an unusual approach. This is the the school they said was dying but would not lie down, this is the school they said they could brush aside, but it stuck like a burr. It might even be said that this school was like a little piece of grit which brought the whole mighty machine of bureaucracy grinding to a stop…. 'You have won your victory - you have made the great Juggernaut, bureaucracy, halt in its tracks, and even reverse its engines! '.

School News also covered the Speech day informing us that they could barely cope with the numbers - ' We had nearly 100 more guests than we could accommodate, and a great number of the pupils had to sit in two classrooms, where the proceedings had to be relayed to them'.

The 'News' also mentioned the school's 'O' and 'A' level passes, the forthcoming presentation of 'Iolanthe', and the 'dig' at the Bishop's Palace at Blackford.

Next came the Sports results for the '54-'55 season. The Hockey 1st X1 did well, losing only two matches over the entire season. In the '55-'56 season, Mollie Hill was chosen as reserve goalkeeper for the Junior County X1. Unfortunately, the Tennis and Football teams met with relatively few successes although the cricketers had 'quite a good season',

The Sports reports were followed by Engagements, Marriages (including Isobel hole to Peter Lee), New Members, News Of Old Students (including news of a car accident affecting ex- headmaster, Lawrence Abram and his wife - who both suffered slight injuries) and finally, Births.

Old Sexonians' Magazine, 1957     (loaned by Hubert Fisher) 

The  format of this issue includes an editorial by Isabel Rendell, the president's letter by Mr Tomlinson followed by a report on the school's speech day. This was followed by an  'Other School News' section dealing with the success or otherwise of the school's sports teams.

This in turn was followed by a brief report of the association's AGM and their annual dinner, together with a statement of accounts. Finally, were the sections on births, marriages, engagements, deaths, in memoriam, news of old sexonians and a list of new members from the previous year. 

As can be seen from the photo, the cover of the magazine was printed onto thin amber card.                                       

It measured 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches. At the centre of the front cover was the badge of the 'Old Sexonians' Association' - these three words appearing at the very bottom of the badge, (not easily seen here).

The badge itself consists of the school's own badge resting on an open book, inside an almost symmetrical design with an Oak? tree either side, above which 5 gulls? are flying - how did this design come about, I wonder?

The beady eyed amongst you may have noticed Isabel Rendel's hand written signature at the top - this must have been one of her copies

Editorial ( by Isabel Rendell) - ' You will not yet see the new hall- though it should be built, or in the process of being built before the next number is issued- but you will see a new playroom for the boarder boys..... and a hard surface playing area... now used for netball and in the summer will provide us with three hard courts for tennis.'

The President's Letter ( by Mr Tomlinson) -  He also mentions the 'unavoidable delay' to the building of the new hall and goes on to thank the governors for their generosity in providing the new boarders' common room and tennis courts. 

A new heating system had also been added as well as rewiring of the school's electrics. 

 'All these projects have cost in the region of £4,500 of which the governors have provided over £2,600...'

In that year, (1956), the girls' hockey team...  ' retained the Somerset County Inter- Schools' Hockey Shield for the second consecutive year.'  

Other sports were mentioned, items of note being that....  ' Molly Hill has been chosen as Reserve Goalkeeper for the Junior Somerset County Team',  also... ' In the Old Students' match, the Old Sexonians won against the school.'  

The AGM for the Association was held at the George Hotel, Wedmore on November 16th, as was the O.S. Dinner that followed it. Reference was also made  to Mr Tomlinson's love of gardening - 

'The lovely flowers which the room was so beautifully decorated were provided by the Headmaster from his greenhouses at School.'

The 'In Memoriam' section of the magazine refers to Phyllis Hembury who had worked at the school for about 26 years. She appears to have been a housekeeper and cook for the boarders.

Mr Tomlinson writes -  ' It is particularly those who were boarders at the school who will feel more acutely a sense of loss; no more can they return to school and putting their head through the kitchen door, call out 'What's for supper, Phyll,'........we have known her ever since we came to Blackford in 1939. She gave herself to school with great loyalty and devotion '.

 (Does anyone have any memories of Phyllis?- MJ)

This particular edition of the O.S. magazine contained a mere nine pages and ends with a list of new, 'Old Sexonians' (16).

1958 Old Sexonians' Magazine (Hubert Fisher)

Isabel Rendell's editorial begins with the reminder that 1957/58 'marks the Diamond Jubilee of Sexey's School, Blackford.' She comments on the fact that facilities had greatly improved since - 'the first twelve pupils were housed in the old barn.'
At this point in time the - 'new' gymnasium was almost up and running - 'it is nearly ready for use and staff and pupils are eager to get into it.'

 

In the 'President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson comments on the school's pleasing academic and sports achievements over the past year. Numbers at the school were increasing rapidly.

 

The 'School News' section mentioned that in July'57 there were 24 passes at 'A' level and 68'O' level passes. It also tells us that the Football team only lost one match and 'had its best season in ten years'.

The OS Association Dinner was held at the George Hotel, Wedmore. Website contributor (1940's), Colin Banwell proposed the toast to the school - 'The true worth of a school is not only academic but lies also in a development of our physical, social and spiritual lives and I think we can boast that in this the school has succeeded…'

Marjorie Wear (nee Woodgate) wrote a long article of her amazing travels which included India, Malaya, Australia, South Africa and Nigeria.

The 'In Memoriam' section mentions the deaths of Austin Champeney and Eric Norman.

The very short, ten page magazine ended with a section on 'News of Old Sexonians' and 'New Members'.

Old Sexonians Magazine, 1959   (Sexey's Archives)

In the Editorial, Isabel Rendell describes 1958 as an 'Annus Mirabilis'. It reads - 'it is ndeed a year which has brought considerable happiness to all Sexonians who have the interests of the schol at heart. (Quite why Miss Rendell thought this will, hopefully, be revealed! -   'Annus Mirabilis'? - a year noted for its wonders - MJ)  

Mr Tomlinson begins his 'President's Letter' by saying 'I am happy to report another year of tremendous expansion and progress.' Mr T goes on to mention the completion of the new hall and the plan to extend the playing fields - ' the football field on the Wedmore road will be given up and instead we shall have the allotment field which is near the hostel, and another small field on the East side of the grounds.'

This extra ground, together with land that Mr Tomlinson himself owned (purchased from him by the school's governors) meant that the playing fields eventually consisted of an impressive '15 acres of reasonably level ground.'

Mr T also commented on 'the rapid increase in the number on roll' and the new buildings that would be needed to accommodate them - 'we can rely on the Education Committee to provide the school's basic need - additional classrooms, the new laboratory etc.' He goes on to mention the intention of building a new stage for the hall, a swimming pool and a new sports pavilion 'to match the new playing field.' 

The 'School News' section proudly proclaims that 'Sexey's is no longer the smallest grammar school in the county.' Numbers had risen to 226, a school record. This fact, together with the new facilities and plans for more facilities in the future must have caused an air of some excitement amongst staff and pupils alike and probably goes much of the way to explaining Miss Rendell's 'Annus Mirabilis' comment. 

Sports news appeared in the same section and 'John Ross was given a place in the Somerset Grammar Schools X1.' 

A farewell was given to Mr White (Boarding Master and Classics). He was replaced, on both accounts, by Mr Read. Mr and Mrs Bartlett also joined the school as Maths teacher and 'PT specialist' respectively. (Can anyone remember any more husband and wife 'double acts' on the teaching staff? - MJ)

Other topics mentioned in the magazine included rehearsals for 'Pride and Prejudice', The Old Sexonian Dance, The Annual Dinner and the Summer Reunion. 

Unfortunately, the 'News of Old Sexonians' section reveals very few useable snippets, as only a few are dated in any way. The first article in the section does make an interesting read, though. It mentions the Harris brothers (there were four) and they - 'wonder if their family holds the record for continuous attendance at school'.

Apparently, the first brother started at Sexey's in 1923 and from that date until 1939 there was always a Harris at Sexey's. (That makes 16 years of continuous involvement, has this been beaten since? - MJ ) 

This next snippet that caught my eye really made me sit up and think! It said - 'HAROLD TYLEY, at Sexey's school in the 1920's wrote for an Old Boys' School tie.'  (Note that it didn't just say, 'Boys' School tie'. Does this mean that the Old Sexonians had designed an altered version of the school tie made up just for themselves, to mark them out as ex pupils, or was it just a figure of speech? -MJ) 

The final page of this eight page issue of the magazine dealt with Births(11), Engagements(4), Marriages(13), Deaths(3) and New Members(17).

1960 Old Sexonians' Magazine, (Joyce Huett)

In her Editorial, Miss Rendell emphasised the importance of 'Life Membership' to the OSA - the subscription at the time being 'only three guineas' .
In his 'President's Letter' , Mr Tomlinson stated - ' I have just completed twenty years of service as head master of the school….'
He also mentioned the building of the stage - 'The stage will cost in the region of £2,400 and the Governors have agreed to supply the balance needed from their endowment fund.'
Mr T went on to comment on some of the changes to the site which included the building of a new laboratory and the development of the playing fields.

Details of the 1959 Summer Fete followed which showed it raised over £296 towards the School Stage - 'A most successful Summer fete was held on 18th July in the school grounds. 'Ned Larkin' of the Archers (Mr Bill Payne) opened the proceedings with a lively speech, and then spent a busy afternoon visiting the stalls, and signing autographs. His warm personality added to our enjoyment.'

'Forthcoming Events' mentioned the Annual Dance (somewhere) in Winscombe and the Summer Reunion 'with tennis and cricket'. The Reunion Dinner had been held at the George Hotel, Wedmore with Judge Paton as guest of honour.

The 'School News' began with staff changes - 'It is with great regret that the school said goodbye to Miss Barnes who has been on the staff for 16 years.' A welcome was given to Miss Dodson who took her place.
Mention was made of the 'Pride and Prejudice' production which had been played at Wedmore also of the forthcoming 'Pirates of Penzance' - 'It is hoped to put this on in the Autumn, on our new stage'.

The Sports report showed a rather uninspiring set of results for Cricket, Soccer and Hockey in the '59 season, although the hockey 2nd X1 did manage did manage to reach the finals of the Somerset Secondary Schools Hockey Tournament. In tennis, the school singles tournament was won by Ann Cousins.  In Athletics there were numerous successes and in the 'All-England' Schools Athletics Meeting at Norwich the following gained County colours - Sally Bird, Christine Cann, Audrey Croker, Brenda Jackson, Elizabeth Jones, Ann Stevenson and Jacqueline White.

In the 'GCE Successes' it was stated that Roy Preece - 'gained a State Scholarship in Botany and Zoology'.

This was followed by the Births, Marriages, Engagements and Deaths sections. These were followed in turn by 'News of Old Sexonians' - the oldest Sexonian writing in (with dates) being Francis E King who had been a pupil from 1915 to 1918. A message also arrived from Lawrence Abram, former headmaster  - 'Now I have resigned for good and have to take life more gently. At 81, I think I have had a good innings.' (After leaving Sexey's,  Mr Abram eventually became Headmaster at the College, Weston.)
This 13 page magazine ended with 'New Members' of which there were fourteen.

1961 Old Sexonians' Magazine (Hubert Fisher)

 

In her editorial, Isabel Rendell comments on the fact that the OS Association will continue, its fate had been in the balance for some time. She invited members to encourage past pupils to join in order to boost flagging numbers. Following the Editorial, Gerald Lunn's article stated that 'The future of the Association and of the magazine will depend on the success of the next Winter Reunion.'

 

In Mr Tomlinson's 'President's Letter' he mentions the fact that he has completed '21 years of service to the school'. He states that the number of pupils has reached an all time record of 238 - 'Altogether the school is in a flourishing condition and is very much a growing concern.'

 

The next article, sadly, is Lawrence Abram's 'In Memoriam', he had been headmaster of the school from 1923 to 1939 - I have reproduced the article in its entirety.

 

 

 
   

'School News' mentioned the staff changes. Out-going staff were Mrs Irons, Miss Dodson and Mr Reed. Welcomes were given to Mrs Lambie, Miss Russell and Mr Elvins.

 

The article goes on to mention the usefulness of the new stage and that - 'we now await the new curtains and necessary stage equipment to make it complete.'


With regards to sport - 'L. Skidmore and C. Wilson were chosen to play in the Somerset 15+ Cricket Team. In Tennis, -  ' Gail Pharo and Susan Dean won the Weston Area Youth Tennis Shield.'


The Athletics section mentions the 'Sexonian Athletics Club' which was 'a new venture formed both of Old Sexonians and present pupils.' They competed at the Weston Area Youth meeting and won the Championship Trophy.
In the Somerset Women's Championships, J.White won the Pentathlon and S.Berrington the Discus Championship.
At the All-England Athletics Meeting in Shrewsbury, A.Croker won the Bronze medal in the 70 yards hurdles and S.Berrington was 6th in the Senior Discus.

The 11 page magazine ended with 'News of Old Sexonians' followed by a list of new members. 

1962 Old Sexonians' Magazine, (Cynthia Ham now Dean)

 

In her Editorial, Miss Rendel makes reference to the fact that the very existence of the OSA had been under threat and members had to persuade others to join - '… bring them along to functions and persuade them to join, either annually or by a life membership subscription'.

In his 'President's Message', Mr Tomlinson mentions the 'vigorous growth' of the 6th form - 'we estimate it will be forty strong next September'. He also mentioned that the Education Committee had  fully equipped the new stage at a cost of £600 and that - '… A committee of parents and old students had been formed with the object of raising money for a swimming pool'. A fete was planned for July 21st, 1962 to raise money for 'Operation Swimming Pool'.

 

In the 'School News', staff farewells were given to Mrs Lambie and welcomes were extended to Mrs Maybourn and Mr Roberts. Also mentioned was the marriage of Mr Elvins and the sudden death of Mr Bliss.

 

On the academic side Betty Brookes did very well with her 'O' levels and attained 10 passes. At 'A' level - '9 candidates had 19 passes and 6 Scholarship Levels passes'.

 

At sports, in the 60 to 61 season the Junior football X1 reached the final of the Mid-Somerset Area Minor Cup but lost to Street, 3-1. Allen, Brooks and Wellington were selected for the Mid-Somerset Minor X1. In the 61 to 62 season, Brooks and Wellington became chosen for the Mid-Somerset X1 once again.

In Cricket - 'We have a new cricket square laid down, but it cannot be used until 1963'.

In Hockey, Gail Pharo was selected to play left wing in the Somerset Junior 1st X1.

In Tennis, 1961, Gail Pharo and Susan Dean went on to win the Weston Junior Doubles Tournament.

In Athletics, -'A Croker represented Somerset at the SW Counties Championships….A Croker, J White, S Berrington, E Jones and A Thompson represented Somerset in the All-England Championships at Chesterfield'.

 

The OSA Winter Reunion was held at the Bath Arms Hotel, Cheddar - 'a toast was proposed by Desmond Russett, and Sally Berrington, as Head Girl, responded'.

 

The twelve-page magazine ended with 'News of Old Sexonians' followed by Engagements, Marriages, Births and Deaths.

1963 Old Sexonians' Magazine (Hubert Fisher) 

In the Editorial, Isobel Rendell continues to mention the fact that the OS Association numbers needed a boost - ' We are still in need of more members. Do please, persuade all your old school friends with whom you are in touch to join the Association and support the functions.'

In his 'President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson comments on the number of pupils in the 6th form - 'The sixth form now numbers 38 and is expected to increase still further next year.'

Mr T also gives more news about the swimming pool - 'During the next few months we hope to acquire an important new amenity in the form of a swimming pool, for which we have almost collected the sum required.' 

The 'School News' section mentions the arrival of Miss Goode. Mrs Hares became the new school secretary after Miss Odell resigned.

Mention was also given to the 'Pirates of Penzance' which ' was very successful' and received good reports in the local newspapers.

In the GCE results, Catherine Hamilton had 10 passes at 'O' level and at 'A' level, Sally Berrington gained a Distinction in History.

The footballers did really well, the Under 15 X1 won the Godfrey Cup for the League Championship and the Baker Cup for the Six-a-Side Knock out Competition. Tim Wellington was selected for the Somerset County Junior X1, 1962-63.

In Hockey, Gail Pharo was selected for the Somerset County Juniors and for the West of England Junior X1.

Mention was made of the Swimming pool - ' Owing to the generous support from our many friends, work on the swimming pool is soon to start and we hope it will be in operation next summer.'

The next article was written by Ann Holden who wrote about a Moslem festival, the Tabaski.

The rather short, nine page magazine ends with 'News of Old Sexonians' and a list of new members.   

Old Sexonians' Magazine, 1964 (Richard Abraham)

 

Miss Rendell begins her Editorial by thanking the Old Sexonians for doing their bit towards the funding of the building of the school swimming pool - 'this has added much to our amenities…one thing more is needed - a really hot summer!'

 

In 'The President's Letter', Mr Tomlinson announces his retirement - 'This letter will probably be the last one I shall write to you in these pages as president of your association, for I am planning to retire at the end of the Summer term, by which time I will have completed 25 years as headmaster of the school.'  

 Mr T goes on to mention the changes that had occurred during his headship - 'When I look back to the dark days of 1939 and the early forties, when I think of the grim struggle and the mountain of toil and difficulty which the war imposed on us, I can only express my wonder that the school should have reached its present position. The total number of pupils in the school during the summer term of 1939 was 90. Today there are 58 in form V1 alone and the total number in the school is 246. A certain number of improvements to the buildings were carried out in 1939-40, including the erection of the Domestic Science and Science laboratory block…'

Mr Tomlinson finishes by saying - 'In conclusion I should like to say how much pleasure it gives Mrs Tomlinson and myself to see old pupils, and we hope they continue to call on us when we retire.'

 

In the 'School News' section, 'goodbyes' were said to Miss Goode, Mrs Birchenough, Mrs Maybourn and Mrs Dowdney. Welcomes were extended to Miss Dix, Mr Slatter and Mrs Duckett (who was, herself, an Old Sexonian - Margaret Hole).

 

In 'GCE Successes' we're told that Betty Brooks gained three distinctions at 'A' level and Susan Dean had one distinction.

 

Mention was given to the opening of the swimming pool - 'This most attractive pool was opened on June 10th (1963) by Mrs Webster, the wife of our MP. She had only just declared it open when four large brutes of boys swung a fully clothed Mr Roberts into the water…..  The pool has been well used this summer, the two local primary schools of Blackford and Bagley also bringing their children for swimming.'  (A photo of the pool's opening can be found in the first of the photo galleries - MJ)

 

In the 'School Sports' section, mentions were given to Tim Wellington and Brooks who were chosen to play in the Mid-Somerset Area X1. At Under-13 level, Jeremy Wellington and Steve Thorne were also chosen.

In Hockey, Gail Pharo was selected for Somerset and West of England teams to play for Young England against Egypt. Elizabeth Jones was chosen as Reserve for Somerset.

Mention was given to the 'past and present' Sexonians' Athletics Club which, for the 4th year in succession, won the Weston Area Youth Trophy.

 

A number of teaching staff celebrated family births that year - to Felicity and Alan Dowdney, a daughter, Rachel; to Mr nad Mrs Birchenough, a daughter, Shan and to Sylvia and Gordan Churchyard, a son, Philip.

The 12 page magazine concluded with the deaths of Captain Cecil Evans and Miss Fanny Tucker who, presumably, were very early Sexonians.

Old Sexonians' Magazine, 1965  (loaned by Hubert Fisher)

I have chosen this issue as not only does it have  particularly interesting content but it is, in fact, the final issue of the 'Old Sexonians Magazine'- after 1965 it was decided to make some changes to make it more appealing to all pupils. The magazine was renamed 'The Sexonian' from 1966 onward. (Interestingly, as can be seen from the review of the 1934 mag, the magazine had also been called 'The Sexonian' back in the '30's.)

Editorial ( by Isabel Rendell)

Looking back over 1964 , Miss Rendell welcomes Mr Ravenscroft to the school -

' He has come to us from Carisbrook Grammar School where he was Deputy Headmaster. ' 

She goes on to mention the retirement of Arthur Swallow who had been Deputy Headmaster and teacher of Biology - 

' Mr A.V.S. Swallow, our deputy Head for some fifteen years, has also now retired from active service. He has been a staunch supporter of the school in every way, and will be much missed. '

On page 2, is a full page tribute to Henry Tomlinson, written by Arthur Swallow. Here it is, in its entirety - 

  

Page 3 of the magazine includes a letter by the new President of the Association, Mr Ravenscroft. He mentions some forthcoming changes to the site - 

' In a few months time building will commence on two additions to the school- a girls' changing room which will complete the gymnasium project planned in 1958, and a library which will be built in the space beside the old prep. room. '     

 (The old prep room had at one time been a woodwork store and in the time before the new library it  was used as an art room- I can remember having lessons with Mr Hallet in there in '64. -  MJ)

Page 4 sees an explanation of the changes to the magazine...

' ..it has been decided that the O.S. magazine shall be changed, both in character and its name.There is no official school magazine at the moment; this will be remedied by enlarging the scope of the magazine to include articles by present pupils.This, therefore is the last issue of the magazine in its present form. '

I was amazed to see the next heading on page 4 - 'The School Song'  - I had no idea there was one- I certainly can never remember singing it (probably a good thing)!! 

We're actually very lucky to still have it - back in 1965 they realised nobody could find it and there was a ' frenzied search' for a number of weeks before it turned up and even then no one could remember the tune!  

 ( Does anyone have any idea what the tune was like- or even who wrote it? -  MJ)

Plain once again is the duty before us;
 Steady an instant, one moment keep cool,
  Then with crash and an echoing chorus
  Laud we the name and the fame of our School.
  Lives there a traitor who idly dissembles?
  Lives there a coward who's mute at the strain?
  Let the roof ring till it totters and trembles,
  If it should fall we would lift it again.

Chorus:     Sing brothers sing, till the roof ring,
  Shoulder to shoulder, and side by side.
  So whatever befall us, whatever betide,
  Sexey's forever, our glory and pride,
  Sexey's for ever, our glory and pride.

Keen on the field grows the struggle and thicker,
Taut every muscle, no nerve that is slack.
How the heart beats, and the pulses beat quicker,
Stick to it, cling to it, forward and back:
Never disheartened by doubt or disaster,
Yield not an inch till the struggle be done,
On to the goal now fly faster and faster,
Shoot! she is through, and the victory won!

Chorus:  Sing brothers sing, etc

Spotless for us be the fame we inherit,
Leaving for all that come after to say,
'High their reward was, for high was their merit
Bearing their part in the glorious fray.'
So to the goal that is always before us,
Striving with hand and with heart and with brain,
Lift up your voices and rise to the chorus
Sexey's for ever, again and again.

Chorus: Sing brothers sing, etc

This seems a bit archaic now ( I had to look 'dissembles' up in the dictionary!) but I suppose in days gone by it was considered rousing and appropriate.

In the '65 'Old Sexonian' magazine, there was a request put out for anyone remembering the tune, to come in to the school and sing the school song so it could be recorded. Does anyone know if this was ever done? If so, finding the tape would be amazing!

(At the present moment, I cannot find anyone who remembers singing the song - please write in if you can remember singing it - MJ)

The 'News' section covered many staff changes and went on to say farewells to Mr and Mrs Tomlinson, Mr Swallow, Mr Tonkin, Mademoiselle Colette Loustou,  Miss Dix and Mr Slatter.

Welcomes were given to Mr and Mrs Ravenscroft, Mr Brook, Mademoiselle Michel Rouvier, Mrs Pover, Brian Breeze and Roger Hallett (Art) - apparently he brightened the place up a bit by putting up displays in 'the somewhat dull corridors'.

Mention was made of the 'gay and lively' performance of the Gondoliers given on March 12th/14th '64 - this had been directed by Miss Padfield.

The 'School Sports' section gives a variety of results but special mention is made of Audrey Croker who captained the Somerset girls' Athletics team at the Counties meeting and the All England Championships ( please send in any memories, Audrey! );and the Under 15 Soccer team, who became league champions. David Field was represented to play for the County Under XI team.

Mention was given to Kilve Court, which then was a 'new Residential Youth Centre'. In November the 6th form attended a 5 day 'Introduction to Acting' course.

At that time the Old Sexonians Association had a swimming club which used  the new pool on Friday evenings. According to Bob Packer, who wrote the article, when 'Tiny' Jon Duckett jumped in much of the water jumped out! - 'the grass was amply irrigated!'  

The Sexonian Magazine, 1966  (loaned by the Sexey's Archives) 

This was to be the very first issue of the magazine to revert back to the 'The Sexonian' title. Not only that, it also contained a number of other 'firsts' as well. To begin with, as can be seen from the photograph, the cover was a lovely shade of pink! - as far as I know this is the only one to have a cover colour that isn't somewhere along the 'beige spectrum'.

Secondly, this issue contains a full page photograph. This was of the new library, on its very first page. As far as I know this was the only 'Sexonian' mag to carry a photograph in a 'whole page' format - what a shame it didn't become a regular occurrence.

 

(I vaguely recognise some of the faces but cannot put a name to any of them - were you one of the pupils in this shot? - MJ - Wendy Upham (now Callear) tells me that the lad with glasses, writing is Chris Gordon.)

The first page of the magazine lists the teaching staff who were there at the time (Spring Term 1966).There were sixteen in all, including Mr Ravenscroft, the Headmaster.

In the 'Headmaster's Page', Mr Ravencroft comments on the ongoing building changes - 'The library, which requires only additional furnishings for its completion, is already in use and provides a warm, quiet study centre for the Sixth. The building of the girls' changing room has caused the temporary closure of the boys' section and the stage has been a make-shift changing room since December.'

Mr Ravenscroft, once again, put out an appeal for 'photographs of personalities and places connected with the earlier life of the school.' - (nothing changes!! - MJ)

The magazine itself had now turned into a magazine for the whole school not just the 'old' students (hence the name change) and many contributions in the form of poetry, reports and creative writing by pupils of the day were now included. Contributors to the magazine that year included Sylvia Phillips, Margaret Thomas, Jessie Emery, Chris Carbin, Alan Vaughan, Myrtle Litten, Tony Cousins, Diana Brown, Mr Moore, Pamela Gilling, Margaret James, Graham Alsop, Megan Thomas and Pamela Callow (who contributed two crosswords, not just any old crosswords, one was in Latin the other in French - it was a Grammar school after all! - MJ)).

In 'Staff Changes' the school said 'Goodbye' to Miss Merriman (Domestic Science), who had also attended the school as a pupil.  Les Pavey (Woodwork);Roger Hallett (Art) and Mrs Pover also left. A welcome was given to Mrs Egan, Mr Atkin and Miss Leach. 

In the 'School Sports' section, special mention went to Tim Wellington who was selected to attend the English Schools F.A. Week at Cambridge. Alan Vaughan and SteveThorne played for the Somerset Grammar Schools X1 against Dorset.

In athletics, Alan Vaughan represented Somerset at the 'All England Championships' and Pauline Andrews broke the record in the 80 yards Junior Girls Hurdles at the County Sports. Sally Heal won the Junior Girls Discus at the County Youth Sports.

Mention was made of the 1965 fete, which had raised £174. In this year, pupils were encouraged to design and make their own stalls. (I can vaguely remember constructing a game, along with some other boarders in my year, where tennis balls had to be thrown through some circular holes cut into a piece of hardboard - MJ)  To quote the magazine - 'One of the most interesting aspects of this occasion was that the pupils themselves were doing something for the good of the school community'

Under the title, 'An Evening of Entertainment', mention was given to three stage productions performed on the evenings of March 26th/27th,1965 which included 'Alice in Wonderland' by Form 11, a play from 'Arabian Nights' by Form 3, 'Trial By Jury' (various Forms) and 'Julius and the Bront' by Form V1 - apparently this was a 'riotous production' and a special mention was given to Clive Toomer, Peter Gregory, Jane Salway, Paul Lawton and David Dunning.

The 'Old Students Functions,1965' section acts as a good reminder as to how active the 'Old Sexonians' were at the time. Mention was given to the Swimming Club, the Winter Reunion, the Mixed Hockey match and the Summer Reunion which included tennis and cricket matches. Apparently 'there was a fine batting display by Hubert Fisher' and ' some spirited bowling by Mr Lee, who got a hat trick for the school'.

The 'In Memoriam' section tells us of the tragic death of ex pupil, Roland Stott. Roland was killed at the age of 19 in a shooting accident. 'The school stood in silence as an act of remembrance when the announcement of his death was made at morning assembly.' 

Also in the 'Deaths' section , Stanley Harold Thomas is mentioned, who died in 1965, aged seventy. This makes him a very early pupil indeed. 

A glance through the 'News of Old Sexonians' section reveals some interesting, dated snippets of information of some of the earlier (pre 1950) Sexonians.

A certain John Pallier attended Sexey's between 1946 and 1950; a W.E. Lockyer left the school in 1925; a Mrs (nee Hutchins) Hobbs was a boarder at Sexey's with her two brothers in 1915, when Mr Smith was headmaster. One brother, R. Hutchins, was killed in World War 1 and his name appears on the roll of honour (which was then kept in Room 1); David Wall left school in 1949 and went to teach in Rhodesia.

Betty(Crandon)Timmins visited the school in the summer - she had been a G.I. bride in 1945 and lived in the USA (Betty is/was the aunt of Neil Cloutman, who was at Sexey's in the year below me - MJ)   I made contact with Neil and he was able to give me a little more information about her -'Both my mother, Yvonne Crandon (now deceased) and my aunt, her sister Betty Crandon went to Sexey's. Betty later married an American GI
(William Timmins) and moved to Gettysburg, Pennysylvania. They had 2
kids, Trudy and Billy. Uncle Bill died about 10 years ago but my aunt
and extended family is still there. I have been out to visit them twice
and they have been here several times.' 

'On one visit my aunt was interviewed by HTV about her experiences. Since my mother died we have not had much contact, but I think aunt Bett is still alive and well.'  (Thanks for the extra info, Neil - MJ)

Another snippet in the mag tells us that Vivienne Grey and Donald Moore, who were both boarders at school from 1932-39, ended up marrying. (This is the only occasion I've heard of two boarders marrying one another! - MJ)

A one-off? 'Generations' section appeared in this issue. This gave the names of the past relatives of current pupils who were also pupils at the school.

As usual the magazine finished off with a variety of advertisements(7). 

 1967  Sexonian Magazine, (Cynthia Ham)

In her Editorial, Miss Rendel gives a 'very special vote of thanks' to Jennifer (Grimstead) Skidmore, for her years of loyal work that she gave to the OSA. She also mentions that the previous issue of the magazine, being the first of the 'new' batch of 'Sexonian' magazines 'was well received'.
Mr Ravenscroft's 'Headmaster's Page' deals with a large reorganisation of books and furniture inside the school as well as the fact that the staff moved to a new 'hut' style staff-room - 'In these quarters we shall not have to apologise to visitors for the cramped accommodation nor for the hardness of the chairs!'. The fate of the ex-boarders dormitories was also clarified  -  'The two dormitories in the main building have become Sixth Form Study spaces'. With regards to the boarders' Hostel - '… the ground floor has already been taken over by the music department'.

The Sports section began with Hockey and tells us that  - 'Pamela Ford, the 1st X1 Goalkeeper, has been selected to play for the Junior County Team'.
In Athletics, no less than 12 pupils represented the school at the County Athletics meeting at Locking. A number of good results were obtained with Pauline Andrews excelling by coming 1st in the Hurdles.
With regards to staff changes, Miss Cotton finished after no less than 19 years of being the boarders' matron. 'Goodbye' was also said to Mrs Egan. Welcomes were given to Mrs Coles, Mrs Bunting, Mr Dunne, Mr McHugh and Mr R Hill.
At the Speech Day, two boarder girls, Janice Smith and Celia Cox presented visiting speakers with wooden fruit bowls they had made.

On the academic side, Graham Allsop and Susan Viney both attained four 'A' level passes whilst Jane Chapman, Mary Cooke, Andrew Bradley, John Gardner and Michael Newton each scored a very commendable eleven 'O' level passes.
The majority of the articles in this issue were contributions by pupils, these were in order Jennifer Chew (Public Speaking Contest), Erica Vowles (The Buddleia Bush - a poem), Vincent Russett  (Death at Nagasaki - a poem), Pamela Callow (Speech Day), Maxine Irving (A Farm Lady), John Butt (The School Model Club), J Grantley Smith and J Fisher (The SCM), Pamela Callow (Carol Service), P Mullins (A Walk in the Woods - a poem), John Gardner (Some Thoughts on Vietnam ), Colin Bateman (Creepy Crawlies and Things That Go Bump In The Night - a poem), Pamela Callow (The Fete- 16th July 1966) and Susan Dyas (Its Out To Be In).

The following article written by Alan Vaughan outlined the Geographers' trip to the Isle of Arran. It seems that the husband and wife team running the Youth Hostel on the first leg of their visit were pretty hostile to them for some reason. Unfortunately, things could only get worse  - '…It was on this journey that Miss Padfield, who had previously been frisking about in the snow like a young lamb, slipped and broke her ankle.' ….  Mr Breese certainly kept the pupils on their toes with a 30 mile bike ride on the Friday  - 'It was easily discerned that the fittest members of the party belonged to the school's 1st X1 - hockey, not football.'
After this article, Diana Brown wrote an account of the school's visit to Switzerland in the Easter of 1966. Staff included Mr Ravenscroft and family, Mr and Mrs Hares, Miss Leach and Miss Rendell. They travelled to Dover by coach, crossed the Channel to Zeebrugge and then drove through Belgium and Germany to eventually arrive at Giswil in Switerland. It sounds like they had a very pleasant time sightseeing, which involved going up in a cable-car. On the return journey, however,  - '… came the most marvellous mix-up ever. We arrived at our hotel only to find they had double-booked and there was no room for us. They sent us on to another place. When we got there, there was only room for about half of us. The other half, accompanied by Miss Leach and Miss Rendell went on to another place'.  Apparently, there still wasn't enough room for all of them and three of the girls had to stay in a house!
On the return trip they had a very rough Channel crossing but arrived home - 'all very tired but happy after a marvellous holiday'.
The final pupil's article was written by D Lockyer of Form V who wrote a short but detailed piece entitled 'The Hillman Californian', which was a Hillman Imp variant (a small car manufactured in the 1960's).

Articles that followed outlined the Old Students' functions. The Reunion Dinner was held on April 23rd at the Caveman Restaurant, Cheddar. The Summer Reunion saw the cricket match between the school and the OSA being won by the school - 'helped by an excellent innings by Jeremy Wellington'. The school also went on to win the tennis match.
'News of Old Sexonians' came next with no less than ninety-six ex pupils writing in! An 'In Memoriam' section was given over to 'Joe' Comer who died following a serious illness. Sympathy was extended to his wife and daughters.
The 28 page magazine finished with advertisements from various local companies.

 

1968 Sexonian Magazine (Hubert Fisher)

 

Miss Rendell began her editorial by commenting on the fact that many generations of the same family are passing through Sexey's doors - 'it is interesting to note how many of these are sons or daughters, nephews or nieces and even grandchildren of Old Students.'

 

Mr Ravenscroft, in his 'Head master's Page' wrote a thoughtful piece about the importance of looking forward and about the destiny of the school.

 

In the 'Speech day' section we are told that Judge Paton had to step down from giving out the prizes due to illness and that the County Chief Education Officer, RM Parker had to take his place - he was given a wooden fruit bowl made by Nigel Deane for his troubles. The vote of thanks was seconded by the Head Boy at the time, Andrew Bradley.

 

Reading through the list of GCE passes shows that Jeremy Wellington attained four 'A' levels and Christine Brooke managed twelve 'O' levels.

 

A number of poems and articles were contributed by pupils of all age groups, these were David Haldenby, David Hancock, Nicola Goetsch, Andrew Butcher, H. Eckersley, Sarah Price, Christine Line, Sharon Morse, John Butt, Lesley Bawdon, Vince Russett, Linda Shaw and Colin Bateman.


One particular poem, by Christine Hoskins, really caught my attention - I couldn't believe it had been written by a 2nd year. It really is a fine poem and I've decided (with Christine's permission) to include it in its entirity.

Christine tells me that, at the time, Mr Ravenscroft did have some doubts about the authenticity of the poem and that he questioned her inspiration for it. She could only tell him the truth - that it had come out of her head!

A summary of the previous Mikado production had been written. This was very positive and ends - 'The performance was a pleasure to hear and a delight to the eye, and Miss Padfield is to be congratulated on a clear and natural production.'

 'School News' told us that Mrs Duckett, Mr Breese, Mr Atkin and laboratory assistant, Mrs Birch all left for pastures new. A welcome was given to the new staff, these were Mr Winter, Mrs Hughes, Miss Harris and Mrs Tyler.

 

In the same section it states that - 'An innovation occurred on Wednesday, July 5th (1967) when the whole school went on school journeys. The majority went to London…'   A description of the London visit followed. Apparently there were 3 coaches of 4th, 5th and 6th formers plus staff. According to the article, some 'personalities' were glimpsed, namely, Harold Wilson and 'The Monkees' pop group. ( I have vague memories of this visit myself, I remember the very crowded London Underground and I'm pretty sure my year (4th) visited the Science Museum.- MJ)

John Butt's article on the school orchestra was very upbeat, and praised the hard work of Mr Churchyard for increasing its size -'Thanks to the amount of work he has done the orchestra has grown to the size of 59 players.'

Vince Russett, then in his 4th year, challenged the Old Sexonians to a Chess Tournament and hoped it would be come an annual event. I remember that Vince was an excellent chess player at or near County standard.

 

Mention was made of the '67 school fete which had been held on Saturday, July 15th. It had been run and organised by the pupils themselves and raised nearly £200 towards a TV set for educational programmes. - 'There were some ingenious side shows, particularly that of Humphreys, Pike and Butcher as 'Aunt Sallies' at whom wet sponges could be thrown, and the One-Armed-Bandit made by Nuttycombe (David) of Meccano.'

The 'School Sports' section tells us that in Hockey, Pamela Ford, the first X1 Goalkeeper, was selected for the Junior County Team and Sue Steer was selected as reserve. In Badminton, Margaret Thomas, of the 5th form, had 'outstanding success'. In the Somerset Junior Championship, with her partners, she won the Under 18's Mixed Doubles, the Under 18's Ladies Doubles and was also chosen to play for the 3rd Senior County Team.

In Athletics, Susan Steer, Leslie Moorhouse, Pamela Ford and Stephen Thorne were representatives at the Bath County meeting. At Soccer the team was rather depleted of its best players who had left the previous summer. However, the team did have a surprisingly good result against Bruton Sexey's, the school winning 6-2 - 'Bruton has rarely been beaten at this school in the last few years.'

 

At the end of the 'News of Old Sexonians' section there is, rather intriguingly, mention of 'Ye Old Walle Document' and gives the names and addresses of ten of its signatories. (Can anyone shed any light on what this document was all about, please? - MJ)

At the Annual Winter Reunion, an old student, MR WE Lockyer, who'd attended the school in 1925 gave - 'an excellent and interesting speech.'

In the 'Births' section, no less than three members of staff had children. These were Brian Elvins - a baby boy, Gordon Churchyard, also a baby boy and Janice Goode a baby girl.
Sadly, the deaths of three Old Sexonians were also recorded, Laura Porter, Mr EG Duckett and Louis Steer.

The 26 page magazine ends with 11 advertisements for local companies.

 

 The Sexonian Magazine, 1969 (Hubert Fisher) 

 

Miss Rendell, in her Editorial, tells us that this particular magazine is the 21st issue of the magazine that she had presided over - 'the editing for every one of its numbers has been a joy to me.' 

In his 'Headmaster's Page', Mr Ravenscroft mentions the fact that the stock of Mr Swallow's 'School History' had become depleted 'and the time has come when we must consider preparing a new edition.' (Nothing changes! - MJ). Mr Ravenscroft went on to ask for contributions. (As far as I know there was never an 'in house' school-history produced after Mr Swallow's. If you know differently, please get in touch. - MJ)

'School News' tells us of the death of 'two very good friends' of the school. These were CC. Geoffrey Knowles and Cyril Burke, who were both on the board of governors. Also, Mr Leslie Vowles, the school caretaker for many years died suddenly in June 1968.

Staff 'goodbyes' were said to Mrs Coles, Mr Winter and Mrs Hughes. Welcomes were given to Mrs Rider, Mr Thomas, Mrs Peek, Mrs Burns and Mr Temple.

Pupils who contributed articles or poems to this edition were Lucy Rushton, Julia Hansford, David Besley, Michael Nicholson, Vince Russett, John Butt, Richard Pike, Judith Burgess and Erica Vowles.

In the 'Speech Day' section we're told that Andrew Bradley achieved four 'A' level passes and Pamela Callow, Barbara Cox and Jane Perry all did really well and achieved twelve 'O' level passes. 

Miss Padfield was congratulated on her 'fine production' (March '68) of 'Richard of Bordeaux'. Most of the cast were mentioned by name in the article - Robert Callow, Richard Pike, Beverley Lane, Christine Lewis, and Christine Brook having special mentions. 

In the 'School Sports' section we're told that Margaret Thomas was selected to go to the All England Badminton Tournaments. In Hockey, Sue Steer and Pamela Ford became players for the Somerset 1st X1. Jane Perry and Bryany Elliston attended the County Hockey trials. In Tennis, at a tournament in Nailsea, M. Thomas and J. Price won 18 games and B. Lane and L. Stoakes won 17.

The following represented the area at the County Sports - Sue Steer (Long Jump), Ann Perry, E. Vowles (110 yards), Ann Perry, E. Vowles, L. Heal (Relay) and D. Thomas was Reserve.

At Soccer, Andrew Butcher, Peter Humphreys and Brian Smith went for county trials and Andrew Butcher was chosen for the Somerset team.

Cricketers fared quite poorly in the 1967/68 season, only winning one game which was against the Old Sexonians where Stephen Calderon scored 40 not out.

Two further articles mentioned excursions made by the pupils. Vince Russett wrote about the trip to Paris and the fact that the painters at the top of the Eiffel Tower were working without any safety apparatus. Judith Burgess wrote about the trip to Southern Ireland made by the 6th form Geographers, accompanied by Mr Winter and Miss Leach. She wrote that some of the boys caused a huge stir by getting lost in their rowing boat and had to hitch a ride back on a trawler! (There must be photos out there from both of these trips - come on, Old Sexonians, let's see them ! - MJ)

In the 'Deaths' section, in addition to those already mentioned, were Francis Burge, Beatrice Coome and Gilbert Wall who, for many years, had been the driver of the school brake.

This 24 page magazine finished with advertisements for local companies.

 The Sexonian, 1970 (loaned from the Sexey's Archives)

Isabel Rendell must have been aware that major changes were going to occur at Sexey's in the near future when she wrote her Editorial for this issue. She wrote - '1970- and the beginning of a new decade! The 'seventies will obviously see many alterations in our educational system- and Sexey's will, no doubt, come in for its fair share of changes.'

Six years later of course, Sexey's was to change completely and relinquish its grammar school status. Mr Ravenscroft's 'Headmaster's Page' also began with the word 'Reorganisation' - they knew then that huge changes were in the offing.

Once again, many pieces of poetry, reports etc were contributed by the school's pupils. These included Ian Pincott, Sara Evans, Christine Weir, Ann Western, Rachel Hares, Karen Watts, Trevor Pool, Christine Hares, Miranda Winterburn, a joint article, 'Noel', by Jayne Small, Jane Ashby, Richard Tincknell and Michael Duckett; Sylvia Phillips, Jane Viney, Malcolm Cuthbertson, Patricia Houston, Jenny Butt Judith Wilde, Margaret Frost, Vince Russett. The final pupil contribution being 'The Chess Club' by Vince Russett, Alan Keen and Chris Phillips. 

The 'School News' article mentions the death of Councillor Dibble, a member of the Board of governors. It goes on to say 'Goodbye' to Mrs Peek (Art), Mr Temple and Mrs Dyckoff.

A warm welcome was given to Mrs Chew (who had been a Sexey's pupil- Jill Chew), Dr Steve Chinn (Physics), Miss Button (Biology - also an ex pupil), Miss Elliot (Art), Mrs Jenkins(English) and the Rev. John Hall (RI).

The article goes on to inform that a new 'hut' type classroom had been added, Room 9. It then tells us - 'the school field has been extended by four and a half acres because of an unmentionable edifice.' (I'm racking my brains about the 'unmentionable edifice', can anyone remember what this was all about? - MJ) - Ex pupil, Martin Holmes has kindly written in to say that this was - 'possibly a reference to the sewage works which provided a spot for a secret smoke during breaktimes.  Not so secret as it turned out as we were eventually discovered and reprimanded severely by the rather fierce Mr Brooke.'

Articles that followed this were a report on Speech day, 1969 and a list of 'Prizewinners'. This was followed by the 'A' and 'O' level passes, the 'O' level passes being my own form (five of them doing really well and passing 10 subjects). Other reports included 'Princess Ida' which had been staged in March of '69 (more details of this to come, in the '60's memories section).

A very comprehensive 'Sports' article covered no less than three pages. Names of note included Sue Steer, Anne Perry, Erica Vowles, Deirdre Thomas, Lynn Heal, Clare Fereday,Lesley Bawden, Fiona Berkmanns, Andrew Birch, Michael Duckett, Josie Fear, Jackie Lee, Susan Litton and Andrew Perry who all represented the 'area' at the County Athletics meeting. Sue Steer was also Captain of the Somerset Junior hockey Team.

In Tennis, Margaret Thomas won the School Nestles Ladder tournament. Margaret also had a number of wins in the County Badminton Tournament.

In the Cricket, 'Colours were awarded to Webber' - this was for good, reliable batting. (This is the first reference I've found to the actual giving of sports 'colours' and it appears they were given for making an outstanding contribution, presumably in all sports, not just cricket. - MJ)

One article, 'A View of The Lake District', outlines the field trip made by 6th form Biologists and Geographer to the Brathay study centre in the Lake District. (Some members of my own class were to go the following year , me included. - MJ). 

Jenny Butt, who wrote the article mentioned the typical Lake District weather which they had to endure whilst climbing Tarn Crag. She also mentioned the quick way they used to get down the scree slopes - 'with only one disadvantage - the seats of our trousers were very quickly worn down!'

She finishes the article by saying - '… an enjoyable time was had by all and we were very sorry to leave. We did not have as many stops on the way back, and so most of us went to sleep, including Mr Brooke (who was driving!)' I (MJ)can confirm that Mr Brooke did precisely the same thing on our trip to Brathay the following year, when my form went. John Butt was up front, sitting next to him on the way back and had to nudge him several times to keep him awake!

I(MJ) can't remember much about the educational part of our trip in 1970, apart from, at the dead of night, carrying Richard 'Sammy' Sampson's bed out of the dormitory with him still sleeping inside it! Unfortunately, he woke up as we tilted the bed slightly to get it through the doorway. I don't think the Brathay trip was ever repeated by the school because of cost and lack of funding. 

Another, more local field trip, run by Miss Button, was 'covered' by Vince Russett. This was the Lower 6th Botany trip to Butley Woods - apparently, this was another very wet but enjoyable visit by a small group of 'plant lovers' in my own form (St. John Evans, Alan Keen, Albert Frost, David Nuttycombe, Tony Cousins and Vince Russett). 

Vince also contributed the article that followed, which outlined the progress of the Chess Club. That year ('69) the club had entered a National Postal Chess competition and had come a very creditable third.

Apart from the many advertisements on the final pages, the magazine finishes with Engagements, Births , Deaths, Marriages, Future Events, Officers and News Of Old Sexonians. This final section mentions a very early pupil who became Colonel Stuart Lovell, who - 'came to Sexey's in September 1920. He was speaking on TV on July 22nd, 1969.' 

Finally, here's one for the real 'anoraks'. In the advertisements section, Deane and Son, the long-standing providers of our school uniforms made the decision to add the phrase 'Outfitter to Sexey's Grammar School' to their Sexonian ad, for the very first time. (I really must get out more! - MJ)

More seriously, the firm of Deane's, which has been based in Cheddar for almost 65 years, deserves a longer mention, as not only have they been long term providers of Sexey's School uniform but family members, Nigel and his father, Gerald Deane, were both 'Old Sexonians' - (I remember Nigel being one form below me. I'm hoping that 'Deane's' will be the subject of a much longer article some time in the future - MJ).

The Sexonian Magazine, 1971 (donated by Jane Hill)

As can be seen from the cover, the 'Sexonian' badge design is now the basic school crest. After many years, this was to be Isabel Rendell's final editorial for the magazine. 

   

In the editorial, Miss Rendell appears, once again, to make references to future changes and uncertainty at Sexey's in the very near future - talks had already taken place regarding the possible amalgamation with Kings of Wessex school in Cheddar and also the possibility of becoming a Middle school -

' Happy people make a happy school - and this is what ours has truly been. Looking forward is more difficult - for a mist of policies obscures the landscape...'

In the Headmaster's section, Mr Ravenscroft pays tribute to Miss Rendell and mentions her plans to retire the following July.

' Next July after a lifetime of teaching and 25 years in this school, Miss Isabel Rendell will be retiring... it is no idle compliment to say that she disguises the length of her teaching career with graceful ease and abounding energy...' 

The tribute is no less than two pages in length and finishes with -

 ' Whatever the administrative arrangements for a school, its form, its title or the condition of its buildings - the quality of the education which is produced will depend ultimately on the quality of its teachers. Miss Rendell regarded her occupation as a vocation, and education in this country will only be successful if we can continue to find teachers with the same sense of devotion to their work.'

The changes to the magazine meant that pupils still present at the school contributed articles and a number of pieces of creative writing/poetry appear - contributors included Nigel Barratt, Phillip Garbutt, Christine Packer,R Tincknell, Judith Wilde, Ian Pincott and Lucy Rushton.

One event that I have vague memories of, were the mock elections that were held in school, the results forming an article in the '71 magazine.

Five pupils, namely, Vince Russett, John Bevan, Paul Ryder, Paul Herniman and Tim James represented both major and minority parties alike, and I remember some of the candidate's speeches and the election result taking place in the new library. Vince Russett's ' Wessex Nationalists' won in the end by a large majority. It was a lot of fun - Vince had only started his 'party' as a joke!

With regards to the sports results mentioned, there were a large number of pupils who made it to Area or even County meetings, the Open County Junior Schools Hockey Tournament was won by the school - the senior team coming 2nd in the 7 a-side tournament. 

At Badminton.... ' M. Duckett, the two Banwells, L Heal, J. Fear, J. Lee, represented the area at the County School's Tournament'...' David Banwell was selected to represent the County at U.16 level.

In Athletics.... ' A. Birch, J.Donavan, L. Bawden, F. Berkmans, S. Litten, E. Vowles, L. Heal, A. Perry, S.Steer and P. Houston represented the area at the County meeting. S. Litten came third in the javelin.' 

With regards to Soccer....  'P. Ham was County Representative' - others who represented the County were I. Murray (Swimming) and B. Miles (Cricket) -

(If anyone can put Christian names to any of the above, please send them in.- MJ) 

In Cricket, the team, ably captained by Geoff Thorne, only lost one game all season and that was against the Old Sexonians.

Special mention goes to the Under 15's Rugby team, coached by Greg Thomas,  who played two games winning one of them - was this the very first school Rugby team at Sexey's or had it been played in earlier decades?

Once again the 'In Memoriam' section gives us a small insight into earlier times at Sexey's.

It mentions the passing of Nancy Thrower, who had been Art Mistress at the school from 1917 to1947.

 ' ' Chucker', as many will remember, was Art Mistress for 30 years and, for some time prior to her retirement, the Senior Mistress.

'A strict disciplinarian ( scholars often felt her 'beady' eyes  upon them), she inspired great respect. Her exhortations on ' parallel and vanishing lines' will remain an undying memory.'

(Does anyone have any more memories of 'Chucker' Thrower? - MJ)

With the change in format, the magazine was now more relevant to a greater number of pupils, the 1971 edition occupying no less than 26 pages.

(There is still some doubt as to the year in which the very final 'Sexonian'  magazine was written - it's a bit odd that they stopped without any warning, does anyone know of a later magazine than 1971? - MJ)

 

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