Newsletter of the Old Newportonian Society December 2013

Please click here to download printable newsletter December 2013 (pdf)

President 2013/2014 Martin Tomlinson [1964-68]
Honorary Life Vice-Presidents Fred Thompson [1937-75];  Eric Este I.S.O.  [1933-39] 
Keith Huddlestone [1964-02];  Eric Gentry [1944-50]  

All correspondence to:
The Hon. Secretary Mr. C.K.Huddlestone
Newport Free Grammar School
Newport, Saffron Walden, Essex CB11 3TR
Telephone: 01799 540237 Fax: 01799 542189


A message to all members of the Society who receive the newsletter by post but do have an email address.  The cost of second class post is now 50p. The cost of sending the newsletter by email is 0p.
If you do have an email address but still receive the newsletter by post PLEASE let the secretary have your email address.
The secretary is most grateful to all those ONs who have sent him their email address during the past few months. This means that we now have email addresses for over 60% of the membership [about 1000].  For those who have an email address but still receive the newsletters by post please send your email address to the school [] and ask for it be sent on to the ON Society Secretary.  As everyone must realise the more members who can be sent the newsletters by email the more financially beneficial it is to the Society, especially with the very high cost of postage these days.  Please inform the Secretary if you change your email address and/or your postal address.  It is important for the secretary to have both an email address and a postal address.  If the email address fails then there is the postal address to fall back on.  Please note that email addresses will NOT be passed on to anyone else. They will only be used to send out the newsletters and any other important information which needs to be sent to the whole of the Society membership.

This Year’s President: Martin Tomlinson [1964-1968]
Martin Tomlinson entered the school in 1964 from Ilkley Grammar School.  On leaving Newport in 1968 he began a career in Insurance.  After a few years he decided to use his natural gifts in art and design to start his own Graphic Design Company and has been in this field of work ever since. In order to help celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the founding of the school in 1988 he created a beautiful pen and ink drawing of the Nesfield Buildings of the School.  Signed copies of this, suitably framed were made and sold by the Old Newportonian Society to help raise funds for the 1988 appeal.  Over 100 of these framed and signed copies were sold and they will be a lasting legacy for Martin and his connection with Newport Free Grammar School.  He writes the following about himself.  

It has been a great honour to be elected as Old Newportonian Society President for the coming year. Whilst I have been a member of the Society since I left Newport in 1968, I have to admit that it is has only been in the last few years that I have been involved in both the social events and committee meetings.  Such is the camaraderie that exists on these occasions I do now regret not having been involved sooner.

My time at Newport [1964-68] coincided with a heady and exciting time in our social history.  It was a time for change, a time to embrace the new-first man on the moon, the computer, the mini [cars and skirts!] and the intellectual freedom to allow those who were capable to push the boundaries of the arts and science-music, film and technology.  Small wonder they were happy days even if we were constantly being told to “get a haircut” or to “shave off those side burns” both at school and at home.

That period and my time at Newport have had a great influence on my life since. Like many of my generation I like to think that I am still open minded and liberal in my thoughts, actions and attitudes, although sometimes this does not seem to go down too well in the politically correct world in which we now all live! Often I am reprimanded by either one or other of my two children [Polly and Sam] or three step-children [Sophie, Emily and Mike] with “…you cannot say that!”  Luckily my partner Stella is of my generation so she does not see the problem. Neither do my two Grandchildren [Phoebe and Charlie]-and there is another Grandchild on the way!

Family apart, there have been two other great loves in my life- motor racing and rugby.  In the former another ex-Newport pupil, Tom Guist [1961-68] and I bought a single-seat racing car with a view to becoming World Champions in a few years.  Well, as you can imagine it did not quite work out like that.  Motor racing is very expensive and the old adage, “if you want to make a small fortune from motor racing you need to start with a large one!” definitely applies.  Within 18 months we had run out of money due mainly to many repair bills!  So we sold the car.  I did continue on my own for a while driving other peoples’ cars- the Alexis factory team [one race, one win], a Formula 2 Cooper and a Mallocks sports car.  Then a family came along and with it responsibilities, so I stopped racing.  That is until my son, Sam became interested and we started racing karts.  Sam was British champion in one category and we competed together in the British Endurance Championships racing karts capable of travelling over 100mph, at circuits all over the country for quite a few years.  

I have also been involved with motor racing in a much less dangerous way,-painting pictures of racing cars and racing drivers. Over the years I have done paintings of two World Champions [John Surtees and Phil Hill] and had prints signed by the likes of Sir Stirling Moss and the late Carroll Shelby [the man who developed the AC Cobra]. 

My involvement with rugby has brought me in contact with many colourful, like-minded characters that abound in this wonderful game. On leaving school I first started playing for Saffron Walden under the captaincy of Ken Williams who at the time taught metal work at Newport.  I certainly saw a different side to him at the Rugby Club. 

My problem was that whilst I enjoyed the game, I was not very good at it and often I was not selected to start in a match.  After giving it some thought, I worked out that the only way to ensure being selected was to start my own rugby club.  So this is what I did and from humble beginnings in 1977 as a pub side, Sawston Rugby Club was formed and was fortunate to find a permanent home at Sawston Village College.  We use their pitches and we have built our own club house on the site, which must make Sawston Village College a unique school,-one with a licenced premises in its grounds! 

I played my last game when I was about 55 but by then my joints were creaking a bit too much.  Other involvement with the game included being a Cambridgeshire Rugby Football Union committee member for 27 years, two of which I was President. 

When Sawston played at Saffron Walden I would go along in my capacity as Club President.  Often I would meet up with and have a post-match beer with the Saffron Walden President at the time, Dr Geoffrey Elcoat who was of course Head of Newport during my time there. 

Like a lot of school leavers of my era, I did not really know what I wanted to do as a career.  That is, apart from being a world champion motor racing driver. So I drifted into the insurance industry and stayed there for a number of years.  However, this did not really interest me or provide fulfilment.  At that point I took a step back and decided that as I was quite good and creative art-wise this is what I should be doing.  No point in being blessed with a skill if you never use it.  So I started my own creative design agency and have continued with this for over 30 years.  In that time I have seen a lot of changes in the design process, mainly with the use of computers which have replaced the drawing boards, cow gum and scalpels,-the instruments with which I started. 

Whilst I still very much enjoy recalling the days of yore at Newport, I also feel that it is so important to embrace the new, the future and not to get left in the past.  I like to think that I and my contemporaries at Newport did embrace the new in our time to the benefit not only ourselves but to the world around us. 

Martin Tomlinson  [1964-68]  President 2013-14

1. Friday 21st February 2014:  20.00 onwards; Gathering of ONs at the Coach and Horses, Newport 
The committee hope that all ONs who are in the Newport/Saffron Walden area on the evening of 21st February 2014 will make every effort to come to the Coach and Horses for this annual gathering.  This event    is always held on a Friday in February as close as possible to Foundress Day which is the 20th February [the date of Dame Joyce Frankland’s will].  Please try to attend at some time during the evening and support the President, Martin Tomlinson  

2. Sunday 23rd February 2014, 11.00am:  Church Service at Newport Church to Commemorate Foundress Day . This will be the fifth such service to be held at St. Mary’s Church, Newport to commemorate Foundress Day.  The previous services have been a great success and very well supported by Old Newportonians.
As usual the service will be part of the Newport Parish Church’s normal 11.00am service of Morning Worship [in the past the service has usually started at 10.00am].  Kenneth Hall who was Head of the School from 1981 to 1990 will give the address. This service is being advertised to everyone connected with the School [Pupils, Parents, Staff, Governors as well as Members of the Society]. There will be some refreshments after the service. The Vicar of Newport, the Rev. Neil Macleod and the PCC are very much in favour of this service and of supporting links between the School and St. Mary’s Church so the committee hope that as many members of the Society who are able to attend will do so.  It will only be a success provided that members of the Society come in good numbers to support it. In the July newsletter two dates for the service were given [23rd February and 2nd March]. Please note that the date is now fixed for Sunday 23rd February. Please also note the time of 11.00am.    

2. Saturday 10th May 2014:  Annual Football, Hockey & Cross Country Matches v the School  
As in previous years there will be two Hockey Matches.  The Women's Hockey Match will start at 9.30am and the Men's Hockey Match will start about 10.45am. The Football Match will start at 10.15am and the Cross Country Match is at 11.00am.  If you wish to take part in any of these matches please email the ON Secretary [] or telephone the school [01799 540237] and leave a message.  As usual Di Reed will organise the ON Society Hockey Teams.  If you wish to play in any of the hockey matches please contact her by email [] or telephone her on 01799 502360.  This occasion has now become a major event in the Society’s and the School’s calendar.  Apart from the players many other ONs [as well as parents of students who are playing for the school] also come along and support the matches. Refreshments will be served in the Club House [next to the pavilion] after the matches.  The reason for the later date of these matches [they are usually held on the last Saturday in April] is that Easter is very late in 2014 [Easter Day is Sunday 20th April] and it is important that the matches are held on a date which is not affected by school holidays. 

3.  Sunday 6th July 2014: Annual Mixed Hockey and Cricket Matches against the School 
The Mixed Hockey match will start at 11.30am and the Cricket Match at 2.00pm.  If you wish to take part in either or both of these matches please contact the ON Society secretary by email or by telephoning the school [01799 540237] and leaving a message.  Arranging for the mixed hockey match to be played in the morning and the cricket match in the afternoon makes it possible for ONs to take part in both matches if they so wish. Tea, to which everyone is invited, will be taken between the two innings of the cricket match at about 4.30pm in the Club House next to the Pavilion. Di Reed will organise the ON Society Hockey team.  If you wish to play in the mixed hockey match, please contact Di Reed by email [], or by telephoning her on, 01799 502360. 
The PE and Games Department at the School is very supportive of both the above events for which the Society is extremely grateful.  
Please make a note of the two above dates and try to support the occasions either by taking part in one of the ON Society teams or by being a spectator.
5.  Saturday 4th October 2014:  AGM at 6.00pm: Annual Dinner at 7.00 for 7.30pm. 
Please make a note in your 2014 diary of these two most important events.  Further details will be given in the next newsletter which will be sent out in July 2014.    

1. AGM:  Saturday 5th October 2013 at 6.00pm  
This took place at the school and was attended by 25 members of the Society.   Minutes of the 2012 AGM and the secretary’s report for 2012/13 were distributed shortly before the meeting. A statement of the audited accounts for 2012/13 was also distributed to all those present.   The Treasurer, Christopher Szaj explained the salient points and informed the meeting that the statement of accounts clearly showed the Society’s finances to be in a very healthy position mainly due to the continued great success of the 100-Club.  
The following elections were made for 2013/14: 
President:  Martin Tomlinson [1964-68]; Treasurer:  Chris Szaj [64-70]; Secretary:  Keith Huddlestone [64-02] Assistant. Secretaries:  Di Reed [69-2012] and Rick Reynolds [1993-2011];  Committee Members:  David Morris[61-68]  Gordon Farquhar[ Head]; Lee Gamble [2005-]; Ian Tweed [1961-68]; Martin Szaj [1963-68]; Geoff White [61-69]; Simon Price-Whittle [62-66]; President Designate; John Dudley [61-68]; Roger Bedford [58-65]; Kevin Dalley [53-60]
Auditor Richard King [70-77].   
3.  Annual Dinner:  Saturday 5th October 2013:  This was a thoroughly enjoyable and very successful occasion.  76 people attended several of whom had either never previously attended or had not attended for a very long time. As has been the case at the annual dinner over the last few years there was a short musical item given by two members of the sixth form, Rebecca Jones [vocal] and Leo Hartley [guitar] who performed superbly. The toast to Dame Joyce Frankland was given by the Deputy Head Boy, Dan Holmes.  The toast to the School was given by Malcolm White the identical twin brother of the President.  The Head, Gordon Farquhar who was attending the annual dinner for the first time replied to this toast and in doing so gave a very positive report on the current progress of the school.  The Head Girl, Claire Wyatt proposed the toast to the Society in a very confident manner to which the President, Geoff White made a most entertaining reply.  At the end of his reply Geoff White made a presentation on behalf of the Society to Keith Huddlestone to mark his 40 years as secretary.  The gift presented was a framed photograph of 22 former presidents of the society taken with Keith and his wife during the tea interval at the annual cricket match held on Sunday 7th July 2013.  The photograph also included the Headmaster, Gordon Farquhar and other ONs who played in the game. One of the past Presidents was Fred Thompson.  Keith expressed his great pleasure and delight at receiving such a wonderful present to mark his 40 years as secretary.  He thanked the President for organising such a lovely gift and all those members of the society who had made it possible for such a wonderful photograph to be taken.  He thanked the ON Society for their generosity in providing such a magnificent token in their appreciation of his 40 years as secretary.  He informed all those present that the photograph would take pride of place in his study at home along-side the magnificent framed aerial photograph of the school presented to him on the occasion of the dinner held at the George Inn, Southwark to mark the 425th anniversary of the founding of the school.
4. The Old Newportonian Society 100-Club:  As reported in the July newsletter, 2013 has been another highly successful year for the 100-Club.   228 membership tickets were sold which is a record.  The committee are most grateful to all ONs who support the 100-Club which enables the Society to support the School in a number of different ways as well as ensuring that all the necessary administration costs are covered. Current membership of the 100-Club will end on 31st January 2013.  The committee very much hope that all those who purchased tickets this year will renew their membership for 2014.  The cost of one ticket is £12 and there is no limit to the number membership tickets anyone can purchase.  If you wish to join as a new member then please complete the pro-forma on page 7 and send it with your cheque to the ON Society Secretary at the School. Please make cheques payable to the ON Society 100-Club.  The closing date for entry into the first draw of the New Year is 28th February 2014. Those ONs who are already members of the 100-Club will, as usual receive a separate invitation by post to renew their existing membership. 

100 Club Winners since the last Newsletter

Date Prize No. Name Amount
July 13 1 159 A.Bush
  2 122
  3 117 N.Ventre £15
Aug 13 1 228 I.Tweed £25
  2 2 E.Este £20
  3 210 R.Bedford £15
Sept 13 1 145 J.Schoop £25
  2 185 M.Rushmer £20
  3 230 D.D.Martin £15
Feb 13 1 96 J.W. Little £25
  2 3 D.Reed £20
  3 206 J. Hung £15
Oct 13 1 150 C.Bowditch £120
  2 47 J.Bull £80
  3 15 R.Stock £60
  4 4 J.Schoop £50
  5 235 P.Coppi £40
  6 30 R.Reynolds £30

New Members since the last Newsletter 
The following have been elected to the Society:-  Robert Hartle [06-13]  

Fred Thompson
Fred Thompson, who was Head of History at Newport from 1937 to 1970 and Deputy Head from 1970 until his retirement in 1975 celebrated his 100th birthday on 16th October.  A special lunch was arranged for him on that day at St. Katharine’s College, Cambridge his old College.  My wife and I were invited to this lunch and I was able to present Fred in person with a gift from the ON Society.  The committee had agreed that as Fred had done so much in the past for the school and the ON Society it was important they should mark his 100th birthday in some way.  A framed aerial colour photograph of the whole school site suitably inscribed was acquired and I presented him with this at the end of his special 100th birthday lunch.  He was greatly overcome by this presentation and has written the following expressing his thanks for such a lovely gift. 
“I was thrilled to receive this wonderful framed aerial photograph of the school which depicts not only the old buildings but also many buildings that have been constructed since my time at Newport. The photograph has been placed alongside other treasured gifts and honours from the ON Society.  I am most grateful to the Society and the school for this lovely present. I express my heartfelt thanks to you all.  I received a very large number of cards from past pupils who were at Newport when I was there.  As I am now very blind and find great difficulty in writing I would like to express my sincere thanks through this newsletter to all those former pupils who wrote to me or sent cards to mark my 100th Birthday.  It was a great joy to receive them and to have read to me all the lovely messages of congratulations they contained.  Thank you all so much for making my 100th Birthday such a very special occasion.” 

Update of the School History:
 As reported in the July newsletter the updated school history, written by Malcolm White [1961-68] has now been published.  Although a lot of copies have been sold there are still some available from the initial printing run of 300.  If anyone would like to purchase a copy please contact the ON Society Secretary at the school either by email or letter [see contact details above]. The cost is £5.00 per copy or £7.50 to include postage and packaging. Cheques should be made payable to the “O.N. Society”
This updated history of the school which covers the period from 1988 to 2013 has been very well received by all those who have purchased a copy.  It is of A5 size and consists of 60 pages with a large number of photographs many of them in colour including a fine aerial picture of the whole school site.

The following deaths has been reported to the secretary since the last newsletter:  J. Humphries [1936-43]; E. Stephens [1957-62]; W. Johnson [1935-42]; R. Walters [1941-45] 
James Humphries entered the school in 1936 from Fawbert and Barnards School in Old Harlow. He was a member of the ATC and served in the RAF from 1942 when he left school to the end of the war.  He then undertook a career in banking and eventually became manager of the Nat West Branch in Plaistow.  He was a long-time member of the Old Newportonian Society. He died in January 2013.

Edward Stephens entered Newport in 1957 from Elmdon Primary School.  After school he had a long career as a police officer with the Cambridgeshire Constabulary.  He died on 9th July 2013 after a long fight against cancer. 

William [Bill] Johnson arrived at the School in 1935 from Stansted Primary School. He took his higher school certificate in 1942.  He was a Prefect and athletics champion.  On leaving Newport he went on a War Office short course at Owen College which was part of Manchester University. He became a Captain in the Royal Engineers and was posted to Burma for most of the war.  He was a member of the Burma Star Association.  On leaving the army in 1947 he held various management posts in different companies before becoming a branch manager for Hambro Life Assurance, a position he held until he retired.  He was a very strong supporter of the Old Newportonian Society. He was for many years a member of the committee and became President in 1993. He always attended the Annual Dinner even when confined to a wheelchair.  He always had a very positive outlook on life and was an inspiration to everyone. He died in August 2013. 

Richard Walters came to Newport in 1941 from Rickling Primary School. He was a member of the school orchestra and the ATC.  On leaving the school in 1945 he initially worked on the family farm for several years and then had a short career with Post Office Telecommunications.  He eventually worked for a company specialising in the reproduction of pictures.  He became member of the Old Newportonian Society on leaving school. He died on 29th September 2013.

Application for membership to the O.N.Society 100-Club for 2014/15 

The cost of annual membership is £12.00.  There are no restrictions on the number of tickets any member can hold.  Cheques should be made payable to the O.N.Society 100-Club.  

I wish to apply for [please print in words]___________________ticket[s] for membership of the O.N.Society 100-Club. 

I enclose a cheque for £_______Name [Block Capitals] __________________________________ 

Address [BlockCapitals]___________________________________________________________________



Post Code______________________________________Tel. No.___________________________ 

Email Address____________________________________________________________________
 Please return the completed form with your cheque to the Secretary of the ON Society at the school
[Newport Free Grammar School, Newport, Saffron Walden, Essex   CB11 4AJ]