Our most senior OLs (those over 75 years old) turned out in force for the Oldest OLs Day. We have 548 senior OLs worldwide which means they make up a very important 10% of our total OL community and deserve to be honoured and recognised by their old school. It was a glorious June day where guests had to seek the shade on the Chapel lawn under the old blue spruce for the Pimm’s drinks reception.
Our oldest OL on the day was John Frost (Sanderson’s, 1935–1939); Stefan Kemball (Gibbs’, 1956–1961), was our youngest; Michael Lyon (Gibbs’, 1945–1949) and his wife Judy joined us from Australia and we had OLs coming from all across the country, Cumbria, Devon and Norfolk to name but a few. Over 23 of our guests had not been back to Lancing since they left 60 years ago and I am pleased to say that many are now promising to return to the next similar occasion in 2019.
We were delighted to have Robin Barton (Second’s, 1943– 1947) speaking to the gathered group after lunch about the College’s evacuation to Shropshire which played a key part in the memories of his own Lancing schooldays and those of other OLs attending. Robin regaled the audience with vivid descriptions of what life was like for pupils during wartime and the challenges they faced; long cycle rides to lessons, the race, as underschools, to open the gate ready for the rest of the Second’s pack to pedal furiously through; electricity generators which had to be wound up; church organs which had to be pumped; and the B17 aircraft crash-landing very close to home. Home was Caynham Court for Second’s House and there, under their inspiring House master, E B Gordon, they learnt about self-sufficiency and enjoyed a freedom to roam, never experienced again. According to Robin, the return to Lancing was a shock. Food and rations were more plentiful, but the wild days of living the life of A E Houseman in Shropshire were over.
Thank you to everyone who joined us and made the occasion such a special celebration.
The full selection of photos from the event can be viewed HERE.