John Allen 1956-59

Sad to hear of the death of Robin Penrice who I remember fondly. I recall, he lived in Kennilworth and his dad was a sales executive with Standard Triumph at Coventry. I was invited to his house for Sunday tea, and his dad turned up in this TR2 Sports car and I had to sit in the back. Very uncomfortable. We arrived at their house and I was immediately sick in what I expected to be a downstairs loo, but, as I opened the door and lurched in, I discovered to my horror that it was a broom cupboard. Needless to say I wasn't invited again.

I see that Robin remembered my name on his blog, but, sadly I never took the chance to communicate with him. I recall that he lived up the road from Howard Sutton, who I did see after I left school and he was working in the hotel trade as a trainee manager. I also remember John Carter, who I think was the son of the M.D of a family firm who supplied tents and marquees and were from Hampshire. I think it was Leslie Spitz, not John, and he came from Putney SW15 and I passed the end of his road, just a day or so ago. We did meet up a few times after we left school, and shared a girlfriend for a while in the summer holidays. The Solanki's I recall were Asians from Kenya and I think at one time there were up to five brothers at the school. Of course there was Ole Petersen, Danish, who was an ace footballer and the undoubted star of the school team at the time. Did he really go on to manage the National side?

All that stuff that Robin recalled about the swimming pool, I too remember, having to climb into the water filter tank to empty out the sand, or whatever it was, to be replaced by new stuff in order for the filtration system to be re-started for the summer term. I was also one of many I suspect, who climbed out of dormitory 54 windows at night and hiked up to the transport cafe on the A 40 for a fry up and a few fags, trying to look all grown up in dungarees and wellies! I think we thought we looked like farm workers or labourers or whatever. As for the fire in the tree up the drive, I believe it was my brother (Roger Allen 52-54) who finally owned up to that one!

I have never, and will not ever, forget the time I spent at Kings School. My only regret is that I did not keep in touch with those friends made at the time. I do remember your name (Conrad), but, cannot put a face to it. I was Allen III for my first year and then Allen II as far as I recall. My particular friend was Leslie Spitz, who like me came from London, and a lad called Howard Sutton who was from Coventry. I did see them both after we left, but, sadly never kept in touch. I see from the site that there are a couple of names that I recognised. One was Jorma Kuntsi from Vassa in Finland, who I was also friendly with, and a lad called Ashworth, and Gerald Lush, who I recall came from Sherborne in Dorset where his dad was a phamacist. I remember him being a large boy, a little stout and he wore rimless spectacles. I did call in at the shop in Dorset some years after, but, can't remember what the outcome was.

So many happy and unforgetable memories of James H Mosey and Kate, and then Mr & Mrs Guildford ( am I right there?) I do recall a science teacher who chain smoked. I think his name was Mr Sainsbury, or similar.

I am now early retired (almost 64) and spent pretty much all my working life in the Insurance business. Firstly with a Lloyds Brokerage and then latterly with my own business which I sold in 1997 following some heart problems. Pleased to say that I am reasonably fit now, if overweight.

My wife of 40 years lives with me in Worthing, where we have a bungalow. We also have two grown up children and four grandchildren. Your were right about the violin, but, sadly I didn't keep it up after school for very long as I discovered the opposite sex.

I am sure that I have some school photographs in my loft as well as some old sports day certificates and other bits and pieces. My brother Roger was at the school for 3 years before me and also has fond memories. It was really a good fortune to go to a school in such a fantastic setting. I have re-visited Sherborne and the area many times over the years, and still love the place. Nothing in Sherborne seems to have changes much, other than the school, which is now apartments I think.

How wonderful! I have visited the site and it has brought back to me so many faces and friends that I recognise from all those years ago. The most scary, however, was when I went to the pictures of the "Boys" contributed by John Colville, who I do remember and I think his folks farmed quite close to the school, and I went there for a visit with him on a Sunday. The very first picture that I opened was one entitled Goode, Hawkey, Beech II -? and it was me! Allen II so the mystery has been solved as to who that devishly handsome bloke was that no-one could remember. Mind you I had to look several time to convince myself it was me, but, I do recall that in my final year I did have a rather sharp charcoal grey suit for Sunday.

It was, as I said before, a huge privelege to be at a school with so many diverse nationalities, cultures and religions, and backgrounds. I have always told my own children how fortunate I was to attend K.S. at a time when my father really could not afford the fees and made so many sacrifices so that I could. I went there because my mother had died when I was 9, and my dad, who was a theatre ticket agent, and needed, therefore, to attend opening nights in order to purchase advance tickets, was simply unable to provide a home for my brother and I. My brother, who is three years older, had received an assisted place at the school funded by the then L.C.C. and my dad promised me that as soon as he left, I would go. Unfortunately, by then the assistance was no longer available, so he had to pay all the fees himself. I really was a poor boy compared to the majority! But I had failed the 11 plus and was a bit "thick". I did achieve 4 "O" levels in G.C.E so that was a result, I think, of small classes, but, mostly of a happy enviroment.

Do you remember Okun Tutner, from Istanbul, who had made-to-measure suits, silk shirts, and more gold Parker pens than W.H.Smiths? I think he is still the only person I have known who wore monogrammed silk shirts, and pyjamas! Anyway, I am spurred to get up in my loft and see what pictures I have got, so I might be able to add to your collection. I will certainly try an attend the re-union in 2008.

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