Where are they now?

This Section provides information about the careers and experiences of former pupils and staff of the school. If you would like to record details herein please send a draft of your entry to Peter Higgins (See Contacts). All submissions will be subject to editorial control. If you wish to contact anybody who is listed please send a request to Peter Higgins or John Shaw and we will forward your request to the individual concerned; regrettably, we cannot provide contact details directly to you.

NB To assist handling of the website we have now split this section alphabetically. This page is concerned with those whose surnames commence between L-Z. There is a separate page for A-K and a third for Miscellaneous matters.

Alan Pascoe M.B.E. (1959-66)
Commonwealth Games gold medalist (hurdles) and Olympic silver medalist. Chairman of Fast Track sports consultancy company in London.
Alf Pink (1956-60)

Just 4 short years at the Southern Grammar in which I discovered that I liked football but not studying!! During the school summer holidays in 1960 I found a job as a trainee draughtsman and never returned to school. Hence, I never took O or A levels but gained a Masters Degree in the University of Life!!

The trainee part of draughtsmanship proved to be making tea and cleaning offices so I left that job and obtained a post in a solicitor's office working in litigation - invaluable in learning a commonsense approach to problems. But eventually, fed up with litigation and still playing drums in a group (1961-71), I moved to a recruitment company called Manpower; this was where I found my niche and by the age of 23 I was manager of two branches. At the ripe old age of 24 I decided to set up my own agency which proved to be very successful - so much so that in 1984 I sold out and retired. But married with 2 young sons Jonathan and Elliott and ruled by their school routine I returned to work in 1986 and started a leisure group. In 1994 an expensive divorce came along and in 1998 I decided to return to the employment industry which had been so good to me. But whilst running the leisure and employment businesses old age overtook me (poor old bugger - Ed!!) and I subsequently sold both businesses.

Having escaped to retirement for a second time I have made the most of this wonderful time from my home base in Fareham. Sharing my life with Christina, my younger [and much better looking - Ed!!] second wife, our time is spent playing tennis or golf most days, lots of holidays and motor boating. Best of all I bought a drum kit again after 25 years and for the past 3 years (2008) have been doing about 15 gigs a year - what a buzz. I also act as Treasurer for the Old Secundrians Association (no link to Alf's life of luxury - Ed!!) and attend the Association's annual dinner every year.

Hope the ticker keeps going because this is a great life!!

John Powell (1941-9)

(The following contribution was made by Roger Watts after consultation with John's brother and friends)

Friends of John Powell will be sad to learn that he passed away in August  2008 after a short but severe battle with cancer.

John attended the Southern Grammar from 1941 to 1949, spending several years in the New Forest area under the evacuation to Brockenhurst. At school he was enthusiastic in debating and drama.

Following National Service with the Royal Engineers, which took him to Germany, John embarked upon an extremely varied educational career. After qualifying as a teacher at Winchester he taught at Albert Road School. Later he pursued a mixture of studying, teaching and lecturing which took him to Bristol, Manchester, Dublin, Canada, Canberra, Papua New Guinea and Sydney

His long and happy marriage to Jocelyn, a New Zealander and botanist, established them in New South Wales, where they not only taught, sailed and fished, but also made a powerful contribution to environmental and local history. There was a series of books, many about the Hawkesbury River, and ventures in publishing. John's remarkable work was recognised in 2007 with a Heritage award by the Hornsby Council.

Always something of an entrepreneur, John funded his academic studies with unusual enterprises. In Bristol he ran a paraffin delivery service and at other times he could be found operating speedboat hire and harbour cruises from Southsea beach. Throughout his days he was liked and admired for his imagination and keen sense of humour. Fittingly, he was a lifelong fan of the Goon Show.

See also John's recollections of the evacuation years (Events/Evacuation) and his memories of staff (People/Staff)

Roger Watts (1942-47)

Roger Watts attended the Southern Grammar from 1942-1947 and under wartime evacuation was part of the Arnewood community. He was no sportsman but acted in school plays and debated in the school's Athenaeum.

In 1947 he joined HM Customs and Excise at Southampton and two years later entered the Inland Revenue. During seventeen years with the Revenue he served in London, Edinburgh and Aberdeen and his work included spells in liaison with the Republic of Ireland, auditing and fraud investigation. In 1967 he moved to Glasgow with the Post Office Savings Department where he later became Controller of the National Savings Bank and Capital Bond Office.

He retired in 1991 and still lives in Glasgow with his wife June. They met and married during his National Service in the RAF. Since retirement Roger and June have done volunteering work with Operation Raleigh, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, The National Trust for Scotland and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Roger's love of geography was inspired by his teacher's (Mr Stocks) enthusiasm and led him to five years as Chairman of Council of the RSGS. His work was recognised by an Honorary Fellowship in the 1990s and by the award of the Scotia Medal in 2006. Nowadays time is divided between grandchildren, gardening, volunteer guiding with NTS and giving historical and travel talks.

David Williams (1962-68)


Leslie Yeo (Joined 1929) 

The following contribution was sent to us by Leslie's daughter, Anthea, in 2006:

At school he excelled at in sports and represented the school on many occasions particularly in swimming, athletics (he was an outstanding sprinter) and soccer. At school he met Victor Blackman and although they went their separate ways they met up again in the 1950s while they were both in the navy and remained friends thereafter.

On leaving school he entered the Portsmouth Dockyard School as an armament fitter apprentice in 1934. However, with the threat of war he decided to terminate his apprenticeship and in April 1938 joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinance Artificer. During the war he was engaged in active service in many parts of the world including taking part in the Russian and Maltese convoys. He remained in the navy for 28 years coming out in 1966 to take up a post as a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Highbury Technical College until his retirement in 1983.

Leslie married Vera in 1941. Sadly, she passed away in 1983 . He had four children , two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. In retirement Leslie enjoyed gardening and being with his family. He became very involved with freemasonry and held many offices at the various lodges of which he was a member.
Sadly, Leslie passed away in March 2005.
We look forward to receiving your contributions
Peter Higgins

Publications include editions of the score of Ruddigore (Gilbert and Sullivan) and Gold and Silver Waltz (Lehar), and the entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography on the composer Albert Ketèlbey.  Provided source material and wrote the accompanying notes for 5 CDs of Ketèlbey's music issued by Naxos.

1972 Married, daughters born 1976 and 1985 Main interests - amateur music making, fieldwork for the British Trust for Ornithology
1964-68 Leeds University studying French, Russian and also Music; 1968-69 College of Librarianship Wales, studying librarianship of course. 1970-73 On library staff at Nottingham College of Education.1973-2005 Music Librarian at Sheffield University

2006 Retired to Tywyn in West Wales
Tom McCanna (joined 1957)
Terry Miller (joined 1949)
Terry left SGS in 1955 and left the UK as a purser on a cruise liner at the age of 19. He later emigrated to the USA and currently lives at Lake Oswego, Oregon. Terry would like to contact former classmates (and others from his era) in particular David Hartfree,
Richard Midgely, Christopher J Martin, William Barton, Peter Manning, Maurice Miller, David Gallagher, William Sykes, Lawrence Douglas, Brian Coombes. Terry can be contacted by e-mail on
Click image to expand
Terry Miller

Chris Vincent (1959-1966)

I have been teaching PE in Havant area for 35 years, now moved over to Admin as Exams Officer and Cover Administrator at Warblington School in the town.
Living in Langstone, not yet ready for retirement but still a cricket fanatic. Interested in classical music and theatre going. Married 34 years to Lesley and with two children, Laura 25 and James 22.
As a member of the Old Secundrians committee keen to get as many of my year together, particularly at the dinner, but also an informal `do` in, say, November of each year. [Ed: First of these meetings was held in November 2009 and repeated annualy since then - see Message Board. For more information contact Chris Vincent (via Peter Higgins or Clive Williams in Contacts) - updated September 2015


The whole course of Nigel Surry's life was irrevocably set after two terms at Paulsgrove Secondary Modern School for Girls (over which a veil shall be drawn, o gentle reader) [Ed: I thought how lucky Nigel had been to have attended a girls' school for two terms until I realised he'd been there as a member of staff!!!]. This baptism of fire for which even two years National Service in the Royal Corps of Signals, and three years at Oxford, left him singularly unprepared, eventually led to Portsmouth College of Technology in 1965, where he began lecturing in history, as well in the early days, teaching English to catering students.

Many years later, in 1987, he took early retirement from the Polytechnic (voluntary redundancy on a bad day), after which he devoted himself to his first love, eighteenth century England, resulting in an exhibition, George Beare 'Eminent Face Painter ' (fl.1743-1749) at Pallant House, Chichester in 1989, the publication of 'Your affectionate and loving sister,' the correspondence of Barbara Kerrich and Elizabeth Postlethwaite 1733 to 1751 (Larks Press 2000), and most recently, A Portsmouth Canvas: the Art of the City and the Sea 1770 to 1970 (Fortune Press 2008) - to the unalloyed delight of a discerning public.

Nigel Surry looks back with unashamed nostalgia to his years at the Old School, above all for his time in the Sixth Form, where he benefited from the brilliant teaching of Richard Fox, Sid Parnell and Saxon Walker, and of equal importance, the companionship of those choice spirits, Frank Harfield, Jim Riordan and Terry Wheeler.

Ed: Nigel has also written a book entitled A Portsmouth Canvas The Art of the City And the Sea 1770-1970 and encourages others to consider doing similarly - pointing to membership of the Society of Authors , and Anna Crosbie's How To Publish Your Own Book (Oxford 2006) as useful starters.  See also, Nigel's contribution in "Former Staff" relating to Mesrs Jeffries and Downing.

Nigel Surry (joined 1949)
I live in London these days but my sister still lives down in Pompey and I visit quite regularly.

Tim Skelton (1966-71)

My only claims to any form of achievement at school were in my cricket endeavours, being captain of my year and (I think) the youngest boy to play for the First XI, and, thanks to the late, great, Mr. Williams my involvement with the school plays. It is thanks to Mr. Williams that I am now and have been for the past twenty-four years a struggling and monumentally unsuccessful actor after a stint of eight years in the R.A.F.

After wasting five years, academically speaking, I left the Southern in March '71 prior to taking my 'O' levels and went to work in Pompey Dockyard serving for five years in the Port Auxilliary Service as a seaman on tugs, fleet tenders, coastal freighters and the mooring and salvage section.

On leaving in 1976 I dossed around during the glorious summer of that year and the next and then in '78 I joined the R.A.F., again as a seaman, serving on the Air Sea Rescue launches of the R.A.F. Marine Branch.

One of the positives that came from my time at the Southern Grammar was a passion for the theatre; this was initially inspired by Mr. Williams in the school production of 'Coriolanus' and grew after he suggested I join the Portsmouth Youth Theatre. My main motivation for joining was, I confess, the ratio of girls to boys - about five to one - but, in time, under the influence of Len Russell and his wife Jean who ran the youth theatre, I came to love acting and the theatre in their own right and was consequently heavily involved in 'am-drams' until leaving the R.A.F. in 1986.

In the service however this hobby did not always sit too well. In Plymouth where I was stationed I belonged to several am-dram companies and this resulted in my being investigated by the S.I.B. branch of the service police for being gay; their reasoning being - "social contact with homosexuals means you must be one". It seems farcical now but it was quite scary at the time. Also, I was always trying to duck night duties or detachments away as they interfered with rehearsals and this was frowned upon.

So, on leaving the mob in '86 (I took redundancy after the branch closed as a result of defence cuts) it seemed the obvious thing to do, as a professional, what I loved most. I was lucky enough to get my equity card at the Plymouth Theatre Royal doing rep for a couple of years, then moved to London in 1988 and have been scratching around in the business, without any great success I must admit, ever since. However, my love of the theatre, set in motion by Mr Williams all those years ago, has never waned and there is still nothing I'd rather be doing.

I was a pupil at SGS from 1952 until December 1955 when my parents took me to Australia where I still live (Myrtleford, Victoria). If anyone of my vintage would like to contact me the Old Secundrians have my e-mail address  ( Ian - please see message on the Message Board requesting that you send me your contact details again as Harry Chandler and Ian Perkins would like to get in touch with you)

Ian Rawlings (joined 1952)
George Mortimer (1972-1979)

I was one of the last intake years into Portsmouth Southern Grammar School, as the merger which formed Great Salterns, took place about four years into my time at the school.

I have very fond memories of the school as it was when I joined, although sadly a number of the school institutions such as the Senators were lost when the Grammar School status went.

After I left at the end of the VI Form, I went on to read zoology at the University of London, and since then have spent the last 27 years working in financial services - to take full advantage of my understanding of animal behaviour! I worked for Schroders in Portsmouth for a number of years, but have spent the majority of my career in London at a number of different firms.  I was a Director at a big four accountancy firm until 2007 when I left to take up my current role as the C.O.O. of a new asset management business.

I took my professional exams via the Securities & Investment Institute (the successor to the old stock exchange exams) and now help the institute by sitting on one of its examination panels.

Peter Rendle 1959-1965.

Both my brothers, Steve and Alan were also at the school and my sister attended the Southern Grammar School for girls.

I have lived in Sydney, Australia for the past 34 years and still follow the mighty blues through an organization known as 'Pompey Down Under”. I was at Wembley last year to watch them lift the cup.

I represented the school at Athletics and made the Portsmouth School's athletic team, running in the 440 yards in Southampton. I also played football for the Intermediate 'C' first team and we won the Haynes Cup in around 1962. The team included Colin Arnold in goal, Stu Scoble, Vic Thorpe, Dave Buckley, Chris Vincent, Brian Hewson and Maurice Aylward. I have a team picture somewhere.

As a member of Collier House, I was privileged to run in the same relay team as Alan Pascoe. Alan played in goal for the school second eleven, never quite good enough to oust Colin Arnold the first team goalie. However he discovered his natural sprinting talent at the 'house' athletics meeting. I remember being the third leg of the relay for Collier House and when I received the baton we were trailing Stuart, Blake and Windsor (I think they were the house team names) [Ed: Walker, Parks and Jones] by a country mile. I handed over to Alan and within a few strides he had blitzed the field and led Collier House to a memorable victory. It was no surprise to me that he later became the GB athletics team captain.

These days I work for a magazine publisher in Sydney and I am and have been for the past 12 years , the advertising sales manager for three sailing magazines, Australian Yachting, Australian Sailing and Cruising Helmsman magazine. I occasionally write articles. I also sell the advertising for the web site

I have sailed for many years in this country following on from my introduction into sailing as a member of the 28th St Cuthbert's Sea Scouts, Copnor a troop led by the late Commander Walter Scott.

I have three daughters all of whom know my passion for Pompey and the place I was born and bred. One of my great friends, Graham Laker is actively involved in the Old Secundrians. We were both in 3G, 4G and 5G before my father insisted I leave school to 'get a job'. Great memories.

Colin Maddison (1960-68)

When I left School in 1967, there were several false starts in career terms. These included several years in domestic banking in London which I didn't really enjoy. I did eventually kick start my brain and managed to gain an HND in engineering and later followed a professional membership in Logistics.I eventually joined MOD in 1974 and have worked for them for 35 years, and still do. Much of my earlier MOD career was in RN logistics at various locations in UK, overseas and afloat but I did not work for MOD in Portsmouth until I got posted down here in 1994. Over the years I gained some HR experience and eventually changed completely over to Civilian HR, subsequently specialising in complex casework which is what keeps me busy now

I was fortunate enough to be granted the freedom of the City of Londonin 1987 (Ed I look forward to watching you drive sheep over London Bridge in the rush hour!) I live on the Isle of Wight with my wife, Sue, and our two pampered cats but commute across the Solent each day to an office in the Naval Base. (Ed: see also Colin's recollections on the "Pupil's page).


The following (edited) version was submitted by Harry's younger brother, Charles [known as Biff] , in 2006

Harry joined the school in 1940 as an evacuee at Brockenhurst and was in digs until 1943 when, by chance, our mother was able and willing to take over the running of a mini-hostel  in part of a large house called St Andrews, owned by the honourable Mrs Heinson. Mum looked after her own two sons and five other boys all the same age as Harry.They were Peter Bolt, Gordon (known as Gus) Blackman, Ken Heard, Tony Masson and Peter Upton. The first three are still living in or near Portsmouth but I have lost touch with Tony and Peter.

I was the baby of the family being three school years younger than the rest. In fact, because my mother took over the  running of the hostel I attended the local Cof E primary school in Brockenhurst  for a term before I was old enough to join the Southern Secondary School in September 1943.

When Harry left school he joined the firm of accountants Morris Crocker  who were then in Victoria Road and went on to become a Chartered Accountant himself. His career was interrupted by two years of National Service in the RAF which was mostly spent in the middle east.. In fact he was in Palestine in 1948 when the British Mandate ended and the new State of Israel proclaimed.

Harry worked for various companies including for a time in Ireland. But as well as his full time business he also helped his wife set up at first a dress shop and later on a newsagents and general store. He, of course, did the books and was also a dab hand at window dressing. He also had the less pleasant job of chasing bad debts.

Later on, when most of us are thinking of retirement, he worked from home as a consulatnt  which he continued to do until his death.

Harry was both a keen Portsmouth Football Club supporter and a long serving Rotarian.  One of his associates who has an involvement with the rebuilding of Fratton Park intends to arrange for one of the bricks to be inscribed "Harry Maber - Friends of PFC". A nice touch, I feel. Above all else, Harry was quintessentially a family man with a strong sense of humour and of fun. He will be sorely missed by his wife, three daughters, one son and their families.

Harry was a frequent attendee at the school dinner up until a few months before his death at his home in Cousdon, following a short illness, on December 20th 2005. 

Charles Maber 2006 

Derek Webb (1963-68)

Born in Kent, and brought up in Portsmouth, left SGS half way through A-levels, Derek spent many years working as a copywriter and Creative Director in a a variety of major advertising agencies, before becoming a freelance scriptwriter and director in 1996.

Since then he has produced a steady output of stage plays. His first play, Dog Eat Dog, was produced by the South London Theatre in 1998; his second Bringing Back the Bluestones was premiered in Pembrokeshire in 2002. He has also written three other full length stage plays, Mind Games , Ad Nauseam and Out on a Limb , as well as several one-act plays - a number of which have been performed in various venues including the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and the Grand Theatre, Swansea.

Derek has dramatised a large number of children’s books for audio, including The Minpins and Esio Trot by Roald Dahl; several Enid Blyton ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ stories; and 80 minute dramatisations of children’s classics.

Now lives in Pembrokeshire with his wife and son, having moved from Surrey in 2001 to get away from the M25. Living in the shadow of the Preseli Hills in Pembrokeshire he is writing plays, video scripts and children's books. His first 'Is' about a girl who thinks she is Isambard Kingdom Brunel (who was born in Portsea!) reincarnated, is due to be published by Parthian on April 9 2010 – Brunel's birthday. See or for more details. 

After a career in teaching, latterly as Deputy Head of Chichester High School for Girls, I took early retirement in 2010 and now live in Marlborough, Wiltshire. I have continued my interest in amateur drama and am involved with groups locally, both as director and actor. Those early experiences on the SGS stage in the 1960's, directed by my father (Macbeth, The Tempest, An Enemy of the People) have never quite left me!

Arthur Roy Wrapson (1932-1936)

Known at school as Roy. I attended Southern Secondary School between 1932 and 1936. My brother Tony also attended the school, from 1935 to January 1940.

On leaving school I began an apprenticeship in motor engineering at Wadhams in Clarendon Road, Southsea. In the pre-war years I also attended Portsmouth Municipal College on two half-days a week for engineering studies.

I joined the Territorial Army when I was 18; hence I was called up for war service on 1st September 1939. I spent the early part of the war in northern France and then much of the remainder of it in the Middle East, including a secondment to the British Military Government in Cyrenaica during 1943. Most of my war years were spent in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), where I ended up as a Staff Sergeant at 7 Base Workshops in Alexandria, Egypt.

I married in 1949 and immediately after a short honeymoon my wife and I took over the Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, newsagent and general store, which we later expanded to include a Post Office.

In 1953 my wife and I bought tickets for the sea journey to New Zealand and arrived here, via a stopover in Sydney, at the beginning of February 1954. We have lived in the Auckland area since that time, apart from a 10 year break from 1964-1974 when we returned to the UK. During those years both our daughters attended Portsmouth Southern Grammar School for Girls, which by then had taken over part of the land on which the boys Secondary School had been situated.

I have been retired since 1987, when my wife and I had a trip back to England and Europe for 3 months; in 1989 we had another trip for a similar period. Unfortunately my health has not allowed me to make any more return visits since then. However, we keep in touch with happenings in Pompey via relatives, friends and the internet.

Roy Wrapson
[Editor's note: Sadly, Roy passed away in 2012]

Richard Wall (1965 -1972)

I joined form 1K with Commander Watts as form master.

After 'O' Levels, I stayed on for 'A' Levels in Pure Maths, Applied Maths and Art, eventually leaving in 1972.

I recall a school visit to a naval computer in Gosport where, having seen a series of punch cards fed into the computer and come out of the other end full of holes, I was singularly unimpressed, as schoolboys are, and decided that there was no way I was ever going to work with computers.

Inevitably, almost my whole working life has been with computers in IT, as a developer, designer and project manager and, for many years, my current role as a business analyst.

I worked most of that time for Eastern Electricity in Ipswich although for over two years I commuted daily to Farringdon in London and for about two and a half years I commuted weekly to Bracknell in Berkshire. Last year I started with my present employer, the Baker Tilly Revas (part of the accountancy group), back in Ipswich.

I live in Kesgrave, a village that became a town with the arrival of the new millennium. Kesgrave is in Suffolk, between Ipswich and Woodbridge, on the A1214.

I am married with three children. My wife, Claire, was a veterinary nurse when we met and now works in the operating theatres at Ipswich Hospital.

My daughter achieved a first in Visual Studies at what is now the Norwich University College of the Arts where she also achieved her MA and now works as the Digital Video Workshop Manager.

My elder boy has a degree in Sociology with Drama and is doing a masters part-time whilst working as a teaching assistant. He is off to Leicester University for his PGCE later this year.

My younger boy is in the final year of a Film Studies degree, also at the Norwich University College of the Arts.

Incidentally, my daughter exhibited, alongside Old Secundrian Christopher Le Brun, at the Bergh Apton Sculpture Trail in 2009.

I also watch football. I have watched live football from park level to internationals since the early 1970's, when I was still at the SGS, and haveseen all or part of over 10,000 matches since. My first non-league match was Moneyfield Sports v Winchester City. My first park match was Havant & Leigh Park (now Havant & Waterlooville) v Hillside at Great Salterns in Havant's last ever match as a Sunday League side. My best match was when I watched Portsmouth win the FA Cup at Wembley, something I never expected in my lifetime.    Richard Wall 2010

David Palmer (joined 1949 and member of staff from 1961) Friends and former colleagues will be sorry to learn that David passed away in 2010. Please see the note about David by Irene, his widow, on the Former Staff page

Chris Wrein (1965-72)

I started off in the City Treasurer's Department at Portsmouth City Council having left Southern with 3 (not very impressive) 'A' Levels which qualified me to become a trainee accountant. Some of the work was quite interesting but I had great difficulties with the exams and so eventually moved on to the Housing Department in the Housing Applications Section. The idea of working where I could help people appealed to me.

What an eye opener that was! In my naivity I had always thought that, if you were looking for somewhere to live, you would approach your prospective landlord with a bit of courtesy. Swearing and threats (from the public - not my colleagues!) were the order of the day. I suppose you get used to it but I found it really surprising at the time.

Luckily, after a couple of years, I did have some success in my Institute of Housing exams and became a Housing Assistant at the Paulsgrove office which I quite enjoyed as it meant going out onto the estate and meeting people even if it was to chase rent arrears and sort out neighbour disputes. The people were the salt of the earth.

However, the money wasn't all that good and I and my then wife were looking for somewhere decent to live so I applied for and got a job as a Housing Management Officer in Eastbourne (1978). We were also provided with a flat which was great. Work-wise this was the happiest time of my life. I managed the same estate for seven years and was well known in the area for scooting round in my light blue mini car. "Oh Christ! - it's the bloody rent man again", they used to say to each other over the garden fence. It must have been an amusing sight as I am over 6'3 tall and, in those days, made Rodney Trotter look like Mr Universe!

Although Eastbourne was a comparatively sedate place, there were always loads of things going on around the Council estates, both funny and dodgy. Some of the Irish tenants were hilarious and I still laugh today at some of the things they did and said. They were real characters and always nice to me. I liked them very much. One old chap described to me the time he had a heart attack - not a nice subject but his description was brilliant. "Aah bejasus, me auld hairt was goin' loike de hammers o' hell!"

During this time I had divorced and then met my current wife and our first daughter was born in 1985. She had a terrible infection at birth which led to septicaemia and has resulted in severe hearing impairment. It was a difficult time but we got through it. Many people have it a lot worse than us but it teaches you to value your children and their health.

I'm still in touch with pals from Eastbourne who were so supportive during the difficult times and can never be thanked enough.

I think I was fairly popular with the tenants on the estate in Eastbourne but time came to move on, particularly as I now had a small family and needed a bit more money to get onto the property ladder. I got a job in Gosport in early 1986 as a Senior Housing Officer - my first job as a manager! Suddenly all the things that used to happen automatically, I had to ensure happened.

Well, I stayed in the Gosport Housing Department for about 16 years and then, following a impending redundancy situation, moved on to Democratic Services in the same organisation where I still am. The job basically involves sending out agendas of Council committee meetings and taking the minutes. In reality there is a hell of a lot more to it than that and, in fact, it's quite interesting with plenty of adrenalin rushes. I even got a promotion!

I also did a Saturday job as a postman in Portsmouth from 2001-2008 which was fun and provided a completely different working environment, a good bit of exercise and some welcome extra income. Our eldest daughter, Vicky, was soon to start at Sussex University to study French and Spanish so the extra money came in handy.

I suppose, all in all, I have been a bit of a disappointment career-wise for a chap who was in the K form and did his 'O' and 'A' Levels a year early. However, more importantly, I have three daughters who have all been to or are at university.

Our middle daughter, Mandy, is close to finishing her studies as an Operating Department Practitioner, spending most of her time at Southampton Hospital. The youngest, Charlotte, is studying Spanish at Portsmouth Uni. This means that we speak four languages in our family with me speaking French and German, the only subjects I was any good at and which I have pursued since leaving Southern.

My wife, Hazel, is from Northern Ireland and still uses a lot of expressions that I have never heard of. When she first visited me my flat in Eastbourne she asked me where the hot press was. I thought, "Great! She wants the ironing board and is going to do my shirts" but apparently the hot press is the airing cupboard and she was just being nosey.

I am immensely proud of all my children and glad also that my wife and I have been able to support them during their studies despite being financially not very well off.

I'm proud also to have been to such a great school as Southern Grammar - I only wish I had appreciated it at the time!

Chris Wrein 2010

Ron Sonnet (joined 1945)

I joined SGB in 1945,ie 65 years ago (my granddaughter goes to school in the same building!), joined the staff 42 years back to work with some of the men who had taught me, and Deputy Head 36 years ago - some of my former teachers were still there! I join you all in saluting them and thanking them for making my career possible and rewarding. We shall not see their like again. Ron Sonnet February 2010.
Ed: Sadly, Ron passed away in 2016. See Obituaries page.

Peter Lover C.Eng FRINA RCNC (1934-39)
Peter died in December 2005.
Peter was awarded the Whitworth Medal in 1943. He trained as a naval constructor at the Royal Naval College Greenwich and worked for some time at the Admiralty Experimental Works at Haslar. He was appointed to Bath in 1955 but returned to Haslar in 1965 where he became Chief Superintendent before retiring in 1981.
During Peter's career he was involved in the design of the Oberon Class submarines, HMS Fearless and research into the hydrodynamics of propellers.
Harry Maber (Joined 1940)

Peter Oxley (1965-1972)  

After leaving school I obtained a BSc in Zoology, an MSc in Nursing, a PGDE and various other professional mental health nursing qualifications. I have been a mental health nurse for almost 35 years. I ended my full-time career as a lecturer in mental health nursing at the University of Southampton and now do locum work as a mental health nurse to keep myself busy. I have been married to my lovely wife Celia for almost 32 years and have two wonderful adult children, Vicki and Mark. Teachers I remember well are Commander Watts, (a brilliant maths teacher), and Mr Williams an equally excellent English teacher. Mr Dunthorne got me my biology A level and Mr Watson my A level in physics despite the fact that I wrote mainly about Andrews Liver Salts and CO2 production when dissolved in water!! I remember Mr Watson making tea over a bunsen burner in a glass beaker and him looking over to the Langstone railway bridge for the Hayling Billy steam engine to see if it was on time - despite the fact that the line had closed 4 years earlier!! In 1970 I somehow got an O level in geography by writing about Yeti hunting in the Himalayas. Pupils I remember very well are Danny Milne, Noel Thorpe, John Joinsen, David Ainsworth, John Langham Brown, Paul Woods, Jaffa Jaffa. I should be delighted to hear from friends from my school daysand can be contacted via Peter Higgins or Alf Pink(see Contacts).

Jonathan Such (joined 1959 )
I am currently living in Johannesburg.
I am a very fit GrandMaster marathon runner and actually weigh slightly less than I did at school!!!!!!!!! At 63 years of age I am still doing the half marathon regularly in close to 90 minutes and am entered for this year's Great North Run. [Ed: Blimey - doesn't that make you green with envy?!! Fortunately, Jonathan doesn't have his Senator's blazer any more as he knows it would still fit him! How many of us could say that?].  (Posted in 2011)

Martin Laker (joined about 1950-1956)

We are sorry to report that Martin passed away after a short illness in July 2011. See the entry in the obituaries page

Update from Jonathan Such (March 2012) Jonathan is pleased to report his continuing progress as a competetive Grandmaster Runner (Over 60 yrs). Now that he has retired he can devote as much time to train as he likes and when he likes. Most days he runs about 10 km and cycles 15 kms. The cycle training means that he can work out extra kilojoules without stressing his joints and tendons that road running is so hard on.

He visited the UK last September 2011 to run in the Great North Run Half Marathon. This race attracted a huge field of 50 000 runners with
1000 over 60 year olds included. Jonathan finished in 5th place overall in his age group recording 1h 35 mins for the half marathon.

This year 2012 he has been competing seriously in South Africa and has been 1st in his age group on two occasions, 2nd on four occasions and 3rd once.The picture attached shows him receiving his gold medal for 1st place in the Dischem race in Johannesburg in January. Presenting the medal and a cash prize is the one and only Zola Budd. She is currently in South Africa training for the Comrades Marathon in June and is hoping to do well in the 45 year plus age group.

John Shaw (joined 1957)

Was retired until the recession came along! Now best described as semi-retired with interests in retail and property. Alas, my youthful good looks [Ed:??] have deteriorated beyond repair but at least I retain most of my teeth and hair! I have lived in the Meon Valley, Hampshire for the last 25 years and have a wife, three daughters two dogs and a cat. As a result of being involved with the Old Secundrians Association I am in touch with many school friends and would very much like to hear from anyone else who remembers me ( ).

I keep reasonably fit playing tennis of the social variety and keep busy with the usual social round plus my duties as Chair of Governors of a Southampton school. Thinking of taking up golf as the joints get ever more resistant to any sudden movement - all advice/tips welcome [Ed: The most frustrating game I have ever played - but just one really good shot in a round ensures you go back next time!].

Very keen to contact the following - all of whom joined the school in 1957 - David Carter (lived in Reginald Road); Max Grierson (Languard Road), Ron Hellyer (Milton Road).

John Shaw (November 2012) 

Roger Tollervey (joined 1956)
Having left school with a few O levels and little ambition I worked as a lab assistant in the Technical School leaving for somewhat better prospects in what was then called the Royal Navy Scientific Service at the Naval Aircraft Materials Laboratory Fleetlands. After some 10 years of work and day release education I spotted an advert for a job with the RAF in Cyprus and although not knowing much about the Island I figured it could not be worse than Gosport so applied. I then spent nearly 4 years as chemist in charge of the Fuels and lubricants laboratory in RAF Akrotiri with my first wife Marion. It was a great experience marred only slightly by the Military Coup and Turkish Invasion.
On return to the UK I was posted to Harefield (London Borough of Hillingdon) where my two children Jonathan and Rebecca were born. On closure of the laboratories I moved to the HQ of the MOD quality assurance laboratories in Woolwhich which was when I realised that there were worse places than Gosport. After 3 years I asked for a career interview with Personnel Management and came out with the offer of a new job - in Personnel Management. One of the main attractions of the job was that it was in Bath but the work was both interesting and challenging. The post was time limited and after 3 years I was required to seek a new post, I was advised that the MOD were short of explosives technologists ( I should have asked why) so I was sent to the Royal Military College of Science for 7 months to do a post grad diploma in explosive ordnance technology. From there I was posted to work in the Chief Inspector of Naval Ordnance organisation at Ensleigh north of Bath.
Initially the work was clearing any explosive ordnance from RN sites scheduled for disposal but there was increasing demand for broader site investigation looking for other contaminants on a Departmental level so it was back to school again, this time a part time MSc in contaminated land management. This resulted
in the most rewarding years of my career with the MOD, building and managing a team of specialists to undertake site investigations and clearance work. It didn't hurt my promotion prospects either and I retired from the MOD in 2008 at deputy director level. From then until now
(Dec 2012) I have worked part time for an environment consultancy in Bristol but my contract has now ended.
Having divorced in the mid 90s I married my second wife Barbara in 2002 and live in Midsomer Norton some 10 miles south of Bath. My son Jonathan works as a web developer and Rebecca is a patent lawyer. Barbara also has a son, Peter who is a producer for CBS news and a daughter Jane who is a barrister.
I am trying to overcome a compulsion to collect things (with a great deal of encouragement from my wife) and ebay has benefited from downsizing my collections of watches, cameras, pens etc which collectively Barbara calls junk. I also decided that I would like to play a musical instrument and took up the banjo at the age of 65, another first for me is the restoration of a classic 1972 MGB GT - not sure which one the neighbours prefer. (Dec. 2012)

Colin White (1949)

I attended SGS in 1952 but moved with the family to Wales and a different educational system. From there I joined the Navy and have only returned on about 3 occasions since. I lived in Newcome Rd Fratton and remember two pals, Michael Powell who lived in Rennie Rd and Trevor Cripps who lived in Byerley Rd. I have lived in Scotland since 1954. I should be pleased to hear from anyone who remembers me and can be contacted at or on 01383-724338   (Ed: contact details provided with Colin's permission).

Update from Jonathan Such (May 2017)

Recently I was admitted to a most exclusive club.

The 100 000 lifetime miles club (160 000 kms). This comprises a small group of lifetime athletes who have logged accurately every mile they have run in training and racing throughout their lives. To run 100 000 miles or as I prefer to record my own efforts 160 000 kms required me to average over 10 kms a day every day for 43 years.

I did not start running on a regular basis until I had left school, finished Varsity, married and was expecting my first daughter. This was in 1973. I soon realised that I had a natural talent for distance running and joined Tipton Harriers as I was working in the Black Country. On moving to Warwick I joined Leamington Cycling and Athletic where I became best friends with Cavin Woodward, a world champion ultra distance runner of that period. I started running marathons and ultras an activity which I stopped in 2000 though still maintaining my running at shorter half marathon distances.

Even today as I approach 70 I still can run a half marathon in under 2 hours and frequently win age group prizes.

My fastest ever marathon was 2h 30 minutes and my best half was 1h 12 minutes, times I can only dream about now. 

My total continues to rise and is currently 167 000 kms or four times round the world.


This page last modified on Sunday, May 28, 2017