The Spring 2019 lunchtime meeting – March 1st 2019 - A chilling tale!
While Rev Graham Bell’s talk was wrought through with the blast of the icy Antarctic, his subject being Earnest Shackleton, there was a warm and convivial atmosphere at our Spring Lunchtime meeting. The unseasonal warm weather of the last week or so
had brought the daffodils into flower outside. Inside, 50 old boys and partners gathered in the upstairs room at Woodcroft. We were all treated to an entertaining presentation. Graham’s knowledge of his subject was second to none.
We tracked with Shackleton across frozen wastes, and with baited breath. “By Endurance We Conquer” was Shackleton’s family motto. Graham explained how completely appropriate that was. Stranded on the Antarctic ice flows of the Weddell Sea, Shackleton led his party of 22 men across ice, land and sea. Amazingly, at the end of his journey, he successfully crossed the uncharted mountains of South Georgia Island with two of his men, taking 36 hours to reach the whaling station that had been the start of their adventure almost 2 years before. After four attempts he succeeded in rescuing the remainder of his party who had camped on Elephant Island, while he and a smaller party had made the 800 mile crossing to South Georgia in a 22ft boat. Not a man was lost. John Douglas, who with Ian Addis, was a classmate of Graham, gave the vote of thanks. After Graham’s excellent talk a buffet lunch was enjoyed in the bubbling atmosphere of enthusiastic conversation.
The 100th Anniversary Dinner
of the Association was held Kettering Golf Club on Saturday 21st April 2018 The Old Cytringanians Association was formed in the Spring of 1918 at a reunion of Old Boys returning from the First World War.
The Centenary Dinner was attended by 100 Old Boys, Partners and Guests with the Honorary Life President, Mr J M Steane (the last Headmaster of the Grammar School) in the Chair.
Everyone present received a commemorative booklet with appropriate information and photographs covering the last 100 years of the Association.
The Guest Speaker for this auspicious occasion was Mr Jonathan Agnew, a popular commentator with BBC Test Match Special. He kept his audience entertained and amused with his anecdotes covering his career as a cricketer and as a broadcaster.
The amount of £280 was raised from the sale of raffle tickets and this will be donated to Cransley Hospice.
Lunchtime Meeting 9th March 2018
Ian Addis spoke about Old Boy H E Bates at our March lunch-time meeting
“The darling buds of May” have a few months still to develop until they appear on Northamptonshire hedgerows, but the first warmth of spring was evident in the convivial atmosphere of the Old Cyts lunchtime gathering at the Woodcroft Scout Centre in Kettering on March 9th.
Author, former teacher and committee member Ian Addis was our speaker and his subject was esteemed Old Boy, the novelist H E Bates. Ian brought a fellow-writers appreciation to his talk.
Drawing on his experiences growing up on the streets of Rushden and around the countryside and villages in the local area, his time at the Grammar School, and early career as a Wellingborough journalist, H E Bates captured in his work the authentic voice of our region.
Ian read from a selection of Bates’ work evoking memories of shoe-factories and iron-works, and the local dialect that characterised mid-Northamptonshire in the first half of the twentieth century. Bates’ epiphany as a writer was inspired by the arrival at Kettering Grammar School of the teacher Edmund Kirby in 1919. There was something about the war veteran, the son of a Northamptonshire farmer, with his face that Bates said looked as if it had been “mercilessly battered by the shovel of a drunken navvy”.
Ian related how Bates first tasted success as a short story writer. In the Second World War he became “Flying Officer X” attached to the fighter and bomber squadrons of the RAF to write about the air war. Ian related Bates’s poem “Give them their life” that captured something of that time. The 45 Old Boys and partners at the dinner were treated to Ian’s reading from one of the “Uncle Silas” stories in authentic local accent. Ian showed how Northamptonshire characters and locations found their places in Bates’s work.
Thanks go again to Ian for his well researched and affectionate tribute to one of the school’s best known old boys. After the talk a buffet lunch was enjoyed by all and the sound of friendly conversation lasted well into the early afternoon. Thank you to everyone who made this event possible. Details of our next lunch-time talk will be contained in our next newsletter.
Lunchtime Meeting 27th October 2017
Taken at Headlands bridge showing Kettering South signal box with a Leicester - St Pancras passenger train approaching - a scene that many of the Old Boys present last week will have witnessed in their youth.
The date of this shot is 29.5.1954.
The October lunch-time meeting - “When the railway came to Kettering”
On Friday October 27th the Association hosted its Autumn lunchtime meeting. The venue was the Woodcroft Scout Centre on London Road in Kettering.
We were delighted to have Old Boy Robin Cullup as our guest speaker. Robin’s talk, “When the railway came to Kettering”, was greatly enjoyed by over 50 Old Boys and their partners. Robin has an enthusiast’s knowledge of our local railway. His talk covered the history of the Midland Railway and included tales of the colourful characters who led the industry in the Victorian era. Maps of actual and proposed routings for railway lines across the midland region and towards London illustrated why Kettering came to be a railway town. Robin explained how the railway supported the coal, steel and other industries, as well as opening up travel to the communities in the Kettering area. He recounted the history of the station buildings, from their earliest incarnation, through the expansion of the steam age, to today, when the Victorian architecture of the remaining station is highly prized as part of the town’s heritage. Robin enthusiastically showed photographs of the many types of locomotive that ran through Kettering. The audience enjoyed seeing photographs of railway land-marks taken before much of the housing development of recent times. Robin’s talk was enjoyed by all. It was a pleasure to be entertained and educated in equal measure. An excellent buffet lunch followed in a convivial atmosphere. Thanks go to Robin and to all those who prepared such an excellent lunch and tidied afterward. News of the next lunch-time meeting will be in a future newsletter.
Don Breckon. Kettering Grammar School 1947-1954
Opening of the National College for Motorsport.
Silverstone Innovation Centre, Technology Park, Silverstone
2nd December 2016
On 2nd December Harry Pope and Stuart Welch attended the opening of the new Tresham National College for Motorsport at Silverstone. The Old Cytringanians sponsored the award for motor mechanics at the 2016 Tresham prize evening and so we were pleased to be invited to attend the opening of this new facility. Tresham have a long history in the teaching of motor mechanics. Indeed Old Cyts Committee member Harry Pope was, as an apprentice, awarded the College prize for motor mechanics several years running. That was in the days when a man with a red flag walked in front of every horseless carriage as a safety measure! Today motorsport is a huge industry that offers exciting and exacting careers across a range of disciplines. Not least of these is motor mechanics.
The Silverstone Centre is the latest motor mechanics facility to be opened by Tresham. Chris Aylett, CEO of the Motorsport Industry Association cut the ribbon, and the event was attended by about 100 people from the industry or associated with the College. Harry was able to cast an expert eye over the workshops. Motorsport sets high standards and the workshops were cleaner than an operating theatre. We were able to meet many of the learners, all of whom were enthusiastic and knowledgeable. It was encouraging to see investment at the cutting edge of this exciting industry. Harry said "The Old Cytringanians is pleased to support the Tresham College Awards evening and through that event, the learners who attend the college. I was very impressed with the new College for Motorsport and fully expect see its learners going on to play a major part in Motorsport in future years".
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