PLEASE NOTE NICK BEVAN'S MEMORIAL SERVICE WILL TAKE PLACE ON SATURDAY 22 MARCH 2014 AT 2PM IN THE SHIPLAKE PARISH CHURCH. THE SERVICE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY TEA AND CAKES IN THE GREAT HALL. ALL ARE WELCOME.
Welcome to the Old Viking Society Website
You are an Old Viking if you spent three years at the College or joined us for the Sixth Form. If you taught at Shiplake for two or more years you are an OV too. We are a very inclusive and welcoming alumni society. So what do Old Vikings do? We host reunions and sporting events at the College and beyond. Once a year we gather in London for a rip-roaring reunion, usually around November. Every January an OVS Magazine should drop onto your doormat, wherever you are in the world. We like to support OVs to get in touch with each other and to organise their own events and reunions. We look forward to seeing and if you have any ideas please get in touch with us.
Ben Fitzwilliams - OVS Chairman
Tributes to Nick Bevan
Nick Bevan, our former Headmaster, sadly died on Sunday 12th January 2014 after a battle with illness. To read Nick's obituary in full, please click here. Many Old Vikings were extremely fond of Nick, and have some fantastic memories. Old Vikings are encouraged to continue sending tributes to email@example.com.
Ben Fitzwilliams (OVS Chairman): My thoughts go out to Annabel and their children. Nick's influence on many Old Vikings was huge. I know his influence, guidance and happy personality will remain with many of our members, including myself, for many years.
Donald C.A. Watson (1962 E): I only met Nick Bevan the once during a quick visit to the UK. He was most interested in the fact that I had been the youngest boy of the first term and asked many questions about that time period. He asked one of the boys to walk me around the school which was a powerful trip down memory lane because I also visited the grave of a young girl who drowned in the waters of Col Philimore's Island during the first term. I also happened to mention that I had gone to school in Singapore before coming to Shiplake, he mentioned he had been in Malaya and now I have just found out he was fluent in Malay. As I was saying goodbye he asked me how I thought the school was doing from the days of the first term, I could only reply that I was stagged by the changes and progress, it was a great achievement and I could only see the school going from strength to strength as I am sure it has. To my mind every Headmaster of Shiplake is or has to be an outstanding person. But it would seem from the very poignant and sincere words of Mr Everett and my one meeting with Nick that he was was one step above.
Robin Parker (1966 E): Nick Bevan sounds like a remarkable fellow and a man I would liked to have known. Much of his obituary brought back very many happy memories of my time at Shiplake; firstly with Skipwith at the helm followed by John (Jack) Edgar. It would be very interesting to hear what Nick & Jack are talking about. I feel sure there are many Old Vikings thinking they have lost a lodestar as did I when Jack died. My condolences to the Bevan family.
Ian Cruickshank (1973 W): I'm not sure how long I've known Nick, but it must be over 25 years, firstly as a member of the Old Viking Society when Nick was Headmaster, then as Headmaster when my youngest son Oliver joined the sixth form and finally as a member of the National Schools Regatta committee where we both served together until Nick resigned last year. On all these occasions Nick was the perfect gentleman, whose advice and guidance was always well thought through and spot on. I will always remember Nick's reaction when he first met my wife Lucina, and I told him that she was an Old Viking having been at the college as a sixth former in 1973. He was lost for words for a few moments, as he always believed that he had introduced girls to the College. Lucina and I send our condolences to Annabel and family.
Paul Sprawson (1987 S): I remember Mr. Nick Bevan taking over from Peter Lapping, during my time at Shiplake. He was a great guy, who took Shiplake on to greater heights.
Jeremy Woodward (1989 W): I was deeply saddened to read of poor Nick Bevan passing away. Nick replaced Peter Lapping as headmaster midway through my time at Shiplake, and I have some very fond memories of him, especially while being coached on the river. My brother Rolf, who got to know Nick well during his time as a school prefect, was with me when I read the email announcing the sad news. We both expressed how much we'd like to attend the memorial service, to pay our respects to a man who played a very big part in our growing up.
Jonathan Riley (1991 O): My overriding memory of Nick Bevan would be one of unstinting fairness, even in sometimes trying circumstances. The incredible transformation of Shiplake during his tenure can not be underestimated, he took a school with very limited facilities in 1988 and set it on the path to becoming the institution we have today. In many ways he was ahead of his time and that enabled the college to move ahead of its peers. My condolences to all.
John Polansky (1993 W): How very, very sad to hear of Nick’s passing. He was a great Headmaster, educator, rowing coach and most importantly person. I personally have always felt a deep gratitude towards his support of my rowing pursuits and his written recommendation that got me into Brown University. He will be missed but never forgotten. My deepest condolences to Annabel, Oliver and Emily.
Alex Hambrook (1996 E): I was very sad to learn of Nick's passing. He was an extremely dedicated Headmaster. He always made time to listen, give advice and encouragement, he was an exceptional mentor, I'll be forever grateful. My heartfelt condolences to his family.
George Pickard (1997 W): Very sad to read the news that Nick Bevan has passed away. My thoughts are with his family. I joined Shiplake for sixth form and was warmly welcomed by Nick and all my fellow pupils. He certainly installed a non discriminative ethos within me. At Shiplake he encouraged us all to find our strengths in different arenas, and to treat all our contemporaries as equal resulting in incredible friendships and bonds that I had not experienced in any other school. A sad day.
Tim Page (1998 W): Nick really believed that participation in extracurricular activities was an important part of pupil development, a culture and ethos he engendered within the school. I can genuinely say that this philosophy shaped a type of character and personality that’s still apparent in my old Shiplake friends to this very day. I owe a lot to Nick Bevan and my thoughts and condolences go to his family.
Edward Tildesley (1999): I was Nick's one-time brother-in-law and served under him as chaplain in the college, briefly, in the late '90's. I have written to Annabel and the children to express my condolences. Good wishes to you all in this sad time of the college's story - when there will still be many people about who remember him personally, and for whom Nick is a wonderful focus for the college and its friends - past, present and future.
Sam Laurie (2000 O): Such sad news. Nick will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of being a student under his leadership and style. I will always have fond memories of his passionate dedication to rowing during my time as Captain of Boats at Shiplake. I'd like to leave this tribute and send my condolences to Annabel and Emily.
James Halsall (2001 S) via Facebook: A very sad time. Nick (Mr Bevan was a man who supported me and helped ot develop my competitive spirit, work ethic, and most of all my leadership. I know I am one of many he influenced. So put simply, thank you.
Tim Lowndes (2002 O): Very sad news. Just to add to the obituary, I know that Nick also served as an Army officer in the Light Infantry for a time between Oxford and teacher training. I think he served in Borneo in the sixties. Memories of a hazy conversation in the library many years ago!
Nick Allan (2003 E): It is with great sadness to hear of Mr Bevan’s death, I have very fond memories of my time at Shiplake, and if it weren’t for Mr Bevan, I would have been heading to Pangbourne College myself! My brother was also at Shiplake, and at the time my parents thought it would be best we went to different schools, however when Mr Bevan found out this information, he insisted on me having a look around the school. It wasn’t a case of persuasion, it was more of a case of making me feel comfortable and accepted into his school that me change my mind. I will always remember my time at Shiplake College for the good, and a lot of that is down to Mr Bevan. My thoughts and prayers are with the Bevan family.
Dr Felicity Avann (2003 W): I was deeply saddened to hear that Nick Bevan had passed away. He was a tremendous person and an enthusiastic head teacher. I really enjoyed my sixth form years at Shiplake College and I have much to be thankful for. Nick Bevan put his heart and soul in to making Shiplake a great school and it helped to shape me into the person I am today.
Tilden McKean (2004 O): I was very sad to hear of Nick’s passing. He was a fantastic man. I remember my first meeting with him for my Lower Sixth “interview” at the College. On sitting down, he opened with, “Tilden, I see we share a birthday”. Unsure of exactly what to say in my slightly nervous state, I replied with “Yes, Sir, I believe we share it with the King of Norway”.
“Haha, yes! Harald? I taught him to row at Oxford!”
I can’t recall the rest of the interview, but later in my Lower Sixth, Nick had the challenge of teaching me, too, to row. One hot Friday afternoon in June, down by Shiplake Lock, I thought I had seen my girlfriend at the time and a friend, on the bank. Looking over only for a second, a call from the coaches launch came booming back through a loudspeaker “McKEAN…young ladies only like men who win races, and you don’t win races by not keeping your eyes in the boat!” Needless to say, it wasn’t my girlfriend, but unfortunately, I did get their attention.
As I have said, he was a great man – kind, warm and always ready to listen. Prefect meetings genuinely became a highlight of the week – all of us often leaving in stitches of laughter – his vision for the College was clear, but always had an air of lightheartedness, and seriousness in equal measure. He also had a manner that always encouraged eccentricity and old style-manners, that I think we, as students, respected and looked up to – he was never happier than when he had received a thank you, or a note about the kindness or manners of one of the boys (or girls). My thoughts and prayers go out to Annabel and his family. In a funny coincidence, I live in Norway now, and the 21st of February (Nick’s birthday) will be a flag flying day up and down the country– I’ll be thinking of him on the 21st, as I always do.
Paul Aitchison (2004 O): Deeply saddened to have just heard of Nick Bevan passing. I have very fond memories of him, as do many hundreds of other men and women around the world who had the privilege to call him their headmaster. I always found him approachable, fair, good humoured and a true leader. The school motto: "Exemplum Docet" ever comes to mind.
Will Satch (2007 O) via Twitter: RIP Nick Bevan, kind collected true leader & watersmith, a man this world needs more of, and a man that gave me an opportunity of a lifetime.
Jason Presley (2008 S): Nick was such an inspirational, amazing and kind man. He had was a loving headmaster who ran the school with great passion; a great ambassador to the school and a great guy to speak and interact with. He was always working hard and walking around the college with big smile. He was loved by his family, friends, teachers and all the students of Shiplake College. I am grateful for everything he has done for the College and now may you rest in peace.
Rest in peace Nick Bevan, we shall miss you.
Sally Satch (parent): I remember when Will had finished his entrance interview with Nick prior to going to Shiplake College. Nick put his arm around Will's shoulders and said that Will hadn't much fancied the entrance exam and in his (Nick's) opinion this made him a bright lad indeed. Then he offered him a place. Will never looked back.
Melvin Stafford (parent): Jackie and I are very sad to hear of Nick Bevan's passing. He was a great influence for good in many ways for our son Tom (Welsh 1997-9) and he and Annabel, and the whole Shiplake community under his influence, were so gently but effectively supportive when we lost Tom. May he have peace.
Charly Lowndes (Staff 1997-2012): Nick Bevan's many strengths included a brilliant eye for appointing staff, or so I thought when he hired me. In the process of becoming redundant from the British Forces Broadcasting Service, I applied for the job of Head of ICT, with no teaching qualifications, and a couple of week's experience in a very odd Sixth Form College in West Kilburn. The advert included the traditional para about "ability to coach rowing or rugby to Olympic standards, and ideally caps at least at national level, would be an advantage". I have never been a sportsman, so read this with some anxiety. I included a sentence in my application about having started running half-marathons rather late in life, and my pride at coming in just ahead of a man in a wheelchair.
This make Nick laugh. I was telephoned on a Wednesday, interviewed the following Friday and offered the job on the Sunday. Some time later my sense of self-importance was deflated when I found, in the ICT filing cabinet, the three job applications. I had been chosen over two others: a gentleman seeking employment after his recent release from prison, and a young man whose Work Experience on the YTS scheme included changing printer cartridges.
I also discovered that Nick had worked with my Dad's boss, a prep school Head; and with my son's Headmaster at Marlborough. Through his time in the Light Infantry before starting to teach, he also knew some Army people who I had dealt with in BFBS. He had, quietly and efficiently, done his homework on me, and concluded I was the least awful option. He did give me a coaching job: I managed a group of remedial joggers, banned from proper games for a variety of physical and emotional reasons. We got on well.
Because of Nick, Lesley and I enjoyed fifteen fabulous years, ten of them in Burr. One of the unexpected fringe benefits was Tim's ability to recruit most of the 2002 1st VIII to move our furniture over a couple of summer days, for little more than some cases of beer. The Shiplake family in action.
I do hope to be able to sing a hymn or two for him at a memorial service.
Emma Arnold (Staff): I was so sad to hear of Nick's death and my heartfelt condolences are with his family. I was fortunate enough to meet Nick in 2005 when I was still teaching at St Edward's; we coached together on the Isis and I remember being struck by how patient he was as a coach and also how fondly he spoke of his time as headmaster at Shiplake College. Later that year when applying for a job at Shiplake I asked him if he would recommend the school. He told me that I would struggle to find a more welcoming and dedicated group of staff and how proud he had been of the broad ranging achievements of the pupils he had known during his time there. It was his love for and pride in the school that inspired me to pursue my application and to learn for myself how right he was about the school and community he had played such an important part in making a success. I am sure he will be remembered with love by so many people.
Catherine Saker (Staff): Nick - Was quite simply a fantastic Headmaster and beyond that a fantastic person.
I very much remember my interview with him, when he wanted me to set up the first Drama Department at Shiplake, we talked about many things and I thought this man really knows his theatrical stuff and then he rounded up the whole interview by saying "Lowri Cook rates you - so........"
As a staff member you got absolute support, he would come and see every night of a College performance - something I really valued. Also he wanted to know what you were doing and why and as I result I would talk to him about scripts we were working on and ideas we had for the future, he was interested and as a result interesting. On various Facebook sites - people have described him as an "old fashioned schoolmaster" - well hooray for that - if being old fashioned means that you care very deeply about your school, your students and the teachers, then Nick had that in boatloads and he also had another very valuable quality of kindness, of seeing the potential in even the most unlikely of characters, and of being forgiving, recognising that at times students and teachers got it wrong - and that this was in fact a very valuable part of the process.
I have been tremendously lucky in some 30 years of full-time and part-time teaching to work with three really great Headmaster's - and I am so glad (now) that I wrote to Nick in the Autumn and told him - he was "right up there" with John Lockyer from Gillotts School and Graham Phillips from The Henley College. The BIG THREE - Thank you Nick for giving me the opportunity, I loved it.
Ann Lazur (Staff): I had the enormous privilege of working very closely with Nick Bevan for six happy years and we became firm friends. As his PA and Registrar I had a lot to learn about the subtleties of life behind the scenes of a boarding school, and I could not have had a more wonderful teacher. I got to know a man of fairness, integrity, honesty and dedication beyond bounds. I saw the toughest pupils visibly shrink because he simply expressed his disappointment in them and I saw the most timid pupils blossom under his gentle praise. I never once heard him raise his voice to a pupil. After his retirement we remained friends and I will miss him terribly.
Brian MacDonald (Staff 1994-2000): I have Nick to thank for letting me teach at Shiplake for six very enjoyable years leading up to 2000. Mind you, given his own expertise, in my roles as Head of Geography and rowing coach I felt he was always looking over my shoulder! That I never minded, for he was ever-ready to give advice in the best possible way. He was a good listener as well as a great doer; and if he agreed with any projects he thought would better the school, he was then a great supporter. In my 35 years teaching I don’t think I ever came across a Head so dedicated to his role.
Andrew and Caroline Cheadle (Staff, left 2002): Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. We have fond memories of Nick and and times spent with him at Shiplake and it is where we started our teaching careers. Nick appointed us soon after we arrived in England from South Africa and it is with great sadness that we hear of his passing. He was an inspirational Headmaster who led by example with commitment and good humour.
Chris Ramsey (Headmaster at The King's School, Chester): What tragic news about Nick. I was a very (very!) young teacher at Shrewsbury when Nick was a Housemaster. He was super to me. Twenty odd years later Nick came to King’s to advise on our (then shaky) Boat Club. He wrote a report, helped recruit David Blackham, and was brilliant in every way. I taught his son briefly at Shrewsbury. He was a wonderful schoolmaster of the old school. We have few like him now. I would love to come to a memorial if I can.
Clive Dytor (Headmaster at The Oratory School): I met Nick many years ago when I was a Housemaster at Teddies’ and when I came in as Head of The Oratory in 2000, he greeted me with the same warmth as ever. Nick was a gentleman of the old school and he was universally liked at HMC. His analysis of our Boat Club was a wonder of insight, experience and passion. It was a privilege to know Nick and his death is a terrible shock. May he rest in Peace and rise in Glory.
Gary Wright (Headmaster at Adcote School): I was greatly saddened to learn that Nick has passed away. My sincere condolences to friends and family. I knew Nick as the Chairman of Governors at St Pirans School, where I was Deputy Head and Director of Studies. I found him to be an inspiration and he gave me great words of wisdom upon taking up my first Headship in Shropshire, which will always remain with me. I know that he always remembered his Shropshire roots, which were very dear to him. Although I never saw him in recent years, I still have fond memories of our conversations. He was a bright light in the educational world and will be sorely missed.
Travers Cosgrove Obituary
Former Headmaster Peter Lapping has written to draw attention to the obituary for Travers Cosgrove, which was published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday 16th January 2014. This will be of great interest to many Old Vikings, especially staff, as Travers was a great supporter of the College where his wife Betty taught for many years. Please click here to read the obituary.
To register a change of name, address or contact details, or to reconnect with the Society if you haven't heard from us for a while, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.