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#44 - 2001

At Shiplake, we are proud of all our former pupils and their achievements. They are as important to us as our current pupils, as everyone has helped shape Shiplake into the school it is today.

In 2001 two sets of Old Vikings embarked on fundraising challenges that made the College community proud.

Old Vikings Alistair Smee (92S) and Chris Marett (92O) rowed 3000 miles across the Atlantic from Tenerife to Barbados in aid of Cancer Research, and twins Ben Phillis (92O) and Tim Phillis (92O) ran across the Sahara to raise funds for the children's charities Sparks and Babes in Arms

The Phillis twins training for their ultra-marathon in Battersea Pak

Who remembers when the BBC's Food and Drink programme came to Shiplake to record a Thameside edition? Pupils, parents and teachers set up stalls, a bouncy castle, barbecue and a golf competition to create a traditional village fete and the exciting event was reported in The Court:

“Antony Worrall Thompson thought that this would make a wonderful location, this is his milieu and he could see the possibilities. The programme has moved on and out of the studio, we are taking it out to some interesting locations," said wine buff Oz Clarke. The day began with Nick Bevan, Suzie Ellis and Amanda Moser sampling a variety of white wines. 'l don't usually like Riesling," commented Suzie, "but there were some wonderful bottles from Australia. The only problem was that we had to keep on sipping over and over again so that they could get the shots right.

"The aim is to create the atmosphere of an English fete, even if that means dodging showers. At times our producer will drop everything just to get a landscape shot if there is a hint of sunshine," said Oz Clarke. Pupils, parents and teachers recreated a village fete and invited along children from Shiplake Primary School. Bric-a-brac stalls, a bouncy castle, throwing sponges at stocks, a golf competition, a BBQ, a plant stall and picnics on the lawn created the atmosphere The boathouse, ergometers and riverside location brought back memories of Oz Clarke's university days rowing at Pembroke College, Oxford. He hopes to accept the College's invitation to return for a row with one of the eights. Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson ran an ice-cream tasting session, comparing different brands of raspberry ripple. Once the verdict was announced boys were delighted to clear up the remaining samples."

Hans Wells-Furby’s Wish and Fulfilment was updated and re-released for the new millennium and as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, as reported in the Henley Standard.

Do you recognise any of these 2001 leavers? We’d love to put names to the faces. Please get in touch if you can help.

The Court reported of the outdoor performance of HMS Pinafore, seen in this photograph here, taken from our Digital Archive.

“All the trademarks of the summer outdoor extravaganza were there. Pupils seeped out of examination halls onto the emerging set. The maintenance team, headed up by Graham Blackwell, began hammering and constructing. The green room turned a shade of soggy brown as boys put their art skills to practical use. Scott Dunsdon, one of the production team, was busy directing a young male chorus. Any hour, any time and anywhere Marjorie White would be found with sheaves of notes, trying to establish routines and rosters. The arrival of soprano Sarah Helsby Hughes, a friend of Gary Howarth's, provided a wonderful week of tuition for the cast as they benefited from her professional expertise. With a voice as big as her personality, she prepared them to perform alongside her in her role as Josephine Corcoran, the Captain's daughter.

Equally there was a beneficial mix of youth and experience in the orchestra tent, with peripatetic music teachers David Golby, Gary Howarth and Paul Wisby putting in extensive evening overtime. It was yet another year under canvas for drummer Alex Macdonald in his farewell performance. On two evenings Tom Hall and Andrew Jones carried straight on from their earlier work on Utterly, Utterly. Credit must go to young trumpeters Stuart Laws, Martin Haymes and Chris Gardner. Will Downing and Johnny Boulton completed the pupil contingent. The staff was represented by Suzie Ellis on violin and trombonist David Wilson. When the orchestra struck up the familiar refrain of the overture the audience settled and quietened. A sail billowing in the evening breeze and the looming bows of HMS Pinafore had transformed Skipwith into a ship of Queen Victoria's Navy. James Larkin as Ralph Rackstraw may have only been given the rank of an able seaman but he was a highly talented soloist with a melodic voice. In contrast, the excellent Paddy Colman was misery personified as Dick Deadeye, a limping wreck of a sailor whose dragging left leg seemed as heavy a burden as the albatross round the neck of the Ancient Mariner Jane Edwards gave another wonderfully accomplished contralto performance as Little Buttercup, handling the pivotal revelation of social role reversal with great sensitivity. Nic Lowry's stage presence and impressive voice gave him the necessary status to take on the role of Captain Corcoran with growing confidence. Robert Prance's pleasure in playing Sir Joseph Porter was clearly evident, delighting in the irony of lines such as, "Stick close to your desks and never go to sea/And you all may be rulers of the Queen's navy". HMS Pinafore is both an aural and a visual delight. There was a touch of a thirties MGM musical spectacular as the crew of the Pinafore and Sir Joseph's sisters, cousins and aunts swirled up and down the staircase, all of them resplendent in their colourful costumes. Marines Finch Field-Hall and Richard Lightwing looked particularly splendid. There were some emerging stars in this performance. Paddy Colman will surely progress to larger roles and Ben Nicholas' hilarious conducting of the crew's vocal efforts was a comic highlight. It was encouraging that so many of the musicians will be present for future summer productions.”

Also in 2001:

- The U16 Cricket Squad embarked on a ten day tour in Barbados.

-‘Newly Elected MP for Henley’, Boris Johnson, was the guest speaker at speech day.

- As a real sign of the times in terms of technology, it was reported in the Summer Newsletter that ‘The website continues to receive a large number of hits’.