Mini Reunions

Reunion of some of class of 5M, 1968 – Brian Coleman, Ken Clark (deceased), Rob Shakespeare and Tony Fleet (now living on Vancouver Island) at the Fighting Cocks, Horton Kirby Circa 2009


What a pleasure it is to meet up again with old school friends, sometimes after not having seen them for 50 years or so? If you do arrange to see an old buddy who you knew at Cray Valley perhaps we can persuade you to arrange a quick snap which we can publish on the Blog and also add to the growing number of images in ‘How We Look Now’ section of the Image Archive.


A ‘mini-reunion’ – John Willis and Colin Cadle meet up in Sevenoaks

In a very rare trip back up to Kent, I met up with old school pal and lifelong friend John Willis and his wife Christina at Bill’s Restaurant in Sevenoaks on Thursday. Our three hours together seemed to go by in minutes but it was great to catch up and reminisce.

Please send your own mini-reunion photos to


If you would like to kindly make your contribution for 2018 please click HERE.



‘Mates Rates’ Holiday Offers


Since starting the blog almost 10 years ago several very kind ex-Cray Valley boys have kindly offered their holiday homes to other old boys at ‘mates rates’. Obviously, there are times of the year which are not so popular and there are no ‘fully paid-for’ bookings which means that apartments and villas can be made available at either a huge reduction in cost or in some cases all the owners are asking for is a nominal fee to cover services and cleaning for the period of your stay.



Some of these previous offers may now be out of date now and new venues have become available. So, if you do have a place which you can offer at a discount to our members perhaps you would kindly let us know and we can publish the details in a future blog post. Please email

Offers in the past have included beautiful villas in the Spanish hills, a house near to Disneyworld, a house in France and even private river cruises.

First offering

In response Max Peacock kindly sent this note:

(Nearly) Always a bed available for those passing through Christchurch (New Zealand). Building an apartment to rent but not available yet.








Class of ’59 South American Reunion

Return of the Famous Five – April 2018



The Class of 59 return for a further reunion, this time in South America, flying to Santiago Chile then taking a cruise ship up the west coast of South America calling at Arica Chile, Pisco Peru, Lima and Callao Peru, Manta Ecuador then through the Panama Canal to Grand Cayman and finally docking at Fort Lauderdale.

The photo was taken on the Celebrity Infinity Cruise Ship on 1 April 2018.From left to right Ian Hunt, Phil Proom, Alan Benn, Andy Daley and myself Ian Chalmers. Celebrating 59 years of friendship since meeting at CVTHS in September ’59. Also acknowledging that all will become 70 years old during the 2017/ 2018 period.


March 2009

The same crew in 2009

Class of ’59, fifty years reunion trip in March 2009 cruising the Amazon and Caribbean. Left to right, Phil “Harry Room” Proom, Alan “Al” Benn, Ian “Louis” Chalmers, Andy “Dales” Daley and Ian “Spanner” Hunt.

World Record

Just to show you we are still on the ball at the CVTHS Website Headquarters – this blog was posted less than 4 minutes from receiving the email from Ian Chalmers!






Richard John Sales (1962 – 1969)

Richard, enjoying the 60th Anniversary Reunion in 2014

Richard Sales

We have just been advised this afternoon of the passing of our friend Richard Sales

Richard John Sales (CVTHS 1962-69)

It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing this morning, Friday 30th March, of our very good friend of many years Richard Sales following an illness.

Graham Mitchell and Hugh Armstrong



Our Poets

Not as good a turnout as I would have hoped for but a few nice pieces nevertheless. In response to my request for your poems here are a few from Mark Head and Malcolm Davis with a little ‘top-up’ from myself to make up the numbers.


The Pike by Malcolm Davis


Malcolm Davis

“If you’d asked for sporting achievements I’d have nothing at all to offer.  I was a duffer but I did write poem while in the 1st year, age 11 (probably during a German lesson) and naturally it was about my preoccupation at that time – fishing. I sometimes still spell ‘decieved’ incorrectly”.


Mark Head


Well, I have a few Poems ‘what I have wrote’ from the past and near present. I had one published in The Rook in 1968 Entitled ‘Lone Survivor’.

You may remember the news tale of the day of the sinking of the fishing vessel ‘Ross Cleveland’ in Icelandic waters during a ferocious storm. Just one survived. It was a terrible story, worthy of any Icelandic Saga.


‘Lone Survivor’ by Mark Head


More recently, I have written poetry in times of trouble and of joyful times – here are four attached – the first was in the 90’s recession when I was working 60 hrs a week helping to keep the firm afloat. It was a horrible time. The first poem, written in 2000 and called ‘Drudgery’s Redress’  is very metaphysical – that’s me, I am afraid! I love the metaphysical poets of the 17th century, particularly Herbert and Herrick. The last line reflects on a spiritual theme, particularly.


Where should I find the course to drudgery’s redress?
Where lays its warm, clear current, that soothing stream?
If I came upon it would I know its softening gleam?
Would it pass me by, through my busied foolishness?
To lave some other, more discerning soul
Who keeps a vigil for his heartfelt dream?

What hope have I to find that my work’s addressed?
To dream without the nightmares of the toiling hour,
Remorselessly abundant in their nocturnal dower;
To awake from sleep without a tightening breast,
Released from those same dutiful cares
Taken all too heavily to my bower.

Yet within my hectic main do lay brief paradises there;
Unctuous moments hang from boughs too high for casual graze,
Too high for a wearied mind, too high for tired eyes to gaze;
Too sweet, too rich, too brief for a famished heart to bear;
A heart too dulled, without a respite from the turning wheel,
Too numbed and cynically inclined for glories to amaze.

Where is this enigmatic flow that warms the ultimate, distant land?
Where are the trade winds that drive this barque to the favoured shore?
Too often and too long the storms that heap up frantic rush afore,
Obscure the way ahead and sight of longed-for far-off strand;
How long, how much is yet to be endured of this unabating grind?
How deep and how sustaining are the rations left in store?

So where and how do I set my sextant against a lowering sky?
How do I set a course through troubled waters cold and deep?
What unhappy dealings shall I encounter, what fortunes shall I reap?
“Turn to the Chart, you foolish man”, I heard from an unrequested cry,
“Look to the Cartographer’s Marks and tell me what you see”;
Things that make my heart to laugh; more, things that make me weep.


The second, written in 2001 after my father’s death, is entitled ‘the Sweetest Cup’ and is overtly Christian in its character. I make no apology for that. It asks the question in each verse ‘is it relevant to me today or is it just a tale of the past’, and speaks of life and death.



Was it many forgotten centuries past
Or by brighter light of yesterday
That the Fruit of Heaven fell to earth
Clothed in humility resplendent?
Perhaps it was just a few short hours
Since that timeless celestial crimson
Upon the hard and bitter earth was spilt;
Or was it just by history attendant?

Was it just in Age’s wrinkles formed?
Or lately upon fresh moments laid
That a Greater Love than heart can tell
Was rent upon a beam impassioned?
Hangs it like a faded talisman
On the hearth of memory’s parlour?
Or an ever fresh, provoking ikon
Of merciful reproach importuned?

Was it far ago a broken reed was mended
And wounded feet impressed a gritty strand,
Or today an enigmatic voice is calling
To a faith that is broken in despair?
Was it then that festal bread was broken
To reveal a rapture once emboundened,
Or even yet that dark, embittered vision
Can be restored to sweet repair?

Shall it come in time’s untrodden march
That a clarion fanfare shall announce
The passing of our earthbound sleeping?
Or but a moment’s passing unveil the bower;
When at last that sallow, hushed cocoon
Shall loose its gossamer custodial wraith
With wings unfurled in metamorphic blaze
To reach th’ethernal nectar-burdened flower?

Come, my life, with fervour meld together,
In the cauldron of my heart’s outworking,
The deeds of far and near times wrought
By the One Eternal Mind endearing;
Truth of Ages in the cleansing fire
Will render down my meagre harvest
To make the wine of mercy’s vintage;
The sweetest cup of perpetual cheering.


The third and fourth are poems of Springtime. One written in 2002 whiles sat in Golden Park north of Leeds, contemplating the sunlight through early shoots. That is entitled ‘Evocation of Spring’. The last is called ‘Ode to a Daffodil’ and was written in 2011 whilst observing the spears of narcissi pushing their way through barren and frozen soil.

Evocation of Spring

Earth rich bequeathed and sweetly smelling,
The verdant eruption of ground-borne vigour;
An antiphon to lately awakened birdsong
Forms the substance of the promise of Summer.

Low rays of sun glinting through acid yellow,
Happy purple nodding gleefully in icy breezes,
Clear-barked frames adorned with last year’s fatness
Awaiting the vernal-chime of their leafy epiphany.

Glossy green medallions of winter-harboured wisdom
Overseeing the re-birth of mortality’s abundant wheel;
Melancholy russet is subsumed by nature’s bosom,
Easter’s mystery revealed in Winter’s bitter passing.



Colin Cadle



Not quite in the same class as the poems above but I wrote this in 1995 just before turning 50 in memory of my childhood days spent on holiday in Whitstable. My heaven was Jaques Arcade just off the seafront where I got my fascination for automata. One, in particular, was a gruesome tableau of a man being read the last rites before being hung. It was called ‘The Execution of Crippen’ but my Dad referred to it as ‘The Shaky Book’ because of the way the tiny priest raised and lowered his bible before the trap door opened and the little prisoner was executed.


A Child’s Execution

Do I wish I’d had a camera, back in fifty-three?
Do I wish I’d taken photographs, so now my friends could see?
Copper coins and ice cream cones and leaving brought on tears
The magic then of Jacque’s Arcade to a child of seven years.

“Please spare some pennies for me Dad
But you’ll have to lift me up”
And within the sound of crashing waves
I’d try the “Lucky Cup”

First penny in, a ball drops out, I spin it round and round
Will it win or will it lose, it makes a whooshing sound?
And then it misses “Lucky Cup”, “You’ve lost that one my son”.
A small face drops, Dad puts me down, and my first penny’s gone.

Another in, three wooden balls, I roll them up the track
I’m only small, not yet strong, they just keep rolling back.
Dad shows me how, and with one flick the ball shoots up the slope
There’s sixty on the scoreboard now, but my score? – not a hope.

One penny left, I reach tiptoe and suddenly it’s gone
Lights start to flash, a motor whirrs and father watches son.
An open door, a man is hanged, his final retribution
It’s stayed with me across the years, that fairground execution.

No, that camera wasn’t needed, way back in fifty three
And I didn’t need those photographs so others now could see
Where Jacque’s once stood, they still bowl balls, but of a different kind
The memory stays, I don’t need snaps, they’re safer in my mind.

But fun costs more than pennies now
There’s death and grown-up fears,
And magic’s now in Life’s Arcade
To this child of fifty years.

If you would like to kindly make your contribution for 2018 please click HERE.


David Vincent

David Vincent



It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of our father, David Vincent (known to some as David Sinclair). 

Chris, Steve, and Ross Vincent

This sad news was brought to our attention by Adrian Appley who his reply to David’s family wrote:


“I am sure I need not tell you how saddened I was to read that we have lost David. I will let the ex Cray Valley Tech. lads know.  He was quite a character and not only during his time at school.  As a fan of pirate radio in the 1960s I was delighted to know he was part of this wonderful era.  My condolences to you all”  Adrian.


I am afraid we have no further information at this time.



Cray Valley (Paper Mills) Football Club

An email appeal from Stephen Dodds

Stephen has sent us this email on the off-chance that one of our readers may be able to help with information.

“I am a committee member of Cray Valley (PM) Football Club. In 2019 we are 100 years old and we are going do some special events. I have looked at our history and our first games were against Hamilton House, but have no information about players, managers, the strip they played in, why they were formed and the location of home games etc.

Any help would be appreciated”.

Beckenham Technical School – 1950s

David Shepherd, now living in Australia kindly sent us this picture for the blog. Both headmaster John Kingsland and Deputy Head Reg Mayo came from the Beckenham school and some of our older boys may have an interest in this. You can contact David by email below.


Beckenham Technical School – Head Master Gilchrist & Prefects 1955/6

I thought that you might be interested in the attached. I am in the back row standing 4th from the left.
I have been trying, without any success, to connect with Beckenham Technical School Old Boys and thought perhaps some of your readers might have a connection with the school, and an interest group could be started.
The Building is now, of course, ‘Venue 28’ but the web does not give carry any references at all to the use of the building by the Beckenham Technical School.
This Wikipedia item states that the Beckenham and Penge ‘County’ School (my recollection is that it was called the Beckenham and Penge Grammar School) occupied the building at some stage. There is, however, no mention of its use by the Technical School.
David Shepherd (Email)

Response from Peter Hider


Hi David
I was a pupil at Cray Valley Tech from 1956 to 1961 and saw the post and photo that Colin Cadle put up for you on our old boys site regarding Beckenham Grammar School.
It is a very tenuous connection that I have to the photo of your class in that my brother Dave’s best man was Derek Wickens who is first on the left in the front row. He went on to become a brilliant computer programmer as is now living in happy retirement in Somerset. He attended my brother’s Golden Wedding Anniversary party last year and hasn’t really changed a lot since that photo was taken.
I’ve known him since he was about 17 and I was 12, when he had an enormous passion for old cars including an XK140. He took me down the Sidcup Bypass in it on one occasion and reached the terrifying speed of 140mph. (No restrictions then). It was made more exciting by not having a passenger seat, only a cushion. He was an accomplished pianist and I can vividly remember him playing the William Tell Overture at enormous speed. It could, of course, have been the only piece he played.
Many happy memories of our childhood. I’ve sent him the photo and your email address and he may or may not respond.
I’ve spent some time in NSW where my daughter lived for about seven years but now she’s back in the UK for good I doubt whether I’ll make it back to Oz again.
Good luck with your search
Best regards
Peter Hider

2018 Contributions – Gentle Reminder

It has been a full 6 weeks now since I last mentioned it but may I again gently remind you if you haven’t already done so, to kindly make your 2018 contribution towards the maintenance of our website and blog? I know from your private emails how much our work is appreciated and that is very satisfying to know, thank you. However, we still very much need your support throughout the year and you can give this simply by clicking HERE. Thank you all as always.