Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65 - to Dave Waight: "Sorry not to have seen you at the REUNION, Dave. I don't collect autographs of WHS legends, just handshakes, and would loved to have got yours. I GOT MARTIN OFFIAH's! And they could have done with you at the cricket! (they lost miserably ....)"
Dave Waight - Corners 65-72: "I was so disappointed not to be able to get there, but had an event twice postponed because of Covid that I couldn’t miss; would have loved to be able to thank you in person for all your efforts and time you must spend on this site which keeps the memories of the great place fresh in the mind and reminding me of how fortunate and privileged I was to have been there. Keep up the good work, Chris."
Chris Snuggs: "Thank you for these kind words, which I treasure. As for what I do, it is indeed a labour of love assisted by many other OBs over the years and allied to the modest skills I have picked up over a lifetime of teaching during which I was always interested in audio-visual communication of all kinds. When I started at WHS in September 1958, all we boys had were some very simple radios, often crystal-sets. What is available today is mind-blowing in comparison, and I do enjoy playing around with it.
"..... reminding me of how fortunate and privileged I was to have been there." "I completely share your sentiments, as do I am sure many other OBs. I wouldn't exactly say that I took everything at WHS for granted when I was there: one would have had to be pretty insensitive not to realize that one was in a rather special place and situation, but it is only in later years that I have come to better understand just how exceptional and extraordinary an experiment WHS really was. That leads me on to think once again of the three (for me, but others may differ) most important people in the creation and early life of the school: Irene Chaplin, John Smitherman and Leslie Johnstone.
The latter two we are familiar with (even if for younger boys only by name), but the contribution of Irene Chaplin was fundamental. Some people say: "I'm not interested in politics.", but I have always found this very silly because POLITICS DECIDES EVERYTHING, and she was at the heart of ILEA when the school was founded. I am just sorry now that when we saw her on Speech Days she was just "Chairwoman of the Governors", with her fantastic support for the school going mostly unknown and appreciated. Well, "It was what it was." of course! The school management was backed up by some remarkable teachers - and a considerable number of exceptionally-talented boys who got the school off to a flying start. And we all know the degree of excellence the school reached in many areas then and thereafter.
WHS was for me a life-changing and determining experience. I can honestly say that my whole life was mapped out there, both through my academic and sporting development and the personal experiences I had and friendships I made. And of course, it was our HOME for up to seven years during some of the most formative years of our lives. WHS marked me so deeply that each time I return it is as if in some way I am coming home. I have written elsewhere how moved I am to feel that IHS staff understand this special affection we OBs have for the place, Their reception and welcome of WHS OBs has always been astonishing, which for me proves their empathy with the way Old Boys (and no doubt their own pupils) feel about their alma mater.
Of course, the main house stands there as a centuries-old symbol of beauty and stability, but I was struck even more strongly at the 70th Anniversary REUNION on July 16th 2022 by the buildings that remain from our day. Halls & Johnstons are indeed gone - which is totally understandable as they made way for a magnificent swimming-pool and sports hall, the ONLY things that WHS really lacked for its entire life. But the assembly-hall and associated buildings AND the Hansons/Orwell House building are still there after 64 years. What a wonderful tribute to the original design! And that means that one can wander through them with those wonderful memories of schooldays hovering in our minds, especially the assembly-hall, that multi-purpose complex which saw not only lessons (and unforgettably those of Doc T) but also SO MANY great productions in theatre and music, plus Speech Days, 6th form dances, films and so on.
The Cat House recently came on the market for some £2,000,000 I believe. I was rather sad not to be able to afford it as I would not only have been able to go sailing and walk to the Butt & Oyster as often as I wanted but would have been able to wander up to the school on open days and feel myself thrown back 60 years in time. I would even have offered to be a pro bono handyman and gardener! All that fresh air and views of the Orwell! But it was not to be! Fate being what it is, I am convinced that I will win £20,000,000 two days before I peg out!
DAVE! We missed each other on this occasion, but there's always next time - though I say this touching lots of wood as we have reached an age (me at least!) when many of us are leaving the field of play - which as a euphemism for dying is one of the best I have heard (from Parperis I think!)
Take care, and thank you once again.