28 April 2001

Pleased to find this site!

I was at Peter Symonds for a fairly short time (1968-71) for my O and A levels only, but I have very pleasant memories of (most of!) my time there. Names I remember from that time - Keith Kirby, Richard Trussler, Colin(?) Bath; Simon Barrow; Matt Corker to name but a few. Amongst the masters - Mr Ashurst (of course!) that person Cooksey; Mr Taverner; Pa Watts and loads more.

I'd moved to PSS from Rutlish School when my family moved from Surrey to Hampshire (we lived in Cheriton) and you lot seemed rather an intelligent bunch ! So I've always been very grateful to the school for making me pull my socks up and get some O and A levels and eventually a degree.

I'd love to hear from anyone who remembers me or the names I've mentioned.

Regards to all
Rob Compton


  1. hi Rob, welcome to you. Hope that you enjoy your stay. Please post photos if you have any. There is a photo of Mr Watts in the albums. regards, jim wishart, list manager,

  2. Hi Rob,   Good to hear from you.   You may remember that I used to go to Peter Symonds on the train from Alresford when you did (along with a few others, like Matt Corker).   I remember all the names you've mentioned, but haven't see any of them since I left, apart from Keith Kirby whom I met at the 1997 centenary at PS. John Ashurst was there, very easy to talk to, nothing like when we knew him before!   I still live in the area. I've been married to Jen for 20 years and we have three sons; our eldest is 18 in June and our twin boys are 16. All too bright for their own good (and ours if/when we have to put them through universities!).   I took a civil engineering degree at Loughborough Univ.and work locally in the water industry.   I joined Old Symondians a few years ago, but don't think many (any?)of our era are actively involved. Seems to be the older generations more involved, although new secretary is breathing much life into the set-up (eg by establishing the website).   Best wishes   Mike Hedges

  3. Hello Mike -

    Thanks for the message ! How about a brain teaser from those days ? Which master was it who had a stock expression ? "You lot are rotten to the core (corps - clue!)"!! I seem to remember hearing it rather a lot of times !

    As for me, I've been married to Lorna (ex County High - those were the days!) for 26 years and we have four children, Katharine who's at University in Wales, John who is imminently doing A levels at Abingdon School (by the way there was a PSS connection there - do you remember Michael Johnston (?) who took over music from Mr Hammond - seems he went on to Abingdon afterwards (and then left there in mysterious circs, about which I know not). My other children are Felicity (13) and Hugh (8). I've worked in local government for nearly all my career, and we moved to Oxfordshire in 1974, and Witney (west of Oxford, edge of the Cotswolds) about 20 years ago. I'm now Head of Information Systems and trying to find ways of working less !!

    Would be good to hear from you and any others (mention some names, I'll probably remember) from 1971 leavers - by the way I only rarely went on the train to school - normally 67 bus from Cheriton. Seems like yesterday !!

    With best wishes
    Rob Compton

  4. rotten to the core? only a wild guess but was it Harry Hawkins? Does nobody recognise the Bigg man, or was it too easy to bother with?   regards, jim wishart, list manager  

  5. Rob   I think I was two years below you, but my brother Rob Stuart who was PSS 1961 - 68 told me yesterday a typical Harry Hawkins quotation of:   " That's completing the square on the board, is there any fool can't see that?".   Not sure how that style of teaching would go down now    Regards     Dave

  6. Rob,   Yes, I think I remember now that you started with Vale of White Horse DC at Abingdon. Presumably now you are at West Oxford DC? I used to know that area quite well when I worked for Thames Water.    The house where you used to live at Cheriton must have come quite close to being flooded recently, with high groundwater this last winter. One of the bridges in old Cheriton collapsed after foundations were washed out and had to have a temporary replacement.   Don't know if you remember Paul Tickner who was in the year below us? He boarded at PS, but his parents lived at Cheriton Mill. He and his partner Jo now run the Flower Pots in Cheriton and have made a big success of it, brewing their own beer and winning awards for it etc.   I had forgotten you went to school by bus from Cheriton - not sure if they still have such things there now!   The 'rotten to the core' quote must have come from either Hetty Hammond or George Pierce - I think that (like me) you were in the RAF section, so I'd guess it was George Pierce.   I don't remember Michael Johnston, but Hammond taught German not Music (mind you he did sing German songs sometimes!). You probably remember Ken Redmore and Graham Rolfe - see my 64-71 memory test on the message board.   Best wishes   Mike Hedges

  7. Mike - congratulations ! (no prize though) it was Mr Pierce. I always knew him as Tom - though not to his face ! I remember his RAF uniform was rather well filled ....

    I remember the Flower Pots well - a haunt of my youth - would the "Jo" by any chance be the daughter of the landlord around those times ?

    You're spot on with West Oxfordshire DC ! I was slightly less accurate about Mr Hammond - I THINK I meant Mr Perkins, who I do remember in charge of the brass band.

    Are you in touch with any others from those times ? Or do you know what became of any other masters ? Did Mr Redmore teach Chemistry - Mr Rolfe I can't recall - what did he teach ?

    Sorry about all the questions !

    Best wishes

  8. Rob,   Thought it might have been Tom. He died back in 1993 I think. Ditto Perkins and Cooksey at about the same time.   Harold Perkins was indeed the 'music man'. Generous man - once described my 33% in an exam as 'fair' on my report!   I think Pa Watts is still alive - he must be at least 110! Once he taught history, now he is (living)history!   It is the same Jo at the Flower Pots - daughter of the landlady.   Redmore taught Chemistry and Rolfe taught Maths. I think Redmore went to teach somewhere in Buckinghamshire. Rolfe might still be at PS. I've seen him once or twice at Southampton  at The Dell, but not to speak to.   Chalky White (Maths) is still around - I met him at the Centenary Dinner in 97.   Griffin (Oink) died relatively young - I saw him as well a few times at The Dell. I remember how he made the pronunciation of the French name Raoul sound like an angry wildcat (try it!).   Richard Trussler is still around Winchester somewhere I think. His father taught at Perins in Alresford, where mine was the deputy head.   Mike    

  9. Mike (and Rob) I was sorry to hear that so many of our teachers had passed away, and it seems within a relatively short space of time. I'll try to dig out some of my old snaps (taken on Sports Day, and CCF field trips) and put them up on this site. But Mr Rolfe is definitely still at Peter Symonds - I read a recent interview with him in the "electronic" version of the Hampshire Chronicle. Rob, you joined the school at the same time as Lewis, and Parsons, and that crowd, didn't you? And weren't you a champion golf player? More later, but thanks to both of you for the updates!  


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