Welcome to 2015


Extract from 127th AGM Minutes, held 27th June 2015 ...

Future of AOSA

Linda Hewison informed the AGM that, in view of the financial situation and the falling number of Members, the Committee felt it was time to consider the future of the Association,  and will start this at their meeting on 26th September 2015.  It is obviously important that Members have a voice in the discussions. 

Fears were expressed that the end of the Magazine would mean the end of AOSA  The question was asked if the Magazine was to become web-based, could a paper version be sent to those without computers. 

Expense is a key issue, since annual subscriptions do not cover the costs of sending out the Magazine. 

Sue Fox pointed out the reduced numbers attending the AGM; meal numbers, too had decreased dramatically from 52 in 2010 to 34 in 2015 (and not all are Old Scholars - some are partners).  This is probably due to the cost of travel and accommodation, and the increasing age of Members.  It was difficult to find Old Scholars willing or able to play in Sunday’s cricket match.  Sue felt the Association was facing a choice: fade away gradually or set a cut-off date and finish with a big celebration.  In 2017 it will be 20 years since the School closed.  We should celebrate the fact that the Association had lasted so long. 

Linda Hewison emphasised that everyone loves the School and the Association.  Points raised will appear in the 2016 magazine and the views of Members are needed. 

Roy George suggested sending a newsletter to all 500 Members so they could make their views known.  However Sue Fox reminded Members that the “Dilemma” notice sent out in 2010 had produced few responses.  (Again, expense is an issue.) 

Liz Bownes (nee Banks) reiterated concerns regarding finance and accommodation; she felt the Association is not sustainable in its current form. 

Susan Riley thought that the Committee would need 2 or 3 suggestions as to how / if the Association should continue.

Diz Dexter took up this idea: following the AGM and any feedback, the Committee could decide on options which will go in next year’s Magazine to be voted on in next year’s AGM, and the final decision will appear in the 2017 Magazine.  Options should be put on the website too, with a request for feedback. 

Colin Brooking wondered if the costs of the Magazine could be separated from those of the Association, but this would be complicated as Life Members obviously do not contribute any further revenue (to annual costs) once they have joined. 

Graeme Kidd, as a non-Old Scholar Member, recognised the depth of feeling, but felt it was necessary to be practical. 

George Hetherington wondered if the Association could continue without the Magazine, but Louise pointed out that news / information might still need to be sent out, and not everyone was on email.  Time was obviously needed to digest the points raised and to give feedback.  John Smith reminded Members that the closure of the School meant that no new Old Scholars were joining to provide revenue.  Perhaps it was time for a dignified closure and celebration, and to continue “virtually”.

Comments and feedback are needed for the September meeting - please send yours to a committe member

News of the sudden death of our District Secretary, Barbara Weschenfelder reached us on 24th June 2015. She has not been ill, but passed away in her sleep.

Dianne Cook (Hugill) from Stokesley (56-61) died in Spain earlier this year.

'New' photos from the 80's

Charles Megginson passed away, news reached us on 2nd May 2015.

I am very sad to have to report to you the death of our last Bursar John Roberts.

As you know John did sterling service during his time as bursar and was instrumental in a number of initiatives to try to improve the viability of the School alongside our Head Alice Meager. Once the closure became inevitable he was a tower of strength to all involved and it was through his services that the closure, sale, auction sale, and final handover to the buyer went so smoothly and the maximum possible return for our assets was achieved.

  • New 70's cricket video from Bill Jones
  • Minutes of the 126th Annual General Meeting
  • 2014 reunion was on 28th/29th June.
  • The constitution has been published on the website.
  • The last reunion was held on Saturday 29th June 2013. Read the AGM minutes here
  • Updated executive committe 2013 - 2014
  • Nostalgia has another new collection of photos from the 60s and 70s
  • New nostalgia; photos from early sixties and seventies.
  • Request for cine film/video.
  • Requests for information for Peter Gilmore and William Crake
  • Golden Wedding Celebrations of Tony Browne (1947-53) and his wife Beryl. 
  • Deaths:

    Peter Whittle died 30th October 2014. He was the school's English and Drama teacher from 1960 to 1979.

    Jean Waters (nee George:  1937-44), on 26 October 2014.  Jean, who lived at Middleton Hall, Middleton St. George, had been in failing health for a number of years and latterly confined to her bed.

    Heather Adams (nee Davies) died May 27th 2013,aged 89yrs

    Wendy Heald died on Saturday 9th August. Her funeral was on 18th August at Christ Church in Ayton. She had pancreatic cancer and has been poorly for about 9 months. 

    Clifford Weschenfelder died May 15th 2014, and the funeral was held at St Mary's Church Nunthorpe on May 27th.

    Sheila Wrightson passed away on 9th May 2013 after suffering the after effects of a severe stroke in 2009. She is survived by her husband Bill.

    Paul Ellington died 7th February.
    Mary Kidd writes; I remember Paul from my first term at Ayton , I was "on table " with him in the dining room . Robert Stansfield was the "Table Ender" . From recollection there were five others on the same table but I do not recollect who they were !   I think Paul would be two years above me  so after that first term I did not come across him very much other than to know him vaguely . He was in contact with me some years ago in my position as District Secretary for Scotland and I do recall he suggested that perhaps the Scottish Old Scholars might get together for a round of golf . The suggestion never got any further as the few of us in Scotland are spread over a sizeable area and I am  a non - golfer !

    Christine Kirk died on the 14th August 2013, aged 89, just 2 weeks off her 90th birthday. She lived in Finghall near Leyburn. The sad news came from her nephew Jeremy Kirk-Alton, son of Isabella Alton (nee Kirk) who died in 2001. Both sisters attended Ayton School.They were cousins of Michael Bell of Swainby.

    Alan Goodfellow (1952 - 57) died 9th December 2013, Alan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He wished Spiggs bell to remain on display with the other school artefacts. He moved to Pickering with his eldest son and family to run a farm and a bed and breakfast in 2006.

    Dorothy Newby (Danby 1934-1939) Died May 2013

    George (Bill) Alderson, also known as "Podge" - our 1st Eleven goalkeeper - from Co. Durham.
    Bill's sister-in-law, Margaret Alderson, (nee Lund), and married to Clifford Alderson has also died recently.

    Derek Barnes (Lancashire, Wigan) died on Tuesday 16th July

    Edna Bond (nee Clayton) June 2013, it's understood that her father was groundsman at the school and they lived in the cottage on the left as you went up the Coach Road towards school.

    Michael Bell (1938 – 43) died on Saturday 29th June 2013

    Mary Banks Died 26/02/2013
    The funeral was on Monday 13th March, St Bedes Crematorium Acklam Road, Middlesborough.

    1930's  Eric Rodham president of AOSA in 1987
                Died 16/01/2013 aged 89

  • Linda Knott and David French made a joint unveiling of the commemorative plaque at 3.30.p.m, on Saturday 23rd June
  • Chairman's Statement
    This is the full statement which was
    published in abridged form in this year's magazine.
  • New Ayton School Video mp4 format
  • Family tragedy for Matthew Badger who was at Ayton in the late 70s.
    An online book of condolences is available.
  • Louise Sensical has had her baby, a little girl to be called Charlotte Claire, weighing in at 8lb 9oz.
  • The 2011 Magazine has been published
  • Minutes of the 123rd Annual General Meeting
  • External website found: Peter Rushforth - a Yorkshire novelist and teacher
  • I regret to inform you that Bill Kearsley (early 1950s) passed away last week (posted 7th July 11).
  • New page on drama and music. Wherever possible programmes from past performances are included. Many stars were born!
  • Forum, guestbook and mailing list have all been fixed (they were broken when the site was moved to the new address).
  • The Ayton School - Magna est Veritas video is now available online.


Summer Reunions

The 2011 reunion took place over the weekend of 25th/26th June. If anyone would like to send details on how this went, photos etc for the website please send them to webmaster.aytonoldscholars@gmail.com

See what happened at the 2010 Summer Reunion

View photo and text reports on Reunions back to 2000

Website update

For some time Dick had been planning to move the AOSA website to a new domain registered specially for it and as part of that move we had planned to update the look of the site to make it easier to navigate and to bring the code up to modern standards. As his friend and business partner I have taken over the task of completing this as I know it was something dear to Dick's heart and so the pages have now been moved and the process of modernising them is well under way. There are no changes to the original content, it is just being wrapped in a better navigation system.

A system to automatically redirect visitors from the old pages to the new ones has been installed but you should update your bookmarks to reflect the new URL: www.aytonoldscholars.org

There are over 1100 pages on this site so you will find some that still have the original look - these will be updated as quickly as I can work through them but please be patient as it will obviously take some time to complete. The forum and other interactive pages should work as before but if you do find any pages that are clearly broken (not just in the old format), or email links that still go to Dick, please let me know.

Richard John Dennis

Richard John DennisWe are very sorry to announce the death of our webmaster Dick Dennis, on 12th February 2010, in his beloved Hospice on the Isle of Man. Dick had been in poor health for some years and in 2009 had surgery for cancer of the oesophagus from which he never fully recovered.

The website is now being looked after by Dan Smith - let me know if you would like to add to or change something on the website.

There's a tribute to RJD by Gill Jackson here...


The AOSA 2010 Magazine - is online, along with all Mags since the website first went online. Follow this link for Mags Contents page

School Orchestra

Were you a member of the School Orchestra in 1953? There is now a larger photo of the orchestra in full swing on a separate page. When you place your mouse pointer over the head of any one of the Orchestra, a box with a number will appear. If you know any of the names left blank the name can be added. Just e-mail giving the number and name(s) - (christian and family names please). These will be added to the popup box.

Jubilee History

Ayton School 1842The original Jubilee History of Ayton - 1841 to 1891 - written by George and Ralph Dixon, is now online.

Thirteen chapters describing the formation and running of Great Ayton School, as it was then known, in detail to delight any historian but also of great interest for Ayton old scholars curious about the early days of their School, and all the better for being written by the two men, father and son, who ran the School for all the years covered in this book.

A list of boys educated at the North of England Agricultural School is now online. The list of girls will follow soon.

A fascinating insight into education and the life of Ayton School in the 19th Century.



Annual Report matters are dealt with by Linda Hewison. Editor at:editriceaosa@gmail.com
For subscriptions and matters for the Treasurer's attention:treasurer@aytonoldscholars.org
and matters relating to AOSA members' records:records@aytonoldscholars.org