News headlines – September 2019

14 Sep 2019    Eastbournian Society members explore Brunel's London
13 Sep 2019    Sam Shucksmith (Pennell 2004-09) wins National Enduro Mountain Bike Championships
11 Sep 2019    Tour of the First World War battlefields
7 Sep 2019    Eastbournian Society reception for parents of new pupils
6 Sep 2019    Wine tasting with Guy Boursot
4 Sep 2019    Memorial service for 'Dod' Wainwright to be held in October
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14 September 2019 - Eastbournian Society members explore Brunel's London

The annual London walk is always a popular event in the Eastbournian Society calendar and this year some 30 members joined us for a chance to explore the London of the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

The group met the guide from the London Walks Company at Embankment Station, before boarding a Thames riverboat for a trip along the river to Docklands.

An added bonus was that they had an excellent view of the Great River Race which happened to be taking place that morning, where teams of rowers compete in what is described as London's River Marathon.

After visiting the site where the SS Great Eastern was launched, the group travelled by train through the Thames Tunnel (now part of London's Overground rail network) and completed the walk at the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe, where they descended the sinking shaft, now known as the Grand Entrance Hall.

The day ended with some of the group having lunch at the historic Mayflower pub on the riverfront at Rotherhithe.

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13 September 2019 - Sam Shucksmith (Pennell 2004-09) wins National Enduro Mountain Bike Championships

Sam Shucksmith (Pennell 2004-09) has won the National Enduro Mountain Bike Championships, riding a bike that he designed.

Sam, who studied mechanical engineering at university, is a designer and team rider for Whyte Bikes.

A former World Cup and Elite Downhill racer, Sam made the switch to Enduro in 2013 after taking a year off the bike having knee surgery. He quickly worked up the ranks to become the 2015 British Champion, and runner up in 2016.

As part of Whyte's design team, Sam focuses on suspension mountain bikes, and there is no better test track than taking part in a race.

There is a further College connection as the managing director of Whyte Bikes is Old Eastbournian Guy Farrant (Blackwater 1975-78), who is also father of two current College pupils.

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11 September 2019 - Tour of the First World War battlefields

David Stewart writes: Thirty intrepid members of the Eastbournian Society (OEs, parents of former pupils and friends of the College) set off from the College at 8.00am on Sunday 8 September on a First World War battlefields tour.

Our first stop was at the small town of Poperinghe, back a little from the front line, and where the British Army in the Ypres sector 'refreshed' themselves when relieved from front line duties. A visit to the condemned cells and firing post was an early reminder of the terrible psychological toll the war had on soldiers as they struggled to cope with the privations of life in the trenches. A visit to the Langemark German Cemetery followed with our guide Nick Keyes giving accounts of the many battles fought in that sector. The visit to this extraordinary site culminated with our group standing in the very same place on which Hitler stood on his 'victorious' and vengeful visit to the cemetery back in early June 1940.

From our hotel in Ypres market square and opposite the Cloth Hall, Monday began with a visit to St George's Church where we saw the plaque in memory of the OEs killed in the Great War. Having driven down to the Somme we visited the site of the terrifying action involving companies form the Lancashire Fusiliers at Sunken Lane on 1 June 1916. This was followed by lunch at a front line dressing station and RAP (Ocean Villas) and a stop off at the huge Lochnagar Crater. Our time at the Somme ended with a visit to the massive Thiepval Memorial. The names of the 17 OEs (out of 73,000) whose names appear on the Memorial were read out and a wreath laid on behalf of the College. On return to Ypres we attended the nightly ceremony at the Menin Gate after which we were ready for a hearty dinner at a nearby restaurant.

On our final day, Tuesday, we visited the superb Passchendaele Museum and then did the battlefield walk from Railway Wood to Hooge. During the walk we visited the smallest Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery before finishing the tour in the afternoon at the largest CWGC cemetery at Tyne Cot, pictured. The beauty and calm of the immaculately cared-for graves were in vivid contrast with the mud-drowning horrors of that Third Battle of Ypres.

After a brief visit to Guy Boursot's wine shop in Ardres we arrived back safe and sound at the College. We had had a wonderful three days full of sobering thoughts on the sacrifices made a hundred years ago and better informed on the two great British battles fought on the Western Front.

Further photos of the trip are available in our members area. You must be registered and logged in to the website to view these.

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7 September 2019 - Eastbournian Society reception for parents of new pupils

The Eastbournian Society held its annual reception for parents of pupils new to the College on the morning of Saturday 7 September.

Parents gathered in the foyer of the Birley Centre for tea and coffee before a welcome from Headmaster Tom Lawson and a short presentation by David Stewart, Eastbournian Society Director.

David spoke about the many activities of the society, including social events, walks, talks and theatre trips, as well as the regular business and career networking events which are particularly useful for current pupils. At these events pupils can meet Old Eastbournians and others in particular professions and get an insight into the world of work.

The group of parents are pictured here with the headmaster and David Stewart after the presentation in the Jennifer Winn Auditorium.

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6 September 2019 - Wine tasting evening with Guy Boursot

On Friday 6 September the Eastbournian Society held its first social event of the Michaelmas term, a wine tasting evening hosted by Guy Boursot.

Guy runs a wine business in Ardres, just south of Calais, and has wide-ranging experience in wine retailing in both the UK and France. He is a wine writer, lecturer, consultant, wine merchant and vineyard tour operator.

The evening was entitled 'The Ups and Downs of Burgundy', and looked into the complex world of buying Burgundy wine as well as the various different regions of the appellation.

The tasting involved four whites and four reds and was much enjoyed by the society members who attended. They greatly appreciated Guy's knowledge and humour, as well as his enthusiasm about the world of French wine.

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4 September 2019 - Memorial service for 'Dod' Wainwright to be held in october

A memorial service for Thomas 'Dod' Wainwright, former headmaster of St Andrew's School, will take place in October.

Dod, who had been a pupil at both St Andrew's and Eastbourne College, died on 28 May. He was headmaster of St Andrew's from 1969 until 1984, before moving with his wife Annie to Cleveland, Ohio. More details about Dod's life are in the news story published on 1 June.

The service will take place at St Andrew's Chapel at 11.00am on Saturday 5 October. Annie Wainwright will be in attendance and Paul Spillane will say a few words.

If you are planning to attend please let Chris Laughton at St Andrew's know so that the school has an idea of numbers. Chris can be contacted on 01323 733203 or by email at

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