About the Eastbournian Society

The Eastbournian Society brings together our extended family of Old Eastbournians (Eastbourne College), Old Androvians (St Andrew's Prep), Old Aschamians (Ascham Prep), parents of both current and former pupils, current and former staff, and local people and businesses and other friends and supporters. Our aim is to maintain close links with any person or organisation who wishes to be associated with Eastbourne College and St Andrew's Prep.

Through a range of events, we keep in touch with and support our members, offering cultural, social, sporting, career and networking opportunities. We also look after those benefactors who so generously support our schools. 

Contact us

If you would like to contact the Eastbournian Society, please email es@eastbourne-college.co.uk or contact members of the team: 

Emma Garrett, Development Director

Emma’s role as development director comprises many areas including promoting the activities of the Eastbournian Society which involves both Eastbourne College and St Andrew’s Prep, and overseeing and nurturing relationships with the Charity’s benefactors. Emma is well qualified for this role as her relationship with the College has spanned a lifetime, starting as a toddler in Tenby Lodge nursery from where she moved to Ascham Pre-Prep; her blue beret was swapped for a red one when she moved on to Beresford House, now the home of the College’s Beresford Astro hockey pitches. Brought up in School House where her father, a member of the English Department, was housemaster, Emma then joined the sixth form at the College. She went on to study English and theatre studies at the University of Warwick, and then worked in television before starting a family. She took some time off from work but never really stopped in practice; if she wasn’t running the school PTA, she was putting on events for charity. She lived abroad for many years before settling in Bedford with her OE husband and five children. She describes her career as ‘squiggly’ but wouldn’t have had it any other way, and believes that her varied experiences as a mother, entrepreneur, business-owner, volunteer, charity-fundraiser and deputy lieutenant in the county of Bedfordshire have all been invaluable; pieces of the jigsaw that create the picture of who she is today. Her forward-thinking, tenacity and perseverance were crucial when she decided to renovate disused buildings in Bedford and convert them into thriving award-winning cafés and community hubs. She ran a social-media business alongside her park cafés, providing training and social-media management for charities, and small and medium-sized enterprises. She is a vice-patron for Autism Bedfordshire and an ambassador for the charity Schoolreaders. She is the founder of Bedford’s SoupFest and, until recently, sat on the Bedford Homeless Partnership Executive Committee. In her spare time – spare time?! – she likes to sing, play tennis and squash, run, and indulge her coffee addiction. She is a self-confessed foodie and her mission on arrival in Sussex is to visit every winery in the South East.

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John Thornley, Events

John was a chorister at Southwell Minster and, after grammar school, went on to the University of Sheffield where he read modern languages, and then spent a year at Goldsmiths University of London where he studied for a PGCE. In 1978, Headmaster Simon Langdale appointed him an MFL teacher, and he also became Wargrave resident house tutor, a post he retained until 1995. As well as teaching French, some OEs may remember his expeditions into the worlds of Spanish and even Latin. Involved in the musical life of the College, John sang bass in the Chapel Choir for 35 years, was répétiteur for school musicals and an occasional organist in Chapel, and played percussion almost in time in the school orchestra. In the town, as concert manager of the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra for the past 40-plus years, he has helped organise more than one hundred concerts including annual choral concerts in Chichester Cathedral, the Congress Theatre, and St Saviour’s Church, featuring the College Choral Society and many other singers. He spent 41 years (and half a term) teaching, and more years than he cares to remember trying to run junior league cricket and Circus, and producing the White Book and Blue Book. Among other responsibilities, he has been editor of the Eastbournian and also OEA secretary, a position which, in 2012, became part of the newly founded Eastbournian Society. Nowadays, along with a number of school administrative roles including overseeing the school calendar, he also works in the ES Office organising cultural events and helping to host the many other ES events, accompanied by his long-suffering colleagues and trusty camera. 

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David Blake, Database and Communications

David studied law at Leicester University but decided not to pursue a legal career. Instead he headed to the City of London in 1985 where he worked for a small firm writing business news for a dial-up database, a number of years before the World Wide Web was invented. That firm was later acquired by Reuters, the news agency, where David worked until 1997, when he took voluntary redundancy. He took a year out to study for an MA in electronic communications and publishing at the University of London, the most useful part of which was training in HTML (Hyper-Text Mark-up Language) which he still uses when updating the ES website today. He then joined Jane’s, the defence industry publisher, as a content editor, leaving there in 2005 when he moved to Eastbourne. Two short stints, at East Sussex County Council and then at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, were followed by his appointment, in 2006, as assistant to John Thornley (JT), then secretary of the OEA. David now manages the Eastbournian Society database, updates our web pages, processes registrations on the website and sends emails about future events. He is editor of the Old Eastbournian magazine and welcomes news items and photos for the ‘News of OEs’ section. Please contact David with changes of address or if you would like to contact a fellow OE. He has spent the last 15 years not only training JT in the finer points of Excel but also ensuring the smooth and calm running of, at times, a frantically busy office.

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Helen Medlycott, Alumni & Community Engagement Officer

Helen’s career path has been varied and interesting. Leaving Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College after A-levels, she immediately sought warmer climes in Italy where she taught English to children in a private home. From there, she spent the following five years alternating between the Glyndebourne Festival Opera and ski seasons in the French Alps, where she was a snowboarding model for Animal and Snow + Rock. Then, deciding to settle in the UK, she worked for several years as a PA within a private family, before moving to London to become personal assistant to Stella McCartney. Following a return to Sussex in 2007, she met and married Jonathan, and joined him in the landscaping business which they ran successfully together for almost a decade. During this time, she attended Plumpton College where she gained a diploma in professional garden design which then led to her planting up show-gardens for leading designers on Main Avenue at the Chelsea Flower Show. In 2016, she and Jonathan moved with their two children to the Tarn, south-west France, where they bought and renovated a farmhouse, Pech Long. Living with no electricity and only cold water for six months were among some of the challenges she relished most and provided ample material for her column in the quarterly francophile publication French Entrée. On returning to the UK in 2019, Jonathan, an OE, completed his training and became a teacher of mathematics at Eastbourne College which had been a home-from-home during his ex-pat childhood in the Middle East. Their children now attend St Andrew’s Prep and Eastbourne College. Helen’s role within the team at the Eastbournian Society is centred around building, maintaining and improving relations with our alumni on a local, regional and international scale. This is largely facilitated by creating an active, vibrant and strong network of OEs and OAs, led by volunteer ambassadors. Alongside Emma and the team, she seeks to develop relationships which span a lifetime. In her spare time, come rain or sunshine, Helen is usually found swimming in the sea in her favourite spot at Splash Point in Seaford. When she’s not trying to save the world from drowning in plastic, she can often be found tucked up in a comfy chair in a quiet corner, writing what she hopes will be her first book; a work of historical fiction set in Sussex during the Second World War. She’s yet to go to university, but it’s on the list of things to do…

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Paul Jordan, College Archivist

Paul gained a degree in the history of art in the modern period at Leicester Polytechnic before returning, in 1985, to the Isle of Wight where his family lived. His first job was working in interior design and, after six years, he decided to make a fresh start so he headed for the bright lights of Manchester where he worked as a psychiatric nurse. A few years later, there was another complete change of career when he moved to London and worked in a shop called Kitschen Sync which traded in ‘a glorious kitsch-a-rama of gnomes, snowstorms and Sputnik lights, and glitter mirrorballs’ which Paul describes as great fun. His next move was to become manager of Brighton History Centre, based in Brighton Museum, where he was able to help people with their family history, host school groups, assemble exhibitions and explore Brighton’s history. This was almost the perfect fit for his skills as he has always had a passion for local and social history. Paul is also an artist working in ink and watercolour, and his pictures of Eastbourne streets through time were recently on display at the local heritage centre. In 2014, he found the perfect job when he joined the College Archives Department as a volunteer and, in 2018, was appointed as College archivist. Paul describes the job as fascinating as he is able to help with enquiries from Old Eastbournians and others which open up interesting aspects of the College’s history. Not unlike the Belgian sleuth Poirot, he sometimes finds himself and his 'little grey cells' busy unravelling the identity of someone simply from a fuzzy and faded photograph and a set of initials.

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Eastbournian Society committee

The Eastbournian Society committee is made up of Old Eastbournians, parents and members of staff. Click here to see the current committee members.


Old Eastbournians, parents of former or current pupils, and former or current members of staff are automatically members of the society at no charge. If you do not fall into any of these categories but would like to join, attend our events and become involved in the life of the College, we ask for a one-off subscription of £25 for one or two people at the same address. Please contact us for details at es@eastbourne-college.co.uk or 01323 452262.

Members area

Old Eastbournians and other members of the society can register for the members area and set up a username and password which will give you access to additional pages of the website with members-only information. Please go to the Registration page to register. Once registered and logged in you can update the contact details we hold for you.

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