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   Graham Townsend


Graham E. Townsend

House: Junior/Grigg
Year: 1963-1967

Head of Junior House - 1967.

Completed a degree in chemistry at Bristol and have been teaching in New Zealand ever since - with a number of return trips to East Africa, most recently in 2006.

Much of my time at PoW is now a bit of a blur. However I recall:
  • 1st form Latin with Mr D(for..?) Gillespie whose puns made us all groan; and French with Hugh Cowie who we were scared of, so we laughed at his jokes. I recall clearly being in his class when Gillespie's class next door erupted into loud groans at yet another of his excruciating puns. Cowie rushed next door and shot him with a starting pistol (to further eruptions of applause), came back in, blew the smoke off the gun and popped it back in the drawer.
  • Keith Harrington who ran a very relaxed art room, where he nurtured the talents of the likes of Mike Ghaui, Egidio Rotunno and Nick Hook, and to which I escaped when I should have been revising for A-levels.
  • The chubby Mr Parkinson, who, during the annual home rugby match against DoY, got so excited that he rushed from the stands to collect a mighty kick by one of our forwards into touch. About 800 people watched in awed silence as he neatly caught the ball, upon which his trousers fell down revealing a natty pair of red boxers. Again, thunderous applause.
  • Ferdie Keon - the gentlest of men, who turned into an animal when astride one of his enormous motorbikes. He had a map of Nairobi, on which he wrote down the speed he had managed to achieve on each main road.
  • Alan Potter, calling everything and everyone 'Pete', and doing headstands in the waste-paper bin, with all his pens falling out of his pocket.
  • Bertie Lockhart, who by imitating our feeble singing efforts in the Chapel mocked us all into excellence.
  • The guys from Rhodes (I think) whose tradition was to let off a bomb in a dustbin after lights out every Nov 5th.
  • Doing 'prep' by candle light during the rains when the electricity failed.
  • Mayhem in the Uganda train ......

    Looking back, the highlights of those years were the wonderful East African landscape, and the sheer individuality, eccentricity and adventurousness of people. The staff included a number of wonderful (and less wonderful) oddballs who would not find employment in today's politically correct world. Among the students too were some larger than life characters, especially the up-country lads. Every half-term weekend brought a crop of stories about 4WD safaris, hunting escapades and the like. Most of all, I developed a love of mountains during that time, which resulted in three trips to Mt Kenya during 1966-68 and which has since led me to climb in Britain and Europe, the Himalaya, and New Zealand. Despite decreasing fitness I'm still getting into the hills with my partner Christine.

    I'm not usually one for nostalgia, but we had the best of it ....... I don't think most of us worked very hard academically, but how many of today's teenagers grow up in such a free and magnificent environment?

    (Registered - 4th February 2007)

  • If anyone wishes to contact Graham, please e-mail webmaster@oldcambrians.com to obtain his contact details