It's been both comforting and exhilarating, browsing through John A's old school photos and being sucked back into school life during the early 1980s. I vividly remember Jonathan Hughes inviting Justin Rose and I to join his "Light Brigade" and fiddling with fresnels and follow-spots in the gantry at Neville Hall during Dick Jones' stage productions and I still have an invaluable appreciation of lighting. That's the thing about Frensham, our education was about so much more than academics and sport. I was encouraged to indulge in all my flights of fancy which unbelievably somehow manifested themselves into real-life. To mention a few: learning to fly and becoming a pilot during my free time on Wednesday afternoons; competing in Karate tournaments and knocking-out much larger and older opponents; brewing (and drinking) ginger beer at Bracken Hill; manufacturing guitars from scratch in the workshop with Rince and forming a school band aptly named "Arnold and The Artichokes" with my brother Dyrck and a couple of mates. Watching in awe as Alan Pattinson played the drums like a pro and gave us permission to perform in the Ballroom; the first time any school rock band was allowed since he took over as Head. In short, Frensham provided a sense of invincibility, confidence and individuality to succeed at anything. Most of all Frensham provided a nurturing and supportive environment for many adolescents and kids who were going through traumatic times back home and the staff and students became a sort of extended surrogate family, which probably explains why those bonds and friendships remain so meaningful to this day.
What I didn't expect though, was to feel a sense of kindred spirit with the generations of students and staff whom I've never met. It's as if their experiences have been merged with mine and resonate so deeply that I recognise and identify with them as well. Sad to hear of the many friends that have passed away and hope to reconnect with those that still remember, (we're all getting on a bit).
Frensham's centenary celebration is not far off and it might be fun to organise a 40-year reunion on Founders' day in 2025.