Old Boys’ General News

School Council gives support to Sefton Sea Cadets

The Boys’ School was pleased to welcome back Old Boy Philip Cave on behalf of Seaforth Sea Cadets Corps to accept a donation from the School Council of £1,100.

A 2010 leaver, Philip is currently a senior 2nd officer and navigator for Princess Cruises, having gained sponsorship from the company for his officer training upon completing his A-Levels. He gives generously of his time to the Sea Cadets, often using up to a third of his leave to take disadvantaged boys on week-long tours along the coast, which this donation will help to fund. Many of the boys involved come from deprived areas, and have often never left Liverpool before, nor do they have access to the types of facility which would provide them with the skills and opportunities these tours do. In several cases, the skills and experiences provided by these tours has later formed the basis of the boys’ curriculum vitae, and led to them finding their first paid employment, either with the Merchant Navy or in other fields.

Following the donation, Philip sent this message, explaining the importance of the work of the Sea Cadets Corps in the local community:

During my time with Merchant Taylors’, one of the many opportunities I capitalised on was working with the Voluntary Service Unit (VSU). It gave students the chance to get out of their comfort zone, gain some life experience and make a difference in the community. The various placements I carried out were incredibly rewarding and one in particular was and still is life changing.

As I wanted to work at sea as a Navigator, taking up a voluntary position as an instructor with the Sea Cadet Corps in Litherland seemed like an ideal placement. Seven years later I am serving at sea and still volunteering with the Sea Cadets during my leave, and I have no plans to stop. The Corps supports young people around the country, often in deprived areas. The Sea Cadet Corps in Litherland is a prime example of this, many of the young cadets come from the poorest areas of Liverpool and struggle even to pay their weekly subs, let alone take advantage of the various courses the Corps offers on a National Level. Two years ago, Mrs Claire Byrne offered to sponsor the Sea Cadets in the school’s local charity initiative and the money raised, far in excess of what I expected, made an unimaginable difference to the Cadets at the unit. We were able to send many boys on a week’s trip to sea, and considering more than half of them had never actually left the North West this was a life changing experience for them.

Yet again this year, MTS has come together and raised a huge amount for the unit, again providing experiences that many of them can only dream of; from the bottom of my heart I cannot thank the boys and staff enough for their generosity.

I would encourage anyone at MTS to take advantage of the VSU. In addition to volunteering at the local unit, I spend time on the Corps training ships sailing with my Merchant Navy qualifications, and am just stepping up to be a relief Captain. This is an opportunity I would never have had without the VSU. It is, in my opinion, one of the most worthwhile extra-curricular activities the school offers.

Merchant Taylors’ offers pupils “the best education for life”. Through the school’s generosity, this has been extended to the teenagers of Litherland as “the best chance in life”. Thank you again.

For further details on the School Council’s fundraising, please contact Claire Byrne. For more information on the Sea Cadets Sefton, please visit: http://www.sea-cadets.org/sefton/home.aspx

Merchants’ U15 through to National Final!

Merchants’ Under 15 cricket team continued their spectacular run in the English Schools national cricket competition with a thrilling victory against Stamford School from Lincolnshire on Wednesday. This semi-final win now puts the boys in the top two teams in England and ready to contest the final on 10th July at Oakham.

Having won the toss Merchants’ bravely elected to bat and try to post a challenging total. Openers Jackson Darkes Sutcliffe and Robert Rankin made a solid start to the innings with a partnership of 55 for the first wicket before Jackson was caught for 19. After another quick wicket George Politis and Robert Rankin rebuilt the innings and set a good platform for a high total, but when they both got out for 33 and 69 respectively another couple of wickets left Merchants with an uphill battle to get a good score. At this stage some excellent batting from Oliver Meadows, Scott Thomson and Josh Carberry in the last five overs enabled the boys to reach 180. This was about 20 short of what we had hoped to achieve, but much better than had seemed probable at one stage.

The opening bowlers, Alex Barker and Robert Rankin kept it tight early on and Alex bowled one of the openers which brought Joey Evison to the wicket, Stamford’s best player. He batted very assuredly, accumulating 36 while the other Stamford players, despite the loss of another wicket or two, helped him take the total to 120 for 3 with 11 overs left. Getting Evison out was absolutely vital and Josh Carberry sent the supporting crowd, as well as his own team mates, wild with excitement when he had Evison caught at mid wicket. His dismissal seemed to spread panic among the remaining Stamford batsmen as they played a series of poor shots to the excellent leg-spin bowling of Harvey Rankin. He took 6 wickets, including a hat-trick, and Merchants bowled their opponents out for 147. mention should e made of the outstanding fielding in this game. Every catch was taken, some of them very difficult, and the boys played as a unit very well indeed.

The match was a fantastic advert for Merchant Taylors’ cricket, indeed for cricket itself. The Stamford boys played very well until the last half hour and put Merchants under more pressure than any other school has done before. Although obviously disappointed their boys and coaches were gracious in defeat and wished us well for the final.


Old Boy awarded OBE

We are proud to announce that Old Boy Richard Greenwood has been awarded the OBE for his services to national and international rugby. Speaking to the School about the award, Richard had this to say:

It is a source of great joy, pride and fulfilment that I have been recognised by this award.

Rugby has been my lifelong passion. It is a great team game, so I am above all a team player, and my debt is to all my team-mates who have supported me through the years. I dedicate this award to all of them, who have made it possible for me.

Merchant Taylors’ School, Crosby; Cambridge University, who helped launch my international career; my England team-mates in the late 1960s; most of all, my Lancashire pals from 1961 to 1971, who gave me such a wonderful platform; my colleagues at the Wooden Spoon, the children’s charity of rugby; and now the great team I am working with at Rhyl Rugby.

The best team of all is my family – the Greenwoods, the Maziaks, the Stewarts and the Bradford-Nutters – all of whom have given me wonderful support, encouragement, and occasionally a well-merited kick up the backside.

“Primus inter pares” is my daughter Emma, who took the initiative in putting me forward for this award. I offer a huge thank you to all those who have contributed to Emma’s application – an overwhelming tide of support, indeed.

Then there are the rugby clubs I have played for – Waterloo, Rome, Blackburn and Preston Grasshoppers – great places for a rugby bloke to have plied his trade, and now Rhyl, to put the icing on my rugby cake.

My warmest thanks and appreciation to all concerned.

Richard Greenwood

Mr Greenwood is currently chairman for Rhyl RFC, and represented England both as a player and coach. His son Will also represented his country as a player, and posted the following message to social media:

Congratulations Richard!

Merchant Taylors’ 1st XI wins annual fixture against MCC

Merchant Taylors’ 1st XI won its annual fixture against MCC by 7 wickets. The School’s bowlers worked very hard in the morning session to restrict MCC to 110 for 3 at lunch. With the temperature pushing 30 degrees this was a fine effort. After lunch MCC improved their scoring rate but the School bowlers stuck to their task very well. Isaac Lea with 2 for 50 and Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe with 2 for 53 were the wicket takers. MCC declared on 221 for 4 – a challenging but simultaneously inviting target.

Openers Ehren Agarwal and Kunal Mahambrey put on a splendid partnership of 110 which set up what proved to be a straightforward victory charge. When Ehren (63) and Kunal (41) were out Isaac Lea (33) and Alex Rankin (50 not out) continued to play positively and the game was won by 7 wickets with 8 overs to spare. After the game Chris Bell awarded the Simon Bell Trophy to Merchants’ winning captain Tom Barker in memory of his son Simon.

Simon was a student at Merchant Taylors’ from 1982 to 1987. He had two passions in life – Liverpool Football Club, and the game of cricket. He represented Merchant Taylors, the Northern Club and Lancashire in his age group. He was a more than useful batsman and an extremely accurate and skilful medium paced bowler, who honed his skills with hours of dedicated practice, often spending summer evenings bowling at one stump in the nets at Northern until it got dark. Simon very sadly lost his life in the tragedy at Hillsborough in 1989. As a mark of respect and in his memory the Northern Club and the Camels Club (former MT cricketers ) started playing an annual match for the Simon Bell Trophy. In recent years this fixture has happened only intermittently, so Mark Edwards, who was a friend of Simon’s at school suggested switching the focus of the trophy to the School’s annual match against MCC. From now on the winner of the game will be awarded the trophy at the end of the game. In the event of a draw it will stay, like the Ryder Cup, with the team which holds it. It is an appropriate way to remember and honour Simon Bell.

OBA Golf Day 2017

The OBA Golf Day – Held at West Lancashire Golf Club – Friday  9 June 2017

‘Handicap trophy winner, John Scutt, receiving his trophy on the balcony of the West Lancashire Golf Club, from the OBA President, Jeremy Myers, with fellow competitors Wayne Hawkyard, Michael Chambers and Paul Chambers looking on’

After a week of gales, rain and political storms, the OBA’s post-election golf day dawned bright and sunny, with just a hint of the West Lancashire breeze, albeit that an air of uncertainty surrounded the players and, indeed, the country.

West Lancashire was in excellent condition, with just the right amount of rough to challenge but not intimidate the wide range of skills displayed by the OC golfers and their guests.

22 players took to the links, grateful perhaps, to escape for a few hours, the ‘will she/won’t she be able to form a government’ debate, with 18 of the participants being Old Crosbeians.

As ever, some people played who were unable to come to the evening dinner possibly, it was rumoured, because they were awaiting a call from No 10, and thanks go to John and Duncan Scutt, John Sharman, Tim Worrall, Dave Tyson, Andrew Campbell and Andrew Byrne for supporting the event.

A snap exit poll suggested a plethora of high scores and very tight results for all the prizes, especially in the most golf played category. This highly sort after trophy was, in the end, narrowly retained by the holder Adam Walker but with a much improved points score which augers well for the future.

A spoilt ballot paper returned by Andy Byrne left Nick Jones as the unchallenged winner of the scratch prize with a creditable score of 74. The Handicap Trophy and sweep were won by John Scutt with 37 points and John Sharman won the Seniors Trophy with 35 points.

22 OCs and guests enjoyed the usual  traditional summer menu at the prize presentation dinner, with notable attendees  being Wayne Hawkyard and his wife Pam, who had travelled from their home in New Zealand especially, we would like to think, to be present at the event.

The prize winners, whose trophies were presented by the Association’s President Jeremy Myers, were:

                                                  Winner                                              Runner Up

Guests                                  Roy Barlow                                       Paul Chambers

Seniors Prize                     John Sharman                                 Ian Duckett

Scratch Prize                     Nick Jones                                       

Handicap Prize                 John Scutt                                        Graham Jones

Next year, the event will be held, as usual, in early June, at West Lancashire, anyone interested in playing should contact Ian Duckett on 01704 871863 or via iatduckett@gmail.com

OBA Crosby Dinner 2017

On 4th February 2017, the school welcomed back 80 Old Boys, guests and staff to the annual OBA Crosby Dinner.  After enjoying a hearty dinner and joining in the traditional rendition of the School Song (to which was added the voice of David Coultas, a 1947 leaver, who could not travel to Crosby in person, but promised to sing along at home), those gathered heard the reflections of Sir Mark Hedley on his early career options, his decision to study law and subsequent journey to become a High Court Judge.

As Jeremy Myers takes up office during 2017-18, he will be the 100th President of the Old Boys’ Association. If you can join us at school next February to help us mark this occasion, we would be pleased to see you.

Merchants’ beat RGS Newcastle to become North of England Champions

The Merchant Taylors’ Under 15 cricket team continued its impressive run in the ESCA Cup on Friday by defeating RGS Newcastle on their own patch thanks to an impressive performance with both bat and ball.

Having lost the toss Merchants were invited to bat first on a good looking pitch and despite losing Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe in the first over the other early batsmen began to build a good start to the innings. The Rankin twins took the score to 50 before the second wicket fell, and the next partnership between Robert Rankin (64) and George Politis (57) really set the foundation for a good score. With wickets in hand the boys were able to really attack the bowling in the closing stages and Merchants ended with a very challenging total of 200 from the 40 allocated overs.

Although the Newcastle boys got off to a fast start their innings faltered against the mean bowling of Jackson Darkes-Sutcliffe (1 for 18 from 8 overs) and Robert Rankin (1 for 8 from 6 overs). These two forced the required run rate up to a level where Newcastle had to take considerable risks to win the game, and against Oliver Green and Harvey Rankin that was never going to be an easy task. Both of them finished with 4 wickets from their spells as Newcastle were dismissed for 101.

This is the first time in its history that a Merchant Taylors’ team has gone so deep into a national competition. It is a credit to the boys and their coaches that they have done so well. They are also through to the quarter final of the Lancashire T20 Cup following an eight wicket win against St Mary’s School last week.

OBA Cambridge Dinner 2017

With faint whiff of final exams looming over the University, thirty Old Crosbeians and their guests gathered in the Upper Hall of Peterhouse. Our number included those from East Anglia plus some who had extricated themselves from the demands of London to meet with school friends and a contingent from Merseyside, including our newly induced OBA President, Jeremy Myers. There was a hearty cluster from the more recent years, particularly 2008 and 2011.

After a fizzy reception, there followed good food and wine. Cries of “Most delicious – the best yet” and “The Chef has out done himself” were heard afterwards – and indeed he had. The School Song was rendered with some tuneful singing. Our former President, Dave Holroyd, Director of Music, would have been proud of the legacy that he has left behind in Cambridge or perhaps it was the high proportion of youthful attendees?

The speeches gave an update on the School and its good health. Simon Sutcliffe, History teacher and Head of Cricket, representing the Boys’ School, gave a fascinating history of the School, dwelling on the dark ages of the early Victorian period. At one point, there were only 4 pupils, all of them children of the headmaster and three of them girls! Who knew that one of Headmasters from that period had a wife aged 17 years old? Fascinating – it certainly piqued my interest in reading Luft’s history of the School!

Arthur Meadows, Cambridge Dinner Organiser, 1988 Leaver

Old Crosbeians Wessex Lunch 2017

Two Bank Holiday weekends left just two other Saturdays in May’s calendar this year. The usual competitive bids from family occasions and holidays for those two dates meant that recruiting attendees for this year’s Wessex Luncheon proved to be rather more difficult than usual. Fortunately it all worked out very well in the end with those Old Crosbeians returning from previous absence more than compensating for those members who were unable to join the party. The May weather proved rather less reliable although it didn’t rain and the Hampshire countryside was, as ever, at its freshest and greenest best.

This year we were especially delighted to welcome Jeremy Myers in his office as the Association’s President since we have had his company on two previous occasions as the guest who has travelled the farthest. A man who certainly deserves some recognition as ever willing to brave the uncertainties of the British national railway network on a weekend.

Others present were Richard & Shirley Cropper (fortunately managing to miss any traffic jams this year !), Norman Dixon, Steve & Gisela Duckworth, Michael & Barbara Durham, Keith & Ann Evans, John, Robert & Mary Goble, Bill & Lynne Hacking, Michael Purse, Michael & Maureen Sharp and Alfred & Isabel Witham. Unfortunately, Sylvia Scott had the distinction of being the sole representative of the Girls’ School this year but we continue to attempt to raise awareness of this OC event with their local alumni.

Jeremy Myers took advantage of the occasion to repeat the salient points of the recent decisions made by the Schools’ Governors and to remind us that the quatercentenary of the School’s foundation was already the subject of extensive planning ahead of 2020. He also took the opportunity to affirm that his successor as President, David Cairns, would be looking forward to attending the Wessex Lunch in 2018. Finally, after both the Loyal Toast and that to ‘The School’ he led the customary choral finale to a reasonably competent rendition of ‘Crescat Crosbeia’ before the company departed on their homeward journeys after yet another thoroughly enjoyable OC Occasion.

Always a good sign, a table of empty plates! Our President, Jeremy Myers is talking to Shirley Cropper and Michael Purse, a Past President, seems well contented with his lunch.

Hugh Parkman and Sylvia Scott take a break from recalling some breaches in the ‘Berlin Wall’ social restrictions that existed between the two Crosby Schools during the 1950’s.

Four more satisfied lunchers : Michael & Barbara Durham (right), Keith & Ann Evans (left).

David ‘Dave’ Tootill – In Memoriam

Chris Delaney writes:
Dave was one of those annoying chaps who was good at everything without seeming to try very hard.

Dave attended MTS Crosby from 1956 to 63. He then went to St John’s College, Oxford (1963 to 66) where he obtained an MA in Classics.  After graduation, he worked for a number of years at Price Waterhouse Coopers, plus a spell with the Zambian copper mine companies, before eventually settling in Johannesburg, South Africa.   He then started his own company which focussed on logistics, supply chain optimisation and the management of inventory control production systems.

Dave was married to Marion who lives in Johannesburg and their son is a sports coach who lives in the USA.  Dave’s sister, Mrs. Sue Williamson, lives in Crosby. He owned a holiday cottage at Umdloti near Durban.

The last time I saw Dave was when we met in February 2016 at Wanderers in Jo’burg for lunch, after my wife and I had been to the Centurion cricket ground in Pretoria the previous day to watch England lose their one day match against South Africa.  Dave had a very analytical mind and as the beers went down we were able to discuss England’s shortcomings in the greatest detail!

Dave was supremely good at sport – rugby, cricket and football. He is the only Old Boy of MTS, Crosby to have won a Blue at soccer. He was the wicket keeper for the cricket team which uniquely won every single match against other schools during the 1963 season, without even a single drawn game.  Dave was a lifelong Everton supporter.

Since Dave passed away in March, after a short illness, there have been many tributes received from his 1963 MTS cricket team mates – starting with Brian Carpenter, captain of the MTS 1963 cricket team:

– Really shocked to hear about Dave. We spent much time together at Uni -mainly in the nets when I could never get him out, apart from the odd LBW. He should have opened to give a bit of solidarity at the top of the order! For all his quiet demeanour he had a steely determination evident when he achieved his soccer blue amid much competition for the fullback position. It was through his soccer links that we went together to the three FA cup finals 1964/65 and most memorable of all in 1966. So many memories now flooding back – a really sad day.

– We were in 2C and Lower Remove for the first two years sitting in adjacent desks until we opted for different O level subjects. I spent many hours at his place kicking a football or practising cricket, particularly when he was starting out as a wicket-keeper. We both were regular members of the large gang of mostly MTS who played soccer incessantly in Victoria Park, and also played tennis there occasionally. He was so good at soccer, despite the embargo at MTS. I never recall getting past him, or ever getting the ball off him, but it was great to hear about his Blue at Oxford. With Dave, Walter Herriot and J B Williams,it was a tough place to be not very good at soccer. (Peter Thomas)

– We can immediately remember Dave’s humour, intelligence and enthusiasm for life. I can still see the image of his wicket-keeping prowess-reliable, sometimes mercurial, and his rugby exploits as well. He will be missed. (John Chellingworth)

– Dave had not changed from my memory of him at school. A very important member of our team, unassuming but always gave his best. You did not notice Dave behind the stumps but that showed his great skill. I know soccer was his first love but he still showed enormous skill on the Rugby field, switching from feet skills to hand skills –  no problem. (Richard Norris)

– I am sure he could have turned his hand to any sport and although he would probably have succeeded at it, I could never imagine he would have been a boxing champion! I have had the ‘privilege’ of meeting several exceptional sportsmen, most of them, full of themselves, Dave was still so modest. (Michael Grundy)

– My memories of Dave go back to summers in Victoria Park – cricket and footie with our mates. He was a great sportsman and will be sadly missed. (Ferdie Gardner)

– Dave was a lovely guy, and so very talented in a number of sports. He possessed that lovely calm external presence, making one wish to know the deeper Dave Tootill. We shall miss him. The last few years have emphasised the value of friendship, and the importance of opportunities taken. None of us know what is around the corner. To those who have sadly left us we owe them fond farewells. (Robin Cox)