Joyce Lee 1947
Joyce Lee 1980
House of Commons
Patrick Cashell with John Coupland and his wife
Old boys at House of Commons
Will and Geoff
Jo Massey and Headmaster Paddy Savage
Paddy Savage, new Headmaster of Mount House
The Latest News
Letter from the Chairman
Dear MHA Member, Since the merger of Mount House and Kelly College last year, I have been in discussions with Chris Morley, the Chairman of the Old Kelleian Club about how the two schools old boys and girls can best be represented by their respective associations and whether we too should undergo some sort of “merger”. I know the “M” word will immediately raise the hackles of some, but it does need to be put to the Membership of the MHA, prior to our AGM.
I spent many hours discussing options with Chris, and it soon occurred to us that we both felt exactly the same about what had happened. He, his committee, and a fair proportion of the Membership were as shocked and disappointed about the merger as we were.
We talked about continuing two separate Associations, but we decided that if we were to support the new Mount Kelly Foundation both committees should be seen to be working together for the good of the whole school.
It must be remembered that Mount House was not faring well in the economic climate, and would have closed in following September.
The same could be said of the MHA! For some years now the existing Committee has tried to recruit new committee members to refresh the brand, to allow the “usual suspects” to step down, and let others inject new energy into the association. Although new members did indeed step up, there were not enough to full replace those who wanted to stand down. In truth if it were not for the merger, there was a real prospect of the MHA folding towards the end of last year.
However the merger did enliven us to ensure that the Association should keep going as an entity to protect the funds we held, the substantial archive, and to be a sounding board for the association’s members.
I was very honest in telling Chris Morley of the “winding down” of the association over the last few years and he appreciated that. He then introduced the idea of forming a new Association combining MHA and the OKC, and I said it would be worth discussing and that for my part I would be happy to work positively to see if we could make a new entity a success.
It was after this that I was contacted by Mark Semmence, the new Mount Kelly Headmaster asking for a meeting at the school to discuss the proposal Chris and I had been working on. I found him to be totally in tune with the approach Chris Morley and I have towards working together, and he really does want to see the new Association/Club work.
Therefore Chris, Mark and I have worked out a proposal that we think works for both associations. In essence:
- A new association will be formed called the Old Mount Kelly Club, to represent ALL the Old Boys, girls and Staff members of the two schools.
- The Mount House Association and The Old Kellieans Club have a final AGM during the summer (OKC was on the 6th June) during which a vote will be taken on a merger. If this is approved, then both Associations will cease to exist. A new entity will be formed called the Old Mount Kelliean Club to represent both school’s existing membership and will take control of all subscriptions from now on from pupils at the prep and senior schools.
- Both the OKC and MHA continue to use their existing websites, as a point of contact, and for posting news articles as before. There will be a link to the new OMKC.
- On the formation of the new association, three of the members of the new committee will be appointed from the MHA. The Vice Chair of new Association will be a Mount House Association Committee member. The three member quota we settled on was due to the percentage of Members each association has. Those three committee members and the vice chair will be voted in by the MHA at the final meeting when the MHA members have voted to wind up the MHA.
- The funds (£10,000 approximately) will be transferred to a new account, but will be allocated to projects for the benefit of the former MHA members and the prep school and may be spent only with the approval of the MHA representatives on the committee.
- All former MH pupils [and staff?] will automatically become Members of the OMKC.
- From now on the joint association subscriptions will be for the benefit of all the Members.
- An administrator employed by Mount Kelley will be appointed to run the OMKC.
- There will be a dedicated Archive room/ office for a new administrator of the new Association. This will ensure a percentage of our archive is on show permanently. None of the archive is to be disposed of unless agreed by the three MHA committee members. (I think the ultimate fate of the Mount House archive will part of the first year duties of the MHA representatives)
- Our database will be combined with theirs. The whole membership will be invited to OMKC events. Special events will be held at the old school as well. Visiting MH old boys and girls will always be welcome. There will be sporting events, such as cricket matches. (The headmaster suggested a MH team against OKC to start things off)
- There is an understanding that all the committee representatives are there to work positively for the benefit of the whole school.
So that sets it out the situation as it stands at present. Is there an option to go it alone on this, and just stay as MHA? Possibly, but I do think it would be a lesser option, compared to what we can achieved together as OMKC.
The joining together of the two entities is not a “done deal,” and is subject to your approval in accordance with the Articles of Association. You now have the opportunity to add your comments on this matter, so please join us at the school on the 8th August for the AGM.
Notice is hereby given that the eighth Annual General Meeting of The Mount House Association will be held on 8th August at 11am in the Music Room at Mount Kelly Prep.
Please don't use the main entrance to the school as another group will be in residence and have exclusive use. We also request that you park in the staff car park and not outside the main entrance. There will be signs to direct you to the music room on the day. Lastly, please let us know if you are able to attend so we have the necessary seating a refreshments available. Click here for the agenda. Click here for the Agenda
Joyce Lee Memorial
After much deliberation, it has been decided that we will commission a sculpture in Portland Stone of Joyce Lee, with two children beside her. This will be positioned under a Kilmarnock Willow, a tree which she was particularly fond of.
Did you carve your name on the wooden boards before you left Mount House? They are still in the walkway. We have taken a series of photos so you can spot your name! Click here
School photos are digitalised
Mount House School photos dating back to 1939 are now available to view. Click the link
Mount House Summer Party
The MHA and the Friends of Mount House, joined forces to host a last Mount House Party for all present and past pupils, parents, teachers and friends. It was a great turn out with Sumo wrestling, golf, music from Banny's Band Red Hot Candy, BBQ, Wortham film shows and an Ice-cream van. Click here to view the photos
Joyce Lee's Funeral
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Joyce Lee, known to generations of small boys just starting in Form 1 at Mount House as 'M'Lai'. She died after being admitted to Tavistock hospital following a fall at home. She was 91. Her funeral took place on Tuesday 15th July in Tavistock Parish Church where Daphne Dowling (Kerry Wedd's sister) paid tribute to Miss Lee. Click here to read it as well as words and thoughts from past pupils
Many of you have already asked if we have a Memorial Fund set up. If you would like to make a donation towards a memorial for Miss Lee please use the Paypal button below. If you prefer not to use Paypal (you don't need to have an account with them) you can send a donation to:
Chris Redman, MHA Treasurer, Darley Ford House, Harrowbeer Lane, Yelverton, Devon PL20 6EA
Cheque payable to :Mount House Association
or send us an email to make an online donation via your bank.
Tribute to Roger Highton, a MH old boy
Roger sadly passed away on 19 April after a long, and ultimately unsuccessful fight against cancer. He was 49 years old and leaves behind a wife, Helen and two children, Jack and Elisabeth ...
After leaving MH he went on to Sedbergh School before finishing his secondary education at Cockermouth Grammar School in the Lake District. After school he briefly joined the Royal Marines as a junior Officer but soon realised that despite his physical abilities that he was not entirely aligned with military lifestyle. He then attended Charlotte Mason Teacher Training College in Ambleside where he met his future wife and was also heavily involved in windsurfing, climbing and Rugby ( where he was trialled as prop for the North of England).
After qualification he spent the next 10 years rearing a young family and teaching primary children .. as well as squeezing in his love of the outdoors. He transferred to management, Headmastering various Primary Schools with his usual enthusiasm and energy. He took tremendous reward from shepherding his young charges through the early stages of education, but also extended his influence to the outward bound environment at our Father's Centre in the Northern Lake District.
Latterly he set up his own consultancy specialising in directing underachieving state schools up to the standards of OFSTED and was highly respected for his vigilance and experience.
His greatest pleasure was always his family though, and he enjoyed nothing more than experiencing new things with his children. They travelled globally on holidays annually, but also enjoyed many more modest camping expeditions on these shores ..
True testament to his spirit came during the latter stages of his life where his insistence on filling his remaining days with positivity and resilience are enormous credit to him. I never heard him say " why me" or complain about his predicament .. he just fought and took it in his stride and made sure he saw and experienced the best of what the World has to offer. He was inspiring and will be sorely missed ..
In the words of the great American 18th Century philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson .. " If just one person has breathed easier because you have lived, then that is to know success." Roger knew success a thousand times over .... "
The future of the MHA
It is a great honour to have been elected as Chairman of the MHA for the coming year. I very much look forward to either meeting you in person, or hearing from you over the course of 2014.
I would like thank Grahame Bartleet for all his hard work over the last two years, and I am very glad he has agreed to stay on the Committee for the coming year.
We also would like to welcome Paddy Savage, Headmaster of Mount House onto the committee to serve as Vice Chairman.
To take over “Mr Wortham’s baby,” at this time is particularly poignant. The merger with Kelly College is another huge event in the history of the school. I use the word “another” because over its history the school has gone through many changes, both in location and name. When I heard of the Mount Kelly merger I looked at the History section on the website to remind myself of the trials and tribulations Mount House has gone through. I invite you to do the same by going to http://www.mounthouseassociation.co.uk/mh_history.pdf. Like many people I was both shocked, and yes, angry that our great school was being “taken over by Kelly”. However once Paddy Savage, explained that Kelly College (not just their Prep School) would also change its name to Mount Kelly I and the Committee gave it our full support, I hope that the MHA membership will do the same, if not immediately, then in the fullness of time. Paddy also outlined the aims and aspirations of the new prep school, Mount Kelly Prep, which will continue to prepare children for the senior school of their choice.
The Kelly College Foundation and the Mount House School Trust will amalgamate to form the Mount Kelly Foundation
Changes at Mount House
On Saturday 15 March the Governors of Mount House School announced a merger with Kelly College to form the Mount Kelly Foundation. This is a good deal for Mount House and will secure the future of the school in the face of declining numbers and significant financial challenges.
The Governors have secured assurances that the prep school, to be called Mount Kelly, will continue of the current site. Pupils from Kelly Prep will transfer to Mount Kelly and the Kelly Prep site will be mothballed while the Mount Kelly Foundation Governors consider what do with it.
Many of the details of the merger remain to be hammered out, and the future of the Mount House Association is likely to be a long way down the list of priorities.
The committee will engage with the management of the Mount Kelly Foundation in due course, but please be patient while more significant matters are addressed.
Proposal for major changes at the AGM
Notice of the AGM to be held on 22nd March 2014 advised that the committee was considering how to ensure the survival of the Association since we have had little success in generating interest in social events or in recruiting new members to the committee. During the committee meeting on 8 February, we agreed to make the recommendations set out below to our members at the AGM.
Over the life of the school, around 2,000 former pupils have enjoyed the education that Mount House provides however we have contact details for fewer than 200 members of the Association. While some members have been paying a small subscription by standing order for decades, many earlier members paid a modest life subscription and their contact details have been lost. More recently, the school instituted an automatic enrolment and these newer members now make up a significant proportion of the membership.
The Association was largely defunct seven years ago when it was revived by Jon Elworthy. Since then the Association has provided a number of benefits to members and the school:
- Enhancements to the school including a marquee for the school’s use; a David Harber Armillary in memory of former teachers; memorial specimen trees, name stakes and benches to commemorate former staff; a new flag pole on the Oval; new Courtyard stable window-frames with hand crafted replacements to restore them to their former glory; Headmasters and Headmistresses board; and a contribution to the Adventure Playground
- Contributions to school sports events and tours
- Subsidised social events including the House of Commons reception and events at the school
- Leaving gifts for long standing staff
- Saved the Wortham film archive which is now available on DVD for a small charge and provided footage to ITV’s “A night of Heroes”
- Now in the final stages of preparing over 100 years of Fanfares in digital format which will be made available online through the web site.
- MHA ties & scarves
Thanks to Mel Redman, the MHA website has been a huge success with double digit growth year-on-year in the number of hits. A regular newsletter is sent to all the members and we have set up groups on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These have not resulted in any appreciable interest in or additional contact with the Association.
In the social arena, after several years of success with strong attendance at the Association Day cricket and rounders, enthusiasm has been dwindling and in recent years we have struggled to assemble sufficient volunteers to raise a team. Last year we arranged a reception at the House of Commons with three head masters as guests of honour. This should have been a good draw but few members came: those who did enjoyed the event, but the attendance was disappointing and resulted in significant losses for the Association.
Finances are reasonably robust with a sum of around £10,000 in the bank. This will provide for the costs of maintaining the Association website for many years to come.
The committee is largely made up of members who date back to the 1970s and the Wortham era. We have attempted to recruit younger members to the committee however none of those have joined have been prepared to continue.
Without finding further means to attract attendance, stand-alone social events for the Association are no longer viable, and the MHA cannot continue without recruiting further members to the committee.
Proposal for ensuring the survival of the Mount House Association
To provide for the survival of the Mount House Association, management of the Association will be handed over to the school. To that end, I will propose the headmaster as my replacement as chairman.
While the limited numbers and geographical spread of MHA’s membership have rendered stand-alone social events unviable, the Friends of Mount House have been enjoying considerable success arranging events at the school. The committee has met with members of the committee of the Friends, and they have agreed that the Association may publicise events organized by the Friends and use these as occasions to renew contacts with the school and former class-mates.
Funds accruing from subscriptions will be managed by the committee and the school and will used to continue to maintain the website and make enhancements to the school in accordance with the Articles of Association.
These changes will make an enormous difference to how the Mount House Association operates, but we believe they are vital for its survival. Whether you approve of these recommendations or wish to make alternative proposals, please do what you can to attend the AGM at the school on 22nd March at 11.00am.
Grahame Bartleet, Chairman
Chairman's Report for 2013 and notice of AGM
This year MHA was able to welcome three headmasters, past and present to a reception held at the Houses of Parliament, kindly hosted by our local MP and member of the board of governors, Geoffrey Cox. Charles Price, Jim Massey and Paddy Savage joined former pupils and their partners, Mount House current and former parents, and staff - Patrick Cashell and Graham Bush.
We enjoyed a fantastic reception on the terrace overlooking the Thames and a most informative guided tour by Geoffrey Cox which included the Palace of Westminster, through both Houses of Parliament, the throne room, voting lobbies, House of Commons Library, past the Tea Rooms, Smoking Room, Whips offices and other ceremonial rooms. The party came back to watch the lights come on along the Thames!
This was a fabulous evening and the opportunity to see the heart of British government. Our thanks go to Geoff Cox and Melanie Redman for making all this possible! It was great to welcome headmasters, masters and alumni from the 1950s to the present, and this demonstrates the continuity of the great community Mount House has generated. This was the first Mount House Association meeting away from the school for many years, and while attendance was a little disappointing, we hope that word will spread and encourage greater participation from our membership.
Investigations into the archives by former staff Patrick Cashell and Graham Bush have uncovered a complete set of Fanfare magazines going back to the earliest days of the school. We are working on having these digitized in a searchable format so that they will be available to all members through the Association web site. This should be up and running sometime over the next year, and I for one am looking forward to reliving ancient stories of friends from my past!
Over the last few years Jon Elworthy has been one of the key drivers in motivating the membership into rebuilding the Mount House Association and without his contribution over the past few years the Association would not have enjoyed the success it has achieved. Sadly the pressures of work and other commitments mean that Jon has resigned from the committee. His hard work and dedication will be much missed!
In the past, cricket and rounders have been a feature of Association Day however this year we were unable to raise sufficient numbers for the match. With increasing age (and infirmity!) of those who have participated in the past, there are some serious challenges to maintaining this fixture in the future. To do this we will need some youthful volunteers to take on the role of recruiting the teams and organizing the event. If you or anyone you know are willing to take on this responsibility, please get in touch.
This year it has proved something of a struggle to maintain the enthusiasm of the membership and to keep the Association viable. Earlier this year we published a notice on the web site asking for volunteers and hoping to provoke some debate, but the response has been disappointing. To maintain the Association as a going concern we need to do things that will appeal to our membership. Despite mailings to all members, communications on the Association web site and attempts at using social networks it is clear that we are not making the Association relevant to most of the members, and there is now a real threat to the future of the Association as an entity.
Our AGM has been postponed until 22nd March 2014 to allow the committee time to consider how to proceed. Each year we ask members to attend the AGM, but this year we ask you to make it a priority. There is a real risk that without further support the Association will cease to exist, and after close to fifty years that would be a shame.
This would not be complete without thanks to the members of the committee, and particularly for the efforts of Mel Redman who organizes everything, communicates with all the members and runs the web site, and to Pat Tear who keeps us all on track. They need your help! Your Association is now at risk and your participation is vital to its survival. Please contribute when you can, network with your friends, and please encourage any of them who are part of the Mount House community to get in touch.
Finally, after an interesting and stimulating tenure as Chairman of the Association, the time has come for me to stand aside and allow the Association to rejuvenate with fresh ideas. This is an opportunity to make this great organization more relevant to its younger membership, and I hope that we will see interest from the Charles Price and Jim Massey generation to carry the Association forward.
Once again, thanks to the committee and the school for its support of the Association, and I hope to see a good attendance at the AGM on 22nd March at the school.
Mount House Archive nearly ready for viewing!
The committee decided to ensure the future survival of all the Fanfares, (also known as the Mount House Record) going back to the start of the school in 1910. They are in the process of being scanned and then added to website in a secure area. We also intend to preserve all the school photos and important memorabilia. We hope to have them all available in the next few months. Here is an example of what to expect - The Record 1910
Please note that there is a bug in Firefox over which we have not control (depending on your browser version) which renders the font blurry in some cases To fix this you need to go to Tools (top right in Firefox) then Options, select Aplications, find "Portable Document Format (PDF) in the Action Dropdown to its right, change from "Use Adobe Acrobat in Firefox" to "Use Adobe Acrobat" Alternatively view it in Internet Explorer!
As you can imagine, this has cost a lot of money, but the committee felt that we have a duty to preserve the school's heritage. If anyone feels duly moved to help us out, we now have a Paypal account set up which accepts all major credit/debit cards!
Drinks Reception at the House of Commons, Thursday 16th May
We made history with no less that three Mount House Headmasters of Mount House School present together. Charles Price, Jim Massey and Paddy Savage, were guests at Mount House Association Reception held at the Houses of Parliament and hosted by Geoffrey Cox QC MP (also a Mount House Governor) on Thursday 16th May. The Reception was attended by former pupils and their partners, Governors, Mount House current and former parents and teachers, Patrick Cashell and Graham Bush.
We enjoyed a fantastic reception on the terrace overlooking the Thames and a most informative guided tour by Geoffrey Cox which included the Palace of Westminster, through both Houses of Parliament, the throne room, voting lobbies, House of Commons Library, past the Tea Rooms, Smoking Room, Whips offices and other ceremonial rooms. The entire party then returned (despite one former pupil having a brush with the law whilst attempting to sit in the Speaker's chair!) to watch the lights come on along the Thames whilst clutching a few more glasses of wine!
This was a fabulous evening and the opportunity to see the heart of British government. Our thanks go to Geoffrey Cox and Melanie Redman for making all this possible! It was great to welcome headmasters, masters and alumni from the 1950s to the present, and this demonstrates the continuity of the great community Mount House has generated. A first Mount House Association meeting away from the school for many years, and we hope its success will encourage even stronger participation in future events. Watch this space!