A WARM WELCOME TO THE MAGNIFICENT ‘MACDONALD BOYS’
It was a great privilege to host a fascinating group of Old Verlucians from the early post war years to lunch at the weekend. The group, collectively remembered as the ‘MacDonald Boys’ , spent their time at school during the Headship of Ian MacDonald (1940-1958), one of the great Headmasters of the past. It was most appropriate that one of the guests at lunch was Ian MacDonald’s son Julian MacDonald who played a central role in organising the event.
Hosted by members of the Sixth Form, the OVs took in a cricket match on the new pitches, many of them having represented the 1st XI over 65 years ago. They were very complimentary about the quality of cricket on display and the grounds. Then came a splendid lunch in St Boniface Hall, hosted by the Headmaster and his wife. The food was delicious and there was much reminiscing about the past and much laughter too, especially at OV John Baddeley’s wonderful vote of thanks to the Headmaster and School. Who will forget his memories of a match against Clayesmore, delightfully told and in which he starred. It was no surprise to learn that John had prospered in his career as an actor!
John Baddeley, remembering his time at Warminster remarked, “Returning to one’s alma mater after a gap of sixty years was an emotional occasion. Having been at the School as a boarder during the dark days of the Second World War, it was amazing to see how it has risen like a phoenix from the ashes to be the splendid place it now is. The celebratory lunch held in St Boniface Hall meant not only a great deal to us elderly Old Verlucians present but also, I believe, to the School. Warminster School has a proud history and it was good to recall and appreciate it on this occasion. The School motto is ‘J’ai bonne cause’ – I have good cause to be most grateful for my time at Warminster.”
The day was rounded off with a tour of School House, which was also boarding accommodation in the then Lord Weymouth Grammar School. Even the Headmaster lived there in a school which totalled just around 100 by the end of the MacDonald years. The tour prompted more interesting and wonderful tales and even Mrs Mortimer was sworn to secrecy about times gone by!
The Headmaster said “It was fascinating to hear their stories and memories of each other as young men, of their teachers and of the School as it was immediately after the Second World War. In many ways it was a very different school then. Much, much smaller, boys only and it even had a different name. All of the pupils and most of the staff slept in dorms and rooms in School House and it was a lot more Spartan than it is now. Two of our guests at the table were Head Boys here, one of them for two years. Another went onto be a successful actor, another to be headmaster of two schools. And yet all they wanted to talk about was their time here at school. It was fascinating and humbling to hear them.”
It was our pleasure to meet these interesting and inspirational men, who have succeeded in a wide variety of careers all over the world and have lost none of the camaraderie or sense of humour that still characterises the School to this day. It was an enjoyable and highly entertaining afternoon and we are looking forward to next year already.
Graeme McQueen, Head of Development & Alumni