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We've Heard From... Bret Butler

Bret Butler (1951-1958) writes from New Zealand:

"I have just come to the realisation that it is almost exactly 50 years to the day that I left Brigg Grammar School, as it then was, in December 1958, shortly after being offered a place at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

I was at Cambridge from 1960 to 1963 and graduated with a degree in history. I came to New Zealand as a ten pound pom in 1965 and stayed three years before returning to the UK for 1968 and 1969. I then emigrated permanently to New Zealand at the start of 1970.

I was Headmaster of Huntley School in Marton from 1970 until 1987 and then Headmaster of King's School in Auckland from 1988 until 2000. Since then I have been involved with educational consultancy for Massey University, the Ministry of Education and Multi Serve Education Trust. I was in the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar in 2004 and 2005, where I headed up a programme of introducing self-managing systems into the local Qatari schools.

My mother is still alive near Grimsby and I get back there most years. I have called in to Brigg on a number of occasions and have driven into the school grounds, but it is greatly changed. The old Grammar School Road seems much diminished and I am sure that the tuck shop across the road is long gone.

I was at the school as a boarder from 1951 to 1958. We were thoroughly and rigorously taught by some long-serving and dedicated staff such as Knight, Henthorn, Richards, Atkin, Jarvis and Barker among others. Quite a lot of boys won state scholarships or Lindsey senior scholarships and Matthews seemed fairly successful in getting boys into Oxford or Cambridge in those years.

Football and cricket were the dominant sports and I remember some fine players such as Roger Holmes, the Oates boys, Roger Dobson and Rick Carter among others. There were also some fine swimmers and athletes. Cross country appeared to dominate the cold middle term and the name Brickyard Lane is forever etched in the memory.

Peter Jarvis was a contemporary and I was sad to miss him when he made a trip to New Zealand, since I was out of the country at the time.

The structure of the school is much changed with a larger roll, co-education and no boarding. I think that we had about 50 boarders in School House out of a total roll of about 350.

My wife Sue, who is a New Zealander and I have three sons and four grandsons. We live in the central North Island at a place called Lake Taupo and have magnficent views over the lake and the mountains. It's starting to get warm here now and we are looking forward to a good summer.

I follow the school news on the website and must try to get back again one day."

Thanks very much, Bret, for sending your news.


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Two Stories From the Antipodes...


Simon 'Choz' Church - Brigg Reunion Saturday 31 January '09

For your diary:

Simon Church and his family are coming home from Australia for a couple of months in January and he is organizing a school reunion. It will take place on Saturday 31st January at the Yarborough Hunt starting at 7.00 pm. The event is a reunion for Brigg Grammar School, Sir John Nelthorpe, Brigg Cricket Club, Barnetby Football Club, friends and family.

This reunion is open to all, especially teachers !!!! old and new !!!
Simon has specified a dress code........those attending must wear an aussie shirt ???!!!

Thanks to Michaela Harris (1978-84) for this information.