The Old West Buckland Association (OWBA) is a friendship organisation for all past pupils and staff of West Buckland School. Its main purpose is for members to keep in touch with each other using the OWBA office in the school as the focal point.
The OWBA believes that West Buckland School possesses a unique ethos that it passes on to all those who study or work there. It has a long and intricate history and we want to preserve this into the future.
The OWBA office is incorporated into the Foundation Office which is a hub for alumni relations and development. The office is situated at the top of the main school building and is run on a day to day basis by three members of staff. The OWBA is supported by a group of committee members:
Lesley Banbury (73-76B) Jamie Conchie (69-76G) Adam Crispin (90-97G) Rob Hurst (Treasurer) (99-06F) Neil Kingdon (66-75C) Chris Ponder (72-13S) Stuart Smith (President) (73-80G) Mike Tucker (72-15S) Kevin Underwood (Vice-President) David Walker (75-82B) (72-74C) Patron Bill Geen (64-69F)
Bill Geen (64-69F)
We are delighted to announce that the new Patron of the OWBA is Bill Geen (63-69F). Bill is already a Vice-President of West Buckland and a Trustee of the Foundation.
As an Old West Bucklander, a parent of pupils who attended West Buckland, a former Chair of Governors and a former Chair of Trustees, Bill has a wealth of experience of all things West Buckland! His positive outlook and friendly demeanour will stand him in great stead.
Stuart Smith ( President) 73-80 G Stuart lived in Ilfracombe when he was at WBS before going to Leicester Polytechnic graduating in 1982 with a diploma in Estate Management. He qualified in 1985 as a Chartered Surveyor. Stuart has a passion for the great outdoors and a particular interest in renewable energy. He is a current parent and much of his spare time is spent following his 2 sons’ interests and achievements on the sports fields of the south-west. He is a former Chairman of Ilfracombe Round Table.
Kevin Underwood (Vice President) 72-74C Following a career in North Devon property agency, in semi-retirement he acts as a Commercial Property Consultant to a limited number of key clients.
When his two sons attended the school he was inspired by the evolution of West Buckland into an ambitious, forward thinking school, whilst retaining its best traditions and core values.
Kevin accepted an invitation to join the school governors in 2016, currently being Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee and is a trustee of The West Buckland School Foundation. He is a former Chair of North Devon Hospice.
Jamie Conchie 69-76 G OWBA Member and Past President (2015-17). Married a WBS Old girl, Suzy Maskell, (1980-84) and have 4 sons who attended WBS. His father was a WBS (1927-37G) and OWBA President in 1985 and also had 2 brothers and 2 sisters who attended WBS between 1967-1984. He went to to Brighton Poly, now University 1997-79. Spent 30 years in executive recruitment & resourcing culminating in setting up his own firm Consortea in 2002 a small headhunting firm serving the Media, Entertainment& Sport sectors. Returned to live on a farm in Bishops Tawton, N. Devon and have created a successful Weddings, Functions and Camping business.
Neil Kingdon 66-75 C Neil’s father, Gordon (33-37 C) came to West Buckland thanks to a scholarship from a South Molton Town Charity. In later life, Gordon became the Chairman of Governors at West Buckland and President of the School. Neil was born and brought up in North Devon and during his time at West Buckland became involved in most aspects of school life, finally being awarded the Fortescue Medal, the highest award presented by the school.
Upon leaving West Buckland, Neil studied dentistry at Guys Hospital in London after which he went on to work in General Practice and Dental Teaching hospitals until 1987 when he specialised in orthodontics. He returned to North Devon in 1991 and met his wife Julie, also a local girl, and he set up his own orthodontic practice in Barnstaple. While in practice Neil Chaired the local Dental Association and the County Dental Committee. The business was sold and Neil retired in 2012. Neil and Julie’s two sons, Jack (05-11 C) and Fred (07-12C) also followed their father through the school and embraced all the school had to offer. Having been President of OWBA Neil took on the role of WBS Governor in 2015
Adam Crispin 90-97 “I was at WB from 1990 – 97 in Grenville. I had two younger brothers at school, both now left. I work at Bray Leino as an Account Director in the Media department and oversee advertising campaigns for clients such as Thatchers Cider and Brittany Ferries. I have been at Bray Leino since I graduated from the University of Wales Aberystwyth in International Politics.”
David Walker 76 -82 B “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at school, participating in every sport going, and avoiding academic study with aplomb. I was lucky enough to captain both cricket and rugby at various age ranges and win a number of full colours. My house was, and is still Brereton with Mugsy my inspiring housemaster!
Both my children Charlotte (95-08 B) and James (98-11 B) have been through WB from nursery to Upper Sixth, both enjoyed their time there, like their father, but with better academic achievement. I have maintained my links with the school via the OWBA and was honoured to be President in 1999. At present, I am the OWBA Governor, a role I enjoy and feel privileged to undertake. The OWBA has kept me in touch with many old friends, my children’s friends and many characters from the West Buckland community at large.”