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: Jamie Conchie (69-76G) Neil Kingdon (66-75C) Lesley Banbury (73-76B) Ian Blewett (President) (72-77G) Adam Crispin (90-97G) Bill Geen (64-69F) Stuart Smith (73-80G) David Walker (75-82B) Mike Tucker (72-15S) Patron David Cummins (40-50G)
David Cummins 40-50 G David has been a patron of the OWBA since 2007. His long association with the school started when he joined West Buckland as a pupil in 1940. At school, he was a member of the 1st XV and participated in cross-country and athletics. His career has concentrated on the agricultural industry, specifically crop protection chemicals. He was director of a company which was sold to CIBA/GEIGY, a chemical organisation and since then, David’s interests have been in residential property. David has an enormous enthusiasm and commitment for West Buckland, having been a school governor for six years and was formerly President of the OWBA.
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.
Ian Blewett 72-77 G Ian arrived at WBS in 1972, was a regular in School Rugby and represented the school at 1st XV in both Lower and Upper Sixth as well as in track and field in discus and javelin. A stalwart in the CCF he decided to pursue a career in the Army following school and enjoyed a long and varied career in the Infantry including numerous tours of operational duty. He as commanded the Rifle Volunteers, been a Deputy President at the Army Officer Selection Board and was Regimental Colonel The Rifles. He now delivers Simulation Programmes in support of the Army’s Recruiting and Training Division. His twins, Abigail and James, also attended WBS. Ian became a Governor at WBS in 2018.
Jamie Conchie 69-76 G Born Minehead Somerset, 1958. WBS 1969-76, Grenville House. Colts Exmoor Running cup 1970: 1stXV Colours 1976. Married a WBS Old girl, Suzy Maskell, 1980-84, Grenville. 4 sons; 3 have or are attending WBS. Father was a WBS old Boy and OWBA President in 1985. Had 2 brothers and 2 sisters who attended WBS between 1967-1984. Went to Brighton University. Currently Director of a Headhunting firm, Consortea, based in Windsor working with clients in the Sport, Media & Entertainment sectors. Returned to live in Bishops Tawton, N. Devon in 2008. Residing in a farmhouse with Campsite and Wedding /Function 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, where he worked until the business was sold 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.
Last year Neil took on the role of WBS Governor.
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.”