Archive for Members’ News

Registration is Now Open for The Exmoor 2018: Tuesday 27th March

Registration is now open for reputedly, the longest school cross-country run in the country.

Open to OWB’s, Parents & WBS Supporters, all are welcome to join in this annual school event which this year will be held on Tuesday 27th March 2018
The Senior Boys’ Run consists of a walk of eight miles to the start and a run of ten miles back to School.
The Senior Girls’ Run is a walk of six miles and a run of seven and a half miles back to WBS.
There will be transport available to The Poltimore Arms at Yarde Down for competitors who wish to run but would prefer not walk out.
The entry fee is £15 (to include refreshments in the JESC, a packed lunch and glass of wine on completion). All proceeds to the West Buckland Foundation Bursary Fund
Download the entry form
For more information or to enter please contact OWBA/Foundation Office 01598 760188/ [email protected]

Good luck!

Inauguration of new OWBA President

The inauguration of the new OWBA President, Ian Blewett (72-77G) took place on Saturday 9th September, following an afternoon full of OWBA sporting fixtures and presentation of the much coveted, Loving Cup.














Ian takes over from Jamie Conchie (69-76G) who has completed a highly successful two year term of office.

Of Ian’s appointment Jamie said:

After my 2 years as President of the OWBA I‘m delighted to pass the reins over to our Vice President and my old school contemporary, Ian Blewett who I know is very well placed to continue the momentum of the Association and all its initiatives & responsibilities. Best wishes to him and our incoming Vice President Stuart Smith for a happy and progressive term at the helm’.

Ian was no less complimentary:

“I am looking forward to building on the already impressive progress of my predecessor and his team


OWBA Sports Weekend

Not even the torrential weather could dampen the superb sporting spirit on display during the OWBA sporting weekend.




























A huge thank you to everyone who participated and to the fantastic supporters who joined us.



























Special thanks to Richard Heywood and Christian Engelking for these photos.
























Full reports to follow………..

Brian Aldiss OBE (39-43F)

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our Vice-President Brian Aldiss, the day after celebrating his 92nd birthday.














Brian was in Fortescue House from 1939-1943 and it was here that he discovered and nurtured his passion for writing.  A prolific writer and brilliant inspiration in the genre of science fiction, Brian remained, throughout his life, an active supporter of West Buckland School and a note of his last year at the school concluded: ‘I doubt if any of us who shared that particular Sixth will ever forget how much we laughed then.’

Brian and his family have remained close to the school ever since and we will find a suitable way to remember him later in the term.

Please see below a press release produced by his family:

It is with sadness that we announce the death of Brian Wilson Aldiss O.B.E. author, artist and poet, at his home in Oxford in the early hours of Saturday 19th August 2017, aged 92.

Author of British science fiction classics Non-stop, Hothouse and Greybeard, Aldiss’s writing spanned genres and generations, bridging the gap between classic ‘science fiction’ and contemporary literature with his Helliconia Trilogy and Thomas Squire Quartet. Aldiss was also an entertaining memoirist, notably basing his Horatio Stubbs saga on his wartime adventures in Burma and the Far East, as well as the autobiography The Twinkling of an Eye.

A friend and drinking companion of Kingsley Amis and correspondent with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, Aldiss was a founding member of the Groucho Club in London and a judge on the 1981 Booker Prize. Awarded the Hugo Award for Science Fiction in 1962 and the Nebula Award in 1965, Aldiss’s writings were well received by the critics and earned a strong following in the United States and in Britain as well as being widely translated into foreign languages.  In later years his cultured world view and enduring curiosity found expression in the novels Harm and The Finches of Mars, dealing with the contradictions of the war against terror and the logistical difficulties of accommodating different terrestrial belief systems in space.

Among his considerable body of short fiction are the ‘Supertoys’ stories, adapted for film as A.I., on which Aldiss collaborated with Stanley Kubrick for over a decade before its completion by Steven Spielberg. His novel Frankenstein Unbound was made for screen by Roger Corman.

In 2000 Brian Aldiss was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Reading and received the title of Grandmaster from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. He was honoured by Her Majesty the Queen for services to Literature with the O.B.E. in the 2005 Birthday Honours list.

In Service News

Every year we see a selection of West Buckland students choosing a career in the Armed Services.

Find out more about their stories HERE

Rev Chris Willis (77-92S)

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Rev Chris Willis (77-92S) who passed away last week.

Chris was a stalwart of the local community having married and christened many Alumni.

He was also a great supporter of West Buckland School and OWBA events.

He will be missed by many.

We have received many messages of condolence and a full tribute to Chris will be included in the Summer edition of the Buckland Brief.

As requested by so many Alumni, here are the details of the Thanksgiving Service.


Rev Chris Willis - Exmoor Run 2016 - Copy


Willis Reverend Christopher Charles Billopp passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at the Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital on 24th January 2017, aged 84 years.

Beloved husband of the late Sylvia. Much loved father of Alistair and Helen and grandfather of Henry, George, Oscar and Lilly. A life dedicated to the community.

A private cremation service will be followed by a public service of thanksgiving, which will take place at St. Hieritha’s Church, Chittlehampton on Tuesday 7th February at 2.30pm.

There is a bring and share tea and food afterwards in the village hall.

Arrive early as parking could be some distance from the church.

No black please. No flowers please but donations in his memory will go to The Calvert Trust, Exmoor and Go North Devon, at the service or care of J. Westacott & Son Funeral Services, 2a West Street, South Molton, EX36 4DG.


: Proposed Karslake Hall Refurbishment and Consultation Day


Please see below, the proposed refurbishment plans for the Karslake Hall.





Parents and Alumni are cordially invited to a Consultation Day on Tuesday 13th December 2016 in Karslake Hall between 1400 hrs and 1700 hrs. There will be an opportunity to view the plans and speak with the designers.

The Headmaster, Bursar and Governors will also be present throughout the afternoon.

If you are unable to attend, you are welcome to share your views by writing to us at the Bursary, or, electronically by using the following email address: [email protected] 


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Just Giving Page for Nicky Vanstone (98-01F)

A message from Mary Napoli (nee Screech) (93-01B) Please help if you can. My lovely friend and fellow WBS alumna, Nicky Vanstone (nee Tibble)(98-01F), is only 33 and has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We’re fundraising so she can seek treatments not available on the NHS. She has an incredible family including her 2 year old daughter, Fern, wonderful husband, Chris (94- 01G), sister, Becky, and mum, Caroline Tibble, who many of you know is a dedicated member of staff at WBS. They need her to be here.


I’m lucky enough to have been friends with both Nicky and Chris since we were at WBS and I really need her to be here too. She has always lived a healthy lifestyle and has devoted her life to helping others through her work as play therapist for children. If anyone deserves to beat this, it’s Nicky. Sharing her story would be a great help, thanks.  

Anthony Roger Warren (43-49C)

It is with sadness that we share the following news from Roger’s son, Nigel…. Anthony “Roger” Warren passed away on 16th August 2015 aged 83 years. Beloved Father to Jenny and Nigel. Funeral service at Easthampstead Park Crematorium Thursday 27th August at 3.45pm Family flowers only but donations if desired to British Heart Foundation c/o Lines Bannister Funeral Directors 01344 620266  Lines Bannister Funeral Directors 69 High Street, Ascot, Berkshire, SL5 7HP   Our thoughts are with Roger’s family and friends at this time.

West Buckland Honours the Fallen at Gallipoli

Seven students from Years 10 to 13 accompanied by Chris Allin and Amanda Wilmott made the journey to the Gallipoli battlefields between Monday 26th and Friday 29th October. This was through a project called Gallipoli 100 set up by Robin Clutterbuck and funded by the Gallipoli Association (representing veterans and preserving their memory) and the National Lottery. The main aim of the Gallipoli 100 project is to develop links between the Turkish people of the area and their British counterparts. Gal - Mortimer The key focus of this trip was remembering the two old boys of West Buckland School who died during the campaign and other North Devon soldiers who primarily served with the North Devon Hussars. George Pearce Mortimer attended West Buckland School between 1892 and 1893. He served with 3rd County of London Yeomanry (Sharpshooters) as part of the final allied offensive in Gallipoli at Suvla Bay where the plan was to support the ANZAC’s breakout to the south and take strategic positions to the north of the peninsula. George was killed on the 26th September 1915, aged 38. The School’s Register goes on to reveal the circumstances surrounding his death and explains that he, ‘was killed by a sniper while in charge of a listening patrol on the Gallipoli Peninsula.’ His body was not identified by the end of the war and so he is remembered at the Helles Memorial at the southern tip of the peninsula. A wreath was laid at the memorial on behalf of the OWBA and one of our present students, Isobel Fincher (11G), read a moving eulogy that she had written in advance. Gal - Symonds The second Old Boy remembered was Ernest George Symons, who had landed at Gallipoli with the North Devon Yeomanry on 8th October. They were originally going to be part of a new offensive but by the time they arrived this had been abandoned by the military commanders and a week later discussions began to end the campaign altogether. This meant that the North Devons spent their time carrying out general duties only. Ernest was killed on 4th November by a shell which exploded in the trench where a number of soldiers were located. We once again laid a wreath in memory of Ernest but as well as a card written by Jamie Conchie, President of the OWBA, the wreath also contained a card by Ernest’s surviving nephew, John Squire (C 1933-1936). John had kindly visited school a week before our trip and as well as bringing in family items he also told us about his memories of his uncle. As well as visiting the key battlefields, the group also visited the ancient city of Troy and an independent Turkish school called Cannakkale College where we met the Headmaster and the students spent some time socialising together. At one cemetery, the head gardener for the CWGC in Gallipoli talked to the group about the management of the cemeteries on the peninsula. The students were a real credit to the school and the personal stories of our former students made this a very moving and thought-provoking trip. Chris Allin 01-S