Old West Downs Society – Memories of the Cornes Era, 1954-1988

From Daniel Hodson, OWD Society Chairman

Dear OWD,

I hope you’ll forgive my writing again on several scores:

You may have noticed that the book has attracted attention in the national press with reviews in the Daily Telegraph, The Spectator and The Times Literary Supplement. It was also featured in Albany at Large in The Sunday Telegraph.

The book has had an enthusiastic reception from OWDs. This was evident at the OWD dinner in October, and there have been some very appreciative letters. In fact, since the book came out in August some 500 copies have been sold which is encouraging, but a sale of about 650 is needed to cover the costs of publication and to reimburse the “angels” who backed it financially. If you have not yet acquired a copy may I urge you to do so, and in case you have mislaid the original order form, I enclose another. If you already have the book and have enjoyed reading it, perhaps you might consider one or more copies as suitable Christmas presents. I believe it to be a classic of its genre.

A Follow-Up

I would also like to let you know that a follow-up to the book is being prepared by Nick Hodson. It is intended that this will include the reviews of the book and copies of some of the original letters to Mark Hichens which were not quoted in full in the book. It is also hoped that there will be some reactions to the book by OWDs and further memories of the school which it may have prompted, together, perhaps, with more memorable photographs of the school over the years of its existence. We’re not sure about a publication date yet.

The Owd Dinner

The dinner at Brooks’s on Monday, 19th October to launch the book was a great success and attended by 75 OWDs of all generations. Everybody met old friends and there was a real sense of pride and companionship in our common heritage. Your committee has since decided to continue the tradition of a biennial autumn dinner at Brooks’s, perhaps next time to launch Nick Hodson’s sequel.

The West Downs Fund

At the OWD Annual General Meeting before the dinner, and at the dinner afterwards the plot was hatched to create a fund in memory of the school to be used for charitable purposes, perhaps educationally or youth oriented. Your committee has discussed various alternatives and is enthusiastic about the concept but would appreciate the views of individual OWDs, both on how to raise the funds, and charitable causes which might be suitable. If you have any such ideas, please write to me or to Hugh Tottenham. We intend to discuss this at the Committee’s next meeting in mid-1993.

Owd Register

This is diligently kept by Nick Hodson. If you know of any changes in address please write to him at the address below. A list of people whose addresses we do not know is enclosed. If any OWD would like a copy of the Register please write to Nick with a cheque for £5 made out to him if you would like a copy. [No longer available, but we can send you as an email a web page of your contemporaries. Editor.]

Yours sincerely, Daniel Hodson