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					                                 THE CORDIES CHRONICLE
                                   CORDWALLES OLD BOYS CLUB

                                                                                             Vol. 1
                                                                                         April 2008

Dear Cords,

Welcome to the first Cordwalles Old Boys quarterly e-newsletter aimed at keeping you up to date and in
touch with your old school.

For many of you this will be your first contact with Cordwalles for many years and for others your contact
has been ongoing both as boy and parent and, in some cases, grandparents. Whatever the case, I hope you
will enjoy receiving and reading the newsletters – this is the first issue of what is to become a quarterly
newsletter which will be sent to all Old Boys for whom we have e-mail addresses and we hope you will
enjoy catching up on news from School and of friends and old classmates and we eagerly await news from
everyone as well as any feedback you may have regarding the newsletter – read on!

This time last year, I was appointed by Headmaster and Cordies Old Boy, Simon Weaver (1970-1975) to pull
together a database of as many Old Boys as possible prior to the School‟s Centenary Celebrations in 2012 to
ensure that it will be a truly memorable event. Since then I have been found deep inside an understairs
cupboard (amongst the smelly socks in the boys changing room!!) searching out information from dusty files
and ancient Admissions Books and it has been and continues to be (I‟m sure for sometime yet) a fascinating
journey and I liken it to running a Detective Agency.

Why re-launch the Old Boys Club?

The reason behind the decision to re-launch and develop the “Cordwalles Old Boys” was simple – to bring
together the Cordwalles Family and to renew and strengthen the ties between „boy‟ and school and to re-
affirm the place that Cordwalles holds in the lives of everyone who has passed through the gates.

Why Now?

1912-2012 - Olympic year to Olympic Year – Cordwalles Celebrates
1912 - South Africa takes part in the fifth Olympic Games and Cordwalles Preparatory School opens its
doors to the first pupils.

2012 - South Africa will take part in its 18th Olympic Games and Cordwalles will celebrate its 100th Birthday
– in a sense both are coming of age and there is much to celebrate
What is significant about 2012?         It will be an Olympic year and so it is therefore a very appropriate year
in which to celebrate a Centenary and plans are already in motion to mark this historic and Olympic
milestone. Given the school‟s original connections with the UK it is timely that the games are to be held in
London. Competing in 1912 South Africa won 4 gold and 2 silver medals and Cordwalles opened with 35
pupils. In that 100 years, both the growth of Cordwalles and South Africa‟s medal score on the Olympic
field have followed the same path, upwards, but with hiccups along the way.
Why should I support the OB Club?

Many people feel that their loyalties are to their High Schools, where they spent the last 5 years of their
school life. However, when you consider how long a person spends at Primary school – between as early an
age as 3 right up to 13 – there is every reason why that school should be as, if not more, important to you.
At Primary school you took your first steps on the Education ladder, where you learnt to mix socially with
your peers, to accept discipline and structure, to laugh and cry together, to explore the new world around you
and to venture forth into others. Without the foundation blocks received at Primary School, the High
Schools would have no basis to work from. By re-launching your association with the school, you will re-
establish friendships with classmates, re-live those times and even establish new friendships. You will
receive updates on the schools progress, be able to attend reunions and be part of the forthcoming centenary
celebrations. Whether you were here for 7+ years or only one, we very much hope you will choose to rejoin
the Cordwalles Family. You may be part of the Cordwalles past but that does not exclude you from being
part of the Cordwalles future.

Many of you receiving this newsletter will have received a questionnaire from me asking for details such as
When were you here? Where did you go to High School; University, Career? – personal details such as
address, date of birth, married, children etc. and for some of you this will be the first contact you have had
with the school for sometime – possibly years. If you have not had the questionnaire, please let me know and
I will e-mail it to you. Both Michaelhouse and Hilton along with Maritzburg College and other schools,
have been very helpful in assisting me to track down old Cords. I hope this will be the start of a long re-
association with your old School and we look forward to welcoming you back and developing that

So where are you and what are you doing?

We want to expand and develop the Old Boys News section of the School Magazine as Old Boys really enjoy
catching up on news and whereabouts of people who were at the school. I would be thrilled to hear from
you with your information and I can be contacted on or on 033 342 3077 and look
forward to hearing from you very soon and to meeting as many of you as possible at future reunions – watch
this space. If you have any contact details for friends, family etc., who were at Cordwalles with you, or at
any other time, please let me have these as well as it helps to speed up the process. Your thoughts and
memories of the school, friends and staff would be a wonderful addition as this certainly helps to develop a
picture of the character of the school through its various stages and will help enormously when we come to
compile a book about the school.


Cordwalles opened its doors in 1912 with 35 boys and started 2008 with 315, we have come far.

Over the last four years the Board of Governors has been working on a Strategic Plan
for the development of the school and in that plan various important goals were set
down. The first of these was to grow the school to some three hundred and fifty boys
and in order to realize this goal it was felt it was important to concentrate our efforts on
marketing the school. We thought this needed to be done in several ways. Firstly we
needed to look at our branding. We have been through a long and inclusive process
where all stakeholders have been involved in looking at a new badge for the school. .
                         The Cordwalles badge has, since the school‟s inception, been a simple and bold „C‟.
                         This has been an easily recognisable symbol of the school to the many boys who
                         have passed through its doors.

                         The school is now in an exciting growth phase and part of its developmental plan
                         has been endless hours of discussion and planning to update the badge, transforming
                         it into one that has meaning and relevance to the boys of Cordwalles, a school that
                         was established ‘for the promotion of Christian Education and sound learning’.

To this end, a new badge was designed and a motto devised during an exercise in which the Cordwalles boys,
staff, old boys and parents were extensively involved.

The badge‟s key elements are:

The shield: The shield of faith which protects us from all that is thrown at us by those forces of evil
surrounding us.
The sword: The sword of truth is God‟s word. We need to be brave to stand up for what is true and right
according to God‟s laws and decrees. It is God‟s message to us that destroys the evil around us.
The cross: This reminds us of St George; what he did to fight against evil and to stand up firmly against the
powers of greed, selfishness and destruction.

Cordwalles has a close association with St George. The school in the UK after which our own school was
named has a huge picture of St George and the Dragon painted on its chapel wall; here in our own
Cordwalles chapel is a stained glass window depicting St George and the Dragon.

St George was a Turk who came from a very wealthy family in Palestine. He rose quickly through the ranks
of the Roman army, became a Christian and gave up all he had to the poor and destitute, before being
martyred for his beliefs in about 300 AD. The legend of St George and the dragon grew out of his bravery to
stand up for the truth and to demonstrate great compassion. It depicts him as a courageous warrior who saves
a town from a dangerous dragon while on his travels around the world. Thus, St George seemed to be the
logical figure around which to centre our badge and its story.

The objective at Cordwalles is to equip our boys with skills, motivation and values so that they, like St
George, can courageously stand up for what is right and compassionately give to those in need, fighting
against evil in our society.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he writes,’ Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all
the flaming arrows of the evil one…. For a sword use God’s message that comes from the spirit.’

Along with our new badge, we are proud of our new motto, which was proposed by a boy in Grade 5 at the
time. It is -
                                     “Courage Builds Character”
                     This is how it applies to Cordwalles and all that the school stands for:

 Courage       -    To stand up for the truth, to persevere, to take risks, to have faith, to take
                    action to feel compassion, to be the best you can be.
 Builds        -    This implies laying down a foundation on which further development takes
                    place. Building relates to making progress, transforming, growing and
 Character     -    Each one of us has a distinctive and unique character. Our character is
                    determined by our mental and moral qualities. It is courage that builds our
                    individual personalities and makes us who we are.

Our five most important values are congruent with the definition of these words. These values are:

            Respect – for God, oneself, others and the environment
            Courage – being brave to stand up for what is right
            Integrity – to always act fairly and honestly
            Responsibility – to take action where necessary
            Compassion – to help all those in need

The Cordwalles community is delighted and proud of its new badge and motto and looks forward to sharing
the story of how they were created in the years to come.

We hope that all Cordwalles Old Boys will embrace the new style badge and motto. We would be delighted
to have your feedback and thoughts.

The second area which we believe we should be targeting in our marketing drive is the facilities. In order to
remain a leader in education, the Board recognises the importance of upgrading and developing our facilities
and for this reason we decided to embark on a building programme. The first part of this development
involved a new Media Centre and Staff room and these were realised last year.    This was all made possible
by the very generous donation of R1million by Old Boy, Robin Hamilton (Class of ‟50). The new centre –
situated where the Headmaster‟s office and Grade 7 classes used to be on the Brick Quad – now includes the
library as well as an essential new computer room and will be used for research and project work.        The
Staff Room, formerly the old laundry on the brick quad – is now a wonderful, light, airy and comfortable
working environment for the staff.

The Next Phase – 2008 – 2012

                   In order to accommodate the proposed number of 350 boys, the building project will
                   continue with the development of a new Pre-Primary and Junior Primary block as well as
                   setting up a culutural area where the current Pre-Primary is situated and for this phase a
                   fundraising programme has begun. If you are interested in further details regarding this
                   expansion please contact me on 0027 (33) 342 3077 or e-mail:

                   So much is happening and it is an exciting time for the school and its boys, present and
                   future and an ideal opportunity for Old Boys to get involved if they so wish to help secure
                   the future of Cordwalles.
Exchange Programmes

A recent development for Cordwalles boys is that of the exchange programme with
schools in the UK. Since 2005 around 18 boys have traveled to the UK to spend 2-
3 weeks at Northcote Lodge Prep School in London, Aldro Boarding School near
Guildford and now this is to include Port Regis School in Dorset – where
coincidentally the Headmaster, Peter Dix, is a Cordwalles Old Boy!!!

This is a fabulous opportunity for the boys who are chosen to represent the school
and it continues to maintain the ties with the UK, the home of our namesake school.

Cordwalles Old Boys

Amongst those who have passed through the Cordwalles Gates are: Wilbur Smith famous for his novels
about the African Continent including the Courtney Saga, the Ballantines and others set in Egypt. Although,
from his website biography, he describes his time at both Cordwalles and Michaelhouse as pretty awful for
someone not interested in throwing a ball, he has credited Cordwalles and his English Teacher, as being the
inspiration behind his belief that one day he would be a able to join “the pantheon of writers and live on
Olympus with them‟. He held true to his belief and we look forward to welcoming him back to Cordwalles at
some point in the hope that we can change his opinion.

Terence English, who left Cordwalles in 1947, went on to Hilton and then on to study medicine. He arrived
at Guy‟s Hospital London and progressed his career as a Cardio Surgeon ultimately heading up the UK‟s
Papworth & Addenbroke Hospitals where he carried out the first heart transplant in the UK – he is therefore
our own Christian Barnard! President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England from1989 – 1992,
Terence English went on to receive a Knighthood from the Queen in 1991.

Robert Holmes a Court left Cordwalles and South Africa for Australia and became Australia‟s first
Billionaire and his brother, Simon, disappeared in Africa under suspicious circumstances, his body not being
found for some 5 years. He was, at the time, the school‟s own Lord Lucan!

Although the Witness attributed his education to Merchiston, Roy McLean, South African cricketer was a
Cordies boy as was Ian Garland who long supported a sustainable conservation programme and was
recognized for his great contribution in this field.    Sadly, both Roy and Ian died last year and our
condolences go out to their families.

News has just been received that Robin Standing (Class of ‟41) died on February 27th 2008 at The Mothwa
Haven in Durban. We extend our condolences to his wife and children. Robin‟s brother, David (Class of
‟32) died in 2005 and again, our condolences go out to his family.

                   Old Boys Abroad

                   Of those boys tracked down so far I am of course finding Cordies OB‟s spread far and
                   wide around the world. The majority of these are in the UK (48) , Australia (37);
                   New Zealand (10) & 17 in the USA. However, we have OB‟s in Brazil, Hong Kong,
                   Portugal, Canada and a smattering in Scotland as well as other African countries and no
                   doubt there are many more hiding elsewhere. Do let me know where you are?
                   *** *** *** UK Reunion – Friday 27th June 2008 *** ***               ***

                   An invitation is extended to those Cords living in the UK to attend a Cocktail Party
                   Reunion in London on Friday June 27th -venue to be confirmed once numbers are known.
                   It would be wonderful to bring together as many Old Boys and their wives/partners, as
                   possible and it is hoped that from this event an annual event will be organized.        I do
                   urge as many of you as possible to come along, it would be wonderful to put faces to
names and, in many cases, to the person at the end of an e-mail. As I had planned to be in London (I am a
London girl) I persuaded the powers that be here at school that it would be a great idea and certainly those to
whom I have spoken have welcomed the idea and are keen to put an event together. Please contact me on in order that I can have an idea of numbers for booking the venue. As soon as I
have an indication then I can advise you of the cost. So far I have tracked down some 48 old Cords who live
in the UK and it would be marvelous if we could achieve a full house! I am really excited about this so do
please come along and support this initiative and I look forward to hearing from you.

Other Reunions & Visits to School by Old Boys

Staff News:

Gayle Bastard, School Sister and doyen of the san and uniform shop, celebrated 30 years at Cordwalles at
the beginning of the year with a party in the Pavilion. Gayle continues to be a wonderful „mother‟ to all the
boys – and the staff - at Cordwalles and I am sure many of you have wonderful memories of your time here
with Gayle. Please e-mail me with any particular memories you may have.

Those of you who were taught Maths by De’Ann Brooks will be pleased to learn that, despite 2
„retirements‟, De‟Ann is still working tirelessly for Cordwalles on a part-time basis.

                     Old Boy (70-75) Simon Weaver became Headmaster of Cordwalles in 2004 – what
                     better accolade can a school have than to welcome back an Old Boy to be at the helm of
                     the ship – the school must have been doing something right!!!!!

                      Former Headmaster, Tim Evans, returned to Cordwalles in October to attend the
                      Matric Reunion of the Class of 2002. On a very rainy evening, the boys and their
                      parents were welcomed in the new Media Centre before heading to the Pavilion for
                      supper and speeches and a chance to catch up with old classmates and teachers. We
look forward to welcoming Tim Evans back this October for the reunion of the Class of 2003 which was
Tim‟s last year at Cordwalles. Tim is currently teaching at a school on the South Coast.

In October 2007 we held the first of what we hope will be many reunions. This covered the years 1930‟s –
1960‟s. Although the turnout was small, we have to start somewhere, and we achieved representation from
all four decades.    We were lucky to have, amongst others, Charles Smythe and Roy Gathorne who left
Cordwalles in the 1930‟s and Viv Biggs, Liebie van Heerden who left in the 1948.     A small but select
gathering who met and reminisced as they walked around the school – „do you remember – that‟s where my
bed was – do you recall when so and so did this and that‟ much hilarity and laughter was heard ringing
around the grass quad.

In February this year the school celebrated it‟s 96th Birthday and I managed to track down Frank Hall,
whom I believe to be our oldest living Old Boy. Born in 1912, nine months after Cordwalles opened its
doors, Frank came to Cordies in 1925 and completed a year before moving on to DHS. Frank and his wife
joined the Headmaster and Andrew Bourdillon (Class of O4) and current Head Boy of Hilton College,
together with the boys and staff at the birthday celebrations and cut the birthday cake.
Scott Balson (Class of ‟64) and resident in Australia returned to Cordwalles at the end
of last year to promote his new book “Children of the Mist) about the East Griquas.
See; Scott talked to the boys about his time here as a child and
bounced around the school taking photos and delighted in being back. He even
identified artwork attributed to his class that is to be found outside the Second Master‟s

We were visited by Peter Hutt (Class of ‟43) and Robin Campbell (Class of ‟49).              Robin Campbell‟s
grandson is due to start here at Cordwalles next year.

Why not join the list and come and visit us – we would be thrilled to show you around your school.


It was decided that the Old Boys Day should be reinstated and it was felt that logically this should follow the
School Birthday. Therefore, it has been decided to hold Old Boys Day on the Saturday after the School‟s
birthday which is 7th February Next year the birthday actually falls on Saturday 7th February 2009 so do
please mark this date in your diary and details of the event will be forwarded nearer the time.

Cordwalles Website

Do take a look at the school website for a visual trip down memory lane:

It is planned to build up and develop the Old Boys section and therefore, if you have any photos or memories
you can share with us that can go on the web I would really love to receive them. Please e-mail me at

I am also keen to develop and Business Directory for Old Boys so, if you would like your business to feature
on the website in order that other Old Boys may make use of your services, then do please get in touch and
let me have your details.

I hope that you have found this first newsletter both interesting and informative. I would be thrilled to
receive your thoughts and ideas on what you would like to see included in the newsletter. Over the coming
months it will alter greatly in format and will include photographs of boys and the school and updates
regarding Old Boys and I am looking forward to developing this aspect.

Until the next issue,

Best wishes,
Charlotte Usher
Cordwalles Old Boys
Tel: 0027 (33) 342 3077)
Fax: 0027 (33 ) 394 3888

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