My Emanuel: Terry Lanchbery (OE1960-68)

My school interview was very strange. I felt that my parents were being interviewed more by Headmaster Jack Grundy than I was, but in hindsight, thank goodness for that! I couldn’t guess the height of the Hampden Hall, even with a great deal of help, and I had no idea where the Isle of Man was (I’m not positive even now), so it was a bit like a driving test. I felt my days at Emanuel had ended before they started. When the letter came confirming my acceptance, the whole family were flabbergasted. So, I was in! 

In the First Year, I never really got the hang of what books to take to what lesson. So, I took all of them around with me in an old briefcase of my father’s. Much to my dismay, the books got more and more and the briefcase started to creak with pain, then on sports days it became ridiculous with a sports bag as well, so I had to take note of my list of lessons or become a weight-lifter.

I started First Year in 1C (they knew about me already) and I never really moved from that position except in the Fifth Year, when I stayed down a year! Were they trying to tell me something? My Geography report said “Tends to hibernate”. Possibly a fair comment.  If only I had worked at school (well, on the academic side anyway), but most of my time, both in my thoughts and physically, was on the playing field.

At least the sport side was going well; I managed to gain half colours at cricket and then told Joe [Paul] Craddock that I wanted to play tennis. The team of four – Rex Holman, Rod Fraser, John Griffiths and myself – managed to win all our school matches and the Youll Cup, a national tennis team competition, after which I gained full colours. The rugby was probably the best though – being School Rugby Captain, gaining full colours and being selected to play for Surrey under 19 group for two years running! Leaving school, the Old Boys felt sorry for me and put me in the 1st XV and 1st VII. We won all our matches in one glorious season and got through to the Twickenham VIIs finals. My nightmare, I sprained my ankle before the finals at a Warlingham VIIs competition and couldn’t be selected for Twickenham. That’s life sometimes.

My dad loved sport; he never played rugby but followed my progress at every match especially with the Old Boys. He loved being with the team and especially had a bond with other dads at the bar afterwards. It took me a long while to work out why he always drove TO matches and I was always asked to drive HOME – funny that!

1st XV 1965-66. Terry Lanchbery pictured third from left in the back row.

I have fond memories of “Joe’s Bubs”, Mr Tovey (woodwork) saying “stand by your benches” in a very west country accent and the school song being irreverently jazzed up by our music teacher. I stayed on at school probably a bit too long (60-68) because in the last year I helped Tony Phillips, PE master, at every opportunity. I have so many other great memories of Combined Cadet Force (CCF); a teacher’s car on the cricket table; watching the glider fly for about three seconds pulled by a multitude of willing volunteers; the indoor swimming pool that never saw a drop of water while I was there; ‘The Thyrds’ school band (I’ve got my mojo working); ‘Serjeant’ appearing just when you didn’t want him to, and the names of loads of fellow boys I would really love to hear from. It was such an honour to be in Howe House, especially as Vice House Captain, and later on I was voted into the Curzon Club. The other day, I came across the Howe plaque that used to be fixed on top of one of the doors at the top of the main building and have offered it to the School Archive. I’m not sure how it got in my possession!

When I left school, a friend arranged an interview for me in the GPO. To my amazement I was successful but definitely not a surprise was the fact that I was a Clerical Assistant, which was about as low as you can get. I said to my Dad that I would do it for about a year and then try to find something better. 42 years later, I was still there! However, as GPO changed to The Post Office then British Telecom, I managed to rise up the ladder to the heights of an Executive Officer.  I was very lucky and got the job as Secretary of the LTRASA  (London Sports Association of BT).

Along with my Mum and Dad, Emanuel gave me the best start in life possible and the school is still doing it today. There are many other memories that could fill a book but like my school time, I have gone on too long. Stay safe.