At the time of writing, Marlborough and Lyons lead the battle for the coveted Parents’ Shield, and a strong performance in the annual sports day next week should cement another famous victory.

The winning junior and senior houses each pick up their respective Needham Trophy – with both bequeathed to the school by Mr Robin Needham (OE 1923-29).

A keen sportsman, Robin played for both the 1st XV and the 1st XI and was known to be an outstanding bowler. When the MCC visited to play their traditional cricket fixture, it was Robin who led the attack, famously to the future politician and Prime Minister Lord Alex Douglas Home, who was batting for the visitor’s team.

Robin went on to pursue a career in journalism, which was interrupted by the Second World War; firstly in the Royal Artillery, commanding a searchlight battery on the River Thames, and later in Burma. He was to spend much of the war in the dense Burmese jungle and was eventually promoted to Major. He fought in some of the harshest terrain and climates of the war, across mountains, ravines and jungles, disrupting the fortified areas which were under Japanese control.

Robin Needham, before and after the Second World War (Burma)

After the war, Robin returned to journalism and attended the Nuremberg Trials, reporting the developments for British newspapers. He also assisted Charles Hill in compiling the Emanuel School Second World War Roll of Service, as well as being editor of the Old Emanuel newsletter for many years. He continued to play cricket for the Old Emanuel Association (OEA), becoming Chairman and a Governor of Emanuel School. Robin’s son patrick, who passed away in 2014, was a pupil in the school during the 1960s.

As a journalist, Robin also wrote about sport. In an obituary written by Dudley Roberts (OE 1923-29), following Robin’s death in 1995, Dudley recalled:

As a sportswriter he went to many places. I remember that he endeavoured to take me into the Press Box at Wimbledon for the Men’s Finals. As Fred Perry was playing, the Press Box was overcrowded, but he managed to find me a place on Centre Court to watch Perry become Champion.

Tony Jones (Senior Librarian and Archivist)

Robin is pictured here with famous actress Doris Day. We don't know the exact occasion but suspect it is Cannes Film Festival with Robin reporting.