The Old Collyerian's Association is an alumni organisation for former pupils and staff of Collyer's School, Horsham and ex-students and staff of its successor - the College of Richard Collyer.
Summer Reunion 2019
The 2019 Summer Reunion will be held on Sunday 30th June at the Biggin Hill Memorial Museum - click here for details.
Annual Dinner 2019

The date for the 2019 Annual Dinner is now confirmed as Saturday 23rd November.

A Message from our President

Being unwell I missed the last Winter Reunion. This is a favourite event in my calendar and I relish the opportunity to catch up with contemporaries from school days. Over sixty years ago I entered Form 1b of Collyer’s School and I remember clearly my first day there in September 1955. Growing older, my appreciation of times past has greatly increased. Then a Grammar School Education was something to be prized. In the 1950s Collyer’s School was run with uncomplicated efficiency, being relatively free of administrative “red tape”. My first year was P.A.Tharp’s last as headmaster, so my early time at the school bridged the change to D.J.Coulson’s regime. PAT as he was widely known in Horsham, had a caring style of headmastering. Determined to learn the names of all the new boys, he lunched with them on Wednesdays in the hall, working around the first form tables and trying to identify each boy. Soon he was nearly name perfect. On Mondays, in assembly, after the procession of begowned masters had left, he would read out extracts from letters he had recently received from Old Boys who were making their ways in the world. Even though the senders’ names meant little to me as a new boy, these letters were interesting and afforded a chance to think about future career opportunities at home and overseas.

In contrast, D.J. Coulson’s headship was driven by keen discipline and a robust academic ethic; work and its results were the all important issues. These were well illustrated on 25th October 1962 when I arrived to find the head boys of two very prominent Sussex schools waiting in our prefects’ room. They had come seeking support for a planned regional pupils’ strike. The intention was to demonstrate to our politicians the terrible anxiety felt by so many young people that the Cuban Missile Crisis would escalate the Cold War into to a full blown nuclear confrontation between the US and the USSR. Roger Hawksworth, my immediate predecessor as Head Prefect, handled the situation very tactfully at the time and our visitors went on their way empty handed. There was however some press interest and the Headmaster, in typical style, was not amused, robustly stating ”We’re here to work.”. Jimmy Hodgson reckoned the telephone wires between DJC and the two other relevant headmasters neared melting point! The protest fizzled out in a couple of days as the crisis was resolved. The boys’ actions were a bit ahead of their time and nowadays something similar might meet with more understanding.

Recently, along with several other OCA committee members, I attended the Old Mercers’ Club Annual Lunch at the Mercers’ Hall. This was a splendid and interesting occasion. Considering that Mercers’ School closed in the late 1950’s, the Old Mercers have done very well keeplng going for so long. Sadly their Club is to be wound up in 2022 as the dwindling membership makes it unsustainable. Unlike the OCA their Club has no successor institution to support. The highly successful progress of The College of Richard Collyer gives the OCA better focus and a raison d’etre beyond merely keeping Old Collyerians in touch. It affords a source of new members which we are very anxious to exploit in to strengthen our membership. There are many former pupils who do not belong to the OCA but who might respond to a friendly nudge to join, especially from an OCA parent.

The OCA as it stands includes some very talented and committed members, some of whom have worked extremely hard in pursuit of the Association’s objectives. Many members have experience in a wealth of career paths as well as the more general talents of fundraising, communications, organisation and management. To increase its relevance, and to avoid appearing slightly like a chrysalis, suspended in time, the committee is planning a number of activities which will enable it to augment the activities of the College of Richard Collyer. (Actually, the insect lovers amongst us will know that there is nothing static or suspended about what is going on inside a chrysalis. It is a time of intense re-allocation of resources and re-organisation of form!) There are two very obvious ways in which the OCA can assist the College. One is in the area of awards, and we have for some time sponsored certain prizes, e.g. in Creative Writing, and the other is in financial support for projects. Last year we donated money for team sports kit. We are currently considering the idea of offering careers mentoring for College students. By setting up a series of reunions and other events we hope to attract more members and to make it clear that the OCA is a forward looking and productive organisation with a useful future.

Andrew Campbell OCA President 2017-18