A letter from Russell Sunderland CB FCILT

Dear Russell

Many thanks for letting me have Geoffrey Shearing's details.

Last year’s newsletter included a reference to me by Geoff which prompted me to make contact. Having had no communication with him since we left school in the mid-fifties, I think the value of HOBA has once again been emphatically demonstrated.

Geoff has now retired from his post at Newcastle University and found time to give me a quick tour of the wonders of that city - between reminiscences, of course. We discovered that we had both retained the capacity to recite the 2A form-list (Allingham, Bake, Braim, Chisholm...) in 14 seconds flat, and shared similar views on the quality of our teachers. Our common non-curricular interest was the school chess team which seemed to be locked permanently in deadly combat with Huddersfield College. However, in these days of oddball research projects, somebody might like to explore why a mathematician should remember incidents which have totally escaped the memory-bank of a linguist and vice versa.

While I am writing, may I offer a contribution on the topic of staff nick-names? Unless I missed something in an earlier newsletter, the origin of 'Larry' as the name by which Norman Gain was known, remains a mystery to current members of the Association. An obituary in the Times recently recorded the passing of one Larry Gaine (sic) who made his name in the mid-thirties with an epic solo flight to Australia. That event must have coincided approximately with Norman Gain's arrival at Heath. I did incidentally visit him in his retirement home in Liverpool a year or two before his death, where he seemed very happy and revealed another of his many talents by presenting me with a collection of poems that he had written at various stages of his life.

Assuming your membership list is now computerised, would it be possible to record the year of entry to the school (university-style) so that a year-group can readily be identified? (And can you make sure the Data Protection Act doesn't get in the way of members' use of the information?)

I won’t take up more than my fair share of your valuable pages by giving you an account of life in what are regarded (often inaccurately) as the corridors of power. However, for the record I too am retired and still living in Surrey where I enjoy occasional meetings with Barry Edwards (as it happens, a former colleague of Geoff Shearing at Manchester University).

Keep up the good work.

All good wishes,

Russell Sunderland [Heath 1948–?]