Dragon Community Archived News

The Dragon Community is broad and active. It includes Old Dragons, parents, staff, former parents and former staff. The Dragon has strong values and an enduring culture that forms a bond across generations, and the strength of its community is cemented by events that provide regular opportunities to re-connect, supported by social media including an active Facebook page. As the leavers are comforted each year: ‘Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon’.

2017 and 2016 - Brief Snippets

John Beauchamp

After studying Polish at UCL John Beauchamp (OD 1995) completed a Masters degree at Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and works in media in Poland.  Before establishing his own podcast company, Homegrown Media, John was head of the English Section of Polskie Radio. He was recently appointed Editor-in-Chief of Culture.pl, a website run by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute. 

Ben Lamb sm

Swashbuckling Ben Lamb (OD 2002) has been in the Wars of the Roses ('the White Queen'), a horror movie ('End of Term', set in a school, but not featuring Dragons) and soon he will apeear on the History Channel in Knightfall. To add romance to daring he has married Louise, who he met whilst filming in Bruges.

Ed Watson

Cassie Cooper (OD 1995) completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (14 days, 180 miles, 35,000 feet) in memory of her husband Ed Watson, pictured left, who died last August. She has so far raised £14,000 for the Royal Marsden Sarcoma Research Fund. Read more and please consider giving a donation to support her marvellous effort: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/walk-for-ed

Cressida Dick

Cressida Dick (OD 1974), has been appointed the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner. She left top in her class in Classics and won the School prize for English. She performed in “Master Beware” which also starred Hugh Lawrie.
Read the Telegraph's profile of Cressida.

Rory Stewart

"Occupational Hazards", a play based on the memoir by Rory Stewart MP (OD 1986) will open in April at the Hampstead Theatre and tells an extraordinary story based upon Rory's experiences in the Middle East, about the moral conflicts, the dangers and the comic absurdities inherent in foreign occupation.

Harry Dalmeny

Harry Dalmeny (OD 1981) has been appointed the Chairman of Sotherby’s UK. Having joined the firm in 1990 he brought his charisma to the rostrum, leading the auction of collections including those of Ava Gardner and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. His new role includes developing Sotheby's property sales business.

2016

Frances Houghton

Frances Houghton (OD 1993), who competed in five Olypmics and won three Olympic silver medals in rowing, won the Oxfordshire Sportswoman of the Year award in January 2017. Frances opened the Dragon sale in 2016.

Tom Hiddleston At the Golden Globes awards 2016 Tom Hiddleston (OD 1994) won best actor and Hugh Laurie (OD 1972) best supporting actor for the BBC spy drama,The Night Manager. Tom Hollander (OD 1980) also starred in the series.
Mark Quarterly Mark Quartley (OD 1998) is currently playing Ariel to Simon Russell-Beale’s Prospero, in Greg Doran’s production of The Tempest. Mark wears a motion capture suit at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre for the first time, which allows his movements to be projected around the stage. His Ariel flies and morphs into different versions of the spirit. The production has received brilliant reviews.
Julia Grey  

The Otherlife by Julia Gray (OD 1995)has been nominated for the Carnegie Award. Of her first book, Julia commented “I have to say I could never have written The Otherlife without having gone to the Dragon; it's very inspired by my time there in many ways - not least because I have used my Norse Mythology homework written for Moocow circa 1991 almost throughout.”

Adam Brown

Adam Brown  (OD 1995) lives in San Francisco and apart from hitch-hiking and living in a boat commune he works as a theoretical physicist. He teaches Einstein's General Theory of Relativity at Stanford University, and researches quantum gravity, quantum computing, and the moments just after the Big Bang. He recently wrote a popular article for Scientific American entitled "How to Mine a Black Hole" about his work on the engineering challenges the laws of physics place in the way of trying to extract energy from a black hole.

A United Kingdom

The film 'A United Kingdom' tells the story of politically controversial marriage between Sir Seretse Khama (King 'Kgosi' of the Bamangwato Tribe in Botswana) and Ruth Williams (A Clerk at Lloyds of London) in 1948. The screenplay was written by Guy Hibbert (OD 1963) and stars Jack Davenport(OD 1986). The film was well reviewed in The Guardian

 Marcus Payne  

Marcus Payne (OD 2011) made the RYA, RS Feva, National Junior Squad (Sailing). In 2012 he came second at the RS Feva National championships and went on to compete in the world championships. Marcus has completed work experience in the Zhik warehouse in Holland and at the London boat show. Marcus is now at Nottingham Trent University reading International Relations. 

 Jessica Riley  

Dr Jessica Riley (OD 2005) BVSc MRCVS, graduated from Bristol University last summer. She is now a small animal vet on the north Cornwall coast with a special interest in exotic species (anything that isn’t a cat or a dog). She is hoping to gain an advanced certificate in Exotic Medicine. When not working, Jessica is out on  Dartmoor with her partner and their very naughty Jack Russel terrier Moja or surfing at her favourite beach.

 

Two ODs Working in International Development 

Matilda Cooper smMatilda Cooper (OD 1996) works for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). She joined the ICRC in 2011 as an Arabic speaker, having spent four years in Damascus. She has been a Field Delegate in South Sudan, Gaza, and Lebanon, where she has worked with a wide variety of people affected by conflict, including detainees, refugees, and their families. She is currently based in Myanmar as deputy head of office in Shan state.

Rise Foundation2Jasper Hadman (OD 1996) works for Rise Foundation, a small NGO based in Erbil, northern Iraq. Day to day, this involves driving out to newly liberated areas – currently in and around Mosul – and reporting on the humanitarian situation, including displacement, the needs of civilians, their treatment by security forces, and access and security considerations. Essentially Rise is an information link between the most vulnerable conflict-affected communities and the aid and advocacy power of NGOs, consulates, donors and UN agencies. Jasper has also undertaken some remarkable journeys, see his blog 'Bicycling to Kurdistan'

Dinner at Lord's Cricket Ground

Thank you to all those who attended the truly special dinner in the Long Room at Lord's Cricket Ground on Friday, 30th September 2016. It was a perfect setting to bring several generations of Old Dragons together, including members of the 1958 First XI and the 1957 Stradling's boys. A big thank you to our OD host Charles Gordon (OD 1958). It was a huge privilege to have a sumptuous dinner in the Long Room, and for those who wished, to enjoy a conducted tour of the Museum.

ODs Working for Social Impact in the UK

Rick MowerRick Mower (OD 1980) is running a charity in the Blackbird Leys area of Oxford called RAW Workshop, which is going from strength to strength (picutred here with Jamie Kirham (OD 1986) who works with refugees in Oxford). RAW produce high quality wooden products, especially for the garden, and employs people who would otherwise find integration into the workplace difficult due to learning or other dificulties.  He wrote to us 'my passion for people (and belief that anything is possible) was rooted at The Dragon'. Rick maintains an excellent twitter feed.

Down in Brighton, Eugenie TeasleyEugenie Teasley (OD 1994) is CEO of tGF, an organisation that gives seed-funding for social impact projects. From Classics at Oxford, through teaching, to the non-profit sector, Eugenie has worked around the world and is now trustee of several charities with a particular focus upon developing resilience in young people. She is married with two sons (plus two dogs). Watch and read more about Eugenie here.

Thanksgiving Service - Robin 'Lofty' Houghton

On Saturday, 17th September 2016, current and former staff, Old Dragons and family gave thanks for the life of Robin ‘Lofty’ Houghton at a Thanksgiving Service held at St Andrew’s Church, Oxford, which was followed by a Reception fittingly held here, in the Lynam Hall.

During the service the Dragon Idris Choir sang two anthems and encouraged the large congregation to sing out the hymns, ending with Lofty’s favourite “Jerusalem”. Ian Murchie, as friend and colleague, delivered a witty eulogy which recalled many events and raised a few giggles. The prayers were led by Robert Startin (Lay Chaplain at the Dragon) and Rev Ronnie Lloyd. The ladies of St Andrew’s Church excelled themselves with beautiful flowers in Dragon blue and gold. 

Lofty’s wife, Andrea, and daughters, Joanna (OD 1990) and Frances (OD 1993), along with their wider family, were pleased to see so many people paying their respects and sharing memories of Lofty. Three fellow rowers from the medal-winning Olympic rowing eight were also in attendance with Frances, who wore her silver medal from the Rio Olympics – sadly, Lofty died before he was able to celebrate Frances’ latest achievement. Lofty was a keen supporter of British Women’s rowing and several other members of the rowing fraternity were also in attendance from far and wide.

Robin Houghton Thanksgiving Service

 

ODs on Film and Stage

Beauty and BeastTwo Old Dragons star in blockbusters currently in the cinemas, and two are receiving great reviews on the stage. Emma Watson (OD, 2003) plays a 'a bright, beautiful and independent young woman' in this successful re-telling of  'Beauty and the Beast'. Tom Hiddleston (OD, 1994) also re-takes a classic: the discovery of King Kong on Skull Island. Meanwhile, Tom Hollander (OD, 1980) is reviving Stoppard's 'Travesties' at the Apollo Hammersmith, and is 'superbly funny' (the Independent), and Mark Quartley (OD, 1998) will be back as Ariel at the Barbican Theatre in June in the acclaimed RSC production of the Tempest.

1990s Reunion

John Baugh, Headmaster, and Moira Darlington, our new Alumni Representative (formerly Head of Future Schools), were delighted to welcome over 75 Old Dragons and former staff to the 1990s Reunion held on Tuesday 6th September 2016. The evening buzzed with chatter and was a great success.

Please find a gallery of photos below:

Headmaster and Leading Portrait Painter Open Old Dragon Art Exhibition

Jenny Saville with John BaughOver thirty Old Dragons and Staff have exhibited in the Old Dragon Art Exhibition, held at the school during Oxford Art Week. The exhibtion included a great variety of mediums: ceramics, masks, drawing and ink, film, portrait, landscape and still-life. It was particularly thrilling to see such a range of ages represented, with many talented artists now at senior school and university sharing the space with artists who have enjoyed long and successful careers. Current parent Jenny Saville, RA, opened the exhibition and gave an insightful opening address. The exhibit was well attended by the general public, current parents and pupils. Read more about the artisits and the opening event in two articles on attain news.

News of Ella Waydelin

Ella WaydelinWe have received the sad news that Ella Waydelin died peacefully at Fairfield Residential Home on Saturday, 6th August, at the amazing age of 105. 

Ella (pictured in 1970 right centre) has had a long association with the Dragon. Born in 1911, she arrived in 1937 to be Hum’s Secretary. Once Joc formally took over as headmaster she became the School Secretary until 1970 when she retired. These last years she has lived at Fairfield Residential Home in Banbury Road.

Funeral details will follow when we know the arrangements.

Our thoughts are with her family at this time.

Old Dragons Bid Farewell to John and Wendy Baugh

JRB smTwo very special reunions were held at the end of the Easter term for Old Dragons who left the School during John Baugh's leadership, which now draws toward a close after 15 influential years.  At the reunions, held at the Dragon, John revealed unusual intentions for the traditional Headmaster's portrait. Pictures of the events are on the OD Facebook page and the full story can be read at https://attain.news/n11598 

Michael HanksMichael Hanks (OD 1940)

We have received the news that Michael John Hanks (OD 1940) died on 10th January 2015 after a short illness.

Michael left the Dragon School for St Edward’s in 1941 having started in the ‘Baby School’ in 1931. He enlisted in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in August 1945, before transferring to the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry in 1947 and undertaking his officer training in India. He left the army in 1948 and joined Dorland Advertising Ltd where he became a director, retiring in 1982. Michael is survived by Sue, his wife of 62 years, three sons, Simon, James and Willie, seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

  

Ed Mather Re-Joins the Dragon

20170301 Ed Mather

Edward Mather (OD 1998) re-joined the Dragon as a member of the English Department and a D Block Form-taker in January. He has fond memories of tumbling down the slopes by the Memorial Cross with friends, clambering over compost heaps to research woodlice for a Science project and writing poetry by the banks of the river. He recalls playing endless marbles, football and conkers in Bun-breaks but says, “Sadly I don’t see much in the way of marbles or conkers now: perhaps my mission could be to reinstate these.”

He recalls the open-air, dilapidated, freezing swimming pool but comments that it is now worthy of national competitions; although he does miss seeing children hanging off the walls to cheer on their team.

From the Dragon he went on an Academic scholarship to St Edward’s and from there to St John’s, Cambridge, where he read French and Italian. He then went into Public Relations and, whilst working for the National Literacy Trust, he volunteered with a Year 5 Primary School class which inspired him to move into teaching. “It is so interesting getting to know the children as individuals and having the chance to try to inspire them. Knowing that you have delivered a good lesson gives you a real buzz.”

Asked about reflections on the Dragon he says, “As a child, you see teachers mostly as people who deliver a subject; working here, I see teachers in a new light - they are so dedicated to making the whole school experience positive for the child.” He finds it bizarre to be in English Department meetings with his old football coach, Mr Gill, and to be permitted to walk into the once-hallowed ground of the Staff Common Room!

His ambition? To become part of the woodwork!

Pursuing a Passion in Art

Freddy Paske (OD 1999) has recently left behind seven years of service with the British Army to start a new career as a professional artist.

Having been a keen artist from an early age, Freddy’s passion for drawing and painting was nurtured within the Dragon Art Department. After being awarded a Major Art Scholarship to Harrow School, Freddy went on to study Art History, before being commissioned into the Light Dragoons in 2009.

Never without a sketchbook, Freddy continued to draw and paint throughout his time in the Army. His military career saw him serving on operations in Afghanistan and Bosnia, which provided a constant stream of inspiration and subject matter. It was following a sell-out exhibition in London, on return from Helmand Province, that Freddy decided to pursue his talent as a full time career.

Freddy’s unique style has developed out of necessity; never having enough time in one place. By using bold and expressive marks and a masterful use of negative space, he conjures up suggestions of detail and movement.

Having been shortlisted for Wildlife Artist of the Year 2016, Freddy will be exhibiting his most recent work, Animals in Motion, at 50 Brook St, Mayfair, on the 14th and 28th July.
All members of the Dragon community are warmly invited.

Freddy Paske - Animals in Motion

The 'K' Walk

Patrick'The K walk': a sponsored walk of epic proportions. Patrick Baddeley (OD 1967) has just completed a 2,500km walk from the very southern tip of India up the east coast to Kolkata. It took almost 6 months. He walked in memory of his daughter, Katie (OD 2002).

Please see his fundraising page to contribute. Patrick has so far raised over £11,000 for 'Future Hope', a safe home and school in Kolkata for 120 children. His family have supported the home since a group from the Dragon visited in 2000.

The family have a deep connection with the home. His nephew Robin (son of Tim Baddeley OD 1969) and his daughter Bubble (OD 2007) have worked as volunteers at Future Hope.

Patrick retired last year. He is maried to Lucy (they met at the Dragon); Lucy's siblings are Tom, Martyn, Brian and Owen Lloyd, also ODs.

Just Giving Link

Patrick's Facebook Link

 

In related news, Cassie Cooper (OD 1995) completed the Pembrokeshire Coast Path (14 days, 180 miles, 35,000 feet) in memory of her husband Ed Watson. She has so far raised £14,000 for the Royal Marsden Sarcoma Research Fund. Read more and please consider giving a donation to support her marvellous effort: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/walk-for-ed

Remembering Robin 'Lofty' Houghton

Robin HoughtonRobin Houghton, known affectionately as ‘Lofty’, died after a long, bravely fought, illness on Friday 27th May 2016.

Lofty was Dragon through and through. After moving on to King’s School, Canterbury and St. John’s, Oxford, he came back to the Dragon in 1959. Lofty was form master for many years, in addition to teaching Latin, Greek, Maths, Science and French. He became Head of Science in 1962, a post he held until 1997. He ran Charlbury (1969-1974), and then No. 14 Bardwell Road - Lofty's (1974-1983) with his wife Andrea, whom he had married in 1970. During this period he began organising prize giving and Leavers’ Books, a job he did with meticulous dedication for 56 years. After he retired as a full time member of staff, he became the Golden Oldies Co-ordinator, maintaining the database of long serving staff and arranging their annual lunch with his usual attention to detail. He maintained close relationships with many of the Golden Oldies, and his caring nature shone through in his ongoing attention to the welfare of numerous former Dragon staff. He leaves his wife, Andrea, and two daughters Joanna (OD 1990) and Frances (OD 1993).

Please send your condolences to Mrs Andrea Houghton, Orchard House, 3 Windmill Lane, Wheatley, OX33 1TA. 

 

Tim Conibear Receives Laureus 'Sport for Good Award' 2017

Surfing collage

Tim Conibear (OD 1995) has received the 'Sport for Good Award' at the prestigious 2017 Laureus Awards held in Monaco. In an event that saw Usain Bolt and Nico Rosberg receive awards, Tim was honoured for his Surf Therapy programmes for township children in South Africa.

For many years surfers in Cape Town, like Gary Kleynhans, have given children from troubled backgrounds the opportunity to learn to surf and discover life, and success, beyond city streets and troubled townships. Some programmes, like 'Umthombo' in Durban, have successfully integrated surfing with programmes to help children escape homelessness.

Tim, an Ashoka fellow, has taken surfing as a route out of trauma to a new scale, working with 1000 children in five centres in South Africa and one in Liberia. The programmes have been positively rated through academic assessment and are receving internaional exposure.

Listen here to an interview with Tim on South African radio. An article by The Independent also explains some of the background and purpose to his Waves for Change programme.

The project has a twitter feed, or search social media for #SurfTherapy.

Fittingly, the patron of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation was Nelson Mandela, who once said 'sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can awaken hope where there was previously only despair.'  Tim has proven this to be true for hundreds of young people from traumatised township communities.

A New Global Shaper

Maxine Mackintosh Global Shapers Community - World Economic ForumThe Dragon would like to congratulate Maxine Mackintosh (OD 2006) who has joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community and the Youth Health Parliament for her work in digital health, data science research and support of women working in technology.

After leaving UCL with a BSc (Neuroscience), Maxine completed her MSc in health economics at the LSE and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is currently working on a PhD at UCL in data science, looking for ways to indentify dementia twenty years before the onset of symptoms. 

Dragon Networking

Digital Future Forum

Digital Future

Robin Wong

Our second Arduus ad Solem: Networking Event on Thursday, 24th November 2016, was a great success. Old Dragons Guy Gadney and Robin Wong led a fascinating evening in the Lynam Hall on 'the Digital Future'.

Guy and Robin are at the forefront of thinking about how technology is shifting our experience and strategies for life, and their presentations were thought provoking and wide ranging. Ibe Akoh, Head of Curriculum ICT, spoke on the impact of ICT on education, and the ‘Digital Dragons’ club showed an entertaining video reporting from their time-travel into the future.

Over drinks there was a chance to meet other Old Dragons and the speakers to discuss the ideas. Our next networking event for the Dragon community on ‘Insurance and Risk’ is in London, at Lloyds, led by Old Dragons David Howden and Andrew Barnes. If you are an Old Dragon and interested in leading a Networking Event, read here for details.

 

Skippers Society at the Dragon SchoolSkipper Society Day 2016

On the 11th June 2016 – a slightly damp but mild day – we once again welcomed our Skipper Society Members to a very convivial lunch and an afternoon on the Dragon fields.

Despite the wet weather and in true Dragon spirit, our visitors refused to be confined to our specially placed gazebo and instead wandered happily to all corners of the fields taking in the sporting action. With two cricket matches between the Dragon and Bilton Grange, a dynamic match between the Dragon and Primrose Hill Cricket Club, as well as the U12 Girl's Big Bash Inters Rounders Competition underway, it was a particularly lively afternoon. 

The Skipper Society honours those Old Dragons, parents and former staff who have remembered the Dragon in their will and we continue to be enormously grateful to them.

Skippers Society at the Dragon School

Skippers Society at the Dragon School

Architectural Achievements

Tommy Jay (OD 2000) - Architect We've had news in from Tommy Jay (OD 2000) who, we're proud to report, has been chosen as part of the architectural team to build the Church of England's new public library and archive (pictured below left) at Lambeth Palace. More info and pictures can be found here

In addition, Tommy has published a fascinating book, Change & Continuity (pictured below right), with drawings and his own photographs of the architecture of Oxford colleges as you rarely see it: concrete frames, glass curtain-walls, and factory-formed furniture. Charged by the social heroism of the post-war generation, these developments bear witness to a bold yet brief cultural project in which innovation and tradition locked horns. Fifty years on, the fallout clears to reveal a great poetry about how we adapt our built environment to accommodate change while continuing our heritage, inventively. Now on sale at the RIBA Bookshop, on Amazon and via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." target="_blank">

Tommy Jay - Lambeth Palace Library (left) and Change & Continuity (Right)

Alastair and Milly SimmieOvercoming Obstacles, the Dragon Way

The day before Alastair Simmie (OD 1998) married his wife Milly in July last year she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (read the full story in the Telegraph here). EHE is a form of cancer that affects the vascular system and is thought to be responsible for fewer than 1% of all cancers. Due to its rarity, there is a severe lack of funding for research and, in true Dragon style, Alastair and Milly have set out to raise awareness and funds for the charity EHE Rare Cancer UK.

Together with fellow Old Dragon, Edward Salter (OD 1998), and five other friends, Alastair cycled from Land's End to John O Groat's in May this year. They covered a gruelling 1000 miles in just nine days.
Watch their ‘cheeky’ video of the trip below.

Alastair subsequently held a Charity Ball at The Hurlingham Club for 250 people, raising a huge £70,000 on the night. Collectively, Alastair and Milly have now raised over £150,000 for EHE Rare Cancer in just under a year, which puts them in the top 1% globally on JustGiving.

We get the feeling that Alastair and Milly are just getting started! To show your support please visit their JustGiving page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Milly-Simmie1

Rob Callender Performs in Comus

On Saturday, Jane Pendry, Head of Development, and Moira Darlington (Ma Da) went to the Sam Wanamaker Theatre next to The Globe Theatre to see OD Rob Callender (OD 2004) in Milton's Comus, brought bang up to date with a fresh epilogue by the lead character on the importance of a woman making her own decisions and forging her own path. This ensemble production, performed by candlelight, required Rob to sing, dance and sword fight but he still managed to have the energy to lead a stimulating conversation in The Swan afterwards. We were delighted to be joined by Isabel Ogilvie-Smith (OD 2008) and her mother Elizabeth Paris. Meeting ODs is always fascinating and stimulating! 
 
Do send details of any OD gatherings wherever you are. We would love to hear from you too.

Rob Callendar

Ronald Poulton Palmer - Rugby HeroA Rugby Hero

On Saturday, 11th June 2016, two members of the Dragon School staff, Tim Knapp, Director of Sport, and Hugo McNeile, Master i/c Rugby, were delighted to be invited and very proud to attend the unveiling of a blue plaque for Ronald Poulton Palmer (1889-1915), rugby legend and Old Dragon. The ceremony was conducted by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board and took place at the Poulton’s family home, Wykeham House, at 56 Banbury Road in Oxford and the plaque is dedicated to both Ronald and his father, Sir Edward Poulton.

Sir Edward Poulton was a zoologist, committed to the theory of natural selection, unlike many of his contemporaries, and became Hope Professor of Zoology (Entomology) at Oxford in 1893. He specialised in the study of the colours, markings and mimicry of insects. His careful fieldwork and experiments advanced a newer ecological approach to the study of evolution and he was a widely respected scientist of his time.

Ronald Poulton Palmer - Blue PlaqueIn 1897, Edward’s son Ronald came to the Dragon as a day boy, leaving in 1903. From a very young age Ronald showed great promise as an all-round athlete. As well as awards in athletics and gymnastics, he was awarded colours in both cricket and rugby before he was 12 years old. He went on to become a charismatic and famous rugby player, playing 17 times for England, captaining the team in four unbeaten matches in 1914. He was the outstanding individual in the first team to win all four Five Nations’ internationals in the consecutive seasons of 1913 and 1914. He won three blues playing for Oxford and the 1909 match against Cambridge is known as ‘Poulton’s match’ for his five tries, still a record in a varsity match. He also played club rugby for Harlequins and Liverpool. He adopted the additional surname Palmer when he became his uncle’s heir and went into the business. Ronald’s 17th match was played on Easter Monday, 1914, versus France near Paris. Ronald scored four tries with his 4th try being the last scored in an International match before the war.

Killed by sniper fire near Armentieres in 1915, he remains a rugby legend, still celebrated by the Dragon and Rugby School, by Oxford University, England Rugby Union and Harlequins. His name was one of the first to appear on the Wall of Fame at Twickenham when it was created at the millennium.  A recent biography (2009) by Richard Corsan, Poulton and England, the life and times of an Edwardian rugby hero, emphasises his noble and inspiring character in addition to his prowess on the rugby field.

Many thanks to the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board for the invitation to this memorable event and to supplying the text above, supplemented by excerpts from the Dragon’s First World War Memorial Book. 

Ronald Poulton Palmer - Blue Plaque

Ronald Poulton Palmer - Rugby Hero

Drinks in New York

A small gathering of Old Dragons, current Dragon parents and current staff gathered together at The East Pole Bar in New York on Thursday, 27 October 2016. Staff in attendance included Hugo McNeile, Annie McNeile (Head Teacher at the Dragon Pre-Prep) and Vicky Savage (Dragon Director of Music), along with recently retired Registrar (and former House Master of Gunga Din) Desmond Devitt. The lively and enjoyable evening carried on long into the night with some Old Dragons catching up over a late supper with Dragon staff.

The Dragon Community in and around New York were invited to the NY Reception which has taken place over many years during the half-term School Exchange. Year 8 Dragon children travel out annually to New York and stay with families from Nightingale-Bamford girls school and St. Bernard’s boys school. Our Dragons visit the Statue of Liberty, the Ground Zero site, take a city tour, sail out to Ellis island and of course, enjoy lessons in their host schools.

If you live in New York but didn’t receive an invite, or regularly travel to New York, and would like to be included in any future events, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details. 

New York Drinks 2016

Frances Houghton's Olympic Journey

In the run up to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro later this year, RowGlobal has published an interview with Frances Houghton (OD 1993), which can be read in full here

Frances Houghton

Dragon Donor Drinks

John Baugh, Dragon Headmaster, was delighted to be able to thank nearly 200 supporters of the School in person at the Dragon Donor Drinks Evening on Thursday, 6th October 2016.

Since John and his wife, Wendy, joined the School in 2002, more than 1,200 donors have raised £4.75m for the Dragon’s transformational bursary programme. As a result, 57 children have been able to access an extraordinary Dragon education, setting them on a path of success and fulfilment. In addition, over this period, donors have supported the Dragon's general development and hardship funds, and contributed towards capital projects, bringing the total raised, including gift aid, to over £8m.

John, who benefited from a bursary himself, launched the transformational bursary campaign in 2003 and has been very involved in fundraising at the School. He explains:

“The Dragon was founded on Benefaction and every Dragon has benefitted from the generosity of others. Our donors help us to keep the Dragon ethos of being both extraordinary and ordinary alive. With the help of the Dragon community, we continue to work towards maintaining our unique, vibrant and diverse Dragon culture for generations to come.”

John and Wendy will be moving on from the Dragon at the end of the summer term 2017, when Crispin Hyde-Dunn, currently Headmaster of Abingdon Prep, will become Headmaster.

Gold for Frances Houghton

Great Britain's women’s eight, with Old Dragon rower Frances Houghton (OD 1993), contributed one gold medal to the British Rowing team’s haul of four gold medals at the European Championships in Brandenburg an der Havel, Germany, on 8th May 2016. They smashed through the Dutch leaders with about 10m to go, winning the medal in a dramatic finish. Great Britain had 13 crews in the finals and also took two silvers and a bronze. The next big event for the GB Rowing Team will be the world cup in Lucerne from May 27-29 2016, so the Dragon will be supporting Frances, the rowing 8 and all the GB team.

Frances Houghton - Gold Medal at European ChampionshipsFrances Houghton, 3rd from right - Gold Medal at European Championships

Chairman of the Young Bar

We were delighted to receive some recent news from Old Dragon, Louisa Nye, who left the Dragon in C Block in 1995. Louisa went on to Oxford High School, then Cambridge (St John's) to do a law degree. She was called to the Bar at Middle Temple in 2007 and did a masters degree in law at LSE, graduating in 2008. She has since been practising as a barrister.

As the current Chairman of the Young Bar of England and Wales she was asked to give an opening address at the Annual Bar and Young Bar Conference on 15th October 2016. The Guardian newspaper published an article based on her talk and the obstacles facing young barristers today

Louisa suggests the Young Bar Hub as a useful resource for students or young barristers, as it has all-manner of helpful information, including a blog featuring a 'days in the life' series which gives a snapshot of what young barristers do. 

Louisa Nye

Old Dragon Golf Day

Friday 29th April 2016 at Frilford Heath Golf Club

A select band of ODs gathered here a few miles south of Oxford for their annual Stableford competition for Inky’s flask, with additional prizes for nearest the pin and longest drive. Frilford Heath, with its three championship courses, is a popular venue, home club of Eddie Pepperell and host to the Euro Pro Tour, and we found it in splendid condition. Nearest the pin, tricky straight into the wind, was won by Richard Gordon (OD 1962), and longest drive happily with a following wind by Robin Drake (1963). The overall winner, not for the first time, was Nick Kane (1958) with a very creditable score of 31 points on a day when conditions made scoring very difficult.

This event is now being run by Richard Gordon, who is keen to recruit new players. All OD golfers of any age or standard are welcome to take part. We meet at 12.00 for a sandwich lunch, with tee times booked from 1.15 – 1.45 for the Stableford competition, played in the traditional Dragon manner – relaxed, enjoyable and competitive!

Next year’s date: Friday, 19th May 2017. New players please contact Richard Gordon direct on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07876 035020 for more information.

OD Golf Day 2016

Support for Syrian Refugees in Oxford

Syrian Refugees in OxfordAt a recent Spectrum event, James Kirkham (OD 1986) introduced Dragon boarders to the current plight of refugees fleeing war-torn Syria. James, a fluent Arabic speaker, is a case worker, helping Syrian refugees to settle in Oxford. On hearing James' account of the obstacles faced by Syrians leaving their homeland and creating new lives for themselves in a new country, Dragon children expressed great compassion and appreciation of the refugees’ bravery.

If you would like to help James in his efforts to support Syrian refugees as they settle in Oxford, please get in touch with him JamesKirkham @ connectionfs.org. He is looking for Arabic speakers who may be able to offer some help with translation. He is also looking for donations of warm winter clothes, duvets and rugs, or you may be able to help by funding the food programme in one of the refugee camps. Many thanks.

James Kirkham

Olivia Maiden Climbs KilimanjaroA Mighty Challenge

Olivia Maiden (OD 2015) decided to conclude her years at the Dragon with an extraordinary challenge – to become one of the youngest climbers to attempt Kilimanjaro. After climbing Ben Nevis with her dad, Dan, she wanted to do something in memory of her sister Florence, who died aged 15 months as a result of a rare mitochondrial disease called Leigh’s Disease. Olivia decided to raise money for Helen & Douglas House. The children’s hospice helped Florence through the last weeks of her life and provided support to Olivia and her brother, George, during this difficult time. Olivia also decided that 50% of the money she raised would go to Ace Africa, a child-focused charity based in Kenya.

Training for Kilimanjaro was no easy task and involved going to the gym, climbing the Black Mountains, Ben Nevis (twice in two days), Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Kilimanjaro is the highest freestanding mountain in the world and 25% of climbers fail to reach the top due to Altitude Mountain Sickness. It is two-thirds the height of Everest, but the climb takes one week rather than 2-3 months. Olivia said: “I’m not a natural at sport, but I like climbing mountains and I’m just a bit determined!”

Once on Kilimanjaro, Olivia managed to trek 50 miles in 6 days, camping for 5 nights on the mountain with temperatures ranging from 25C to -25C at the top. Lack of oxygen was a major problem as by day two, normal activities like drinking out of your water bottle or tying your shoe lace left her gasping for breath. The altitude gives you headaches and makes you lose your appetite. By the start of the final summit night which started at 5,000m (16,000 ft), where oxygen levels are about half that at sea level, Olivia’s lack of energy from not eating enough left her unable to reach the summit.

Olivia has proved to be determined indeed and has raised £8500 for the two charities, an incredible effort, and we are all immensely proud of her achievement. She aims to go back and finish what she started as soon as she can and we have no doubt she’ll achieve her goal to reach the very top. 

Olivia Maiden Climbs Kilimanjaro