We are sorry to announce that the following Old Haberdasher's have passed away;
Michael Levin, who died on Wednesday 22 January aged 86 after a long illness, taught Physics with great accomplishment at Habs from 1972 to 1997, and for those of us who were taught by him his enthusiasm and knowledge of his subject was second to none. He also was a vitally important member of the Careers department as well as overseeing a very successful generation of Habs Chess players. His funeral took place last Friday.
Michael was himself an Old Haberdasher, joining the School at Westbere Road in 1946 and leaving in 1950. After obtaining excellent degrees from Imperial College, London, and spending some years working for the National Coal Board, the lure of Haberdashers was such (as with a number of OHs) that in 1972 he returned to teach – having been recruited by the then Headmaster, Tom Taylor.
Michael’s sons Jonathan (OH 1980) and David (OH 1982) both came to Habs, as indeed did a number of his nephews.
Our thoughts and condolences are with his whole family widow, and most especially his widow, Henny.
Simon Gelber (OH 1973)
We are sad to report the passing of Simon Gelber (OH 1973) on New Year’s Day, having suffered a heart attack over Christmas.
Simon was a true stalwart of Old Haberdashers sports and the Old Haberdashers Association and his enthusiasm and love for life could not do anything but positively affect those around him in a multitude of ways. As President of the Old Haberdashers Cricket Club his exuberant influence can never be underestimated, inspiring as he did a wonderful Haberdashers institution and welcoming all to join its ranks in a true spirit of friendship across the generations.
To celebrate Simon’s life, there will be a special event at the School on Saturday 8 February, beginning at 11.30am to which all are very much invited and encouraged to attend. If you would like more details please do not hesitate to contact the HABS Foundation (Foundation@habsboys.org.uk).
Alan Taylor MBE: 12 October 1931 - 22 November 2018
Alan was a chorister at St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge and graduated with an honours degree in Music followed by a post-graduate Diploma in Education. A first post as a Head of Music in Nottinghamshire was followed by his recruitment to Haberdashers in 1961 by the then Headmaster, Tom Taylor (no relation). On the retirement through ill health of Dr Eric McLellan one year later, Alan was rapidly appointed Director of Music at Habs, a role which he held for the following 34 years. As teacher, composer, conductor and choirmaster, Alan oversaw and led performances of the School Choir at the Royal Opera House, the annual Christmas Carol Concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Festival Hall and latterly at The Barbican. Some OHs will also rem
Generations of Habs boys benefited from his inspirational teaching and his ability to coax the very best out of his choirs. Recordings of concerts made during those 35 years still bear testament to this. Some OHs will also remember him as a skilful Fives player and teacher.
Out of school, Alan worked with all the major conductors and his choirs were continually in demand for performances in the London concert halls, taking part in many broadcasts, Promenade Concerts and recordings. His contribution to Music and Music Education was recognised in 1982 with the award of an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
David Wrench 1937 – 2018
David died at home in Somerset on 18 June aged 81 years old. A Rugby player of great note, having taken a B.Sc at the University of Leeds , he was the Captain of the English Universities XV in 1959/60, before gaining a Blue playing for Cambridge in the Varsity Match of 1960 while he was attached to Christ’s College for his PGCE year. He then played for Harlequins, the Barbarians and England. David left Habs to teach at Taunton School. A larger than life character, former colleagues and pupils will have any number of tales from his time at Haberdashers.
Duncan McInnes (OH1959)
Duncan unexpectedly passed away on 27 February 2018.
The family's moving obituary may be read here.
Our sincere condolences go to Duncan's family and friends at this sad time.
Richard 'Dick' Roberts (OH1969)
Dick Richards sadly passed unexpectedly on 16 December 2017.
Visit 'Dick Roberts remembered' to read a moving tribute and obituary.
We offer our deepest condolences to his widow Sarah and his two young daughters.
Lionel Marks (OH1932)
Shortly before Christmas the Foundation was informed by his family that Lionel Marks (OH 1932) had passed away peacefully on 12 December 2017 at the age of 101.
Please see below the record of the Director of the HABS Foundation, Roger Llewellyn’s visit to see Lionel earlier in the year.
Having been contacted by Mrs Alison Davis shortly before the end of the 2017 summer term, Director of the HABS Foundation, Roger Llewellyn, was made aware that her father, possibly the oldest living Old Boy Lionel Marks (OH 1932) was in fact residing only a few miles away from the School in Bushey Heath. It was therefore a pleasure for Roger to be able to visit 101 year old Lionel recently and learn more about his time at the School in Westbere Road.
Lionel joined the Prep in 1924 and was one of three brothers (out of five) who attended Haberdashers, from their home in Cricklewood. This being the case, Lionel was able easily to walk to School without having to use buses or the `Bedpan’ trainline which ran past the School. At School, Lionel’s two sporting passions were Boxing and Swimming, excelling as a Lightweight in the former and winning trophies for the latter. In the Easter 1925 edition of Skylark it was recorded that 'in the Four Stone (Boxing) class, L. Marks by sheer determination beat a more scientific opponent in Van de Volk’. Lionel’s memories of his teachers were that many had served in the Great War with distinction and that they were universally very capable, and strict but fair. This had to be the case as classes were often as large as thirty. Corporal punishment for misbehaviour or as Lionel put it `saying the wrong things’ was common, but this was accepted by the boys without question. Lionel believed his favourite subject was Mathematics, but it was difficult to plump for one over another. He remembers few of his contemporaries, but does recall Ken Blessley (whose son Colin is now President of the OHA) very well.
Lionel left Habs at 16 and went into the family tailoring business with his brothers, before seeing action in the Second World War with the RAF in places as far as Kuwait, India and Egypt. Back in Civvy Street, Lionel returned to the tailoring business, bringing up five daughters (no sons!) before finally retiring at 80. He now has ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, the majority of whom live close by. He is still keen on sport and takes great delight in watching his beloved boxing, rugby and football – coming, as he does from a family of Arsenal supporters.
Before leaving, Roger was able to give Lionel his own house tie, that of Russells the house that both he and his brothers Charles and Harry shared. Lionel sends his best wishes to the School and all its Old Boys and current pupils.
Condolences go to Lionel's family and friends from all the Haberdashers community.