Birchfield Alumni News

Charlie Tait-Harris

Charlie Tait-Harris has been hitting the headlines at Shrewsbury School as one of the members of their national title-winning cross-country squad. Charlie won a Sports Scholarship to Shrewsbury principally as a talented footballer, but as demonstrated by his bronze medal in their Prep Schools’ Cross-Country championships whilst still at Birchfield, he also showed considerable promise as a runner. In his first year at Shrewsbury School in 2012 he was part of their silver-medal winning junior team at the English Schools’ Cross-Country Cup Final.

Two Saturdays ago, Charlie and other runners from Shrewsbury School went one better with a first National title for the school’s running team (known as The Hunt) in 20 years. Down in Kent for the famous Knole Run, a race the Hunt has never won, Charlie and the other Hunt runners ran with guts and determination with Charlie’s run key to our success. He came home in 14th out of 300 runners in 34.00 for the 9.5km undulating course, a very swift time indeed! The team won the championship trophy by just 1 point over defending champions, The Judd School, so it was very much a case of ‘every position counts’! This is an historic victory for Shrewsbury School and justifiably Shrewsbury School and Birchfield are very proud of Charlie.

In addition more recent leavers Lilian Wilcox and Sam Western are also making a name for themselves with Birchfield victories in the boys’ and girls’ Third Form race at the start of the year. Lilian ran for the girls team down in Kent at the Knole Run placing an outstanding 34th out of 150 runners, very impressive indeed given she was running against largely senior sixth form runners. The girls’ race is a shorter 5km loop so she was well able to cope with that kind of distance. Sam Western will be spearheading the junior team this weekend as they travel up to Giggleswick for the Midlands & Northern Schools’ Cross-Country Championships.

National Final at Oundle School

Three 'Old Birchfield Boys' played in the National Final at Oundle School on 10 August for Himley CC and are now proud winners!
Callum Lea, Christian Fellows and Arjun Uppal.

Congratulations to Callum Lea and Josh White, two old boys, who were crowned Midlands Champions. Next step the National Final!


After 42 years in teaching of which 36 (108 terms!) were spent at Birchfield, we will be sad to say farewell to Mr David Humpherson when he retires this July.

Many of you will have fond memories of his French lessons and Games' coaching. You may also remember his passion for rock music, being clearly identified on non-uniform days when he chose to wear his favourite band t-shirts.

We would like to hear any memories that you might have from your school days as we are planning to organise a presentation for David on this very special occasion. These may be in the form of a video, a written piece or a photograph.

We look forward to hearing from you and the memories you hold from your time with David Humpherson.



Old Boys' Invitational Cricket Match - 5 July

@ Albrighton Cricket Club 14:00

Birchfield School is 80 this year! Why not come along to our Old Boys' Invitational Cricket Match?

If you interested in playing please email Iain Anderson

Even if you are not able to play please feel free to come and support.

SAM GRAINGER 1999 - 2004

Sam Grainger will be releasing his first album on his new record label. It is a CD of The Choir of St Matthew's Church, Northampton singing British choral music from the last two centuries including some premières of recent commissions and other rarely recorded works as well as some more classic repertoire.
A preview of the latest commission can be found on YouTube.

If you happen to be near Northampton this Sunday evening (26 April), please consider dropping by for Evensong at 6:30pm followed by the CD launch and drinks reception at 7:30pm (please see attached). Do feel free to get in touch for any further information about the launch or the album or visit the St Matthews website or facebook page for updates. The choir are sounding particularly good at the moment and are all pretty excited about the release.


KEVIN THRELFALL (1958 - 1961)

Icon Books have just published Kevin Threlfall's autobiography – One Stop, One Life.

It’s a 336-page hardback, packed with colour photos, and available from Amazon for just £12.99. It is also available on kindle.

The book recounts his life as a retailer, from running a stall at Cannock Market in 1969 – out of which grew the Lo-Cost chain, one of Britain’s first discount food chains – and the rise from a single cigarette kiosk on Wolverhampton market to a business with 1,215 shops in just 25 years. 

Perhaps the most dramatic section though tells the story of how, on 23rd April this year, he died for 40 minutes while playing golf... he was saved by the quick-thinking of his golf partner and the emergency services.

Matt Lim (1993 - 2002)

Attended Shrewsbury School, then Cambridge University.

Matt has pseudonymously penned a play, "Way Back", which is set on Beachy Head, East Sussex, the notorious suicide spot. After a successful run in Cambridge and Edinburgh the play transferred to the Pleasance Theatre in Islinglington in May of this year and then at the Brighton Fringe Festival.

“Balanced excellently between fast-paced wit and tense personal reflection … this incredibly intelligent and honest dissection of grief, guilt, and inner turmoil encourages you to think as well as laugh.” Three Weeks

Charles Harris (? - 1958) & Richard Chapman (1952 - 1959)

Charles Harris - Now His Honour Judge Harris QC was President of the Council of Circuit Judges of England and Wales 2010.
Richard Chapman – Now District Judge Chapman was President of the Association of Her Majesty’s District Judges of England and Wales 2012/3.
They sat one behind the other in the 3rd form at Birchfield, not at that time thinking that more than 50 years later their career paths would cross in this way. Richard is not keen on the idea of retirement, compulsory for judges at age 70 years, and is considering a legal challenge.


Gavin Franklin (1982 - 1991)

After leaving Malvern College, Gavin Franklin attended Durham University, where he secured an honours degree in Sport, but more importantly captained the University cricket team and met his wife-to-be, Claire, a teacher.  He represented British Universities at cricket and went on to play for Staffordshire and Warwickshire.  Gavin spent 5 years at the Oval, as performance manager in charge of elite player development, becoming a level 4 cricket coach, before moving to Wellington College in Berkshire, where he is currently a Housemaster and master in charge of cricket.  More surprisingly (to his father at any rate) he also teaches A-level English!

Gavin and Claire have two sons, William aged 3, and Sammy who was born this August.

Charlie Home wins prestigious contract to Northants Academy

Exciting news about an Old boy as Charlie Home has taken another step forward in his cricketing development. Following a very productive season with both bat and ball which included being leading run scorer for the Shropshire U14’s and also a club 1st XI debut in Birmingham League 1, Charlie Home, a top order batter and off-spinner has been rewarded with a contract to the prestigious Northamptonshire CCC Academy. At just 14 years of age Charlie is one of the youngest players ever to have been signed to the Northants Academy. Massive congratulations from Mr Anderson and a great example of the opportunities that are on offer.

“Get-Together” of 1953 BIRCHFIELD LEAVERS

The '1953 Leavers Get-Together' at the Park House Hotel in Shifnal on Wednesday, 4 September 2013 was a tremendous success. The event was attended by 1953 leavers, Malcolm Southan, John Southan, Chris Flint, David Cave, Roger Harman, Tim Maslin and David Arnott  together with other Old Boys, John Shanks, Graham Robinson, John Edwards, Tim Rissbrook, plus wives.   A full resume and photographs of the evening will be posted on the website in due course.

Ivor Thomas

Following Mr Ivor Thomas’s search for his half brother he has ascertained that his name was Alan Thomas and he was possibly born around 1930 – 1931.  He has also established that Alan was at Birchfield School in 1942.  Unfortunately we are still unable to locate him on our records.  Alan’s mother’s name was Ilsa and he arrived with her from France.  Does anyone have any further information to help Mr Ivor Thomas in his quest?

Christopher Nyren

I have received the recent Birchfield Old Boys’ Newsletter.

I was fascinated to read that Mrs Nyren, my Mother, had assisted with classroom cleaning during 1942-1943.  I was also very interested to see both my brother Michael (now deceased) and myself in the 1945 photograph.

Because my information is sparse about my childhood years it would be very helpful to me to know if you have any more details about my Mother's domestic duties and my own and my brother's  entry to Birchfield.  My father was in the RAF and posted to Cosford, hence our move to Tettenhall Wood but I am not sure exactly when this was.

Any information from the Birchfield Archives would be much appreciated.

Christopher Nyren  (Age  76)