From Our New President

Carter Croft (FN 60-65)


Dear OSB, allow me to introduce myself.

I was born in Kendal, Westmorland and attended Seascale Preparatory School (55-60), then came to St Bees (FN 60-65). I was always better on the sports field than in the classroom, but was always fortunate in knowing what I wanted to do when I finished school: I was fascinated by dentistry; applied to Guys Hospital and was accepted, then graduated and embarked on my career.

I practised in the Kendal area, and following time with the Lancaster Group of Hospitals, eventually became an Associate Specialist. Practise in Harley Street and work with private hospitals followed. Then in 2000 I went to Australia to work for Queensland Health and coach rugby at Queensland University before retiring in 2004.

Carter Croft (FN 60-65)

Rugby has always been a passion with me, both playing and coaching, and following a long playing career, which included time with Blackheath, London Irish and Fylde, and both Kent and Cumberland and Westmorland, I qualified as a coach, which led to appointments with the Swiss national team and USA Eagles in Denver.

I now live in East Yorkshire with Lynda, whom I married in July 2022, where I coach the local rugby team, as well as umpiring in the local cricket league. I think I am settled!

I have three children from my previous marriage and six grandchildren.

An interesting six months have passed since I accepted the Presidency of the OSB Society, with an energy crisis followed by a cost of living explosion. Will life ever be the same again? But in spite of all that is going on around us, the OSB Society continues, as we try to encourage members to connect and reconnect in an attempt to renew old acquaintances, make new ones, strengthen the school and support its growth. I should like to extend a very big thank you to the outgoing President, Howard Graham, for all he did during a very difficult period.

I have been impressed to see at first-hand how the Headmaster is playing his part in moving things forward. One obvious way is shown by the pupil numbers’ forecast having been achieved, as you will read in his report in this Bulletin. He has added new and quality staff, which should result in even better results as well as fuelling the growth in pupil numbers. I would also draw your attention to the launch of his refurbishment appeal, and if you as an OSB are able to support this, whether it be by a donation or via supporting our OSB functions, your help will be gratefully received.

St Bees School used to have a large catchment area, which gave us nationwide, well attended functions throughout the country. Some of these regional branches still exist, but their numbers have diminished, and we are going to become an endangered species unless we as members make and take some responsibility and act now in their support.

Carter Croft (FN 60-65) and Linda Croft

Please try to become an active OSB. Phone a friend, attend a function, try to bring along a friend or two, include partners. We need to attract the involvement of younger members, and not all the events are formal ones. There are friendships to be renewed and new ones to be made for all ages. I assure you that networking, as it is now called, is well worthwhile.

My tenure commenced in June 2022 at the OSB weekend, made memorable by the Black Tie Dinner. This was a huge success, attended by 100 guests, a lovely well-priced meal from Julie, the pupils acting as waiters, Foundation Dining Room buzzing. It was preceded by a drinks' reception and followed by a discotheque. Howard fronted the evening, Darryl was on the microphone; master of ceremonies, Stuart Lancaster, treated us to a presentation, beautifully constructed, of how the school had contributed to make him the person he is. I should like to extend my thanks to Stuart and wish him every success with his new appointment at Racing 92 in Paris. We will expect future speeches in perfect French - bonne chance!

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the London Social, ably organised as ever by Nic Shannon and was represented by David Lord; numbers were a little down but I am informed that the evening was a great success. My thanks to Nic., and I do feel that this is a format that we could try with more of the branches.

I attended the North East Branch Dinner, held at the Northumberland Golf Club, excellently organised by Bill Dove. It was a really happy occasion and next year an OSB Lunch has already been booked at the same venue on the 8th November 2023; I hope to see many of you there.

Now we are looking forward to Darryl’s Cumbrian Branch Dinner to be held on the 3rd February 2023 at Armathwaite Hall Hotel. He is aiming for the magical 100 guests, so do please make contact with Darryl and reserve tables and places; it is a great venue as well as a good value meal. We hope to see more younger OSBs there.

Unfortunately, gatherings at Manchester, Yorkshire and Bristol have not taken place for the last few years and the Edinburgh Dinner had to be cancelled in 2022 owing to a lack of support. I would welcome any OSBs who feel they could offer any suggestions or support in ideas for the future for these events. 

Another OSB weekend will soon be upon us, with Founder's Day on the 16th June and OSB Day on the 17th June 2023. George Robson has publicised the pleasure he received from attending Founder's Day in 2022 and we must remember that this day, which appeals to all age groups, supports the school, Headmaster, staff and pupils, as well as the OSBs.
For OSB Day on the 17th June we have organised four interesting speakers, all OSBs and with distinguished flying careers. The theme is 'The Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines'. So please plan ahead, bring a friend, make new and old acquaintances, reserve a table or a place, make a weekend of it. Let's make it a celebration to remember.

Carter Croft (FN 60-65).