Richard Nicholls (FS 49-53) recently visited the school:
Yes, St Bees, David Lyall and my biking buddies set me up for a wonderful life. I hope the school survives for another 500 years to make the world a better place.”
“On my return to St Bees in October with my new American wife of seven years, my most vivid observation was that since 1953, when I left school to start a life in Canada, so many things are unchanged. The chapel, the crease, the fives courts and the village are all as though time stood still.
Pam Rumney took time to show us around the school in style. It brought back so many happy memories. The huts where Anthony Dearle tried to teach me history and Latin were gone, but several impressive buildings had replaced them. Although Foundation was unchanged on the outside and the dining room even smells the same, it was a shame to find that ‘big dorm’ had gone. We were surprised and pleased to find that the food in the dining room has taken a giant leap forward.
A high priority for me was to find David Lyall, who, as my maths teacher but more important my running coach, had shaped my life to a greater degree than I had realized. It was Tom Dalzell, my cycling competitor at school, who had an exquisite Dawes bicycle and still lives in St Bees, that reminded me of how the school had emphasised our team spirit, discipline and getting along with each other.
Having dinner with David at ‘The Queens’, I found that my mile track record of 4:39.9 had never been beaten - partly because some years ago metric distances took over. We tried to retrace all my old bicycle routes that I did every Sunday with Marsden, Randal, Dalzell, Wildman and whoever else I have forgotten 57 years later! We rode a lot of miles, including to Gretna Green, which was then a 99 mile round trip. I found again the beauty of Cumbria: the infrastructure remains unchanged and is absolutely beautiful and unique.
My 57 years in Canada are very much a result of my four years at St Bees and David’s influence. After a start as a wooden-boat builder and running my own boat repair facility, I discovered flying. It was more fun and paid better! I retired from Air Canada flying the Boeing 767 which I loved not only for the flying but the layovers in London, Barbados and Sydney,Australia.
After retirement 14 years ago my passion, after my wife Susan, is bicycle racing. My goal is to break the 20K time trial record for 75-79 year olds at the Huntsman Worlds Senior games in St George, Utah next October.