No. 200

OSB Logo The Old St Beghian
  January 2022


Olive Bell, the widow of John Bell (FN 55-60) former President of the Society
from 2004-2006 and also Treasurer and Secretary, writes:

“I was really interested in a few items in the latest OSB news, especially the question on page 6 asked by Michael Ferns. Yes, I know exactly where all these islands and beaches are. I attach a photo taken two years ago when I was staying with my son and his family and we visited Hamilton Island. My daughter in law had planned a trip by boat to Whitehaven Beach for my birthday and this photo shows the lovely sand which stretches for miles.

OSB Notes - Olive Bell - Whitehaven Beach

John and I first learned of St Bees Island from Nick Oliver, a very loyal Old St Beghian, who used to phone from his home in Queensland during John's years of involvement in the OSB Society. When our youngest son became engaged to a girl from Queensland, I phoned to tell Nick and so we began a deeper face to face friendship with him and Helen, his wife. We first visited them in 2004 in their home in Towoomba after our son's wedding and they stayed with us several times when we lived in St Bees. He gave us copies of the book that I have photographed (and can be seen as below) with the history of St Bees Island. I wonder if the school has a copy of that? (No, we didn’t – but we do now - thank you Olive for sending us a copy for the archives - ED).

OSB Notes - Olive Bell - Cover of St Bees Island Book
OSB Notes - Olive Bell - Back Cover of St Bees Island Book

We also spent time in Canada in the 1990s and visited John's school friend, Paddy Dixon, on Vancouver Island. He used to return regularly to Bassenthwaite where his mother lived and always came to visit us with his Canadian wife, Barbara. While we were with them in 1995 they took us to an old forestry, mining community where we discovered again all sorts of place names of Cumbrian origin. These were attributed to miners who had gone from Cumberland, as it was, to work in Canada.

It is interesting to get news of the reopened school and I send my usual good wishes for that into the future when hopefully travel becomes easier again.”




The St Beghian Society    
St Bees School,    St Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS

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