St Peter's School
John Coles (School House 1959 - 1963)
President of the Old Peterite Club
I was born in 1946 above Barclays Bank in Kettering – my Father worked for Barclays Bank all his life – we were ultimately moved to Peterborough where the family came to rest and I was advised by my parents that it would be a good idea to ship me off to York at the age of 7, where my brother David and cousins were educated, the three Baker boys, to board starting in Alcuin and concluding my period of time in School House at St Peter's.
My life at St Peter's was ruled rather than in the academic sense, more by the sporting facilities and participation – rugby was my main love but I also enjoyed the cricket. In those days you had to play hockey in the Easter Term if you had opted to play cricket.
I currently live in Newark, Nottinghamshire and have quite a close connection with the Newark Rowing Club – it’s made me always feel envious of those that have rowed as it seems to me to be a great participant sport – sadly as I said I had to be summoned to the hockey field where I have to say my skills were not exemplary!!
My parents lived in Peterborough, some 4 hours drive away. I would board from that young age and my parents would see me usually once a term – it all drove me to become fairly independent in my life.
When I left St Peter's in 1963, I am delighted to say I managed to equip myself with 4 ‘O’ levels, one of which was maths, however the one missing in order to pursue my career as a chartered surveyor, was English Language – I took this three times the following year, on three different examining boards and I am pleased to report I achieved two passes!!
I attended Norman, Wright and Partners, auctioneers and property advisors in Peterborough, as an articled clerk for three years but having quickly realised I was unable to concentrate to deal with a correspondence course, I left to go to college in Bournemouth. I had three wonderful years at Bournemouth as I progressed through my professional qualifications which ultimately I achieved and came to Newark following my dream of being a cattle auctioneer!! Coming to Newark meant that I was quite near to York and therefore was able to attend the odd Old Peterite event and also accompany my brother, David, (who sadly passed away last year) who would give me a lift to school events.
I ceased my auctioneering career to advise on residential/commercial property investments and that has been my life since then and now own my own portfolio.
My brother was a president of the Old Peterite Club a few years ago and I am delighted to have kept the family tradition going by serving the OP club this year. I feel it’s a great honour to be OP President and I look forward to continuing attendance at dinners where appropriate.
One of my aims, as it has been of some of my predecessors, is to try and encourage young Old Peterites to join and participate. With the help of Philippa, I am engaging with all Peterites in the latter stages of their school life to see what they want out of an Old Peterite Club and in particular the reunions with the friends they have gained whilst being at St Peters and hopefully maintain that relationship through the OP Club.
We have sadly seen dwindling numbers at dinners but luckily we still have the North East and the East and West Riding events and will seek to encourage the reinstatement of the London Dinner and naturally the dinner at Commemoration.
I know everybody has busy diaries and huge commitments outside the normal workplace but please can I encourage you to attend one or two of the events to engage and participate with the Old Peterite Club, learn more about how the school is doing and overall have fun and enjoy some stories and memories of the times at your school.
I am very grateful and honoured to be president of the Old Peterite Club but equally I would like to see more Old Peterites at Dinners and functions to ensure that the club continues to prosper through times when many clubs and institutions are sadly failing.