Former Aldenham Boys Club member returns to reminisce
Honorary Alderman of Hertfordshire, 90 year old John Usher, returned to Aldenham School on Tuesday 22nd March 2016, to reminisce on earlier visits in the 1940s when as a member of the Aldenham Boys Club he played football, cricket and even camped in the grounds during school holidays. The Club members, who all lived in Kentish Town, were well looked after and enjoyed very happy times at the School.
The Aldenham Boys Club was set up to help young people widen their horizons, instil responsibility and provide memorable experiences. John Usher is testament to the success of this aim. As a teenager during the Second World War he played centre-half for Fulham FC. He went on to become an army officer and later a Ministry of Defence Consultant. He then spent 22 years serving as a Local and County Councillor.
In 1911 Aldenham, like many public schools, supported a ‘mission‘. It was from this operation that the Aldenham Boys Club was formed in 1933 and ties with the School were strengthened in 1935 when several former pupils (Old Aldenhamians, OAs) leant their support and the Headmaster at that time, George Riding, took over the Chairmanship. The premises in Highgate Road were bought and reconstructed with money from the School and grants to provide facilities for the Boys Club.
Gradually a very strong bond between the School and the Boys Club was formed, with some joint activities being arranged. From its inception the Club activities were run by volunteers, many of whom were OAs and then former Club members came forward, prepared to put back into the club every bit as much as they had got from it. In 1985 the Aldenham Club Trust was formed, when the income generated through the sale of the Aldenham Club premises was invested. The Trustees continue to support youth projects and organisations in the Kentish Town area to this day.
An afternoon tea party was laid on for John and his family at Aldenham School, where he met the Headmaster, James Fowler, Club Trustees, and a current pupil, Zico Asare, who currently plays for Fulham FC and England Under 15s. John was given a tour of the School site and enjoyed watching the whole school cross country. He said:
“If I’d brought my trainers I would have joined in – for old time’s sake”.
It was wonderful to welcome John back and to hear about the memories he formed of the school as a young man.