Over more than 52 years Westlake Boys’ High School has captured its history collating student and staff stories, memories and images in the annual year book. Most the work of longserving staff member Ian “Bif” Hall, these significant recollections of Westlake’s yesteryears have featured many profiles of old boys and former staff and their life journeys after leaving Westlake. We are now calling for Westlaker profiles to be included in the 2014 WBHS Yearbook.
Last year we received a very special profile from s foundation pupil who attended the 2013 Westlakers London Reunion. Robert Anthony (Tony) Evans attended Westlake from 1957-1961 after having emigrated from England back in 1951. Amongst his many fond memories of his times at Westlake he remembers getting caned for putting clay in the art master’s pipe. It made the class roar with laughter when the master tried to light his pipe and to avoid repercussions of class detention, Tony had to own up to his mischievous behaviour. When Tony was at Westlake, being part of a mixed school was great fun despite having to put up the cricket nets as a temporary barrier around the court yard of the school hall during school dances. This was done to prevent young couples wandering off into the night and how times have changed!
Apart from the excellent education Tony enjoyed in the classroom, it was the extracurricular activities that he cherished. One of the highlights of his sporting life at Westlake was being part of the 1st XI playing in the Senior Auckland Competition and getting selected for Auckland Schools along with future test players like Mark Burgess, Hedley Howarth and Terry Jarvis. To get to training on a Sunday morning involved a bike ride to Devonport, the ferry across the harbour and a bus to Eden Park. It was rare to get a lift to matches in those days. Playing in the 1st XV (Alf Butt’s first year) and gaining promotion was another highlight as was finishing runner-up to Peter Burn in the school athletic championships. Tony is especially grateful to his former teachers who gave up their time to run these additional activities. Messrs Bailey, Buckley, Kelly, Stevenson and Butt for rugby and Mr Black for cricket as well as many others who were involved with athletics and the Comic Opera The Pirates of Penzance. Tony’s University Entrance was testimony to the professionalism of the teachers who never gave up on his academic trials and tribulations.
After finishing Westlake Tony joined ANZ Bank and studied part time at Auckland University. He played cricket for North Harbour and Takapuna Cricket Club as well as rugby for North Shore and was selected for the Auckland U23 XV. In 1967 Tony travelled to England with some old school friends for a work and travel gap year. That one year turned into many more and almost half a century later, Tony lives in London with his wife Penny. The couple’s son Matthew and daughter Lise live nearby. Tony’s sporting life continued in England where he played league cricket in Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire at different times as well as becoming a playing member of the MCC. He played for Saracens Rugby Club from 1967-70 and after that Streatham and Croydon, Tabard and finally Harpenden.
Tony worked as a Project Manager for HSBC in London City until 1991 and took up a geography teaching position working in a Preparatory School till 2006. It was no surprise that coached the school’s rugby 1st XV and cricket 1st XI and he still coaches cricket and plays golf, though his arthritic run precludes him from more active pursuits.
Over the years Tony has kept close friendships with his schoolmates and many have stayed at his home in Harpenden when visiting England. Tony attended the Westlake High School 50th Anniversary celebrations in 2007 with fellow foundation pupils and the Westlakers London Reunion last year, renewing old friendships and meeting fellow Westlakers. He considers himself fortunate to be a past pupil as Westlake gave him a solid platform for life as well as some great friends and unforgettable experiences.
If you know a Westlake Old Boy or former staff member who would be interested to supply a profile for the Westlake 2014 Yearbook, please ask them to contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected] for more details.