Friday, 30 November 2012

Derek Akers Nov 2012 - fit and well

For those of us who now nearly into our 60th year, it seems incredible that Derek Akers is still as active as he was back in the 1970's.
This week Steve Kiss arranged a lunch for him and his wife Pat and invited along some staff from those years along with a few old boys.

Here he is speaking to Richard Mant ( History and Careers Master ).

More details soon.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Thursday, 15 November 2012


The family of Michael Davies would like to thank all those who contributed
to the resume of Michael's sporting achievements in his chosen field.  We
are grateful to Geoff Hayes for writing Michael's obituary.  The comments
were much appreciated by the family.

Sadly, Michael distanced himself from his family over 30 years ago and he
always turned down our many attempts at reconciliation.

However, Michael remained in our thoughts and we are grateful to everyone
for all the help they have given Tandridge Borough Council in trying to
trace us.  Unfortunately, we did not know of his death until after his
funeral on the 5 November 2012 when the details of his cremation were
published in the local paper.

Pat, Nuala, Rosemary and Anthony

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Michael Davies - Obituary

Geoff Hayes has very kindly put together an Obituary for Michael Davies who sadly died last month.

Michael Patrick Davies 1933-2012

“One of the most revered athletes in the history of amateur fell running.”

One of four children, Mike was born in September 1933 in the Bradfield District of Berkshire.  Not much is known about his early years until he gained recognition as a talented road, track and cross-country runner at Reading Athletics Club.  In 1960 Mike was a member of the record-breaking Land’s End to John O’Groats relay run in which he was specially selected to run the mountain pass range in Scotland.  In 1967 Mike rejoined the team to recover the record, running the same mountain pass section.

In 1961 Mike entered the Ben Nevis Race.  He trained in heavy boots to make up for the lack of hills in the south, running twice daily over golf courses on the South Downs and repetitive hill climbs of 300 feet on the steepest slopes available.  After a training holiday in Lapland with a fully loaded rucksack, he returned to his regime of two 8-mile runs per day.  The preparation paid off as he won the first of three Ben Nevis wins, the others in 1968 and 1969.  On five occasions between 1962 and 1967 he finished 2nd.

The Three Peaks Race was a natural progression and Mike trained hard, staying at the nearby Youth Hostel, determined to break the ‘2 hours 50 minutes barrier’ for the 23-mile race.  Mike achieved his first win in 1965 with a record-setting time of 2:47:00.  He also won the race in 1966, 1967 and 1968 when he achieved his personal best time of 2:40:34.

Mike achieved other outstanding victories:
·      Vaux Mountain Trial 1965, 1967, 1970 (now known as the Lake District Mountain Trial).  In his 1967 win, Mike beat Old Purleian Gordon Pirie – who finished 3rd.  Mike’s winning team mates were John Disley and Chris Brasher.
·      Chevy Chase 1968
·      Thieveley Pike 1967
·      Mamore Hill Race 1963
·      Lomond of Fife 1973
as well as many 2nd and 3rd places. 

Mike continued to run competitively into his 40s, his last recorded race at the age of 46 where he finished 15th in the Veterans’ Fells Championship.

For his outstanding contribution to Amateur Athletics, Mike was made an Honorary Life Member of Reading Athletic Club.

Mike was a founder member of the Fell Runners Association (membership number 7) and of its founding committee which was set up in 1970.  In 1972 he became editor of The Fell Runner, a post he held for two years.  He devised the original ‘Fell Runner of the Year’ scheme in 1972 and his definitions of the three categories of severity are still adhered to, 40 years later.

Remembered as a ‘gentleman with impeccable manners’, Mike was also generous in spirit.  In the early days of the Three Peaks Race, routes were a matter of personal knowledge and preference – provided one arrived at the summit of each peak, it did not matter how one got there.  Mike sportingly showed fellow competitors his favoured route between Pen-Y-Ghent and Ribblehead, hitherto unknown to some of his rivals.

For most of the 1960s and until its closure in 1971, Mike worked at the Royal Wanstead School where he was Deputy Headmaster and Sports Teacher.  A temporary teaching post followed for a year, before he arrived at Purley Grammar School in 1973.  Mike is remembered as a firm, but very fair disciplinarian as Form Teacher of ‘4S1’ by pupils; a very private and unassuming man by colleagues.  Mike was appointed Second Deputy Headmaster, a post he held until Purley High School for Boys as it was renamed, closed in 1988.

One abiding memory of Mike is at a sponsored walk at Kenley Airfield in February 1976.  Although 45 people tramped 30 miles or further, Mike covered more distance than anyone – and he ran for the entire time.  He passed everyone several times, but always had cheerful words of encouragement on every passing.  Many will remember watching him disappearing ahead into the distance. 

Jimmy Jardine’s 1973 poem, of which Mike was the inspiration, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Fell Runner’ summarises this memory perfectly:

            And off he’d run, as though just begun,
            And I sank down to rest;
            And fading into the setting sun
            Went the faded Reading vest.

With grateful thanks to Dave Hodgson, ex-Chair of the Three Peaks Race Association and Colin Evans, Deputy Head (Retired), Purley High School for Boys, for their assistance with the collation of biographical material.

Monday, 5 November 2012

A few memories of Michael Davies

Neil Baker has sent these in - 

"A friend of mine who runs in Surrey found these pictures picture of Mike winning the three peaks race in 1965. Thought it would be nice to go on the site today in Mike's memory.

Neil Baker (75 - 79) "

Fas et Patria

Please explore the world of Purley Boys School 1914-1988. Feel free to leave your memories and comments on the photos.

There is a search function too - see the box top left ? Just enter a keyword and all the articles or photos that match will appear from the archives.

Many thanks - Nick Peaty - mail me at

If any of you are tempted to make a donation to help with the long term upkeep of this site then please click the Paypal Donate Button below.

 Grateful thanks to those of you who have sent funds in the past