2nd Annual SAOBA Cycle

The 2nd SAOBA cycle ride took place on 1st September 2019. Starting from Redesmere, the small but determined group of Old Boys did 41 miles up into the Pennines, climbing up to the Cat and Fiddle and down again. The route included Wild Boar Clough, Pymm’s Chair, the Goyt Valley and of course two food stops. In total, they reached about 4000 feet of ascent.

Mike O’Kell, last year’s SAOBA Cycle Champion was determined to retain his title this year, but narrowly missed out to Ian Taylor with a total cycled mileage of 75 miles on the day beating Mikes total of 71 miles. Ian Taylor was also first up Pymms chair, so he is awarded our first ever “King of the Mountains” too. 

A presentation will be made at this year’s dinner!

If you are a keen or even not so keen cyclist and would like to join the group, then please get in touch.

Secretary of State Returns to St. Ambrose

In April, we welcomed former Old Boy and Secretary of State for Education, the Rt. Hon. Damian Hinds MP back to St. Ambrose.

Committee members greeted Damian Hinds to St. Ambrose.
Principal Dermot Rainey, SAOBA Vice-Chairman Paul Howarth, Damien Shiells, SAOBA Chairman Adam Mitcheson, Damian Hinds MP, SAOBA President John Kennedy

He was taken on a tour of the facilities by students before taking part in an engaging discussion with teacher Dave Lindsay and the Politics Society.

Damian was also presented with an Peter Saville, Old Boys Tie by our Chairman, Adam Mitcheson

A pupil at the Catholic grammar school between 1980 and 1987, Damian spent 18 years working in the pubs, brewing and hotel industries before entering politics when he was elected Member of Parliament for East Hampshire in 2010.

He was promoted to Minister of Employment at the Department of Work and Pensions in 2016 and was moved to his current position last year before leaving the position after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

Former History teacher makes history!

Former Head of History at St. Ambrose College, Derrick Murphy has hit a landmark with the publication of his 65th book and reaching the half million mark in global sales with his first book published 20 years ago!
Derrick has also served as editor and a regular contributor to the ‘ Modern History Review’ magazine and other magazines such as ‘History’. In all he had over 40 articles published.
The latest book is entitled ‘The Changing Nature of Warfare’.
Derrick said, “I have written on a wide variety of topics from late Medieval Spain to 21st Century Britain. I have also had the pleasure of commissioning and editing work by a wide variety of historians. I wrote and edited a history of Britain from 1914 to 2000 which involved some of the top historians working in their fields at the University of London, including those who had the privilege to study the recently opened files in the old Soviet Union, now Russia, on their aspect of the Cold War.
My favourite area for writing history is on American Civil Rights. I was brought up in the 1960s and was a great admirer of Dr Martin Luther King and the struggle for Black Civil Rights. Through the good offices of my publishers my books have been sold worldwide.
I have been told they sell well in places like New Zealand.  A person who attended a conference at which I spoke once said I was ‘big in Sunderland.’”


Since our inception in 1996, the SAOBA AGM has always been an opportunity to reflect on the events of the previous year and start to plan the activities of the forthcoming year. All members of SAOBA are entitled to attend the Association’s  AGM. It is an ideal time to ask questions of SAOBA, and perhaps become involved with the Committee. Any vacancies for officers of the Committee can be filled at the AGM, and elections and re-elections can also take place at this time.
Our forthcoming AGM will be held on the evening of 7th January 2019 in Hale, venue to be confirmed (depending on numbers attending).
If you would like to attend the AGM please email committee@saoba.org as soon as you can, and we will send you further details in good time. Thank you for your help.
Yours faithfully,
The SAOBA Committee.

2018 Dinner

23rd St Ambrose Old Boys’ Dinner, November 17th 2018

Not only a new school, but a modified Bull’s Head and a totally rebuilt Hale Barns Square. These changes to our familiar landmarks only served to emphasise the passing of the years as we assembled for the 23rd SAOBA Dinner. Tonight we gathered, for the first time as an all-male event. Coincidentally no females were present! For various reasons, no teachers’ wives, no Loreto Old Girls had made it this year. Echoes of Henry V? “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers…!”


Peter Riley our outstanding MC for the 19th time, opened proceedings and introduced the Old Boys to Mr Dermot Rainey, Acting Headmaster of St Ambrose College. We had the customary opening game of Heads and Tails, won by Mr Mark Elwell who very generously donated back the £50 cash prize to rapturous applause.

George Tsiantar kindly said Grace before the meal in fluent Greek, another first for the Old Boys Association.

Bernard Stafford was in his element, and as soon as the starters were served, he began selling the ties to the newly attending Class of 2018, spurred on by his recent stock take. Despite the uncertainty over Brexit, SAOBA tie prices have remained rock steady, with the same world-class offer of “one for £15, two for £30”. Have SAOBA ties outperformed Sterling? Yes it was a smaller, all-male dinner, so it was open season for risqué jokes… “B.. has been working as a flasher in Heaton Park; he was thinking about retirement, but after some consideration, he’s, decided to stick it out for just one more year”. After that Mark Payne and Nick Payne, both business-minded men, managed to negotiate Bernard down to an amazing and unrepeatable offer of 2 ties for £40, to general gasps of amazement.

After our delicious Lamb Shank main course and Chocolate and Berries dessert, tea and coffee were served and we were ready for the main event of the evening. We were delighted and honoured that Manchester City and England football legend Dennis Tueart was able to join us to speak at our 23rd SAOBA dinner. Dennis gave a thoughtful and entertaining account of his personal journey through his remarkable career in football. He described growing up in Newcastle, signing for arch-rivals Sunderland and winning the 1973 FA Cup, then moving on to Manchester City. During his time with City he scored the unforgettable winning goal of the 1976 League Cup final at Wembley with one of his trademark overhead kicks. He later described this as the goal of his career.

Dennis turned down approaches from both Manchester United and Nottingham Forest, choosing to move to the USA to play for the New York Cosmos. In New York he replaced Pele himself, and played alongside Franz Beckenbauer and a host of international stars. After four glamorous years in the US and touring with the Cosmos he returned to play for Malcolm Allison’s Manchester City, and to settle and start a family (where his sons attended St Ambrose College). He went on to become a director at Manchester City. Dennis very kindly took questions from the floor and signed copies of his book, “My Football Journey”.

Peter Riley revealed that he had been there at Wembley for the Dennis’s 1976 League Cup final against Newcastle, and had kept his programme, signed by the winning Manchester City team, in perfect condition for over 40 years. Very generously he presented this to Tony Dixon, the long-serving SAOBA Secretary, in return for a 2 year renewable contract and this was graciously accepted.

Felix Egan from the class of 2018 drew the raffle, the Amazon Echo was won by Mr Mark Elwell – his second big win of the night, so he decided to keep the prize this time, and incredibly the Bottle of Champagne was won by Felix himself (Can you win your own raffle? – the consensus from the floor said “yes”), and John Tueart, fresh from rehearsals of “Little House on the Prairie”, and one of those few in the room without a tie, won the SAOBA Peter Saville designed tie. The Ringway Golf Club 4-ball prize (courtesy of ex Captain of the Ringway Club, Mr Peter Fitzpatrick) was won by Anthony Potts.

Peter Riley presented the awards for the 2018 SAOBA Golf and Cycling events, to Dave Wilkinson and Mike O’Kell respectively, accepted on their behalf by Mark Gallimore and Ciaran Booth. Both fine rugby players, Mark (St Ambrose class of 1978 and Altrincham Kersal RUFC) and Ciaran (St Ambrose class of 2018 and now with Sale Sharks) were compared as an example of rugby player inflation over the past 40 years. Both of these gentlemen had the honour of being 1st XV rugby captain during their time at the school.

Bringing matters towards conclusion, Adam Mitcheson made a sincere Chairman’s speech and explained our £250 cheque presentation to the CALM charity (Campaign Against Living Miserably) aiming to reduce the terrible toll of male suicide. This has been the charity focus of this year’s dinner. Adam went on to describe the strength and potential of the St Ambrose network with the utility of its connections from the school to a range of fields in the wider world.

And all too soon, our time was up for another year.

Peter Riley closed the dinner to applause, and the assembled gathering said their goodbyes and departed to their carriages home or some to the bright lights of Hale and the Goose Green area of Altrincham. We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 dinner.