Dinner Update

Due to the ongoing situation regarding Coronavirus, the annual SAOBA Dinner will be postponed until further notice. We had a provisional date of 2nd May which is now unfortunately simply not feasible. We will look to confirm a date for later in the year, or even early 2021 depending on the outcomes of the ongoing situation.

RIP Derrick Murphy

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former head of History, and head of 6th Form; Derrick Murphy at the age of 68 following a short illness. 

Derrick was a remarkable individual. We recently featured his latest accomplishment, with the publication of his 65th book and reaching the half million mark in global sales with his first book published 20 years ago!

He not only served the college, but also advised the governments of Singapore, South Africa and Hong Kong. He lead Norfolk County Council from 2010-2013. He was chief examiner for history for both AQA and OCR Examination Boards and was also a manager for senior rugby union teams.

Derrick and his beloved wife Janet retired to Herefordshire, where he developed a passion for alpacas.

One tribute from a former Ambrosian described him as “Incredibly knowledgable, with a razor sharp wit, and someone whom commanded great respect.”

It is clear to see that he was well loved as a teacher, friend and mentor, to those that had the pleasure of knowing him. If you would like to share any stories, or anecdotes, please leave a comment or email committee@saoba.org

Derrick’s funeral will take place at Belmont Abbey in Hereford at 2pm on 15th November.

Should anyone want to make a contribution in Derrick’s memory, his wife Janet has suggested the following charities:

The Nook | East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices

St Michael’s Hospice Hereford – Caring to make a difference


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.’”