Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Not, how did he die, but how did he live?
Not, what did he gain, but how did he give?
These are the units to measure the worth
Of a man as a man, regardless of birth.
Not, what was his church, nor what was his creed?
But had he befriended those really in need?
Was he ever ready, with a word of good cheer,
To bring back a smile, to banish a tear?
Not what did the sketch in the newspaper say,
But how many were sorry when he passed away?
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
The walk will start at 10:30 am and takes approximately 2 hours. We are asking for a donation from each walker, which will be split evenly between three charities - Winston's Wish, Teacher Support Network and the Child Bereavement Charity. We suggest a donation of £5 per walker.
If you would like to join Towe and girls on the walk, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of cars and walkers who intend to come and I will let you know where to park and meet, and details of how to donate.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The projects they had completed were the library, the play area (the chaps brought the bench to school the week after Graham died and gave it to the school), the courtyard, the reception area and the stage lights (after he'd got the staging blocks last year).
There was a picnic for the whole school. The parents & grandparents arrived at 2 pm and had tours by the year 6s of the completed projects. Just before 3 pm everyone went down to the bottom of the field where there was a net of blue & white balloons - one for every child in the school in the school colours. Some words were said about all the lovely things Mr. Hollows did for the school and how much he meant to everyone in the school, there was a minute or two of silence & then the balloons were released. As they flew over the school everyone clapped and cheered for him.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
There are official photos on
but here are some of the team during and after the event.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
It would be great to see as many people as possible to cheer on and support the team on the day. They will all be wearing a commemorative Remembering Graham T-shirt. The race starts at 09:30 at Thame Leisure Centre and finishes at the same place - we recommend that you go to the start/finish or Thame High Street (fairly near the start) to cheer on the team. If you would like to wear a Remembering Graham T-shirt, please contact Rick and Becca Bolt at email@example.com by the June 2nd. The cost is not known but is expected to be in the region of £10.
The course route is on the following link: http://foot4ward.co.uk/2010/05/10/thame-10k-course-preview/
Some of the runners are raising money in Graham's memory for Winston's Wish or Teacher Support Network - if you would like to contribute, go to one of:
http://www.justgiving.com/Rebecca-Bolt for money to go to Winston's Wish, or
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/runforgraham for money to go to Teacher Support Network.
James Milne completed the Reading half marathon on 21st March in 2 hours 15 minutes, raising a total of £1,586 in memory of Graham for Winston's Wish and a further £1,020 for North Wilts Portage. All he has said so far is "that it was much harder than I anticipated but I managed to keep going, knowing that it was all for such good causes, and with thoughts of Graham driving me on."
Well done James, and he passes thanks to everyone who supported him.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Using the funds raised in Graham's memory, TSN is launching an online guide to for headteachers to help them look after their own wellbeing and actively facilitate the wellbeing of their staff. You can look at the guide - which is still under development - at the TSN website: http://teachersupport.info/ by following the links to Lead By Example.
For more information about the Richard Garner case and TSN's role in supporting teachers see http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/richard-garner-how-stressed-staff-soldier-on-for-fear-of-showing-weakness-1958687.html
Friday, March 5, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Mr Hollows was greatly involved with not just what the teachers were doing, but the children as well. In summer, when we were allowed to sit outside, instead of spending his lunchtimes in the Staff Room, he would sit and eat with us, and I always found that he was incredibly easy to talk to. He would join in with school activities, and at Christmas in 2008, he performed a fantastic Bruce Forsyth impression, as he hosted the school talent show, the Y Factor.
When talking in assemblies, Mr Hollows always seemed to have a humorous story to tell or a good memory to share with us. Whether it was a story about his two young children, his wife, his previous jobs or his friends, they were guaranteed to make us all smile. One story that I particularly remember was one that he told, I feel I would like to share with you. Mr Hollows was at a fancy dress party for one of his friends, and he had come dressed as a clown. He remained sober throughout the evening, and apparently was one of the only people who did. Because of this, when a friend of his got hurt, he had to escort them to the nearest hospital A & E. Having not had the time to change his clothes before doing so, he managed to get quite a few strange looks from passers-by as he walked through A & E with a hurt man dressed as a clown.
Another memory of Mr Hollows that I have is when our class went to Dartmouth for a residential trip in Year 6. He was the supervising teacher in my group, and wasn’t afraid to try out some of the activities. One of the activities that he participated in was canoeing in the River Dart. There were three people to a canoe, and I was in a canoe with two of my friends, and Mr Hollows was in a canoe with two other girls in my group. During the session, we had to complete all sorts of challenges, from racing across the part of the river that we were in, to swapping places in the canoes without falling out. All being roughly the same weight, my friends and I in our canoe had no problem swapping places. But when it was Mr Hollows’ turn to move, because of his difference in weight to the two girls, it caused the canoe to sway terribly, causing the two girls to scream for all they were worth.
I feel that Mr Hollows was a great help to me, and from when he first arrived to when I left Stoke Mandeville School to join Aylesbury High School, he was thoughtful and caring. He will be missed by everyone not only at Stoke Mandeville School, but by everyone who knew him.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
I was able to stay in touch with Mr Hollows after I left John Hampden as he was in charge of organising the school discos which I ran. I remember fondly, as I was setting up at one of the parties, he was showing a new Swedish colleague round the school - Towe! My way of welcoming her was to play Abba's 'Dancing Queen'!
Rest in peace Mr Hollows.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
A few people have already suggested that they would like to run in memory of Graham, and we are looking to assemble a team to run in his memory and raise money for the charities that Towe chose. The race is popular and has a good turn out (about 1000 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes). Extensive running experience is not a pre-requisite (but it helps if you have done a little training in advance!). The course is flat, and largely traffic-free.
So if you are a keen runner, or even a not so keen runner, and would like to keep Graham's memory alive, why not join the team on June 27th?
If you would like to register, follow this link:
and use the search facility at the bottom of the page to find the event: Thame CPM 10k. The fee for entering is £14.00.
We recommend that you don't delay as the event is popular - entry will close when they have reached a fixed number and there is no entry on the day. It would be great if you are also able to raise some sponsorship, but the important thing is to run for Graham. Even if you don't feel you can raise sponsors, or have already entered and are raising money for another charity, you can still join the team.
Once you have entered, simply contact Rick and Becca Bolt at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that you will be part of the team, and to coordinate sponsorship. On the day we will issue you with an official team t-shirt to mark this exciting event. Towe is delighted that this is possible and we hope you will be keen to run for Graham and to support Towe and the family, on the day after Aila's 6th birthday.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Why not join them in remembering Graham today with a takeaway curry, a glass of champagne or by just setting some time aside to recall some happy memories...
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
So many cherished memories about Gray that I can only scrape the surface here. Over time though, I’ll make sure I recall them with Towe, the girls and his friends.
One thing Graham was not was just one of my best friend’s husbands. He was a very dear friend in his own right such that in retrospect, I think he was probably my most constant male friend. I have to thank Towe as when she met and married Gray, I gained an incredible friend. Our old friendship was not watered down in any way. It was amazing how quickly they became the fantastic “G&T” team that it is difficult to recall not knowing Gray so well if that makes any sense.
However, I will never forget first hearing about Towe (AKA ‘Bird’) & Gray’s budding friendship over a glass of pre Christmas bubbly in 2000 at what was, back in the day, an old ‘Birds’ haunt on the Kings Road. Towe had a real sparkle in her eyes when she told me about Gray. On being told about the age gap, his grey hair and the fact he was as deputy head, her mentor, I merrily challenged her feelings as being a ‘schoolgirl’ or rather ‘teaching assistant’ crush! A story that Gray (the ‘silver fox’) found hilarious. How wrong I was though and that became apparent very quickly. Indeed, I changed my tune completely after only having met Gray once so that by April 2001, I told Towe that I thought he was the one for her and that they would marry.
I met Gray just the once before I went to Oman in April 2001. We were both helping Towe move to her little flat in Thame and I was struck by how compassionate, calm and kind he was when quietly helping out with putting up bookshelves and sorting things out. When the hard work was done, we had the first of many lovely meals out all together and thought Gray utterly charming and could really feel the warmth between them.
Despite the fact that I was living in Oman during the early years of the G&T courtship up to and including their wedding, I was made to feel so welcome each time I came back and visited them in Thame. It was then that we set up the tradition of a Bird shopette and lunch whilst G had a bit of time to himself (catching up on the football in those days!), followed by the three of us sharing a bottle of bubbly and having a good old catch up. This included the Birds fashion show sporting our (well, mainly mine!) latest purchases from Bicester Village. A lot of men would have bored of this but Gray joined in enthusiastically coining the phrase “So how much did you save Bird?!” With Gray’s excellent maths, he would tot up the grand total pretty quickly and we’d celebrate what fantastic savings had been made! Occasionally though, he would raise an eyebrow and exclaim that it was a rather small item for the price tag! Gray certainly had an eye for style and his input was always most valuable.
Over the years, I’ve been privileged to have spent so many happy weekends chez Hollows. The traditions remained. Once the girls arrived, Gray would without any grumbling, delight in taking them swimming and shopping or perhaps sitting down and introducing them to the Saturday afternoon football, whilst Towe and I had some Bird catch up time. I much looked forward to those weekends. We always had great times together usually involving delicious food, wine, bubbles and perhaps some Strictly in the Autumn. The photo attached of Gray with the Birds was one such evening captured with the self-timer that Towe is a master of. Gray loved (I think and hope!) catching up on the Bird gossip over a chilled glass of bubbly but we’d laugh when a glass or two of wine and a delicious meal later, he’d get rather sleepy signalling time for him to happily head off to catch up on kip leaving us to chatter into the early hours. Sunday morning breakfasts chez Hollows were a triumph with Gray’s fantastic pancake making. A treat for us all! I always felt so relaxed and welcome that I didn’t feel like a guest with G&T in Thame becoming a bit of a second home.
The day after I moved into my little ‘nest’ (as Towe calls it), the G&T team were the first friends to come over armed with wine and goodies. They enthusiastically arrived with Aila who was a babe in arms then and didn’t mind a bit that together with my parents, we had to have a makeshift lunch surrounded by the chaos of hundreds and hundreds of boxes. Both then and over the years, Gray seemingly happily volunteered his DIY skills and helped with a variety of things from setting up my monster of a TV from Oman to mending my broken desk and wobbly loo seat!
The only one condition Gray ever imposed was that I make a curry (much to Towe’s horror!) just once. I had to compromise with Towe and make it a mild one but we had a lovely relaxed evening so much so that by the time we sat down to eat, it was about 11 pm and Towe ate in her pyjamas! There was never any fuss when they all stayed over with the girls sleeping in my wee study room. Many a person would have baulked at staying over en famille in my little place but it was never any trouble and Gray always joined in with the Bird twitter and banter- a true friend!
My last weekend stay with G&T in September was not unlike any other in that as ever, it was lovely, fun and relaxing. However, it was poignant that I spent more time than usual with Gray as being the early stages of the ‘Pip’, Towe was not feeling great. Gray, a techno whizz as far as I was concerned, counselled me carefully on the new TV purchase I was about to make, proudly demonstrating his new Panasonic that Towe had got him as a birthday surprise. Gray’s enthusiasm was catching and it didn’t take him long to persuade me to go for the bigger (32”) screen. After all, it was only £10 more than the 28”! I was slightly concerned it might be too big for my sitting room but to Gray’s credit, when it arrived, it fitted perfectly!
It’s so terribly sad that we were all blissfully unaware of what was about to unravel just a couple of months later. When Gray took me to Haddenham & Thame station together with the girls, we were joking away waiting for the train. I could never have imagined that waving back with a goodbye through the window at a smiley Gray and the girls, was a permanent farewell.
Graham as a funny, self deprecating, ever supportive and empathetic friend, will never be forgotten. Writing this blog has been difficult but remembering Graham will never be.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Both charities have set up a fund in Graham's name so that any further fundraising can be added to the total above and we can continue to both keep his memory alive and raise money for them. So if you decide to make a donation, or do a fundraising event in Graham's name, please mention his name when you donate and it will be added to the total.
James Milne is doing a half-marathon in April for Winston's Wish (in Graham's name, so this will be added to Graham's fund) - if you would like to sponsor him, please visit his Justgiving site: