The Abingdon Foundation, Park Road, Abingdon, Oxford OX14 1DE 01235 521563 • Edited by Jane Warne – 01235 849123 • Design – Abingdon Out of the Past The Road Relay was born fifty years ago this year when Governor Aubrey Smart, keen to stimulate competitive running, presented the school with a handsome silver cup to be awarded to the fastest school team. The first race was held on 22 January 1968. Boys make up the majority of the competitors but staff teams also compete, as occasionally do groups of OAs. Some teams are seriously competitive, seeking to challenge the the team record of 34.04 minutes, others take the whole thing far less seriously using it as an occasion to dress up and have fun. The Smart Trophy went walkabout a few years ago but is now back in the School’s possession, ready to be awarded to the winners of the 50th race – which will have to be held next year as extensive gas works in Albert Park made it impossible to use the course this year. At the start in Park Crescent Towards the end! The Road Relay is 50 Years Old One of the Revd Thomas Layng’s first moves when he became Headmaster in 1893 was to form the Old Abingdonan Club. Its objective was to: “promote union and good fellowship among Old Abingdonians and to further the interests and prosperity of the School, to supply an organization for the OA cricket and football matches and such other occasions as may arise, to ensure that the Abingdonian and all School notices be sent without fail to members of the Club and to hold an annual dinner”. An annual drinks reception in London has replaced the annual dinner but in all other respects the Club continues to fulfil its original objectives – and hopes to be able to do so even after the introduction of GDPR this May. As in 1893 so in 2018, being able to keep in touch is very important for the Club since it is the “medium for keeping unbroken the continuity of school life, and it is on this continuity that the prosperity of every school depends”. [Abingdonian July 1893] OA Club London Dinner 1953 The 1894 OA Cricket team The Old Abingdonian Club is 125 Years Old Prominent OAs Today Among the OA Club’s more than 7,000 members, Sir Kim Darroch (1972) is UK Ambassador to the United States of America; Tom Hollander (1984) and Toby Jones (1985) appear regularly on stage and screen, as do comedian, actor and writer David Mitchell (1992), and author and journalist Ben Macintyre (1982). Radiohead – Thom Yorke (1982), Phil Selway (1985), Colin Greenwood (1987), Johnny Greenwood (1990) and Ed O’Brien (1986) – remain superstars in the world of music. Russell Taylor (1978) continues to amuse as one of the creators of the Daily Telegraph’s Alex cartoon. Sir David Tanner (1966) is the recently retired Performance Director of British Rowing whilst international rower Robin Bourne-Taylor (1999) holds a Conspicuous Gallantry Cross for ‘gallant and distinguished services’ in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, businessman Tim Parker (1973) is currently Chairman of the National Trust. Sir Kim Darroch You can now follow Abingdon School on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Twitter: @abingdonschool Facebook: @abingdonschool Instagram: @abingdon_school