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  1. I always wondered why nobody wore swimming trunks at prep school, even our vicar headmaster. The only exception was a teacher who went about patting our faces, and was sacked. Perhaps it was to desexualise us, in the same way as keeping the Eagle comic from us was meant to keep our minds pure. But by being ducked to make me “like” the water made me a lifelong aquaphobe, so “Barrel” R.I.P., but, you may yet cause me to drown.

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    1. I’m not sure if the ‘no swimming trunks rule’ was to desexualise. I think it was a norm in prep schools: in mine until I could swim a length of the pool. I was already sexually shamed before learning of my boarding school fate at 6. So cumulatively devastating effects from which I am still in recovery at 62

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  2. My brother just died from a heart attack and stroke having been struggling with substance abuse most of his 53 years
    He was abused at Cothill in 1976 the master was sacked and I believe was Jeremy Malim. My brother was adopted then our parents divorced my mum left Dad had custody then he died 5 yrs later then we were sent to England to live with my remarried mother and sent to boarding school
    And then this scum bag prayed on my vulnerable brother.
    I am so angry and saddened that this scum lives and he ruined an already fragile soul and lives in France and my brother had such a shitty life because of this ….
    Melissa

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    1. My son was also abused by him, please watch court sentencing next Tuesday 10.45,4th September 2018 , Hove Crown court .for you it is too late for your brother, but there is justice, he is guilty in the eyes of the law. He is currently in Lewis Prison.

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      1. I was so pleased to hear that Malim has at last been convicted – something several people have worked hard for over 15 years. It’s too late for many, but brings hope to all who suffered injustice and cruelty in this system. The perpetrators can and will be held to account.

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      2. Hello I heard 9 hours ago and I’m in a plane from Melbourne for the sentencing was your son involved in this case? I’m beyond thrilled I hope many many more will come forward from Cothill and Brambleyte and he’s in prison for life. And the truth is out in the light of day….

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  3. Hi Alex

    I have just finished Stiff Upper Lip: thank you very much for writing it. So much of it chimes with my experience of boarding school and many parts I could hardly bear to read. Yet, like so many, I was in deep denial at how damaged I had been by the experience even though I would tell anyone who would listen that I had hated it.

    It was only last year at the age of 63 that I found myself overwhelmed by the memories and needing to seek help. It will be no surprise that this happened when my son (my firstborn) turned 8 – the age at which I was both abused and punished for being abused. Perhaps not surprising either that it took me so long to start a family.

    I read one of your pieces in the Guardian about Ashdown House in 2013. While agreeing and sympathising with what you wrote, I still believed then that I had successfully moved on, that I had turned the page. How very wrong I was.

    Thanks again.

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    1. It’s a great thing for you and your family you have been able to acknowledge the abuse. It is better out than in my brother was unable to and kept it bottled up and suffered substance abuse and he has died as a result of struggling to keep the daemons at bay.. Thank goodness people like ALEX draw attention to this mass abuse it’s just horrific.
      Wishing you health and healing.
      Melissa

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    2. Hi Alex, I saw a post from you saying that Cothill should face up to it’s past. From what I also gather the Trust are basically washing their hands of the situation and are burying their heads in the sand . I have looked at the trust site and there is no statement. Don’t you find this quite incredulous ? Look at what happened to Scott Richmond, as well as the mother who posted that her son, ( no name mentioned ) was abused ? I saw your programme, and I just wonder if perhaps you feel that they should be doing something ? After all, it made the national press and I simply cannot believe that they feel comforatbel about this, especially as Cothill is approaching its 150th Annivirsary next year ?

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  4. Alex I enjoyed your book. I am from Dublin and heard you talking on George Hook’s radio show last Easter. The Magnet and other school stories 1908-1940 are on line now at friardale.co.uk and can be read in their original magazine form adds and all. Though nostalgic to read they are obviously a very idealized version of Public School life in those years and it is very interesting to contrast it with your book. You might be interested in a short story by Frank O’Connor 1903-1966 from Cork. “The Idealist” from “The Stories of Frank O’Connor 1965. The New Yorker, February 18, 1950 P. 24
    In Ireland, a boy at school, tries to imitate the actions of the young men he reads about in books on English schools. Telling the truth and not tattling on friends is contrary to the usual practice and somehow it does not work out. The teacher and the students do not understand what the boy is trying to accomplish so he finally goes back to ordinary behavior and changes his reading habits.
    This was based on his own childhood in Cork around 1914 where he contrasted his own School life with the school life in The Magnet & The gem etc. I would love if he had lived to read your great book. James Joyce’s account of late 19th century Public School life in Ireland would be very close to your account in “Portrait of the artist as a young man”. Congrats again it was a great read.

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    1. Hi Henry yes it was early days in my investigation I’ve since realised it’s easy to recall the wrong age. I have his change of address card for as of September 75 Brambletye. However what can’t be wrong is the teacher was made to leave. Everyone seems to know Richardson he’d something to so with his leaving but what was it really about.
      Thanks for info but that doesn’t get him off the hook only 2 teachers left 75 76 and he was one of them!

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      1. Totally delighted that Malim has been banged up. He should rot in hell. The man is an odious toad, and all those nude swims he’d take in the summer term and h’d stand there in his purple swimming trunks,never forget them to this day, as well as the gawping in the showers . Only now am starting to process this as this was and is totally not right and a was a form of abuse in itself. So sorry to hear about Scotty. One does wonder who else suffered at the hands of this monster who was at Cothill at the time he was there. He used to do Commando runs in the woods with his favourites. I think he may have even done trips to Wales as well, but cannot be sure.

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  5. I was at Cothill House from 1969 until 1974, initially as a day boy and later as a boarder when my parents moved overseas. Cothill House was a happy school and our headmaster Major Pike (or ‘Toff’ as we called him) was an inspiration to us all. Malim (or ‘Mallet’ as we called him) taught French. I believe he is half-French. My parents, before they moved away, invited Malim and Adrian Richardson (who died in May 2017) to dinner. Recently, I asked my mother for her impression of Malim (before informing her of his current whereabouts). She remembers him as a “rather plump chap” (as does everyone, I expect), she also said she’d asked Major Pike if Malim was qualified to be a teacher. Apparently, Major Pike was surprised by her question but told her no, Malim wasn’t qualified but he “would be before the end of the school year“. Which school year that was, I have no idea. Wild guess, 1970/1. When Major Pike retired c.1975 and Mr. Richardson became headmaster, Malim left Cothill House. Whether he was sacked or not, I have no idea. The story put about – perhaps by mutual agreement – was that with his colleague and contemporary’s promotion, it was time for Malim to move on. Anyway, without going into any detail here, I am personally very glad he is incarcerated and not because he taught me French. Malim got off lightly with six years.

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    1. Mark and Henry: Are you aware of the BS Survivors closed Facebook group? It has been a great help for me in moving onward with related trauma.

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    2. I remember you Mark. You were a tear ahead of me. I was st the leavers dinner in 1975 when MALIM was there as well. He was givena mallett with Dymo tape around it with messages, known as the order of the mallett. People in my year were the likes of TIM Peers, Chris Shaw, Andrew Jewson, Nigel Bidmead, Alex Figg. I think there was a lot of covering up, ADR lived in the masters cottage with MALIM so find it heard to believe that ADR did not happen any idea. Are you going to the 150th anniversary celebrations ? One man though will not be there though!! May he rot in hell and suffer in jail. As you say, 6 years not enough……

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      1. Henry; I was not at Cothill – at Old Hall in Shropshire: The Facebook group is Boarding School Survivors and is a closed group of about 200. Very supportive. Just contact the ‘admins’ if you are interested. Good Luck.

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  6. Following my previous post, I am confident that if Major Pike had even had an vaguest inkling of what Malim was up to, he would have run Malim’s sorry arse out of there at the double. I cannot remember if I liked or disliked Mr. Richardson but I remember him as a stand-up guy. If he had known what Malim was up to, I am sure he would have ratted him out to Major Pike, rather than waiting until some indeterminate point in the future when he might become headmaster and therefore be in a position to hand Malim his P45. Further to this, IF Malim had been sacked by Richardson due to the sort of behaviour for which he is currently banged up, surely Malim would have never been able to get another job in a prep school without the requisite references. During his retirement, Major Pike wrote “The Cothill Story” (published in 1991) in which there are mentions and a photo of Malim. Surely, Major Pike would have excluded any mention of Malim had he known or subsequently found out that Malim had been sexually abusing pupils on his watch. Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part but I do not believe any of the Cothill House adults had any idea what Malim was up to. Major Pike is current spinning in his grave, along with those of Malim’s colleagues who have too passed away.

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    1. I believe from our era that John Burbank ( Hair Bear ) is still alive and in fact was deputy head under ADR. Also, I think Ruth Viner is still alive, ( she married in the mid 70’s). I have no idea regarding the others,ie Peter Gilbert, Keith Bones. On a lighter note I was at a speech day at Oundle about 25 tears ago and I bumped into Bill Liversidge whose Grandson was there. A small world.

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      1. Hello Henry, I remember your name and also the other names you mentioned. I will definitely be at the 150th Anniversary, see you there.

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  7. I was at Cothill House from 1969 until 1974. I do not have fond memories of Malim, as a human being or as a teacher. As a child I had a sense that he was different to the other teachers at the school. Cothill was a wonderful school, where individuals talents were nurtured and openly encouraged. However, I thought at the time that Malim was a threat to the harmony of the school. I avoided him by choice, but at the time I had no idea of his sinister intentions. I am glad that justice has finally prevailed, though six years seems a lenient sentence for the suffering that he has caused. My heart goes out to the pupils that he abused, and I hope that this prison sentence will help to begin the healing process.

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    1. I left in 1975 and went to Shiplake. I cannot remember you. I was a Roman. Do you not remember Malim’s nude swims in the Summer term ?

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      1. Hi Henry. I certainly remember your name. I had no idea that Malim organised nude swims during the summer term. Fortunately, I was not one of his favourites and consequently escaped his predatory advances. John Burbank is still alive and well. He is living in a village called Longworth in Oxfordshire. I was driving through the village several years ago and saw him by chance. We had a nice conversation and shared some happy memories. Mark Bannister informed me via your message that Cothill House is celebrating it’s 150 year anniversary in 2020. I am certainly planning to go. I still have fond memories of the 100 year anniversary, especially the magnificent cake, with the model of the school perched on top.

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  8. The whole school went for those nude swims, they were in the evenings. We’d all go down the fire escape. Were you a day boy or boarder ? Are you in regular contact with Mark Bannister ? Do you keep in touch with anyone else ? What are you up to these days ? Can’t think of any other teachers still alive. If you go on the Cothill House website you will
    See an old boys section and under GDPR you have to give permission for the school to add you to the mailing list. We all know Mailin has his favourites and I was glad I was not one of them.

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    1. Hello again Henry. I had no idea that boys used to sneak down the fire escape at night. I was a weekly boarder. In hindsight I posted incorrectly about my time at Cothill House. I was there from 1968 to 1973, so you must have been 2 years below me. I am in regular contact with Mark Bannister and we are planning to attend the school’s 150th anniversary in 2020. As far as I know John Burbank is the only teacher still alive, but I could be wrong. I am really looking forward to the 150th anniversary and hopefully getting to meet again some long lost friends.

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    2. Hi again on subjects of Malims favourites a few old boys can’t recall Scott being one of them? Which makes me wonder were there other Masters abusing? Haven’t heard any other names pop up although one old boy who adored Malim as most pupils and parents did was more convinced on Richardson being suspect. Ricoh started at Cothill in 62. He taught at Ashdown House for a few years before coming back to Cothill to become deputy. Ashdown as most know had some of the worst multiple abusers In the 70’s. I’ve heard of odd things like a cricket match at Ashdown where there was an overnight stay! Adrian died the month before Scott did in April 2017. He started his empire The Cothill Trust with Cothill and I’m sure it was he that moved Malim on as he couldn’t have that going on!
      CET now has 9 schools Richardson was on the board of governors 2009 prior to acquiring it under the CET in 2013
      I have also been informed that when The Ashdown abuse story broke he called a former Ashdown student who was proactive in the case and told him to drop it!
      There’s a lot going on hear possibly a ring even I suspect .
      Donald Fowler Watt was headmaster at Brambletye where Malim went and Ashdown don’t tell me he heard nothing at both schools. Interestingly when attending Malims sentencing in September the main acuser told me Fowler Watt vouched to Malims good character but only in writing
      Citing I’ll health. Much easier to lie on paper rather than examination under oath…………
      I don’t have an un healthy obsession with this but truth will out and I shall shove it along to that end as best I can in my dead brothers name and all Malims other victims and survivors
      Channeling my inner detective!

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      1. And thank you for your thoughts on Scott it’s been incredibly hard as you can imagine. I only found out about his sexual abuse at Cothill after he died it explained a lot.
        Melissa

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