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News > Alumni Memories > Ken Graham - Reminiscences of “A Thorough Nuisance'

Ken Graham - Reminiscences of “A Thorough Nuisance'

Ken Graham (1958-1962) recalls his action-packed time at the school.
15 Jun 2023
Written by Will Humphries
Alumni Memories
Ken Graham returns to his old stomping ground
Ken Graham returns to his old stomping ground

My name is Ken Graham.

During a recent visit to Sutton, from my home in Somerset, somehow I found myself sitting outside my old school, Sutton County Grammar. Plucking up the courage to press the doorbell, I was invited in by a welcoming Marie Brass, Alumni and External Relations Coordinator, who kindly unearthed my school reports. They made extremely interesting reading: apparently I was deemed to be “A thorough nuisance”!

During my four years at the school I, together with 16 other boys from the third year, seem to have caused such havoc that we were herded into an extra form (4n) at the start of the Autumn Term of 1961, presumably to make us more manageable. I have to admit that I (we) enjoyed larking about rather than actually learning. My best friend, Simon Pennance, and myself, regularly had our names (Pennance and Graham) read out in Assembly, condemning us to Friday Night Detention yet again.

On a more positive note, I enjoyed playing football for the school. We used to play on the pitches over at Nonsuch High School for Girls in Cheam and, one memorable morning, I scored a brilliant headed goal. Standing by the goal was our headmaster, Dr “Fred” Walch. “Well done, Graham!” he called out. Praise, at long last … it made my day. I probably received the cane the next week …

4n even won the Gym Football competition that year, much to the annoyance of the rest of the school!

Sadly however, towards the end of Summer Term 1962, one Monday morning, I was told to collect my bike and go home, never to return! I had finally exhausted the patience of Dr. Walch and his team.

A few years later, despite having shown no interest in music theory lessons (unfortunately there were no instruments available at the school), the direction of my career might have coaxed a wry smile from our music teacher (Davies?). I became Stage and Transport Manager at the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and went on to form a successful trucking company, Ken Graham Trucking, dedicated to touring with world class orchestras, moving their instruments and equipment in custom-built to climate-controlled artic to concert venues all over Europe.

It was then that the work-ethic and discipline that I had subconsciously acquired during my (somewhat misspent) time at Sutton Grammar stood me in good stead - in spite of the efforts of French master ‘Basher’ Billington to enforce these qualities by clouting me over the head with the edge of a half-crown coin!

I look back now with gratitude and fondness on the time spent at SCG, and realise that I wasn’t a lost cause after all, and that those four tried years were some of the happiest and most worthwhile of my life.

Thank you, Sutton County Grammar School.

Ken Graham, Wells, Somerset 2023 (aged 76).  

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