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SVS Foundation News

News stories from the School and Old Suttonian communities

News > Deaths and Obituaries > Obituary - Ian Kay (1941 M)

Obituary - Ian Kay (1941 M)

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Old Suttonian Ian Kay (1941 M). Ian was, without doubt, one of the most enthusiastic and engaged Old Suttonians to have attended the School. 

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Old Suttonian Ian Kay (1941 M). Ian was, without doubt, one of the most enthusiastic and engaged Old Suttonians not just of his era, but of any generation to have attended the School. 

In the convoluted world of alumni relations, the development of a successful engagement programme remains as challenging as ever. Social media and other technological stimuli have helped, but the most efficient, tried-and-tested formula remains that of an effective ambassadorial programme. In short, this is the ability to find alumni who are so dedicated and enthusiastic about the School that they drive the alumni programme forward themselves. These are rare beasts who often disappear, disillusioned with the apathy they face. Occasionally though you find one that sticks around and even more occasionally you find one that has done so for 70 years.

Ian Kay (1941 M) joined the School in May 1937, staying four years before leaving after a single term in the Sixth Form. Sadly, his father had lost his business due to the Second World War and the fees were no longer affordable. This resulted in seven years away from SVS before, on a return visit to the School in 1948, Ian was asked by Aiden Craven (1926 M) to join the OSA Committee. So began a lifetime of service.

Having joined the Committee, he would go on to serve on it for over 50 years. In the mid-1950s, he was asked to take on the mantle of OSA Dinner Secretary and he did so from 1956 through to 1991. He always said it was the best job on the Committee as he met OS of all ages. Remarkably, at the first dinner he organised in 1956, he had met a leaver from 1891.

Ian’s contribution was not constrained to the realms of social functions though, his love of Hockey led to active involvement on the sports fields as well. When Patrick McIlwaine became a member of staff in the early 1980s, he encouraged the development of an Old Suttonian Hockey team. The sport had only been introduced to the School in 1964, so Ian became the first OS player who had not learned the sport whilst at the School. Regularly turning out for the team during the 1980s, Ian’s fitness, even into his late-fifties, meant he was as competitive as ever.

Having retired from the role of Dinner Secretary, two other Old Suttonians, Michael Hovey (1946 W) and Michael Soloman (1945 W), invited Ian to a reunion lunch they had been holding annually for 1940s leavers. In 2006, he was asked to take over the event’s organisation and has done so ever since.

In 2010, as the School marked 100 years of association with the United Westminster Schools’ Foundation with a service at Westminster Abbey, Ian was asked to speak and did so with his usual aplomb. Addressing an audience of over 1,000, he regarded it as one of the greatest honours of his life. Some nine years later, he returned to the microphone to read the names of the Old Suttonian fallen as part of the Commemoration of the OSA Centenary Bell.

A regular face at both School and OS events, his support was unwavering. One such occasion that epitomises this was his attendance at an OS drinks function in London Bridge back in 2017. It was a bitterly cold, snowy Wednesday night and a train derailment had caused transport chaos across London. Our expected guest list of 25 had been reduced to single figures, but Ian, then aged 91, was undeterred and arrived promptly.

Ian’s family has extended an invitation to all Old Suttonians and SVS community members to attend his funeral, which is due to take place at 2pm on Friday 1st October at St Paul’s Church in Winchmore Hill, N21 1JA, followed by a reception in the Church Hall.  We hope as many of you as possible are able to attend to mark the occasion. If you are hoping to attend, we would ask that you email development@svs.org.uk, so that we can advise the family on numbers.

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