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Noel Page

North B 1956-61

Noel Page sadly passed away on 17 February 2022.

His eulogy was given by Ashley Silverton, Fen 1973-78:

“Many of you will already know that Noel always had very strong connections with The Leys School in Cambridge. As far as that institution is concerned, the Page family sits somewhere between aristocracy and royalty. It all goes back to Noel’s grandparents who in 1913 decided that their son George Scott Page should benefit from the finest possible Methodist education, and he was duly sent off to board at The Leys. The experience must have been a positive one because his three sons, of whom Noel was the youngest, followed in his footsteps and were also enrolled there. Noel’s schoolboy days came to an end in 1961, but since then he has maintained a remarkable number of connections. He served as a Governor for 20 years and his accountancy expertise was so valuable that for most of that time he acted as Treasurer to The Leys & St Faith’s Foundation, helping to financially oversee a huge number of projects and developments.

Throughout his adult life, Noel has been a cornerstone of the Old Leysian Golfing Society and although he was the first to acknowledge that the standard of his play did not come close to that of several other Page relations, he threw himself wholeheartedly into every aspect of the golfing scene. Invariably, he would be found representing or supporting the Old Leysians at inter-school alumni tournaments as well as the Halford Hewitt and Grafton Morish annual competitions. His contribution across the board was properly recognised when in 1995 he was invited to become the President of the Old Leysian Union, a role in which he served with distinction.

I first encountered Noel in the late 1970s when I was invited to join the committee of the Old Leysian Football Club when he had already been the Treasurer for ten years and he continued in that role for another 17. The bi-annual OLFC meetings were held at the offices of his employer Dearden Farrow in Serjeant’s Inn just off Fleet Street. They would start promptly at 6:15 pm and rarely lasted more than an hour so that we could repair to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and exchange views on the wider rugby scene, sport in general, economics, politics, and everyday life. The highlight of every year was the Christmas dinner which back in the day was always held at Le Bistingo in Fleet Street until the staff deemed that the revelries were getting a little too boisterous, but by this time Noel had departed for Croatia.

Despite being based over a thousand miles away, he would continue to have a very hands-on financial role, but he was forced to cede the rugby club presidency to me. He was a tough act to follow and at times I needed to rely on a guiding hand that was invisible to others. One of our biggest fights was convincing the RFU and Surrey Rugby that we merited remaining as members of their unions. In this were were successful, but sadly it was not possible to hang on to what for many years had been the greatest membership perk. Well before my time Noel had identified that a legitimate sleight of financial hand would enable us to apply for and receive scores of Twickenham International tickets at face value. Generations of Old Leysians benefitted from his smart stewardship until the loophole was closed in the 1990s.

Noel quite rightly never considered himself as one of our star players but back in the day he would invariably turn out for the OLFC 2nd XV when we were short of numbers to play the school. Over the last few years he has been more in the background but providing a strong and invaluable role which has hugely assisted in holding everything together. His importance to the history of our club cannot be overstated as he has been the central pillar that has held it up for the last half century. The strong financial position that he leaves behind means we are now able to direct resources into subsiding future events and tours.

Back in the 1970s, Noel was introduced by OLFC to the gentle but cutthroat art of Spoofing. For four decades he would resolutely insist that this ancient and revered pastime was simply a game of chance, bereft of either skill or judgement. It was only in 2017 when he smashed the entire competition field to become Kent Spoofing Champion that he changed his tune and declared it to be a most worthy sport dependent on high level numeracy, considered judgement and unblinking concentration.

Noel was a man of many parts. Wherever he became involved he was very much an officer rather than a foot soldier and accordingly we should all now salute him. I have been struggling to find the right words of farewell, and so I am going to fall back on Leysian schoolboy Latin and simply sign off to someone who is gone but will not be forgotten and who will be sorely missed by so many of us with a simple single word – Vale.”