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South Africa Reunion

Alex Gibson, OH 1984-92 enjoyed reuniting with former Rugby coach during the Hymers College Multi-Sports Tour in South Africa
3 Aug 2023
OH News
Mr Exley, Alex and Greg
Mr Exley, Alex and Greg

In July (2023), students from Hymers College were excited to go on the South Africa Multi-Sports Tour, which was to be the final school trip for retiring Business Studies and Economics teacher, Mr Exley.  Mr Exley has taught at Hymers College since 1986 and coached many Rugby teams since then.  One student, Alex Gibson, now lives in South Africa and was pleased to catch up with his former coach:


I was at Hymers College from 1984 until 1992 and I left prior to A levels to attend Naval Academy in Sept 1992, in Newcastle, UK.

I moved to SA for love rather than work and I quickly fell in love with the outdoor lifestyle that Southern Africa provides you.  I met my wife in the year 2000 whilst on board the Royal Princess, where I sailed as a Senior Navigating Officer for P&O Cruises.  Cecilia is from South Africa and so, I have lived in South Africa since 2001.  I am now the Regional Company Officer of an energy company based in Dubai, happily married with three children. 

It was a pleasure to spend the games with Neil (never called him Billy out of respect).  Neil even said to my son, Harrison, I am only one of a few that does call him that. 

When I arrived, I observed Neil on the other side of the pitch, so I walked around and called his name. When he looked at me he knew it was me instantly and gave me a massive hug.  My children from the other side said it was so nice to see that an old teacher would remember you that well and give you such a meaningful hug.

I was even more surprised to see Greg Bone (OH 1986-96), who was two years younger than me at school and who returned to the school in September 2022 to teach rugby. Greg pointed out all the children of parents I was at school with.  This made me feel old ... 

It was a pleasure to watch them play rugby and I will attend the next tour they do down here. It was made more important as it was Neil's last two games.

My children loved meeting them both and felt they were treated like alumni themselves.  They laughed so much at Neil and Greg, as they realised how genuine and honest our accent from East Yorkshire is. It felt like we carried on from where left off in '92. The kids got to hear some old stories from the past.  I must admit, it took me a couple of minutes to tune into the accent myself ... but we all had a great time.

Neil with my son Harrison (16). Hannah (20) left and
Amy-Leigh (15) right

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