Waitaki Boys’ High School will be the only overseas school present at the 100 year commemorations and 133rd edition of the Varisty rugby match between Oxford and Cambridge University at Twickenham on December 11.
Local Ian Catto will give Oamaru and the Waitaki area some representation at the event with him flying over to visit his son who lives in London and attending the event, while Craig Ormandy is representing the London branch of Waitaki Boys’ High School Old Boys at the commemorations.
Both Mr Catto and Mr Ormandy will lay wreaths at Twickenham Stadium to commemorate all the rugby blues who went to war and died and more importantly former pupil George Martin Chapman who was part British servicemen who went to the war, he was there as a doctor and died near Ypres in 1915 trying to save someone’s life.
Waitaki Boys’ High School rector Paul Jackson was sent an invitation to the event, but unfortunately couldn’t afford to go.
“It’s just too dear, we tried our best to afford it and asked Air New Zealand if they would meet us halfway but they never came to the party which is incredibly frustrating.”
While he is unable to attend, Mr Jackson said it is an absolute honour to be a part of this commemoration.
“It’s a huge deal and we are incredibly honoured to be a part of it, something like this never comes around very often and when they said we were going to be recognised through George we jumped at the chance to have people present,” Mr Jackson said.
“Being part of this is amazing and it’s not very often we’re invited to something so significant.”
With the December game being shown on Sky, Mr Jackson wants to make sure he views it.
“I’ll be making sure I not only get a copy of the event, but will be trying my best to make sure that I view it live.”
Mr Chapman, who attended the school from 1901 to 1905 was head boy in his last year as well as the captain of the school First XV from 1904-05, before he went to Caius College in London where he studied medicine.
Rugby was not Chapman’s only sporting focus, he was a very handy boxer and was senior boxing champion at the School when the George Chapman Memorial Challenge Cup was created.
Two former pupils, who also also went to World War 1, Robert Leiper Martin Duthie and Thomas Holmes Nisbet who subsequently won the trophy.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY