In with the new! Ashvillian Society’s new president, Ian Brown, left, with outgoing president, Simon Donkin
In with the new! Ashvillian Society’s new president, Ian Brown, left, with outgoing president, Simon Donkin
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New president for Ashvilllian Society


An entrepreneur whose expertise in rural affairs saw him becoming a “Churchill Fellow” this year, has taken on a new role – the head of a Harrogate school’s old pupils’ association.

Ian Brown, the chair of the Forestry Commission’s North East Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee, was elected President of the Ashvillian Society at its 120th annual general meeting.

Notable former Ashvillians include Arthur Balfour, 1st Baron Riverdale; Academy award winning film and theatre director Tony Richardson, Downton Abbey actor Jim Carter, Academy Award nominated film director, producer and writer Jamie Donoughue, and shipping magnate and Liberal MP, Sir Stephen Furness.

Ian, who was a boarder at the independent school in the late 70s and early 80s, took over the reigns from outgoing president, Simon Donkin, at the end of his two-year tenure. The same meeting also saw Cambridge Graduate Beth Hartwell, who left Ashville in 2009, elected as the society’s vice president.

Ian said:

It’s a great honour for me to elected at president of the Ashvillian Society and I’d like to thank the committee for putting their trust in me. I would also like to thank Simon Donkin for so ably leading the society over the last two years.

Ashville College has a very special place in my heart. It played a significant part in my formative years, particularly as being a boarding pupil. As well as being my school for seven years it was my home – and many of the friendships I forged have proved to be lifelong.

The college has a thriving alumni organisation and I’m very much looking forward to being at its helm for the next two years.

Each year the Ashvillian Society organises a number of reunions across the UK and overseas, including Harrogate, London and Hong Kong. Additionally, staff members of the committee host reunion evenings at a number of universities.

In March 2018, 50 “Old Ashvillians” and teachers gathered for a drinks reception at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the Harrogate school’s 140th anniversary. The evening, which was hosted by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones.

During the evening, the OAs were asked to sign a special piece of artwork to commemorate the anniversary. The artwork depicts Ashville College alongside the Houses of Parliament and will be displayed within the main school building.

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