Old boys receive remembrance donation

A DONATION has been presented to the Arborfield Old Boys Association (AOBA) by Crest Nicholson.

The company is one of a number of housebuilders who are creating a new community at Arborfield Green, once home to the REME army garrison.

The 413-acre site was once home to its Horse Remount depot and infirmary, as well as home to the Army Technical School, which housed and trained up to 1,000 apprentices at a time.

Crest presented £1,000 to the AOBA, which was the last surviving Army Junior Soldier trade-training establishment.

As part of an ongoing partnership between the developer and the AOBA, the donation will be used to support the charity’s work to maintain connections between its 800 members worldwide, through regular issues of its Old Boys Association Newsletter, social gatherings and annual reunions.

In addition, Crest Nicholson has laid wreaths at the development, as a reminder of the site’s military history and to commemorate the members of the armed forces who have served and died in duty.

David Hnyda, sales and marketing director at Crest Nicholson Chiltern, said: “Many army apprentices trained on what is now our Arborfield Green development, so it feels fitting to honour their outstanding contribution to the community on Remembrance Day.

“At Crest Nicholson, working alongside partners like AOBA is part of our commitment to create high-quality, thriving homes and developments that are enjoyable for both residents and the wider community.

“As a site with so much military history and background, it is important that this heritage is preserved for generations to come.”

And the gift was welcomed by the AOBA.

Its chairman, Mike Tizard, said: “The Arborfield Old Boys Association was initially established in 1939 with the aims of maintaining contact between former apprentices and fostering esprit de corps and comradeship through social gatherings.

“More than 55,000 boys passed through the gates of the Apprentice College between 1938 and 2004, and while many things have changed, our aims continue to this day.

“Today, we are a registered charity with over 800 members, we have a pipes and drums band, hold an annual reunion, have a place at the annual remembrance parade at the London Cenotaph and produce a quarterly magazine so we can keep in touch; we even have girls.

“It would be fair to say we are a thriving association and, while the Covid pandemic has prevented us from gathering in person, it has not dampened our spirits, and we all keep in touch.

“Above all, we remain proud to be called Arborfield Old Boys.”

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