Here is the fourth and final edition of 'How our Alumni are Coping in Lockdown' series:

Steve Cronin, Merchandise Director TK Maxx & Homesense (Class of 2004)

Lockdown has been an adventure and a constant learning process! We have two small children and both me and my wife work full time so attempting to juggle both has been a challenge. Work have been very supportive but it’s still been a personal challenge about lowering my self expectations, how to prioritise, what really matters and what is just nice to do. The Retail world is very unknown right now. We have stores open and trading in mainland Europe and are learning about new shopping behaviours and how to run our stores completely differently to ensure the health and safety of our customers and associates. In both my personal life and from a business perspective it’s about taking one day at a time, making decisions to the best of our ability with the limited information we have and keeping half an eye on the future and whatever it may bring.

Lola Gudsell, Retired (Class of 1952)

As grandparents, little seemed to affect us during Level 4 lockdown in NZ. My son offered to do the grocery shopping - it seemed strange to write a list knowing he would not know what I normally buy. The biggest change has been for one of our dogs, who is a guide dog puppy who has no long walks now and has missed the stimulation of beings in shops, waiting rooms, new places and people. As a result of the lack of stimulation he became very destructive in the home to the point, where I come down each morning to a war zone of destruction! I miss the physical interaction with others, I am a member of an Art group and also a Creative Writing group as well as teaching a Sunday School class. Our midweek evening home group meetings became “zoom” meetings and we learnt new technology. I miss seeing my grandchildren, however my own children seem more attentive and caring, I love that bit.

Mike Illes, Retired (Class of 1967)

I left Challoner’s in 1967 have been most notable for failing to keep contact with anyone from the school although I did attend a class of 67 reunion about 8 years ago and was terrified! I have intermittently kept contact with two teachers from the school – Mr Hoare and Mr Launder. I have had the strangest career since I left school, firstly struggling to graduate in Mathematics from the University of Southampton in 1971. I got the degree I deserved and joined Kodak straight from university. I think the reason they liked me was my honesty about not working much at university! After a number of career moves in the 70s and 80s involving IT including some at high levels in international corporations, I joined my wife in 1992 running her model agency. When she fell extremely ill in 2001, I started running the business on my own account. It has grown to be the busiest agency in Europe, although heaven only knows what Covid will do for us or to us! I am presently relinquishing my role as I have passed 70, now have a strong management team and am a little on the puffed-out side, I will still retain an active involvement though. I envisage a feet-first leaving-do! I am not sure how Mathematics equates with being a model agent nor the 20 years I spent in IT, but it seems to have worked out well and has been immense fun and we have managed to change the entire industry for the better. Oh, yes! Family. Helen and I had 2 daughters and now have 2 granddaughters with another on the way. All-in-all, life has been the most amazing fun. I blame Challoner’s for imbuing me with an excess of optimism and a fear-nothing nor anyone approach to life. The two teachers above helped me to understand that.

A huge thank you to everyone that has contributed to this series, it has been enjoyed across the whole school community.