Ian Fleming

On the afternoon of Thursday June 24 1909, the school held a garden fete in aid of the cricket pavilion, when the pavilion was officially opened. The Oxford Town Band were in attendance, and tea was served at a cost of 9p a head.

A flyer noted that a number of distinguished patrons had put their names forward to support the fete. Two of these were Valentine Fleming and his wife Eve. These were Ian Fleming’s parents.

Valentine Fleming opened the pavilion and made a speech; while Eve played the violin in a small concert.

In 1906, Valentine and his wife had purchased Braziers Park in Oxfordshire (they also had a home in London where Ian Fleming was born in 1908.)

In Oxfordshire, Valentine joined the local yeomanry regiment, the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, and the South Oxfordshire and Berkshire hunts. According to Fleming’s biographer Andrew Lycett, life at Braziers Park was idyllic for Fleming and his siblings. So perhaps, at the age of 1 Valentine and Eve brought Ian and his older brother to the fete.

There is a further more indirect link as well. Emma Hutt who was at the school in the early 1980s wrote to say that her grandmother, Joyce Emerson, used to work with Fleming on the Sunday Times as a journalist. He gave her a first edition of Moonraker with a cryptic message in it thanking her for ghost writing – perhaps she was the real author! She certainly wrote a number of articles in the ST for him to help him out when he was distracted by “other activities”.

More details can be found at Ian Fleming and Thame: https://midcenturybond.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/ian-fleming-and-thame/

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