We were very sorry to learn the sad news of the passing of Michael Bostelmann (A 61-66) on 8 February 2024. Michael was a true friend of Bradfield, a keen cross-country runner, squash player and supporter of the College.

During his time at Bradfield Michael was Head of Loyd House, a talented athlete and winner of the coveted Senior Cheese in 1964, following his brother Robert who had won it in 1962. Michael maintained his relationship with the College after leaving; first as Secretary, then as President of the OB Running Club, serving for around 20 years before handing over stewardship to Tony Henderson (A 61-66) in 2011 as well as working with the current Secretary Adam Robinson (G 11-16).

In recognition of his outstanding talent as a runner and service to the OB Running Club, the annual College vs Old Bradfieldian Cross-Country match was renamed the ‘Bostelmann Trophy’ in 2015 and although his preference would have been to eschew public recognition he was not allowed to escape on this occasion!

He was a great advocate of Bradfield, believing that the supportive, all-round education that he received enabled him to thrive and chose to share his thoughts on Bradfield and philanthropy in ‘The Gift of Giving‘ in 2021. Everyone who met Michael was a fan; he will be greatly missed by the Bradfield community.


by Tony Henderson (E 79-84)

Michael was an exceptional runner while at Bradfield, a sport he also excelled at during much of his adult life, at his peak running the London Marathon in an eye-watering time of 2:37.

He joined Thames Hare & Hounds, the world’s first and oldest cross-country club based in south London, after leaving school and continued an established link between Bradfield and Thames. The school at one time provided a steady stream of members from former pupils and some SCR members such as Malcolm Thompson (SCR 63-97), who oversaw Bradfield cross-country running in the 70s into the 80s, and Michael Cuthbertson (SCR 72 – 78). The Bradfield link continues as one of Thames’ key fixtures in its organisation of an annual Alumni race at Wimbledon Common for former pupils of independent schools, with Bradfield annually fielding a strong team.

As its Secretary, Michael ran the OB running club for more than 20 years. As well as the Thames Alumni race, a highlight is an OB versus school race in the Spring term which the Bostelmann Trophy was established to reinstate.

I first met Michael in 2005. He was the very charming epitome of the English gentleman. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was always most humble but in fact he was a successful, jet-setting businessman with a pair of trainers in one hand and a pair of BMW motorcycle boots in the other.

‘Would you turn out for the Bradfield Old Boys at the Alumni race in late November?’ Michael enquired, ‘It’s only five miles across Wimbledon Common and it will be fun!’

‘Absolutely!’ I replied with a massively inflated sense of my own abilities. So, on a cold and wintry afternoon in November 2005, I duly turned out at the Thames Hare & Hounds Club on Wimbledon Common; it is a marvellous institution and squeezed into some unloved rooms above a local rugby clubhouse and the Alumni race event is nostalgically familiar for all those of us fortunate to have attended boarding school. Despite its casual appearance, it is a hugely competitive race. All competitors are welcome and boy, are they fast!

Most folk who run it train very hard whilst all along pretending not to. The old hands wheel out excuses like ‘No chance this year old boy. Been struggling with my Achilles!’ However they always seem to manage to finish ahead of me.

Sir Chris Chataway, one of the runners involved in Sir Roger Bannister’s record-breaking four-minute mile, was Club President and he turned out for the race aged 74.

“Great I thought, that’s one I can beat!” Wrong! Chris vanished into the mist at high speed in the first minute and I didn’t see him until much later in the clubhouse.

Michael, who though several years my senior, was very welcoming and made very supportive noises at the start. As we set off, he pulled on a pair of yellow gloves to keep out the cold. He ran alongside me for the first mile or so (pity I suppose) and then I watched in astonishment as man and gloves vanished effortlessly into the mist.

I puffed and panted my way round the course. Everyone passed me: girls, boys, old men. I swear a donkey went past me at some point. I can remember the mud, the clambering and the hammering of my heart as I set off across open ground for the final few hundred yards to the finish.

“Try not to die of a heart attack!” I thought hopefully as I thundered towards the line, trying not to come last. I finished in 45 minutes which I thought was about par for five miles. The winner was back in the clubhouse in 25 minutes. After I had finished, I went to try and get a shower in the melée of a changing room. It was exactly like being back at school; mud on the floor, cold showers and there was no soap to be found. Then the penny dropped, this was not a race to win a cup, it was a race to get a hot shower!

Cleansed as best as possible I joined the line for what is possibly one of the best value teas ever: one pound for unlimited sandwiches, cake and biscuits. You had to find them in the throng but when you did, scoff away! The results of the race came in and the Bradfield Old Boys Team were nowhere. The remnants of our team including Michael went to the pub to console ourselves; it seemed appropriate. I was sore going home but I resolved that we would come back next year and do better.

Michael however, had other ideas and over a very sumptuous lunch at his club he persuaded me that I should not only do better, I should also take up the reins of the club. He continued to support and help find new members to ensure the club grew and with his help and assistance we now have a healthy turnout of OBs racing three times a year and podium finishes in the Alumni at last.

He also provided very sage advice.

‘I can’t find any hills to train in.’

‘Well just run faster on the flat!’

He also continued to turn up and race until very recently – I think I only ever beat him the one year when I had been on a substantial diet.

Michael was endlessly charming, humorous, affable and enthusiastic – his unique perspective was an example to all of us.

I cannot tell you how much I shall miss him.

The yellow gloves have vanished into the mist one last time.