Tuesday, September 16, 2014

An Exchange of Emails between Dr Marina Hitchen and Mr Richard Wood - October 2013

on Oct 12, 2013, Marina wrote:
This is an enquiry e-mail via http://www.unityhighschool.org/ from :

I got the offer of an all paid trip to go and testify against your boss. I am not looking to get at Robbie personally so I guess I won't take up the offer. What you have to understand is that you don't actually have a boss. If you can in all honesty buy into that corruption then there is nothing to say. If you just want the job at the price you have to pay then there is also not much to say apart from what your conscience must be telling you. I am out now so the truth lays with you. It is your own choice. Believe it or not it was never about a job. I am earning a lot more in Saudi. It is simply about right and wrong. It just came to my mind today because of this court order. Up to you. You are the one living with this. I did what I believe to be right and still believe to be right. if anyone tells you otherwise then read the proof. If you need the job so be it but never ever believe that you are doing what is correct. Any idiot can see that would not be true. Good luck.
Sorry about the spelling. Too emotional.

On Friday, October 25, 2013 11:46 AM, "principal@unityhighschool.org" wrote:

Dear Marina,

Thank you for the two emails you sent last week. I regret the delay in responding. I was away for Eid and I promised myself I would not access my school email account during that time. On my return the Internet here failed, and then I went back to work.Today is really the first chance I have had to respond properly. 

Regarding your allegations about the ownership or otherwise of the school, and about my continuing role at the school, I should like to clarify a few points with you. First, you have never raised your allegations directly with me, nor provided any evidence, so I have had no opportunity to evaluate them. I am not inviting you to do so now, because the second point makes them irrelevant.  As I understand it, the people you accuse of having “stolen” the school have been vindicated by the authorities here and the matter has been closed without any stain on anyone’s name. Frankly, that is good enough for me. Third, the children in the school still need to be educated and that is my primary purpose as Principal. Please understand that I am not answerable to you for my actions or my conscience, so please do not be offended if I say that your judgement of me and my motives has not had, and will never have, the slightest impact on me.

I am assuming you want me to read the blog that purports to be in the name of the school I lead, and to accept without question what is asserted there. I have looked at the blog but as you can imagine, as the head of a school I am much more influenced by my own observations and experiences than by anything else. I have to say that I enjoy working with those people who have been routinely vilified by Steve Gooch and by you, and I fundamentally disagree with your negative assessment of them. I myself have nothing but respect for their work, for their integrity and for their dedication to the school. When placing that against the incautious public utterances of embittered ex-employees of the school who have been abusing their privileged positions of trust in order to cast aspersions on their former employers and colleagues, I am sure you can see that my decision to continue to work on behalf of the children, parents, staff and Council of Unity High School is an entirely principled one.

Moreover, in my estimation, your approach to dealing with the issues you have with the school has been below what I would expect from a professional. I cannot believe the amount of time and effort you continue to expend on an issue which has now been closed by the authorities. I do not know what your ultimate aim is and I suspect that might make two of us. However your continuing pursuit of something that is to all intents and purposes a dead issue, particularly when done in public, is surely not doing you any good and is certainly not doing the children any good.  The blog seems to have become a bizarre set of unrelated pages of whatever Steve Gooch happens to have in his possession at any time. I have to say I am unhappy about him posting photographs of children from the school on it. I recognize he has not named them, but I am sure you will appreciate that it is still not wise to place such materials on a public area. I said as much to him when he handed over the logbook he had in his possession to me last year, and this brings me to my final point.

The only reason I could imagine that I would wish to meet with you, would be for you finally to return the Principals' logbooks in your possession. They are valuable to the school and to the history of Khartoum – I doubt there are too many extant documents with a continuous narrative going back to the start of the last century in Khartoum, or indeed elsewhere in the world.  They belong at the school. Whilst I suspect you would hope your reputation as leader of Unity High School will in due time be based on your fearlessness and investigative skills, you have to be aware that the courts have ruled in favour of the school, so all your allegations remain in doubt. You have therefore to accept that not everyone might see your campaign in the same light that you and Steve Gooch do. You would then have further to accept that what is not in doubt is that you are at present solely and personally responsible for the deliberate removal and potential loss of a large and important part of the school and the country’s history. I imagine people would not find it that difficult to make their own assessment of your actions in respect of the logbooks.

I should further say that I see no reason for us to meet in person for the necessary action to be effected to put this right. All you need to do is to call a courier and despatch the logbooks to the school for my attention. Posterity can then have the chance to judge you on your years of service to the school rather than on one spiteful act of cultural vandalism which benefits no-one but which negatively affects many.

With all best wishes,


Richard Woods
Unity High School

On Friday, October 25, 2013 6:50 PM, marina hitchen wrote:

My Dear Richard

I think you completely misunderstand the situation. I was called to witnss in the case so it is clearly not over. I am not coming because I feel I cannot win now despite having all the evidence. You must be able to see from the documents that what has happened in that school was totally illegal and immoral. My only aim was to restore Bishop Gwynne as the sole owner and adhere to his wishes. Anyway I can see that you will believe whatever you choose to believe and have already judged me as you believe I have judged you.

At the end of the day I know what is right and if you knew me you would see that I am not at all a vengeful person and in no way vindictive. The log books belong to the Principal of Bishop Gwynne's school and Unity is no longer that school. They certainly do not belong to either me or you. I however am in posession and do not know what to do with them. I am certainly not passing them to you.

All I asked of you was to believe the evidence. Quite frankly it is impossible not to believe it. It is possible to lack understanding and certainly it takes time and effort to work your way through that documentation. Your Council are playing with you and you are exactly the person they wanted.

Barry Birch also fitted their profile as he knew nothing and did not choose to know. The Council were in dispute at the time of the illegal takeover and gave in as I have given in as the continued education of the children cannot be allowed to suffer. Honestly I am trying to escape from all that but it keeps coming back to haunt me. I did not expect that subpoena to Sudan and the anger all came back.

If you believe that forging staff signatures on powers of attorney letters without their knowledge is normal behaviour then I am horrified. The proof is there, Read Pat Clague's resignation letter from the 80's. They were doing similar stuff even then.

You have no wish to meet me nor I you. Your mind is closed and when you open it in future years you will see I am right. In the meantime I wish you every success with regards to the academic side of things. As for the rest you can remain blind. It is your conscience. Where I come from doing nothing is almost as bad as joining in the crime. We need have no further correspondence as it achieves nothing. I will not turn against you because of your naivity and I hope that you reconsider your opinion of me. It is not that important to me now. I did my best and lost. Its not the first time and probably won't be the last. Good does not win in the end every time.

Take Care


On Friday, October 25, 2013 7:04 PM, marina hitchen wrote:

Oh I forgot to add that what a Sudanese court decides is not infallible. They do not understand the paperwork and there were deliberate mis-translations done (I believe) which muddied the water. I don't care a jot about how I am remembered. I am answerable to myself only. THE LOG BOOKS DO NOT BELONG TO YOU. Yes they are important and I am planning the best place for them to go. It would not be your Church people. Look at what they already 'lost' from the church and the school. Invaluable gifts were given to them and where are they now??? Ask yourself why they removed their history. Ask why they changed the date of the school inception from 1928 back to 1902. The answers are all there.



  1. Is there any news of where the logbooks are now? The problem with uploading them on this website or elsewhere is that they might be better being closed for 30 years. Any future Principal won't keep a full log of school events if they feel that it will become a public document in a couple of years.

  2. The current Log Book was returned to Principal Richard Wood by Steve Gooch sometime ago, after it was given to him for scanning and publishing here by Dr. Marina Hitchen. The older Log Books are in the safe keeping of Dr. Marina as it was not safe or appropriate to return them to the school. It must be stated clearly that the Log Books are the private property of the Principals of Unity High School. They are not owned by the school but left for the following Principal on the departure of the previous Principal.

    Given that the Log Books at the time of David Treagust and later seem to have been falsified and manipulated in places to cover the tracks of the theft of the school, it was felt inappropriate to leave them in the school in the full knowledge that this process of falsification would all too likely happen again.

    The rightful home of the Log Books is at Unity High School in the possession of the Principal, however it is not currently safe for them to be returned there. Richard Wood however has had the opportunity to continue with the current Log Book since 2011 and there has been no request to him from this Archive for his entries to be scanned and uploaded here.

    1. Would the University of Durham's Sudan archive be a suitable place for the logbooks?

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