OD Annual Newsletter 2013
This is now my third attempt at writing the annual newsletter. My English master would say that he continued reading what I had to say more out of morbid curiosity, than anything else. While this was understandable given my lack of interest in Julius Caesar, I hope you will read that I do have more interest in OD matters than I ever had in Julius Caesar!
Through the kind offices of Budgie Sargent (Martins 1970-75) we were able to continue using the facilities of the RAF Club in Piccadilly for our annual drinks party. I would like to congratulate John Gilpin (School 1952-56) for being the first to book on line more than a month ahead of everyone else. Your reward for being so quick off the mark is a free ticket to this year’s London drinks party on Friday 17 January 2014. Please contact me directly and I will arrange. However, we had not planned this year for the weather and snow. Congratulations to the 40 or so people who braved the weather last year. With the school prefects not being able to travel up either, a lot less was drunk. This year, we are offering those of you who paid but were unable to attend last year, a free guest ticket along with your paid ticket. Please email me email@example.com if you are interested in attending this year’s party and would like to bring a guest for free.
One of the many regulars not to make the London drinks party was George Matthews, an ex-President of the OD Club . It was not weather that kept him away, rather health and advancing years. Sadly George passed away soon after and his funeral was held at Barham Crematorium, followed by a gathering at the school on 29 January 2013. Very many ODs, members of staff both current and past made the journey to pay their respects to George. How many of you remember staff members Tony Lascelles, Chris Howarth, Graham Wood, Anne Cruickshank and Len Cruickshank (the man with the nose that could sniff out a fag at 200 yards!) , who, with their respective partners, made the pilgrimage to Dover. George’s son read the obituary where we heard much about his exploits at school with sailing and camping expeditions. We heard how brave and dedicated Penny was when accompanying George on his test runs; his rationale being that if Penny could do it the boys could do it too. Goerge’s approach to student activities was clearly very different to the risk assessments required with today. And afterwards, many ODs spoke of tales involving George sailing to France with students, arriving at Boulogne instead of Calais, and on at least one occasion arriving without a passport! Thank you George for providing the ODs with so much more than memories to share with others.
On Sunday 17 March 2013, we enticed 11 ODs into a game of hockey with the school. The OD team looked strong on paper leading to a small wager between a Governor and the Headmaster. We are led to believe that Gerry Holden was backing the school XI owing to their rigorous training, as opposed to thinking that the OD team may still be suffering from the effects of watching rugby the day before. Nevertheless a close match finishing 5-4 to the ODs. A great effort from James Whybrow (School 2007-2012) who scored a hat trick, and an excellent reflex save from Harrison Hinckley on behalf of the school winning him the man of the match award. Not sure that we intended to have a man of the match, let alone an award! But then we remembered that the Headmaster had just lost his bet with John Sinclair (School 1962-67). Thank you John and Gerry.
With our January London drinks party being heavily affected by weather, the school prefects missed out on their introduction to ODs. It was therefore decided to host another OD social event in an attempt to redress this. Therefore, 14 prefects were invited up to HQS Wellington in sports kit on the pretence that they would be taken on a tour of the ship before a champagne reception in the wardroom. Guests included members of the OD committee, Governors, and the Master of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners who had the honour of being at the helm of Gloriana for her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. All seemed quite normal until instead of boarding HQS Wellington, they boarded two fast RIBs to be taken down to Canary Wharf and back at high speed. The prefects now understood why I was so interested in their swimming ability during conversations at the hockey match in March! Once back, a quick (or not so quick) change of attire in time for an evening in the ward room with ODs and Master Mariners.
Sunday 30 June 2013 was a busy day for ODs starting with the OD memorial service for George Matthews, followed by the AGM and finishing with the cricket. Some 40 ODs were in attendance from the young cricketers to the not so young spectators. Tony Bunting (School 1960-65) chaired his first AGM as president, and despite our earlier fears had the meeting wrapped up in time for lunch.
Thank you Giulio Pesenti (Leamington 2009-11) for agreeing to become OD Club treasurer, and Paul Hayes (Leamington 1980-82) for agreeing to carry on as Hon sec for one last year. We remain a male-dominated committee with an exceptional lady to whom we all defer. Thank you Lesley Foxwell for ensuring we do keep Club committee business in order. We would positively welcome any OD lady that wishes to join the OD committee to see how well Lesley keeps us all under control. Should you be interested, please do contact me firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet twice a year on board HQS Wellington, once at the London party and once at the AGM. And if there is an excuse for a few beers as well…
Last year the OD cricket XI was thwarted by rain. We were keen to make a difference this year and for that reason we used careful selection criteria in scraping together 11 ODs for the match. Yes they took pity and allowed the chairman to play too! This year we had glorious sunshine and the ODs enjoyed an afternoon of batting to some 200 runs. Joey Woods missed his target of 100 runs by only 3 so was presented with an OD tie for man of the match as his consolation prize. The school lost a few early wickets and they started to dig in, looking as though they were going to hold out for a draw and waste valuable Sunday evening drinking time! However, 5 overs short of a draw, the last wicket fell and the OD XI was pleased to reverse last year’s loss. Thanks as ever to Nick Lockhart for scoring and our umpires John Widgery (St Martins 1952-57) and Rupert Hill who not only umpired this year’s cricket but the hockey too.
Tony Robin (St Martins 1961-66) has taken over organisational responsibilities for the Cranleigh dinner. This year it was held on Friday 1 November 2013 at the Punchbowl, plus a gathering beforehand at Tony and Julia’s house. We were joined by the “Brace Brothers”, the Headmaster and the Bursar, Philip Barry, who is retiring from the school after many years of dedicated service. Despite severe interrogation from ODs, we were not able to solicit any information about the Headmaster. It was therefore decided to put the Headmaster on the spot and ask him to speak. Gerry stood up to address us all and removed his jacket. Headmaster where did you get those braces? With myself, the president and a few others we tried to combat the St Martins house numbers in attendance. However, it appears for whatever reason, that the ODs from St Martins remain more abundant at this event.
We look forward to the OD sports day on Sunday 8 December 2013, where we are pleased to see not just an OD football fixture but an OD girls hockey fixture. Many thanks to be passed on to Rupert Hill and other members of staff for managing to coerce both boys and girls back for some sporting fun.
And finally a reminder that weather permitting, the London drinks party will be held on Friday 17 January 2014 at the RAF Club. Many of the usual suspects will be in attendance, plus many more who have threatened appearances. Details and booking can be found on the website www.olddovorians.com.
Not least, a thank you to all those not mentioned who have taken part or assisted in the organisation of OD events this past year. And on behalf of our committee, I wish you all a very merry Christmas and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at a future OD event.