I arrived at my last annual dinner ‘in charge’ on an extremely cold evening thankful that, at least, we had no snow. After a short panic attack about missing table decorations, which turned up elsewhere in the school, I joined a packed Café de Paris for pre-dinner drinks before we repaired to a slightly chilly Dining Hall for dinner.
TAG: A J Symonds (President 1997 to 2000)
This year’s dinner was a very well attended affair held in a warm and dry Dining Hall while the rain and wind lashed outside.
This notwithstanding the Diners enjoyed a wonderful speech from Old Brightonian Chris Terrill (A. 1965-70); a genuinely warm and heartfelt account of his time at the College whilst acknowledging that things have generally changed for the better for current pupils. It was good to see that he’d brought props, and these included his old boater... which seemed to still fit!
For over 30 years a few members of the 1956 & 1957 Brighton College XV’s have been meeting in London for a pre-Christmas “luncheon” to talk about old times. We started in 1968 with Graham Appleton (D) 1953- 57, Harry Bourne (D) 1954-58, Brian Piepenstock (D) 1953-58, Nigel Clarkson (A) & the late Mike Bowen (D) 1953-58. We have met at several London restaurants & clubs, Nigel being a Lloyds Shipping Broker knows the better locations in the City.
The Association was delighted that this year's special guest speaker was Dr. David Bull, broadcaster (appearing regularly on "The Wright Stuff", "Radio Five Live", "Most Haunted", and "Richard & Judy") and Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion at the next general election, and diners were treated to an account of his rich and varied career to date.
As we set off from Hereford I gave a little sigh and, when questioned by Isobel, admitted that I was wondering why I was setting off on a gloomy November day to drive two hundred miles across England for a dinner. Once we had arrived, however, all doubts were dispelled as we plunged into the happy hubbub of old friends.
What an evening! If you don't believe me then just take a look the ‘photos on this website, you will see plenty of animated smiling faces which, for me, sums up the purpose of events like this. Mind you with a combination of Ann Widdecombe as guest speaker, over 150 guests and a large contingent of 1981’ers what more could one expect?
Twenty five years is a long time but what about the 1949 PE team? They were there too and so were quite a few of those who were only yesterday (as it were) walking across the quad without a (real) care in the world. For those of us celebrating a silver anniversary of leaving the College it was for most the first time we had returned for a great many years.
The association’s dinner this year was a select affair. As if consciously to complement last year’s, when 30 years of coeducation was celebrated, an overwhelmingly male party gathered together in the Dining Hall on a cold November night. It was a most convivial evening of good wines, an excellent dinner, and of course one in which nostalgic reminiscences hung in the air like cigar smoke.