Never one to miss out on a free meal, it was with great enthusiasm that I responded in the affirmative to the Head Master’s invitation to dinner on Friday 27th August, and with considerable bounce in my step that I boarded a train out of Clapham Junction towards the mighty City of Brighton and on to the hillside Principality of Kemp Town.
Sunday 25th April saw a somewhat relaxed and laid back Pelicans squad take to the field at this year's Sunshine 7s. Our first game was against Esher who run a regular 7s squad and were expected to do well at the tournament.
Brighton College played some delightful rugby this weekend en route to their first final in The Daily Mail Vase at Twickenham in the U15 Daily Mail Vase final on March 31.
The fifth annual Vice Presidents’ lunch saw us return to the Army and Navy Club, and once again we are very grateful to Peter Miller (C. 1945-49 ) for hosting the occasion and allowing us to enjoy the fine catering and premises of the club.
It’s been a while since our last London Drinks – almost 2 years, in fact. For these first Drinks of 2010 we had returned to a favourite old haunt of the Association’s London members; The International Bar on St. Martin’s Lane. Unfortunately it appears that it may also be our last time here; the place is to close within a month – a piece of information made privy to Jack Bremer (BCJS 1990-94) before some of the bar staff (much to his and one unfortunate girl’s great embarrassment / shock).
For any school to have a former pupil in a Varsity match at Twickenham is a great honour - to have two, one in each team, is rare. Former Brighton College 1st XV player Ben Maidment (R. 2004-06) helped Cambridge University to a dramatic 31-27 victory over old rival Oxford University - who were also captained by another old Brightonian, Dr Dan Rosen (D. 2000-02), in the 128th Varsity Match at Twickenham.
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!
21 of the 48 current OB undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge joined the Head Master and senior staff for a dinner at Clare College on Saturday 21st November 2009. The excellent food and wine, the magnificent setting of the panelled hall and the grace sung by Clare’s choral scholars showed Cambridge life at its most beguiling.
The chapel was full to capacity for Service of Music and Readings for Remembrance Sunday. Parents, pupils, and many Old Brightonians came to listen to the roll call of those who died in World War 2, to observe the Silence and to hear the choir sing the Faure Requiem. The readings, which concentrated on the disabling effects of war, ranged from Wilfred Owen to a soldier engaged in Afghanistan. Any parent who was unable to attend, but would like a copy of the service booklet, should contact the Deputies' PA, Louise Moore.
Warmest congratulations to the College Chamber Choir who performed excellently before a packed house at the Glorious Venice concert (St Bartholomew's Church, Saturday 24th October). Joining three long established chamber choirs and a quartet of recently graduated professional soloists, the college musicians contributed fully to a programme of complex Venetian choral music by Monteverdi and the Gabriellis (Giovanni & Andrea).
Guest of Honour, Zoe Ball, entertained all with the amusing tales of her own convent education, while Head of House, Frances Gladwin gave a witty and heartfelt speech, culminating in the launch of a new charity initiative which will initially sponsor a young girl in Malawi. Guests were also serenaded by the very fine in-house string quartet, harpist and chamber choir before the ‘old’ and ‘young’ chatted the night away.
On 27 September 1859 the first service was held in the college chapel (smaller then than it is now); and on Friday 2nd October 2009 a service was held to commemorate its 150th anniversary.
The second annual Peter Rumney Memorial Match took place on the 12th September 2009 on the College homeground, and was both a well attended and contested affair.
This year’s team reached the quarter finals beating Whitgift in the first round, and last year’s winners, KCS Wimbledon, in the second round before being beaten by a powerful and well-drilled St. Benedicts team.
I am delighted to send you details of this year's GCSE results from Brighton College - the best results in the school's history, with 50 pupils achieving nothing less than an A grade. The highlights include four sets of twins and a boy who moved to the school in Year 9 "to be himself" and clocked up 11 A*s including Classical Greek.
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 OB's won the Egham 7's on Saturday 23rd May in a new tournament record points tally. Hugo's Hooligans won all 7 games including a tough semi final game against the Household Cavalry Regiment 21 - 14 before going on to beat Windsor (one of the top teams in South West England 3) in the final 35 - 7.
W.Bro. Christopher Apps gave an interesting paper entitled “In the beginning...” which traced the history of operative masonry from the 13th century with its lodges until the formation of the present speculative lodges in the 17th century with its culmination in 1717 with the formation of the United Grand Lodge of England which is now a world wide organisation.
With Christmas hangovers and steaming breath whipped away by the icy winds the OB's arrived at Hove RFC for this years instalment of the Padwin Cup. With honours even from last year there was a real expectancy in the air, round two if you will, a second chance to establish dominance. Icy heads and fiery hearts took the field on the 27th to do battle for just a few inches of silver but a whole institution's respect. It is a shame that in recent years Hurst and Brighton College have discontinued sporting fixtures, but both Old Boy Club sides were adamant whatever the stakes we would fight to keep the long standing rivalry going.
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.
Stockholm in July, sits quietly, confidently and cleanly, amongst its cobbled medieval streets. The great pine wilderness on its doorstep stretches into the distance, as far as the Baltic archipelagos. The warmth of a Scandinavian summer gently envelopes its green and pleasant shores like the slowly lapping waves of the fjords; gone are thoughts of chilling winds and thick white powder - the ground is as hard as granite, this is the dry season and it’s perfect for tournament rugby!
For my report on this year’s Commemoration day, I had resolved not to begin by mentioning the weather - as it seems I so often do. It would, however, be ungracious not to acknowledge the surprising and un-forecast sunshine that bathed Brighton College on 22nd June 2008. Whilst the rest of the UK was apparently awash with the accurately predicted wind and rain, Brighton was beautifully sunny and warm - so there... I’ve mentioned it.
The Lodge enjoyed an excellent Ladies’ evening at the College on Friday 28th March. 73 members and their guests, more than in recent years, sat down to a very good meal excellently served by the College caterers who had really worked hard to make it a special evening for us. The Lodge was particularly pleased to have Mary Rumney as a guest.
Are there any gloomy days in Brighton? It seems to me that each and every visit I make to the old school is blessed with (often unseasonably) sunny and warm weather. Saturday 1st March 2008 was no exception, and again I challenge any casual observer not to be struck by how beautiful the campus looks on days such as these.
For the first London Drinks of 2008 we’d chosen a new venue in the City, Firefly Bar at The Old Bailey – a terrific venue where we were very well looked after. The Old Brightonians had an area of the bar cordoned off where a select group of 13 of us spent a very pleasant evening.
It was a crisp blue December morning that I awoke to on that famous day of the 27th. The sky blue canopy stretched over the farmhouse and melted away into an almost white distance. Scraggy, skeletal looking conifers, stripped of their summer bulk stuck out, dark, jagged and deathly amidst the pure colours above, whilst the ever greens stood rigidly to attention like half cut guardsmen, swaying gently from side to side in the faint north easterly breeze. Two greyish brown rabbits hopped lackadaisically across the lush green paddock below, glinting from the morning glow; I fetched my air rifle.
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 a terrific night - this is how the London Drinks should work! I’d be lying if I said we wouldn’t rather have a few more of you along to these things, but the turnout tonight was a decent enough size, I suppose (15 or so), and the quality of the company more than made up for it’s quantity.
When engaged in the art rugby, the vanquishing of thine enemy can be the warrior's only concern. This is the first and cardinal rule of our game, of our code, of our very brotherhood. Suppress all human emotion and compassion; destroy whoever stands in thy way. This truth lies at the heart of the art of your combat, be it the power of the number eight or the nimble jink of the fly half. Once it is mastered. Thou shall fear no one. Though the devil himself may bar thy way.
Bringing back Commemoration Day to the OB calendar does seem a perfect way to celebrate and acknowledge the 125th Anniversary of the Association, and that the day was graced with terrific weather certainly saved the blushes of those of us who had campaigned so vigorously for this summer replacement to September’s OB Day.
It's difficult to know where to begin with my report on this "reunion". I'm delighted to say that those who actually showed up at The Brunswick on 12th April proved great company. The problem was that there were just 6 of us (and one of us - me - isn't even under 30)!
A select gathering of ten Old Brightonians this evening - not the heaving throng we’ve been used to of late, but perhaps the success of the January Drinks (in terms of sheer numbers, at least) had prompted us in our enthusiasm to organise tonight’s gathering a little to soon. Nevertheless, quality more than made up for quantity, and this particular slice of alumni represented some of the most interesting OBs that I have personally had the pleasure to meet.
"Come along, it will be great!" If I have heard it once, I have heard it... oooohhh... 7 or 8 times. This time I did come along and, do you know what, it was good. Damn good. In fact the only negative about the evening was the fact that even more didn’t turn up.
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?
Motspur Park near Wimbledon was the scene for the 10th annual National Cronk-Cunis U21’s Old boys Rugby tournament. Unlike the last two tournaments the sky was an uncharacteristic grey, bruised and heavy with moisture it suppressed overhead like a granite coloured blanket of discontent.
The 2006 Graduation Day Ceremony, attended by all 6th form leavers, friends, family, staff and alumni, was every bit as uplifting as the OBA President David Gold had told me it would be... I had been asked by our esteemed leader to attend on his behalf as he was busy darting around the country amassing support for his imminent assault on government. I was happy to do so, even though it meant addressing the assembled throng on a summer’s day so hot that it lent new gravitas to the expression "passing-out ceremony"!
On Thursday 29th June some of the world's most prolific cricketers played against the College 1st XI. Chris Crosbie - a guest of Guy Bradshaw (R. 1979-84) - sends us this report...
It appears the House has changed beyond recognition. Durnford in the 1940's and 50's was an unforgiving place with cold baths, fagging and flogging the norm! Indeed it was amusing to hear some Old Durnfordians great each other with the exclamation, "You used to beat me - I was your fag!".
Nonetheless, the occasion was joyous and it was great to see Old Durnfordians from very recent years returning. Kyle Macdonald Wallis (1999-2004) came with a tattoo of the Durnford Dragon on his leg and I cannot imagine you get greater allegiance than that!
Rugby sevens is a game of tactics, patience, speed, skill and above all flair. Thus being the show off I am I decided the Old Brightonians 1st VII RFC should demonstrate all these admirable virtues and many more besides at the annual East Grinstead Sunshine sevens - Sussex’s premier Sevens tournament.