The inaugural drinks for Oxbridge OBs were held on Thursday 18th April at the Oxford & Cambridge Club. Hosted by Old Brightonians President and Hon. Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, Sir John Chilcot (H/S. 1952-57) the drinks were a great success, proving to be a jocular evening with much bating between OB Oxford & Cambridge graduates.
TAG: Simon Smith (acting Headmaster 2005)
Both the Simon Smith Building and the Skidelsky Building last week won highly prestigious awards from The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence. At their annual awards ceremony, each of the College's most recent buildings won the RIBA's South East Downland regional award for outstanding architecture. Ten awards were made in total out of 179 submissions.
Having not been back to school for many years, I decided it was time to pay a visit and see for myself all the many changes I have read about in various newsletters. I also wanted to catch up with my old House Master Simon Smith, before his retirement in the summer. From the moment I first made contact, the OBA office were extremely welcoming and helpful, happy to make all the arrangements to enable the visit to take place.
On a beautiful, early spring evening in the middle of March, 20 OBs and their partners gathered together in the beautiful Lotos Club, just a few blocks away from New York’s Central Park, to mark the re-birth of the “USA Friends of Brighton College”.
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.
Simon Smith has decided to retire at the end of the academic year after 38 years of outstanding service to the college, for the past eleven as Second Master. He has been a wonderful support to me in my five years as Head Master, providing wise counsel, good humour and kindly reassurance throughout. My predecessors, Bill Blackshaw, John Leach and Anthony Seldon, also owe him a terrific debt of gratitude. He has served each of them with great loyalty. Above all, Simon has served this community. He has made time for colleagues and pupils in equal measure, supporting them when times are tough and admonishing them only when necessary.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On 21st June 2007 some of the world's most prolific International cricket stars competed against the college 1st X1 in the 2nd annual Lashings match on the Home Ground on a sun-soaked afternoon. It’s hard to imagine an event that can appeal to, and draw together, the generations of Old Brightonians, College staff, and current pupils in quite the same way that Clare Connor’s (W. 1989-94) annual cricket-fest does so successfully.
It is, I am sure, with sadness that past members of Durnford and Bristol Houses will learn of the death of Margaret Millar on January 17th of this year. It is certainly a matter of considerable regret for me, as I was in touch with her until last December.
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.
As with all accounts of such gatherings, I must open my report with a pathetically grateful nod to whoever arranged for the promised rain to hold off (which meant that Joey Appleton’s (D.1979-84) hair stayed fabulous all day!).
More than 80 ‘old girls’ celebrated 30 years of co-education at Brighton College at a special dinner on Saturday 29th November 2003. Speakers included Bill Blackshaw, the former Headmaster who introduced girls to the College and Lucinda Harris (F. 1973-75) who was one of the first girls to join the school. Jane Haviland (F. 1979-81), currently President of the Old Brightonians Association and the first lady elected to this post, also spoke.