24 March 2012
The Old Brightonian USA group goes from strength to strength! The second annual dinner was held in late March at the beautiful Lotos Club on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Brighton Drinks at the Pub du Vin was wonderfully attended last week, and a convivial evening was had by all. A large party went on to have curry, which seems to be a developing theme of late! There were so many OBs crowded into the bar, that we didn't quite catch everyone's name, but we did promise to organise another evening soon, so watch this space.
The great risk of turning up early or on-time for these gatherings is that you are inevitably faced with the prospect of some time alone at the bar looking pretty sad… or worse still being stuck with some frightful character whose company quickly becomes tedious.
The Sgt. Major Chris O’Connell Memorial took place on a freezing January afternoon, but the warmth of feeling amongst the Old Brightonians who came to celebrate Chris’s life staved off the cold. Two former Headmasters were in attendance, Bill Blackshaw and John Leach, and Brighton College was represented by various staff including Deputy-Head John Weeks, Elizabeth Cody and Common Room President Steve Radojcic.
Le Café Anglais proved a spectacular setting for the Pioneers Club London Luncheon where Old Brightonians gathered together on Thursday 8th December. Friends were reunited for our gathering, and many a peel of laughter was to be heard over the wonderful array of photographs brought in.
Even before the final bars of the first night performance had been played by the quite magnificent 34 piece orchestra, which had been carefully assembled by Mr Carter and inspirationally led by our brilliant Musical Director Mr Chenery, the audience had started to applaud and cheer in response to a production overflowing with talent and exuberant energy.
The Ebury has recently become our bar of choice being so close to Victoria Station, rather charmingly planted in the leafy streets of Belgravia, Pimlico, and so terribly convenient for our London and Brighton OBs. It does have one particular problem though, in that it has a namesake around the corner, and hence some of our OBs went on a little tour of drinking establishments before finding the correct Ebury. However, this didn’t dampen our evening on Thursday 10th November, and the eclectic range of OBs that find their way to the London Drinks had a suitably good time.
We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the Brighton College Golf Day Friday 30th September 2011. With a back drop of the beautiful Albourne Countryside, Old Brightonians and parents headed to the fairway for a day at Singing Hills Golf Course.
Wednesday 28th September saw all Brighton College pupils and staff engage in over 100 community service projects in and around Brighton, as they set out to help their local area as part of the College's fourth annual "Make a Difference Day." Whether clearing Coldean Woods together with Brighton and Hove Urban Rangers or undertaking maintenance at St Dunstan's centre for blind ex-servicemen and women; marching and collecting in support of Breast Cancer Awareness or clearing scrub with the National Trust Downland Restoration Project at Devil's Dyke; baking cakes for the elderly, sorting stock for the Martlets Hospice charity shops or, indeed, picking litter from the beaches and roads of Kemp Town; more than 800 pupils worked in the community to support a huge range of projects across the city and local area.
Twelve of us gathered on a beautiful summer morning to be given a most interesting tour of the Ridgeview Estate Winery at Ditchling. After an introduction by Matt Stragnell, the vineyard manager, to the vines which cover some 8 hectares growing Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes we were given a tour of the whole process by which the ‘Champagne’ is produced. The stainless steel grape storage tanks and champagne press were of particular interest, as was the bottling line.
A small but entertaining gathering of Old Brightonians welcomed Simon Smith at London drinks last week at The Ebury, Pimlico Road. OBs young and not quite so young joined to celebrate Simon’s inaugural event as a fellow Old Brightonian. To mark his 38 years of teaching at the College, he was presented with Pelican cufflinks and the honorary Pelican lapel badge by past OB President David Gold (S. 1986-91). Messages of good will were passed on from those who couldn’t make it, and a good time was had by all!
Thursday night saw the Graduation Service and Ceremony for Brighton College Upper Sixth Leavers – the formal event to mark their departure from the College, in advance of the informal festivities of the Leavers’ Ball at the Hilton Metropole on Friday evening. Family, friends and staff crowded into the Chapel to celebrate the achievements of each and every member of the Upper Sixth, punctuated with some humorous and engaging reminiscence, provided by Theo Bunce and Emma Langmead.
Twenty years is quite a long time, especially when the current Y13's at our alma mater were two years of age when we left in 1991. Time is a very odd concept and what it does to you, either through the graceful ageing process or the fact that going back to Brighton last Saturday made us all feel as if it was just yesterday we left... and what a day we had!
Old Brightonians 103 for 3, lost to Oundle Rovers 104 for 3. Despite the drought of the early summer, the day of the first round of the Cricketer Cup dawned with rain, that wet sort of rain that continues all day. Undaunted by the wet conditions, eleven Old Brightonians travelled to Oundle for the fixture. It was decided by both teams that only a ten over match in the rain was possible, not ideal but a better alternative to replaying the game the following weekend.
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”.
An enthralling evening of sporting knowledge and prowess was possibly being held somewhere on Thursday 3rd March, but at the Brighton College Sports Quiz the name of the game was definitely fun and fundraising. Ian Braid kicked off the evening showcasing the fantastic work of SportsAid, joint recipient of the evening’s proceeds, who offer financial support to talented young sportsmen and women at the beginning of their careers. John Inverdale was magnificent as quizmaster, encouraging competitive spirit and berating those underhand or rather under-table tactics being employed by certain teams.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.