It was fantastic to welcome our 1992 Leavers back to the College, and a huge thank you to James Temple-Smithson (Ry. 1987-92) for helping to rally the troops!
Those present: Puraj Patel (Ry. 1987-92), Paul Chapman (Ha. 1987-92), Paul Sluman (Ha. 1987-90), Adrian Margiotta (Ry. 1987-92), Mark Smith (Al. 1987-92), Nick Fokes (Ry. 1987-92), Jinesh Patel (Du. 1987-92), David Leocadi (Sc./Al. 1987-92), Robin Hill (Ha. 1987-90), Guy Bidwell (Ry. 1987-92), Alex Johnson (Ry. 1987-92), Stuart Morris (Du. 1987-90), Pete Papanichola (Ha. 1987-92), Alastair Dodd (Ha. 1987-92) and myself. Some from as far away as Melbourne and Atlanta, others from Bolney and Eastbourne, some from the Home City itself. A special mention is due to Josh Brett who pioneered the idea of a reunion, chose the date, rallied the men...and only then realised he'd booked a holiday which clashed! Still, we gratefully raised a glass to him in his absence.
There was an early rendez-vous at the Ginger Dog, formerly the Wellington (no sign of the strongly-rumoured door which was supposed to link the pub, back in those days, directly to the front room of the house next door which belonged to one of the teachers). Brighton College then very kindly hosted a drinks reception, organised by Veronika Neroj and Angelina Papadopoulos from the OBs Office, after which we departed on a tour of the school, guided with great expertise and patience by Angelina.
First up, to my great personal dismay, Ryle House had moved (and is now co-located with Hampden and Leaconfield; see how the mighty are fallen). There were impressive new buildings and reconfigurations all over the campus. Naturally, though, we were more interested in those parts that hadn't changed so much or at all, and there were still a good number of those. Visiting the science block in particular brought back fond memories for all of us – the recollection of specific lessons, misdemeanours and other minute but entertaining details by everyone in the group was, for me, the best thing about the evening. In Hampden house, the canteen and the soon-to-be-replaced sports hall pavilion we found the 'honours boards' featuring some of our number and our contemporaries. We were delighted to discover some teachers from our time (Ms Cody and Mr Grocott) were still on the staff. Meanwhile, we learned the chapel can no longer accommodate the whole school and is not a three-morning-per-week fixture these days. What's more, there are no lessons on Saturday mornings. And if that is not enough to convince you of the inexorability of Progress, at one point I visited the school bog and noted it was equipped with a scented reed diffuser!
After a really spell-binding couple of hours wallowing happily in nostalgia and exploring all four corners of the College as it now is, we honoured tradition one last time and headed down to the Bristol in Kemptown (still there, not much changed) for further refreshment and reminiscence. Any of the hesitation I might have harboured about a 25-year reunion had been completely unfounded and it had been a really uplifting and fun evening with a terrific bunch of lads.