Over 60 Old Haileyburians met this week at the RAF Club in London to talk about Haileybury, their memories and also about a strong future of mutual support.
|5 Apr 2019|
The Haileybury Society held its annual London lunch at the RAF Club on Thursday 4th April - and once again it was a joyous occasion.
Hosted by Society Presdient Doug Everard (BF 73), this wonderful event was attended by over 60 OHs from between 1946 and 1977, Honorary Members, and guests - including our guest of honour, Martin Collier, Haileybury's Master, and his wife Alli.
After pre-lunch drinks in the Churchill Bar, luncheon was served in the newly -decorated Sovereign’s Room, formerly the Ballroom.
The lunch and service was magnificent. Members and guests sat at tables aptly named after places in and around Haileybury - Quad, Bradby, Terrace, Pavilion, Big School and Chapel - and there was a real flavour of our Alma Mater wherever one looked. After a delicious and beautifully- presented luncheon of red pepper soup, salmon with new potatoes and seasonal vegetables accompanied by a good choice of wines and followed by creme brûlée, everyone settled down with coffee and petit fours to listen to the speeches.
Welcome from the President
In the first instance the Society President welcomed long-standing supporters of this particular event together with several newcomers. He placed special emphasis on the strength of the Society community and its importance as a vibrant membership organisation, thanking everyone for their continued support. Full details of the President's speech can be found at the end of this article.
A Speech from the Master
In his response, the Master, Martin Collier, thanked the Society on behalf of his wife Alli for inviting them as guests. He spoke about the importance of the Society and its precursor the Old Haileyburian Society in providing grants which have helped Haileybury evolve over the years. Amongst those were: the purchase of Goldings Wood, a patch of ancient woodland (dating back to the 1300s) which forms such a wonderful backdrop to the school; being a driving force behind the WW1 memorial dining hall; and providing various grants to purchase wonderful items for the school archive.
The Master also spoke at length of the wonderful OH Act of Remembrance and WW1 Commemoration day on 10 Nov 2018, thanking also the OHRFC and the OH Rackets for their support. The audience were thrilled to learn about how the school is thriving today, with 800 pupils enrolled and a varied academic, co-curricular and sporting programme of activities. Of course, everyone's memories of Haileybury will always include its wonderful buildings and grounds and the Master invited everyone to read the conservation management plan on the school website.
After the speeches guests mingled and chatted for over an hour, with several staying well into the evening in the Running Horse Bar as guests of our OH RAF Club sponsor Graeme Titmas (Ha 65). It was a truly wonderful event, and a fitting reminder, if any were needed, of the role the Society plays in the creation and sustaining of lifelong bonds of mutual support between OHs and our former school.
The President's Speech in Full:
Good afternoon and welcome to our annual london lunch here at the RAF club.
First may I thank our sponsor, Graham Titmas, for the use yet again of these great facilities here in the heart of London. Thank you too to the Master, Martin Collier, and Alli. Also to Archivist Toby Parker for joining us today and we will her parents more from Martin in a minute or two.
In these times of national uncertainty and indecisiveness it’s really great that so many senior OHs and friends of Haileybury ( nearly 60 of us) can still find the time and inclination mid week to come together to catch up with old friends, make new ones and to hear an update on how things are on campus. Hopefully we are a little closer to resolution of differences than Parliament is over Brexit but who knows?
Before we hear first hand from the Master I wanted say a few words.
I’ll start by remembering absent friends including Barry Clarke - a former officer of the Society in many guises (Trustee, President & Chairman of Trustees), OHRFC trustee. Many of us here will remember him with great fondness particularly his willingness to share a joke or anecdote, his immense loyalty, and his regular attendance, with Sue, at many events. Sue is of course in our thoughts & she will be invited to become an Hon Member. Jane attended Sir Nigel Broomfield’s memorial last month, a highly respected British diplomat, Colin Barber at the funeral of Nick Crichton, one of the most influential family court judges of his generation, and of course our very own Liz Drew - I am not sure any of us will ever become accustomed to her not handing out the badges and guiding the administrative part of the proceedings at our events. However, Georgina Maszlin whom many of you will know from the Haileybury Development office some years ago and as a regular support to Liz at many of our events, is now in post as Office Manager at 77 Railway Street. Although unfortunately she is unable to be here today she is ready willing and more than able to take up Liz’s mantle in the best interests of the Society’s members.
Our event today is much earlier than usual in the calendar year because of Easter being later - and as a result we have some notable apologies from regulars including Michael Freegard, John Chapple, Tony Nunn, John Phillips, Brian and Kew Durham, David and Susie Hunt and Catherine MaCleod Smith, they have all wished us well for today. Many of those who have sent apologies cite grandparenting duties as it’s school holidays .... as new grandparents Jane and I empathise with what a huge time commitment our 6 month old granddaughter’s parents expect us to provide on a regular basis! At the same time, it’s so good to see though that we also welcome several newcomers to this select grouping for the first time - around 1/3rd of our number today - too many to list individually but welcome to them all.
One of those new faces at this particular event today is John Cairns, continuing at national level an oh tradition in film with Parkland productions. Jane and I were delighted and privileged to attend the premiere in Manchester of a new film called The Keeper as John’s guests - the film is a wonderful portrayal of the story of Bert Trautmann, a German WW2 POW who became a famous goalkeeper for Man City despite many obstacles and challenges - hence the premiere in Manchester with a light blue carpet. I highly recommend it to you all (and you don’t need to be a football officianado to enjoy it). It’s in a cinema near you from tomorrow!
As far as the society itself is concerned we have the new website up and running after a significant GDPR audit, telling the stories and ensuring the corporate memory lives. This complements and supplies the archives as the key records for the school, and we look forward to the completion of the digitisation of those archives over the next couple of years, making them accessible to many more people. Our presence on Linkedin is increasingly strong as is the engagement of our sports clubs and the OH Lodge.
Finally a quick mention of some Events - the centenary Act of Remembrance last year was a really special day of commemoration, thanks in no small part to Toby, the Chaplain Chris Briggs, and “project-managed” from the HS perspective by my lovely wife who is never happier than when she can get Society members back to her (our) beloved alma mater; in London we’ve had 5 & 10 year leavers reunions, another OH themed visit to St Paul’s is scheduled 14th May, and there are more events planned around shared interests and peer support which will be announced over the coming months in the newsletters, and as usual well have the AGM lunch on 30th November in London (again at the O&C) which is nominally free (unlike this one!)
All in all we are a strong community in fair shape as we seek to develop strategies to best serve our long-standing membership of loyal OHs, former staff and honorary members. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued loyalty and engagement.
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