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.
"On behalf of the wider O’Connell family, especially Shirley and Doreen I would like to wish you all a very warm welcome and thank you for attending today, to celebrate the life of Sergeant Major Chris O’Connell BEM. This large gathering clearly reflects the love and status with which Chris was undoubtedly held.
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.
Old Brightonian Matt Prior (R. 1995-00) England wicketkeeper and two-time Ashes winner, returned to the College on Wednesday 30th November 2011 to open, officially, the new fitness and conditioning suite housed in what was previously the pre-prep school hall.
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.
What a joy and privilege it is to preside over the College’s annual House Entrepreneurship Competition. This was the second time that the same panel of Robin St Clair Jones (D. 1973-77), Alex Bremer (R. 1979-83), Emma Wimhurst (F. 1982-84) and Rob Little (A. 1982-87) had adjudicated the competition, and again we witnessed an extraordinary display of creativity and (occassionaly rudimentary) business acumen.
On Friday 18th November the 4th form and the L5 had the opportunity to hear various professionals talking about their career fields.
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 are delighted to announce that planning permission was granted last week for the Diamond Jubilee Pavilion to be built on the New Ground in East Brighton Park. The one-storey building will have large changing rooms, a stunning café-bar overlooking the New Ground and an impressive entrance foyer, providing a warm and welcoming environment for pupils, staff and spectators. Other groups are also set to benefit as the new facilities will also be made available to other sporting groups from around the community.
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.
The first City & Finance networking drinks went off well last week although apologies must be extended to the OBs that we lost along the way, as the venue (Rocket, City) was bursting at the seams on a busy Thursday evening.
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.
Conventional seating was dispensed with and instead the audience stood in the middle of the performance space whilst the actors performed the dark fairy-tales around them. The acting was exemplary, with remarkable performances from so many, as Nancy Gladwin and George Oxley, as narrators, led us through this dark world. Congratulations to Dermot Keaney and Harry Ashbee for directing and staging such an original and breathtaking piece of theatre.
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!
Dance school pupils are celebrating record results in their Modern, Jazz and Tap examinations. Thirty three pupils took exams with twenty four achieving Distinctions and nine achieving Merits. Well done to all. Particular congratulations to College pupils Harriet Vans Agnew, Phoebe Lower, Beth Kelly, Keziah Fish, Zoe Halford and Francesca Douglas who achieved Distinctions for Grade 5 Modern and to the Primary and Grade 1 Tappers who also attained a full set of Distinctions.
In this year's Cyril Gray Trophy (team scratch matchplay foursomes for the more mature golfer) Brighton faced a tough battle against regular finalists Stowe in the 1st Round. So it proved. Warwick Sabey (B. 1959-65 )and Geoffrey Bush (H. 1965-70) played first pair and lost to some very steady par play. Nigel Dearsly (L. 1960-65) and Robin Colbourne (H. 1960-65) played second and went down quite close to home. Chris Pett (H. 1962-67) and newcomer Adrian Wood (A. 1971-76) played well and were all square after 17 and called it a half when the top two games had gone. 2½ - ½ to Stowe.
On Sunday 17th April the College 1st XI cricket side took on the Sussex Martlets as their season opener. The College got off to a good start with an opening stand of 188 between Eswar Kalidasan and Yass Bahemou. Excellent running between the wickets from Hugh Richards and a quick fire 20 off 13 balls from Jethro Menzies led to a competitive total of 270 for 4 being set.
Large numbers attended the Installation banquet last August and we were delighted to receive the Provincial Grand Master for Sussex at our meeting, a rare honour. We were most grateful to the catering staff at the College, under the direction of Ben Cable, who turned round the Great Hall from our meeting place to a dining room in a 30 minute transformation without fuss.
As part of the 1st XI’s Twenty20 preparation in the early part of the season, the OBs challenged them to a match on the Home Ground. The OBs batted first and last year’s captain Adam Davies (L. 2005-2010), set the tone for his innings with a sweetly timed drive for four off the first ball of the innings.
For the last month I have been living in rural Nepal, which has been amazing. For a start, the view from my bedroom window is an open meadow, and I am woken up every morning at 5.30 by the squeals of the pig tethered just outside. At the end of the meadow is dense forest, eventually backing onto the mountains. All water is sourced from the handpump in the front garden, and the toilet is no more than a hole in the ground. I have eaten Dahl, rice, vegetables and occasionally goat without exception for the last month, and the only other European face I have seen is that of Mr John Spencer. He stayed in the SOS school for two weeks, coaching cricket and teaching English.
The 1st XV have had another excellent year. Beating Daily Mail Champions Whitgift (23-22) along with Epsom, Cranleigh and Dulwich has enabled them to come top of this years Evening Standard League. A huge amount of credit should go to all the players but in particular Joe Beckett and Pahymahn Seyed-Safi who have both been in the 1st XV for the 3 years. The 1st VII also won the Reigate Norton Rose Sevens and the Worth Sevens beating Epsom and Tonbridge in the final respectfully.
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.
The College's innovative Entrepreneurship Programme was attended by a panel of OB judges today as part of the ongoing process to choose 3 business propositions that will receive the funding required to realise and commercialise.
The past year has been a difficult time as our meeting places have been of necessity changed several times. For many years the Lodge has enjoyed the hospitality of the College for which we are extremely grateful. However, recently the College has been unable to help due, we suspect, to the huge success of the school and the enlargement of its boarding numbers.
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.