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.
Countless colleagues of Chris were there including former Second Master Simon Smith, Anthony Whitestone, John Pope, Dr Peter Chasseaud, Derek Roberts, John Ridler, Margaret Dodd, Reg Spicer, Hilda Williamson and many others who joined to raise the Chapel rafters at the Service of Thanksgiving led by Father Robert Easton.
Over 100 Old Brightonians attended, and spotted in the crowd were Blair Addison (A. 1993-98), John Aiken (A. 1976-81), Fiona Aiken (F. 1979-81), Joey Appleton (D. 1979-84), Peter Binning (C. 1975-80), James Brennan (S. 1972-77), Dean Corin (R. 1982-85), Ian Dodd (H. 1955-60), Mark Green (A. 1973-78), Robert Hannington (S. 1968-73), Toby Harding (C/S/ 1993-98), Alex Hardman (A. 1982-85), David Heaver (1968-73), Basia Howard-Harwood (F. 1988-90), Mark Howard-Harwood (C. 1985-90), Julian Huxham (R. 1988-93), Laurence Huxham (R. 1985-90), Dylan James (H. 1985-91), Mike Pearson (C. 1970-75), Charles Peal (S. 1964-73), Mike Rees (D/B. 1967-72), Mike Seare (A. 1977-82) and Hugh Ventris (C/D. 1969-72.
Brighton College cadets proudly marched in the colours and the Irish Guards provided a bugler for the occasion. Lt Col Zac Stenning MBE (H. 1985-90) gave a fitting tribute to a man who contributed so much to College life when he was here.
A toast was later raised to Chris by Steve Radojcic in The Ginger Dog, where OBs pretty much took over the whole establishment for the afternoon.