As we approach the end of 2005 it’s with some pride that we look back at what the Association has been able to achieve in this, Brighton College’s 160th Anniversary year.
We opened with a very well attended Drinks Party at The International in London. Proving what a sociable lot we are, there were plenty of familiar faces but also friends and family to add to the mix and a good few OBs who had never attended an OBA event. It was a promising start to the year.
An undoubted highlight of the year was a spectacular May Ball hosted by the Family Society to commemorate the College's 160th Birthday. The splendour of the marquee (housed within the sports hall) was matched only by the firework display that closed the evening. The OBA and the College can both thank Della Keighley and her band of helpers for raising the bar as far as future bashes are concerned!
We followed with a variety of gatherings, including a memorable day at Brands Hatch thanks to the generosity of Jonathan Palmer, which was a sell-out. The inaugural Vice-Presidents’ Luncheon was a well oiled affair at the Army & Navy Club courtesy of Peter Miller and a party of OBs joined in the fun at the British Beer Festival.
Another wonderful anniversary was celebrated in June when the College threw a party to celebrate 150 years of Cricket at the school. Famous and infamous cricketers, past and present, gathered at Brighton College for what Joey Appleton described as a "special night to remember".
Old Brightonian Day was given a new lease of life with a return to the traditional and much missed Chapel Service, an exhibition of items from the College Archives and tours of the Houses. Memories flowed – and so did the Champagne at the end of the day – which fortunately followed the popular shooting match in the Armoury!
The annual Service of Remembrance is now firmly established in the College and OB calendar and this year there was not even standing room in the Chapel. I am pleased to announce that in 2006 the Service will be followed by a historical tour of the Chapel by former Director of History Dr Martin Jones. I believe this added dimension to a day of remembrance will be welcomed by many who have often looked at the many tablets and memorial stones wondering who these great people were and how they came to be commemorated in that fine building.
And so we completed the OBA year with the The Annual Dinner. For the first time in many years an OB was our Guest of Honour – Johnny Gold, founder of the legendary nightclub, Tramp – and over 150 people enjoyed an evening of unadulterated nostalgia and quite a few cases of wine and port.
Johnny was reunited with a number of his contemporaries as well as other old friends who had travelled from as far afield as Australia to join us specially for the occasion. At the end of the evening, I had pleasure in presenting him with a framed photograph of him as a carefree youngster leaning against the wall of Chichester House. The picture was kindly donated by Tony Becker who later served in the Army at the same time as Johnny and was very much appreciated by our guest.
We also used the occasion to pay tribute to Dr Seldon for all his support and dedication to the OBA. Both he and his wife, Joanna, have been true friends to us and they will be missed. We wish them every success in their new school.
In 2006 the Annual Dinner will be addressed by The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP, who though not an OB, will no doubt provide a memorable evening! Tickets will be on sale in the Spring but I strongly recommend notifying the OBA office in advance if you are interested in attending as demand is likely to be high.
I am honoured to have been elected to serve as your President for a second term and look forward to taking the Association forward into another year. It will be a challenging year and one in which I hope we will see even greater numbers participating in our activities. We will, of course, be welcoming a new Headmaster. Richard Cairns has already indicated his strong support for the Association and I look forward to working closely with him.
It just remains for me to wish all Old Brightonians here in the UK and overseas, a very Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year. See you in 2006!
David Gold (S. 1986-91)