2008, Leavers Reunion Weekend 1971
21st-23rd November 2008 at The Burley Manor Hotel, New Forest.
Once again, due to the organizational skills of Richard Anderson (M1967-71), a number of OH’s from the 1966-72 era, gathered for a pre-Christmas “jolly” at The Burley Manor Hotel in the New Forest for their bi-annual “get together” weekend.
In attendance was Peter Rooke (St 67-72), Andrew Mason (V 66-71), Richard Webber (V 67-71), David Viccars (M 66-71), John Campbell-Clause (St 66-71), Steve Bath (C 66-71), Justin James (St. 66-71), Myf Adams (nee Gregson M 69-71), Jim Rowe (M 66-71) and Peter Sloan (B 66-71), all together with their respective wives and partners. All credit to David Viccars for managing to arrange a trip back to the UK from his home in Thailand in order to coincide with the weekend gathering.
It had been hoped that our ranks would have been swelled by Manos Palavidis, Patrick Musters, Diana Davis (nee Fitzgerald), Ted Dark and Richard and Shirley Ambrose but regretfully last minute business or family matters prohibited them from joining us on this occasion.
Despite the ageing process (!) and the gloomy economic climate the weekend was agreed by all to have been a huge success. Notwithstanding the years that have gone by since we all shared the common Allhallows experience together, and the fact that this is the only time that some us manage to meet up with one another, the flow of conversation and banter was as easy and convivial as if we all back in Rousdon together planning our next cliff top party!
On the Saturday morning the group drove down to nearby Christchurch to enjoy Steve Bath’s kind hospitality on his Sun Seeker “gin palace”. Regretfully, the tide was such that a venture out in to open waters was not possible but instead Steve steered us up and down the estuary whilst at the same time serving up champagne and wine gums somewhat to the bemusement of walkers on the nearby shore. As he sipped his champagne and lolled about on the sun deck Richard Webber was heard to remark “Recession…what recession!”
With two former shooters on board (Steve and Jim), and a former Head of the CCF (Richard), it was not long before Steve produced an air rifle and a competition was underway as to who could shoot the most balloons from off the back of the boat! In the end, I think it was Richard’s seventeen year old daughter who outscored the former shooting stars!
Returning finally to shore, but only after Richard had nearly pierced the life saving dinghy with an air pellet (!) it was necessary to succumb to the warmth of a nearby bar for some light refreshment before the now somewhat boisterous OH’s made their way to a local bar within Christchurch in order to watch the England v South Africa rugby match. Suffice it to say that the WAGS made the sensible decision to return to the hotel or do some shopping instead and there can be little doubt that their enjoyment of the ensuing afternoon was considerably better than for those of us who had to endure that particular match. (With a number of former members of the 1 st XV of 1970 present the suggestion that they could have put on a better performance did come up once or twice!!)
On Saturday evening we all sat down to a formal (in so far as the OH’s were expected to try and look respectable) dinner. As an experiment to check the efficiency of the little grey cells after all these years, Peter Sloan presented the assembled company with his own Privilege Test Quiz on All hallows - 50 searching questions that every self respecting OH should have known the answer to in 1971, but how about in 2008?! As it turned out, much seems to have been forgotten in the mists of time and the scores were not of the highest order! It was perhaps appropriate that the winner should turn out to be Richard Anderson who, for his efforts, was presented with a black and white photograph taken in 1913 of Rousdon House ( Allhallows School to you and me!).
On the Sunday morning, despite being a little bit worse for wear, everyone gathered (save for David Viccars who had to leave early to catch his plane back to Bangkok.,..and still managed to miss it!) for the Myf Adams Burley Treasure Hunt! After a somewhat chaotic means of selection, teams were created and we then spent the next two (in some cases three) hours exploring the hotel, village and surrounding countryside endeavoring to answer the various clues that Myf had contrived for us. What the other guests of the hotel or villager thought of this strange group of adults examining every minutiae of the village one can only guess at. As one would expect with anything prepared by Myf the planning, skill and effort that she had put into the whole treasure hunt was fantastic leading, as it eventually did, to a clue located in the ladies loo of a local pub!
All in all very enjoyable weekend was had by all due in no small part to the organizing efforts of Richard Anderson (bookings and liaison with the hotel and OH’s) Steve for providing us with a unique setting for drinking our champagne and Myf for all the hard work she put into her devilish clues! The hope is that we shall repeat the venture again in two years time, which will be nearly some 40 years after we all left that well loved mansion house on the cliffs.
New OH blood is always welcome on these occasions and if you would like to join us please do contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.