PRESIDENT'S AND SECRETARY'S 2020 REPORTS
PRESIDENT’S REPORT TO THE OLD HONITONIANS CLUB
First, I would like to start this report by hoping that all of you, and your families have kept safe and healthy during this very worrying and wearisome year. These past months have been challenging and all our lives have been disrupted in one way or another and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my best wishes to you all.
In many ways it would be easy for me to dismiss 2020 as a complete non-event for the Club. Here we are in October with the Club having been unable to hold a single official event during the year! The reason, of course, is well known and regretfully, as I write this report, the future continues to look uncertain. That said, I do believe that I have some positive news to report. At the present time we do plan to reinstate in 2021 all the events that were missed this year starting with our London Drinks Party on board HQS Wellington on Friday 21st May, when we shall have Helen McGinn OH, drinks writer for the Daily Mail and author of The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club as our Guest speaker. For dates and details of all other events please do go to the Calendar page of the Club’s web site.
That rather neatly brings me to what I hope you will agree is one of the two successes of the year for the Club, and that is the construction of the Club’s new web site. In his report Tim has rightly expressed the Club’s gratitude to Simon Reading who gave up many hours of his time supporting the old website. However, when I became President I felt that the continued expectation that this important job should be done on a voluntary basis was not appropriate and so I started the process of looking for a commercial company to take on this responsibility. The company I chose specialises in websites for schools and although they had not built a site for an Old Boys/Girls Association I hope that you will agree with me that what they have produced is certainly “fit for purpose” for the years ahead. Since the site was launched we have slowly begun to fill it with material, photographs and articles and I urge all of you to try and visit the site at least once a month to see how it may have been updated and to keep yourself informed of Club’s activities and what your friends and contemporaries have been up to. And please do contribute yourself! I want the website to be vibrant and relevant and this will only be achieved if OHs make full use of it.
The second success I am pleased to report, is the finding a new Editor for the Club’s Magazine. I always knew that finding a replacement for George Hayter was not going to be an easy task but after several vain attempts to twist a few OH arms, I was contacted out of the blue by Emily Banting, wife of Tim Banting OH, who, with a fine CV in publishing, writing and the media, was offering her services as Editor and chief archivist. I have been working with Emily since before the main COVID 19 lockdown and her knowledge of the old Rousdon Estate and her enthusiasm for preserving the history of the old Rousdon Estate, the School and the Club is wonderful. She provides the link from the Club’s website to Facebook and early next year under her Editorship we shall be producing the Club Magazine for the first-time in nearly 24 months. I do hope that the Club will confirm her in her role as Editor and her membership of the Club Committee.
In particular Emily has quite rightly drawn my attention to one of the main purposes of the Club, that of preserving the records and artefacts of Allhallows School and she and her husband, a heritage photographer, have begun to embark on an ambitious programme of archiving a whole range of school material. If you have any old material from your days at Allhallows that you would like to share, and have preserved, then please do contact Emily at Editor@Rousdonarchive.co.uk.
In writing this report I would like to stress and emphasize the help and support that I have received from the Club Committee. Whilst it has not been possible for us to meet in person, we did manage a Zoom meeting in the early Summer, and I am glad to report that we all passed the technological challenge with flying colours! Due to the rather strange year that we have had, I have asked the current Committee members if they would be prepared to serve another year on the Committee with elections for new members taking place at the AGM in 2021. Earlier in the year, I co-opted Sue Jackson OH (nee Strickland) on to the Committee and I ask the Club to confirm her appointment.
Tim Birmingham as Secretary has produced his own report and I am very grateful to him for all that he has done to help us get through this difficult year, and my thanks also go to David Richardson, as Treasurer, who has managed to keep us ‘in the black’. A copy of the Club’s Accounts for 2019/20 is now posted on the web site .
I feel that a special mention needs to be made of John Pagliero and the OHGS. Despite having their golfing calendar completely decimated by the pandemic, he has managed to maintain contact with all the club’s golfers in a very informative and amusing manner and I have no doubt that when things get back to normal the OHGS will be as active as ever and much of that will be down to John’s efforts and enthusiasm.
Regretfully, I have received little news of any shooting taking place this year, which is not surprising, but I hope that as things improve there will be some shooting events organized for next year.
Some intrepid OHs formed themselves into a walking group, The Humble Pointers, and were set to walk 26 miles along the Jurassic coastline in aid of Macmillan Cancer UK in early September, but again the COVID restriction intervened. They have nevertheless re-entered the event for next year. Please do support them in their walk when they come round with their sponsorship forms!!
Whilst it has not been possible for us to hold our annual Memorial Day Service at St. Pauls Honiton, I did not want such an important occasion to go unmarked. To acknowledge the occasion there will be created a special Memorial Page on the website which will list the names from our Memorial Boards with some words from the Rev'd. Canon Chris Vallins. It does not make up for the loss of the service itself, but I hope that OHs will agree that it is a suitable tribute to those OHs who gave their lives serving their country.
If the events of this year have made me realise anything, it is that we can take nothing for granted, our health, friends, lifestyle, or our work. As an OH you are the main asset of the Club. The death of any OH is a great loss to the Club and I take this opportunity to extend the Club’s sincere condolences to the families and friends of those OHs who have died this year:
Jim Bennett, Michael Clarke, Andrew Dales, Robin Grey, Graham Jones, Rodney Powell, Giles Thomas, and Cecil Roy Williams
It has been a difficult year for all of us but let us look forward to better times and the resumption of Club activities and events in 2021, confident in the knowledge that the fellowship and purposes of the Club remain as strong as ever.
SECRETARY’S REPORT FOR 2020
They say, as you get older time begins to accelerate, but I can't believe just how fast 2020 has gone and what a difficult, challenging and surreal time it has been. From an OH perspective we have not been able to have any gatherings and having recently had to cancel the memorial service and lunch 2020 will be the first year on record that we have not been able to get together at an OH function.
Despite the lack of social contact there have been some fantastic changes and advancements in the Club. I hope those of you who are on-line have visited and explored the new website. It is a significant improvement on the previous one and our thanks should go to Peter Sloan who has managed the change over singlehandedly. As time moves on there will be more content added and hopefully some new functionality. It goes without saying that we have been indebted to Simon Reading who has voluntarily given many hours of his time supporting the previous website. Thanks for all your help and support Simon.
We have also been very fortunate in finding a new editor for the magazine. Emily Banting joins us as the wife of Tim Banting OH. Many of you may remember Tim’s father Gareth Banting who taught history at the school and was Housemaster of Stanton. Emily has got involved and already has made progress on the next magazine. If you would like to contact her with any ideas for content or wish to submit anything her email address is: Editor@Rousdonarchive.co.uk
It was sad to hear of Graham Jones’ passing back in May – like many of you Graham had the challenge of trying to teach me maths, my ability to count has been famously bad but he was kind and supportive and finally with a fair tail wind I scraped through my GCSE. Both Graham and Mary were huge supporters of the club and our thoughts and condolences are with Mary and the family. It was also very saddening to hear of the death of one of my contemporaries, Giles Thomas (Shallow 85-90) ,who lost his life on Brukkaros Mountain in Namibia. Again our thoughts and condolences go out to Giles' children and wider family.
Peter dragged the committee into the 21st century and we held a committee meeting by Zoom – everyone managed to join complete to video but we did manage most of the meeting looking at John Pagliero’s forehead and bookshelf!! The meeting was productive and was mainly spent trying to plan out the second half of 2020 and fix some dates for events in 2021.
Jonathan Lamb has kindly sent through some scans of some school magazines from the early 1970s. He was on the editorial committee in 1970-72 and has also forwarded on a single copy of a ‘subversive magazine’ called ‘Smacks’ that generally had an anti establishment content and was soon shut down! It will hopefully be appearing on the website soon.
For me lockdown has given new opportunities and challenges! I finished work in February and had planned to have a sabbatical for a year and go travelling, a “middle aged gap year” without any hostels and better quality wine along the way.
However it became apparent very quickly that any form of travel wasn’t going to be possible and an ice cream on Bournemouth beach has been as far travelled as I have managed.
Many of you also know I have a very unhealthy interest in old cars – lockdown and the Internet has been a dangerous combination. After much searching a very original 1978 Honda Cub motorbike has joined the stable. Nothing has made my son laugh more than watching 50cc and 4.4hp drag my 80+kg up some very steep Dorset hills. I’ve not been defeated yet but there is ample time to enjoy the view….
I, as always, would be delighted to hear any news you may have or help you with any OH matters. You can email or write to me
27 Cambridge Cottages
Please keep safe and look after yourselves and your families.
With my best wishes