Old Bournemouthians’ Annual Dinner Report 2017
The following article was submitted by Ian Westhead, a previous editor and student.
The Association for the past students of Bournemouth School currently has around 500 members. A dinner is held every year providing the opportunity for students, current and former staff to catch up with each other and reminisce about their school days.
This year’s was hosted at the Highcliff Marriot Hotel and was attended by just shy of one hundred ‘OBs’. The Chairman of the Association, Alderman Trenchard, began proceedings by welcoming the guests and giving special mention to three Old Tauntonians, who were evacuated to East Way from a Southampton grammar school during the Second World War. Revd. Bryant Sanders MBE, known by all during his time as a Mathematics teacher at School as ‘BJ’, was also introduced, as was the Guest Speaker, Mr. Ashley Sweetland MBE, who was a student until 2003 and still regularly returns to East Way in connection with the CCF.
There was a convivial atmosphere over the dinner as drinks flowed, especially around a sizeable mob of Sixth Form Prefects (who had been strategically placed as far away from the bar as possible).
It was interesting to hear the anecdotes of the past students who had attended the school as far back as the days of gowns, school caps and corporal punishment. One Old Bournemouthian reminisced about Italian prisoners of war building temporary classrooms to the rear of the School during WWII, which lasted for some fifty years before being replaced by the present day Maths, Tech and Art Blocks.
Four courses later, School Captain Timothy Georges made a speech about the various activities going on at School throughout the year and giving some insight into his own responsibilities, and proposed the Loyal Toast. Alderman Trenchard then awarded the Centenary Cup for commitment to the school to Ian Westhead, who had been chosen by the Headmaster as a result of contributing to the revival of the Bournemouthian as an online publication and designing and modeling a vision of how the school could be extended in future years to accommodate more students and staff – a contentious matter considering the revived interest in Parliament for selective education.
This was followed by Dr. Lewis’ School Report, which outlined the difficulties in maintaining a balanced budget and also highlighted the noticeable swing towards apprenticeships which are being adopted by school leavers wanting to go straight into professional spheres. One example from last year’s cohort has just entered a degree apprenticeship at Dyson Ltd.
Mr. Ashley Sweetland MBE was then introduced as Guest Speaker. Having amassed such a blindingly impressive CV since leaving the School in 2003, organising more than £10 million of community investment around the world, it was interesting to hear about his own days of playing pool in the Common Room and experiences with teachers that are still familiar with current students. Looking forwards, he suggested Chinese and coding are the languages of the future and that they should become the norm in School should, God forbid, Latin ever be removed from the syllabus!
The formalities concluded with a raffle draw for a substantial (and by this stage of the night no longer necessary) volume of wine, after which guests mingled and gently filtered out.
The evening certainly was a success and the Association looks forward to next year’s, which is to be hosted at the same venue on 21st September. All Old Boys are encouraged to attend.