Old Boys’ News – May 2020/ Old Boys
This newsletter definitely has not turned out as planned. We intended featuring functions in Canada, New York and Los Angeles, a Gaudy, Old Boys Day and celebrating another derby day against Hilton. Instead the Central Committee meets by Zoom and the AGM will become a GMAGM (Google Meet Annual General Meeting). A bustling school with war-cries echoing across the valley is silent and empty but for the autumn leaves rustling across the fields. Boys moving in cloisters have become mouse clicks between online lessons. The recently arrived statue of St Michael, crafted by Robbie Leggat, sojourns in the dappled shade above Hannah’s, patiently awaiting his relocation to prominence at the front of school and in the evening the chapel bells strike a sombre note for each day of lockdown.
Despite all the overarching gloom, Old Boys continue to make a difference: From leading the Solidarity Fund, driving local feeding schemes, raising funds for local projects, developing respirators, rescuing our trust funds from the abyss to keeping our spirits up with music. We salute you all!
The recent appeal for donations to our Community Partnerships programme in support of the Nottingham Road Relief Fund has raised just over R37 000 to date. A big vote of thanks to the old boys and parents who have contributed. Mphathisi Filtane (East, 1989) and Patrick Schofield (Tatham, 1989) are planning something special for this project.
On a similar note, the lockdown has highlighted the needs of a number of our full scholarship boys. We have been able to provide tablets and data so that these boys can access their online learning. Continued provision of data is proving to be very costly and if anyone has contacts with one of the cellular service providers, who may be keen to sponsor these boys, please contact me.
In this edition we feature Tahir Popat (Tatham, 2006) as our past head boy, and Maurice McGregor (East, 1936), who celebrated his 100th birthday in March. We delve into the history of the Gym, and a punctuated development of our campus. The ‘Glorious 6th’ provides a light moment and memories of an amazing Natural History Society Expedition to Botswana in 1986 are passed on to the next generation.
The opening of the new High Performance Centre and the unveiling of the portrait of Douglas Ralfe, which now hangs in the foyer of the new Ralfe house along with hockey, touch and squash tournaments between boys and old boys, were the last few gatherings before we scuttled into lockdown.
The publication of books by Rick Peacock-Edwards (Pascoe, 1961) and Struan Douglas (Pascoe, 1994), two Old Boy authors appear in this edition and we celebrate Old Boys achievements on the airwaves, in the theatre and in education. We leave you with one of those special pearls from the classroom.
On that note, as we end a surreal mid-term break, we wish you all well. Stay safe and healthy, give it the best horns you can and make a difference out there.