Founder’s Day Dinner – October
After an enforced three year break Old Blues and their guests gathered again at the Ironmonger’s Hall, in October, to celebrate the birth of Edward VI.
Having denied us two dinners Covid still played its malignant part by not allowing some to attend. In addition the rail strike took a significant number from us.
Nevertheless a thoroughly enjoyable evening was enjoyed by all.
A number of small changes were made to the structure of the dinner, the most significant being the evening starting thirty minutes earlier. This along with the other “tweaks” were regarded as successful and allowed us more time to mingle and reminisce.
Our patient Chief Steward, Peter Farnfield (Ma A & Mid A 1965-73) – he has been waiting three years! – opened the evening by welcoming our guests, especially our “passing” Chief Steward, Peter Bloomfield and the school’s new Clerk Ms Jenny Baxter. He then introduced our Chairman, Dr. James Hooper (Ma A & Gr E, 1998-05) and Responder, Dr. Andrew Wood (Ma B & Mid B, 1967-74). Concluding his opening remarks with some words on the death of our Patron, Queen Elizabeth II he then asked all to stand for a minute’s silence.
Following Grace before meat (Senior Grecian, Maddie Loveless) a fine and quite lively meal was enjoyed. Good food and good company are a winning combination!
After Grace (Luke Pullen, Second Monitor) our Chief Steward proposed the two traditional toasts; “the pious and immortal memory of King Edward VI” and “Church and King”, followed by, for the first time in seventy one years, the singing of “God save the King”.
The next forty minutes was given over to two splendid speeches. James’ theme for the evening was “Challenge” and as the speech developed it became clear how qualified he was to speak on it. Other than the physical and mental pressures he had endured on expeditions with fellow Old Blue, Rob Gauntlett, James touched on the personal issues he had faced as a boy and how CH has to manage so many children who are “challenged” prior to entering the school. It was a fine speech.
Andrew Wood came to the dinner with a reputation as a splendid speaker and he did not let us down. Both amusing and thought provoking he kept his audience captivated throughout. One common theme in both speeches was “the Charge” and both reinforced our responsibilities to honour it.
To conclude the formal part of the evening Peter thanked a number of those who had played their part in organising the dinner and announced the bar would be open for at least another hour. A considerable majority took advantage of the additional time which allowed for much conversation and laughter. A common view was that the singing during the evening had been amongst the best, if not the best, heard for many years and clearly reflected the tone of the evening. Credit should be given to Grecian William Rodgers who accompanied us on the piano and it would be remiss not to mention the two other Grecians who attended, Zoe Olakanpo and Joseph Makin who represented CH splendidly.
After such a long gap between dinners it was reassuring to receive such a healthy number of applications (prior to Covid and strike issues) and with the considerable success of the evening we can look forward to next year with renewed confidence. My thanks to the many who made contact after the dinner, it was appreciated.
Photographs of the evening, which accompany this review are available to everyone and all that is asked is a donation paid into the Steward’s account. NatWest, s/c 60 11 17, account, 63285053
It has been gratifying to receive a good amount of interest in joining the Stewards following the dinner. There are still vacancies and the Hon Sec or Asst. Hon Sec would be delighted to hear from anyone else interested.