REUNION DINNER (1960s/early 2000s)

When I drove back to Bristol after attending OSB Day in September 2011, I felt somewhat disappointed that many of my contemporaries whom I had been hoping to meet had not been there and that with Philip Capes and his wife about to retire, there had been a feeling that the school was coming to the end of an era. I was therefore uncertain in the summer of 2012 whether or not I would enjoy another visit to the school on 14th September 2012.
The facts that:-

  1. There was to be a Reunion Dinner on the Friday night prior to OSB Day
  2. It would be a chance to meet the new Headmaster

were enough to persuade me to drive up the dreaded M6 once again.

I have to admit that once I saw the list of those attending the dinner and realised that I was twenty years older than any of them, I was again disappointed, but that disappointment soon disappeared when I found myself privileged to be sitting next to the new Head, James Davies, at the dinner.

He proved to be a real breath of fresh air and I was amazed how quickly he seemed to have been able to “get his feet under the table” and create a new positive attitude in the school in spite of the very difficult times in which we are all currently living. His honesty and desire to run a school which gave equal opportunities to every pupil regardless of their individual abilities came over strongly and I was also very impressed with his thoughts on various new initiatives which might be introduced into the school in order to give it an edge over other competitors in the battle to maintain the intake of new pupils.

The dinner itself was very well supported with 68 former pupils attending and another 31 wives, girlfriends and others accompanying them, plus a further 20 current and former members of staff and prefects. The catering was superb and a good time was had by all. The President of the Society, Anthony Wills, and the new Headmaster both spoke and both gave an upbeat report on the state of health of the school. I thought the highlight of the evening was when Stephen Lees got up and advised the assembled gathering that in 1960, when he was at school, the first XV had beaten Sedbergh at Sedbergh by 13 points to 9 and that twelve of that team were present at the dinner. They were invited to stand and identify themselves and received applause from all the other diners. They were Graham Arscott, Adrian Bagott, Mike Blyth, Richard Burton, Christopher Cummins, Peter Dixon, Michael Harrison, Stephen Lees, Michael McIntosh-Reid, Peter Richardson, Bob Stringer and Dacre Watson.
At the end of the dinner photographs were taken of these twelve sitting in the places which they occupied in the 1960 1st XV team photograph (Please click here to see photo).

I personally found that virtually everyone I spoke to afterwards thought the combination of the Friday night dinner with OSB Day on the Saturday had been a great success, as it had been some years earlier when both Tony Cotes and John Bell ran similar dinners. It does though involve a lot of extra work for those charged with the organisation of it, but I feel sure that they too felt very pleased with the turnout of OSBs which they achieved. My feeling is that we should try to do something similar again soon, either for another age group or possibly endeavour to persuade an OSB “celebrity” to attend such a dinner and thus draw in members who have not been back to the school for a long time.

Alec MacCaig (FS 42-46)

(Please click here to see photos of the evening)



The St. Beghian Society,    St. Bees School,    St. Bees,    Cumbria,    CA27 0DS.
         Tel: (01946) 828093