OBA Annual Dinner 2013 – Report

Can you spot Robin Borrett (BGS Staff 1962-94) making
his first appearance at the dinner in several years?

After the sudden death of Paul Mould only two months before the annual dinner, which he had organised for each of the last few years, the OBA President, Peter Sharman, gamely took over the reins, and suggested it should be a tribute to Paul. Understandably, with the late change of responsibility, numbers were down this year (45) but the atmosphere on 20 April was as good as ever and Nick Fitton was certainly among the best speakers we’ve had when I’ve been present.

The President – Peter Sharman

Formal proceedings started as usual with the President proposing the loyal toast “To the Queen”. In his preamble he explained that since this is the fourth year of his presidency, if elected again at this year’s AGM, it will be for the last time since the constitution of the Association limits a President to five terms. This year has been his most difficult yet. The proposed Charity Ball, having been very successful in the previous year, was reluctantly cancelled due to lack of support. Following that and a number of other failed events, the hardworking social sub-committee resigned en-bloc, although most remain on the committee.

OBA President,
Peter Sharman (BGS 1958-63)

Paul Mould’s death on 22 February came as a shock because of his contributions to “virtually anything Boston” but also because at the time of his death he held several positions in the OBA: Secretary, Membership Secretary, Museum Curator and editor of the newsletter. He was also a governor of the school, and a Boston Borough councillor. For a number of years he had also organised the dinner almost single-handedly. Peter summed up Paul by quoting the words of Paul’s Hollywood Producer friend Barry Spikings: “So sad. Paul was a fighter – never gave up. He would send me books and other ideas for films. None worked for me, but it did not deter him”.

Peter then moved on to the Extraordinary General Meeting of the previous evening. The concensus was that the majority of the membership spread across the world are happy to pay their subscriptions and receive updates on what is happening at BGS and what old boys are up to. There was a suggestion to try and organise events inn other parts of the country to allow at least some distant old boys to take part. The Association currently has 452 members of which 152 are life members. Mail sent to 10 members is returned “gone away” so some effort needs to be put into finding them.

Peter announced the appointment of a new Secretary: Ben Evans (BGS 2002-09). Peter himself will, for the time being, take on the role of Membership Secretary. Simon Meeds will produce a newsletter, though it will probably not be quite as in-depth as his earlier versions. There is currently no Museum Curator but that position can be filled in the future. Peter thanked the members of the committee and in particular the treasurer, Mark Bruntlett, David Wookey, Marcus Cain and Mark Locking. Marcus once again put together an old boys football team which had recently beaten the BGS First XI 3-2. The game was refereed by old boy, Steve Ross, who is a football league official. The snooker match and quiz have both been cancelled following Paul’s death but should go ahead at later dates and “Gus” Goor has already volunteered to organise the snooker.

Peter drew everyone’s attention to the new web site and announced that Stan Meeds had been presented with a Services to the Community Award by Boston Borough Council for his voluntary work with St Nicholas Chruch, The British Red Cross and the Royal British Legion.

The guest – Nick Fitton

Nick Fitton (BGS Staff 1986-2010)

This was followed by Nick Fitton’s speech, after which he proposed a toast “To the School”. Nick taught English at BGS from 1986 to 2010. When he first moved to Boston he was struck by the friendliness of people both in and out of school, and it is that which keeps him in the town even after his retirement.

He quelled the doubters in the audience when he spoke warmly of his first headmaster at the school, Arthur Shrimpton (BGS Staff 1978-92), pointing out that he knew the name of every student, and filled out every UCCA/UCAS report out himself. He was not as complimentary about some of the headteachers who followed.

He told many interesting stories. I am sure most were true, but some were more amazing than others so I won’t risk creating “urban myths” by repeating any of them. Let’s just say they were, without exception, entertaining, and I don’t think anyone present would complain that Nick’s carefully timed speech dragged.

The response – Stephen Woodliffe

Stephen Woodliffe

The response to Nick’s toast was made on behalf of the school by Stephen Woodliffe, former teacher of mathematics at BGS, current deputy chairman of the school governors and Boston Borough councillor. Stephen revealed that it had been decided that BGS should concentrate on the STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Nick Fitton, as already mentioned, a retired English teacher, protested from the sidelines. However, Stephen went on to point out that since “Science and Technology” are in his view branches of Mathematics, and “Engineering” can’t really be taught in school, it should stand for “Science, Technology, English and Modern Languages” – how, after all, can you use your scientific knowledge if you can’t communicate it? Nick seemed satisfied with the explanation.

The school song

As usual, the evening was completed with the singing of the school song – Floreat Bostona. Even if the rendition was a little disorderly in parts, it was certainly enthusiastic and, as a parting comment, Nick Fitton pointed out that it is that song which united the generations of BGS Old Boys, and he celebrated the fact that it was a group of boys who ensured that its singing was not discontinued in recent times.

Those present

Those present at the dinner were:

Jill Austin Tony Austin
Pauline Borrett Robin Borrett
Mark Bruntlett Marcus Cain
Colin Clark David Cragg
Shiela Cragg George Danby
Pearl Danby Jim Ely
Ben Evans Ian Fisher
Nick Fitton Melvyn Goor
Barrie Gosling Andrew Hladun
James Hopper Jim Howes
Luke Johnstone David May
Simon Meeds Stan Meeds
Peter Moulder Ken Newham
Bill Olle Trevor Page
Colin Pickwell William Price
Reg Priestley Peter Rawlings
Peter Sharman Don Sharpe
Bill Stanwell Bob Stanwell
Patrick Walters Roger Welberry
Revd Dick Westland Ken Whittle
Catharine Woodliffe Stephen Woodliffe
Adam Woods David Wookey
Richard Wray

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