|Richard Anderson leads
everyone in some exercises
As predicted the Old Bostonian Association Annual Dinner 2015 was a huge success. Once Richard Anderson, the almost universally popular Modern Languages teacher of 43 years (and one term) who retired in 2014, was booked as the guest speaker, it seemed almost inevitable that we would achieve a record attendance for recent years, and so we did.
I hope you enjoy this long report with many photographs. Maybe you will be able to identify long-lost friends in some of the images – click on an image to see a larger version.
The last few dinners have been held at the Boston and County Club where our recent record of ninety-something stretched comfort; last year’s sixty-something was perfect for that venue. We needed somewhere larger, and the solution was in hindsight obvious – we returned to the school hall for the first time in probably a couple of decades (dinners around the turn of the 21st century were held in the school dining hall). This time we were able to bring with us the excellent caterers from the county club and all was set.
|Tables set out ready to be laid|
On the morning of the dinner, a small group of volunteers turned up to set out the tables while the bar was constructed and just before the caterers turned up to put out the place settings. A last minute emergency with the crockery (the school seemed to have only about 50 plates) was managed smoothly and all was ready to receive 174 guests (my latest count given that 175 tickets were allocated and there was one absentee that I know of).
From 6pm onwards people filed in through the hall lobby doors. Many took the opportunity to check out the quad, the library and the OBA’s museum. Meeting people in those places not met for years was a bit of an experience. We had people with connections to the school from the 1930s to the present day.
The beer and wine flowed freely and eventually everyone was called to their seats. OBA President Peter Sharman opened the event and asked Stan Meeds to say grace, and so the evening was underway. Understandably with so many people to serve, there were pauses between courses, which gave people a chance to mingle a little more and to inspect the vast array of memorabilia on display, much of which Richard Anderson himself had brought along.
After the meal Peter Sharman proposed the loyal toast. Following a further short break, Peter introduced Marcus Horry, a successful clay shooter, hoping to represent Great Britain at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The OBA is sponsoring Marcus with monthly payments throughout 2015 and Peter handed over two months’ money before asking Marcus to say a few words. As already reported on this blog, Marcus has been chosen for the Regional Shooting Development Programme, which is another step towards Tokyo.
Peter Sharman invited Marcus Cain, who was BGS head boy in 1989, to introduce the guest speaker. In fact Marcus was preceded by David Wookey who praised Peter Sharman who is in his sixth year as President of the association, the constitution having been amended to allow him to continue beyond his fifth, in David’s words, to avoid him (David) having to be President.
Marcus proceeded to deliver a very amusing introduction for Richard Anderson, who was then allowed to take the stage.
|OBA President, Peter Sharman|
|Ron Abbott and Rod Dunn|
|BGS Head, John McHenry
with Richard Anderson
|Marcus Horry with Head Boy, John Lisle|
|Deputy Head Boy, Nick Doddrell
with Marcus Horry
After a brief introduction, explaining that he had been asked to do his speech in “Rupert the Bear rhyme”, Richard got everyone up on their feet to do some exercises… shades of circuit training?
|Robin Borrett and Ken Whittle
with their wives, Pauline and Pat
Richard’s speech continued in rhyme for almost its whole length. He told of some of the staff, then recounted the story of his teaching career largely in terms of clubs, and both foreign and domestic trips that he organised. He led 88 foreign trips and countless clubs. The Charity Club in particular has raised huge amounts of money – Lorenzo, Richard’s sound engineer for the evening, was the club manager in 2013/14. Richard even started the event which was to become the Skegness and Boston Seabank Marathon. Even in retirement he continues to have some involvement in school general knowledge and the Schuhplattlergruppe. He is now also involved in pub quiz teams at Butterwick and at the Little Peacock on Wormgate.
He went on to paint miniature word pictures (in rhyme) of various people present: some of his “blasts from the past”. There were even people whose presence he had only learnt of on the day about whom he had created last minute verses.
At one stage he had everyone present on their feet again: this time doing a little shuhplattling!
Finally, no longer in rhyme, he entertained everyone with irreverent and occasionally barbed impressions of the heads under whom he had worked: Philip Johnston, Arthur Shrimpton, John Neal, Helen McEvoy, Paul Marsh and John McHenry.
At this stage Peter Sharman revealed that he had asked people what gift the Association should buy for Richard Anderson. The responses came back: something German, something French, something to do with the Beatles. In the event Peter acquired a replica of the poster from one of the Beatles’ Hamburg gigs and framed it together with a copy of the Hard Day’s Night EP and its sleeve. Mr A seemed pleased with this. The OBA also gave him one of the few remaining centenary ties and life membership of the association. A centenary tie and life membership also went to Nigel Wainwright, another long-serving member of BGS staff who retired in 2014.
That just left Richard Anderson to propose a toast to the school before handing over to Headteacher, John McHenry, who gave an admirably brief response to the toast – it was after all almost midnight and the clocks were about to go forward an hour. John also proposed toasts to “the school and the association” and to Peter Sharman for his efforts as OBA President and for all the work he has done both for the association and for the school.
John spoke of how just a few years ago the school was under threat of closure and thanks to a small band of people including Barry Gosling and the late Paul Mould, both old boys of the school, it was saved. The school seems to be well on the way to recovery from that trauma but it will still take time since issues like that are not solved in a year or two. John spoke of his twenty years at the school, first as history and PE teacher and now as headmaster, and of the great staff who had preceded him. In particular he spoke about Richard Anderson’s dedication to his vocation.
|BGS Headteacher, John McHenry|
All that was left was to draw the raffle and sing a rousing rendition the school song before a few last moments of mingling and time, we hope, for everyone to make their way to their homes or lodgings before anyone turned into a pumpkin!
The following is a list of those with tickets with the exception of Reg Priestley (BGS 1945-46) who was not able to attend.
|Nick Doddrell||Deputy Head Boy|
|Mrs H Hadwick||Guest|
|Mrs C Hadwick||Guest|
|John Lisle||Head Boy|
|John McHenry||Head Teacher|
|Mrs P Whittle||Guest|
And finally, a quote written on Facebook by OBA President, Peter Sharman: “What a marvellous evening. I now understand why everyone thought so much of RWA – what a speech – how do we follow that? And what an amazing rendition of Floreat Bostona! Thanks to everyone who attended.”