As expected, there were fewer attendees at this year’s old Bostonian Association Annual Dinner than at last year’s. It was still a very respectable attendance of over 70 people; about average for the last few years.
Because of the reduced numbers we returned from the BGS assembly hall of last year to the comfortable surroundings of the Boston and County Club, near to the main entrance of Boston’s Central Park.
People started gathering in the bar at 6:30pm and after a while there was quite a crowd and the volume was increasing.
Three of the five members of 1967 school band, Gotham City were together for the first time in 49 years: David Wortley, Ty Dalby and Nick Flynn
Past OBA President, Tony Austin and his wife, Jill
George Danby and his wife Pearl with Ken Newham
Pat Everitt and David Wilson
While we were all in the bar, Peter Milsom produced a painting by former BGS staff member, Hubert “Tilly” Turpin (BGS 1927-1964), asking what the subject might be. I have since confirmed that it is Ely Cathedral.
Once the OBA President, Peter Sharman had worked out that the PA was indeed piped into the bar, he managed to call everyone through to the dining room at about 7:30pm for an excellent and well waited meal.
The top table, left to right: Thomas Vamplew (BGS student and quiz scorer), Smilte Matutionyte and Joe Dean (students and OBA museum curators), Peter Sharman (OBA President), Brig Bill Dunham CBE BSc (guest speaker), John McHenry (BGS head teacher), Harvey Potter (Head Boy), Damian Austen (Deputy Head Boy)
After dinner there was a short break before the speeches: time to mingle again.
Bill Stanwell and Stan Lawrence
David Wookey and Scott Palmer
Nigel Wainwright and Harvey Potter
Ken Newham and Pete Milsom
Pat Welberry and Gus Goor
Jim Ely and David May
After a brief introduction and loyal toast from OBA President, Peter Sharman, Richard Anderson took the microphone to introduce our guest speaker, Bill Dunham (BGS 1972-1979). Bill joined the Royal Marines in 1979 straight from BGS and had a long and varied career including command at every level up to Brigadier. His Career culminated in roles as Commandant of Commando Training Centre, as Chief of Staff of the NATO Training Mission in Kabul and finally Deputy Commandant General. He left the Corps on 31 March 2015 and now works as the Director of Strategy and Corporate Services at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Brig. Bill Dunham
Bill’s speech was entertaining and thought provoking, relating with stories both serious and funny how his time at BGS and in Royal Marines training informed his later career, and indeed lessons real and tongue in cheek that we can all take from his experiences. He then went on to propose a toast to The School.
The response was provided by BGS head teacher, John McHenry, who acknowledged that the recent Ofsted report of the school indicated that continued improvement was necessary but balanced that with an explanation that while the inspectors had to show three years of improvement, they acknowledged the last two showed an “upward trajectory”. On the specific point made about the behaviour of students, he made a good argument that the two incidents referred to in the report were not significant. He also noted that the school is an academy but that the current drive is for schools to be involved in multi-institution academies. This need not mean the school being swallowed up into a larger organisation but does mean it needs to select partner schools, and select them wisely.
Brig. Bill Dunham
Bill Dunham and John McHenry
The official business was brought to a close by the Head Boy, Harvey Potter, who spoke of his view that speaking at the OBA Annual Dinner was one of the highlights of his year in office. He also acknowledged the honour he felt in following his brother Ellis Potter into the role; Ellis gave the response to the toast to The School at the dinner in 2014.
Those who attended the dinner were as follows.
Toni Anne Pain
Deputy Head Boy
Student – OBA Museum
Guest Speaker (72/79)
Student – OBA Museum
OBA President (59/64)
Student – OBA Quiz etc.
Philip Johnston (BGS headmaster 1970-78) with Brig. Bill Dunham