Old Boys Re-union 2007

President's Report

July 07

As your new President it is with great pleasure that I send you my report on the events of July 14th - our 2007 reunion day. But first I would like to thank our retiring President, Cliff White, for doing such a fine job in our 75th.Anniversary year. The ‘post reunion President’s Newsletter’ was Cliff’s initiative last year and by following it I hope that his “president’s precedent” will become a tradition no future President will dare ignore!

It was of course a very special day this year marking the Association’s 75th anniversary. And what a day it was; fate smiled on us and the sun shone - for most of the time at least.

The first event of the day was the commemoration service in The Minster, conducted by the Reverend Alastair Wallace, with the Right Reverend Peter Maurice, Bishop of Taunton, and the Archdeacon of Taunton, the Venerable John Reed. The congregation included many special guests, representatives of the local community and old friends of the school, invited to participate in the service of Dedication, by Bishop Peter, of the Old Ilminsterian’s commemorative window in the Lady Chapel. As always, the service was very well attended and the singing of favourite old hymns as enthusiastic as ever. The address was given by Bishop Peter, who then proceeded to the Lady Chapel, with as many of us as could squeeze in, for the Dedication of the magnificent new window designed by John Reyntiens. Everyone that I spoke to felt that it had been a very moving service and that the window, though modern in design, is a fine addition to our wonderful old Minster.

A reception and excellent sit down lunch at The Shrubbery Hotel for over 170 Old Boys and guests followed. Guests were welcomed by our President Cliff White who introduced our guest speaker Henry Sandon, an old friend of his from the “Antiques Roadshow”: Henry entertained us all with hilarious stories of his experiences which brought our splendid lunchtime programme to a delightful conclusion.

After lunch guests could indulge their nostalgia visiting the old school buildings or the exhibition of school pictures and memorabilia, including a working demonstration of the school’s old amateur wireless station which brought back many fond memories.

We all enjoyed ourselves enormously on this very special occasion. As someone who was hardly involved in the planning of it all, I would like to thank those who were and congratulate them on such a successful day. It takes a lot of hard work to make sure that an occasion like this can go like clockwork, and yet feel so relaxed. The whole committee deserves our thanks for the work they put in, but particularly I would mention Stuart Shepherd and Mike Tutcher, and of course Dave Irish and his sub committee whose dedicated hard work over the last year ensured that the window happened- on time and within budget. Marvellous!

The annual general meetings of the Old Ilminsterians Association and the Charitable Association were held in the evening. The minutes of these meetings will shortly be available so it is not my intention to go into any detail here, but I am delighted to tell you that John Loftus was unanimously elected Vice President, and I look forward to working with him during my year of office. I am also very pleased to be able to report that the old school bell, which has been donated to the Association by the executors of George Maher’s estate, played its part in proceedings both at the AGM and later at dinner, as I am sure it will in future years.

It is at the AGM that the new president is elected and immediately takes office. I would like to say here what I said then, that I feel truly honoured to be your President. Sixty years ago as a twelve year old I came to Ilminster from “foreign parts”; I joined class 3A at the start of the summer term and immediately felt at home. As boys, I think we were an easygoing lot; I remember only friendship and good humour. We were immensely fortunate to have teachers who, whatever idiosyncrasies we attributed to them, were outstanding people who cared about the school and about us, and did all that they could for us. Fifty years later I came back for the first time to an Old Boys reunion. I was treated then with the same ready friendship that I remembered from my early school years. As Old Ilminsterians of course we enjoy the old friendships renewed and the nostalgia, but more than that, we share something unique and enduring, as illustrated by the dedication of the magnificent commemorative window. I am delighted and proud to be your President.

The final event in a packed day was of course the Old Boys dinner. Including guests from the Old Cerdics and Old Crewkernians, about seventy five of us sat down to a splendid spread at The Shrubbery, under the ever-attentive eye of our toastmaster Stuart Shepherd. There was a particularly good turn out from the class of 1957 celebrating their fifty years as Ilminsterians. It was my pleasant duty to introduce our guest speaker, who truly needed no introduction, Archdeacon John Reed; his wit and wisdom brought to a splendid close an unforgettable day for us all.

Next year’s reunion will be on July 12th. 2008. Put that date in your diary. We hope there will be a very good turn out, with a particularly good showing from the class of 1958. Best wishes and see you then!

- Philip Burnford

The guests of honour at the 75th Anniversary Lunch.

from left to right - Mr David Medlock - High Sherriff of Somerset, The Mayor of Ilminster, Outgoing President - Cliff White, Mr Peter Speke - representative of the Lord Lieutenant of the County, Valued Treasurer - Pat Bilyard, Vicar of St.Mary's - Alastair Wallace, Bishop of Taunton - Rt.Rev.Peter Maurice, Designer - John Reyntiens, Archdeacon of Taunton - Venerable John Reed, (Lunch Speaker) - Henry Sandon

photo - copyright=D.J.Wheadon


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