Soham Grammarians - 2017 Reunion Luncheon

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This year we welcomed four new faces. Three former SGS staff were present: Mr Dick Bozeat, Mr Peter Scott and Mr Alan Mason.

Our MC this year was again Chris Bent SG53.

John Dimmock SG59 was again our Box Office manager. John's wife Sue and daughter Emma again assisted with the drinks.

Guests of Honour
Dr Carin Taylor - Principal of Soham Village College since 2006 and now Executive Head of The Staploe Education Trust
Mrs Ann Jarman -
daughter of Mr CJ Ford

Professor Geoff Fernie SG 59 was our speaker

The Grace was given this year by John Brown SG51

Chris Bent SG53

Chris welcomed Grammarians and their guests. He was delighted that from just 50 bookings last year we had 72 this year. He announced that this would be his last appearance after 14 or so years as MC. It had been a pleasant task*. He had had the privilege of entertaining delightful guests while Frank Haslam and John Dimmock did the background work, Frank maintaining our website.
They will continue in their roles and cover Chris's responsibilities.

The present reunion team took on the task from the late Roger Lane and  Arnold Tomalin. Arnold died in August aged 89 - Peter Nicholls who was in the same year was at his funeral. There will be a Service of Thanksgiving for Arnold's life at his beloved St Botolph's Church, Barford, Norwich, at 3pm on 29th October.

Chris reminded us of the reunion tradition of passing the Rose Bowl to collect for the team from SVC who serve us our meal. Later in the Reunion Frank and John made a small thank-you presentation to Chris on behalf of the Soham Grammarians.

[* as well as sporting a dickie bow in SGS colours Chris also purchased bouquets, drink, obtained the necessary licence and was the reunion book-keeper. We must also thank his wife Valerie for the assistance she provided.]

Chris Bent's last Reunion as our MC

The Roll Call - Grammarians stood in turn to state their name, years at SGS, where they lived then and where they lived now. Some found it necessary to refer to their name badges. Chris Bent confirmed to the ladies present that they were not required to deliver their vital statistics, but thought some might marvel at how many of these Grammarians they could recognise. Hmm ...


Leek & Potato Soup with homemade roll
Main Course
Roast Turkey with Roast Potatoes and Fresh Seasonal Vegetables
Eton Mess
Cheese and Biscuits
Coffee or Tea

After the Lunch the Loyal Toast was given by Mr Alan Mason, Staff 68-72

After a break Chris Bent spoke again: Allow me to take a little longer in welcoming our guests. How splendid it is to have ten ladies here today. Seven responded to the open invitation to support a Grammarian – a trend that I hope will flourish.

I have quite special links to the other three ladies. It is a real pleasure to see Mrs Ena Fernie keeping a proud eye on her son Geoff. In a line I have delivered before – I can claim [when working in the family ladies dress shop] to have dressed Ena, and I trust she will forgive me for mentioning that.
As for Ann Jarman, remembered by many of us as a delightful daughter of our very own Charlie Ford, I have a blatant but relevant commercial to deliver. Not for the Jarman's The Old Fire Engine House restaurant in Ely, although that splendid house has a special attachment for my wife Valerie and me. But the more rebellious of us will remember a certain public house in the centre of Soham; frequented surreptitiously by recalcitrant and under-age sixth-formers.  The Red Lion was the scene of our undoing.

Having fallen into disrepair it has been rescued by Peter Leonard, a Grammarian [1965 entry] and talented designer, mentored by Mr Peter Askem. The restored Red Lion will open very shortly as a restaurant and drinks venue to be managed - and completing this circle - by Ann’s daughter Lucy. I recommend it to you. And Ann I thank you for many years of friendship and support, personally and unstintingly for the Grammarians.
I am equally grateful to Dr Carin Taylor; Carin has been enthusiastic in promoting the historic significance of the Grammar School in the DNA of the Village College. I was in this chair when Carin arrived to take up her appointment and each year I have looked forward to hearing of the educational progress she has overseen in this community.

This reunion is promoted to provide a pleasantly nostalgic recall of our time as Grammarians. There is no constitution, no membership fees – each year meals are budgeted as self-sufficient with earlier meal surpluses underwriting any shortfall when numbers have been down.

Throughout my time as MC donations have been received in various forms – a meal cost from someone not able to attend, a generous contribution to the spirit of the day, a simple rounding-up of meal payment.

The donations fund has accumulated to a modestly significant amount; with Frank and John, we have looked for an appropriate use of a capital sum, beyond the reserves we have for the Archive and Memorial Records with associated costs.

We have decided to make a Grammarians’ gift to the College of £3000 to fund an annual award of £300 over 10 years to be given, at the discretion of the College, to the Head Pupils each year. They will be required to illustrate how they will best use that gift as part of their commitment to the College community.

Carin, please accept this payment made on behalf of both past and present Grammarians who have made donations to the reunion.

Grammarians and guests, thank you for your support this evening and in the past. I wish you all the very best in the future.

I invite Dr Carin Taylor to tell us how the last year has been for the College and the broader Staploe Education Trust.

Welcome to Soham Village College

Dr Carin Taylor, Executive Head of The Staploe Education Trust, has not missed any of our events during her tenure.

Carin welcomed us all and thanked the Grammarians for their ongoing commitment to the reunion and education in this place.  She thanked us most warmly for our generous benefaction of £3000 over ten years and explained that £300 would be held by the senior students each year for the next ten years to provide some legacy from the Grammarians to improve the school as it is today.   The hope is that the students will report on the impact of their predecessors each year.

Carin went on to explain briefly that her role was now to lead the Trust of four schools - Soham Village College, Kennett Primary School, The Shade Primary School and, most recently, The Weatheralls Primary School in Soham.  She still has an office in Beechurst but has moved downstairs into what was the Grammar School library.  She has lunch with students in the Canteen a few times a week and that helps to keep her in touch! She assured us that all is well and that the broad curriculum and opportunity from which so many of the gentlemen present benefitted, still thrives today, beyond strength in the core curriculum to a flourishing art and performing arts offer at Soham Village College.

Who booked for the 2017 Lunch? And who sent apologies?

As customary after the meal, Chris Bent presented the cash from the silver Rose Bowl that had been passed round to representatives from the very smartly turned out SVC senior pupils team that so capably served us, supervised this year by Sarah Bristow.

Chris Bent presents the Rose Bowl collection to the serving team from Soham Village College
.. under the benign gaze of Mr Riley (on screen)

The Toast to Absent Friends: Tim Boyden SG58. [The Reunion Booklet listed Roy Allen SG44, John Ambrose SG43, Don Delanoy SG40, Michael Holmes SG49, Brian Lane SG48, Geoff Matthews SG50, Arnold Tomalin MBE SG39, Keith Woodroff SG53]


Professor Geoff Fernie's talk - see via link below

Some 2017 Reunion Luncheon photos

Please contact the editor about any missing or incorrect IDs. Name and entry year are shown.

A pretty full Beechurst Hall. You may spot Mr Dick Bozeat among us.

Ernest Cowley - Mike Bunting - Alan Hill (from Toronto)

Martin Kyte - Stephen Halls - David Parr

David Sculthorpe - Mrs Lesley Wood - Ron Meadows

Mrs Carmen Barningham - Mike Barningham (from Mexico) - Tim Griffiths (from New Zealand) - Mrs Barbara Battom - Alan Parish

Simon Curtis - Rod Armitage - Michael Payton - John Brown

Fred Eden - Peter Nicholls (to whom we sang Happy Birthday as his 89th birthday was two days later)

Dr Carin Taylor - Chris Bent - Mrs Ann Jarman (née Ford)

Dannie Nicholas - Mrs Ena Fernie (Geoff's mother) - Geoff Fernie - John Dimmock - Peter Scott
.. the 59ers corner

Peter Nicholls SG39, Oxford University, catches up with David Bray SG45, Cambridge University

Mrs Heather Sims - Mrs Eileen Colyer - Bruce Sims 

Chris Bent - Frank Haslam - John Dimmock
Chris has just received a small gift from John and Frank on behalf of the Grammarians
as a token of thanks for his service as MC since 2003

Brothers Alan Bray and Clive Bray with cousin David Bray

Ed Reed brought along his XIV Legion kit from July 1969. The cardboard has worn surprisingly well.
He has now added his memories of being a Legionnaire to the XIV Legion page

The Edward Armitage Memorial Tree appears to prosper.

Professor Geoff Fernie's talk

images: unless otherwise stated, Frank Haslam
Page created 9 Oct 17: last updated 2 Nov 17
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