Event Review: 50 year reunion
Just over 70 OMs and their partners recently attended a “sold out” 50th reunion at school. It was a significant celebration for those who had left the school in the 1967-1971 era, which coincided with 50 years of girls, and 175 years of MC.
As the weather was slightly inclement, a planned reception in the Fountain Court was moved inside, into the Common Room dining room. Many an old friendship was renewed, over a glass of fine wine, as, I, amongst many others, were attending just their first official OM function, at the school. Our very helpful host for the day, was Jan Perrins, who heads up the MC Foundation, as Director of Development. Jan was standing in for the Master, who unfortunately was unable to attend. The event was well organized by Fiona Cottrill, Events Manager for the Foundation.
When Chris Woodhouse (C2 1964-1969) introduced himself and reminded me that we had “next door” beds in WM Dain’s A1 House in 1964, that was the start of much reminiscing. In particular, I very well recalled my time in Jake Seamer’s B3, shared with other attendees, David Beamish (B3 1965 – 1969) and Michael Sheldon (B3 1964-1969).
After drinks, we all moved through to the Adderley for a fine lunch. It was very pleasant to be seated at a table of B3 OMs, with the Sheldon brothers, & Colin Ferguson, amongst others. It was quite remarkable how quickly we picked up after 50 odd years!
After lunch, and with fine sunny weather again, Jan Perrins took many of us off on tours of our former houses. B3, now Field House for girls, bore little resemblance, on the inside, to the old house with its Victorian dormitories!
Jan then took a large group of us down to Memorial Hall, where we all were able to enjoy the stunning renovation recently completed of this building that commemorates so many who lost their lives in the two World Wars, and since. Especially notable was the listing of all 13 VC winners, as well as the 750 odd individual names.
Following this visit, we all parted ways to either wander the magnificent grounds or take in some of the sports that were going on, including a busy athletics day. It was good to see Chris Woodhouse’s name, (C2 1964-1969) on the MC Athletics Records list in the pavilion, still the fastest over his distance (I think 400m Hurdles)! Sadly, the cricket had been cancelled due to the rain.
Several of us then retired to the Castle & Ball, where we were staying, and continued to reminisce long into the night. Allan Cole (B2 1962-1967) showed us how one can survive and come back from a near fatal glider accident, and Clifford Allison (SU 1966-1970) & Hugh Michelmore (SU 1965-1970) regaled us with stories of old.
The following morning was another highlight, as a Clifford Allison and I attended morning Chapel, where we were individually warmly welcomed by Mrs. Louise Moelwyn-Hughes, the Master, and by the Assistant Chaplain, Janneke Blokland.
Following Chapel, I took the opportunity to stroll around the school, passing the “listed” Science Block that has not changed, and then walked up the impressively cleaned up “Mound”. It was very significant to see so much space at the school that is still devoted to outdoors activities.
Whilst attending the reunion, I was able to reflect on what it had meant to attend MC. The visit would not have been complete without a walk up to the “White Horse”, above the athletics track, and a ramble through Savernake Forest to the “8 Walks” intersection, scene of so many CCF (cadets) exercises.
I flew over from Auckland, New Zealand, to attend this event, arriving the afternoon before, after deciding to bring forward my already planned trip to the UK, by 2 weeks. It was a good decision!
I would just like to acknowledge, once again, the effort put into making this such a memorable occasion by Fiona Cottrill, and by Jan Perrins.
Julian Fuller (B3 1964-68)
A Gallery of images can be seen on MC Global Connect.