OC Society Annual Dinner 2017

Dave Tooze reports on the OC Society Annual Dinner held at Colston's School in October 2017

President Bob Jennings speaking at the dinner President Bob Jennings speaking at the dinner
Annual Dinner 14th October 2017
The Dinner is always eagerly awaited, an opportunity to meet up with O.C. friends, and enjoy an excellent meal in the ambience of the School Dining Hall, which in itself stimulates memories and reminiscences.
At the pre-dinner Drinks Reception, O.C. President Bob Jennings personally greeted and dispensed sparkling wine to as many attendees as possible, before the transfer to the Dining Hall for the main event.
Gracing the Top Table were Bob Jennings, Headmaster Jeremy McCullough, London O.C. President Deryk Nicholson, Mike Goatman of the Q.E.H Society, and guest speaker Dave Tooze O.C.  Illness deprived us of the company of our guests from the Merchant Venturers, and the Old Bristolians.  However the O.B.s were well represented in the Hall by our old friend Dave Woodward, the ex-Bristol Rugby forward, and Glos. County Cricket Commentator.  A good cross section of guests featured a number of past Presidents, the Golf Society, young gentlemen and lady members, and a group from the rugby club, who were simultaneously celebrating a Cup win again Widden Old Boys.  Head Girl Eloise Brown adroitly mastered “Benedic Nobis et Domine Deus” to initiate proceedings.
Again Head Chef Andy and his team produced another superb meal, comprising Breast of Chicken wrapped in a Parma Ham, or, a Butternut Squash based vegetarian alternative.  A dessert of raspberry cheesecake, or chocolate mousse was followed by an excellent cheese board, all accompanied by a selection of good wines. 
Following the Loyal toast, and to our Founder, and Absent friends, O.C. President Bob Jennings reported that the Society was in very good form.  The O.C.R.F.C. had won promotion to Gloucestershire I Division, and were well established in the top half of the league table.  The Golf Society had enjoyed another excellent year.  Regular events such as the Mixed Sports Day, Open Day, Whisky Night, Wine Tasting, and Rugby Day, had all been well supported and enjoyed, as had day trips to St Fagans and Highclere Castle.  The highlight of the year had undoubtedly been the Summer Ball in July.  Bob highly praised Tracy Mace, whose organisational skills had made a huge contribution to the success of these events.  Bob also mentioned that the historic Dining Hall Clock had been repaired and renovated, courtesy of the O.C.s, and concluded by introducing Mark Plenty, the O.C.’s Vice President, who will assume the Presidential Office in March 2018.
Headmaster Jeremy McCullough was pleased to advise that the school was flourishing, with very high pupil numbers in all age groups, and this year’s exam results across the board were truly outstanding.  He welcomed the O.C.s to the school, and paid tribute to the O.C.s contribution and support in many areas.  His toast of Floreat Colstona was indeed appropriate.
On behalf of the guests, O.C. Dave Tooze related reminiscences of yesteryear in the same Dining Hall – Jam Boy duty, “Oats Gutz”, and the Spartan food compared with today’s gourmet fare.  He recalled the “heinous crime” of watching football at Bristol Rovers ground at Eastville.  Dave expressed gratitude for the education he had received at Colston's, particularly French and Maths, which had enabled him to embark on a long and fascinating career on the Concorde project, on which he illustrated examples where O.C.s had resolved some of supersonic transport’s most challenging technical problems.
In the 1990s he had experienced Colston’s as a parent, seeing first hand the patronage of the Merchant Venturers and the superb teaching staff, which had led to his daughter becoming a leading Neuropsychologist.
Above all, Dave thanked Colston’s for his life long friends from his contemporaries, the O.C.s and the Golf Society.
The evening concluded in time honoured fashion, with a nightcap, or two in the O.C.’s pavilion, enjoying the hospitality of Derek Barnett, and Helen.  An appropriate way to round-off an excellent evening, and our thanks are due to the Headmaster, the School and the catering team, to Tracy for most capably organising the event, and star cameraman Doug Lodge for his photographic record.
Dave Tooze
December 2017
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