Forty Society: Going strong by strengthening friendships

Forty Society: Going strong by strengthening friendships

The Forty Society’s autumn lunch saw a record turn-out for recent years. Guest speaker Matthew Rose (OE 2002–2009) said: “It was, I understand, a particularly high turn-out, and, happily, I was there to see it!”

The society, which is open to alumni who left the School at least 40 years ago, has gained an influx of new attendees over the past year to 18 months.

The lunches are held in the clubhouse at Gypsy Corner – the Old Elizabethans Memorial Playing Fields – and, in fact, many members have strong connections to the location, belonging to (or having previously belonged to) the cricket club or rugby club (although the latter has now moved).

Matthew is Head of External Relations, Executive Assistant to the Headmaster, and Clerk to the Governing Body. “It was a good-humoured and lively atmosphere, with old friends enjoying each other’s company very much the point of the gathering,” he said. “I talked about the School’s 450th anniversary year, some of the different projects that had been undertaken and my role within them – hopefully giving a mildly entertaining insight. Alongside this, I encouraged them to remain connected, or re-connect, with the School, and explained that they are always welcome.”

The society is part of the Old Elizabethans Association, though it has its own committee – with much effort put in by Peter ‘Scotty’ Yates (OE 1967–1974) and Mike Harrison (OE 1953-1961), to name a couple. OE President Eric Houston was the MC at the lunch.

“It was good fun to meet OEs new to me and to see friendships flourishing – the Society celebrates the importance of these relationships and the connection many have to the sports clubs within the OE family,” Matthew added. “As I said at the end, I look forward to returning on my qualification for the society in the autumn of 2049!” After the lunch, many repaired to the Black Horse pub, where the photo was taken.