With good numbers in attendance, excellent food and memorable speeches, this year’s formal dinner for alumni was by common consent one of the best in recent memory, according to the Headmaster.
Guest of honour Robert Rinder (OE 1989–1994) brought both TV glamour and the sharp insights of an experienced international barrister to the 122nd annual dinner of The Old Elizabethans Association, while alumni spanning the generations enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with each other and make new friends.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was a terrific evening. The attendance represented an increase on previous years and Rob delivered an address that was not only characteristically entertaining but also rather profound.
“It was excellent to see so many of our ten-year leavers (those who started their final year in 2007) back with us. They helped make it a truly memorable occasion.”
Formed in 1886 as an informal dining club, the association took on its present form in the 1920s. Its current President is Ken Cooper (OE 1942-50).
In his speech, Rob Rinder reflected on what he has taken from the School, while thanking QE for the “gift” it had bequeathed to him. He especially thanked his Headmaster Eamonn Harris, who was in attendance, together with my immediate predecessor, John Marincowitz.
He praised QE’s burgeoning alumni network, urging that it should be nurtured and utilised: all old boys should get involved to help pay back the “debt” that each owed to the School, he said. QE had, after all, provided them with a “public school education” for free!
Some recalled that when Rob appeared on BBC TV’s Room 101, the pet hate he had consigned to the basement torture chamber as the worst thing in the world was “school reunions”. The Headmaster remarked: “I trust that his experience at the dinner – his first-ever reunion event at our School – went some way to changing his mind about this!”
In his own speech, Mr Enright took considerable pleasure in highlighting the fact that the academic year thus far has been notable for the large number of alumni reconnecting with the School, many coming to visit for the first time since leaving. &l dquo;They have uniformly offered support to the boys by volunteering advice, interview practice, work experience placements or sponsorship.
“It has been wonderful to see the enthusiasm and engagement of our old boys; it is something we hope will only continue to grow as we pursue our aim of building a strong and active network of alumni, focused on supporting each other and, crucially, the boys currently at the School,” said Mr Enright.