Well judged: Robert Rinder’s speech caps successful Old Elizabethans Association Dinner

""This month’s OE Association Dinner was a great success, writes Headmaster Neil Enright. No fewer than 91 old boys and staff past and present – an increase on previous years – turned out for an evening which delivered both an excellent meal and some terrific speeches. The address from our guest of honour, Robert “Judge” Rinder (1989–1994), was characteristically entertaining but also rather profound.

Rob reflected at The Old Elizabethans Association’s dinner 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”.  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.

It was excellent to see so many of our ten-year leavers (those who started their final year in 2007) back for the occasion. They helped make it a truly memorable evening.

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 my speech, I 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 us for the first time since leaving. They have offered support to the boys by volunteering advice, interview practice, work experience placements or sponsorship. This upsurge has, in part, been a result of our first foray into social media: if any old boys have not yet connected with me on LinkedIn, please feel free to do so.

""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.

Many Old Elizabethans were, in fact, instrumental in ensuring that the School’s 2017 Careers Convention – held the night before the dinner – was our best ever.  This major event in the QE calendar is for Year 11 boys and their parents; it seeks to provide expert help and guidance in choosing and planning career paths.

""The evening had begun with an opportunity for the OEs and other guests to meet each other for wine and canapés in the School’s Café 1573 prior to the arrival of the boys and their parents.

More than two-thirds of the 50 or so guests who so generously gave up their time to converse and answer questions were OEs. The range of careers represented included the Law, medicine, the creative arts, engineering, banking & finance and the public sector. I thank all those old boys who were involved.