North East Branch
The 2014 North East Branch Dinner was held on the 12th November at the Northumberland Golf Club, Newcastle.
Thirty-seven guests assembled in the plush surroundings of the club’s lounge, where there was much ‘meeting and greeting’ before everyone moved to four tables in the dining room for the dinner to commence. Chairman Don Williams welcomed everyone and then handed over to George Robson to offer the Grace.
In due course the Chairman proposed the Loyal Toast then introduced the first of the speakers - Head Girl of the school, Miss Amelia Tyson. Amelia spoke of her love for St Bees and how there was a great deal of voluntary and community work being carried out by pupils. She gave details of the very active music and drama groups and told everyone of her involvement in hockey. She concluded by proposing a toast to the Society after which she received enthusiastic and warm applause.
The Headmaster gave a very upbeat account of various developments at the school. He said pupil numbers were now exceeding 300 for the first time in many years and the number of boarders was 130, something which necessitated increased boarding facilities. He reported on various changes amongst the staff then described some of the events of OSB Day. The refurbishment of the cricket pavilion in memory of former Headmaster Geoffrey Lees and the inauguration of a new organ in the chapel were highlights of the day.
The Headmaster expressed his thanks for the great support the Society gives the school and said this was much appreciated and was a vital ingredient in the establishment’s healthy state.
Head Boy Charles Adam then rose to tell of other aspects of developments. He said the sixth form numbered over 100 and the new wi-fi facilities were a great boon. There had been a succession of major sporting achievements, the newly-appointed head of sport making a big impact. He called for a toast to the Society.
Charles spoke with great eloquence and aplomb and he too was given warm and hearty applause.
The Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Society, Fred Lord, then rose to speak on behalf of Society President, Dacre Watson, who sadly had to present his apologies for absence at the dinner. Fred described Bill Dove’s outstanding cricketing record whilst a pupil and his impressive involvement in cricket since leaving school leading right up to the present.
He echoed what the Headmaster had said about the good times the school was currently going through.
Chairman Don Williams took the floor to report on a very successful Branch event at Durham County Cricket Club at Chester-le-Street during the summer. He was planning another sporting event - this time at the Newcastle Falcons rugby ground at Kingston Park - and appealed for members to support the event.
The Chairman then lauded the impressive service of Bill Dove - Branch Secretary for 40 years. The Society and the Branch had together arranged for a carriage clock to be presented at the cricket event and the clock was re-presented and a standing ovation given. Bill responded by saying how much he had always enjoyed his work for the Branch and that even though shortly moving to North Yorkshire, he looked forward to remaining Branch Secretary, hoping to reach his half century.
Clive Kennedy rose to speak about an article in the August edition of ‘The Field’ in which Gervais Dodd had written about
St Bees School.
Proceedings at an end, guests moved back into the lounge to continue socialising. At around 11pm The Pitchford Boys piled into taxis which were to convey them to Newcastle’s quayside night clubs; here, no doubt, to carouse into the small hours. The ‘oldies’ left for their homes and their beds!
Present: Top Table – J. Davies (Headmaster), Dr Margaret Brookes (Assistant Head Academic), Miss Amelia Tyson (Head Girl), Charles Adams (Head Boy), W.E. Dove (Sec. NE Branch) (FN 57-60), D.H. Williams (Chairman NE Branch) (FN 61-64),
D.F. Lord (Sec. & Treasurer St Beghian Society) (SH 60-65) and Mrs F.E. Lord (Retired Staff).
Table 1 – J.D.S. Brown (G 53-59), J.F. Bullock (FN 44-48), N.D. Clothier (FN 53-57), W.M.H. Dix (FN 55-58),
W.B. Jameson (F 46-51), C.R. Kennedy (FN 55-59), D.L. Leslie (SH 55-59), F.O. Messenger (SH 50-55), I.D. Nimmo (FN 52-57), J.M. Southern (FN 55-59) and N.C. Wakefield (G 53-57).
Table 2 – N.W. Adams (FN 68-71), A.O. Burn (G 62-65), A.M. Carstairs (FN 57-62), C.J. Cummins (G 56-62),
D.W. Davies (Retired Staff) (FS 62-68), Mrs R.V. Lewis (L 77-79), J.M. McBryde (G 58-61), J. Mosgrove (SH 60-63),
D.G.W. Reed (FN 75-78), G.C. Robson (FN 57-64), G.L. Spencer (G 61-64) and A.J. Wills (FN 60-64).
Table 3 – D. Bushby (SH 95-02), M.T. Garstang (SH 98-05), M.A. Drysdale (SH 98-05), P.J. Drysdale (SH 95-02),
T. Hogg (AC/SH 06-09), R.I. Littler (SH 98-05), D.J. Pitchford (G 95-02), B. Wilson (SH 97-04) and J.R.A. Woodhouse (SH 99-02).
Please click here to see photographs from the evening.