A day at Kingston Park, home of the Newcastle Falcons.
I have to say that it was bitterly cold and the brisk walk from the Metro station to the Newcastle Falcons’ grounds at Kingston Park had done nothing to warm me up. At times I even wondered if I had entirely lost that that natural resilience to cold which was so well developed at St Bees, more years ago than I prefer to remember.
I found my way to the Hospitality Suite inside the Falcons’ West Stand to find Don Williams, Chairman of the North East Branch of the Old St Beghians, welcoming a number of us to the event he had organised that day: lunch upstairs followed by reserved seats to watch the match between the home team and Sale Sharks.
There were 26 of us, including four guests, who had been pupils at St Bees; refreshingly, we represented a good cross-section of ages and times at the school; most had come from fairly nearby and there was a fair sprinkling of stalwarts, who had driven over from Cumberland for the day. One of the group had even come all the way from Southampton.
Lunch, with everyone accommodated at three large tables, was excellent; the conversation interesting and, what I noticed most, it never flagged; it always included everyone at the table and ranged widely. Apart from Nick Curry and Michael Brandwood (old friends from my own time) I knew no one else at the table and it said a great deal, in my view, for the educational and inter-personal skills learned at St Bees, however long ago that might have been, for each of us.
Conversations carried on outside while watching the match and, later, it was difficult to leave such a delightful bunch of people. All of us said “We must do this again”. Well, that is what it was all about.
I would like to thank Don for taking the trouble to organise the day; it was a huge success, Don, and I know that I speak for everyone there that day when I say many thanks indeed.
As for the match? It was excellent and Newcastle Falcons won 39-19. Good result all round.
Dacre Watson, President of St Beghian Society.
Please click here to view photographs.