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2010 : 30-Year Reunion Review

2010 – 30-Year Reunion for the Class of 1975-80 

Well I will be honest – as I walked out of the School in July 1980 I did not look back and, as I had the whole of the rest of my life in front of me (still do actually!), I set off to find out what life had in store for me; and lost contact with those 75 or so souls that I had spent up to eight years living alongside during my formative years.

Then one day in early 2010, that lady whose e-mails seem to have some form of compelling powers, contacted a number of us and pointed out that it was 30 years since we had left that ex-Cowdray pile in West Sussex and why don’t we organise a get together?   Well, for some strange reason myself, Philip Lundberg, Stephen Rhind-Tutt and Charles Hooper said “yes”, and a flurry of excited emails were exchanged between us; we hastily introduced ourselves to the glories of Skype; held numerous conference calls (as well as a few plain old telephone calls); and decided to  “go for it”.

And so it was that the wheels were set in motion and we took the first steps towards organising an evening meal in London on Friday 17th September 2010.  Then, armed with a list of e-mail addresses from Olivia, the four of us set to on the task of tracking down as many of our peer group as we could find with all the determination of Indiana Jones.  The internet proved invaluable to us – we used it all, and some more – and Stephen Rhind-Tutt set up a website specifically for the Event.  And so it was, that after several months of wading through the internet and following up on even the most tenuous leads, we managed to track down most of our peers – although one or two did, unfortunately, evade us (and if any of you are reading this now, then we apologise but we did try so hard to find you!).

So, fast forward to the 17th September 2010, and we start to gather at “The Pillars of Hercules” somewhere in Soho.  Philip and I were the first to arrive and then everyone started filtering in.

30 years does different things to different people – some seemed to grow taller (John Tyszkiewicz), others in ‘other directions’ (they shall remain nameless!), others looked smaller (most notably Bernard Hickie, who was so slim he proved difficult to recognise), some younger (David Harries – so much so that he took up smoking to promote the ageing process), some unchanged (Alex Walters), some had lost hair (only one or two of us of course), and some looked very distinguished (Charles Mawenu, in particular).  But most of us recognised one another just so quickly, and any reservations or worries disappeared within seconds.  It was like rewinding back to 1980, as if we had hardly left. The man hugging commenced, the talking started, the updates flowed and the memories flooded back (how could we possibly forget those nicknames and wild stories?!).

Eventually Charles, Stephen, Philip and myself managed to coax everyone away from that herculean establishment and we set off to The Dining Room at Soho 21 for our meal.  It was there that we met up with Fr Kevin (now Abbot), Fr Stephen and Keith Owers – it has been mentioned before about the elixir that must be present at Worth that enables those who inhabit the premises to halt the dreaded ageing process.

In the end, a total of 46 Worthian boys and one girl (Elena Vinycombe – which took some explaining to family members who thought of Worth an all-boys School back then) attended.  Many had come from far and wide – including America, France, Spain, Uganda and all over the UK.  Some were unable to attend as they had work to do in far flung places – but you were with us in spirit guys!  But of those who were there, what privileged company we found ourselves in;  with professions ranging from barristers and solicitors to doctors (one that seemed strangely popular), surgeons, City types (too complex for me to understand), advertisers, musicians, soldiers, sailors – to mention just a few.

We had ‘sort of’ planned that we would all sit down to the meal and then move around between courses.  The first course went according to plan, but then it graduated to one of those parties where we all ended up in the kitchen (though we didn’t actually quite make it into the kitchen here!) and just talked, drank, ate, and then talked and talked some more.  There is no doubt that the whisky kindly provided by Michael Masrieh, Simon Coughlin and Mark Reynier helped us on our way, but I have never enjoyed such a night before.  I left at about 2am – and I believe that others continued until daybreak.

And since then, old friendships have been rekindled, some contacts maintained and more memories relived.  Promises have been made to ‘repeat it again’ but not to wait another 30 years.  I hope that we will, as it was a great evening and one I shall cherish for a very long time.

If you’d like to share in some of the merriment, then do visit the website link at :

http://worthreunion.ning.com/.

Chris Mathews (B‘80)