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2011 : 20-Year Reunion Review

20-Year Reunion for the Class of 1986-91

There were a few who questioned my motivations for organising the 1991 Leavers’ 20-year reunion, which was held at The Courthouse Modern, a central London hotel on Saturday 2nd July 2011.  And I’ve got to come clean; they were more selfish than altruistic ones.

“You were the most cynical person in our year,” Marc Le Clercq reminded me on the day. He was clearly disappointed there wasn’t some sort of sting from the schoolboy banned from the library for reading a poem that started: “Port, poetry and prose; but nobody knows how the pomposity grows.”

“You were wasted as a malcontent, Hamilton,” furthered Ben Hughes later on Facebook. “You would have made a good head boy.”

Praise indeed, but the reality was that I decided to organise the reunion after stumbling upon a review of the 1990 Leavers’ get-together that released my inner control freak.  While I’m sure a great time was had by all (check out Shaun Severi’s cool video online), it was held at Worth in November. So I reasoned: why not hold it in fair weather not foul and see if ‘the year that never stayed in touch’ could surprise a few and rustle up slightly more than the 21 who attended the 1990 reunion, and the 18 who showed up for the 1989 edition.

In the end we welcomed 31 Worthians and seven monks and staff to a good central London location that offered decent enough canapés and a steady flow of beer and wine – all thanks to the sterling efforts of Chris Loftus.  It proved good value at £25 all-in and there was only one absentee from the expected list of attendees.

It was a largely chit-chat affair with some visual stimuli on the walls from old Worth Records – including accounts of the 1990 trip to Israel in which the minibus got firebombed and our ridiculously successful, mutant-like under-14s, 15s and 16s rugby sides that lost only one game in three years.

Other highlights included; one of the guys in finance (accounting for around 80% of the room) was able to succinctly explain what he did; Dave Barnett adjudicated that Major Tom Holloway was the most smartly dressed, while I was the scruffiest, although at least I don’t have any hair to worry about anymore (unlike Justin Randall who’s got bushels of it); Trent Belasco and yours truly addressed the gathering, but kept it mercifully brief; an exuberant Keith Owers was in fine fettle (his opening line to Owen Lynch was: “Who’s Beef now?”) partly thanks to an impressive 10-strong turnout from Butler; fast-talking George Daly enjoyed reliving his school play highs and staff football match lows; Roger Stokes arrived tie-less (what was he thinking?) but it emerged that his trusty briefcase was holding one of his famous red numbers; and Father Luke, Nick Robinson, and Richard Knowles were on hand to recall age-old memories from Chapman, St. Bedes and Gervase.

“You look well” was a common greeting – a defence mechanism giving each of us the chance to properly assess who was balder, fatter and more youthful in appearance. Following a 1pm start (the cool kids didn’t arrive until 3.30; something to do with Gay Pride apparently) we vacated to the hotel bar, then a pub, then a steakhouse, and finally Ciaran’s house, the numbers gradually dwindling as we moved on.

Talking of houses, Butler won the day (no change there then) – with ten from a possible 13 attending, closely followed by Gervase with nine (albeit from a possible 17), and then St Bedes with six, Chapman with four, and Rutherford with two.  And special kudos must go to Richard Bates for making it all the way from Hong Kong, Vincent Tang from Vancouver, Owen Lynch from Texas and Toby Simmons from Kingston …. in Surrey.

To conclude – we learnt the rest of us aren’t such a bad sort after all, that there might be some momentum to organise more of these in the future, and discovered that while nostalgia has its merits, networking invariably has more.

Ben Hamilton (B’91)