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2011 : 10-Year Reunion Review

10-Year Reunion for the Class of 1996-2001

10 years since leaving Worth – and I have another ‘blue paper’ to write; although refreshingly not as punishment for dissent in Mr Smith’s maths class.

With some gentle encouragement from Olivia, 25 Worthians convened for supper in central London on Saturday 20th August 2011. Events were largely co-ordinated by Adrian Pring, smoothly assisted by Luca Belpassi and Je Ahn – for which they deserve our many thanks.

We met for drinks in a pub, after which there was a short stagger to Ciao Bella, an Italian restaurant close to Russell Square in London WC1, for vast quantities of food and Grappa.  And this is when the merriment really started!  Then on we moved for further extra-curricular activities, after which a hardy few continued the marathon and went out into the night in search of Paddy Scott who, true to form, can still be found at 151 on the King’s Road.

Some stellar efforts to attend this marathon are worth of note – Louis Pitto flew in from Malta where he left his wife and children (which hopefully explains the miniature spider-man rucksack he was carrying).  The human foghorn, known as Rob Palmer, was brought in from Guernsey.  Mike Botcherby had broken his arm especially, just so he could miss rugby training to join us.  And whilst on the subject of Stella – James Coutts-Donald was there too.

Extraordinarily, no one seems to have changed.  Chris Lamb continues to be very nice, even when Luca Belpassi persistently put garlic bread on his shoulders.  Tom Noakes runs a pub in Sussex;  Niall Keelaghan plays for a rock band;  inexplicably James Dempsey has become a world class poker champion.  Graham Prior has had a haircut – while Je Ahn has forgotten to cut his.  Dom Reynolds was not quite sure if he should still be campaigning to be head boy.

We pondered important matters.  How closely related was Louis Vallejo to a duck?  What has the world made of Adrian Chong?  Was Charlie Gairdner really Fr Christopher?  Why a Performing Arts Centre instead of a rifle range?  Why did the school insist on putting wicker geese everywhere?  Owen Lean is a magician?  Will Harrison was never suspended?

We pondered what had happened in the nine years following 1992 when the first of our group arrived at Worth.  Ours was the final year to run the full gauntlet of separate classrooms in Junior House, of metal hospital beds and communal baths.  We were lucky to catch the twilight careers of the original monks and staff who founded the senior school in 1959.

Insisting that the fifth form slept in the upper and lower fourth dormitories was presumably intended to instil order – but instead created chaos.  There was no question that the headmaster was a monk; no Sixth Form house existed; day boys were a newish invention; the School firmly held the line that they would never take girls; the remnants of fagging, delivering papers and occasionally not being paid to perform rudimentary tasks, were abolished.  

After one teachers meeting we found a piece of paper lying around revealing that they had concluded that Worth excelled at turning ‘pigs ears into silk purses’ (probably not quite how the marketing department would put it these days!) but quite right – Worth boys (and doubtless girls) excel at being likeable.  We all got along with great ease at supper, whether it had been ten years or ten days since the last meeting.  There are not many schools you could say that about.  Put it down to the Benedictine ethos.

Extrapolation from blurry photographs taken during the evening reveals a good turnout of 25 from the Class of 1996-2001.  Some of those who were unable to join us sent their apologies, and we send ours to the few that we were unable to find and get in touch with to tell them about the reunion.

Jos Seligman (StB’01)