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Jerry Fletcher’s First Term Report

First Term Report

And the moral of my appointment is…beware the Benedictines; they can still talk one into pretty much anything when they put their minds to it! Joking apart, I am most honoured to have been asked by Abbot Luke to take over the Chairmanship of the Society from Nick Butterworth, who is retiring after a remarkable eleven years of unstinting commitment and service to the Worth Alumni and wider community. Hats off to him; he deserves all our thanks for a stellar performance. I step into his shoes very conscious that his is a tough act to follow.

Under Nick’s careful guidance, the Society has developed into a well-oiled and vibrant machine. It is first and foremost a platform through which Alumni can connect, or reconnect with each other, the School, its staff past and present, and of course the Monastery, without which Worth doesn’t make much sense. It is about friendships. Every year, numerous social events amongst the various year groups are either directly organised or facilitated by the Society. We also support the Alumni sporting calendar which continues to be remarkably active. But increasingly, the Society is also proving useful in other ways. We now have a very substantial networking capability which can be deployed to help both current pupils of the School and Alumni on the work front. Worthians, it seems, get everywhere and so there is a huge potential base of experience across industries and professions to tap into. Alumni now support the School’s career advisory activities. Whilst there are obviously no promises, we are increasingly good at finding work placements or even internships for past and present pupils. Alumni looking for new careers or changes of direction can be put in touch with others with expertise in the areas of interest. Finally, the Society is able to offer some financial support via the Global Action Awards programme to fund Worthians who want to spend time volunteering for the good of others.

Whither next? Most importantly, the Society is the servant of the Alumni and fixing what ain’t broke makes no sense. The Society is growing with about 100 new members joining each year as they leave the School. There is more, not less, demand for the Society to be an effective platform not only for fostering, keeping or rediscovering friendships and connections amongst Alumni but also to stay connected to the monastic community that touched our School lives, in many cases profoundly. Quite obviously, jobs, careers, work networking etc are front of mind these days for pupils, Alumni and increasingly the children of Alumni alike. We should try to do more in this area. So we need to do more of the same, building on what we know works for our members and the wider Worth community. But the key point is that the Society needs to stay relevant. As the needs of the School and the Monastery change, so too will the Society. The School is currently finalising its development plan for the next 10 years. We have a new Abbot. Girl Alumni, as yet unrepresented on the Society Committee, will become an ever more important part of the Society. So, watch this space, I guess. In the meantime, the continuing help and support of all Alumni and Society members is most appreciated. We also welcome all your input and feedback, and hopefully I will catch up with many of you at some of the social functions that I am able to attend.

Jeremy Fletcher (G’72)