We returned to the Park Inn Palace for the 2014 dinner. There are several reasons for this, it is ideally situated for those who are local, those wishing to stay the night and also those that wish to carry on their evening elsewhere, however we appear to have outgrown the venue and we need somewhere that can cater for 300 or more diners. If anybody reading this has any ideas regarding an alternative venue in Southend then please contact someone on the entertainments committee. We managed to get 238 sat down and luckily everyone arrived on time to enjoy pre-dinner drinks in the Bar Area.
Ken Holmes travelled from Luxembourg, Professor David Townend from Holland, Dr Greg Rock from Norway, John McNamara from Hong Kong, Sylviane Duval and Bernard Nottage from Canada and John Pettitt from Spain. It is quite incredible the effort that members are going to in order to attend this event. Members travelled from all over the UK; indeed it was particularly good to welcome Marilyn Grant (nee Smith) once more, the 3rd girl to attend the sixth form in 1978 who travelled from Keswick in Cumbria.
We enjoyed a three course meal consisting of Country Pâté with Melba Toast & Chutney, Beef & Ale pie with a puff pastry top, with potatoes and vegetables and a dessert of Strawberry cheesecake with a strawberry and lime coulis. Toastmaster Chris Sorrell made sure the evening was regularly punctuated with the usual variety of Toasts and finished as always with three cheers for the school.
After this the speeches began with our President Tony Barrett proposing the toast to the Association and the school and regaling us with stories of his time as a Governor at SHSB, the camaraderie he has enjoyed with the Hockey club and the association and how he urged everyone to do what they could for the school. Following this Dr Robin Bevan spoke at length about the achievements of the School over the last twelve months and finally School Captain Reegan Howles talked about his life at school and why he thinks every pupil should join the Association when they leave.
The formal part of the evening concluded with the singing of the school song and Auld Lang Syne to the accompaniment of Gerald Usher on the keyboard.
We then adjourned to the Bar and onward to our various locations having had a most enjoyable evening with old friends.
Derek Impey (Athens, 1950-1955)
To View the List of Members attending the 2014 Dinner clickhere