The 2016 dinner was once again held at The Park Inn Palace Hotel. Those who are local and those who travel and need somewhere to stay for the night find it a most convenient location. If anyone knows of a venue that can cater for 300 plus then please do let the entertainments committee know. Everyone arrived in good time and a full house of 228 sat down to eat by 7.30.
Once again Ken Holmes travelled from Luxembourg and David Townend from Maastricht. David has mentioned that flying into Southend directly from Maastricht means he can get here quicker than some of the people travelling within the UK. Members travelled from all over the UK and several came back for the weekend from University as well. Special mention to the 2016 leavers under the watchful eye of their school captain Matt Jarvis who managed to book an entire table.
We enjoyed a three course meal consisting of Smoked haddock and spring onion fishcake with tartar sauce, Belly of tender pork with gratin potato and red wine and thyme gravy with a dessert of Warm sticky toffee pudding with rich caramel sauce and vanilla pod ice cream.
Chris Sorrell our regular toastmaster made sure the evening ran to time and was regularly punctuated with various toasts. Special mention for the Mansfield Evacuees toast for Phil Hopkins, Gordon Fyvie & Geoff Hillman as you must be at least 86 years of age to have been in Mansfield. After this the speeches began with our President Martin Stansfield who proposed the toast to the Association and the school and regaled us of stories of his time as a member of staff at SHSB from 1971 to 2010. He has much to be thankful for, including being introduced to his future wife whilst out with a sixth former. Deputy Head Alan Gardner then spoke humorously and at length about the School’s achievements over the last twelve months. Lastly, School Captain Samuel Marsham spoke with enthusiasm about his time at school, his hopes for the future and the fact he is a Grandson of Old Southendian John Norris (Athens, 1949-1956).
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. As always we finished with three cheers for the school. We then adjourned to the Bar and onward to our various locations having had a most enjoyable evening with old friends.
A list of attendees for this event may be found here.