With invaluable assistance from Past President / OSA Benelux Representative, Ken Holmes (Athens, 45-50), we returned to The Caledonian Club for the first time since Gordon Fyvie’s presidency in 1981.
The pre-dinner drinks reception was held in the appropriately themed and decorated Morrison Room which was a perfect size for the 87 OSA members present to mingle and reacquaint before their meal.
We were promptly ushered upstairs to The Johnnie Walker Room where, following Grace by Malcolm Hiscock (Tuscany, 73-78), we dined on parfait chicken liver and foie gras, roast breast of Guinea fowl and a tart tatin dessert.
Throughout the meal we were regularly and enthusiastically interrupted by our incumbent Master of Ceremonies, Chris Sorrell (Sparta, 75-80) with a variety of toasts including the unique “Oldest and Youngest” to John Collings (Sparta, 44-50) and Sam Hodgson (Sparta, 08-15) respectively. Once again Ken Holmes was acknowledged as an overseas traveller from Luxembourg, although few present would have been aware that he probably had the shortest journey home that evening … to the Luxembourg Embassy, just around the corner!
A particularly poignant toast was to “Absent Friends” unfortunately comprising a number of recently deceased members including two Past Presidents of the OSA, Maurice Dumbell (Sparta, 36-42) and Ray Moss (Troy, 37-41).
President Richard Maddison (Tuscany, 62-69) gave a short speech about the venue and his time as OSA President whilst dodging about trying to find a light source suitable for him to read his notes.
The evening’s formal events were concluded by the usual boisterous singing of the School Song, accompanied by Ashley Thompson’s (Sparta, 98-05) A cappella rendition.
We managed to conclude events at a reasonable time and were, therefore, able to return to the bar to sample “decent Scotch” and finish off the barrel of ale before joining the coach for the journey back to Southend. Others, younger members, ventured towards Soho to continue their night out.
The list of members attending the Dinner can be found here.