1 October 2016
The choir reunions started back in 1997, when we used to meet every other year, and in 2006, by popular demand, the event became an annual celebration of the historic times we all enjoyed during our school days and beyond. This was the fourteenth choir reunion to be held and we were welcomed back for the second year at ‘home’ in Sutherland Grove. The staff and some of the senior students at Saint Cecilia’s School made us all very welcome and although the attendance was slightly down on previous years, everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Thanks were expressed to the Headteacher, Niall Gallagher, for accommodating us again and also to the administrative staff, particularly Business Manager, Dave Cobb, whose support was invaluable in getting the event to run as planned. A special thank you also went to catering manager, Nuki Kopec, who produced a wonderful three-course hot dinner for the 37 who attended.
We never forget the generous grant that we receive from the Old Wandsworthians Memorial Trust, without which the cost per head would be significantly increased and as in previous year a huge thank you was expressed to the Trustees for their continued support.
Bearing in mind that many of those attending travel long distances, it would be interesting to work out the total mileage covered by the ones living in various parts of the country. A few examples start to build up a considerable figure – Alton (Hampshire), Bournemouth, Braintree, Chinnor (Oxford), Crawley, Crewe, Farnham, Horsham, Isle of Wight, Poole, Rugby, St.Minver (Cornwall), Steyning (West Sussex) and Wolverhampton.
We were all delighted to welcome Ian Partridge and his wife Anne to their third reunion, reminding us of some of Ian’s memorable performances with us. A few regulars were prevented from attending again this year due to health/travel problems, but we always remember dear Cynthia Phillimore, Ron Hollis and Nigel Spearing, who unfortunately has recently had to go into a care home. Apologies were received from 29 ex-choristers, who were disappointed to miss the event, including Keith Eldridge, who kindly sent a donation. Hopefully, some, if not all of them will be able to join us next year.
Due to Saint Cecilia’s now out-sourcing all the administration for independent events, the arrangements for this year were totally different to last year, when everything was ‘in-house’. This meant working with an organisation called Schools Plus, best described as a company offering ‘a unique approach to increasing community use of school premises’. Their events manager, Jasmine Petch, was my main contact, although Dave Cobb, Saint Cecilia’s Business Manager, mentioned earlier, made sure that he was ‘on site’ in case of any last minute alterations. I found the new arrangement quite unusual, as ten days before the reunion, I had a meeting at Sutherland Grove with about six people who I had never met before, all involved in the running of our event.
Very different to last year, when I worked with just two people; and all previous events at St.Paul’s Community Centre, Southfields, were organised with just the caretaker at the hall, Sam, who got to know us really well.
However, the main thing was that the event ran very smoothly and we can now look forward to reunion number 15, 20 years after our first one and already booked for Saturday 7th October 2017, back ‘home’ at Sutherland Grove.
Attendance list: Kevin Attwell, Neil Baugh, Mike Coysh, Iain Coombes, Graham Day, Graham Harbage, Jim Hughes, Barnaby Jago, Brian Johnston, Peter Love, Vip Nandanwar, Michael Nicholls, Barry O’Shea, Mark Painter, Geoff Park, Ian Partridge, Graham Preston, Ray Pritchard, Brian Sawyer, Martin Saxby, Mark Stevens, Andy Stonebridge, Adrian Thompson, Judy Thompson, John Tobin, Geoff Wake, Geof West, Les West, George Willis, Alan Woods, Ian York.