From the President
It comes as quite a shock when, weeks before assuming the mantle of office of President of the Old Leysian Society, I am asked to write a message for the Spring Edition of the Old Leysian Newsletter.
My initial thoughts at this time is how can I hope to match the example set by our outgoing President, Tim Moore, who concluded an outstanding year of office last December. He has been meticulous in all his duties, attending fifteen different OL events, and providing us with one superb innovation – the Vintage Car Parade at last September’s Family Day; an event which most of us sincerely hope can be repeated in the years ahead. I am particularly grateful to him personally for all the help he has given me, a relative stranger to Cambridge these days, in preparing to take over the President’s role. Indeed I am very conscious that I follow a long line of distinguished Presidents and I thank them all for their inspirational example.
That said, I must record my delight in being asked to take on the Presidency, coming, as I do from a more remote region of the Old Leysian Society, and representing an age which I thought was close to being forgotten. When I came up to the Leys, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister, and food rationing was still in place. And now, with passing years and more time available, nostalgia kicks in strongly and we recall our schooldays with increasing warmth and affection.
I am very much looking forward to attending the various functions which will take place around the country over the next year, to meeting up with many old friends as well as meeting new people and making new friends. I hope especially that those of my own year group and older will try to attend the O.L. Reunion at the School on September 8th, the day after the Family Day, which I want to make a special occasion for showing off the School’s magnificent new buildings. I was personally quite blown over by the new Sports Centre and Music Rooms when I was shown round recently. And by the time of our Reunion, Great Hall will also have been opened.
I am very fortunate in being President in the year that Great Hall will open. This must surely be the most exciting event in the School’s history for a very, very long time, perhaps even going back to when King George the Fifth opened the King’s Building. This huge project is a massive tribute to all those involved, and I would especially like to honour the many Old Leysian s who have donated so generously. It will be a cause of huge satisfaction to all concerned, and I hope that those who haven’t yet contributed will want to do so when they see, read or hear what a magnificent enterprise Great Hall turns out to be.
During my year of office I would like to take on as a theme the memory of our masters. I have often found that when O.L.s of different ages and houses meet, as often as not they share a delight in recalling individual masters with great affection, and occasionally much humour. I’m sure it can’t be just my own generation which experiences the feeling that they really were such great characters! I would like to take every opportunity in the next year to remember them fondly and to honour their memories, even though they may no longer be with us.
What memories we must have of them collectively – their nicknames, their mannerisms, their sayings, their idiosyncrasies. What stories we must have, some of which were doubtless passed down through successive years. To those OLs of every generation, I urge you to write in to John Harding, Editor of the Old Leysian Newsletter, with your own reminiscences, for inclusion in later editions.
So I hope you will join me in recalling with affection and gratitude those who inspired us and educated us so successfully. Let us know your own favourite little memory, and let’s enjoy sharing our reminiscences.
Nick Hargreaves (W 51-56)