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MARCH 2015
Dear ODs

I was fortunate enough to have been in Cape Town a fortnight ago and particularly fortunate in missing the terrible mountain fires.

I attended the ODU AGM at the School and the annual dinner at Kelvin Grove. Both were most enjoyable (well, the AGM was perhaps more interesting than enjoyable) and confirmed for me just how active and engaged the ODU is with its membership. Brian Robertson's Chairman's Report covered the huge range of activities and while much of these are centred on Cape Town, this is beginning to change and will change even more as a result of the revised ODU strategy which will be worked on in the coming months (see later). For those of you who haven't visited the Bishops' campus for some time, it is looking wonderful. A new addition to the buildings' inventory is the almost-complete Woodlands Pavilion which serves the hockey fraternity and which will incorporate the new and versatile ODU offices.

Perhaps the most rewarding of the UK OD activities over the past month has been the way in which UK ODs have got stuck in to the mentoring programme. To-date, 7 young ODs have availed themselves of the opportunity to benefit from the wisdom and encouragement of other ODs (there are 50 mentors so far) to help guide them in their career and life choices. Have a look at the areas which are covered by clicking HERE. If you feel you could fill a gap or would like to join the panel in an area already covered, please do so by signing up through this link.

Both mentors and mentees who are actively engaged have written to say how pleased they are that the ODU is broadening its purpose to include an initiative like this. The 7 mentees have said how valuable this has been to them. The ODU questionnaire responses (see later) underscored just how important mentorship is to ODs and the ODU. We even have two ODs based in Dubai providing mentorship (so any ODs thinking of heading to that part of the world might find making contact useful).

To all the mentors, from the ODU, me and the mentees, a huge thank you.
If anyone is around the Chancery Lane area this coming Thursday, 26th March, thirsty and in search of company, think about dropping into Ye Olde Mitre (Ely Court, 1 Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ) from between 6pm-8.30pm for a drink or two on the ODU. No RSVPs necessary; just pitch up. 
The Old Haileyburian Society held a reception for their OHs in Dubai on Sunday 22nd March and very kindly invited local ODs to join in.

John Clemow (1968), Matt Born (F, 2003), Gareth Edwards (F, 2003) and Graeme Low (1975) attended and were warmly welcomed by the OH President, Nick Gilbert and the Secretary, Jane Everard. 
You might have read in last month's newsletter that the ODU was surveying ODs around the world to solicit information and views around a range of Bishops and OD matters.

Informed by these responses, the ODU had a useful strategic planning session in Cape Town a fortnight ago. The outcome of this meeting will be circulated in due course, but one of the more important acknowledgements coming out of the exercise is that the international diaspora of ODs is a very important yet hitherto somewhat marginalised constituency - and that this will be remedied in the future ODU strategy. So, we're back in the frame!

In the meantime, if you're interested in having a look at what other ODs had to say - and they had a lot to say - you can read their responses by clicking HERE or on the image.
Below are some early-warning diary notices. In particular, please do make a note of the black-tie dinner to be held in London on Friday 5th June. Last year's dinner was a great success and hopefully this year's will be even better. Partners are very welcome. Formal invitations will be sent out next month.

Aside from the OD vs Old Tonbridgian Golf Match on the 12th August, Alex price is trying to arrange another match against the Old Blundellians which will probably take place on a course in the south-west. So ODs down there should dig out their clubs and start reducing their handicaps in preparation. 

As always, if you have any suggestions, comments or criticisms, please don't hesitate to get hold of me.

With very kind regards

Nicky Bicket
m: 07818014394
For the Diary:

Friday, 5th June:
UK OD Black-tie Dinner
RAF Club, London
Guest Speaker to be announced

Wednesday 1st & Sunday 5th July:
Henley Royal Regatta
Lunch at the Leander Club (1st)
Finals Day Family Picnic (5th)

Sunday, 12th August: 
ODs vs the Old Tonbridgians Golf Match
Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club
Click HERE to see the team

Friday, 14th August:
Simply Blue concert in London for ODs and their families and friends

(Simply Blue is Bishops' a cappella choir. The Choir is passing through London on their way home from their appearances at the Edinburgh Festival)

Saturday, 12th September:
Oxford Family Day
Dr Chris Winearls (G 1968) is a Fellow of Jesus College Oxford. Oxford has been his home for many years. He will guide ODs and their families around the splendours of the University in the morning. Lunch will be in Exeter College and after some punting on the Cherwell in the afternoon, we'll finish with early-evening drinks (and a tour of the College's legendary gardens) on the lawns of New College
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