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MAY 2015
Dear ODs

Well, we have a new government and, probably, soon a new way of electing the next. The Scottish branch of the ODU long ago seceded from the UK one. Separatism is nothing new.

But on Friday 5th June, at out annual Black Tie Dinner, once more at the RAF Club, Piccadilly, 100 ODs and some wives and partners will be uniting in the name of Bishops. There are only a few places still left and how wonderful it would be to have a full house. If you would still like to come then please do RSVP as soon as possible by clicking HERE. The dinner promises to be a lively and most enjoyable event and I do hope that those who are "on the fence" will fall gently on the side of attending. Those who are coming mike like to dragoon their classmates who are not.

Talking of alumni dinners, I was honoured to have been invited to give the speech at the Rondebosch Boys' High School Old Boys' UK Dinner last week. On behalf of the ODU, I presented them with a copy of A Brush with Bishops. While from time to time we thrash them on the playing fields, no such oppositional behaviour was evident at the most enjoyable dinner. They are an amazing school and we are fortunate to have them as friends and neighbours in Cape Town. Up here they are keen to join up in some of our activities. The picture shows one lone OD tie (back row, left) among a sea of RBHS Old Boy ones. 
After an illustrious career as a prominent and activist political journalist and well-known as the editor of the Sunday Independent in South Africa and foreign correspondent for the New York Times, John Battersby (W, 1966) took on the leadership of Brand South Africa here in London. Having done this job for the past 20 years, he has now retired and was sent off in splendid fashion at a lively function at South Africa House at the end of April. Tributes were paid to him by Lord St John of Bletso (Anthony St John (G, 1974) to us), Lord Renwick and Peter Hain, MP. John's fearlessness as a vociferous opponent of apartheid and his taking on the then-government coupled with, later, his energetic and passionate promotion of South Africa and its people through Brand South Africa were qualities highlighted in the tributes paid to him. A happy retirement, John.

Some of our more senior ODs may remember being taught (or their contemporaries being taught) by Michael Tarver who was master-in-charge of French at Bishops from 1959 to 1962 (succeeded by Mike Fisher). His first class consisted of 3 boys. When his daughter wrote to me to let me know Michael died at the beginning of this year, she said that his time at Bishops was the happiest of his life. The ODU extends to the family its sincerest condolences. In the photo, Michael is on the right. The perplexed schoolboy (left) is Charles Rowe (G, 1962).

ODs Craig Eriksen (F, 1971), Hugh Corder (S, 1971), Charles McGregor (F, 1969), Duncan Coombe (K, 1990) , Chris Winearls (W, 1967), and Mark Charnock (O, 1962) attended the UCT Trust function at the House of Lords on the 7th May. The event launched the UCT Trust Appeal. Aptly, Dr Shula Marks spoke about the life and times of Cecil Rhodes, setting up the vice-chancellor, Max Price, to deal (very well) with the complex and divisive details of that "statue affair". He also spoke about UCT's 
transformation journey which is being achieved while not just retaining its place as Africa's top university, but actually rising in the world rankings (UCT is the only African university in the world's top 200 and in the 2014-15 Times Higher Education rankings it's placed ahead of, among others, the Universities of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Reading and Liverpool).
Ye Olde Mitre

As usual, the ODU invites you to drinks at Ye Olde Mitre (Ely Court, 1 Ely Place, EC1N 6SJ) on Thursday 28th May from 6pm-8pm. Not as plush as the new Mitre (opposite), they understand the refreshment requirements of ODs just as well as its younger relative in Cape Town.

No RSVPs necessary.
The new Mitre

A few weeks ago, the Woodlands Pavilion, incorporating The Mitre, the ODU's new home, opened. Situated on the righthand side of the Bishops' Avenue as you drive towards the school it looks over the Woodlands and Cemetery fields, and is a statement of  pride, progress and and permanence. The building combines the ODU offices, the hockey pavilion and the Bishops museum and archives. Facing the building, The Mitre is upstairs on the right.

For many more pictures, click HERE
Stephen Larkin (F, 1990) CEO of Africa New Energies gave a presentation on his vision for new sources of energy and power for the African continent to the House of Commons earlier this year. The presentation was recorded. Stephen's vision  (and the very sneaky weaving of Bishops into his introduction) might be of interest to some of you. Click HERE if it is.
AROPS (Association of Representatives of Old Pupils' Societies) is an association made up of over 160 alumni associations of mostly independent UK schools and includes the societies Eton, Harrow, Winchester and Radley among many others. The ODU is a member and the only non-UK one. I attended their annual conference last weekend meeting up with old friends - Uppingham, Wellington, Haileybury and Tonbridge - and making some new ones: Rugby and Marlborough. In the usual South African way, we are modest about just how effective the ODU is especially when compared with the majority of UK alumni associations. On the other hand, the big names - Eton, Winchester, Harrow - run their societies like machines with massive support from their old boys and an influence on the outside world bordering on speciesism. A feature of these societies is the vast amount of organising done by the past pupils themselves. As an example, The Old Etonian Law Society is one of their biggest and most active societies (their biannual dinners routinely attract 200 Old Boys). (Come on, ODs! What about a UK OD Investment Management Society? Any volunteers to set this up?).  There is much that the ODU does very well and still much more we can do to increase our reach, relevance and, why not, influence.
The Royal Henley Regatta gets started on Wednesday 1st July. Through Rob Johnstone (G, 2010) who is working tirelessly on this (and, one hopes, his exam preparation) the ODU have reserved a table for 10 for the 1st July at the Leander Club. ODs wanting to attend will have access to the Club for the day. The Leander Club is fairly formal in its dress code and requires men to wear jacket and tie and ladies to dress to the same standard.

The on Sunday 5th July - finals day - we are reserving a plot on the banks of the river where ODs are invited to come along with their families for a much more informal, shorts-and-tackies day.

Please indicate by clicking HERE which day (or days, even) you would be interested in attending.
Greg Baldwin (O, 1975) has 3 Bishops First XV rugby DVDs which any interested OD can borrow – they cover 2006, 2008 and 2010. Anyone feeling homesick and/or that the British summer weather feels like it should be the rugby season should contact Greg directly.
The OD Mentoring initiative continues to gather momentum.Click HERE if you'd like to become a mentor or feel free to get hold of me if you'd like some mentoring (see HERE for the areas being covered).  In contrast to the Mentoring programme where I approach ODs, I will never approach or send CVs to UK ODs but I'm happy to post them here. A sort of UK OD Job Jar. Click HERE to see the first CV to have come in. It's entirely up to you to pursue this or any others, but there's no obligation to do so and I won't follow up.
The first OD vs Old Tonbridgian Golf Match, which we hope will become an annual fixture, is on the 12th August at the Royal Ashdown Forest Club. We're looking for a few extra players (with a handicap of 14 or less). If you are wanting to play against a very competitive Old Tonbridgian side, please either email Alex Price or sign up HERE. As a real incentive, other than the glory of competing (and, winning, of course) we are giving our team OD Golf shirts. Almost irresistible.

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
Gareth Penny (F, 1980) to speak

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

Click HERE to attend

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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