On 10th September at the Carlton Club we will not just be celebrating the ODU's 125th anniversary, but a return to party mode as we once knew it. This is as much a restorative event as it is social. Gabby Logan will be our guest speaker. If you haven't yet booked your an your wife/partner's place, then RSVP HERE.
This has been a tough eighteen months. ODs who have been disadvantaged by the economic impact of the pandemic but who would otherwise like to attend should please contact Nicky Bicket
IN THIS NEWSLETTER Click on Read more to go directly to the topic
125 years of the ODU and the lifting of Covid restrictions. It’s time to party. Read more
Restricted or not, these ODs break through the Covid shackles to rise up the corporate ladder Read more
In a Through the Looking Glass world, 2020 tournaments take place in 2021, Oxford Colleges explained, and ODs score at the Olympics . Read more
“Pro Fide et Patria”. The Bishops badge tells a lot more than just that. Read more
Golf is in the air. We face two must-win contents including an inaugural inter-schools match. Read more
Writs and Writing. How OD two lawyers became authors. Read more
Shut down again. How Bishops started the third term once more in lockdown and a teaching stalwart retires. Read more
It’s not over yet. 2021, that is. The diary of events contains much still to get involved in. Read more
Well by any standards July was quite a month: importantly restrictions have been lifted except in places where they're not; England after two hours of football then lost the Euros 2020 playing a game that isn't; and Djokovic garnered all sorts of records by winning the 2021 Wimbledon's Men's Singles without even having to go to a shootout. The 2020 Olympics have at last started and the Lions beat the Boks in the first test. And Unesco stripped Liverpool of its world heritage status.
Distressingly, we have witnessed from afar the dreadful mayhem and destruction in South Africa. But also stories of solidarity and collective strength in the face of unrest which has left the poorest and most vulnerable in even more dire circumstances than they were before. In the belief that stealing widescreen television sets reverses poverty.
ODs stepped up and offered financial and support in kind. Crispian Stanford (S, 1968) and ODU branch secretary of Kwazulu-Natal has coordinated and collected donations, and so generous and swift was the response that the initial target of R20,000 was exceeded in 24 hours and reset to R50,000. £1 is a lot of rands. They need another R10k — £500. That's about £1 per UK OD. Let's help them get there. You can make your donation HERE. A gift from Bishops Old Boys to a desperate South Africa.
And then, for a hopeful and politically "scientific" opinion, this JP Landman piece is worth a read.
Freedom from restrictions now allows us to look forward to our branch events with more certainty and I would ask you to have a look at the diary at the bottom of this letter and pencil in the dates of the events you'd like to join. Golf dominates, but — including the Dinner on 10th September — there should be something for most. I keep saying this (and can blame Covid for my inaction to-date) that I aim to reach out a bit further afield than London and the "Shire" golf courses, so in 2022, ODs living beyond the M25 should brace themselves for the branch coming to a town near them. And if you'd like to help arrange something or suggest ideas, please give me a shout.
ODs will be proud of Dayaan (W, 2017) and Mustapha (W, 2020) Cassiem (left)who both scored goals in their Olympic hockey match against The Netherlands. Sadly, South Africa went down 3-5.
Last month, in the spirit of extending the branch reach, ODs gathered for lunch and punting at The Granta, a riverside pub in Cambridge. Lunch came and went, but as the afternoon wore on, enthusiasm for punting, even chauffeur-driven (yes there is such a thing) faded and was eventually postponed until next year's get-together. As always it was fun to see younger and older ODs mix so well, swapping stories not just about Bishops but also about their experiences at Cambridge. In the picture on the left are Cambridge students Nicholas Janisch (G, 2016) Piers Johnston (G, 2015) and Laurence Midgely (B, 2016). To the right, past Cambridge students Peter Arthur (W, 1965 ) and Drc Philip Hazel (F, 1961). To read a fuller report and see the pictures, click HERE.
I attended a most enjoyable wine-tasting dinner at High Timber (see diary for our November 17th steak and chips supper there) at which Gary Jordan (G, 1978, right) introduced his Jordan wines to a very appreciative and, initially, attentive guests. We all know that Jordan wines are world-class and soon we'll be able to make a comparative assessment with the wines from his new English estate in Kent, Mousehall where he will also be introducing a range of gins. Brace yourselves.
The Bishops Review of Oxford Colleges in last month's newsletter prompted some interesting correspondence. There seems little logic, even to those who get into Oxford, as to how you end up in the college you do. Graham Thomas (F, 1984 and the 1991 Bishops Rhodes Scholar, left) who found himself in Brasenose (although looking at the pictures of the quads below, I don't know how you know which college is which) notwithstanding his three preferences (which didn't include Brasenose) said, "Choice of Oxford colleges is interesting. What happened with me is I got awarded the scholarship and then told I needed to select three colleges to apply for. Help! I didn’t have a clue. So I applied for the only three I had heard of - Christ Church, Magdalen and Balliol. And got put into Brasenose. Which was a fine choice with a history of South Africans in general, and interestingly quite a few SACS Rhodes Scholars - Justin Fox was with me at Brasenose. I think what happens, or at least happened, was the Rhodes Trust tried to make sure there was an even spread of scholars around all the colleges - I think very few people ended up at their first choices as many would have had the three on my list. It may have changed now as most scholars tend to do Masters or D Phils with specialisations, and that may guide their college choice more. Interestingly, the last Brasenose [Bishops] Rhodes Scholar before me was Peter van der Bijl in 1928. Six before then, then him, then in 1991 (63 years later), me. Since then, no one".
The moral of Graham's tale is that if you really do want to get into Brasenose, then tick Christ Church, Magdalen and Balliol as your first choices.
The list of Bishops Rhodes Scholars drew other comments and corrections. The list is accurate for ODs who won the Bishops Rhodes Scholarship, but except in one case, Chris Trisos (B, 2002), ODs who won the South Africa-at-Large Rhodes Scholarships were omitted. To this list, with apologies, we must add Anthony Wade (c1951, Wadham) and London-based Mark Abrahamson (K, 1998, also Wadham). Any others? Please let me know.
The golf season is well and truly upon us. In June, playing on the fabulous Tandridge course, we went down - just - to the Old Tonbridgians in our first match of the year. Report and pictures HERE.
Well, that was a warm up. We now face the teams of the Old Boys Associations of Michaelhouse and Hilton on Saturday 18th September at the Silvermere Golf Club in Cobham, Surrey for our inaugural three-way match. The intention is that this will become an annual event (and that we win them) and builds on the great collaborative success of the Mentoring and Career Support Group, with St Andrew's, on LinkedIn, which if you've not joined, you really should.
We also go into battle against the Old Haileyburians - our fourth annual match - at the RAC in Surrey on Saturday 4th September.
Alex Price (M, 2008, right) to whom I and the Branch owe a huge debt of gratitude for organising all our golf, is the man to contact should you wish to play in either or both of these games. He is reachable on email@example.com or 07779775408 (which will get him on WhatsApp as well - the UKODU Golf WhatsApp Group positively crackles with activity).
And thanks of course to all the ODs who always turn out so willingly to represent the ODU
On Tuesday 5th October, at a drinks reception in the beautiful offices of Stonehage Fleming, Peter Elliott (W, 1965) a lawyer by training and profession will talk about how he ‘tripped’ into becoming a historian focussing on SA themes initially; this was through the sheer fun of writing a succession of articles for journals, starting with ones or two Bishops related characters, Chippy Robinson and his Arnhem experiences, and Angus Duncan, commander of the CT Highlanders killed in action in Italy in the last days of the war. The art of biography depends on building a knowledgeable network, and constantly folding new elements into the story. It is therefore not ‘linear’ writing.
He will describe his writing process: “Subjects drive me; I plan one thing but am driven to another; how I research globally from the wilds of the Languedoc”. And then how he starts with an outline, and haphazardly folds in new parts of the story as he discovers them (he envies the novelist who can write from page 1 to 300 in linear fashion!).
The next step in the process which Peter will speak on is turning himself into a publisher. His book, Thomas Muir is his fifth book. He has a professional team, producing his books under his own publishing imprint, Cantaloup Press.
All his books are now on Amazon and he will describe his Amazon KDP publishing experience
Join Peter and fellow ODs for what will be an interesting look into the mind of a writer and the process of writing.
With big thanks to Hamish Sinclair (S, 1992) for the use of Stonehage's facilities, drinks and canapés.
Martin Fletcher (F, 1965, left)) who has just had his thriller Best Eaten Cold published can be seen in this interview describing his creative process and how he turns thought into words.
Coincidentally, Martin is also a lawyer. I don't think that you have to be legally trained to be an author but our OD lawyers do seem to have a way with words.
Nick Dall (B, 1999) who spoke to ODs a few months ago about his new book Rogues Gallery asked me to tell ODs who were wanting to purchase the book on Amazon will be distressed to discover that the UK is out-of-stock. While good news for Nick, bad news for ODs — but Amazon's solution, while Jeff Bezoz is in space is to allow purchasers to order from the USA without incurring delivery charges (if you are an Amazon Prime member). Buy HERE.
Given the flurry of ODs' promotions and new appointments which marked the first six months of the year, July seems to have got off to a marginally slower start. But nevertheless an impressive one.
Luke Kuhn (F, 2012) has been appointed as Account Manager at Elevate Sport a consultancy that works with clients to maximize commercial opportunities in traditional and non-traditional areas by building brands and nurturing relationships, Before that Luke was with L1 Capital and before that Christies & Co
Francois Louw (W, 2003) needs no introduction, but is probably more recognisable in a rather tight body-hugging Springbok rugby top than he is in more corporate attire. But that's what he's now having to wear since joining RMS Advisory a few months ago and last month was appointed to the Advisory Board of Sportable, the go-getting and innovative organisation started and run by Dugald Macdonald (S, 2005) and Dr Pete Husemeyer (S, 2005).
Rupert Rink (O, 2008) has been appointed as an Analyst Committee Member of UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF). This is in addition to his "day job" as part of the ESG Research Group at JP Morgan
Jono van Deventer (G, 2007) has after more than four years with Chargifi decided to move on to, as he says, "join the rocketship that is Hopin to build product & teams to realise the future of virtual and hybrid events."
John Battersby (W, 1966) is stepping down after six years as serving on the Board of the South African Chamber of Commerce UK. He has accepted a position on the Advisory Board.
Last month's newsletter header image was the mural of the Bishops badge above the main entrance to Founders (left). The mural on the right in this picture is above the Top House entrance. Th badge is and was so much part of our lives that we hardly notice it, yet it contains a wealth of historical references.
Paul Murray, retired Head of History and now the School Archivist, wants us to know more and wrote to explain:
"The coat of arms is a Heater-type shield/escutcheon, of the Reuleaux Triangle style. It is blazoned as follows:
The cross and diagonal lions – Diocese of Durham (Gray served there before being consecrated Bishop of Cape Town);
Three crowns (diagonal) – arms of Bristol Diocese where Gray’s father was Bishop;
Thus – Dexter, crowns in gold on sable at the top and lion in white at the bottom - Sinister, lion at the top; crowns at the bottom;
Anchor – maritime emblem of the Cape of Good Hope – also found in the coat-of-arms of the City of Cape Town;
The stag & barbed pheon, from the coat-of-arms of the Benefactrix of Diocesan College, Angela Burdett-Couttes;
The crest is the Mitre with cords and tassles gules and gold - (the mitre is the badge in maroon and gold – the colours of the fourth Principal’s college at Oxford);
The symbols are D.C. – Diocesan College;
Scroll - azure, with the motto ‘ Pro Fide et Patria’."
The ODU's AGM which was to have been in March is taking place at 3pm (UK)/5pm (SA) on Wednesday 6th October. ODs wherever they are now able to participate and if so moved, vote on whatever requires voting on. One of the big to-dos in the AGM job jar is the election of a new committee and given that all ODs are now able to be elected from anywhere, you are urged to put themselves forward as candidates.
One of the outstanding decisions which will affect the job description of the committee is whether/when an OD Secretary will be appointed. The ODU has functioned without one for almost two-and-a-half years. Historically, the OD Secretary was the executive face of the ODU with a non-executive committee dealing with oversight and governance. It is not clear either whether the tenure for committee membership will continue to be one year or revert to three (as recommended in the proposed constitution) or something else.
But serving on the committee is a great opportunity to serve the ODU, and to involve yourself in the supervision of the strategy, represent the interests of the UK and other overseas branches and inject a more global perspective into the running of the ODU. To put yourself forward, please get in touch with Dedry Weich or, if you want more information, feel free to chat to me.
The Bishops Community Week (4th-11th October) comprises a series of events and functions arranged by the School, the parents and the ODU. To see what's on offer, look HERE. Importantly, money raised during the week will be directed to the commendable Invest in Our Future Fund (IIOFF) which is a new innovative bursary fund set up to provide financial assistance to ODs going on to tertiary education.
Francois Louw (W, 2003) will be speaking at the IIOFF UK Launch Breakfast which will be held on Wednesday 25th August at the Lansdowne Club in London. The IIOFF team will be sending out their invitations early next week, but early-birds can RSVP HERE. There is no charge to attend but as space is limited, places are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
As at the time of writing, the team of UK ODs who redrafted the ODU constitution and submitted it to the governance subcommittee in early June has not yet had any feedback. The main areas of change focus on committee tenure, ODU membership eligibility criteria, the payment of subscriptions, the philosophy behind and the criteria for honorary membership and the clarification of roles and responsibilities of the various levels of the hierarchy. We believe the draft we submitted is contemporary and relevant, useful and usable. It, or some form of it, still has to be adopted by ODs at an SGM which will probably be held before the AGM.
The third term has virtually started. As Principal Tony Reeler (top right) explains in his newsletter to parents on the 22nd July, the rapid and unpredictable changes in the status of the various Corona variants rife in South Africa make planning difficult, but that as soon as permitted, contact classes and extramural activities will resume.
In the letter he also reflects on the recent violence in KZN and Gauteng and his views on the role Bishops, parents and the boys can play in their response to the unrest.
He also announced Dave Mallett's (bottom right) retirement from Bishops. Dave, after many year's of dedicated service to the School, is bringing his retirement forward to take up a non-teaching position in Ross-on-Wye in Herefordshire. We welcome him to our community.