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JULY 2015
Dear ODs

The newspapers reported that Wednesday 1st July was the hottest day since records were began. Presumably they meant in the UK since to us Africans it felt like any other breezy summer's afternoon on Clifton beach. Still, very welcome.

l-r: Zandy MacDonald, Doug Mallett, Alex Price, Steve Suckling, Greg Baldwin and Robert Simpson

Considered one of the toughest courses in England, the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Course (Old Course) is not for the faint hearted. Undaunted by its reputation, our golfing warriors teed off there against the Old Tonbridgians last Sunday and acquitted themselves rather well. Under the inspiring leadership of Alex Price (M, 2008), Robert Simpson (S, 1968), Zandy MacDonald (F, 2007), Doug Mallett (M, 2007), Greg Baldwin (O, 1975) and Steve Suckling (F, 1976), took on the cream of Tonbridge School Old Boys. A barnstorming morning round in which the ODs came out well on top was followed by a prematurely celebratory lunch which somewhat took the edge off the afternoon's play. The OTs were allowed back in the game and narrowly emerged as worthy winners 4½-3½. View the pictures of a splendid golfing day HERE

The OTs proved to be every bit as as competitive in the Club Bar as they were on the fairways and the ODs every bit as resilient. From every point of view, the day was a great success. Both sides have agreed to make this an annual event and hopefully increase the number and range of players.

In a short thank-you speech during lunch at which he presented the OTs with a copy of Richie Ryall's  A Brush with Bishops, Alex, on behalf of the team, expressed his appreciation to the OTs and in particular, David Walsh (former Second Master of Tonbridge, and a a great friend of Bishops and now Chairman of the OTs) and Tony Montuuis (the OT Golf secretary) for a wonderful day of friendship and fun. And the ODU thanks the OD golfers who turned out and in especially to Alex who worked so hard to bring this event to fruition. 

This report appeared on the Old Tonbridgian Golfing Society website the next day:

A first ever match between OTGS and the Old Diocesans (the UK based alumni of Bishop's in Cape Town) took place at Royal Ashdown on Sunday 12 July and resulted in a narrow win for the OTs. 36 holes at Ashdown was a hard test for the older OTs, especially when there was much trampling around in the heavy rough in search of balls which generally remained lost. Luckily five under-25s were in our team, with the energy to sustain us, helped by a few Peronis in their golf bags. In the morning only David Walsh and Alex Blain won their match (interesting combination one or two of Alex's contemporaries suggested) and we went into lunch 3-1 down. However the afternoon saw an almost complete reversal. David Reich and Tomos Lavery halved their game, and there were wins for Walsh and Tony Monteuuis, Blain and Fraser Yarnold, and Ed Dickinson and Ali Taylor. Bishops also had quite a youthful side, including one current Oxford rugby blue in Xander MacDonald, and the match was played in a convivial but competitive atmosphere. All agreed it was a day to repeat in 2016, perhaps as a four ball better ball next time.

Alex will be gathering names of other interested OD golfers over the next few weeks and months to build up a pipeline of players for the matches he will be organising. Wherever you are in the UK, if you're interested - and it doesn't matter what your level - please email Alex.
Richard Duck (G, 1964) is very keen to put together a Senior OD Golf Circuit and is happy to put time and effort into arranging this. But, of course, he'd need players, so any OD golfer of any standard who matriculated before 1971 (this is a fairly arbitrary cut-off and not to be taken literally) interested in being part of this discussion should complete this form
The Henley Royal Regatta

(Bottom picture from left: James Johnston (G, 2012), Richard Montgomery (G, 1976), Rob Johnston (G, 2010) and Nicky Bicket (F, 1973) on the Leander Deck Bar

Wednesday 1st July was also the opening day of the Royal Henley Regatta. Although at the last minute slightly reduced in number, we more than made up with Pimms, lunch and racing. Rob Johnston (G, 2010) had ensured ODs and wives entry into the legendary Leander Club (where he's a member and rower) which provided a fabulous platform for pre- and post lunch drinks and for the rich and famous to rub shoulders with us. We were very pleased to be joined by Rob's younger brother James (G, 2012) who was over with his Harvard rowing team to train for some European competitions. Through Nick Heesom (W, 1961) we were also invited to a function given by the Master of Trinity Hall Cambridge who is very keen to build ties with Bishops, especially Bishops' rowers. Also there was Kate Grose, former TH student and GB Olympic rower who with Nick had arranged this rendezvous.

The following day, Rob, rowing for his university (Reading) thrashed a German side (quaintly named the "
Rudern, Tennis und Hockey Club Bayer Leverkusen and Ruder-Club Allemannia von 1866 e.V., Hamburg, Germany" - spare a thought for the commentator) in the first round of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (quadruple sculls).

If you can't get to Simply Blue, Bishops's internationally-acclaimed a cappella choir, at the Edinburgh Festival, then they will get to you in London on Friday 14th August, 6.00pm - 9.15pm.

The venue is the historic (and central) Museum of the Order of St John. The hour-long concert will take place in the beautiful Chapter Hall after drinks and canapes in the Priory Gardens. There will be concluding drinks and canapes after the concert in the Old Chancery and Council Chamber

ODs, their families and friends are invited to join the Bishops parents, teachers and singers for a relaxed evening of superb light music and some socialising. If you've not heard Simply Blue, then this YouTube taster of what we're in for should whet the appetite. And if that doesn't, then the drinks and canapes in a glorious surroundings should.

The cost is £20 per person which includes the refreshments both before and after the concert, obviously, and the concert itself. RSVP.

Robert Murray, the OD secretary in Scotland is inviting any OD in Edinburgh for the Festival to join him at the performance of Cold Stone Jug and/or Simply Blue on Saturday 8th August. He will be at both and would be delighted if you would meet him for drinks/snacks after Cold Stone Jug at about 2.15pm, or before the Simply Blue show any time after 6pm, or stay on for a late meal after the Simply Blue show. You would need to book your own tickets (links below) but please let him know ( if you'd like to get together for the refreshment option. Book at: and


About six years ago, the UK-based Bishops Rhodes' Scholars met in London for a convivial dinner hosted by Gareth Penny (F, 1980).

There is growing support for another such dinner (for which we have a very generous OD sponsor). We are thinking of holding the dinner in October this year. If you are/were a Bishops Rhodes Scholar, and you haven't yet indicated your views on this, then please fill in this short questionnaire,  the responses to which will help us decide whether to go ahead and in what format. If you have completed the questionnaire, there's no need to do so again.
The Scheme is gathering momentum and has now been "advertised" (see HERE) to the ODs at large through last week's weekly news bulletin out of Cape Town. If you would like to offer yourself as a mentor please do so through this LINK. If you would like to take advantage of some mentoring, please get in touch with me.

Again, thank you so much to all those UK ODs who have signed up as mentors and to those who are already providing advice and guidance to fellow-ODs.


Stephen Larkin (F, 1990) CEO of Africa New Energies is offering a paid internship (based in Surrey) to any young OD graduate who wants to be exposed to any of  marketing, media, engineering, law, maths, politics, science or non-profit business development.

Africa New Energies is developing very exciting R&D in the areas of conventional oil and gas, solar, energy saving and waste to energy.

Any OD (or OD parent) who wants to chat to Stephen about this should email him at

Saturday, 12th September 2015:

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 be one of our guides 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

Invitations will be going out next month


Thursday 10th December:
ODU Christmas Drinks
(venue to be advised)

2016 Seniors' Lunch

Friday 22nd January, 2016

Speaker and venue to be advised

2016 Annual Dinner

Friday 1st July 2016

Next year's dinner will be held in London on Friday 1st July, 2016 with the Headmaster of Bishops, Guy Pearson, our guest of honour
There won't be OD drinks at Ye Olde Mitre at the end of July, but we'll resume on the last Thursday of August (6-8pm).

For those taking one, here's wishing you a happy summer break

With kind regards

Nicky Bicket

The UK ODU has a gallery of photographs reflecting many of the functions and activities we get up to.

To view these, please follow the following links:

Copyright © 2015 UK ODU, All rights reserved.

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