The Golden Oldies Reunion is a reunion that has happened every few years since the move to Brooklawn. It would originally have involved the very old past pupils who were interviewed when Mrs Whiteside was writing the history of the school. It is an opportunity for the school to connect with the oldest generation of past pupils and to honour their contribution to the history of the school.
This year we sent invitations to 150 past pupils aged 80 and older. A few of them are in their late nineties (I was speaking last week to one who was born in 1920)! The event was attended by 25 past pupils of the 1940s and 1950s, including one who had flown in from England and another who happened to be visiting from America. The event was hosted by the headmaster and by a group of 21 Form 1 pupils (mostly boarders but also the three day pupils who live on campus). They were supported by some of the mentors. A team of eight prefects assisted with welcoming the guests and supporting the Form 1 pupils in their role as hosts. The Form 1 pupils were able to tell the guests about their recent History field trip to Blackhall Place and in turn, the past pupils were able to share anecdotes from their time in school.
The programme began at 5.30pm with a reception in the Mahony Room. This was an appropriate venue as all of the past pupils in attendance had known Noel Mahony as a master and had been inspired by him. The prefects then took the guests for a short tour of the school with an opportunity to look at photographs on the corridors and names on the distinctions boards in the Dining Hall. This was followed by a light meal (Bishop Roy Warke saying the traditional school grace in Latin). After the pupils went to prep, the past pupils went to the chapel for Compline. The reading was 1 Kings 15:23-24, a passage about achievements and old age. The prefects commented about how beautiful the unaccompanied singing by the past pupils sounded.
In addition to the headmaster and chaplain, John Aiken and Andrew Deacon were present at the reunion. The Past Pupils’ Union was represented by a former president, Johnny Honner, whose father was in school at Blackhall Place with many of the guests.
Three of the guests have family members in the school. Caleb Powell and Marshall Sandes are current grandparents and Jimmy Harris is a current greatuncle.
The next reunion of this kind is planned for 2022.
Archivist Andrew Whiteside