The London Old Ratcliffian Dinner
Friday 3rd February 2017
If you haven’t attended this annual event, then you are really missing out. Along an unassuming gated road in Holborn, there sits the impressive church of St Etheldreda’s. Both the church and crypt are truly unique Rosminian assets. As you step through the doors of the crypt you are transported back both to school and yester year.
With the candlelit alcoves, champagne flowing (soft drinks also available) and the buzz of ORs sharing tales of their time at Ratcliffe, is something to behold.
The evening began, for many, with Mass in the Church above led by Fr Ted Mullen (60) and Fr Simon Giles (60). Other clergy that attended the event were Fr Anthony Meredith (59), Fr Tom Deidun (60), Bishop John Arnold (71) and Fr Louis Beasley-Suffolk (60).
This year there was a wide distribution of ORs ranging from this year’s current Year 13 Old Ratcliffian Prefects to some who left in the 1940s. The expertly mapped table plan, thanks to Alex Slack (03), allowed a comfortable mix of ORs and their partners on each. The Bleeding Heart, yet again, excelled itself with its catering and expert waiting.
Grace was led by Fr Ted Mullen (60) and Paul Carter (60) was a great Master of Cermonies.
There was a changing of the guard this year as both Gareth Lloyd, the former Headmaster, and Mike Meredith (89), previous OR president, stepped down. Mr Jon Reddin, new Headmaster and Sam Bird (98), President, have taken on their roles respectively with which I wish them both well. I have no doubt that they will excel. I managed to avoid the faux pas I committed when Gareth Lloyd became Headmaster when I asked who he was and enquired as to what was his connection to the School… Looking back, I can now answer both and the appropriate response to the latter is ‘strong’.
Sam Bird (98) delivered an after dinner speech outlining the vision and direction of the Association. He said that, going forward, it is going to be a packed and productive tenure, which was very well received by all those in attendance. The Headmaster, Jon, who attended with his wife, Joanne, took the time and opportunity to update the Old Ratcliffians on the past year’s achievements and future plans. The combination of speeches connected the past and present in real time. The Association School Prefects, Holly Blount (17) and Olivia Latham (17) who were in attendance and adeptly worked the room to ensure the raffle tickets were made available to everyone. I think it’s important that they do attend this event as it highlights the existence of the Association to the current school leavers’ future proving its existence.
Following a truly lovely meal, people again moved around meeting, chatting and catching up, ever weaving the threads of the School and Association, ever more together.
I would encourage as many of you as possible to attend. The next London Dinner will be on Friday 9th February 2018
Georgina Meredith (96)
For the photos, please click the link: http://ratcliffianassociation.co.uk/galleries/show/52