The toastmaster for this year's Annual Dinner was Reg Adcock.
The toast list was as follows:
- "THE QUEEN"
- by John Porcher, President
- "BOSTON GRAMMAR SCHOOL"
- by Colonel Mark "Bill" Dunham - Royal Marines
John Porcher - President (BGS 1939-1945)
This was the last annual dinner for John as President. He will
continue in the post until the AGM in September. He reviewed the
five years of his presidency, particularly noting his centenary
project which resulted in the creation of a mini-museum, opened
earlier in the evening by John and Lawrence Rich, BGS Bursar, in
the former caretaker's lodge adjoining the school library and library
John also announced the events to come in the remaining months
of his presidency: the third annual cruise
on 11 May, a dance
on 6 September and the AGM in the second half of September (date
to be announced).
Colonel Mark W "Bill" Dunham (BGS
Bill talked about his career in the marines as well as his career
at Boston Grammar School. He particularly remembered the humiliation
of being burdened with the very un-cool sports bag which constituted
the Cheer's Football Prize.
He summarised his career to date thus: "I started at the school
in 1972 and left in 1979 with a fistful of 'O' and 'A' levels, much
to the amazement of my various teachers; went straight into Officer
Training and after 12 fairly interesting and occasionally physically
demanding months was cast into the big bad world of Regular Officer
Service. Since then, I have amongst other things served for a total
of 8 years in Commando Forces, ... picked up a BSC degree, fired
a variety of bullets and shells a few in anger but mostly not, been
to about 25 foreign countries, selected young officers, ridden parade
horses, got married, shouted at lots of recruits, seen the truth
about Northern Ireland at close quarters several times, gone bald,
played lots of rugby at a pretty decent level, completed the Army
Staff Course at Camberley, gone grey, trained overseas armed Forces
and British army Captains, gone balder, been instrumental in defining
the Royal Navy's future operational concepts, worked in Whitehall
and been amazed that government practices ever allow anything to
happen and run a £250M budget. I currently command and have
done so for 3 months, an organisation known as the Fleet Protection
Group that is based at Faslane in Scotland. I have approximately
450 men under command. They are employed on a variety of operational
and largely classified tasks worldwide and as I speak to you tonight
about a third of them are so deployed. It is a hugely enjoyable
task to command such an organisation and I feel tremendously honoured
to do so. I also feel incredibly humble when I witness the quality
and sheer professionalism of the men that I command, which is often
quite exceptional and in far from pleasant conditions most of the
time, and often quite wonder what I have done to get away with it!"
Realistically, he noted that his school life wasn't without its
down-sides, but he did feel basically content with what it provided.While
acknowledging that he was in danger of sounding old fashioned, Bill
suggested that BGS provided him with a combination of learning,
sport and team value.
John Neal (Headmaster of BGS)
John's response began with thanks to the Old Bostonian Association
for its support in the preceding year, particularly the completion
of the centenary project with the opening of the mini-museum, and
the financing of the replacement of the school's ageing piano.
He went on to explain that the new science block on the South End
of the School was now complete and the previous (1950's) edifice
would soon be demolished to be replaced by a "state of the
art" classroom equipped with electronic whiteboard and video
conferencing facilities. While these major new developments have
been supported by the DfES, as with so many new facilities at BGS,
they owe a great deal to the philanthropy of Len Medlock.
John spoke of the joint bid for technical college status with Haven
High which he had mentioned at the two previous annual dinners.
The first version of the bid had been rejected, but the second bid
was successful. It will mean an injection of £750,000 over
a four year period. This money will be in support of community projects
and ICT facilities, but John was keen to stress that it would not
affect the school's commitment to a broad education for its students.
Nor did the partnership with Haven High indicate a threat to grammar
school status. Indeed in order to defend grammar school status,
BGS intends to forge links both with non-selective secondary schools
and local primary schools.
Finally, John warned of the potential for those opposed to selective
education to have the fifteen remaining grammar schools in Lincolnshire
closed. The main organisation involved in this campaign is STEP
(Stop the Eleven Plus). It is possible for three individuals (who
may be from outside the area) to organise a petition. If they can
then persuade 20% of the parents of secondary school students in
the area to sign, a referendum of parents will be held. A simple
majority in the referendum would then cause the end of selective
schools throughout Lincolnshire. John urged all those present not
to sign such a petition if asked to do so, not just in order to
preserve the county's grammar schools, but also to avoid the inevitable
subsequent use of money which would otherwise be used in education
in restructuring those schools.
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Roll & Butter
Roast Sirloin of British Beef
with Yorkshire Pudding and Horseradish Sauce
Roast Loin of English Pork
with stuffing and Apple Sauce
Roast and Creamed Potatoes
Vegetables in Season
Vegetarian Option Available
Spotted Dick Pudding with Custard
Fruit Cheesecask with Cream
Cheese & Biscuits
Coffee & Mints
Catering by Julianne Catering of Boston
More Images from the Dinner
OBA President, John Porcher opens the new mini-museum
in the room at the North end of the school library (or big school).
The museum was funded by the President's Centenary Fund
OBA Treasurer, Tony Austin presents a cheque to
John Neal for the purchase of the new school piano. A recent appeal
to OBA members has raised enough not just to for the piano, but
to pay for its tuning.
Peter Sharman (BGS 1959-1964) auctioning off the part bottles
from the bar at the end of the evening