The Old Bostonian Association

The Annual Dinner 2002

The toastmaster for this year's Annual Dinner was Reg Adcock.

The toast list was as follows:

  • Grace
    • by Rev. Dick Westland
    • by John Porcher, President
    • by Colonel Mark "Bill" Dunham - Royal Marines
  • Response
    • by John Neal, Headmaster

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 annex.

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 1972-1979)

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
Orange Juice

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
Web design by Simon Meeds

Updated 21 February, 2005