Dear Old Monmothian
I am delighted to have been elected to be President of The Old Monmothian Club for a third time. Firstly may I pay tribute to my predecessor, Anu Mohindru who, with his quiet authority and wise counsel, has taken the Club forward again, particularly in terms of event attendance and enhanced communications to our members.
During Anu’s Presidency, the Club lost two founding fathers of the modern Club: Ivor Hodgson, just prior to Christmas 2014; and this August, Henry Toulouse.
By 1970, our Club was not in good repair. It was basically insolvent, and its record-keeping was in some disarray. Ivor and Henry (along with Sir Frank Davies, Peter Morgan, Ian Bowen and the late Mike Lewis) were vital in reviving the Club. With those mentioned above supporting the Club from their own pockets initially, Ivor rebuilt the finances to a point that has allowed the Club to support School activities (including significant contributions to bursary funding) with over £150,000 of awards over the last 5 years.
As many know, the focal point of the Club for over 40 years was Henry. He meticulously compiled the records of over 3,500 members without the benefit of computers, and was the compiler and Editor of OM News for the Monmothian for all of that time. I can’t begin to estimate the numbers of hours of his own time that Henry gave to the Club. Henry stepped down from his role as Membership Secretary in September 2013, but remained a voice of reason on the Executive Committee. It was immensely sad for me and my colleagues on the Committee to conduct our meeting on 1st October without him.
The Club is making good strides in involving younger members. This year’s OM Day at School in June was very well attended by OMs who had been in New House under the stewardship of the hugely respected John Bevan, who has retired as a full time member of the Common Room. The London Dinner is excellently supported by younger OMs, and at this year’s Dinner we had for the first time OM’s who had only left School a few months earlier.
Young groups of OM cricketers and rowers are very active, and we put an Under 21 rugby side together for a tournament in Richmond each August Bank Holiday. The OM Shooting section is also strong under the leadership of Colin Waldron. OM Golf is struggling a little at the moment, so volunteers would be greatly appreciated.
We understand the value that printed publications bring in enabling us to communicate with our members with news of the Club and the School, but we’re increasingly using digital media. Our website and Facebook pages are regularly updated with news and announcements, and this year for this first time a large number of members will be receiving OM publications as electronic document only.
I do urge you to keep an eye out for OMC events on all of our ‘channels’, and also to look out for events organised for OMs by the School’s Development Director, Clare Anning.
I and my fellow officers and Executive Committee members look forward to serving our Club in the forthcoming year, and meeting as many of you as possible.
Ray Blight OM 77-82