News headlines – August 2021

27 Aug 2021    Leavers drinks reception at the Waldorf Hotel
17 Aug 2021    Eastbournian Society Channel Island lunch and wine tour
10 Aug 2021    Eastbournian Society August newsletter
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27 August 2021 - Leavers drinks reception at the Waldorf Hotel

The Eastbournian Society hosted a drinks and canapés reception for recent leavers and their parents at the Waldorf Hotel, London, on the evening of Friday 27 August.

The elegant Palm Court was the venue for this black-tie event, at which we welcomed leavers from both 2020 and 2021, whose traditional Cornflower Ball celebrations at the end of the summer term had been disrupted because of the Covid pandemic.

Development Director Emma Garrett welcomed the guests and introduced them to the Eastbournian Society team, and Second Master Cris Symes also spoke and congratulated the former pupils on their resilience in getting through their final months at the College despite repeated lockdowns and disruption.

It was great to see everybody enjoy a chance to catch up with their friends and have a final send-off to their College days.

Further pictures of the evening are in our members area - you will need a username and password to access this.

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17 August 2021 - Eastbournian Society Channel Island lunch and wine tour

Emma Garrett writes:

Many thanks indeed to everyone who joined us on the Channel Island ES wine tasting and tour at La Mare Wine Estate in Jersey. It was a fascinating insight into the viticultural production and distillation processes adopted by this small island - not to mention fudge and chocolate making!

Tasting Jersey apple brandy beneath the ancient walnut tree in the grounds of the estate was a rather lovely conclusion to our morning, and we managed to stagger successfully across to our table for a lunch nestled in amongst the vines.

I was delighted to welcome guests from the youngest, Lily Macafee, whose father David was in Pennell at the College 1989-93, to our most mature - Sally Le Brocq, School House housemaster’s wife from 1974 to 1988, who had some 76 years of life between them!

I think we also had about 76 years' worth of teaching years at Eastbourne College round the table as well, with Philip Le Brocq’s 25 year’s, John Thornley’s 41 (and half a term) and the Lawson’s combined 10 years.

We also had Old Aschamians, Old Androvians and of course Old Eastbournians as well as current St Andrew’s pupil Hector Lawson, and current College pupils Xanthe Lawson and soon to start in the Lower Sixth Tess Garrett.

Despite the fact that pandemic-related issues had reduced our numbers somewhat - even our local OE rep and host Tim Nelson (School 1976-81) had to pull out at the last minute - it was a lovely opportunity to bring together some of the wider ES family and to celebrate Eastbournian Society connections in rather stunning surroundings.

We were remembering my grandmother who came up in conversation, a formidable Jersey lady and regular visitor to the College. She was a great traveller and would regularly journey half way round the world on her own, and join a bus to tour New Zealand knowing no-one - by the end of it she would have made firm friends for life who she would then regularly visit and communicate with.

It struck me that the prep school and the College are a bit like that bus. You arrive, possibly knowing no-one else, but friendships are struck up on the journey that remain firm throughout your lifetime. You regularly meet up and revisit the memories made together having made a strong connection through a shared experience.

Since April when I took over from David Stewart as the Development Director at the College I have been lucky enough to have received many emails from ES members, including David Macafee, who was by chance holidaying in Jersey and joined us with his family at the lunch. He emailed to share how much the College had meant to him, offering to give something back. We welcome these connections - David has spent nine years in senior educational roles with medical students and trainee doctors and works with OE Joel Dunning (Craig 1986-91). They have offered to talk to current students, saying 'between us we can cover robots/keyhole surgery to chest and abdomen, major trauma, kids and adults surgery, endoscopy, medical education, careers, values/professionalism' and in his talks to schools says his focus is actually 'firstly on hope (post-Covid) and options for the future – medicine is a great vehicle for so many careers and sub-speciality areas’' We look forward to linking both David and Joel with those at the school keen to study medicine.

Another fascinating email I received earlier this week was from OE Ian Strange (Blackwater 1960-64) who remembers my father Philip Le Brocq taking a group of boys on a school trip. He writes:

'On one occasion (I think it was a Saturday) he decided to take a small minivan and drive a few of us to the recently opened Chichester Festival Theatre where the National Theatre was playing. In particular he thought that we should try to get to see Laurence Olivier as Othello. He had not made any bookings!

We got to the theatre nice and early and sat down by the box office - I think we were the first there. I cannot recall how Philip managed it, but he eventually got us tickets, not only for Othello in the evening, but also to Uncle Vanya in the afternoon! I think it was because the box office did not want to see this group of boys laying around the theatre entrance.

Both these productions had a long lasting impression for me and I have loved going to the theatre (and other live performances such as opera and concerts) ever since.

The plays had cast lists of historical significance. I may have mis-remembered some of them, but here goes:
   Othello - as well as Olivier as Othello, we had Maggie Smith as Desdemona, Frank Finlay as Iago, Robert Lang, and Derek Jacobi as Cassio.
   Uncle Vanya - Oliver was in that too, and he directed it - and I think also Michael Redgrave, Sybil Thorndike and her husband Lewis Casson, André Morell, Joan Plowright, Joan Greenwood.

I later heard that Philip had not actually told the right people at the College that he had gone to Chichester, nor the names of those who went with him. I expect he got a black mark for that! But for those of us who went it was a magical day. To this day I have never seen so many famous stars in one day!'.

These recollections are such a joy to hear and although I must reassure you that all theatre trips are totally regulated these days, they remind us of the enormous impact our schooldays make on us in so many ways, and how they shape who we become.

Whether using the analogy of my grandmother’s bus journeys or the similarities with the tiny grapes we saw hanging from the vines in La Mare Estate, and the apples growing in the orchard, it is clear that Ascham, St Andrew’s and Eastbourne College pupils start as small flowers and mature through the years as they are nurtured and supported at school through both sunshine and stormy weather along the way. They then leave the confines of the school to make their own way in the world, but we hope we leave a lasting impression and are proud to have been a part of the journey.

The ES is always here to support everyone who wishes to be connected to the Eastbourne College family and I look forward to many more regional ES gatherings around the UK; please do get in touch if you would like to help organise something in your area. Keep the recollections coming as well and offers of help/mentoring/careers advice are always gratefully received - you can make contact via email: es@eastbourne-college.co.uk.

If you find yourself in Jersey, La Mare Wine Estate is a fabulous place to visit and while my grandmother is no longer with us to regale you with tales of New Zealand bus journeys - our guide at La Mare, Graham, would be delighted to see you I am sure, as would Tim Nelson and Philip and Sally Le Brocq, and we can happily put you in touch.

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10 August 2021 - Eastbournian Society August newsletter

Development Director Emma Garrett writes:

I’ve moved! I am happy to say that I now reside in the South East of England, the wine capital of the UK (no coincidence there), and I am also now full time in my role as Development Director. Working part time, remotely and commuting back and forth from Bedford once a week certainly had its challenges, so I am delighted to be firmly in situ at last.

The pieces are all falling into place and from the end of next week David, Lulu, JT and I will be in our new office. The ES HQ is moving up the road to the ground floor of Craven Cottage which many of you will remember was the senior common room for many years.

If anyone has any particular memories associated with the building, or photos, we would love to have them – please send them to Paul Jordan, our archivist who is pulling together a short history of the building. I remember as a little girl visiting friends who lived upstairs, and also being allowed in the common room in the holidays with my father to pick up his mail from his pigeon hole, a far cry from the email inbox of today. With the office freshly painted and soon to be carpeted, we are looking forward to moving in; the smoke-stinking, wood-panelled inner sanctum has long gone, although I definitely got a nostalgic whiff of the past when I first went back.

The most recent residents – the Futures, or Careers Department – are in the process of moving into what was Tim’s Café, upstairs in the Winn Building, and Tim’s has relocated to Old Wish Road in the space that was most recently the school shop. The café takes its name from Tim Freshwater (School 1958-63) who recently visited with his wife Grace (pictured above) to check up on the progress of the build and it was a pleasure to show them both around.

All this relocation is exciting news for the ES as not only do we look forward to inviting you to Craven Cottage where the access will be easy, and the welcome warm, but we will also have the option to meet in Tim’s Café where the coffee will be top quality, the menu bursting with delicious cakes and light snacks and the ambiance informal, buzzing and inclusive. While thinking about the school shop – for those very recent leavers, or those with children leaving (or joining) the school – you might be interested to know that should you be thinking about upcycling any of your school uniform or memorabilia, there are a couple of options.

Firstly the College recommends GROWN out of it as a way to buy and sell items of school clothing and kit to help save money and reduce our collective environmental impact. Alternatively, OE Kathy Moir, née Williams (Nugent 1984-86), established Blazer Bear with a friend of hers Pru, when their children were both at secondary school. As a special keepsake Pru made each of her children a bear out of their old school blazers. Kathy loved the concept so they joined forces and Blazer Bear was born. Some of you will have seen these mascots at St Andrew's – the bears can be made out of pretty much anything: sports kit, CCF kit, uniform, scarves, and they can incorporate ties, crests, badges etc as required! They really are a great keepsake and no matter how worn the fabric, it can usually be re-purposed.

The time since I wrote in July has flown past and much has happened. I have recruited a new member to the team – more of that next month, and have been introduced to ES members from across the globe and across the generations – the oldest (and arguably the liveliest!) being 93! I have met with governors, planned new events and even danced the night away to The Big Kahuna, fronted by Alex Brown (Blackwater 1980-85). If you would like to do the same – and they really are a superb party band – book for our Winter Ball on 18 December.

More pressing than that, I would like to remind any ES members with connections to the Channel Islands that we are running an ES Wine Tasting and Lunch event at the La Mare Wine Estate, St Mary, Jersey on Tuesday 17 August, starting at 11.30am. This is for any Eastbournian Society members who live, work or happen to be holidaying in the Channel Islands next week. Please do join us, you would be very welcome.

The other event I would like to highlight here is the 2020/2021 Leavers’ Drinks and Canapés Reception on 27 August at the Palm Court at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel on the Aldwych in London. As the Cornflower Ball in 2020 was cancelled and this year's ball did not go ahead in its normal format, we hope that this will enable recent leavers to celebrate properly their departure from the College. Parents and partners are also invited as guests. The price is £62.50 per person and the Eastbournian Society is very happy to be subsidising this event. Please complete the booking form to confirm attendance and to make payment.

We are holding a Memorial Service for Donald Perrens at 3.00pm on Wednesday 13 October, followed by a reception in the Birley Centre, 4.00-5.00pm. Donald died, aged 101, on 10 April 2020. Please do let John Thornley know if you would like to attend. We are collecting your memories of the great man so please do email these through to us as well.

All of our events, from our OE Reunion Day on 11 September to the Greenwich Walk on 25 September can be found on our website here: https://eastbourniansociety.org/forthcoming-events. There is a great deal going on so do please take a look.

Finally to anyone with children or grandchildren, nephews or nieces, godchildren or any other family members getting their exam results this week – best of luck! I am delighted to report today that not only were the College’s A-level results up for the fourth year running, but also that the Inspection Ranking we were given by the ISI at the end of last term was the highest possible, read more here. It seems Eastbourne College is going from strength to strength and I feel very proud that we as the Eastbournian Society play such a significant part in this success.

Have a wonderful summer and I will be back in touch again next term.

Warmest wishes, Emma

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