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Annual Reunion Dinner 2007

Gathering at the 97th Annual Reunion Dinner
Gathering at the 97th Annual Reunion Dinner

The 97th Annual Reunion Dinner was held at the Southampton Park Hotel on Saturday 10 November. Chairman of the Dinner was Dr Peter Jones OBE, BA (Econs) (1958–1965), who was accompanied by his wife, Liz.

Guests included The Right Worshipful The Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews, his wife Amanda, Mayoress of the City, Lewis Derbyshire (Chairman of Governors, Taunton's College), Matt Atkinson (Deputy Principal, Taunton's College), Neil Bichard (Chairman, Old Bournemouthians) and Trevor Jones (Ex-President, Old Edwardians).

Ron Allison, Master of Ceremonies, opened proceedings. He made two particular announcements. The first was about the launch of the Old Tauntonian Website War Memorial. The second announcement concerned Ken Carmichael, a great Old Tauntonian and almost ever present at dinners since 1945. Ken had been in hospital for some weeks and until a few days ago had been absolutely determined to be here. Sadly that was not to be. A specially prepared greeting card was circulated during the evening. All in attendance were invited to sign the card so that it could be delivered to Ken at the hospital.

During a very pleasant meal the Chairman traditionally "took wine" with groups of his choice. There followed the formal toasts: The Loyal Toast, The Memory of Alderman Taunton and the ever-moving Memory of The Fallen.

After the interval Johnny Bathurst welcomed the guests and proposed the health of The College. He commented that we were delighted to welcome Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews and his wife, Amanda, as they were a rather special Mayor and Mayoress. Not only is Stephen an Old Tauntonian but also Amanda is the daughter of an Old Tauntonian and the niece of two other Old Tauntonians, the three very well known and academically successful Barnes brothers.

Johnny extended a hearty welcome to Matt Atkinson, Deputy Principal of Taunton's College. He wished him and his College well and the wherewithal to achieve even greater success in the future.

Matt Atkinson responded to Johnny's toast and, in turn, proposed one to The Old Tauntonians' Association. He said he was honoured to represent Taunton's College and to relate some of its achievements during the year.

The results for the College in the summer had been the best ever. Three students gained places at Oxford and there were significantly improved results in A and AS levels.

In sports, College teams again dominated the colleges' sports world at local and sometimes national level. Men's Basketball Under-19 were Hampshire League and Cup winners, and in the last 8 of both the British Colleges Cup and the National Schools Cup. Women's Basketball were Hampshire League joint winners, and also last 8 of the National Schools and British Colleges Cups. Women's Netball were British Colleges silver medalists and won the Hampshire League and Cup. Three students won Football scholarships to colleges in the USA. Both Men's and Women's Trampolining teams won their National Finals gold medals.

In music, the tremendous standards of music at the College continued. Five students won places at the highly competitive Trinity College of Music and one was awarded a choral scholarship at Oxford.

Matt concluded by saying that Taunton's is an excellent place to be a student and an exciting place to be a member of staff. We are rightly proud of our heritage and our ever-closer union with you, The Old Tauntonians' Association.

Ron Allison then introduced Peter Jones. Ron said that Peter was a product of the years of Clowser, Colenutt, Clarke and Locke. At Nottingham University he read Transport and Logic.

Peter is Director of External Affairs at Biffa, the waste disposal company. In 2007 he was awarded the OBE for services to the environment. He has worked to bridge the gap between industry and the public sector and is one of the key people Government turn to when debating sustainable issues. His work on policy continues to shape the future of recycling.

Peter Jones reminded us of the context of his sojourn at Taunton's by commenting that his appearance in this world started contemporaneously with the return from Bournemouth and his association as a pupil ended with the retirement of Harry Spooner. Calling upon Harry's occasional references to his love of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, the Chairman set the style of his address as something of a journey – a journey that lead from Taunton's to Nottingham University and for the last 19 years with Biffa.

In recent years the British waste industry has been overtaken by the more broad ranging debate around the impact of global warming, the "Carbon Agenda" and the overwhelming impact of over 6 billion of our species on spaceship earth.

In the last ten years Peter has been part of the debate on how we manage our waste in the developed world, working with DEFRA, DBRR, and the Treasury, and providing evidence to House Select Committees. Peter paid tribute to the immense contribution of the Taunton's factor, which had enabled him to see these issues as opportunities rather than problems.

Peter concluded by thanking the Dinner Committee for their invitation and the opportunity to restate these sentiments.

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