Summer Lunch 2011
As usual, the day of the lunch dawned to grey skies and rain. Fortunately it gradually cleared. The sun appeared and the atmosphere outside Keats Restaurant very nearly matched that inside, where 69 Old Tauntonians and their ladies met for this now well established event.
In the run-up to the lunch the attendance list rises and falls considerably. At one time, as last year, we had 75 reservations for a main dining room that comfortably holds 70.
If the larger number had prevailed we are sure that Keats would have "found a way".
As it turned out, unfortunately in some cases through illness, we accommodated 69.
To all those who, either through their incapacity or that of their companion, were prevented from being there, we hope there are better days ahead. You are "on the list" and will be contacted again next year!
It is an ever-growing pleasure to be able to report the return year by year of so many old friends. In many instances the table plan is decided weeks beforehand. It is an equal pleasure to welcome those who are there for the first time. This year we saw:
Brian and Pam Osman
Graham and Alison Jones
John Haynes and Reg Bartlett. (Reg is not an OT but DID attend Portchester Road Elementary School with Ted Colenutt - this was just before Noah sailed with the Ark.)
JAB with an Honoured Guest
In addition we welcomed Jim Gray, the guest of Steve White. Jim is an Old Edwardian who commented after we commiserated with him that he felt he was bringing a touch of class to the occasion.
Last, but by no means least, we specially enjoyed the company of Merle Ball, Jean Godwin and Margaret Jefferies. Their men - Ken Ball, Ray Riseley and Gordon Jefferies - were staunch Old Tauntonians who formed long lasting friendships at the school. It is a great thing to be able to keep in touch and, particularly so, for them to wish to keep in touch with us. They are "on the list", too!
We try to keep formalities to the minimum but there have usually been events that merit special celebration. This year we congratulated Arthur Spencer (1932-40) on achieving his 90th birthday earlier in the year. Ted Colenutt spoke of Arthur's contribution to both the school and the Old Tauntonians. He was School Captain in 1939, played cricket and hockey for both and was one of the founders of the OTHC. He served with distinction with the Royal Air Force and in his school teaching career, with headships at Hedge End and in Bristol.
Arthur responded with a short witty and entertaining speech. The President on his Feet (again!)
He had enjoyed much good fortune in his life - coming through over 50 operations with Bomber Command, being able to open a brand new school and pick his own staff, and as a young airman being begged for a dance by a lovely nurse whom, of course, he married. (Eva disputed the way the dance took place although Arthur said that was HIS recollection of it!)
Lindy Parsons presented Eva with a bouquet while Ted Colenutt presented Arthur with a rather special malt whisky.
Alan Ediss had acquired a photograph of Portchester Road School class in which featured Ted Colenutt and Reg Bartlett and presented it to Ted amid much applause.
Roger Parsons spoke of the Reunion Dinner that will be held at The Botley Grange Hotel in November and encouraged those present to support the event. He mentioned the possibility of a "Winter Lunch" that might be held in the early months of 2012 - details to be announced. He felt the day's lunch had been very enjoyable and thanked Johnny Bathurst for its organisation.