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   Old Cambrian Society (UK Branch) - 50th Anniversary Dinner at the RAF Club, Piccadilly, London - 8th April 2011

Old Cambrian Society (UK Branch)
50th Anniversary Dinner

Held on Friday, 8th April 2011 at the RAF Club, Piccadilly, London.

Below is a report of the evening + some photos - click on them to enlarge
Table 1 Table 2 Table 3 Table 4
Table 5 Table 6 Table 7 Table 8
Table 9 Table 10 Walker &
Vohra, Dharsee,
Lakha & Lien
Snaith, Birch,
Gunson, Thornton
& Woodford
Dokelman &
Vasdev &
Gatti &
Kamini &
Sanjiv Shah
Le Feuvre &
Alan Murdoch
Keith Aikin Peter Simpson Le Feuvres Ballroom
Ballroom Class of 72
50s & 60s
40s, 50s & 60s
50s & 60s
40s, 50s & 60s
Vohra & McAdam Vohra & Lakha
Ridsdale, McAdam
& Mathers
Le Feuvre &
Conversation at
Table 10
Dharsee &

It was great to have a record number of 118 for the 50th Anniversary Dinner of the Old Cambrian Society UK Branch at the RAF Club. 95 Old Cambrians (from 14 countries) and 23 guests enjoyed a fabulous evening, and many “regulars” have commented that it was the best event that they can remember. The atmosphere and “buzz” was just phenomenal, and a good sign that everyone is enjoying themselves is that there is utter chaos in the interludes between courses. At one stage, it was impossible for the serving staff to get through to the tables to serve the main course, there were just so many “old boys” blocking the aisles reminiscing with there former school pals.

Old Cambrian Society Secretary, Steve Le Feuvre, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the night and hogged the microphone for the first 10-15 minutes. He recalled how 10 years ago for the 40th anniversary, the annual dinner was held at the House of Lords, hosted by Old Cambrian Rt Hon the Lord Steel of Aikwood KBE, DL - a.k.a David Steel (Fletcher/Scott 1950-3). It was very fitting that for the 50th anniversary dinner we were in the splendid and opulent surroundings of the Royal Air Force Club that has now become our “regular home” – having held the dinner here seven years out of the past nine years.

The Old Cambrian Society Educational Trust was launched during the evening, and a meeting of the initial Trustees was held earlier in the day. The Trustees are Keith Aikin (Chairman), Michael McCulloch, Brod Purdy and Steve Le Feuvre, and they will be looking to appoint a further 3-4 trustees in due course. The next stages are to apply for charity status in the U.K. and to set up a bank account in the name of the Trust. It was announced that due to fund-raising initiatives over the years, the sum of £5,400 would be going into the Trust fund straight away. The initiatives have included sale of OCS merchandise, auctioning of items and memorabilia at the U.K. dinners and also at several held in Canada, as well as the small “profit margin” that has been put on all tickets for the U.K. dinners over the past few years ……… so everyone attending a dinner has contributed in a small way.

Money from the Trust will be used to assist the school with educational projects and facilities for the benefit of present and future pupils, as well as specifically assisting less-privileged boys at the school who through no fault of their own have fallen on extremely hard times. All money will be used wisely, safely and securely to achieve the aims set out, and will be monitored closely by the Trustees and by Old Cambrians on the ground in Kenya.

Once all the necessary bank account and charity status was in place, there will be a concerted effort to raise as much money initially as possible so that the fund is sizeable and can really make a difference. Steve joked that from the initial £5,400 that was being placed in the Trust fund, he wanted to see a couple of naughts added …… actually, he wasn’t joking at all – he was being quite serious!! With thousands of Old Cambrians round the world, it’s very possible to get the fund up to a very high six-figure sum. Then it REALLY WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!

It was then announced that we had been successful in acquiring a new Treasurer for the Old Cambrian Society (UK) to replace the late Ian Beaty (Clive 1954-9) who had held the position with distinction for over 21 years prior to his death. Michael McCulloch (Scott 1955-61) was appointed by a unanimous “show of hands” by all Old Cambrians present, and Steve welcomed him to the team and thanked him for allowing his name to go forward for the position.

Steve then thanked the host for the evening, RAF Club member Alan Murdoch (Rhodes 1945-50), without whom we would not be able to hold our dinners in these wonderful surroundings, and after telling everyone that the 2012 dinner would be held on Friday 20th April, again at the RAF Club, he then handed the microphone over to the host.

Alan Murdoch welcomed everyone from around the world to the RAF Club on this important milestone event of the 50th anniversary, and then heaped praise on Steve Le Feuvre and his wife Suzanne for the work that goes into organising such a large event in central London. Alan was delighted that the Old Cambrian Society had found such a good “home” at the RAF Club, and was pleased that he could assist in this as host.

With those formalities over, the meal began, and as mentioned before there was much mingling in between courses as Old Cambrians went to introduce themselves to former school pals who were sitting at other tables. Many photographs were taken, and e-mail addresses and telephone numbers exchanged. The “buzz” around the room and out on the landing was something to behold, not seen quite like this at previous events.

Before coffee was served, we were treated to a “double act” from two stalwarts of the Old Cambrian Society in the U.K. Keith Aikin (Clive 1954-8) was a founder member and has been Chairman since its inception. He recalled how it all began, how it developed from a few stalwarts, to the massive numbers we see nowadays; and was pleased that some of his fellow founding members were at the 50th anniversary dinner.

Then Peter Simpson (Scott 1955-8) took over the microphone, and gave a light-hearted account of his 36 years as secretary of the U.K. branch of the Old Cambrian Society (from 1966 to 2002). Some of the highs and lows were mentioned, and Peter recalls the 40th anniversary dinner at the House of Lords in 2001 being the highlight of his tenure as Secretary.

After the meal had ended, the bar downstairs filled up again, and more reminiscing continued long in to the night – everyone had had a wonderful time, and we were all looking forward to next year’s event already!