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News > Branch News > UK Newsletter September 2021

UK Newsletter September 2021

UK Branch Secretary, Nicky Bicket (1973F) reports on recent OD news in the UK

The UK Branch is most certainly keeping its activity levels up during these (slightly less) restricted times. I have continued my fortunate streak of meeting ODs who have included Simon Arnold (F, 1951) and his lovely daughter, Clare, a glorious five days on Anthony Record's (S, 1956) wine farm Domaine Gayda (from where our Dinner wines will come thanks to his generosity) and his wife Carole, a mini-mini 1973 reunion marked by a braai at Stephen Hofmeyr's (Ogilvie) home together withal Allan Gasson (School) with wives Audrey and Rosemary respectively, a drink with Jordan van Tonder (W, 2015), lunch with Kosta Scholiadis (B, 2008) who we welcome from CT via some romantic Greek islands, Mike Taylor (G, 1959), Peter Robinson (S, 1068) and Niall Carroll (O, 1981), Mark Charnock (O, 1962) with whom I watched the third day of the second cricket test against India which included Joe Root's 180 not out which sowed the seeds of England's demise, Nick Heesom (W, 1961) and his wife Wendy, and Caelim Parkes (O, 1990).

While all this contact clearly suggests I am in need of a serious detox/nutritionist, it also underscores for me what the ODU is all about — the connecting of ODs who (I think) enjoy each other's company and to strengthen the mutually beneficial bonds formed at and by Bishops. The website and newsletters can help, but nothing replaces the enjoyment of face-to-face meetings — and there are many which go on among ODs without the intrusion of a branch secretary.

Other events which brings aus together are, for example, the ODs v Old Haileyburians annual golf matches, the next being this Saturday, 4th September. For these we have to thank Alex Price (M, 2008) our golf captain and indefatigable selector and team psychologist. He is always looking for players so get hold of him at [email protected] The game following the OD v OH match is our inaugural three-way against Hilton and Michaelhouse Old Boys which is on Saturday 18th September. Peter Elliott (W, 1967) speaks to us at a drinks reception on 6th October (see later) and in early December we have our first ever ODU Carol Service outside of Cape Town (see later).

All of these events and functions are a means to an end which is the bringing together of ODs to enjoy and, yes, support each other. ODs help ODs.

And it goes without mentioning that we have the now sold-out UK Annual Dinner coming up on Friday 10th September. There is a waiting list but there are always last-minute cancellations, so if you are keen to take your chances, click HERE.

It seems that every minute of every day, a musician is playing Bach’s music somewhere on our planet. Grant McLachlan (F, 1973) who lives in Cape Town was recently heard (24th August) on BBC's Radio 4's Seriously ... Planet Bach, explaining and describing his lifelong passion for JS Bach (I can attest to this; Grant was, with me, in the 1973 matric music class and practically spoke "Bach"). The programme is presented by Clemency Burton-Hill who at the start of last year suffered a brain haemorrage which affected her speech very badly but in the introduction to the programme, one can hear the progress she's made. Grant can be heard speaking for four minutes at 13:52.

Dr Paul Winter (F, 1971) now retired from medical research but very much into choral singing, wrote this short piece on how the professional choir of which he's a member kept up their spirits and pitch during the past eighteen months of Covid. This is an amusing bit of writing showing how the human spirit can overcome just about anything — and how the use of natural herbal remedies, smoked off-stage left can upset the natural rythm of a choir.

Finally, Mustapha Cassiem (W, 2020, right) who with his brother Dayaan (W, 2017) represented South Africa hockey at the recent Olympic Games, has been nominated by The International Hockey Federation (FIH) as one of the three nominees for "Rising Star of the Year"! This is an incredible achievement that no other South African Hockey Player has achieved before. Mustapha at only 19 years of age scored 3 x Olympic goals and inspired with his performances which saw SA beat top ranked teams like Germany!

Mustapha deserves it but won't win without your vote. Let's make SA hockey (and Bishops) history together! To vote for Mustapha, and do so at! Your have to submit your email address to the FIH (so they know it's a legitimate vote) and voting closes on 15th September.

As we move slowly through autumn towards winter, please do remain cautious. The Corona virus has not yet gone ... and we have a Carol Service to attend!

Kind regards

Nicky Bicket


To read the full UK Newsletter, click HERE

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