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News > ODs Around the World > UK Branch 2022 Annual Black-tie Dinner

UK Branch 2022 Annual Black-tie Dinner

ODs described this year's dinner as one with "magic in the air"
Captivated by Anthony St John's speech
Captivated by Anthony St John's speech

Resplendent in dinner jackets, and the ladies looking equally stunning, 94 ODs gathered on Friday 16th September at The Carlton Club in London for the annual Branch Black-tie dinner.

It had been quite a week; the UK had lost a Queen and a prime minister and then saw in a new one just as Parliament shut for the week of regal mourning.

Nevertheless, ODs were determined to have fun and if noise levels are an indicator of success, the dinner was successful. Hosted by Anthony Record MBE (S, 1956);  Anthony St John (G, 1974) - Lord St John of Bletso - was our speaker; James Gardener (W, 1974) was the accomplished master of ceremonies.

We gathered in The Morning Room for pre-dinner drinks enjoying some excellent Simonsig Brut, Co.bru beer and some very fine Domaine Gayda wines.

Dinner was in the Churchill Room. We stood for a minute's silence as a mark of respect to the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II and then Matthew Golesworthy (K, 2011) said the Latin Grace from St John's College, Cambridge.

Anthony Record welcomed everyone, reading out letters of good wishes from The Patron and President of the ODU, Raymond Ackerman (S, 1948) and David Carter (G, 1958). He also specially welcomed Rob Estcourt (F, 1966) who was visiting from Australia, Nick Mallett who was representing St Andrew's (Grahamstown) and Calum Wehmeyer who had driven down from St Andrew's (Scotland). 

Jordan van Tonder (W, 2015) proposed a heartfelt and moving Toast to Bishops.

Then Anthony St John spoke - and how he spoke. In messages to me after the dinner, his speech was described as a "tour de force", and "virtuoso" and "barnstorming". He took us on a trip of his life and pretty much around the houses as it were, starting with his home in Kalk Bay, then Birt (DCPS), Founders and Gray and then the last, and current, of them all, the House of Lords, where he succeeded his father in 1979. He spoke of his experiences at Bishops which in many ways equipped him (um, this seen in retrospect) to become a Lord in Waiting to the Queen, how he overcame his stammer (now non-existent) to become more effective in the public speaking roles he was called on for, and how off the platform of a solid Bishops education, he was able to benefit from all the advantages and opportunities which had come his way. He touched on climate change, world politics and several very amusing anecdotes and characters in his time in The House of Lords. This was at once a serious, funny, reflective and above all commanding speech.A standing ovation was the least we could do after all that!

Michael Mills (S, 1973) replied to Anthony's speech and thanked him for it. He (Michael - and Anthony, too) was witty and on point as usual. He then presented Anthony with a gift from the Branch.

After dinner, back to The Morning Room where practically everyone stayed until midnight, enjoying the Mezcal kindly donated by David Shepherd (S, 1998). Then, our "Bishopsness" rekindled, we wended our weary ways home.

We thank Anthony Record for hosting the evening and his extremely generous donation of the very fine wines from his estate, Domaine Gayda, in the Languedoc. Also, thanks to Mike Cockburn (F, 2006), James During (B, 2007) and Devan to Plooy (G, 2007) for sponsoring their great beer Co.Bru. And to Adrian Kritzinger (F, 2006) for supporting us with the Simonsig Brut. And to David Shepherd (S, 1998) for the donation of his Mezcal for the after-party.

And a massive thank you to The Carlton and all the Club's staff who made our dinner so memorable.

More pictures can be seen HERE

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