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News > ODs Around the World > July UK Newsletter

July UK Newsletter

UK Branch Secretary, Nicky Bicket (1973F) reports...

UK Newsletter July 2019
UK Newsletter July 2019
This month has seen an imbroglio erupt between ODs and the ODU. The issue was triggered by the departure of the OD Secretary, WP van Zyl. The ODU has this last week sent out a comprehensive statement about how this process has unfolded. To resolve the issue, 10 ODs have called for a Special general Meeting which will take place at Bishops on 1st August. The focus is now no longer one seeking to reinstate WP (that's how this started) but a motion of no confidence in the Chairman and the Committee. A large number of UK-based and ODs (and some others around the world) have written to me to question the veracity of the communication sent out from both the ODU and the various messages and allegations circulated by "the other side". As I was privy to the steps being taken, I was able to say that the process followed by the ODU was eminently fair and proportionate and that the move to effectively remove the Chairman and Committee is without merit. That's my personal view on this rather sorry saga.

ODs must make up their own minds and, if at the SGM, vote accordingly. I have no vested interest in whether the motion carries or not. My distress is that once again, it seems that the ODU and (some) of its members are unable to get around a table to resolve issues in a mature and sensible way without resorting to SGMs to deal with what are internal management issues.

As UK-based ODs, we are not able to vote either by proxy or email so have no impact on the result. All we can do is hope that on both sides, cool heads will prevail and encourage them to keep a clear and unshakeable eye only on what is in the best interests of the ODU.

The date of our year-end party has had to change. While we are still at The Hollywood arms in Chelsea, the date is now on Friday 15th November.

I was lucky enough to have been at The Royal Regatta Henley and lunch with James Johnston (G, 2012) just before watching Rob (G, 2010) row to second place in the newly revived King's Cup. James rowed the following day for the Leander Club, finishing second, blaming not coming first on the wind - as one does.He's now racing in Portugal in preparation for the the great ascent into the Team GB squad for the 2020 Olympics and we wish him loads of luck. Rob is on the right in the photo and together with James are, respectively, resplendent in their Military and Leander Rowing blazers.

Simon Grose (F, 1977) is the ODU Secretary for Gauteng and was up on in the UK stayng with his sister's family in Chipping Norton. Annually, this branch of the Grose tribe stage a "Shakespeare in the Garden" event (their garden) and I was very pleased to have been a part of the revels. The production of Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare's most often-performed comedy - was acted by 6 male actors playing the parts of 23 characters. The money raised goes to the Ashmolean in Oxford. The picture is of Simon (r) and your secretary holding each other up at interval.

The 1990s aim to hold an annual braai well, annually, but the routine has been interrupted by the construction of a new venue, Neil Orpen's (W, 1990) home in Shiplake. But this year, normal service was resumed and Caelim Parkes (O, 1990)   Gordon Robinson (F, 1990),  Murray McPherson (W, 1990) and his wife Nikki and I, with Neil and his generous and super-patient wife Nikki, enjoyed a wonderful afternoon in awe of both Neil's cooking and his wine cellar. Hopefully next year more 1990s will be able to get an exeat for the outing - and perhaps other years doing something similar. In the photo are Caelim, Neil and Gordon (Murray having gone awol).

Meeting with Matt (O, 2009) and John Hawinkels (O, 2010) - and their delightful sister, Paula - for lunch in London provided an opportunity to catch up on some of the news of their generation which my generation seems a bit cut off from. 

Anthony Gibson (S, 1973) was in town from Lisbon and with his wife Fiona, met up with Allan Gasson (S, 1973) and Rosemary for supper - and then the next day Anthony and I met up. In the photo, Anthony, Rosemary, Allan and Fiona.

Mike Proctor and Peter Hain faced off earlier this week at South Africa House in a discussion chaired by Sir Nick Stadlen QC. Peter Hain, as we know, was an energetic anti apatheid activist who in his obstruction and eventual stopping of SA sports tours, effectively put an end to Mike Proctor's international cricket career. Both talked about their experiences of sport and politics in South Africa in the 60s and 70s. Several ODs and I were in attendance: Rob White-Cooper (S, 1961), John Battersby (W, 1966), Graham Thomas (K, 1984 and Caelim Parkes (O, 1990).

For those of you about to or have already embarked on a summer break, safe travels and have a relaxing time.

Kindest regards
Nicky Bicket

To read the full July UK Newsletter, Click HERE

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