Our 50th reunion gathering kicked off on Thursday 28th September with a small group of OD’s on a late afternoon tour of the School, hosted by the very able Dr Paul Murray. Starting with the Memorial Chapel, he provided fascinating details of the Chapel design and purpose and regaled us with stories of school boy antics in past years. We circled round the Day Boy houses, viewed the new Mitre Building across the top sports fields, meandered around the two swimming pools and finished off at the Brooke Chapel with memories of the building as a library many years before. The group briefly watched the Matric Dance Car parade slowly moving past before joining the rest of our team for cocktails at the Heatlie Pavilion.
Our numbers for this reunion were certainly lower than we had hoped. Seventeen of us gathered together, boosted by the presence of WP Van Zyl, OD Union Manager, who welcomed each visitor back to Bishops. A very relaxed atmosphere gave us the opportunity to break the ice and debate who had best weathered the preceding ten years. We were particularly pleased that, in addition to the local OD’s who were present, Dave Franklin and Alastair Robertson flew from the USA, Smiley Schonfeldt came down from JHB, Andrew Martin from Durban and Adrian Craig from Grahamstown. From the Cape Town area we had Geoff Bick, Brian Harris, John Hayward, Clive Keegan, John Hutton-Squire, Michael Hyde, Ross Kelly, Dugald Macdonald, Justin Magnus, John Parker, Andrew Wilson and Fred Smith-Symms. A very happy gathering.
Friday’s outing for lunch to John and Ollo Parker’s Altydgedacht on the outskirts of Durbanville went off with a bang. OD’s and partners gathered in the beautiful old cellar that set the tone for a magnificent lunch with Altydgedacht wines. Those of us who felt strong enough were taken on a Unimog tour of the farm with John Parker providing a very interesting history of the family farm and its winelands.
Saturday was a free day until we all gathered for a magnificent dinner at the Mitre. This proved to be a winner with WP Van Zyl hosting us in a beautifully decorated venue with Origins Food Management providing the catering. John Hayward introduced the programme for the evening in his inimitable style, reminding us also of those OD’s who were no longer with us. He was followed later by WP who gave a particularly meaningful address on the functions and purpose of OD Union, backed up by two most interesting videos of the school and its ethos. The evening was finished off with a most sincere “Thank you” by David Franklin.
A braai at the Frank Reid Pavilion, overlooking the First Eleven cricket field, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, proved to be a superb final gathering. We were very pleasantly surprised to welcome Tommy Duncan and Ollo Parker, together with a few stray OD’s who decided to join us. A very good braai was presented by Origins and as the afternoon drew to a close there was more than one suggestion made for a reunion in five years’ time.