After a two-year break due to the pandemic, the annual OP London black tie dinner was back with a bang on Friday 19 November when a record number of over 90 OPs and their guests gathered at the Army & Navy Club on Pall Mall for this highly anticipated in-person event.
Elected in 2020, Joan Gough (75-77) hosted the dinner for the first time in her role as OP President. The Headmaster, Toby Seth also attended along with current and former teaching staff including OP Vice President Charlie Lambert (01-08), Sheena McNamee, Patrick Dare, Clare Bracken (05-21), David Dyson (88-18) and Trevor Loten (70-80, former staff 86-21).
Following the drinks reception in the Drawing Room, guests moved to the Pall Mall Room for the dinner. The President welcomed everyone to the event and Sheena McNamee was invited to say grace.
After the meal, there were speeches by the President and the Headmaster. Following a summary of OP activity over the past 18 months, Joan made special reference to the good number of younger OPs at the dinner, thanking them for taking the initiative to get together and recognising them as being the future of the OPA. She paid tribute to Past President, Trevor Loten, who retired in the summer after 35 years at the School. She emphasised the mutual aim of the OP Association and the Foundation in providing the best support and opportunities for pupils both whilst they are at school and afterwards, through the Association, for the rest of their lives.
In his response, the Headmaster spoke of the challenges and one or two of the light-hearted moments of continuing to deliver an excellent education through the pandemic and how well the teaching staff and pupils had adapted and excelled in such circumstances. He remarked how the Foundation and its community had embraced the new working week and thanked Joan and the rest of the OP committee for their support, noting that the Foundation remained in a strong position going forward.
With the formalities drawing the dinner to a close, guests moved to the Smoking Room Bar for the after-party and a final catch-up before departing.
Joan commented, “What a fantastic evening. Having been deprived of social interaction with friends for almost two years because of Covid, it was wonderful to have so many people together enjoying themselves in such perfect surroundings, particularly the large number of younger OPs.”
OP Mike Complin (67-76) added: “The dinner was another wonderful occasion. From the venue, to the arrangements and the relaxed and friendly atmosphere everything seemed to hit just the right note.”
Clare Bracken commented: “Thank you for organising Friday’s OP reunion; I enjoyed it so much that I intend to come next year!”
Thank you to all who came to the dinner and hope to see you again next year!
The date for next year’s dinner is Friday 18 November 2022 at the RAF Club. Further details to be confirmed.
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