Since the 2013 AGM, we have made significant headway in realising more of our plans for increased contact with the School and its current students. On 7 November the Secretary, armed with a printed synopsis of the Old Burians’ present activities and our hopes for the future (printed in the programme), together with a bundle of application forms for joining the Association, sat in the School’s reception for three hours signing in Year 13 students and meeting their parents. This was the first time we had attended such a Parents’ Evening and it proved successful in making our work more widely known amongst members of the King Edward VI family.
A free-standing Display Board was also placed in the reception area and a more permanent version was made available in January for the Presentation Evening when last summer’s leavers returned for their A-level certificates. This year a new format was tried out, in celebration of the students’ personal successes with friends, parents and staff. This took place against the background of the School’s recent Ofsted report which described the Sixth Form achievement as “outstanding”. Refreshments were served in Ed’s Place and then all gathered in the Performing Arts Centre. After a word of welcome, the Head introduced the two ex-student guest speakers (Image Left). Leila Walker (Head Girl in 2002) described what life was like at the School when Geoff Barton arrived, and her subsequent studies at Cambridge University, where she had recently gained a PhD for her work on the hihi bird in New Zealand. John Ottley (1959-65) then gave an enlightened account of his time at the School which must have seemed so different to the education received today!
Robin Burnett (Chairman of the School Governors) presented a number of individual achievement awards (including a new category – The Cockman Family Award to Ryan Clarke for “Achievement over Adversity” – Image Right) before issuing the A-level certificates and subject prizes. Following a vote of thanks the evening concluded, but doubtless reunions continued elsewhere well into the night!
In the field of sport we have made more strides. James Sturgeon was responsible for the revival of the Old Burians v School cricket match last July – which turned out to be a very close fought fixture, but great fun for all taking part. A second match took place at the Victory Ground on the hottest afternoon of the summer in August. The Old Burians took on a Bury Development XI (youngsters in the cricket academy) and came out clear winners. On the Friday of the autumn half-term, history was made when four Year 13 students challenged four Old Burians to a Golf match at Stowmarket Golf Club. As a result, a database of sports players is being set up, to encourage both students and Old Burians to engage in a wider range of shared sporting activities.
Before the end of the academic year, it is hoped to begin the work of setting up a system of Year Leaders whereby students from a particular year group will take responsibility for keeping in touch with their contemporaries, under the Old Burians’ umbrella. As we go to press, we are in the process of producing an independent Old Burians’ web-site. Please watch the School web-site for the link once the site becomes fully operational, hopefully in the early summer. We are very grateful for the generosity of Old Burian benefactors who have made this a reality. At last September’s AGM, we were delighted to unanimously elect Fraser Watts (25 – Image Left) as our Chairman Fraser has served on the Old Burians’ committee since becoming Head Boy in 2006. Throughout his university course at Durham he chaired the Way Ahead Group of youngsters who were instrumental in developing future strategy for the Association. This group later merged into the main committee and, as a result, we now have many younger members taking charge of the Association’s affairs. Fraser has had a sound training, working closely with the Vice Chairman and the Secretary. He has also become a member of the Old Burians’ Charitable Trust. We hope that under his wise guidance, we shall be steered into a rich period of new activity for a new generation, who will still appreciate the long history of the King Edward VI family.