The Old Almondburians' Society
Annual Dinner 2016
Dinner group.jpg
The 2016 Annual Dinner was wonderfully attended by 133 members and guests, the largest gathering of Almondburians since the 400th Anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter in 2008. Those attending the dinner spanned a period of seventy-one years, from those who entered the school in 1945, to those currently students at the school in 2016, and they travelled from all over the United Kingdom, as well as Ireland, Channel Islands, Germany and USA.

The main focus of this year’s dinner was a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the first comprehensive intake in 1976 and Andrew Schofield and Robin Sharman did an excellent job in getting together twelve members of their year. The guest speaker was Keith Best, a teacher in the
Top table guests (l to r): Ian Rimmer, Olivia Falcon, Alex Byram, Keith Best, Matt Mills (Chairman of Governors), Walter Raleigh
early years of Lepton Middle School, the then feeder school for King James’s.
Keith Best proposed the toast to the School and a fine response was made by the Head Girl, Olivia Falcon. A very entertaining speech by Patrick O’Brien ended with a presentation to Lesley Rattigan, who was retiring after many years teaching Latin at the School, and with the toast to the Society, to which the Chairman, Walter Raleigh, responded.

Top marks for attendance go to David Parry and Robin Merchant, who gathered together no fewer than nineteen of their Class of 1966 for their 50th anniversary reunion and they lined up in the dining hall to recreate their form photograph (see page 17). Only third prize this year for the Class of 1947, who are so often the most represented year, with ten of them present this year. Also worthy of mention are the nine members of the Class of 1956, who were celebrating their 60th anniversary.

Those present enjoyed another excellent meal, cooked by Andrew Hirst of ‘Brambles’ in Holmfirth. The menu comprised spiced roast parsnip soup, roast salmon cut of beef with red wine jus and Yorkshire pudding, followed by sticky toffee pudding with Bailey’s crème Anglaise, a cheeseboard, and coffee or tea. Andrew often treats us to a little something extra at the end of the meal and this year it was a rather excellent port to go with the cheeseboard. It was unfortunate that he had staff call off ill at short notice, because the service was very slow. However, many people did take the opportunity to go round other tables to chat between courses.
The Head Boy, Alex Byram, and Head Girl, Olivia Falcon, along with the Deputy Head Boys, Ellis Kirk and Finlay Horsfall, and the Deputy Head Girls, Mollie Wilson and Kasey Buckley, hosted tours of the school before the meal and Ellis, Finlay, Mollie and Kasey did an absolutely brilliant job of selling the raffle tickets between courses, for the raffle raised over £400.

Organising the dinner at the School does involve a tremendous amount of work. As well as spending a great deal of time on preparatory work, your Secretary was at school from 10.30 am on Saturday, until 1.30 am on Sunday and again all afternoon on Sunday after Founders’ Day. Huge thanks are due to Martyn Hicks who, on Saturday morning, came to the Stadium, from where we borrow the round tables free of charge, with his van and trailer to help your Secretary move the tables to the school. He then stayed most of Saturday helping to move things around and set up and he also came back on Sunday afternoon to reverse the process. Martyn did all this on a weekend when he was unable to attend the dinner itself, due to a family celebration; we cannot thank him enough. Huge thanks are also due to your Treasurer, Keith Crawshaw, who was also present most of Saturday helping to set up and who, along with Matthew Booth and Emily Murphy, stayed until the early hours of the morning helping to tidy up and lock up. Keith also single-handedly washed up all our beer glasses on Sunday afternoon.

Due to an unfortunate breakdown in electronic communications between Nicky Briggs, Head Brewer for Mallinson’s Brewing Company and also for his own Briggs Signature Ales, who usually runs the bar, I was unaware that he had informed me that he would be unable to do so this year until only a couple of weeks before the event! Thanks are due to Nicky for none the less supplying some fine ale for the evening, but also to David Parry, who not only helped Robin Merchant to gather nineteen of their year together, but who also found three students to staff the bar at short notice. Thanks also to ‘Taste Fine Wines’, of Almondbury, for supplying some excellent wines and other drinks.

Despite all this hard work, we would recognise that the dinner was not perfect; it is still a work in progress since returning to the school and there is still room for improvement. We could definitely use some more help, since those who help at the moment cannot do much more than they already do. So, if you can spare a few hours to help organise the 2017 Annual Dinner, then it would be much appreciated. It is a wonderful and most enjoyable occasion to gather 133 Almondburians together, so let’s make it even better next year. Those of you with anniversaries to celebrate start planning now! Who can better the Class of 1966?
The 2017 Annual Dinner will take place on Saturday, 25th November, so please put the date in your diary now to make sure that you don’t miss out on a great evening.

Founders’ Day
There was a disappointing turnout for the traditional procession up the hill to the church on Founders’ Day. Head Boy Alex Byram and the Head Girl Olivia Falcon, led a small band of a dozen or so Almondburians up the hill, albeit at a blistering pace, or certainly a little too briskly for some of those getting left behind!
However, it was well worth the effort for, on arrival at All Hallows’ a goodly number of pupils, parents and Almondburians had congregated for the service.
King James’s enthusiastic new Head of Performing Arts, Charmain Gott, had assembled a band of extremely talented musicians, who performed beautifully during the service, following readings from Alex and Olivia.
A further highlight of the service was the outstanding address given by Prof. Edward Royle (see page 20).
The service concluded in the traditional way, with the hymn For All the Saints, prayers from the Ancient Statutes and the singing of the School Song and was followed by refreshments in the Church Hall and the opportunity to socialise.