Vice Presidents’ Dinner – November 2015
On Friday, November 13th, our President, Sir Keith Lindblom, hosted a dinner in the Old Library for Vice Presidents of the Whitgiftian Association. As is customary, however, past Presidents were also invited to attend and we were fortunate that John Lindblom (1992), Ken Rokison (1995), Derek Tullett (1999), Gordon Garment (2004), Mike Wilkinson (2005), John Straw (2007), Peter Warren (2008), Ian Flanagan (2010), Pip Burley (2011), Stuart Woodrow (2013) and David Stranack (2014) were all able to attend.
Following a light hearted welcome from the President, an excellent dinner was served, punctuated by a stunning performance on solo violin by lower sixth former Ion Mosneaga from Moldova who played “Zigeurnerweisen” (gypsy Airs) written by the Spanish composer Pablo Sarasate in 1847, one of his most popular compositions and a favorite among violin virtuosos. Well, 17-year old Ion certainly gave us a virtuoso performance of a challenging piece which, with its familiar Romany themes, had the effect of transforming the Old Library into a Hungarian Cellar Café! It was a treat for all those present and warmly appreciated. Thank you, Ion.
Following dinner, Sir Keith spoke about the importance of OWs mentoring their younger counterparts, not only when they have just have left school, but perhaps more importantly when they are at university. He felt that as well as providing advice at the School Careers Conversazione and the occasional provision of work experience during school holidays, true mentoring involved taking a long-lasting interest in a younger OW throughout his career. He recalled fondly how his early days in the legal profession were greatly enhanced by his OW mentor, with whom he has retained a lasting friendship. He hoped that as a matter of priority the WA would launch a full-scale mentoring programme in the foreseeable future and invited OWs who were prepared to help to contact him directly or via the WA office.
Past President and current Chairman of the Association, Pip Burley, then talked about raising funds for bursaries. He explained that in collaboration with the School’s Admissions Office, the WA had recently presented a fundraising programme to School and Foundation Governors which had been greeted with enthusiasm. Starting in January 2016, the WA Bursary Appeal will have an objective of raising £250,000 in year one, which would help fund a further twenty boys from the Croydon community to attend Whitgift. Pip finished by asking those present to assist with helping the scheme get off to a good start.
A most enjoyable evening was wound up with a hearty rendition of ‘Carmen’ from all present.