Annual Dinner of the Old Carolians Association held in Oldfield Hall on Saturday 18th November 2017

2017 Annual Dinner

There were nearly 90 attendees at the Annual Dinner this year, with the eldest member starting their education in 1939 and an encouraging total of 20 ladies.  Again, my contemporaries who began at King Charles in the Class of 1954, had the highest number (16%) of representatives at 14.  The catering was in the expert hands of Plyvine, who provided a splendid feast and who had an excellent team of servers.  Even their after meal coffee was accompanied by Plyvine chocolates.  The customer service was better than you often get in some top restaurants.  Rose Lawley, Reverend Canon of St. Mary’s Kidderminster said Grace and the newly elected President, Dave Laverty, opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone and a silent toast to absent members.  Seated with him on the top table were Old Carolian Cllr. Martin Stooke, Deputy  Mayor of Kidderminster , Dave Allen, President of HOEA, Tim Gulliver ex Headmaster, Stephen Brownlow, the present Headmaster , Rosemary Morgan, Chair of KHSOGA and Peter Picken, Past President and Treasurer of the Association.  Also present in the body of the Hall were Caitlyn Gray, Head Girl, with Sam Fisher and Leigh Fuller, Deputy Head Boy and Girl of the School.  Following comments last year about the ambience of the Hall, Dave Laverty and Peter Picken had solved the problem with a selection of glass containers and bottles on the tables.  Filled with glowing lights, they contributed to an excellent atmosphere.

As the guests enjoyed their meal, the screen at the end of the Hall showed Norman Broadfield’s rolling programme of the history of the school, old photographs back to the 19th century, old sports team photographs and prize lists from annual ceremonies.  Memories again came flooding back.

At the end of the meal, David Laverty offered a toast to The Queen before a comfort break and The Speeches

Stephen Brownlow in his speech, mentioned the excellent year which the school had enjoyed.  In the 2017 Advanced level results, King Charles achieved the best results in the town and 4th overall in the County.  Last year, the school had been 21st – a tremendous improvement and richly deserved.  The headmaster, staff and pupils are to be congratulated on their success after years of hard work.  The school had enjoyed many educational and leisure trips, to the World War 1 battlefields, to Paris, Disneyland, Cologne, New York and skiing trips.  The U15 soccer team were Wyre Forest champions, the U16’s were champions of Wyre Forest and the County and there was also success for the handball team, for a Year 9 cyclist and in fencing.   Stephen mentioned that this overall success was aided significantly with monies from the Roy Woodward, King Charles 1 Foundation and other Old Carolian Trusts.  There were also several musical concerts including one in Worcester Cathedral.  The school is, therefore, offering not just excellent exam results but also a curriculum full of a wide range of sporting and cultural events.  At the end of his interesting speech, Stephen proposed a toast to the Old Carolians’ Association and to their new President, Dave Laverty, who is retired Head of History at the School.

Dave, in his speech, mentioned his memories of his education in Devon.  He noted that the future at King Charles was very bright, and this followed from the very successful past history of the school, as evidenced by the Honours Boards around the hall.  He thanked the Old Carolians’ Committee for all the work that they do and for all their help to him.  He congratulated all those who had made the meal possible, and in particular, Peter Picken, David Slater, Mike Wilson, Roger Perrin,  Colin Lloyd, Peter Guy and Norman Broadfield.  These gentlemen, he said were the glue which made the Association such a success.  He also asked us to remember Ken Garbett, who had died recently after decades of work for the Committee and Beryl Bedford, who was ill at this time.  Mention was made of the contribution made by Pat Yarnold whose association with our school commenced 60 years ago when he started as a 10 year old and has seen unbroken service as a scholar, teacher and continues as a Governor.   A tremendous achievement which surely will never be equalled.  There were also a few humorous memories of Jake Potter, who Dave had never known but who was obviously one of the main affectionate teachers at the school in the 50’s and 60’s.  As memories of Jake circulated amongst those of us who had known him, a groundswell of laughter swept through the hall.  Dave concluded with a few lines from a poem of Robbie Burns which highlighted the importance that the past is not necessarily better than the future and that we need to build on friendships.

Here’s a bottle and an honest friend

What wad ye wish for mair man

Wha kens, before his life may end

What his share may be o’ care man?

They catch the moments as they fly

And use them as ye ought, man.

 David concluded his speech with, a toast to King Charles 1st School, its students, teachers and governors

The Dinner ended with the National Anthem and Old Lang Syne and with the result of the Raffle when a bottle of Glenmorangie whiskey was won by Colin Lloyd, a Past President of the Association no less!

Peter Vaughan:  Carolians' Chief Educational Correspondent