I am honoured to have been selected to succeed Hugh Carson as Honorary President of the OT Society for 2017/18. I shall do all I can to match his example of support for the OT Society’s programme. Do come to as many events as you can and join any OT Club that matches your interests.
2016/17 has been another year of success for the School and for the Old Tonbridgians. Significant events have included the opening of the refurbished Smythe Library by HRH Princess Alexandra and the building of the temporary science block on the Upper Hundred that will be used for the two years it will take to complete the new Science Building. The school is deeply grateful to the many OTs who have contributed financially to these projects and to the school’s bursary funds.
One of the year’s highlights was the 1st XV’s victory over Bedford in the Final of the Nat West Champions Trophy played at Allianz Park. The occasion was the more memorable because it was attended by over 60% of the school. In all its sports, on the academic side, in its support for the community (not least primary schools), in its range of societies and in art, design technology drama and music, the school continues to have a dazzlingly rich programme. Two months ago I was blown away by the concert at which the first orchestra played Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Brahms’s Third Symphony. A few weeks later I enjoyed a lively performance of Romeo and Juliet by boys in the first two years. A little while ago Tonbridge musicians joined pupils from the other six Skinners' schools in providing the music at the annual conference of the Association of School and College Leaders; whose President for 2016/17 is Sian Carr, Executive Principal of the Skinners' Kent Academy
On the OT side, a feature of the last year has been the firm establishment of the new three-fold structure of the Tonbridge Society. Its component parts are the Tonbridge Foundation, the Parents Arts Society and the OT Society. Under Andy Whittall, as Director, the three parts retain their operational independence but coordinate their activities and effectively offer a shared Tonbridgian outreach. On the OT side, where David Walsh remains Chairman and John Gibbs remains Secretary, the arrangement will give the School, and particularly leavers, a better sense of what the OT community has to offer and of the variety of professions taken up by OTs. The April 2017 edition of the Old Tonbridgian News contains fascinating articles by and about OT musicians
The OT Chairman and the Hon OT President are members of the Tonbridge Society committee. This is an official committee of the Governing Body. So, for the first time, Old Tonbridgians are a formal part of the school’s governance. We owe thanks to all those who make the work of the Tonbridge Society and the Old Tonbridgian Society so fruitful
As I write, Tonbridge has announced the appointment of James Priory, Headmaster of The Portsmouth Grammar School, to the exciting task of succeeding Tim Haynes as Headmaster of Tonbridge in September 2018. Under Tim’s leadership Tonbridge’s standing and all-round achievements have never been higher. The OT Society Committee will be giving a dinner for him towards the end of 2017. The programme of events for 2017/18 will offer many opportunities to thank him for his outstanding contribution to the school.