Group Rohilla_Day_2012_smThe forecast for the day was 'cloudy but dry', and when John, Eileen and I arrived at KHS about 9.50, it certainly was that. John and I went up to our archive room where we met James and Margaret Woolliams, Alex and Katrina Mathers, Simon Briggs and John Hughes. Tony and Julie soon joined us.


We sorted out the archive material which we wanted and Alex took it down and transported it to the Hall, where many helpers began to arrange the display. This year there were many more photos, fewer magazines and the Founder's desk complete with all the precious personal items in it.

By 11 o clock our visitors began to fill up the Hall. All seemed very interested in the photos as usual, and between viewing the material and welcoming more guests, much talking was taking place. How many times was 'Do you remember' spoken during the day?

This, I believe is the main focus of the day. Some Old Boys I was chatting with that I hadn't seen since they left school a few years before me. Others I hadn't a clue who they were until we said 'I am... who are you...? Really? Then more remembering.

The coffee and tea tray seemed to appear out of nowhere, and this refreshment kept our throats lubricated while our tongues were working overtime!

Nick Seward circulated and welcomed us all individually and Harriet Atkinson made herself known to those of us who hadn't met her before.

Time soon came to go to chapel for those who wished to. I counted 44 people in the congregation, and this included KHS staff. Nick Seward conducted the service with Holy Communion. He was ably assisted throughout by the organist. Enthusiastic singing was, as usual, a major part of the service, which not only remembered the Rohilla tragedy, but reminded us of the sad losses that occur throughout the years and Nick especially drew our attention to those who have passed on in the last year.

Group Rohilla_Day_2012_med

We then made our way to the dining hall, where the staff had set the tables in the pre-arranged plan, and we all checked the plan and found who we were sat with. The food came to our tables by the table service, and it was a very nice meal which everyone appeared to enjoy.

Simon Howlett and his family were unable to attend due to his recent health problems, which we hope will clear up soon. I think there was only one other person who was unable to attend, and I believe there were about 50 sitting down for lunch. A very good turnout.

The meal over, a short presentation of plants was made to the catering staff, and we were then able to either look around our old houses or go back to the hall for further remembrances. I believe that Alex saw to the house visits.

As is often the case with a successful gathering of like-minded people, the time flies, and it was no different on Sunday and it seemed no time before Nick Seward addressed us with updates about how the school is progressing with numbers at their highest, the re-use of houses to cater for the ever increasing number of girls.

James Woolliams gave a short piece about the archive room and the desire to get as much digitised as possible to ultimately upload it to our KHSD archives.

Kenny Wingfield then gave a talk about the KHS XFactor, and the difference it made to him and many others preparing us for life after KHS. Incidentally the detail he used for this talk is in his book 'Rags to Riches & Bungles' which he published in 2009, the proceeds of which he is donating to charity. I'm sure copies are still available so please contact him directly if you would like a copy. Cost £10 plus P&P.

And then it was 4pm. People started to disperse, reluctantly it seemed, but with promises to keep in touch. Meanwhile it was left to the few to pack away the archive material and return it safely to its secure storage.

Our thanks go to Nick Seward for his warm welcome, his communion service and presence throughout the day; To Harriette (I hope I've spelt that correctly), who we trust will be arranging next years Rohilla Day; To Alex and Katrina for their hard work in preparing, transporting archives and taking visitors around some houses; To the catering staff who prepared the food and then served at the tables so well. We also thank all those Old Boys and families who came and joined in the activities on the day, from all over the country. We all hope you enjoyed the day and will come back as often as possible for these events.

The final act of the day was for a few of us to make our pilgrimage to Kingham churchyard where we planted some bulbs around Teddie's resting place. We also thought for a moment about the Rohilla tragedy as there are two graves there near Teddies, one of whom was Robin Knight, whose mother is also buried close to him. She also served KHS over many years.

And so another fine day of memories, old friendships and nostalgia came to a close for another year. Will there be another one?

 

words by Frank Foster

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