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The President's Welcome

Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO - OTS President for 2020-2021

Many of the best things in life are completely unexpected. In 1973 I served on the Committee of the Old Tonbridgian Society immediately after I left Tonbridge. I had never dreamt I would be asked to serve as your President. When the suggestion came I agreed immediately without the slightest hesitation, for a simple reason, it was one small way of repaying the huge debt I owe to Tonbridge School.

Although I have of course kept in close touch with the school over the years; often visiting for talks, lectures and other meetings, serving as OT President will be a much richer opportunity to re-connect with the community.

Our school community, currently led by James Priory, remains as full of energy and enterprise as ever. Those qualities, and others of resilience and resolution, will be needed in the new world now being born, slowly and painfully. For just as the best in life can be unexpected, so too can the most challenging, and these setbacks are often unforeseen.

We don’t yet have a full picture of the world after Covid. Through the fog of uncertainty, we can discern its outlines; higher priority for the health of our communities, more remote working and learning, fewer meetings, less travel, and in the short term we can expect much higher levels of public, corporate and personal debt.

As Tonbridge has always done, with the unceasing engagement of the Skinners’ Company, the school and community will rise to these challenges, to overcome them with the quiet, confident, distinction that is the Tonbridge way. Under Richard Hough’s excellent leadership, the Old Tonbridgian Society will play its part by adapting, innovating, and supporting the community. This is a community which many of us feel a respect and affection with, born from such deep roots in our experience of one of England’s finest schools.

There is much to be said and done in the weeks and months ahead, in the meantime, I pledge to do all I can to discharge the honour of serving as President by supporting the Society and the School as we move forward together. 

Please let Richard Hough, Becca Watson rebecca.watson@tonbridge-school.org or me have your suggestions for other ways we can support you. I welcome you to contact me directly at: sherard@cowpercoles.com
 
Sherard Cowper-Coles
(PS 68-73)