I am very honoured to be President of the Old Tonbridgian Society for 2019-2020.
I am by no means the only member of my family to have been to Tonbridge. My son went there, as did both my brothers and two of my nephews.
Where I must be more unusual is in having a sister who attended the school. She was not unique in that respect at the time. In my last term, there were two girls (including Victoria Everett, daughter of Christopher) in my history classes. My own sister came to the school for a term to prepare for the Oxbridge exams that then existed and was left impressed and envious. Not only were lessons no longer conducted around tables in what had previously been the needlework department, but the education was stimulating in a way that she had not known before. She has never forgotten lessons given by Christopher Everett that managed to encompass Star Trek, Rousseau and Jefferson! She was also struck by the dedication of the staff. Above all, she noted the way in which the school built confidence and encouraged pupils not to be afraid to express opinions.
My son having been a pupil, I can vouch for the fact that the school continues to offer an outstanding education. The buildings and grounds were splendid even when my siblings and I were there, but they are even more magnificent today (not least with the arrival this year of the Barton Science Centre), as I recently saw at Skinners Day. Much more importantly, though, the school is blessed with able and committed staff willing to go the extra mile and keen to encourage boys to make the most of their talents, whichever they might be. The school still thrives academically, of course, but it also excels in so many other areas. It goes from strength to strength.
So too does the Old Tonbridgian Society. I have seen it said that the first Old Tonbridgian dinner was held in 1744. Be that as it may, numerous OT events nowadays take place each year, both in this country and elsewhere in the world. As well as annual features such as the dinner, summer lunch and City drinks, there are periodically other reunions both here and in Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and the United States, not to mention the activities of the numerous sports clubs. On top of all that, we now have the Tennant Lecture Series and the Parents’ Arts Society.
I very much hope that you will be able to take part in OT activities in the coming year. I would also welcome any ideas or suggestions you may have, as I know would Richard Hough, who has taken over as chairman from the indefatigable David Walsh, and Catherine Harmer (firstname.lastname@example.org), Becca Watson (email@example.com) and Katerina Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org), who administer and support the Society so ably.