Back to school for over 250 former pupils

Joe Launchbury and Sir Richard Nichols SUS-140905-130350001
Joe Launchbury and Sir Richard Nichols SUS-140905-130350001

England Rugby player, Joe Launchbury, was amongst the many guests on Old Blues Day at Christ’s Hospital, an annual event when the school throws open its doors to former pupils and their families.

In spite of the rainy forecast on Saturday 26 April, the weather was kind and the event, organised by Christ’s Hospital Old Blues’ Association, welcomed over 450 visitors. With plenty on the itinerary, Old Blues enjoyed seeing inside their old boarding house and visiting the museum as well as hearing the Old Blue Choir singing with the current school Chapel Choir during the Chapel Service. Lunch was either inside Big School or outside where some families chose to picnic in the magnificent grounds.

A collection of rare cars added to the day’s attractions, many owned by Old Blues. Models such as an Armstrong Siddeley Star Sapphire 1959 which is one of 900 made with only a few left in the world, a Riley RMB, a Jaguar XK 120 (DHC) 1953, an Austin 10 and amongst other makes - an Aston Martin DB 2/4 mk 1 1954 which was totally rebuilt over a period of four years from parts found in a barn.

A moving part of the day is the presentation of the Special Recognition Awards. Introduced three years ago, the award is an acknowledgement to alumni who have made an important contribution to the profile of the School through the local, national or international community of Christ’s Hospital in the course of their career, through voluntary or charitable work.

Joe Launchbury, Wasps England Rugby Lock (educated at CH 02-09) received an award for young achievers. Sir Richard Nichols (47-55), former Lord Mayor of the City of London, for his contribution to the community and commitment to Christ’s Hospital and author Bryan Magee (41-48) for achievement in a chosen career. Bryan, 84, was educated at Keble College, Oxford and is a noted philosopher and author. Timothy Parsons (42-49) also received an award for achievement in a chosen career.

Tim is a Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia. His lifetime work has been to establish a new ecosystem approach for the management of fisheries using oceanographic information. For invaluable commitment to CH, awards went to Graham Mellstrom (41-48), Sally O’Brian (70-77) and Neville Osmond (44-51).

The awards were presented by Mike Hiard, the Chairman of the Board of School Governors and John Franklin, Head Master. John Franklin said: “We were delighted to welcome so many Old Blues and their families back to Christ’s Hospital. Old Blues play an active and vital role, by supporting us in many different ways from generous gifts to the provision of careers advice, mentoring and as role models. We are grateful for their ongoing support.”

Report contributed by Christ’s Hospital. Pictures by David Baird.