Fifty six Old Bordenians attended this year’s annual dinner at UK Paper Clubhouse in Avenue of Remembrance, Sittingbourne, including retired headmaster Bryan Short and the vice-chair of school governors, Phil Bromwich.
Welcome messages were read out from OBA vice-president Peter Lusted and from Borden Grammar School head teacher Jonathan Hopkins.
The head teacher’s report stated:
"Writing this has provided a welcome break from being in the middle of a two-day recruitment for a new Assistant Headteacher and it is probably appropriate to reference some of the long-standing staff who have retired in the past year:
• David Jenkins retired at Christmas after 34 years’ service as Head of Science
• Geoff Sandiford also retired at Christmas after 31 years as Head of Technology
• Rob O’Brien retired as Head of English after 23 years’ service in the summer.
• Keith Groom will be retiring this Easter having worked as a Technology teacher for 20 years.
Whilst recruitment is arguably the sternest challenge facing the profession we are fortunate that many staff choose to commit to the school for periods of long service.
Sporting success: Year 9 won the Kent Cup in Football, beating The Harvey from Folkestone 2-0 in the final. Year 7 ‘B’ team shared the Kent Cup with Hurstmere School, having drawn the final 1-1. Over 100 teams enter the tournaments each year so these were stand out successes. Clearly the Old Bordenians reference on the side of the minibus propelled teams to victory!
Academically: The school achieved its’ best GCSE results for years in the summer of 2015; this was obviously achieved against a backdrop of tougher standards nationally. The school achieved the best value-added score for any school in Swale and was delighted to do so well.
Borden on tour: School trips ranged from Geographers venturing to Iceland, Historians to Berlin and The Battlefields; Linguists to France & Spain; RE students to Auschwitz and skiers to The Alps! Parents of new boys are encouraged to start saving from an early age!
Smartening up the main building: Many old boys or parents who have attended school events in recent months have commented on how smart the main building looks following the installation of new windows and doors. The £450k project has been signed off and has maintained the character of the building whilst adding somewhat to its appearance.
Finally, the school roll now stands out 820 students, 50 more than when I started a few years ago.”
The guest speaker was Old Boy Stephen Bedelle Lieutenant Commander (Royal Canadian Navy). Steve joined Borden Grammar School in 1969 and left after ‘O’ levels in summer 1974. He joined the Royal Navy in January 1975, aged 16, as a Junior Electrical Mechanic, and after a year of training joined his first ship, HMS Euryalus, a Plymouth based Leander class frigate.
Having only ever been abroad once before joining the Navy (a day trip to Ostende), his first trip abroad with the good ship Euryalus was, of course, to Ostende. A Caribbean deployment late in 1976 more than made up for this somewhat disappointing start to his globetrotting adventures with visits to several tropical islands and two trips to Rio de Janeiro.
Further sea time in HM ships Cardiff and Avenger, which included service in the Falklands Conflict in 1982, was followed by extensive training courses, then two more years of sea time in HMS Scylla and promotion to Chief Petty Officer Weapon Engineering Artificer in 1986.
After promotion from the ranks to Sub Lieutenant in 1990, another two years at sea beckoned, this time in HMS London, a Plymouth based frigate, which included trips to the States, Russia, the Gulf of Oman and Singapore.
Various shore appointments in the Portsmouth area culminated in promotion to Lieutenant Commander in 2003 and a final golden goodbye posting in 2005 to Halifax, Nova Scotia, on exchange with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) for three years, ending a 34 year career in August 2008.
However, the opportunity to remain in Canada and continue serving, only this time with the RCN, was too good to pass up and he has served a further seven and a half years with the RCN in Canada’s capital city, Ottawa.
Steve concluded his speech with an impassioned appeal for the long term survival of the Old Bordenian Association and the protection of the long-term friendships it fosters from school days as well as the financial support it has been able to afford the school over the years. He was given a standing ovation.
Neil Hancock then reminded those present that they were able to repay any debt they felt they owed to Borden Grammar by making a bequest to the school in their wills, citing the example of the late Kenneth Sears who had generously left £10,000 to the school. Neil pointed out that as an Academy the school is always in need of funds.
The pictures below are a selection of those taken at the Dinner (with many thanks to Dave Spicer). All pictures taken are available on Flickr at https://flic.kr/s/aHskwiHnH4.
Attendees (by table number) were:
Table 1: Alan Snelling; Martyn Calder; Cliff Cork; Mike Pack; Ian Baron; Peter Jeffrey
Table 2: Robert Dammers; Philip Nye; Paul Bedelle; Steve Bedelle; Phil Clements; Ken Coker
Table 3: Neil Hancock; Peter Taylor; Richard Waldmeyer; Alan Eyles; Phil Bromwich; David Carey
Table 4: Guy Lefroy; Alexander Earl; Steven Earl; Tim Hewett; Richard Evans; Dr Alan Whiting; Ray Hill; Alan Hill
Table 5: Barry Gilbert; Ian Hazell; Terry Saunders; Keith Fairbrass; Ivor Jones; Sean Caveney
Table 6: Rev'd Stanley Evans; Bryan Short; Allen Wraight; Graham Barnes; Ken George; E Hobday
Table 7: Dr Andrew Edney; Tony Whibley; Peter Bedelle; F E Baker; Dennis Fowle; John Bishop; Gerald Bishop; Mike Revell
Table 8: Bob Field; Dave Palmer; Dave Spicer; Phil Bryant; Stewart Jarrett; Andy Bushell; Keith Shea; Steve Crick; Lee Harding; Chris Laming