OLD BORDENIAN ASSOCIATION
For my sins, I came on to the OBA committee as the headmaster’s rep, at the request of Bryan Short back in 1969. Since then, Old Bordenians have attended Annual Dinners, both in Sittingbourne and on the island, organised Dances, performed on stage in Revues, played Football, Hockey and Cricket - all in the name of the Old Bordenians.
There is no contractual obligation to undertake these activities but there is an underlying connection brought about through long standing friendships and memories of the school. Many have gone way beyond the call of duty: Alan Wilson and his success in making the Hockey club one of the most successful in Kent, organisers of the Dinners and members of the committee, some of whom came on board 40 or 50 years ago.
Recent years have seen the activities reduce to a single Dinner, the Hockey Club and a 5-a-side football team. Modern life brings many challenges and a multitude of alternative distractions, and the OBA has seen new membership slowly dwindling. The Committee recognised that the link with younger Old Bordenians was virtually non-existent and that social media had in many ways replaced what the OBA used to do.
The Committee has evolved, albeit at a gentle pace. Only one meeting a year is now held supported by ad hoc smaller sub meetings as necessary. We only communicate with members by email - again a saver of costs and hours of licking envelopes and stamps! Many bemoaned the loss of the Maroon, an excellent production for many years, but one that was costing an increasing amount of money. The creation of the website not only removed these costs but meant that all news and articles were instantly available to everyone, rather than being up to 12 months old when first read.
This year’s AGM was hopefully a turning point. Buoyed by the fact that some “younger” Old Bordenians had felt that it was time to give something back by becoming involved, we have made some important decisions. The aim is to develop the Association’s membership base by better links with the younger generations and improve our relationship with the school, which has sadly never reached the heights achieved by John Macrae, that stalwart of both the school and the Association.
No Subscription - Since the Maroon came to an end, members could have argued that they receive nothing for their money, especially as attendance at the Dinner is not dependent on being a member. However, members have generally continued to pay their subs, no doubt recognising that these funds are used to support the school and Association activities such as the Dinner. The decision was reached at the AGM to scrap subscriptions. All pupils leaving Borden will automatically become members of the OBA. We hope that those members currently paying an annual subscription will allow these to remain live and be treated as a donation for the future. Annual donations can now be also made via PayPal direct from the website at any time.
Committee - Welcome and every success to Mark Bailey our new Chairman, Chris Terry our New Digital Rep, David Whitehead our new Dinner Secretary and not forgetting our other younger member Marc Stewart who is already the OBA School governor. Many thanks to those committee members who have retired after numerous years of service or who are now taking a back seat during this transition.
Old Bordenians have gone on after Borden into many different careers. Both old and young have become well known for their achievements. Others have avoided the spotlights but have equally been successful in their chosen field. The Association has a great future and welcomes every member’s input and support. I look forward to seeing as many as possible at the next Dinner.