Dinner 2013

Chris Laming reports:-


A move to the UK Paper clubhouse for the OBA annual dinner appeared to prove a popular choice with attendees, many of whom complimented the Association on the choice of venue and the quality of food and service.



In spite of the inclement weather there were only a few cancellations making a total of 82 diners on the night, the numbers boosted by a large delegation of leavers from 1988 who were celebrating their 25thanniversary of parting company with the school. More than 30 members also enjoyed a tour of the school hosted by caretaker Tim Hewitt who attended the dinner as the Association’s guest. This year’s speaker was practising GP Dr Nigel Dickson (68 – 75) who gave an entertaining and passionate talk about the formation of the NHS and his part in the health care system over the past 30 years including the time he managed to upset the politician Edwina Currie after he had criticised the Thatcher government for withdrawing nit nurses and how he struggled to cope with the demand for his services during a serious flu epidemic in the 80s when patients were dying before he could get to them.


In response, Peter Lusted, the vice-president of the OBA, thanked Nigel and also thanked members of the OBA committee for the roles they play in running the Association. In particular he thanked Keith Shea for his involvement with the football section over 37 years and then presented Keith with an engraved tankard to mark the occasion.


Harold Vafeas, the head teacher of Borden Grammar School and president of the Association, was sadly unable to be present due to ill health but he sent the following report which was read out to those present:


Dear Old Bordenians


I do hope that you are enjoying the evening and are in the midst of catching up with good friends and old acquaintances. I am sorry I cannot be with you on this occasion, but chemotherapy treatment makes it difficult to be out late on a cold evening.


This year I have worked at school alternate weeks during treatment that began last summer and will now continue into the autumn and probably beyond. There is little likelihood that I will be able to return to school full time in September and therefore I have informed governors that I will retire at the end of the school year. Staff, parents and pupils are aware of this.


When I started as Headteacher in September 2004 I was dimly aware that one of the perks and privileges of the post was being President of the Association. This was very much brought to life by the first committee meeting I attended. Once I got my bearings it was great fun. The clear interest in the school, as well as the Association itself, and the never ending stream of witticisms meant there was never a dull moment. Inevitably, over a series of committee meetings there have to be some dull moments. It would be impossible to maintain the characteristic high octane discussions and dazzling humour absolutely all the time! On occasion, so I understand, even some of my staff meetings can have dull moments, particularly linked so I am told to my belief in the importance of analysing statistics.


During the past year A level results have been good, second best to our 2011 record year, GCSE quite good but could have been better. This in particular has made

us re-examine teaching, assessment and progress during the first 3 years boys spend at the school.




We have had a renaissance in musical theatre during the past year. Last summer, about 40 young people from Sittingbourne presented a performance of ‘Les Miserables’ at Borden. They had rehearsed regularly throughout the summer at the school. They were led by four young men who have been excellent students at Borden and are going on to courses in Music and the Performing Arts. Over a third of those who took part were Borden students. Three packed houses enjoyed high class performances.  The school provided the facilities and moral support, the students did the rest. This was a terrific example of student initiative, of the wealth of creative talent within our community, and, of the school providing the context for them to realise their talents. In December Mrs Stanley our Head of Drama directed highly acclaimed performances of ‘The Nativity’. Next month many of those who took part in ‘Les Mis’ and ‘The Nativity’ will be performing in an Easter holiday production of ‘Sweeney Todd.’




On the sporting front I will mention two interesting if not mainstream achievements. Firstly, some of our Year 11 boys (5thformers), encouraged by Mr O’Neil, took up handball from scratch in the autumn and will be representing Kent at the national finals next month, having successfully taken Kent through the South East regional finals. All of the boys concerned play football, hockey, rugby or cricket to a high standard and are natural ball players. Our squash team, coached by Mr Whiting, entered the national U18 squash competition. They won their group, taking them into a knockout round of 32 schools. They won matches against The Reed School and Harrow that took them into the quarter finals.  They were drawn against Wycliffe, the school that has won the competition 5 times in recent years. They lost the match but were commended by the coach of what is undoubtedly the strongest squash playing school in England.



There is a great deal that can be said about sport and other cultural activities at the school. I would encourage you to explore the school website from time to time to view photos, the prospectus and other information that will keep you in touch with what the school is like today.




I would like to finish by thanking the Committee and all members of the Association for the tremendous support given to current pupils in the school through time and financial grants. All this support is greatly appreciated.




My best wishes to you all.




Harold Vafeas