Pride in Belonging

21 December 2023

Dear Old Boys

This is our last Gravel for the year, intended just to remind you of a couple of key events coming up before you close out for the year.

We already have most of our events for 2024 locked in and I look forward to seeing you at them.

First up, on 19 January 2024 at Rathkeale is the College 1st XI vs Old Boys Cricket Club match from 11 AM on the Oval. What a wonderful way to spend a summer's day on what, we all know, is among the most beautiful cricket grounds in the country. Duncan Didsbury (1990-1994) is leading our team and Shay O'Gorman (1988-1992) is the coach of the College XI. If history is anything to go by the College will need to be on its game as the Old Boys have been on a winning streak for some years. Bring a picnic, there will be a barbecue available and hopefully a good selection of families of current students and Old Boys. If it's warm, the river is just there.

The Christmas holiday is also time to think about the ROBA 4WD Tour at Easter. This is shaping up to be a fantastic fundraiser for your Association, taking you into country you might not otherwise have had access to. Who will you have in your vehicle? How will you be decking out your "Camp Rathkeale" set up. Will you bring the Hilux or the Range Rover? Remember, the funds we raise from this will allow us to put on even better functions and benefits to members. One of those will be increasing our scholarship program. What could be a better way to raise money than enjoying this weekend?

For those of you whose years finished in "4", time at the bach is also time to be jotting down the names of those in your year group you want to contact and ensure they are coming to your Decade Reunions at King's Birthday Weekend in June 2024. 1974, 84, 94, 2004, 2014, this is your time. We are also hoping that some of The Originals from 1964 will also come to next year's Decade Reunions. The Originals have done some amazing work collecting their memories together and we are hoping we can support them publish that in 2024. It will be an important and fascinating history.

Like you, I am sure, I have had a busy end of year, especially as my second son, Matthew, finished his five years at Rathkeale and charged out into the open world (watch out, World!). Boarder's Dinner, Prize Giving and the Leavers' Ball at the Solway Copthorne (looking remarkably familiar from many years ago) have all made it a rich time. Getting ready for the Ball is now a big thing - here is a photo of some of us from 1987 and our sons and daughters gathered on the lawn outside the Dining Hall - Matt Bell was there also but trapped somewhere near the afternoon tea table. Thanks to my old friend and classmate Blair Cole for rolling out the Lamborghini Diablo to take Matt Bassett's daughter Sophie to the Ball in. It made for a wonderful entrance.

We had a wonderful ROBA Wellington & Wairarapa Christmas drinks function at the White Swan on Friday 7 December. We had members across the ages. Chris Gannon (1966-1970) was up from Mapua. Pete and Prue Smith from Martinborough were there with others from that age group. Showing incredible dedication, Max Spencer (2014-2018) came literally from the airport having just landed from Boston, along with brother Tom and dad, Ray. Finally, the 2021 Leavers doing engineering at Canterbury, including Charlie Sims, had a good time close by the outside fire. Great setting, lovely food and great company made for an excellent night.

As I took the train to work for the last time this morning, I reflected on the many connections around me with Old Boys. Marcus Le Quesne (1996-2000) catches the 7:32 AM from Ava with me, Simon Wright (1979-1983) works at the College of GPs in our building, and as I parked in Greytown at the weekend, who else but Rusty Donworth (1982-1986) walked past, clutching wine bottles (for the staff party), of course. I'm grateful to have a great network of friends and connections to the Old Boys and Rathkeale. I hope you bump into some of yours over Christmas and the holiday period.

All the best for the festive season.

Edward Cox

Rathkeale Old Boys Association

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