Here follows a summary of the events of the whole day, held on 26th May 2018, the tributes given by various members of the OA Club, and one of the speeches given at the OA Dinner.
The Old Abbotsholmians’ Club Reunion Day 2018
By Danni Arnold (formerly Knott) Knott and Nikki Darnell (formerly Knott)
(Danni was a pupil until 2017 and is now a committee member of the Old Abbotsholmians’ Club. Nikki taught at Abbotsholme for many years, and was also the Houseparent of Orchard House.)
On a beautiful day in May, Abbotsholme stood stately and welcoming in the sunshine as Abbotsholmians congregated from far and wide to celebrate the life of one of the best of her own, Tom Palmer.
Former students whose lives Tom had touched arrived with their wives, husbands and children; old friends and colleagues separated by time and distance were brought back together by a shared desire to be part of this eloquent act of remembrance. For Tom Palmer; but how could it be for Tom? He was an indefatigable force. So kind, so cheerful, so good, so clever. Yet we gathered, greeting each other with a sense of bewilderment and pleasure, because how could one not feel pleasure, when contemplating the life of Tom and when meeting in his honour?
Old Abbotsholmians travelled back to school to take on the current Abbotsholmians. Some not-so-old friendly faces were amongst the OAs, including A full tribe of Burgess-Lumsdens, along with Sophie Baker, Rach Ekstein, Henry Pritton, Henry Sanderson and Robbie Cooper. There were guest appearances from Ben Hurst, our in-house Loughborough Under Grad, and Tracey Perkin, Vice-Captain of Abbotsholme Hockey Club.
The OAs started very strongly, scoring after just two minutes, showing the As that they meant business. The As soon replied, and continued to go on a goal rampage in the run-up to half time. Goals from Joe Knott, out of position Toby Hall and Ollie Astle put them ahead at half time 6-2.
This year, the Reunion Dinner will be held on the same day as the Memorial Service for Tom Palmer who died last August, details of which are in the February newsletter. This will be a service in which we can celebrate all that Tom achieved in his life, including his 24 years as a member of staff at Abbotsholme. We hope that as many people as possible will be able to attend both the service and the dinner that evening, although some people may, of course, choose only to attend one or the other.
Please note that as the event takes place in school term-time, we will not be able to offer accommodation at the school this year. We have put together a short list of some of the local accommodation available which you can find below.
We are delighted that we have two guest speakers at the dinner this year, Chris Hall and Jenny Richardson. Both are, I am sure, very well known to most of you.
Chris, who was a pupil at Abbotsholme in the 1970s, has always maintained the closest of links with the school. He is a long-standing member of the OA Committee, and he has been a school governor for many years. Over the past fifteen years or so, all three of his sons have been pupils themselves, with Toby, the youngest, still in the Sixth Form. Chris is currently Abbotsholme’s Chair of Governors, and he somehow manages to combine this role with running his own large, successful farm, holding a senior position in Staffordshire Young Farmers and teaching clay-pigeon shooting every week to Abbotsholme pupils. He is an excellent speaker, full of warmth and humour, and his love of Abbotsholme knows no bounds.