Note from the Incoming Old Bordenian Association Hon. Chair - October 2023

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Asked, “What was the most significant event of 1912 ?”, I suppose that most people who do respond would say “Ah, that was the year of The Titanic disaster”.

An Old Bordenian, however – I would hope – might answer, “Ah, that was the year the Old Bordenian Association was founded”.

One of those two iconic institutions is still going.   I rest my case.    I suppose it is a question of perspective.

An incoming Hon. Chair for the Old Bordenian Association must make four commitments:

The first commitment has to be to leave it …

in at least as good condition as it was received.

The second must be to thank and acknowledge the outgoing Hon. Chair, Mark Bailey, who has tilled the helm for the past six years. Mark takes up the role of Hon. Secretary and remains also Dinner Secretary to organise the Reunion Dinner (currently in planning for April 2024).

In the same breath, thanks go, too, to Dave Palmer for his stalwart role as Hon. Secretary and on the Committee for more years than I can count (but, fortunately, he has left behind his accurate records to refer to, on that one !). Dave, the ‘Boomerang’ Hon.Secretary, retiring several times but always coming back, has finally shelved his kylie to stand down from the Committee. Mark Bailey will take up the digital quill for the coming year.

The third commitment must be to offer a focus, theme, flavour, goals.

The greatest challenge remains unaltered, stretching back decades: how can the OBA remain relevant to future generations of Old Bordenians ?

The notions of ‘fellowship’, ‘a corporate spirit’ and ‘reunion’ are written into our Constitution, as is the notion of ‘help’, and these remain as valid today as ever.

We want to maintain the Association’s ability to contribute financially to enrich students’ lives at the school, and we achieve this through your kind donations.

We want to explore, more, the practical help that each of us could offer to the school from our own skills sets and experience.

To this end, an initiative has already begun for OBs to offer Work Experience Placements through the School, inspirational careers insights, and interview skills and practice for Current Bordenians as they transition from school to Further and Higher Education and to Work. Just like you did.

If you could potentially offer a Work Experience Place, or if you could potentially give an inspirational presentation to the school (live, or recorded) please do get in touch.

It might surprise many that, after more than a century, the OBA has no formal recognition of its charitable work.

To address this, we shall be reviewing the wording to our Constitution, dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t s and using some prerequisite phrases to satisfy the Charities Commission and HMRC. We shall shortly be asking you to review our recommended changes so that we can apply to those venerable bodies.

Recognition will open the gates to being able to support the school more financially, and to unlock resources which will then become free to the Association.

If you work within the corridors of HMRC or its environs, with an insight into how they like their wording, perhaps you could get in touch with a little advice.

2028 will be the 150th anniversary of the founding of the school in 1878, and the centennial academic year for the move to the present site (and the Association’s 126th anniversary !).

How should we mark these landmarks as an Association ? Please let us know your ideas.

I, for one, would like to set the goal and challenge to fully digitise the Maroon and Bordenian magazines as a fully searchable history of the school on our website, in time for our sesquicentennial. And to involve both OBs and Students in that project.

If you have copies, particularly of the Bordenian, but also of school photos and press cuttings, please do get in touch.

Many schools do not have an alumni organisation. I am told even of a school with more than a 500 year history that has ditched its association. They don’t value it. Some resentfully go to a school, the teachers do education at them, they get some qualifications and they leave as soon as they can. I hope that Borden holds more special memories for you, and I hope that the OBA does have, and continues to have, value to you.

I hope that the OBA continues to offer Borden and its students its ‘After Sales Warranty’ for many generations to come.

I mentioned four commitments. The fourth commitment ? Brevity.

And I shall no doubt explore that, in due course, at a later date and at great length.

So, until hell freezes over – and creates titanic icebergs – I offer you a toast to the longevity of the Association:

MCMXII ad aeternum !

Mark Sayer, Hon. Chair