After a Covid-enforced 2 year break, the Old Alts annual dinner sprang back into life on March 4th, at Blanchflower restaurant in Altrincham.

Deliberately with a new format (new venue, smaller numbers, fewer speeches, less formality) the Committee has received some pretty favourable feedback, so elements of the new format will most likely be repeated in future years.

Special mention must go the Blanchflower restaurant and staff – the food and service was really excellent (dare I say it – a significant upgrade on recent dinners), and the price was pretty reasonable too.

A little over 50 guests and staff attended, which was just about right for the venue and meant a proper noisy, jovial atmosphere – exactly as one would hope and expect form such an event. There was a palpable sense of excitement at meeting up with old friends after our enforced absence.

There were some traditional touches: Our Chair – Christian James, welcomed guests, lit the Reggie Thompson candle, and we all took a moment to reflect on the past couple of years – especially those who are no longer with us.

Christian’s speech was disappointingly/mercifully short (delete as applic.): thanks went to Stephen Perrett for organising the dinner, Colin Bamford for helping keep the Association communications going during the past couple of years, Larry Bode for reminding us of the importance of the Arts to the Association and Gill Williamson for tirelessly helping promote the Association amongst the current school population.

Christian also announced the major event in everyone’s sporting calendar. Forget Wimbledon, the FA Cup final, Royal Ascot and the British F1 Grand Prix. Drop everything for Wednesday 6th April when the lumbering might of the Old Alts sports teams take on the fearsomely-competent school teams. A winner-takes-all encounter (until next year).

Headmaster Greame Wright replied on behalf of the School, commenting on how far folk had travelled to be present. We had guests from as far away as Wilmslow ….  Warwickshire  ….. Somerset ….. and Sidney Australia (which rather won the prize for furthest travelled).

The School is in rude health with a great and still-growing reputation. Impressive numbers leave to Oxbridge and Russell-group universities in the UK, and increasingly the American Ivy League too. But the school has always been about more than academic excellence – helping boys develop great character is what helps AGSB stand apart.

The school continues to shine in music, debating and of course sport – with a real breadth of sports offered, and at a high standard too.

The school has re-introduced a ‘House’ system, which is bedding in nicely – thanks to House sponsors for the part they play in making this possible.

The School continues to grow: by 2025 there will be 7 entry forms and around 1500 pupils. This growth is supported by new building projects, and a plan to reinvigorate the school playing fields. There will be some fund-raising events in May and June 2022 to support future school development plans.

Finally, with a hearty “thanks” to the Association, and especially to all guests, speeches concluded.

Raffle prizes included alcohol, alcohol and er …. (you guessed it – more alcohol). Ticket sales raised a tidy sum – which will eventually find its way back to the school in form of a donation or purchase of some special equipment.

An excellent evening’s fun – see you all in 2023.