On a rainy Monday 4th December, 26 OPs met at the distinctive Wykeham Arms in Winchester, a well-known local hostelry which has been a pub since 1755 in what was formerly the red-light district of the city, for the start of Christmas festivities.
The group were mainly of the 1950s and 60s vintage, plus Phillip Plato, OPS Chairman and Joe Spenser who were from the 1970s.
Pre-lunch drinks were held in the main bar before moving up two flights of stairs to a private dining room upstairs. Here, in a ye-olde atmosphere of yester year, the assembled company sat down to enjoy a two-course menu with choice of fare, including the traditional turkey and Christmas pudding.
The event was organised by a local resident Robin Paine (1955-58), who, in his short welcoming address, congratulated Mike Harris (1954-59), Rear Admiral and Falklands veteran, on recently becoming the 9th Baron Harris of Seringapatam and Mysore and Belmont, County Kent. Mark Dumas (1964-68), OPS President, thanked Robin for his efforts.
Phillip Plato (1973-77) gave an update on a busy programme of events for the coming year. He placed special emphasis on regional OP events such as this lunch, and hoped that there would be many more in 2024 in areas such as the East of England, the Midlands and Southwest England that have held successful lunches in the near-past.
Philip also highlighted the 2024 OP Weekend at the College on April 20/21 when OPs will be celebrating the centenary of the first OP Reunion, at the same time as the Society dines out the departing Headmaster Thomas Garnier. Bookings for this special weekend, which will also include a March Past by an OP division at the Sunday parade, are already reaching Sue Carpenter, the College organiser, in some numbers.
Many of those attending the Winchester lunch had not seen each other for some time, so the room was filled with lively chatter, laughter and good old fashioned OP camaraderie. A repeat event next year has already been requested by several of those attending.
Read the extraordinary story of actor Peter Butterworth's WWII exploits as uncovered by his son OP Tyler Butterworth (1972 - 1977) More...