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NEWS > Obituaries > Past President's Diary - Alan Toulson (1955-60)

Past President's Diary - Alan Toulson (1955-60)

I have not worn a chain of office before. This splendid decoration expresses strongly both the honour and the duty of the Presidency.
15 Feb 2023

I have not worn a chain of office before. This splendid decoration expresses strongly both the honour and the duty of the Presidency. It also conveys a sense of history and continuity because on the back of the links are engraved the names of all my predecessors commencing with the first President, Henry Spicer, appointed in 1879. In addition to the honour and the duty, the Presidency is immensely enjoyable and sociable. I have attended regional dinners in Manchester, Taunton and Cambridge, sporting lunches at Headstone Lane and Totteridge, professional dinners with engineers and scientists and men of property, drinks with the YOMS in the Three Hammers, and lunches with Past Presidents and Liverymen.

I have also had plenty of opportunities to visit the School. I attended the powerful Armistice Day ceremony and service and could not believe that I had not been in the Chapel for nearly 50 years. It was so familiar. On another visit, I was part of a large group of OMs, governors, parents and staff who saw the 1st XV beat Merchant Taylors to complete their season undefeated. If the Chapel, the Gate of Honour, the Portico and the slope on Top field remain unchanged, there is so much that is new. It is a pleasure to admire all the developments at the School and to observe the energy and enthusiasm of the School community.

The biggest event of my first half-year was the Golf Society’s Centenary Dinner held at Lord’s in December when I drew great encouragement from the strength of the Society and from the current success of the School team. I also attended the 50th Anniversary dinner of the Mellin Golf Tournament, a competition for the Over-55s from 16 public schools held at West Hill, Surrey. Ronnie Samuels is President and Cliff Rose Secretary of the Mellin and this year our team excelled in reaching the semi-finals.

In February, Andy Mortimer, Jim Kent and I with our wives visited Tony and Lucy Fitzjohn in Mkomazi and held the first recorded OM Tanzania Dinner. Then in May, my wife and I with a cohort from the UK joined Peter and Anita Wakeham in Lugano for the OM Swiss Dinner.

36 hours later I was airborne again, destination Melbourne, to participate in the Australian weekend enthusiastically organised by David Stannard.

The main event was the dinner on Saturday night at the RAC Victoria Club attended by 26 people (14 OMs), a superb event. As I arrived at the Reception, one of the OMs came over to greet me. I looked at his name label for identification. “No need to look at that, Toulson. You know me.” It was Roy Hanson, whom I last saw in 1967 when he was a dashing wing forward. The youngest OM was Aruna Buchanan Brown with her husband Richard, enjoying a year-long and worldwide honeymoon.

Earlier in the day, I was taken by Justin Wernham and his 4 year old son Arthur to my first “footy” game, between league leaders St. Kilda and their local rivals North Melbourne. After the Dinner, Robin and Judy Tillyard drove me to their homestead at Balnarring at the southern end of the Mornington Peninsula. Here we were joined for Sunday lunch by many of last night’s diners for another splendid event. All weekend, the weather was kind, the hospitality generous and the enthusiasm for the School and the Club inspirational.

Whilst away, I missed the inaugural City Dinner organised by Solon Satanas and well supported. This should become a regular event. Still to come are a long overdue visit to Alford House, the Rugby Dinner, OMs Day and Foundation Day and the North American Dinner in New York.

I would like to pay tribute to all the OMs who organise these events and to those who manage our sports teams and other activities. I also pay tribute to Andy Mortimer, Tim Corbett and Shalaka Karlekar who are central to all our activities. Finally, I thank all who have helped me during this year with your support, guidance, encouragement, hospitality, humour and commitment to the School and the Club. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be President.

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