Reunions

We are looking for people to run Year Group reunions around the Annual Reunion, possibly recognising a 10,20,30,40 or 50 year anniversary. If you need assistance with this please contact Gill Kelly 01256 860356 or sternians@lordwandsworth.org.

The main Annual Reunion at Long Sutton takes place in June each year on a normal school Saturday

The day generally starts with the AGM in the morning after coffee, followed by tours of the College conducted by current pupils. Drinks are accompanied by speeches including one from the Headmaster covering the year’s events at the College, followed by lunch. The afternoon is occupied by sporting activities and other one off events. The College will be playing either cricket or/and tennis matches against another school. Occasionally there will be an evening event as well.

Year groups, generally celebrating some anniversary, have recently been arriving on the Friday evening and organising their own celebrations at a local hotel or restaurant. This tends to mean they stay locally ready for the Saturday activities.

….so you are thinking of running a reunion !

The Annual Reunion is run by the Sternians Administrator on:

01256 860356 or at sternians@lordwandsworth.org

For a number of years now a lunchtime regional reunion has also been run in Bournemouth based around a restaurant. This usually takes place on a Saturday in April.

The Bournemouth reunion organiser is Bob Hunt on:

01329 662125 or by email
at
robfwh@ntlworld.com

The Sternians’ Association encourages anyone who wishes to organise their own reunion be it for Sternians generally in a region, or for their particular year or sports group. You will be helped with address details, advertising or circulars as required.

These notes are intended to assist anyone who is contemplating organising a reunion particularly based around their year group and the annual Long Sutton Reunion in June.

It has become traditional over recent years to make a special effort to incorporate reunions of specific year groups in the main annual reunion. These are usually, but do not have to be, based around specific anniversaries such as 10 or 25 years after leaving or 50 years after starting at LWC.

The formal weekend organised by the Sternians covers a full Saturday from 9.30am and gives ample opportunity to meet your contemporaries.

If you are thinking of taking on the challenge of organising your year group there are four principal things you need to think about

1) Finding everyone
2) Getting them to join you over the weekend
3) Administration
4) Organising some further activity over the weekend specifically for your year such as
a Friday evening Restaurant/Pub visit or Saturday trip to a local amenity

Finding Everyone

The Sternians’ Association maintains a database of all ex-pupils of LWC/Old Gosden and for about 60% of them have an address and telephone number and/or e-mail address. Prints or Computer Extracts of this database can be provided to you as a Sternians member with the usual proviso under the Data Protection Act that you only use the information to assist in organising a reunion.

The gaps in these addresses on the list will tend to be bigger the longer the period of time since leaving Long Sutton. However, it should also be recognised that amongst this address list some 30% are no longer correct because the individual has not informed the Association that they have moved on. Amongst recent leavers an address will more likely be the home (parents) address live when the pupil left. In reality therefore if you left more than 15 years ago do not expect addresses for more than 40% of your year to be present and correct.

The Association can help you find these missing people as they have access to Sternians records as well as Internet access to non ex-directory UK telephone numbers and the electoral register.

These facilities combined with the general Internet search engines and knowledge of brothers and sisters and the individuals themselves CAN lead to people being traced. Your input to this exercise would be in providing some background on lost people such as where they came from and what further education, career or training they might have gone on to if this is known. It is also possible you or the Sternian Office have an old address, which might give an indication of the general area they used to live in and still might be in. As the years go by people tend to move smaller distances.

Identifying people now living overseas, those who have changed their names though marriage or those that have died is more difficult but still has been done in some circumstances given a bit of luck. Deaths in the UK since 1984 are now particularly easy to find.

This whole process of finding lost people where possible does take two or three months to see through so think well in advance of any reunion you are planning.

Getting People Back

It cannot be emphasised too strongly that the best chance you have of attracting people back is by personal contact from someone they know. For best results this should be done by verbal contact but e-mail is a reasonable substitute. Some will have to be written to by snail mail when we don’t know their telephone number or e-mail address even if they have one. Though a general circular may bring in one or two that’s all it will do.

It should be realised too that contacting people after many years can get a mixed reaction. Some will be very pleased to be found. Some though will have unhappy memories of their time at Long Sutton. Surprisingly it is not easy to pre-judge what this reaction may be. You may want to think carefully about who it is who makes contact with these people after many years.

The usual question that is asked will be ‘… who is coming that I will know…’. For this reason it might be wise to have at least got a small number of names from your immediate circle together to at least show you will not be on your own.

When contacting someone you may well find they have remained in contact with someone else of your year that you have lost touch with. It is sensible to ask the question ‘are you in touch with anyone else’ but do not be surprised if the answer is NO. Please pass the details of any such ‘found’ people back to the Sternians office so that the database can be updated.

Administration

Do contact Gill Kelly in the Sternians Office at the College and let them know what you are trying to do and they will see what they can do to help. Gill sends out the general reunion invite and records any responses received. She will not, however, be able to organise your reunion or your year group for you!

If you wish to have anything added about your reunion in the Link newsletter, which is generally published in October and May, or to have any special insert put in the general reunion invite then send your ‘copy’ to Gill at sternians@lordwandsworth.org 01256 860356). If you want anything added to the website either to the ‘Year Groups’ link or/and with more details under the ‘Sternian Event ‘ link then email Gill. Remember that the reunion invite is normally sent only to known UK addresses.

You should also remember that beds are not available at LWC for the reunion and thus prospective attendees might want to know the details of local hotels and B&B establishments.

Though some information is normally included in the reunion invite you might want to get it from the admin office earlier in order to inform your contemporaries or better still go to this link where there is a list of Hotels/Pubs and Restaurants in the area. Popular places to stay are the Four Horseshoes Long Sutton, The Poachers South Warnborough, The George Odiham and The Raven at Hook.

An email address is really essential in order to run a reunion. Do not forget though that some will still have to be written to by snail mail. Communicating with the Sternians office and your contemporaries is always going to be quicker, cheaper and easier by email and even more so if any live overseas. You may well find people living overseas will attend, possibly around an annual holiday or business trip. Three very successful reunions have actually been run in recent years by people living in Canada, the USA and Singapore and were only practical because each had email facilities.

Further Activities

You are, of course, open to add further activities to the general reunion weekend under your own management. It has become quite common for a particular year to meet at The Four Horseshoes or Poachers beforehand either sometime on the Saturday or even Friday evening.

In some cases a Dinner has been organised at places like The George, Odiham and The Mill House, North Warnborough on Friday night for a group of years. Again this link will give you some suggestions. When you seek commitments to attend an event you are organising for the Friday/Saturday do make it clear to everyone that they still need to book Saturday Lunch/Dinner separately with the Sternians office (01256 860356) if they want to attend those activities.

Partners and families are invited to any part of the Saturday. Do not forget that partners, unlike yourself, generally do not know anyone of your year and might easily get bored. One reunion year widened the weekend with this in mind by including visits to Jane Austen’s house at Chawton and a visit to Selborne.

Other events could have been a visit to the Mid Hants Railway, a canal trip on the Basingstoke Canal at Odiham or shopping at a local town. Either way make sure you introduce partners all round and at least try and get them involved in your reunion. If a partner goes away having not had a pleasant time then you will lose both people at any future reunion. You ignore partners at your peril!

If it is some years since you were back at Long Sutton then it might be appropriate to have a guided tour of the school with emphasis on any new buildings. Of course people who have not been back for some years might just want to see their old haunts. A separate tour can be arranged through the administrator at sternians@lordwandsworth.org or you can join one of the pupil led tours at LWC on the Saturday.

Events do not have to be organised around the main reunion at Long Sutton, they can be at any time of the year, but it can help to give some more structure to your reunion.

Good luck !