Tony Prichard Memorial Debate

Alumni

Friday 18th March saw OKs from five decades returning to the School to celebrate the 38 years of service given to KGS by Tony Prichard, who died last October.

The focus of the evening was a debate between the past and the present on the motion (one, we hope, that would be close to Tony’s heart) that ‘This House believes that KGS is a Better Place since the Introduction of Girls’.

The motion was proposed by a team from the current Gibbon Society consisting of one girl and one boy from each of the Lower Sixth and Fourth Years. Opposing the motion were three doyens and a doyenne from the Society’s illustrious past: Gopal Srinivasan represented the 1950s, Chris Swift the 1960s, Diana Hulbert, one of the very first intake of girls, the 1970s and Nick Thomas, who was here both before and after the introduction of girls, the 1980s. The debate was chaired by Eleanor Varley, the present member of staff i/c the Gibbon Society.

The standard of debating was very high, with strong arguments on both sides and no shortage of wit and good humour as well. There was the intense cut and thrust of ‘points of information’ to keep things lively, and some shrewd and very funny contributions from the floor. Considering the age gap between the oldest member of the OK team and the youngest from the current Gibbon Society (some 55 years at a guess?), the contest was very evenly fought, but the floor votes gave the edge to the youngsters by some way.

After the votes our distinguished judging panel returned to give the formal verdict. The Head Master, Stephen Lehec, was joined on the panel by David Grossel, OK and former Head of History and Master i/c the Gibbon Society, and Alex Ward, probably our most distinguished debating Old Boy, having coached Leyden University to European and World Championships and the Portuguese national team. Their verdict went against the sentiment of the House to award victory to the OKs, singling out Nick Thomas as the top performer of the evening.

Afterwards, the teams and the audience enjoyed a drinks reception and light buffet and shared their memories of Tony with our guests of honour, Tony’s sisters Judith and Angela. It was a great pleasure to welcome them both to the School and their presence made the occasion truly special. After the proudly contested debate, one thing all those present could agree on was that it was a very enjoyable evening and a fitting farewell to one of the great figures of the post-war generation of teachers, one whose many years of distinguished service will long be remembered for his wit, erudition, culture and most of all his tremendous sense of fun.

“It was a great evening. The whole brought back many memories, not only of all we, as new governors, were required to do to accommodate those 'honorary boys' but of the travails of the time in getting all underway. It was the plan Sidney Miller 'sold' to the retiring Board and, in retrospect, it was a complete transformation.”

David Hattersley (OK 1951 and governor 1978 - 2005)

“I enjoyed…both teams’ contributions and would like to congratulate the school team for their excellence and their courtesy to me when I arrived very early. The standard they achieved was impressive, and the generous hospitality afterwards was very welcome. I am sure Tony would have been delighted by this event and touched to have been thought of in this way. I met him when I joined the School at twenty-two years old in my first appointment and stayed friends with him for forty years.”

Andrew Stafford (English Master 1971 - 1975)

Please click here to view photographs of the evening.