Held at 4:30pm on Saturday 10th November 2018 in the Sedbergh School School Library.

Attendance: Jan Van der Velde, Bob Graham, Ben Collins, David Calvert, Isabella Bennett, Peter Marshall, Hugh Blair, John Morris, Rodney Swarbrick, Mike Grundy, Neil McKerrow, Bill Graham, Robin Wild, Norman Berry, Katy de la Rivière


  1. Apologies for absence: John Guthrie, Michael Adams, Marcus Baker, Duncan Berry, Andrew Fleck and Dan Harrison
  2. A minute’s silence was held for all those OS who have sadly passed away in the last year
  3. The minutes of the last AGM held on Saturday 16th September 2017 in the School Library were approved. Proposed by Rodney Swarbrick, Seconded by Neil McKerrow
  4. Chairman’s Review of the Year:

JvdV: Sports Weekend was attended by 130 young OS, including 70 girls, with 90 coming to the dinner. The Wilson Run Dinner was at capacity and was a vibrant event. The House of Commons Dinner was attended by 175 people. The Alumni Cross Country Race had 25 runners and 25 supporters. Other events included meeting at the Atlas Pub in Fulham, the Rugby Dinner, and the London Steakhouse event which were very successful. The final Pilgrimage trip was a great finale to the Pilgrimage. The Hong Kong 10’s event raised the profile of the Club and the School; 60 OS attended. Major sporting events have taken place including very successful hockey and netball tournaments. Ben Collins has been working on careers in collaboration with the Foundation- Graduway/Raisers Edge software- and with Paul Lucas in the common room. Other alumni associations now looking to the OS Club for inspiration. Ben has shown great vision.

  1. OS Pilgrimage 2018:

JvdV: Achieved something spectacular and unique. Bruce Cherry stated that the Pilgrimage had been a credit to the fallen, to the School and to British Society. Thanks to Neil McKerrow for his vision and work on in the project and to Katy and Richard de la Rivière for the obituaries. A working group is now looking at options for suitable next steps now that the WW1 Pilgrimage has ended.

  1. OS Database and Platform:

B.C: The new platform allows OS to connect, search for jobs, mentors and peers. There has been a 72% increase in new users and 127 views of the jobs board. 68% of people on the platform are willing to helping others with careers. The top schools now all use Raisers Edge database. It will reduce the man hours required to find specific groups such as all 1st XV players. Ben Walkom, grandson of Jennifer and Michael Thornely, is a great asset. He is cleansing the data to ensure it is up to date and compliant with GDPR legislation.

  1. Treasurer’s Annual Report and Financial Forecast

C: This year the Club has had a £8260 deficit because of investing in new opportunities such as the events to engage young OS. These subsidised events have resulted in increased participation in target groups. Next year a £5000 deficit is anticipated. The following two years there is likely to be a small surplus. The main income is from subs from pupils and members. The best way to increase income is to increase subs coming from members. The Club will be contacting all members to encourage paying £40 rather than low or no subs. The main cost this year has been the Hong Kong 10’s Tournament which cost £18,000 but Ben was able to secure £10,000 sponsorship. This was a one-off event which was costly but very successful. The aim is to break even by 19/20 or 20/21.

JvdV: Club must dovetail with the School and Foundation. Charitable status is being considered but may not be the best way forward as there is an additional administrative burden.

J.M: An issue with trying to increase the number of members who pay subs is that contacting them costs money in itself. How will the Club get people to engage?

D.C: The new magazine will be accompanied by a letter explaining the benefits of the Club. This will be sent to members encouraging them to pay subs.

J.M: How will young people be contacted as there are issues with them changing address without the Club knowing?

B.C: The new platform and social media allow us to keep in contact with younger OS. Links are made with sixth formers to help them with careers etc. and these are maintained through social media. The 12 months after a pupil leaves are the key time to maintain contact.

R.S: How many people pay subs?

B.C: 1000 people pay but the amount varies from £1 upwards. A letter explaining the request for greater subs will be sent with the magazine around Christmas. In the past, the OS magazine cost £14, 000. The cost of the new magazine will be around £3,000 funded by advertising, following the example of Harrow and Marlborough College.

  1. School Update – Peter Marshall (Chief Operating Officer)

P.M: The pupil roll is 550 and the school is trading well in a difficult market. The Prep School has seen a small reduction in numbers, but this is in part due to a large year group moving up to the senior school. £1 million has been spent on infrastructure. It is important to maintain the old buildings. It is important that the school continues to support OS children and grandchildren as well as the local boys’ and girls’ clubs. The school has a dynamic, young, aspirational common room under the new Headmaster, Dan Harrison. Next week is the formal opening of Sedbergh School China with 110 pupils. The School is undertaking an impact assessment of the school on local infrastructure. The Black Bull Hotel has met initial trading objectives. The pastoral system is supported by excellent Housemasters in an environment of heavy legislation. The School has achieved extraordinary sporting success winning the rugby Daily Mail trophy, 12 International school players, National champion in Tai-kwon-do, Girls Hockey and Netball National School Finalists, 4th out of 42 in dressage and winners of the Ashburton Shield. The best A-level results in modern history. The school is experiencing global increased demand and strong national demand. The school is expected to be at capacity next autumn. The future is very opaque with changes to VAT fees, Brexit, loss of business rate reductions in Scotland, changes to teachers’ pension contributions. The next strategic 5-year plan is being drafted. More investment in STEM technologies will be provided. Modernisations to the boarding houses are being costed. It is hoped that all boarding stock can be improved. Residential housing for staff will be built. The school is working with the local community and YDNPA, there is an aging population locally. The school is grateful for OS willing to serve the community- governors, trustees, OS Committee, school trading subsidiaries and other opportunities. The heritage of the school is of great value. This weekend we are honouring the casualties of WW1 and a new stone plinth is being installed to recognise sacrifice made by OS. Thanks to Neil, Ben, Katy and all of the team involved with the Pilgrimage. Joining the Pilgrimage was life-changing. St Andrews Church includes felt poppies made by pupils.

B:G: The educational, financial and pastoral leadership at Sedbergh is exceptional. Thank you for all that is done.

  1. Foundation Update – Isabella Bennett (Foundation Director)

I.B: Richard Witt will stay with the Foundation this year. It is important to acknowledge the great contribution he has made. Last year the Foundation raised £600,000. The Hirst Centre was completed at a cost of £1.4m. Roger Lupton Scholarship recipients are very happy to discuss the value of scholarships to their lives. The Foundation will evaluate how scholarship fundraising takes place in the current difficult climate. CECATS and STEM will be the next major campaign, perhaps not as CECATS but will work with school to support whatever strategy is for science, technology and computing. The partnership with Ben and the OS Club is essential. There is a positive working relationship. The next campaign is for the Chapel to renovate the roof and lighting. 1525 Society continues to recruit new members. There will be 3 lunches as in previous years. The Foundation has commemorated Rick Abbott with a sculpture by a Casterton parent. Ben Cole has a social and reception space in Lupton that will be formally opened in December and a Sugden room will be dedicated elsewhere in school.

  1. Honorary OS:

A vote was passed to make the following Honorary OS:

Jim Fisher

Yvonne Smith

Dan Harrison

Karen Bruce-Lockhart

Dr Bruce Cherry

  1. Election of Officers of the Club:

The committee agreed:

  1. re-election of Jan van der Velde as Club Chairman
  2. re-election of David Calvert as Club Treasurer
  3. re-election of Benjamin Collins as Alumni Director
  1. Membership of Committee:

The Committee agreed:

  1. re-election of John Guthrie as a Committee Member
  2. re-election of Michael Crawford as a Committee Member
  3. re-election of Norman Berry as a Committee Member
  4. re-election of Michael Adams as a Committee Member

The Committee noted:

  1. The retirement of Stephanie Gardner as a member of the Committee
  2. The retirement of Oliver Thompson as a member of the Committee
  1. AOB:

R.W: Regret the passing of hard copy material such as members list. Could this be reinstated? Other clubs do it.

B.C: G.D.P.R prevents it. All members would need to give formal consent and so would be much smaller list. The cost of producing the list is prohibitive. The Graduway platform offers ways to communicate.

J.v.d.V: If there is interest then a consent request could be included in a future mailing.

N.B: The address book is invaluable. It is useful to have something that isn’t digital so that it can be carried around.

B.G: Can review this issue.

J.M: When will next OS Weekend be?

B.C: The Club is waiting for 1st XV fixture to be announced so that it can coordinate with a home match. It is likely to be in October with an OS Sports Weekend in September.

R.S: Early October is preferred due to issues with travel in foul weather.

N.B: Could there be another Sedbergh School Register? Peter Yorke was working on one. Could this be shared?

Kdlr: Peter Yorke’s collection has come to the archive and this does include his work on the register. There is no information about who has given consent for information to be shared or how recently the addresses were given so would have issues with GDPR as need to obtain consent from everyone included and to check every entry to ensure it is accurate. The Club would need to do a great deal of work before it could be published.