Chairman's Report


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It is my great pleasure and a privilege on behalf of the Committee to present the 116th Annual Report of the Old Diocesan Union for the year ended 2011. What follows is an overview of the ODU Office’s activities during 2011.
It is important to this Committee that it delivers on the objectives as established in section 2 of the Rules of the OD Union. These objectives are: to bring ODs together; to keep them in touch with one another and the school; to promote the interests and welfare of Bishops; to maintain a bursary fund for the descendants of ODs. It is equally important to maintain focus and be aware of what our objectives are not – our objectives are not to run the school but to support it. I am reminded of the tribute paid by Solly Satchel to the OD Union in 1949 when he said:
“It is difficult to think of Bishops without at the same time thinking of the OD Union. Only those closely associated with the administrative side of the College can ever realise what the Present owes to the Past; they may be described respectively as the body and the soul of Bishops.”
It is the express intention of this Committee that it should ever be so. You simply cannot have a thriving OD Union without a thriving Bishops and vice versa. Support and mutual respect are critical to a positive working relationship.
In reviewing the activities of the Union this past year, I am impressed and encouraged by the willingness of ODs to contribute towards the objective of making the OD Union one of which we can all be proud. A competent, vibrant and active home for ODs of all ages is what inspires and motivates this Committee.
This report is presented under the headings of the four objectives of the union as determined by the rules of the ODU.



    The following classes held reunions during the course of the year: Classes of 1956, 1961,1971,1981,1991, 2001

    The 2011 Karoo Dinner was held on 28 May at Lemoenfontein Game Lodge, Beaufort West. This was organized by John Hayward. The guest speaker was Greg Brown, Headmaster of the Prep. Among the guests were Mike Bosman and Grant Nupen.

    The 2011 Boland Dinner was held at the Stanford’s Conference Centre Oliverock in Ceres on the 4th November. Adrian Kuiper and Tank Lanning were the guest speakers.

    The 2011 Gauteng Branch AGM and dinner were held at the Wanderers Club in Johannesburg. At the AGM, Richard Cock stepped-down and Richard King was elected as the new Branch Secretary. Richard Cock acted as master of ceremonies and Tim Hamilton Smith and Grant Nupen were the guest speakers. We wish to take this opportunity to thank Richard for his many years of dedicated commitment to the Branch, and we wish Richard King well in his new role.

    The first Nostalgia evening was held in June and gave ODs the opportunity to listen to Paul Dobson, Alan Douglas, Tim Hamilton-Smith and Basil Bey reminiscing about their combined 140 years of teaching. It is hoped that a series of such evenings will be staged in the future. This most successful event was the brainchild of John Dobson and Duncan Cruickshank.

    A wide range of activities was held on Founders Day, including Founders Day Eucharist, the Avenue Mile, seven cricket games against the school, four water polo matches, a basketball match and a shooting competition; there were also various cultural activities including art exhibitions and debating. The Committee is encouraged by the fact that Founders Day is once again becoming the most important date on the school calendar. The 2011 OD Union Dinner was held on the school premises for the first time in many years. The event was a great success with John Dobson as master of ceremonies and Gareth Penny, a most informative and thought provoking guest speaker. ODs enjoyed a drink at the Frank Reid on a still autumnal evening before proceeding to the Mallett Centre which was artfully decorated for the occasion.

    The event was held at Mowbray Golf Course. It was ably organised by Brian de Kock with the assistance of Cynthia and Brian Barends. The OD team gave a good account of itself coming second.

    Resuscitated by Duncan Cruickshank, this competition took place among our four traditional rival schools in the Western Cape and was held on 2nd September. The ODs shared the trophy with Wynberg Old Boys. Brian de Kock was the OD organizer of this event and we are delighted that he has agreed to take over the organisation of the Walker Cup from 2012.

    Once again it was wonderful to have both hockey and rugby played on the same day, followed by a combined function in the Heatlie Pavilion. This year saw the celebration of 150 years of Bishops rugby. In celebration of this an OD Rugby Legends team, led by John Dobson, narrowly lost to a South African Legends team comprised of many provincial and international players. The match was organised by Legends CEO Mike Barr OD and was televised on Supersport. A young OD team comprising students played against the Heatlie XV in the main game, where spectators enjoyed a treat of polished running rugby. There were two hockey sides, the old crocks and the 1st X1. The results were published in the December edition of the magazine.

    This has become an annual fixture played on the Friday night before the Bishops vs RBHS derby. We are pleased that greater links are being forged between old boys of both schools and are planning a T20 cricket match at the end of this year. The event is organised by the young ODs who serve on the OD Union Committee, in particular Anton Taylor.

    ODs VS OAS
    This annual cricket event took place on the 5th February and has become a permanent fixture on the calendar. The Committee is intent on increasing and formalising links with the OA Union.

    Richard Cock presented his annual Carols event at Bishops where R10 000 was raised for the ODU Bursary Fund. This is a wonderful event that traditionally closes the year for the ODU. Richard also makes an enclosure available to the ODU Office for use at the Starlight Classics - a highlight on the Cape’s musical calendar. We thank him for his commitment to the union and his generosity.

    This function is hosted annually by the school and includes mainly ODs. It is heartening to see so many ODs attending and supporting the welfare of the school.

    A RUGBY DINNER was hosted by the school and took place at Kelvin Grove at the end of the second term. The MC was Matthew Pearce and the guest speaker was Tim Noakes. This was also extremely well supported by ODs.

    The annual ODU WINE EXPO was held on 14th October in the Mallett Centre. Twenty four OD Union wineries presented their wines to the broader Bishops community. We thank these wineries for their generous support of the bursary fund. The event raised R67 000 for the OD bursary fund. Thanks must go to Committee member Dave Burton and his wife Nicky for organising the event.


    The ODU communicates with its constituency through the following channels: electronic media, mail and the magazine.

    The electronic media are centralised on the new website There is a social networking site and Facebook page linked to the website that is closed and only accessible to the ODs who register. Membership must be approved by the OD Union Office and is available to all paid-up Life Members. It has the benefit of allowing members to add news and content, omit news and content , update personal details, read latest news, view and post photographs, check on upcoming events, organise reunions, contact other ODs and begin various interest groups, as well as linking ODs to all the other Bishops websites. It is a phenomenally powerful tool for ODs to utilise and we encourage ODs of all ages to begin posting on the sites and building networks.

    In 2011 the school moved to an electronic version of the magazine. A survey was circulated to ODs. The survey requested a response to one of four questions: “I would like to receive the magazine in electronic format free of charge; I would like to receive the magazine in printed format only and understand that there will be an annual postal charge; I would like to receive both; I no longer wish to receive the magazine.” We received 1444 responses with 1129 requiring the digital version only. As this has led to a considerable reduction in cost, we are able to continue covering the cost of the postage of the magazine.

    A further form of communication is the regular flow of emails from the office containing information regarding activities that affect ODs.

    Finally a large portion of communication still takes place courtesy of the South African Postal Services.

    The Committee has received a number of requests from ODs wanting to advertise on the website. We do not feel this is appropriate and are currently investigating, along with the school, the possibility of creating a business directory with a “classified” section. A survey will be sent out to ODs during the course of this year. We welcome your input.


    In terms of this objective, the Committee is clear that its role is to look after the needs and interests of ODs. In relation to the school, we enjoy a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with the College Council. The Chairman Mr Michael Bosman is a former member of the ODU Committee, whilst Mr John Gardener and Professor Haroon Bhorat serve as members, whilst the ODU has permanent representation, in an observer capacity on Council. The schools Investment Committee comprises largely ODs including Mr Neil Brown and Mr Anthony Sedgwick. There is an increasing number of ODs sending their sons to Bishops, who are actively involved in school activities from the eisteddfod, school play and Pops to rugby, hockey, cricket and water polo. This involvement is important for if a school cannot rely on the support of its alumni then on whom can it rely?

    Currently we are working on a joint building project with the school and council. The intention is to build offices for the ODU, to create a functions room where we can hold meetings, the AGM, reunions and a recreational facility. An appropriate facility will be built to house the Museum. I am reliably informed that our Museum is the most valuable repository of historical documents and artefacts outside the National Museum. We aim to give it an appropriate home. The facility will include offices for the Bishops Trust which is currently chaired by Mr Alan Ramsay OD, which is looking to expand its fundraising and marketing activities. Alongside this facility will be the new hockey pavilion, which has a large function room which the OD Union would be able to utilise. To this end, Mr Phil Calothi OD has been mandated by the Committee to manage the project. Mr Luke Scott OD has been briefed.


    The Chairman of the OD Union and the Secretary sit on the school’s Bursary Committee. In 2012, the committee was able to provide an increased number of bursaries to sons of ODs.

    2011 contribution from the OD Bursaries was R182 000. In addition the ROBERT PATON BURSARIES contributed R137 000 and the HOFMAN STEMPEL BURSARY contributed R76 000. The total paid out for sons of ODs was therefore R395 000. We were able to assist 19 boys.

    Governance Committee: In August the Committee established an independent Governance Committee comprising both independent and committee members. The purpose of the Governance Committee is to keep the Committee informed of current best practices in corporate governance and to ensure that the Committee complies with the requirements of good governance.

    Guy Lanfear, partner in the auditing firm Kirkman & Lanfear, was appointed Honorary Treasurer. This after John Macey was appointed as Chairman of the Governance Committee.



    Reunion years. The following are planned for 2012: Class of ’52, 62, 72, 82, 92, 2002

    In keeping with previous years Members of the Committee attended old boy’s dinners at Rondebosch, SACS, Wynberg, and Paarl Boys High. In the same way we had representatives of these schools attending our Dinner in March with the addition of representatives from Michaelhouse, St Andrews, Paul Roos, and St Josephs.

    The most significant achievements in 2011 have been:

    • Daniel Vickerman representing Australia; Francois Louw representing South Africa and JJ Gagiano representing the United States in the Rugby World Cup.
    • Nick Koster, Nick Fenton-Wells and Nizaam Carr playing for Western Province
    • John Dobson appointed as the WP coach
    • Matthew Turner represented England at ‘Sevens’.
    • Craig Kieswetter represented England for cricket in the shortened version of the game
    • John Duckitt represented South Africa for shooting
    • Nick Leggatt has achieved world-wide recognition for long distance sailing
    • Vintcent Van Der Bijl is the ICC’s umpires and referees manager and is based in Dubai
    • Andy Pycroft is an international cricket match referee

    Clive Van Ryneveld, Tim Noakes, Jon Abbott, Lionel Opie, Justin Cartwright, Mike Walker and John Dobson have all written books, which have been successfully published.


This has been a productive year for the ODU. The Committee looks forward to the continued support of ODs in its striving to deliver the best possible service to members of the Union. We welcome any comments or contributions which would assist us in serving our members better.

Finally, I should like to thank the Committee members for their commitment and effort during 2011. To the Secretary and the Office Administrator, Tim and Carolyn Hamilton-Smith, thank you both for creating a home for ODs at the end of the Avenue. To those leaving the Committee this year, John Dobson and Duncan Cruickshank, we thank you for your considerable contribution. We are pleased to be able to call on you for assistance with the Nostalgia evenings and the OD rugby fixtures. We are pleased that the previous head of the ODU Nicholas Durrant has been elected to serve on the Committee in the portfolio of IT.

To the Patron Michael Watermeyer and the President John Arenhold, your continued support and advice is truly appreciated. Thank you.