An event recount by Peter Cursley (CGS ’74 & CGS Foundation Manager)
It seemed a long way to travel for dinner – 20 odd hours in a smelly plane – no room to take a deep breath without my elbows having contact with the two strangers in the seats either side of me. But I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I was quite surprised when invited to accompany Mr Sandy Goddard, long-term teacher, Housemaster and now Director of Community Development to attend the CGS Alumni London Reunion. My role is as a part-time, fill-in for the CGS Foundation Manager, Ms Dimity May, while she is on maternity leave. The need for the CGS Foundation to reach out to Alumni is obvious, but having been in the role for just a few months, I didn’t think I had earned my stripes as yet to warrant an overseas trip. That aside, if I was going, I was going to do my best to make the trip worthwhile!
Thanks to Facebook, LinkedIn and some hard work by the CGS Alumni Coordinator, Ms Tammy Foley, we were able to make contact withh Old Boys whose contact details on the School database had long since been superseded (and, if you feel your contact details may fall into this category, then I would urge you go to update your details now). The CGS Alumni London Reunion dinner held previously had attracted about nine Old Boys I believe, but when we left Australia for London, 23 Old Boys had accepted our invitation, with around half that again who would have loved to have accepted but for one reason or another were unable to.
Leading up to the event, I asked myself on many occasions ‘Will the evening flow with such a broad range of peer years attending? How will we keep the conversations flowing? Will there be awkward silent period?’.
What struck me by the event is that there was nothing for me to worry about – I was so pleasantly surprised with regard to how everyone so freely struck up conversations. It was as though those at the dinner had been friends for years. I knew no one to begin with. I had left Canberra Grammar School in 1974, so I knew of Malcolm Gillies (‘72) but the others were all complete ‘strangers’ to begin with, much like the two either side of me on the flight over. After the evening however, I feel I have connected with some long lost friends. I thoroughly enjoyed my conversations with Malcolm, Ben Moffitt (‘98) and Shahid Khalfan (‘06) just to name a few.
I can only see the CGS Alumni London Reunion dinner as building and becoming a tradition. A dinner with friends you are yet to meet ; a dinner well worth attending if you are in the region at the time.