The 88th annual Bangor Grammar School Old Boys dinner was held on Friday evening at the Marine Court Hotel, where the guest speaker was Sir Patrick Coghlin, who is chairing the ongoing independent public inquiry into the Renewable Heating Incentive.
Although not a past pupil himself, Sir Patrick has lived in Bangor for much of his life and his son Richard is a former Head Boy of the school.
While he avoided any references to the RHI inquiry, Cambridge-educated Sir Patrick’s anecdote-packed address touched on his own extensive legal career, which saw him being called to the Northern Ireland Bar in 1970 and rising to membership of the Court of Appeal.
He was introduced by outgoing Grammarians chairman Geoffrey Miller who thanked fellow committee colleagues for their support during his three years in the position and said he looked forward to working with his successor for the continued betterment of Bangor Grammar School.
Mr Miller drew attention to the new ‘Wall of Fame’ project – which benefited from the proceeds of a very successful raffle. It will feature photographs and biographical information about past pupils of the school, dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century, who have attained international honours in a range of sporting disciplines, including rugby, cricket, soccer, hockey, swimming and golf.
Attendance honours on the night go to the Classes of 1975 (15 members present), 1951 (14) and 1992 (11), but it is necessary to point out that the school had a much smaller pupil population in the 1950s. For Class of 1951 organiser Jim Claney to achieve such an excellent turnout is no small tribute to him and also to the willingness of his ‘classmates’ to set aside this special night each year.
Also very welcome was the presence of a number of past staff members, including Bertie Styles, Maurice McCord, John Smyth, Bob McIlroy, Irwin Bonar and Chris Harte, as well as current staff member (and past pupil) Myles Christy.
Principal Mrs Elizabeth Huddleson was accompanied by Head Boy Jamie Stewart, Zach Kerr, Captain of Rugby, Matthew Torrens, Captain of Soccer, Matthew Armstrong-Sanchez, Captain of Hockey and Athletics, and Matthew Quinn, Captain of Cricket.
During the course of her wide-ranging address, Mrs Huddleson paid a fulsome tribute to former teacher Barry Greenaway following his recent retirement after giving an additional two decades of service to BGS as School Archivist.
* A selection of pictures from the dinner can be found in the current (16 November) edition of the County Down Spectator