Greetings fellow Grammarians / Old Boys,
I trust you are all keeping well and making the best of a very difficult situation. Unless you happen to live in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, the Federated States of Micronesia, Samoa, Tonga, the Marshall Islands, Palau, Tuvalu, Nauru, Kiribati, Turkmenistan and, er, North Korea – all declaring themselves coronavirus-free – life will have been far from normal for the past few months.
As regards Bangor Grammarians (the formal name of our old boys’ association), our activities went into temporary suspension in mid-March, following the Edinburgh Dinner at the Royal Scots Club. As chairman I had the great pleasure of travelling over to Scotland to welcome diners to what proved a very enjoyable event, but the sight of a deserted Princes Street the following (Sunday) morning and the clear concern amongst fellow travellers at Edinburgh Airport were mere foretastes of the life we now live today.
It was the last time I travelled on a bus and an aeroplane, the last time I shared the company of friends, and the last time I had close contact, via farewell handshakes, with anyone outside my own household. I suspect my fellow diners will tell similar stories.
Our London Dinner, scheduled for the following weekend (20 March), was cancelled after the Carlton Club venue closed its doors with the official lockdown a matter of days away, bringing to an end a run of 34 consecutive annual gatherings in the city.
The Committee of Bangor Grammarians usually meets every five weeks or so, with a break in the summer, leading up to the annual meeting in early December. Prior to the lockdown we had met twice in 2020, with further meetings now suspended until restrictions are eased and, more importantly, we have a clearer picture of what will actually be possible during the remainder of 2020 (we would still hope to welcome players to the annual Golf Outing in September and old boys to the Bangor Dinner in November).
While Bangor Grammar School itself has been closed since late March, the school authorities remain in regular contact with parents and much work is going on behind the scenes to create a safe environment for the time, very likely in September, when classes resume at the Gransha Road campus. Bangor Grammarians will not be found wanting if our help is required in any way by our Alma Mater.
In addition to serving as current chairman, I have also compiled and edited our annual Grammarian magazine since 2015. Under normal circumstances I would already be drawing together the assorted contributions to meet a 30 June deadline (bearing in mind so many people usually have holiday plans for July and August). This being a far from normal year, the 2020 magazine will not be available in early September. However, it is very much my/our intention to distribute the usual news, feature and picture-packed magazine around the beginning of November (which should also prove attractive to our loyal team of advertisers, whose support we count upon to ensure the magazine is not a drain on our limited resources).
In conclusion, I am very mindful that with the suspension of publication of the County Down Spectator since late March, it is likely we may not be aware of some past pupil deaths over the past few months. It is possible that situation may continue for several months. Please accept our sympathies if that indeed has been (or becomes) the case with regard to a friend or family member. If you would wish to have a BGS-related death recorded in the 2020 magazine please write to me (Terence Bowman) using the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. The information you convey is not intended for immediate publication on our website or Facebook page; rather, I will communicate directly with you in the first instance. Tributes to deceased former pupils will be especially welcome for the next Grammarian.
In similar vein, news items about past pupils, especially where they are involved in the battle against Covid-19, will be very welcome. Again, please communicate directly with me. All communications will be treated with the utmost confidentiality and will only be shared with our membership, either online or through the magazine, with your permission.
Best wishes to you all and please stay safe.
Terence Bowman, chairman, Bangor Grammarians
An update for past pupils who aren’t relaxing in Vanuata, Kiribati, Samoa, Tonga…
Greetings fellow Grammarians / Old Boys,