Winding-Up letter from Mike Dodden

I attach the February 2012 newsletter (thanks Geoff), which will be the last for the Dr. Morgans’ Association.

A meeting was held on 30th January 2012 of the old committees of Dr. Morgans’ Association and Dr. Morgans’ Society to finalise the arrangements for the amalgamation of the two groups. Full details of that amalgamation, the new Committee and the 2012 dinner together with a membership application form for the new organisation will be sent out to all members later in February.

At this stage can I thank all of our members for their support during the 13 years that the Association has existed and to say how much all of our committee has enjoyed the friendship and opportunity to share stories of schooldays with other Old Morganians.

We all believe that the amalgamation will strengthen the ability to continue celebrating and remembering those important days that shaped our lives and careers.   We sincerely hope that you will continue your membership of the combined group.

Mike Dodden

On behalf of the Dr. Morgans’ Association Committee.

History of The Dr. Morgan’s Association

The Dr. Morgan’s Association was founded in 1998 when three old boys of the Dr. Morgan’s Grammar School for Boys in Bridgwater recognised the need for a reunion based organisation. Whilst one such group already existed, it limited itself to a narrow age range and was reluctant to open up its membership. Bill King, Roger Evans and Mike Dodden therefore formed DMA, the Dr. Morgan’s Association, with a completely open policy in terms of membership. Anyone who wore the school blazer, or who taught at the school, could become a member.

With that ethos of openness and camaraderie, the gang of three got their network of contacts into motion and a year later held the first reunion dinner with a hundred old boys attending. It was an outstanding success with the walls of the local Masonic Lodge bulging at the seams. Guest speaker was Paul Williams, himself an old boy and now teaching at Haygrove School, the comprehensive school which replaced Dr. Morgan’s at the end of the grammar school era in Somerset.

The following year, 2000, the association managed to persuade the other group, the Society, to join forces with the Association for a Millennium special reunion. Two hundred and thirty old boys sat down to dinner and another highly successful night was had by all. The guest speaker was Tony Ball, himself an old boy and father of Michael Ball, the West End singer.

In 2001, it was with great disappointment, that the still growing Association, failed to persuade the Society members to repeat the combined dinner and the groups once more went their separate ways. In that year the Association saw one hundred and forty old boys entertained by Paul Forrest, Bristol and North Somerset Coroner, at the annual dinner. Paul was another ‘old boy’ of DMS. Over the following years, a succession of other ‘old boys’ and invited guest speakers have addressed the annual gathering.

Since 2008 the original September date has been changed to the October half term, at the request of some members who are still teachers, so that they can extend their visit to Bridgwater.

In Sept. 2005, the world famous cricket umpire, (now the late) David Shepherd, was our speaker. This was announced in Roger Evans’ last newsletter and, as no-one else answered his appeal for a new person to take over as editor, an enquiry by the “new boy” was seen as a welcome offer, and so a new era of newsletters began. The present editor would like it to be known though, that any DMS ‘old boy’ with a passion to ‘try his hand’ at editorship would be warmly welcomed also!

For the following three years we had professional comedians as our speakers; ‘Tank Sherman’ (Exeter born Graham Musgrove) in 2006 and Bob Webb in 2007 (both Sept.) In 2008 the dinner was moved to the end of October and Jimmy Quinn was our speaker.
Mike Dodden did us proud for our dinner in October 2009 when he got Somerset and England cricketer Andy Caddick to attend the dinner, speak to us, and present several draw prizes. Now in 2010 he has even excelled on that booking as we have retired Major General Tim Cross, yet another ‘old boy’ of DMS, addressing us at our October reunion.

Newsletters through the years have given news and queries from other ‘old boys’, together with the notices of deaths and memorial services of some as well, including in 2008, that of perhaps our most notable ‘old boy’, The Right Honourable The Lord Biffen, DL, born at Combwich on Nov. 3rd 1930. The editor is always grateful to receive news items or memories from any ‘old boy’ of the school, and any other item even loosely connected with the school sites, Durleigh, and Bridgwater.

We still have a very long list of ‘old boys’ whose whereabouts are unknown to the committee – if anyone can help us locate some of these, please do let us know. As could be expected from Dr. Morgan’s school, we have members from all around the world, but we would welcome more.