History of Old Morganians

Amalgamation of Society and Association

At a joint meeting of the committees of the Association and the Society held on 30th January 2012, the final decisions were made to facilitate the amalgamation of the two groups to form “Old Morganians”, bringing together all Dr. Morgan’s Old Boys .

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking the officers and committee members from both groups for all that has been done in the past to bring Old Morganians together and for the cooperation in bringing about the amalgamation.

History of The Dr. Morgan’s Society

We had our first meeting in the Tudor Restaurant in 1991. It was a casual buffet affair and I think that there were 38 founder members present. Amongst these were Peter Gunningham, Brendon Russ, Tom Pearce and Alan Barnett- all to become valued members of the Society Committee. We were up and running.

For the last 21 years we have held an annual dinner. Initially the venue varied and included the Masonic Hall and the Bridgwater Rugby Club where we had a joint dinner with the Association. Latterly we always met in the Tudor Restaurant which has suited us well and the food, service and ambiance have always been of the highest order. They have looked after us well and we owe Mike and Andrew Mouzoure and their staff a tremendous debt of gratitude.

We have also had a very loyal and hard working committee. Peter Gunningham, Alan Barnett, Brendon Russ, Tony Wilkins, Mal Treharne and Tom Pearce all made invaluable contributions. Tom offered the facilities of his office to the Society and without this help our progress would have been curtailed. He was always very positive and encouraging and the development of the Society owes a lot to his support. Mal Treharne was a late comer to the committee but his input as Chair of Governors at Haygrove School was very valuable.

Your present committee has continued along the very sound foundations and has done sterling work. A special thank you to Colin’s wife Tricia for her help with administration over the last couple of years. A separate sub-committee, ably run by Peter Braine, John Stuckey, Chris Lawrence and others, administers the John Biffen Award which is made annually to a student at Bridgwater College. This will be ongoing. Nevertheless we felt that the time for amalgamation was upon us.

Reminiscing we have had some great times. Our speakers have included Bev Dovey (England RFU), Geoff Miller (English Cricket), Stew Grainger, Roger Evans, and Tony Ball (with his bumper fun book). Tony has been a great supporter of the Society and has helped us several times to the delight of us all. Many thanks to them and the supporting cast over the years.

Finally, I would like to thank all our members for their fantastic support. Unfortunately our numbers have decreased quite dramatically of late. After consulting with you the committee concluded that the time was right for the amalgamation to go ahead as the joint membership is now at a level which is manageable from an administration and Dinner catering aspect. The Dinner on the 15th September at the School was the ideal opportunity. I know that you will give your full support to the new committee.

With my sincere thanks to you all and my best wishes for the future. See you at the School on the 15th!!

Yours sincerely

Bryan Lancastle

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.

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.) 

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 2008 the dinner speaker was Jimmy Quinn.

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.