THE SAVILLE LAVER DINNER 2015
The Saville Laver Society met in Oxford on 7th March, 2015, for its 17th Annual Dinner. Local organizer Oliver Lunt, a 2nd year undergraduate reading physics at Trinity College, Oxford, had made a dinner reservation for that evening at Somerville College, on Woodstock Road. A proportion of the diners initially gathered at The Lamb and Flag, not far away in St Giles’. They then transferred on foot to Somerville to unite with the other dinner guests for a drink in the Old College Bar. From there, we ascended to the Reading Room, a generously-sized location where we took our places at the Dinner Table, according to the helpful seating plan provided. For a College which had been single sex (female) from its foundation in 1879 for 115 years (men have been admitted since 1994), it was a little ironic that all 17 of this evening’s dinner guests were male.
Printed menus on the tables disclosed the food and wine we were to be served, featuring Fillet of Beef for the main course, with red and white wines originating in France. Following the tasty and plentiful food provided for our consumption, Tim Gartside (Headmaster) rose to deliver his short speech from the Top Table. He welcomed the presence of David Wheeldon, former Headmaster, and others, warmly thanking Oliver Lunt for making all the arrangements this year. He noted the pleasant company of Kevin Pearson and Tom Murray, respectively retired Head of VIth form, and new Head of VIth form, effective September 2014. Tim reported on the best-ever A-level results obtained by the Class of 2014, and the current total of 13 pupils hoping to be admitted to Oxford or Cambridge this year. He did not duck the issue of the recent adverse publicity the School had received in the national press. This was a consequence of the Crown Court prosecution and conviction of a former teacher for actions that took place some three decades ago. The Headmaster concluded by proposing the Toast to the School’s first Headmaster, L Saville Laver. Alistair Allen then proposed the Toast to the School.
A little while later, most of the diners adjourned to The Royal Oak, a venerable hostelry conveniently situated across the Woodstock Road from Somerville. Here, further drinks were consumed and enlightened conversation carried on ahead of the General Election in two months’ time.