THE QUARTERLY LUNCHES
The Cirencester Old Grammarians (1940s) Association consists of a Committee and Membership – both Ordinary and Life Members. It is governed by a loosely worded and informal constitution with the stated aim of ‘keeping alive the spirit of the pupils who attended Cirencester Grammar School during the 1940s, by holding reunion events each year’. Membership is also open to former pupils from other years
The Quarterly Lunches really follow on from the wording of the constitution as it was drafted in 1988. A subsequent meeting at Syde, attended by 80 plus former pupils and staff, was clearly a success. It indicated that many former pupils would be delighted to meet up occasionally and renew old friendships. From this meeting the 1940s Association was born and the resulting Committee was faced with the question of how often ‘reunions’ should be held and their format
Initially the idea of ‘pub lunches’ came to mind to be held, say, a couple of times a year. Pub lunches proved to be a good idea and the first was held at The Bull at Sapperton. The host there was the late Gordon Wells, an Old Grammarian from the Class of 1943, and a number of later events were also held there. Later other venues were tried such as The Fleece Hotel in Cirencester and Stratton Hall. The number attending each lunch in the early years was then in the thirties. Sometimes, in the very early days, there was a ‘do it yourselves’ aspect, when the Committee would bring along bread, butter, ham, cheese etc and make sandwiches on the spot for an afternoon tea!
In time it was felt that quarterly lunches would find favour. The Committee thought that the increased frequency would help cement friendships and this has proved to be the case. The number attending each lunch then grew reaching a peak, at one Christmas Lunch at Minchinhampton Golf Club, of over seventy members and guests. Lunches are now (usually) held during the Spring (March/April), Summer (June/July), Autumn (September/October) and Christmas (early December).
Thereafter the numbers dictated that venues be selected on their proximity to Cirencester (for sentimental reasons and the fact that a majority of diners live in or within easy reach of the town), a sizeable car park (most of us come by car) and the price and quality of the food. Usually the venues chosen nowadays offer a two course meal with coffee for around £20-22.
From an administrative point of view we need to know well beforehand how many members and guests wish to attend the lunches. So what we do is to circulate to members at the beginning of each year a form on which they can indicate an interest in a particular lunch or lunches. These can then be returned to the Secretary (SAE please!) and, when details are finalised, those members expressing an interest are sent details. All the venues prefer to know our menu requirements beforehand so the details include what’s on offer so that individual choices can be stated and returned with the cheque.
Details of the years lunches are published on the Bulletin page.
It is regretted that the 2020 March, July and December lunches advertised had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus. Likewise, it has not been realistic to plan anything for 2021.