WRS Letter April 1983

The following letter gives a flavour of WRS’ humour and the state of HOBA in the 1980s

Scan of an A4 typed letter dated April 1983 which is transcribed below

The following is a transcription of the letter:

Dear G. P.

In a recent MORI poll conducted south of the Border, one hundred consenting Adults were asked to put a name to a whistled tune. Not surprisingly, all successfully identified it as “Old Lang Syne”. However, when invited to write down, correctly, any three consecutive lines or the original “lyric”, only one was able to do so — and he turned out to be an expatriate Scot who, for reasons of his own. had changed his name to Jones. Try it for yourself: and when you too have failed, take comfort from the knowledge that the lines in question were written nearly two hundred years ago by a Scotsman of dubious morals and far from dubious insobriety. What is more, they are littered with incomprehensible remarks like: “my trusty fiere”; “ye’ll be your pint-stowpt” or “we’ll tak a richt guid willie-waught”. (Just for the record. the one phrase this alleged poem does NOT include is “For the sake of auld lang syne”!) Fortunately, none of this matters, as the words of this maudlin dirge are heard only on occasions when the participants are deeply anaesthetised by sentimentality and alcohol. Indeed, the only part of the whole boozy doggerel worth remembering is the opening line: “Should old acquaintance be forgot?” The future of Heath Old Boys’ Association depends very much on how you answer that question.

Those of you who are still with he may well be asking “What does the Association actually do?” Frankly, not a lot. The band of loyal, paid-up, card-carrying members — those on Duncan’s “little list” — keep in touch with the School’s doings through the annual “Heathen”. Ever since l945, when I first became involved, social activities or one sort or another have been tried and abandoned despite the persistence or one Committee Member (Class of ’46) in proposing pea-and-pie suppers, canal trips to Sowerby Bridge, dinner-dances, theatre parties, Sponsored Infanticide or whatever. The stark truth is that the one function which has continued without interruption is the Annual Dinner and, unless last year's attendance can be increased, even that may soon have to be abandoned. My purpose in writing to you today is to make sure that it isn’t.

Risking all, the Committee has decided to hold the Dinner on Friday, 10th June and, to that end, has booked the dining-room at Holdsworth House, Holmfield (formerly known as the “Cavalier Club”). Dress is “optional”, i.e. black tie, boiler-suit, or a combination of both. Tickets are priced at £8.50, which sounds a lot but isn't really, when one considers inflation and the excellence of both the venue and the menu. In a break with tradition, there will be no Invited Speaker. Instead, after the meal. there will be open discussion about the future of the Dinner and the Association in general. I hope YOU will be there to voice your opinions.

I have a supply of tickets — as have other Committee members listed on the accompanying sheet — so please apply NOW before you forget all about it. And rope in any other Old Boy with whom you may still be on speaking terms. I understand that Holdsworth house can accommodate a hundred diners. I have no idea what will happen if more than that number apply for tickets: no doubt the Secretary will think of something. One more thing. As the association is currently in what Duncan describes as “a somewhat unsatisfactory cash-flow situation”, it will be much appreciated if requests for tickets can be accompanied by a S.A.E. or the appropriate stamps.

For my part, I hope to join you in a “richt guid willie-waught” on 10th June. That is, assuming that I can find out what it means!

Yours avuncularly,