The sun shone, the bunting billowed and the balloons bobbed as St John’s welcomed more than 200 OJs and their families for a very special OJ reunion day on Sunday 9 June to celebrate the centenary anniversary of OJs returning to the School.
After a service in the Chapel, Pimm’s was served on the Quad from the Tiger Lily 1960s bus, thanks to OJ Geoff Hall (North 1981-1984). Many of the OJs remembered the bus, formerly known as the Yellow Peril, as their transport to school matches!
With a fanfare of trumpets played by current pupils Will and Henry, the Chair of the OJ Society, Mark Cooper, declared OJ Day officially open and invited OJs to enjoy the entertainment provided. Long-standing physics teacher, Adrian Gale, who has been at the School since 1978 and has taught many an OJ, as well as being very involved with OJ cricket, was then presented with an OJ tie and tie-pin and invited to become an Honorary OJ.
A delicious barbecue was served, and while guests sat at tables laid out in street party style reminiscent of 100 years ago, they were treated to songs sung beautifully by current pupils. This was followed by the ceremonial cutting of the Centenary OJ cake by the most senior OJ present on the day, Mike Comer, together with Rowena Cole, The Head. Tours of the School were provided by Prefects, which included a visit to the Dining Hall to take in the fascinating archive displays showing the School over the last 100 years. The very first OJ Day was held to celebrate the end of the First World War and to welcome back the OJs who had served in the war, so it was particularly poignant to see the photographs and read about the School at that time. Guests could also pre-order the book about St John’s and the Great War, written by our archivist Sally Todd and Neil Pudney, which will be published later in the year. The 75th anniversary of D-Day was also remembered with a display.
As the afternoon went on, a croquet match was played between the pupils and the OJs with much enthusiasm and enjoyment; who won the match is a mystery but it didn’t seem to matter! We hope this will lead to more croquet fixtures in the future. It was lovely to see so many families and young children who enjoyed bouncing on the bouncy castle, playing badminton, having their face painted, colouring on the activity table or shooting the laser guns. We hope they may join the School too one day!
OJs were invited to write down their memories and thoughts of what St John’s meant to them and to pin them on the memory board – 100 years of OJ Days and 100 years of memories! We hope that this OJ Centenary Day will have created some very happy memories too.