Friday, 14th December 2018
I was thrilled to be able to walk across Oxford to New College School on Wednesday to watch our boys play their boys at Rugby. For all of the teams there, it was the final match of the season and for the A team, in particular, a grudge match as it was the second time we had played them this year. We had played New College just before half term and had beaten them narrowly and so they were very keen to take us on again. Both teams were very evenly matched and so the match was extremely tense; indeed, Mr Leech, who was in charge of the team, and Mr Dickinson, could not contain their excitement at the closeness of the match. In the end, we won three tries to two, a splendid way to finish the season. I was so struck by the commitment of the boys both to their School and to one another and the way they threw themselves into the task with courage and determination spoke volumes about their character. Though we do not have hundreds of boys to select from, such matches show that we can compete and win against decent opponents and I am so impressed with the coaching that the boys receive and the spirit with which they play. Indeed I went with my son, Sebastian, to Twickenham recently to watch a match and I was very impressed indeed with his reading of the game, something which has been made possible by the outstanding coaching he has received here at CCCS. I would like to thank Mr Dickinson and all the games staff for their efforts and commitment.
Yesterday evening I went with the Worcester Choir to Bonn Square, outside the entrance to the Westgate Centre, to sing carols for the benefit of the Oxford Children’s Hospital Charity. It was the coldest night of the year so far and, as I stood there, my feet turned into blocks of ice. But despite the cold, a good crowd gathered to hear them sing and I’m sure they all felt warmed by the music, some old traditional familiar tunes and others which I had not heard before, all of which touched me to the core. It’s so important that our boys realise that we can all use our talents to help others; not only did the boys raise money to help an immensely worthy cause, but they also brought pleasure to the people of Oxford, including some of the poorest of our society who were there too.
This made me reflect upon Christmas itself. Of course I think it’s right that people should celebrate Christmas with gifts, with lovely food, by coming together as a family, but I really do want our pupils to know that part of our responsibility at Christmas is to think of others, particularly those who do not have the many advantages which our boys and girls fortunately enjoy. As a Church of England School it is vital that we remind our pupils of the Christian nature of this great festival, that God has blessed humanity by coming down to earth as a child. Of course this means that we, as humans, are infinitely blessed but it also means that we have a profound responsibility to act with generosity, kindness and love and we should never forget how lucky we are.
From 11.45 onwards, our Dining Hall was filled with hearty eaters clad in Christmas jumpers as we consumed our way through the most delicious Christmas lunch. Mrs Juggins and her team produced a perfect Traditional Christmas Feast. Because of the size of the Dining Hall, we had three sittings - an arrangement which worked perfectly. We mixed up the year groups so Form 8 dined alongside some of our youngest pupils and staff sat with the boys, serving and clearing. In all it was a joyous occasion and I wish to thank all the kitchen staff for their efforts and the teachers for ensuring that it all occurred as efficiently as possible. Afterwards the whole School gathered in the Walton Hall and, from Nursery to Form 8, we sang our way through some of the best known carols. It really is such a privilege to work in a place where people, quite simply, love to sing. May I thank you for all your support of the School and for entrusting us with your children’s education.
May I also wish you a happy and blessed Christmas and I look forward to seeing you again next year.