Simon Price

February 2024

Welcome to the OAA website, where we hope you will find plenty of useful information about the association as well as the opportunity to purchase some of the wonderful merchandise now available in the OAA shop.

In October it was our pleasure to host Jonathon and Hester Anderson at our London Drinks Party, where OAs from across the generations enjoyed the opportunity to welcome them to this special community, which is so unique to Aysgarth School. We are delighted the Andersons have settled in so well at Aysgarth and news from the Southwest is that Rob and Lottie are also well and enjoying their new life back in Rob’s home county of Cornwall. Rob managed to sneak out of school during the summer to meet with the leavers during their Cornish trip and ply them with tuck. I am also delighted to announce both Rob and Lottie have accepted invitations to join the OAA and we look forward to them joining us at future OA events, reminiscing with their cohort of Aysgarthians.

Whilst on the topic of Headmasters, last summer we were hit by the devastating news that Caroline Goddard had passed away, following an incredibly brave and noble battle against Motor Neurone Disease (MND). Caroline made such a huge impression on so many people within the Aysgarth community and will be sorely missed and we were delighted that so many OAs and friends of Aysgarth were able to attend the memorial service we held for Caroline in the School chapel in November.

One of the current initiatives of the OAA Committee is to find more ways to stay connected with old boys from the moment they leave the school. To support this, we are working hard on increasing our online presence (you can now find us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram) as well as hosting specific events for OAs during their time at public school and university. In May we held our first university “pub and pizza night”. Jonathan, Hester and a few thirsty staff members headed up to Durham to host an evening for OAs studying at Durham University. The evening was a huge success and we will be hosting a similar evening in 2024 for all the OAs studying up in Newcastle.

In July we hosted our third annual cricket match for OAs at public school. The two teams played out a very enjoyable match in glorious sunshine at Cliffe Cricket Club, courtesy of OAA President Richard Wilson (53-58), whilst family members took the chance to catch up with one another on the boundary. Meanwhile over at the School, the senior OAA team came up just short against the Harrow Wanderers losing in the last over. Thankfully both games (and the Ashes match at Headingly) were completed before the heavens opened.

In 2022 the OAA Committee took the decision to extend invitations to any current and former teachers and pastoral staff, to become Honorary OAs once they reach 20 years’ service at the School. In the coming years we look forward to inviting other staff members to join the association. This new direction is not only a fitting way to celebrate their milestone but more importantly it enables them to regularly meet up with the boys they supported during their time at the School.  A number of Honorary OAs were among the 100 folk that joined us in October for our biennial OA London Drinks Party, at the Sloane Club. We were delighted to again be joined by so many young OAs, including those starting their gaps year, at university and just embarking on their careers as well as OAs who attended Aysgarth during the 1940s. We look forward to reconvening again in London in 2025 and encourage you to join us, even if you have never been before, you will be amazed by who you reconnect with or meet for the first time!

Following the success of the 2022 OAA Carol Service at the School, and by popular demand, we will again be holding a service for OAs and their families in 2024. Details of our 2024 service will follow later in the year and we look forward to welcoming many of you to the service and afterwards for drinks in the dining room.

Finally, I would like to briefly touch on the recent news of Aysgarth moving to full coeducation. Whilst for many OAs this came as a shock, once the dust settled the consensus very much supported the move and OAs from across the ages appear thankful that this decision will enable Aysgarth to continue to be the leading prep school in the North of England. For many OAs it is incredibly exciting that their daughters and granddaughters can now also experience and benefit from an Aysgarth education and more importantly will be able to join the Old Aysgarthian Association! We look forward to welcoming the first girls to the OAA in the very near future.

Simon Price (1982-87)

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