Rhetoric 2006 Reunion
From Julian Dineen
The Rhetoricians of 2006 met at the College for their 10 year reunion in October. The weekend began at 2.30pm on the Saturday in the Pieta Gallery, although I think for many it unofficially began the night before in the Bayley! Upon arrival we were greeted by Beverley Sillitoe, Layla Heaton and the new headmaster John Browne who chatted to many of us individually, finding out what we were up to 10 years on and us in turn finding out how he was settling into his new role and surroundings, having only started a few weeks ago.
After time spent in animated conversation with one another, catching up with friends many of whom hadn’t seen each other since leaving and reminiscing over old sports photographs as well as some of our old valete entries which had been laid out on view, John Browne addressed us all, welcoming us back to the College and outlined some of the changes that had taken place since we had left, such as Weld House and the New Refectory, as well as some of the changes scheduled to take place in the near future, including the refurbishment of New Wing.
Subsequently three current Rhetoricians took us off for a tour. It was wonderful to be wondering down the galleries again with the friends who were there with you and it was easy to slip back into imagining you were still there, until you saw a current student that is and you realised you’ve aged a little since then. Many of us remembered seeing 10 year reunions when we were students and thinking how old they looked, now it was our turn!
I can’t speak for the girls as they were taken off on their own for part of the tour to see the girls house but many of us boys couldn’t quite get over the disappearance of New York although we were all very impressed by the New Ref that has taken its place. We were also rather flabbergasted at finding out that Weld House had en-suite bathrooms and lifts! Quite different to when we ran down the stairs of New Wing in our towels to the communal showers in the basement that were always either scolding hot or freezing cold! We were also all impressed at the refurbishment of St Peters and after some time searching, Jack Haynes and Kamran Mayer were able to locate the trap door in the floor once ventured down by several members of our year, no doubt when we were meant to be somewhere else! Later on, we met back in the Bayley Room where refreshments had been laid on before most of us made our way up the Avenue for a pre-dinner drink.
Dinner in the Top Ref began with a champagne reception at 7pm where we had the chance to catch up with a few of our former teachers, including John Hopkins, Stas Callinicos, Fr Matthew Power and Fr John Twist before they joined us in sitting down to what was a delicious meal. There was a wonderful atmosphere at dinner with conversation in full flow.
Dinner was followed by speeches where it was highlighted how well attended this reunion was (one of the best turnouts I’m told) and how far many people had travelled to be there, some from as far afield as Columbia, Malaysia and Japan to name just three! We then also took a moment to remember our fellow Rhetoricians, Ellen Charleuf (nee Riley) and Mani Emmerhor who are sadly no longer with us. After the speeches, the drinks continued to flow before we were asked to make our way to the Bayley where the reunion continued into the early hours of the morning.
The following day there was a healthy attendance at mass in St Peters, all with sore heads, bringing back memories of 10 years earlier, with all of us heartily joining in in a rousing rendition of the Pater Noster. Refreshments in the Do Room followed and then a fascinating tour of the newly refurbished Arundell, Bay and Square Libraries by Stas Callinicos, although I think the thing we most marvelled at was the new entrance, off the Arundell Library, into what had been our old Higher Line playroom. Many of us struggled to get our heads around its proximity to the libraries and it also appeared rather smaller than we remembered. Working out where the bar had been helped us reimagine it in its former state!
The whole weekend was an enormous success and a great time was had by all with many messages been posted to the RH06 Reunion Facebook group expressing how much they had enjoyed it. The fact so many had travelled from all across the world to be there truly showed just how much Stonyhurst meant and still means to so many and we all left agreeing that we must all try and meet up more frequently.