Douai Crest

News Emails from Douai

Ist October 2018

Dear Old Dowegian

As I told you some weeks ago, I am spending this year in Downside (a rather belated Gap Year). I am continuing to be involved in Douai Society events as much as I can.

Our Honorary Secretary has asked me to send you what follows below. Apart from the interest of the event itself it may provide an opportunity to see the new pavilion and the Douai Room, with its fascinating collection of School history and memorabilia, for those who have not yet visited.

Remembrance Day 2018
To commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War, two events are being held at the Pavilion.

 The first is the inaugural Fr Basil Gwydir Lecture, an annual military talk named in honour of Father Basil (1867-1914), a monk at Douai: the first Old Dowegian to fall in the Great War, and the first Allied Chaplain to do so. This year, it will be delivered by Col. Bruce Duncan MBE (53-58), who will be talking about his experiences as recounted in his book 'A Loan Soldier'. The talk commences at 12.00 on Saturday 10th November in the Douai Room, and will be followed by a buffet lunch. Both the talk and the lunch are free of charge, but you are asked to book beforehand using this link:


 The following day, Sunday 11th November at 12.30, the DPRA are holding a Remembrance event to which Old Dowegians are invited. It will honour those from the local community who gave their lives, as well as those from Douai and St Mary's Woolhampton. Tickets are £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
For details, click on this link.

The Society has commissioned a Memorial Board commemorating the fallen of the Second World War, to match that for those of the First World War. It will hang outside the Douai Room, and it is greatly hoped that it will be ready in time for the Remembrance weekend.

 150th Anniversary Magazine
 This year is the 150th anniversary of the Douai Society, and to mark the occasion we are producing a special Anniversary Magazine, to come out next summer. As one of the features, we are asking every Old Dowegian to submit a summary of what they have done since leaving School. This will produce a permanent record for posterity. The more detail the better, but there is a word limit of 1,500 words! To submit your news, please click on this link:


with best wishes

Fr Oliver Holt OSB
Downside Abbey
Somerset BA3 4RJ

Tel: 01761 235190
E-mail: oliver@douaiabbey.org.uk

28th May 2018

Douai Society Annual Mass, AGM & Lunch  -  1st July

Please click  to read the  Notice and Agenda for the AGM together with the booking form for the Lunch which will be held in the new Pavilion -  an excellent opportunity to see the Douai Room on the first floor of the Pavilion which contains what is effectively a Douai School Museum, with displays, a video and a complete set of The Douai Magazine.

The Annual Mass for the Douai Society will take place in the Abbey Church at 11.00 am.

This will be followed at 12.15 pm by the Douai Society AGM, which all members are invited to attend in the Abbey Conference Room 1.

The Summer Lunch will take place this year in the new Pavilion from 12.45 pm onwards. If you wish to attend the lunch, please complete the enclosed form. Wives or guests are encouraged to attend. The buffet-style lunch is three courses (vegetarian options available) with wine and coffee.

At 2.15pm there will be an Old Dowegians v Old Amplefordians Cricket Match. Old Boys' cricket has recently experienced a renaissance, and players are flying over from as far afield as Spain, Switzerland and the Middle East. The Pavilion's 'Swing Low' bar will remain open all afternoon, so please do stay to support the team! Anyone keen on playing in future matches should contact Richard Sims on  richardjsims@hotmail.com  - there are only a cuple of places in the team still to be filled.

with best wishes


8th May 2018

Dear Old Dowegian

To all Life, Honorary and Subscribing Members of the Douai Society

I hope you have enjoyed the Bank Holiday weekend weather!

General Data Protection Regulation 2018 (GDPR)

You have probably been receiving many communications from companies and organisations over the last few weeks, asking you to help them keep in touch with you. The Douai Society is not excluded from this regulation.

 As a consequence of the General Data Protection Rule (GDPR) that comes into force on 25th May 2018, the Douai Society needs to make the attached privacy notice available to you. This notice explains the categories of information that the Douai Society holds about you and the legitimate purposes that the Society would use and process that information for. We have taken advice and we believe that under the heading of "Legitimate Interest" we do not need to ask you (as a subscribing, honorary or Life member of the Society) for explicit permission to hold this information and to continue to communicate with you. Of course you are perfectly entitled to "opt out" and to ask us to delete any information we have about you and to stop sending you anything.

Let me emphasise that, if you wish to continue to receive communications from the Society, you don't need to do anything.

Events coming up:

London Lunch

There will be another lunch at The Naval and Military Club 4, St. James’s Square London SW1Y 4JU (nearest tube Piccadilly Circus, Green Park & St. James's Park) on Friday 1st June 2018: 12.15 for 1 pm If you wish to attend please print off this email and send it with your cheque payable to "Douai Society" for 35.00 pounds a head to the Hon Sec, David de Freitas, to his home address: 68 Burnfoot Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 5EA  to be received by 25th May 2018. If you wish to pay via direct credit, please credit 35.00 pounds to 60-80-08 a/c no 15675327 a/c name Douai Society using your surname as reference and email David daviddefreitas@aol.com to confirm payment and any dietary requirements. All Old Dowegians are most welcome to apply and wives (only one per OD!) are encouraged to attend. This lunch is a three-course lunch (vegetarian options available) with coffee and port and there is a drinks reception to start. As it is a Friday, you will be relieved to learn that the main course will be fish! The lunch is heavily subsidised by the Douai Society as it is the flag ship lunch of the year, and to encourage maximum attendance. Dress code is jacket, collar and tie (preferably OD tie), with the equivalent for ladies.


I have to give you the sad news that various Old Dowegians have died since I last communicated:

Michal Furlonger (52/54/59)    1/5/18   funeral at St Andrew's, Heddon-on-the-Wall,  Newcastle NE15 0DT on Thur 10 April at 10.30 am

Anthony Polimeni (35/41)    date unknown

Allan Simpson (42/50)        24/3/18

Peter Cornes (60/65)        6/2/18

Peter Griffin (58/61/65)   2/3/18

Kerry Lahiff (45/49)        17/2/18

John Priest (40/47)        6/3/18

Duncan Hatcher  (55/60)   date unknown but probably 2017

Tricia Taylor died on 11th April. She was Head of Girls' Boarding from 1998-99 and her husband Andrew taught History from 1994-99.  Their sons were also at the School: Ben (96-98-99) and Josh (Ditcham 97-99). When the School closed they moved to Worth where they were in charge of the Sixth Form Boarding House.

There will be a Memorial Service to celebrate her life at Worth Abbey at 11 a.m. on Saturday 16th June - everyone welcome.

OPEN . . .   to life . .  . to faith . . . to prayer

An English Benedictine Congregation event to be held at Douai on Saturday 30 June.

This day is designed for people (Yes, men and women) aged 18 - 29 who would like to know more about our monastic life. Monks and nuns from other communities will also be here. I realise that very few of those people reading this will be in that age bracket, but we are eager to spread the word and would be grateful if you could pass on the information to others in your family, friends, parish, book club etc who might be interested.

More details can be found at:        https://www.benedictines.org.uk/post/open

The Pavilion

Douai Society events happen in the Pavilion from time to time and they always provide a good opportunity to visit the Douai Room upstairs which is in fact a museum of the school. The Pavilion is not open all the time and occasionally people ask about visiting. You can take pot luck at most weekends and something might be happening, but one opportunity presents itself on Friday evenings during the summer when the bar will be open from 6 pm. This is not run by the Society but by Birch Associates who provide bar and catering services on behalf of the Douao Park Recreation Association.

with best wishes


5th February 2018

Dear Old Dowegian

England/Ireland Rugby Match on Sat 17 March  -   Reminder

I wrote a few weeks ago about this chance to watch this Six Nations match in style -  there are still places available but the cut-off date for booking your free place is Fri 9 March.

The restored pavilion is being used for a variety of sporting and social occasions. The latest idea is to show Rugby matches on a big screen with an accompanying licensed bar and it is suggested that Old Dowegians might particularly want to watch the England/Ireland match on Saturday 17 March, which is of course St Patrick's Day.

The event will be free but ticketed. Tickets are essential for entry. Please follow this link for all the details.


This would also be an opportunity for those who have not yet visited the pavilion to see the Douai Room upstairs which includes a rich collection of memorabilia, documents, photographs etc together with a film about the school. Old Dowegians and others who have visited have been very impressed with the professional standard of presentation. Many memories have been reinforced and celebrated!

with best wishes


14th February 2018

Dear Old Dowegian

I write to tell you about an event at the new Douai Pavilion which should be of wide interest.

Firstly, however, I would like to pass on a message from the Council of the Douai Society:

As the appeal to raise funds for the restoration of the Douai Pavilion and fitting out of the Douai Room has now been successfully concluded, the Council of the Douai Society would like to express its gratitude on behalf of all members of the Douai Society for all the hard work put in by all those involved. In particular the Council recognises the untiring efforts of the following members: John Kerr, John Wills, Chris Vale, Richard Sims and Richard Morris. Without the commitment and dedication of these five gentlemen, we would not have achieved the splendid success that all those who have visited the Pavilion have been able to see with their own eyes.

The Pavilion is being very well used by the various local sports teams who have been using the playing fields for the last 18 years, but in addition it is becoming quite a social hub. Wedding celebrations, post-Baptism parties, and post-Funeral gatherings have been held, together with film nights and many other social occasions.

The latest idea is to show Rusgby matches on a big screen with an accompanying licensed bar and it is suggested that Old Dowegians might particularly want to watch the England/Ireland match on Saturday 17 March, which is of course St Patrick's Day.

The event will be free but ticketed. Tickets are essential for entry. Please follow this link for all the details.


Other events on the horizon

Friday 1st June: The London Lunch at the Naval & Military Club

Sunday 1st July: Annual Mass in the Abbey Church, Douai Society AGM in the Conference Room at Douai, Lunch at the Pavilion and a cricket match against a team of Old Amplefordians.

More details and booking forms nearer the time.

with best wishes


10th January 2018

Dear Old Dowegian

Happy New Year!

I have not been in touch for ages and I must apologise for that. I am writing now to remind you of the London lunch which will be taking place on Friday 26 January.

David de Freitas sends the following message:

There will be another all-age group lunch at The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews West, London SW1X 8HT (nearest tube Knightsbridge,Sloane Square or Victoria)
on Friday 26th January 2018: 12.30 for 1 pm.
If applying by post, please print out this email and write any dietary requirements you have on it e.g. vegetarian and post it with your cheque for £32.50 payable to Douai Society to the Hon Sec, David de Freitas, to his home address: 68 Burnfoot Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 5EA (email daviddefreitas@aol.com)
to arrive by 19th January 2018. If you would prefer to pay electronically, please credit £32.50 to Douai Society Sort Code 60-80-08 Account number 15675327 Please use your surname as a reference, so we can tell who has paid, AND please email David to let him know that you have made the payment, confirming both the amount paid and any dietary requirements you may have e.g. vegetarian. The cost has been maintained at £32.50 and will include a three-course meal with a half-bottle of house wine (white or red), plus coffee and port. As we will be meeting on a Friday, you will be reassured to learn that the main course will be fish!
These all-age group lunches have proved to be extremely popular in recent years.

May I take the opportunity of reminding you that for the past few years, the Douai Society has run two all-age group lunches each year in London, on the last Friday in January and the first Friday in June each year? You may like to pencil in these dates into your diaries.

Space at the January lunch means that we must restrict this lunch to Old Dowegians only, so no guests or spouses.
For the June lunch, however, spouses are very much encouraged to attend, and the number of spouses attending has increased over recent years.

And this message comes from John Wills (Past-President & Appeal Director)

Over the past three years the Old Dowegians have contributed magnificently and successfully to our 15% share in the construction of the new pavilion and most recently to the full funding of our tribute to the school: in fitting out the first floor Douai Room. I think it’s fair to observe that those who attended the official blessing and opening on Sunday 9 July this year were both surprised and very impressed. There is no doubt from the numerous subsequent visits, that the new amenity is regenerating a more regular interest in the former school.

A feature of the Appeal has been to offer a permanent record of the names of all the benefactors who contributed £250 and over. To date there are 82 names of Old Boys on the temporary Key Benefactors Board. 

The Council has decided to offer more time to anybody who wishes to have their name added. This maybe done by adding to your original donation, to bring it up to £250, or, if you have not already contributed, making a £250 contribution now. Families may wish to donate in honour of a deceased Old Dowegian. This offer will remain open until  26 January 2018 (ie the date of the London lunch described above)

How to make your donation

Please 1) either send a cheque made payable to "Douai Society” and send to Chris Vale, Douai Society Treasurer, 1 Cranford Rise, Esher, Surrey KT10 9NG or
    2) Transfer direct to the Douai Society Nat West bank account s/c 60-80-08 a/c 15675327 BUT if you do this please email Chris Vale at cvale8616@gmail.com so                     your contribution is noted for the record.

                Photos of the Douai Room and the opening event are on the website at: http://douaisociety.org/PavilionNews.html

with best wishes