Douai Crest


News



Fr Oliver writes on 4th April 2017

Dear Old Dowegian
As you are probably well aware, the old Cricket Pavilion, built as a memorial for all those Old Dowegians who lost their lives during the First World War, is in the process of being rebuilt: in fact the Douai Park Recreation Association are hoping that it will be finished by the end of the month. It is looking very fine and all those who have been involved should be warmly congratulated.

Incorporated into the design is the Douai Room, specifically dedicated to the school's history. The Douai Room will house a display case of school memorabilia such as blazers and photographs, as well as information about Old Boys, a digitised set of Douai Magazines, a reproduction of the sports captains boards, and a film about the school.

The grand opening takes place on Sunday 9th July and the occasion will be marked with a reception and lunch, followed by an Old Boys' cricket match (against a combined side of old boys from Downside and Worth) and various other activities (see attached programme). Anyone wishing to attend should complete the attached form.

Anybody able and willing to play cricket should contact Richard Sims:     Richardjsims@hotmail.com      as soon as possible.

We are also looking for donations for the auction which will take place after lunch. So far among other items we have a Rugby shirt signed by the current England team, Tea at the House of Lords and a VIP tour of the Stonyhurst Heritage Collection.

Please let others who may not be on our mailing list know about this important event which should be very enjoyable. Why not form a party of ten to fill a table?

with best wishes
Oliver


Fr Oliver writes on 7th Jan 2017
Dear Old Dowegian
Happy New Year!

This Newsletter has three elements 1) some news items 2) the London Lunch on 27 January & 3) Pavilion Appeal update

1 News
We have recently heard of the death of two former pupils: Paul Cotton (48/50/54) on 5 December 2016 & Keith Samengo-Turner (68/70). May they rest in peace

Two Old Dowegians featured in the New Year Honours List: Tim Haigh ( 57-62) has been given the OBE. He has been for many years a Trustee of the Depaul Trust. The award was for voluntary service to Homeless People in the UK and particularly abroad.
Michael Pragnell (60-64) has been given the CBE for services to Cancer Research. He is Chairman of Cancer Research UK

2 Lunch at The Star Tavern, Belgravia - Friday 27 January

A Message from our Hon. Secretary, David de Freitas:

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 27th January 2017: 12.30 for 1 pm.
If you wish to attend, please send a cheque payable to "Douai Society" for 32.50 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 20th January 2017. If you would prefer to pay electronically, please email David accordingly and he will provide the relevant bank details 32.50 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!
There is a vegetarian option, which you can advise on the proforma. These all-age group lunches have proved to be extremely popular in recent years.
You can download the proforma for this lunch by means of the following link to the Douai Society website: click here

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.
Last year it was agreed that the subsidy for this lunch would be increased for this lunch to 15, otherwise it would end up being of a greater cost to ODs than the main lunch in June.


3 Pavilion Appeal Update

A message from John Wills, former President


The new Cricket Pavilion is well on track to be completed this spring. It is to be formally opened in June for use by the local Douai Park sports teams and will be followed on Sunday July 9th 2017 by the formal Douai Society opening event. This will include the first floor 'Douai Room' and significantly, the new Memorial Board honouring the 56 Old Boys who gave their lives in World War One. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor will be there to bless the WW1 Memorial. Mass followed by a marquee lunch and a cricket match against Downside Wanderers and Old Worthians. Wives, offspring and other guests all welcome. Please keep the date - details to follow shortly

The Society is using its funds to create a 'Douai Room' as a lasting tribute to our school activities. This is to be located in a prime position on the first floor of the new pavilion with grand views over the 'Sanctum' towards the former school. Richard Sims has been organising the digitisation of the Douai Magazines, which will be one of the features within the room. The room will also contain a short history of the school; replicas of the Sports Captains boards; a display of sporting colours and other memorabilia; Another project is in hand to gather stories of notable life achievements of Old Dowegians. If you have a story that you would like recorded, please pass to Fr Oliver.

The Douai Society Appeal for our pledged 100,000 towards the pavilion building has reached 80% of the target. A further 20,000 is still required. If you have not already given, or perhaps were hesitating until the project was actually completed, then do please consider helping us now to realize this target.

Donations may be made via https://thegoodexchange.com . Click 'donate' then key words 'Douai Park'.

It would be helpful if the Honorary Treasurer, Chris Vale, was notified of any new donations via his email cvale8616@gmail.com.

Brian Stack (72/76) organised a cycling fund raiser of 25 or 50 miles around Douai back in September which certainly helped the cause and many thanks to Brian for his efforts. If any other reader has a fund raising suggestion, then John Wills at johnrwills@btinternet.com would be delighted to hear from you.

with best wishes to you and your families

Oliver


Udate on the Bykathon and Pavilion Appeal - Setember 2016
Read the Letter from the Bykathon Commiyyee

John Kerr Writes on 16th May 2016

This is a report of the Spring Golf meeting,which took place on Thursday May 12th, and Royal Wimbledon GC. A select gathering of 8 OD golfers competed for the Reddin - Clancy trophy,which had resided in California, these last 2 years. This year the winner was Paul Beven,with a creditable 33 points. A good lunch followed, over which discussions produced the idea of starting the day next year, a little later in the morning, and having Brunch first,with tea following, to try and avoid the horrendous traffic which marred the day, and hopefully help our long distance travellers. We also have a proposal to have an Autumn meeting, on Friday October 28th, at Bradfield College GC,followed by food at the Six Bells. Cost circa 50. Early expressions of interest would be appreciated ,to assess the viability of this venture. Kind Regards to all AMA JK
Fr Oliver writes on 7th Jan 2016

Dear Old Dowegian
Happy New Year!

Lunch at The Star, Belgravia - Friday 29 January

A Message from our Hon. Secretary, David de Freitas:

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 29th January 2016: 12.30 for 1 pm.
If you wish to attend, please send a cheque payable to "Douai Society" for 31.00 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 22nd January 2016. If you would prefer to pay electronically, please email David accordingly and he will provide the relevant bank details. 31.00 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!
There is a vegetarian option, which you can advise on the proforma. These all-age group lunches have proved to be extremely popular in recent years.
You can download the proforma for this lunch by means of the following link to the Douai Society website: Details and Booking Proforma
May I take the opportunity of reminding you that for the past few years, the Douai Society has run two 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 each year.

Douai Cricket Pavilion
A Message from our President, John Wills:

I last wrote to you on 4 Nov 15 with the exciting news that work is beginning on the new Pavilion.
Chris Vale and Richard Sims are now leading on the design of the Douai Room and the display of our memorabilia. This project is now becoming a reality.
Our Society's share of the overall financial target is 100,000 and this continues to get ever closer with your steady donations.
Thank you so much to those 151 of you who have already contributed nearly 70% of this figure. Just 60 more of you at an average of 350 each would do the trick.
It could be you, or that good friend of yours!
In order to donate and to claim gift aid please:

a. Go to: www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/browse.aspx Type in keyword Douai, or:

b. Send a Cheque to Douai Park Recreation Association at The Coach House, Upper Woolhampton, Berks, RG7 5TA, and if applicable
include the statement: I am a UK Taxpayer and would expect tax to be reclaimed on any donation received by DPRA Charity No. 1136464 from me under the Gift Aid Scheme"

I urge you all to consider what else you could add in 2016 to help deliver the remaining 30,000.
For example do you know of a sympathetic Charitable Trust Fund that we could approach? Is there an event you would like to organise to raise funds.
Do you have a general item of sporting memorabilia that could be auctioned by the DPRA? If so, do please e-mail me direct at johnrwills@btinternet.com
Finally, your Society depends on the contributions of its members. Have you ever considered becoming a member of the Council?
Do drop me or our Hon.Sec. David de Freitas a line if you would like to know more.
Ad Multos Annos
John Wills, President Douai Society


From the Hon Treasurer, Chris Vale:


John Wills has asked Richard Sims and myself to coordinate the fit-out of the Old Dowegian/Douai Room in the newly to-be-constructed Douai Cricket Pavilion and WW1 Memorial. We are liaising with the DPRA ( Douai Park Recreation Association) team
regarding their plans for the rest of the Pavilion and will also visit other schools with similar projects/museums for inspiration.
The DPRA know a designer in Bucklebury with considerable experience in gallery and museum work including presentation of materials and artefacts.
We have already received promises of blazers, caps etc from a few illustrious Old Boys and would be grateful for additional help or financial donations
to the DPRA fund raising campaign mentioned elsewhere in this newsletter to help with the cost of fit out. If anybody would like to contact me with help my email is cvale8616@gmail.com and mobile is 07970 166974.

It would help us to form an idea of what our members think if you would take part in a survey which can be found
through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TWYT7QD The deadline for completing this survey is 29 February.

Progress on building

The Abbey and the DPRA are currently concluding the legal process to enable the building project to begin.
The DPRA has had discussions with the builder about a reduced specification for the driveway as they don't have sufficient funds to provide more
than a type 1 finish. Apart from that, they are awaiting for the monsoon weather to be over so that the builder can proceed.

Douai's 400th anniversary
We have now come to the end of our year of celebrations to mark 400 years since we were founded in Paris in 1615.
It was good to see Old Dowegians involved in the different events: the trip to Paris in June, the exhibition of the Wintour vestments in the library
and particularly in the celebrations on St Edmund's Day. Over 50 Old Doweigians and wives were present for the Pontifical Mass
and and over 30 for the Pontifical Vespers and the blessing of our new splendid statue of St Edmund.

Incidentally the Wintour Vestment exhibition is now at Auckland Castle, near Durham until April - details from: http://aucklandcastle.org/events/show/plots-and-spangles

Souvenir Brochure

On St Edmund's Day we produced a 24-page illustrated souvenir brochure to mark the 400 years with pictures (including the new statue)
and texts covering the four centuries, incorporating material about the school as well as the monastic community.
We are very grateful to the Douai Society for subsidising the cost of this brochure and we have already sold over 150 copies.
Copies are still available and can be sent by post. The cost is 5 (plus 1 for postage and packing). Please make cheques payable to Douai Abbey

Other news

We have heard of the death of three Old Dowegians since my last letter.

Gordon Peecock (39-42) died on 20 September

David Pendry (50-54) died on 1 December

Michael O'Kane (51-56-61) died on 26 November

May they all rest in peace and may their families be consoled

Please send me your news
Once again I appeal for any news which can be incorporated into the next edition of the Douai Society Newsletter.

With best wishes

Oliver

Society President John Wills wites on 4th November 2015


Dear Fellow Old Dowegians,

This message brings you the exciting news that construction of the new Pavilion at Douai will commence later this month and that completion is forecast within about 12 months.

It is now certain that, not only will there be a fine new building for the many sportsmen and supporters of the Douai Park Recreation Association (DPRA), but also the Douai Society will be able to realise the ambition of having our own facility on the first floor. This floor will be ours to use as a Club Room and will recall the story of our days at Douai. Significantly, the building will restore the Memorial to the 56 Old Boys of Douai who gave their lives in World War One.

I would like to thank those of you who have already contributed money to the DPRA Appeal. With your donations and that of the Society, we are 62% of the way to meeting our target of 100,000. (The overall project cost will be c.750,000). With the positive news that construction will now go ahead, I appeal to you all to please consider helping us meet our financial target. Details on how to donate are below.

Ad Multos Annos

John Wills

President Douai Society

In order to donate and to claim gift aid please go to: http://www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/browse.aspx
Type in keyword Douai

Fr Oliver writes on 4th September 2015

The Northern Lunch
This was held for the first time last year and was pronounced a success. This year's date is Fri 9 October and the venue is
the Manchester Tennis and Racquet Club. Details can be found on the booking form: click here.

Golf - Autumn Meeting
East Berkshire Golf Club -Thursday October 22nd, at East Berks GC - 9am start. Please contact John Kerr is you are interested: johndkerr@lineone.net 01344 776420

Vespers at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral
Another event in the North! This year the Church is celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life. As part of this Fr Godric has organised a Benedictine Celebration at Liverpool Cathedral. 7 or 8 members of the community plus perhaps some from Ampleforth will be singing Vespers at 4 pm on Monday 14 September, followed by light refreshments in the Gibberd Room. At 5.30 Fr Alban will be giving a talk on "The Benedictines in Liverpool". All are welcome.

Douai's 400th anniversary of foundation
This is a reminder of the celebrations to be held at Douai on St Edmund's Day, 20th November. Mass at 11 am with Abbot Geoffrey presiding and Abbot Cuthbert Madden of Ampleforth preaching, followed by a Reception (drinks and nibbles). Vespers at 6 pm with Cardinal Vincent Nichols presiding and the Anglican Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich preaching; this will be followed by the blessing of a new statue of St Edmund by Peter Eugene Ball. Many of you have already indicated that you wish to attend one or both of these celebrations. If there are any others, please let me know (by 1st October, please) and whether you wish to come to Mass or Vespers or both. Unfortunately it is not possible to offer everyone lunch, but it has been suggested that Old Dowegians might book some tables at The Rowbarge. If this suggestion is followed up, I will send out another circular with details.

Wintour Vestments Exhibition
Those who attended the annual AGM and lunch were able to visit this fascinating exhibition. Many people, including myself, did not realise they were interested in 17th century embroidery until they saw these extraordinary examples. The exhibition is open until 25th September and the opening hours are as follows: Mon - Fri (except for Thur 17th) 11.00 - 12.30 and weekends 14.00 - 16.00. The exhibition then moves to Auckland Castle outside Durham (who says we neglect the North) from October until April next year - details on the following link: http://aucklandcastle.org/events/show/plots-and-spangles


Patrick Kavanagh RIP
You may have read that Patrick Kavanagh, the poet and writer died recently. He did not look back at his days at Douai with much fondness, but we should mark his passing. Here is the link to his obituary in the Daily Telegraph:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11834771/P-J-Kavanagh-poet-obituary.html

Fr Oliver writes on 12th July 2015

Dear All
This year's Mass, AGM and Lunch is at Douai on Sunday 9th August. Details can be found on the website Click for the agenda and the lunch application form. Please note that everyone is welcome to attend the Mass and Lunch but only Subscribing or Life Members have a vote at the AGM.

I include below a message from John Wills and John Kerr about the Pavilion:

Pavilion Appeal - Update from John Wills (President) and John Kerr (Appeal Director)

We are delighted to advise you that the Pavilion re-build should commence later this year and with that the creation of our own Douai Society home and social venue that will reflect the essence of the school with key memorabilia, life stories and other projects.

To date our contribution has reached 56,653 (57%) of our 100k target, and the project as a whole is 64% towards the overall target of 700,000. Whilst this allows the build to commence our full contribution is vital to enable the fitting out of the Club Room.

On behalf of the Douai Society we are most grateful to those 126 of you who have already contributed so generously (some very generously) but they are only 10% of those known! So please, if you have not already given, do consider what contribution you might make and encourage those in your circle to do likewise.

In order to donate and to claim gift aid please go to: www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/browse.aspx Type in keyword Douai. Or, send a Cheque to Douai Park Recreation Association at The Coach House, Upper Woolhampton, Berks, RG7 5TA. All contributions will attract Gift Aid if eligible.

with best wishes

Oliver Fr Oliver writes on 17th May 2015

1) Lunch on Friday 5 June
Firstly this is to give you a reminder about the lunch which is happening at the Naval & Military Club on Friday 5 June.
Our Hon. Secretary, David De Freitas, has sent me the list of those who are booked at the moment - perhaps there is someone whom you haven't seen for years and this could be the opportunity to catch up.

Kevin Murphy O'Connor, Michael Coultas,
David & Liz Smallwood, Godfrey Linnett,
John & Carolyn Kerr, Godfrey & Suzanne Caldwell,
John Hoshimi & Hillary Funston, Denis & Jenny Hopkin,
Patrick & Rosemary Powell, Chris & Janet Simpson,
John & Pippa Wills, David & Miranda de Freitas
Crispin Maunder, Charles Lima
Ashley Prime Peter & Pilar Worrall
Roger Aubrey
Bernard & Eva Funston
Piers Lawday
Neville Ward

Here is the link to the booking form: Proforma Please note that the closing date is 25 May.

2) Silver Anniversary' Reunion For The Class of 1990 (1988 for post-GCSE leavers)
The class of 1990 (or 1988 for post-GCSEs leavers) and any teaching staff from that era are invited to mark the silver anniversary of that class's 'graduation' from Douai School by gathering at the Douai cottages for a family picnic on the afternoon of Saturday 15th August 2015 from 12pm to 7pm. Old Dowegians are asked to bring along partners, children (preferably their own), picnics, and plenty of old memories and embarrassing school photos. There will be a small charge to share out for use of the cottages. Please pass this invite on to any other ex-classmates or ex-teachers with whom you may be in contact. If you are hoping to make it along, let Nick Harman know via nickharman72@googlemail.com.

3) Douai's 400th anniversary of foundation
In the last e-mail I gave you the list of various events to mark the 400th anniversary of the community's foundation in Paris. I should have been a little clearer in some of the details in relation to the the events of St Edmund's Day - 20 November. I asked you to let me know if you would be coming to the Mass (11.00 am) and/or to Vespers (6.00 pm). Some of you have replied saying that you would like to come on the day, but without saying which service you want to attend.

Even if you have already told me (sorry to be a pain), can you tell me again, specifying Mass or Vespers or both. I also mentioned that there would be a Reception after Mass - please note that this will be a drink and nibbles and will finish at about 1 pm. Regrettably, we are not able to provide lunch for everyone (one of you said " I presume the latter will be a normal Hog . . . . . but he did add "I presume not" - he was right). I suggest that you make an early booking at a local pub for lunch and then come back in time for Vespers if you are intending to attend both.

4) George Reade (1947-51)
I have heard the sad news from Tim Reade, that his brother George died on 2 May after a long illness. May he rest in peace.

with best wishes

Oliver

Fr Oliver writes on 29th April 2015

Dear Old Dowegian
This circular has just two objects: a) to tell you about the June Lunch and b) to tell you about the various celebrations of the 400th anniversary of our foundation in Paris in 1615.

June 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 5th June 2015: 12.30 for 1 pm If you wish to attend please use the link to the proforma to print and send it with your cheque payable to "Douai Society" for 35 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 2015. If you wish to pay via direct credit, please contact David by email daviddefreitas@aol.com for bank details. 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. (NB normally I provide a link to the Society website where the proforma will be found. This has not been possible this time and I have had to attach it instead; I know that some people are not so keen on receiving attachments and I must apologise)

The 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Abbey, then known as the community of St Edmund's in Paris
In 2003 we celebrated the centenary of our crossing from Douai (France) to Woolhampton in 1903, but this year is even more important as it marks 400 years since a handful of Englishmen came together to form what would become the community of St Edmund. The following events have been arranged and may be of interest to Old Dowegians.

Visit to Paris
On Tuesday 23 June we are celebrating a Mass of Thanksgiving in the Centre Culturel Irlandais 5, rue des Irlandais, Paris 75005 which is very close to our former home in the Rue St Jacques.
This will take place at 11.00 in the Chapelle St Patrick and will be followed by a Reception. Any Old Dowegians who wish to attend will be very welcome,
but please let me know if you will be coming and how many will be in your party. Some members of the Douai Society Council have already expressed interest in attending.

St Edmund's Day - 20 November 2015
1100 Pontifical Mass (celebrant Fr Abbot, preacher the Abbot of Ampleforth)
followed by a Reception
1800 Pontifical Vespers (celebrant HE the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, preacher the Anglican Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich)
to include the blessing of a new statue of St Edmund by Peter Eugene Ball
All are welcome to Mass and Vespers, but please let me know if you will be coming and how many will be in your party

Wintour Vestments Exhibition
These vestments date from about 1650 (so not quite as old as the community!) - they were embroidered by Lady Helen Wintour, daughter of Robert Wintour, one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators. The set was split in about 1670 and some are now at Douai while the rest are kept at Stonyhurst. They are to be reunited in an exhibition which will be staged at Douai from 23 May until September, and then in Auckland Castle from October until April 2016. The opening hours for the exhibition will from 11.00 - 12.30 Monday - Friday and 14.00 - 16.00 at weekends.

LIbrary Catalogues
Fr Abbot and some collaborators from the University of Nijmegen are producing electronic versions of the earliest library catalogues of the community. It is hoped that these will be on display on St Edmund's Day.

Year of Consecrated Life
We are not only looking back to our history, but we are also exploring our place in the church today together with members of all religious orders who are celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life, which began in February 2015 and runs through to February 2016. We have organised a series of talks by members of different orders and institutes once a month (except for August and December) on Saturday mornings. These talks are welcome to all and I would be happy to send details to anyone who is interested. The next talk is on Saturday 9 May at 10.30 and will be given by a married couple who are members of Chemin Neuf, a Catholic organisation with a strong ecumenical emphasis. One of their communities is based at Lambeth Palace under the patronage of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I should also give you notice that the Annual Mass, AGM and Lunch will be here at Douai on Sunday 9 August. Formal notice and the booking form will be sent to members in due course.

with best wishes

Oliver


Fr Oliver writes on 16th January 2015

Pavilion Project
In December I forwarded a letter to you from John Kerr which reminded you of the project to replace the Douai Cricket Pavilion which is in a very bad state of repair.

You will remember that the Pavilion was originally built as a memorial for those Old Dowegians who died in the First World War.
The Douai Park Recreation Association (DPRA) is now very optimistic about seeing the project through to completion and they have secured grants from various bodies (Football Foundation, Sport England and others)

Some months ago the Council of the Douai Society set a target of raising 100,000 for the Pavilion and
the treasurer is about to write a cheque for 30,000 from the Society's own funds; this was voted on in the 2013 AGM.
To date 96 individualOld Dowegians have contributed about 21,000 and we therefore have to find another 49,000.

Since that original letter in December a new route for donating has been set up and this e-mail is to tell you about that.
The Greenham Common Trust operates a scheme called Findmeagrant. The Trust will match any donations to various good causes and will also sort out Gift Aid for those who are UK tax-payers.

The following link will take you to the right page of the website http://www.findmeagrant.org/wberks/browse.aspx

Type in the keyword "Douai" and this will take you to the Donation page where you can donate by card and fill in your address etc
to enable the Gift Aid to be claimed. You will have the satisfaction of seeing the total increase change before your eyes!
Your donation (only an example) of 1000 will result in the fund receiving 1000 of your money, 1000 of matched funding and 250 Gift Aid, totalling 2,250!

The website makes easy provision for those who want to donate by credit or debit card,
but also includes instructions for those who would prefer to send a cheque. (Look at Frequently Asked Questions)

You will also be able to gain access (by clicking the button marked "View Application") to various documents about the project which should answer any of your questions.

Please note that the Findmeagrant website says that the total to be raised is 377,000.
Whilst the DPRA has already received pledges for a good deal of that target, some of which will be staged payments,
the rules of the scheme only permit donations to be published once they are actually in the DPRA's bank account.
I must emphasise that the Findmeagrant scheme applies to future donations and cannot be applied retrospectively.

Old Dowegians' Retreat
Something completely different. For the last three years we have held a retreat for Old Dowegians and wives at Douai.
This year I have been asked to be the chaplain to a Pilgrimage/Retreat going to Italy - "In Benedict's Footsteps" and I thought
that this might be an alternative arrangement. There are a maximum of ten places reserved for us.
The dates are from 11 - 18th October 2015 and the cost (excluding flights to Rome) for accommodation,
meals and trips is 635 each or 740 for ensuite accommodation.
The Pilgrimage will be based at Palazzolo, the villa belonging to the English College 18 miles south of Rome.
The Pilgrimage will include visits to Rome itself, Subiaco and Monte Cassino. I can send more details to anyone who is interested in finding out more.
There is a deadline for applications (isn't there always?) which is 31 January.

London Lunch - Friday 30 January
Just a reminder that the deadline for applications for the London Lunch at The Star in Belgrave Mews West is next Friday 23 January.
Here is the link for the applications form:

If anyone wishes to pay by direct bank transfer, please contact David de Freitas via e-mail: daviddefreitas@aol.com

with best wishes

Oliver

Fr Oliver writes on 17th September 2014


Dear Old Dowegian
I must apologise for the fact that this circular only contains reminders. I'm sure that some people appreciate the odd jolt to the memory. I know that I am getting to the stage when I tend to forget things . . . I am feeling particularly old (in fact I'm only 63) at the moment because last week in London, for the first time in my life a girl of about 20 offered me her seat on the tube!!!
I hope I was polite in my firm refusal, but I'm sure she did not miss my look of extreme surprise; in fact I looked round to see if she was talking to someobody else!

Anyway here are the three reminders:
For the last three years we have held a Retreat at Douai exclusively for Old Dowegians and their wives; so far these have been at weekends, but this year the dates are Tuesday 30 September to Thursday 2 October. Details can be found here. So far ten people have booked places but we can take at least six more as long as you book before the deadline which is next Monday (22 September).

Many of our events take place in London, the Home Counties or at Douai. To go some way to redress this lack of balance, Fr Godric has arranged for a Northern Lunch to take place in Manchester on Friday 10 October. Details can be found here; this form mentions a deadline of 22 September, but I am told that this can be extended to 29 September.

Finally I must thank all those who have sent in news about themselves for inclusion in the next Newsletter. I am very grateful to those who have taken the trouble to write a paragraph or two, but I have to report that I still do not have enough material to justify the cost of printing and distributing a new edition. So here is another reminder, a request, an appeal for more information..

Can I also remind you again about the Bursary Fund which exists to help Old Dowegians or any member of their families who are thinking of undertaking an expedition or other activity covered by the terms of the bursary. Terms and conditions and an application form can be found here

The latest news here is that we have a new Prior, Fr Alban Hood, and that we have installed solar panels on our flat roofs. We have calculated that in their first twenty days of operation they generated enough power to boil 10,000 kettles!

with best wishes

Oliver

Fr Oliver writes on July 7th 2014


Dear All
The first thing to tell you is that last week Abbot Geoffrey was re-elected as our Abbot for a third term of office. He has completed 16 years and now embarks on another eight-year term.

Secondly we had our first ordination to the priesthood since 2007. Fr Gabriel Wilson, who joined the community in 2009 was ordained priest by Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth, on Sunday 6 July. He has recently completed his studies at Blackfriars, Oxford, recently and is involved in a variety of things, including Promotor of Vocations for the community.

I hope that I can assure both Fr Abbot and Fr Gabriel of the prayers of all Old Dowegians for their futures.

Once again I must make an appeal for news so that I can put together a Newsletter without resorting to imaginative fiction. Please tell me all about your own achievements or notable events (retirement, journeys, new jobs, new children etc etc) or perhaps you can just give a brief account of what you have been up to for the last twenty years, particularly if you have not let the wider Douai community know about all this for many years. If you have heard news of other Old Dowegians, why not let me know that (preferably with their permission).

The Annual Mass for the Douai Society, AGM and Lunch at Douai is happening in just over a month (Sunday 17 August). This occasion is also open to wives and friends. Details can be found here.

For the last three years we have held a Retreat at Douai exclusively for Old Dowegians and their wives; so far these have been at weekends, but this year the dates are Tuesday 30 September to Thursday 2 October. Details can be found here. We hold retreats throughout the year and many people just come by themselves to have peace and quiet for a few days. Our website has a section on Hospitality and list of all the retreats which form part of the Pastoral Programme: www.douaiabbey.org.uk.

Many of our events take place in London, the Home Counties or at Douai. To go some way to redress this lack of balance, Fr Godric has arranged for a Northern Lunch to take place in Manchester on Friday 10 October. Details can be found here.

Please note that all these events are open to former Douai pupils, not just to subscribing or Life members. However voting at the AGM is restricted to members of the Society. If you wish to renew your membership (15 a year), please ask me to send you a Banker's Order form . . . . . . . . . this could be in the same e-mail in which you tell me all your news!

Please note that the Society's own web page now has a neater URL: http://douaisociety.org/

with best wishes

Oliver

Fr Oliver writes on April 20th 2014

Dear All
This is just a quick letter to give you some future dates.
The first is the Lunch on Friday 6 June at the Naval and Military Club - details and booking form can be found at the following link: Lunch
The Annual Mass, AGM and Lunch will be on Sun 17th August at Douai - an application form will be available later.
A new departure is The Northern Lunch in Manchester on Fri 10th October - again details and application form will be available in due course.
There will be another Retreat at Douai for Old Dowegians and their wives. This year we will be holding this mid-week rather than at a weekend - we hope that this will suit some people who have not been able to come before - the dates are Tues 30 September to Thur 2 October.
I am off to Lourdes at 5 am tomorrow morning and still have to do my packing - Happy Easter! I will only have very limited access to e-mails while I am there.
Oliver

Fr Oliver Writes on 16th July 2013

Dear Douai Society Member

The Annual Mass for the Members of the Douai Society, living and dead, will take place in the Abbey Church at 11 am on Sunday 18 August. This will be followed by a good lunch in the Guest Refectory . . . with the AGM squeezed in between these two more important events.

Please find the application form for the lunch by following this link and printing out the form. Please forgive this slightly cumbersome way of making the form available; I know that some people prefer not to receive attachments to e-mails. If anyone knows a better way of making this available, please let me know. This is a bit clunky but it does work . . . . usually. If there is a problem, please send me an e-mail request and I will send the form as an attachment.

May I remind you that wives are very welcome to attend the Mass and the lunch. In recent years some of them have also chosen to attend the AGM, but they would also be very welcome to walk in the grounds and perhaps visit our small flock of Jacob's sheep (I am now the assistant shepherd so I have to declare an interest!). If they do attend the AGM, I should remind you that only Subscribing or LIfe Members of the Society can actually vote.

On the events page of the website you will also find an application form for the Old Dowegians Retreat which is also open to wives. This will take place on the weekend of 13-15 December. Full details are on the application form.

I have been very slack about producing a newsletter for either 2012 or 2013, but I have to say that this is partly because I have not had a huge amount of information. I recall one editor of a newsletter saying in the past that he was quite prepared to make things up if nobody sent in any genuine news, but I would rather not go down that road! If more (genuine) items could appear in the next few days I would make a serious effort to have a Newsletter ready for the 18 August.

with best wishes

Oliver
Fr Oliver Writes on 15th April 2013

Dear Old Dowegian

Old Dowegians Lunch Friday 7th June 2013

Lunches in London organised by the Douai Society for all age groups have proved to be popular and well received by all those who have attended them. It seems that sharing a common experience of attending the School evaporates any age differences that might otherwise apply. Indeed, the mingling of generations has added another dimension to the enjoyment of these occasions! Since the start in January 2012, there have been three lunches, which have been subsidised by the Douai Society with the usual contribution of 10 per Old Dowegian. The Council has decided to organise at least two of these all age groups lunches a year, with a flagship lunch during the summer where a greater subsidy will apply and where spouses will be most welcome. The first of these flagship lunches is set for Friday 7th June at The Naval & Military Club in St. James's Square. A three-course lunch, with wine and a glass of port, will cost 35 for each Old Dowegian or 70 if your spouse is also attending. This represents a larger subsidy than usual, and we hope that this enhanced subsidy will encourage as many Old Dowegians and their spouses to attend as possible. Please use using this link to access an application form.

Please note, that in keeping with the practice adopted by clubs in the St. James area, the dress code is jacket, collar and tie (preferably OD) for gentlemen and the equivalent for ladies. Please return the proforma (and your cheques, payable to Douai Society) by 24th May 2013 to Hon Secretary David de Freitas, 68 Burnfoot Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 5EA daviddefreitas@aol.com together with details of any dietary requirements. NB please do NOT send application form, cheque or anything else to me (Fr Oliver)

Douai website

Fr Wilfrid designed the original format of the monastery website and Fr Gervase has expanded it and maintained it ever since; we are very grateful to him for keeping it up to date so conscientiously for many years. There has now been a redesign and Fr Hugh is now responsible for the site: the address remains the same: www.douaiabbey.org.uk and there is a link to the Douai Society under "School" in the first paragraph of the opening page.

Abbot Finbar

Abbot Finbar has now been the Prior Administrator at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight for five years. He is returning to Douai in May or early June and will be taking up the post of Guestmaster.

Concert at Douai - this coming Saturday

I have to declare an interest here: I am a trustee of Prior's Court, a school and home for young people with autism and severe learnig difficulties. It is an extraordinary place and extremely expensive to run; to give you some idea, there are 55 pupils and 430 staff! You can find out more about Prior's Court on www.priorscourt.org.uk

We are holding a fundraising concert for Prior's Court at Douai on Saturday 20 April at 7.45 pm; the performers will be Reading Phoenix Choir who have a very good reputation locally and have been successful in national competitions. Their website is www.readingphoenixchoir.com Tickets for the concert (12 & 10 concessions) are available from Newbury Corn Exchange 0845 5 218218.

The Pavilion

The Douai Park Recreation Association, who hold the lease for the Park, have now applied for planning permission to replace the Pavilion with a new building. More details will be available in due course. The Association is very much aware that the Pavilion was originally built as a memorial for those Old Dowegians who died in the First World War and a plaque on the new building will commemorate that dedication. Unfortunately the condition of the pavilion means that it is no longer practical to refurbish it.

Solemn Profession at Douai

We are delighted that Br Gabriel made his solemn profession (final vows) on Saturday. Two other monks, Brs Damian and Anselm, are in their period of temporary vows and together with Br Gabriel continue their studies at Blackfriars, Oxford.

(Please note that this e-mail comes to you from a different e-mail address - my own address for incoming e-mails remains oliver@douaiabbey.org.uk)

with best wishes

Oliver
Fr Oliver Holt OSB
Douai Abbey
Upper Woolhampton
Reading RG7 5TQ

Tel: 0118 971 5319
E-mail: oliver@douaiabbey.org.uk

Fr Oliver Writes on 4th January 2013

Dear All
Firstly may I wish you all a Happy New Year.

Secondly I must confess that I have still not got round to editing the Newsletter for 2012 which should be sent to all members of the Society together with the latest copy of The Douai Magazine - I would prefer not to set a deadline for myself, but I will get on with it as soon as possible.

I have to bring you the sad news of some recent deaths; please pray for them and for their families:

Nigel Furminger (1974-79) died on 27 December after suffering from cancer. He leaves behind his wife Helen and two daughters, Isabelle and Lorna. His funeral takes place on Monday 7 January at 10 am at St Augustine's Church, Crescent Road, Tunbridge Wells TN1 2LY

Mary Brister died on 27 December after being ill for many years. She was the wife of Bill Brister (1939-42 and Past President of the Society), mother of David (RIP) and Anthony, grandmother of Paul, Adrian (RIP) and Gregory - all Old Dowegians). Her funeral will take place on Friday 11 January at 2 pm at Farnborough Hill School where she taught English for many years (Farnborough Hill School, Farnborough, Hants GU14 8AT) The family have asked for no flowers please, but donations if desired to The Catholic Children's Society (Westminster) ref MB c/o J Gorringe & Son F/D, 55 Hare Lane, Godalming GU7 3EF..

Christopher Sheehan (1943-46) died in Jersey on 20 November. His funeral took place on 6 December. He was a cousin of Paul Rutland-Barsby (1949-52) who told us of his death.

David Allanson (1953-58) died in his sleep this morning (3 Jan) after a long illness. His brother, Chris (52-57), was just about to fly to South Africa to see him.

Other news
The Douai Society has recently bought a very sophisticated camera stand for the Archives at the Abbey. This can be used to take top quality pictures (without camera shake and with the right sort of lighting) of the various holdings in the archives. Mike Skivington (Past President) and John Kerr (President) had already begun to take photos of some of the old school archives and it was suggested that the acquisition of this stand would enable them and others to achieve better results. Fr Abbot (who is also the librarian and archivist) is very grateful to the Society for this generous gift.

Social and Spiritual Occasions
There will be another lunch at The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews, West London SW1X 8HT (nearest tube Knightsbridge, Sloane Square or Victoria) on Friday 8 February: 12.30 for 1 pm If you wish to attend please send a cheque payable to "Douai Society" for 23 to the Hon Sec, David de Freitas, to his home address: 68 Burnfoot Avenue, Fulham, London SW6 5EA by 1st February.

A lunch has also been arranged at the Naval and Military Club in St James Square on Friday 7 June - booking details will be available nearer the time.

The Annual Mass for the Douai Society, followed by the AGM and lunch will be at Douai on Sunday 18 August 2013.

In my last circular I said that it had been impossible to find a free weekend for an Old Dowegian Retreat in 2013 but since then a weekend has become available. It is Fri 13 - Sun 15 December - I have pencilled it in, but it would be useful to know as soon as possible if there is any interest before I firm it up. Please let me know if you and any other members of your families would be interested in attending this retreat - it would obviously have an Advent theme.

I also said that I would look into the possibility of a mid-week retreat (eg Mon evening to Wed after lunch or similar pattern during the week) for people who would prefer not to be here at a weekend. I only had one person who expressed some interest, but I mention it again in case other people (perhaps, but not necessarily retired) might like to spend two quiet days here, participating in the prayer of the community and attending some not-too-demanding talks. Please let me know if there is any interest and I will then look for some dates.

Concerts
I continue to organise concerts at Douai and we are very lucky in the choirs, orchestras and other groups who ask to come here. A full list can be found on our website (www.douaiabbey.org.uk) , but I would like to highlight three concerts that I am particularly looking forward to myself:

Sat 16 February Reading Bach Choir Bach's St John Passion

Sat 9 March Arion Orchestra with Evelyn Glennie as the solo percussionist in two concertos by Vivaldi and Rosauro - Evelyn Glennie is the famous percussionist who played a prominent role in the Olympics Opening Ceremony - she is possibly the biggest star who has ever played at Douai (other people will probably react to this comment!)

Wed 15 May London Community Gospel Choir part of the Newbury Spring Festival

Please look at the website to see details of booking, but in fact tickets for all concerts can be booked through the Newbury Corn Exchange (08455 218 218) - booking for some of these concerts might not yet be open, but put the dates in your diary anyway.

with best wishes

Oliver


Fr Oliver Writes on 27th November 2012


In my last e-mail I told you about a London lunch which the Hon Secretary, David de Freitas, has arranged at The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews, West London SW1X 8HT (nearest tube Knightsbridge, Sloane Square or Victoria) on Friday 30th November - 12.30 for 1pm - ie this Friday. There has been a good take-up rate, but there are still ten places left. Allowing for the Old Dowegian subsidy of 10, the cost will be 22 per head (3 courses to include half bottle of wine). If you wish to attend please contact David (NOT me, please) via e-mail - Daviddefreitas@aol.com - by 10 am tomorrow morning (28 November) - sorry about the short notice, but this is specifically aimed at people who like leaving things to the last moment!

I will not be able to attend myself as I will be celebrating the Requiem Mass for Chris McClement (58-62-66) who died of cancer on 17 November; I was in contact with the family before he died and was in fact able to anoint him the night before he died with the whole family present; this includes his sons, Duncan and Jamie, who were also Old Dowegians. The Requiem Mass is on Friday 30 November at 3.30 pm at St Joseph's, Brook Lane, Thame, Oxon OX9 2AB.

I can give you advance notice of next year's AGM and Lunch which will be held at Douai on Sunday 18 August next year. An application form and other details will be available in due course. We have had two retreats for Old Dowegians and their wives in the last two years but have not been able to find a suitable weekend in 2013. However there are plenty of other retreats held here which you might like to consider attending. It happens that I am leading one just before Christmas, entitled "Light of the World". It starts with Vespers on Friday 21 December and finishes after lunch on Sunday 23 December. Details and a booking form can be found on our website if you follow this link which will also tell you about other retreats in our programme: http://www.douaiabbey.org.uk/retreats2.htm#41112

I realise that many of you are retired and that you might therefore be able to attend a mid-week retreat, either by yourself or with your wife. It would be helpful if you could let me know if this is the case and which time of the year you would prefer. If there is sufficient interest I could then look for possible dates and then circulate the results.

You may remember that a London lunch was held in January this year at Armoury House, the HQ of the Honourable Artillery Company. It was very successful and it was hoped that it would be repeated from time to time. Unfortunately it turned out that that particular arrangement could not happen again and so the Council of the Douai Society has been exploring other possibilities.

After extensive research (not all of which involved tasting sessions!) another venue has been found. David de Freitas has arranged a lunch at The Star Tavern, 6 Belgrave Mews, West London SW1X 8HT (nearest tube Knightsbridge, Sloane Square or Victoria) on Friday 30th November - 12.30 for 1pm. Allowing for the Old Dowegian subsidy of 10, the cost will be 22 per head (3 courses to include half bottle of wine). If you wish to attend please contact David (NOT me, please) via e-mail - Daviddefreitas@aol.com - by 23rd November. Max number 34 - applications on first come first served basis.
And from Fr Oliver on 31st October 2012

I have to give you news of three Old Dowegians who have died since the AGM in August.

John Fletcher O'Donnell (49-52-57), father of Luke (79-84), Daniel (80-85) and Benjamin (83-88) died on 17 October. A memorial service will be held at 11.30 am on Monday 26 November at St Mary's Church, High Street, Wivenhoe CO7 9BJ to which his friends are welcome

David Evan Pugh (58-61) died on 15 October. (By pure chance I stayed in the Bed & Breakfast run by him and his wife at Hickling on the Norfolk Broads in 2007)

Peter Ashforth (63-67) died on 5 October - he lived for many years in Singapore.

We pray that they may all rest in peace and that their families may by comforted.

Other news:
Fr Peter is now Prior of the monastery in place of Fr Bernard who becomes Sub-prior. Fr Peter is also Parish Priest of our local parish (Woolhampton, Pangbourne, Burghfield and Theale). He had the sad responsibility of closing the Maison St Benoit in Douai, France in January and then, after looking after the parish in Ormskirk for two months while Fr Godric was on a mini-sabbatical in Israel, went on his own two month stay in Israel - he has many stories to tell about his time there, as does Fr Godric.

Many Old Dowegians, monks from other monasteries, priests of the diocese and other friends attended Fr Romuald's funeral in July. There was also a large gathering in September for the Memorial Service for Kevin Maguire (teacher in the school and parishioner for many years).

Fr Christopher Jamison (former Abbot of Worth) is based here at weekends when he is not working for the Bishops' Conference as Director of Vocations for England & Wales. He appears in "Songs of Praise" on BBC 1 this coming Sunday (4 November at 16.45) with Ann Widdecombe and their encounter was filmed in our Abbey Church.

I must apologise for the fact the the 2012 Newsletter has not yet appeared . . . but it does mean that there is still room for your news, if you haven't sent it to me yet!
And from Fr. Oliver on 29th June
One item of news is bang up to date: Paul Mahoney (1960-63) was yesterday elected the UK judge on the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg - the spooky thing is that one of the other two candidates put forward by the British government was another Old Dowegian: Ben Emmerson (1976-79)! We have obviously produced some good lawyers over the years
Recent deaths
Sir Brandon Gough (51/55) died on 24 April and a memorial service was held in Westminster Cathedral on 26 June; I believe that some members of the Society Council attended. An obituary appeared in The Daily Telegraph and I hope to reproduce that in the newsletter. We have also heard about the death of Christopher Hince (51/54) after a long illness. May they both rest in peace. I must apologise that I did not follow my usual practice of sending out news of deaths, at least to the contemporaries of those who have died. Kevin Maguire who taught Modern Languages for many years in the school and was also very much part of the Abbey and Parish communities has also died recently after some years of very poor health. His funeral took place in France where he and Odile have lived for many years, but it is hoped that a memorial mass will be held at Douai in the coming months.

News from the Abbey
In January we closed the Maison St Benoit, our house in Douai, France where we had established a Benedictine presence since 2005. Fr Peter is now back in the monastery, although at the moment he is enjoying a mini-sabbatical of two months in Jerusalem. Fr Godric was also in Jerusalem for a similar period earlier in the year.

Fr Paul has been appointed Secretary to the Family Life and Worship Department of the Bishops' Conference for England and Wales; he will continue his "day job" as Professor of Liturgy at Sant' Anselmo, the benedictine college in Rome.

At last, after years and years of negotiation, we have signed a 99 year lease for the Park and the Pavilion. The lessee is the Douai Park Recreation Association made up of Woolhampton Cricket Club, Thatcham Tornadoes (youth football teams), Elstree School, Woolhampton Primary School and Douai Tennis Club. The Association hopes to develop the Park in various ways, and particularly to refurbish/rebuild the Pavilion. They are aware that the Pavilion was built in the 1920s as a memorial to those Old Dowegians who died in the First World War and it is proposed that a plaque on or in the building should record this fact.

Our new monastery buildings (Refectories, Guest House, cloisters and Library) have recently won an award from the Southern Region of the RIBA. I was lucky enough to go with David Richmond, the architect and his wife to the presentation dinner at STEAM, the Great Western Railway museum in Swindon.

Fr Romuald is not well at the moment and Br Ganriel has just had a very serious heart operation; Fr Terence has also not been well but is in good spirits.

There will be more news in the coming Newsletter (I'm not going to be foolish enough to say when it will be published! Of course a huge amount depends on when you send me all your news!)