A successful Annual Dinner, once again well organised by Noel Blows and his team, gave my presidential year an auspicious start, while Behnaz Akhgar, one of my guest speakers at the Dinner, brought a distinctly feminine touch to the occasion. As one of the BBC Wales weather presenters, Behnaz has been an excellent ambassador for the former pupils of Dynevor Comprehensive School – and not surprisingly (see picture) won the unanimous acclaim of the diners!
The Dinner heralded a year of further change and growth for the Association. The membership passed the 600 mark and the breadth of Association events also continued to grow. As a result of Ken Sharpe’s initiatives, for the first time last year our sporting activities included not only an annual golf tournament but also an August cricket day at St Helens in support of Glamorgan CC. We now have so many season ticket holders in our ranks that perhaps the next development should be an afternoon at the Liberty Stadium for the benefit of OD supporters of our football team.
Roger Williams set about the extremely worthwhile but ambitious task of archiving and making available to a wider audience the many Dynevor artefacts inherited by Alan Smith, the headmaster when Dynevor School closed. Roger’s work is already beginning to bear fruit through his contacts with the West Glamorgan Archive Service and may in due course lead to a digitised record of an almost complete run of school magazines. In December, our new website was launched and, while there is still room for it to develop, it will hopefully prove a worthy successor to the one that Dave Tovey so ably created and maintained on our behalf.
We continued to consolidate our ties with Swansea Metropolitan University and it was my pleasure to represent the ODA at the joint ODA-SMU lecture last year given by Jane Davidson. At the ODA annual awards ceremony in October, I was privileged to present ODA awards to four students of the university achieving academic success in spite of economic or physical disadvantage. We do hope to maintain and develop these important links with SMU in its new life as part of a much larger institution.
Sadly the ODA Committee had to say farewell in the course of the year to a number of members whose service has hugely benefited the Association. Edgar McCarthy and Brian Willis, both former presidents of the Association, departed after long and valuable service; Dave Tovey, our webmaster, Peter Macpherson, the editor of this magazine, as well as our membership secretary par excellence, Noel Blows, all bowed out. The positions on the Committee they vacated have now all been filled and we wish the new incumbents the very best of luck as they attempt to build on the very substantial achievements of their predecessors.
I offer my sincere thanks to the many ODs who have supported me in my presidential year and have helped to make it such an enjoyable experience. Very best wishes go to my successors, Kevin Johns this year and Dudley Sinnett after him, for a successful and rewarding presidency.