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Message from our new OJ Chairman

Greetings fellow Old Juddians, please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Howard Dolling and I was
elected as the chairman of the OJS at the recent AGM on 6 th December. It is a great honour for me to hold this
office, especially when I reflect on the many worthy characters who have gone before me, including my
father-in-law Bob Burgess, who was chairman.

I was born in 1941 and in the period of a few short years moved from Cheshire to Manchester, Manchester to Bridgwater, Somerset and then finally to Tonbridge where I joined the Judd School, midway through my second year of secondary education, in 1954. It was here that I was not only able to fulfill my passion for sport
but where I gained a great education and made many friends, who are still part of my life. I will forever be grateful to the then head master Frank Taylor who obviously understood me better than I knew myself at that time. Frank advised me not to take my A levels but to leave school and take up a post offered to a pupil of
the school by Merchant Banker’s Lazard Brothers. I started at the bottom of the ladder, but through hard work and some luck rose to a number of senior roles in banking. I retired in 2001, as a director of a very successful hedge fund after a rewarding life in the City. I played rugby as a hooker for the school 1st XV and then for many years for the OJRFC finally hanging up my boots as captain of the “thirsty thirds” in the late 70’s. I am a life member of OJS. During the 70’s and 80’s I served on the committees of both the OJS and OJRFC. I became interested in amateur dramatic as a result of my wife’s involvement, but only as a “back-room boy”. I became the chairman of the Local Amateur Musical Players (LAMPS) in 1988. Interestingly the LAMPS was initially formed in 1927 by Old Juddians to raise funds for OJRFC. I could not have achieved any of my success without the love and support of my wife, Joy and our two daughters. I continue to delight in their company and also that of the wider family including three wonderful granddaughters and a grandson.

In 2001 when Eddie Prescott was in the chair of OJS he asked Joy if she would produce an Olde Tyme Music Hall to raise funds for the school. This was the first of three very successful shows utilising the thespian talents of Eddie Prescott, Geoff Pettitt, Chris Wickham, Evan Portlock, John Richman, the late Mike Dobson and in
the wings Ken Gunn and Martin Walker together with some of our spouses, friends and children. These shows were great fun and also raised £6,000 for the school. All of the above-named alumni were or went on to be chairmen of the OJS. In order to continue the wonderful camaraderie engendered during the productions of the music halls, we set up the Old Juddian Dining Club, (OJDC). This continues to meet to this day.

Today, I live in Hildenborough, where we are actively involved in the Hildenborough History Society and recently published a book entitled ‘Hildenborough Our Village’. We are members of Nizels Golf and Country Club, the local gardeners’ society and Hildenborough Parish Church, where I am the archivist and a Sidesman. We are both also active in Tonbridge U3A and Local Amateur Musical Players (LAMPS) One of the main issues that your new committee will be trying to solve is how we may best utilise the various significant funds that are in our possession and I hope to be able to report to you our progress in the course of the coming months.
The OJS has always upheld the noble values of service, loyalty, honour, integrity; all important values that I will do my utmost to uphold and I trust that you will support me in this. The OJS itself is battling to find its place and relevance in today’s world and to attract new and younger members. Sadly, without these new and younger members coming forward to take up the reigns in the very near future, the society will struggle to survive. I believe I am the oldest chairman since the start of the society and it would be tragic were I to be the last!
So now is the time to act, before it is too late! I am calling you to get involved, encourage your networks and other alumni, especially younger ones, maybe even your sons/daughters or nephews/nieces. Please contact me via my email if you are willing to help.

With all best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a healthy and peaceful New
Year in 2023.
Sincerely yours,
Howard Dolling

P.S. DATE FOR YOUR 2023 DIARY - The 99th Annual Dinner will take place at the
school on 15th April 2023. Further details in the New Year.
There will also be news in due course of the Centenary Dinner to take place in 2024