A past Chairman of the Club once stated that 'the primary function of the Club is to support the very existence of Ipswich School, and help continue its development as a robust institution of educational excellence, and personal development for boys and girls'.
In a recent issue of the OI Journal, the School’s Headmaster, Nicholas Weaver, noting the high regard in which recent leavers hold the Club, wrote, “It is fantastic to hear such praise, but no surprise. The OI Club is certainly as good as any such organisation I have come across in my career and long may it prosper.”
The Club is largely about friendship and staying in touch, with one of its main functions supporting OIs and providing opportunities for them to keep in contact with each other. The Club provides regular communications with its members, who include present and former members of the teaching staff, and arranges a variety of social and sporting events throughout the year, not just in and around Ipswich but at locations throughout the United Kingdom and, on occasions, overseas.
All ages and tastes are catered for, with events ranging from black-tie dinners to drinks evenings, from golf tournaments to paintball battles. It is pleasing to see the School’s co-educational stance since 1992 increasingly reflected in attendances.
The School’s Development Office provides opportunities for OIs to contribute financially to the development of the School’s facilities. The new Music School, which was completed in 2015, received significant funding from the OI Club’s 125th Anniversary Appeal.
Close involvement of Club officers with the School’s Archives and Museum ensure that past pupils are regularly reminded of their long heritage, and are inspired by the activities and achievements of those who have gone before them.
What the Club seeks to do
In spite of speaking and writing so often about pupils “leaving Ipswich School”, the OI Club recognises that relationships formed during childhood and teenage years frequently endure into adulthood, and often provide valuable opportunities for career enhancement and development, as well as friendship and support during the ups and downs of adult life.
An OI recently emailed the Club to enquire about the health of someone with whom he had been a pupil 50 years earlier. “Back in the ‘50s we were ‘a gang of four’ boarders in School House and have kept in touch ever since.”
The Club’s officers and committee, recognising that an on-going connection with Ipswich School is often of considerable benefit to former pupils and to the School, work hard to achieve the following:
- Work with the School’s Development Office to arrange a programme of social and sporting events, providing opportunities for members to renew and enjoy contact with each other.
- Communicate regularly with all Club members, who include present and former teaching staff, keeping them abreast of past and future Club activities and encouraging them to contribute family and professional news. This is done using a variety of paper and electronic media.
- Recognising that the education enjoyed by most OIs, and the career opportunities thus open to them, were considerably enhanced by the generosity of those who were pupils before them - the cricket pavilion and Great School are examples - to provide a means by which members can help fund bursaries, sporting facilities or the new Music School.
- Promote the creation within UK or overseas branches of the Club for OIs within a particular geographical area, and clubs and societies for members with a particular interest such as drama or choral singing.