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News > Alumni News > Russ Clark (OI 1987-94) Attends the Class of 1994 Reunion with a Library Book, 30 Years Late!

Russ Clark (OI 1987-94) Attends the Class of 1994 Reunion with a Library Book, 30 Years Late!

Russ returned to the Library at Ipswich School to hand in a book he has been 'looking after' for 30 years.
19 Feb 2024
Alumni News
Photograph by Gavin King
Photograph by Gavin King

He was attending the eagerly awaited, Class of 1994 reunion which saw more than 50 OIs return to the School to catch up and reminisce over lunch and drinks in the Dining Hall. Many had travelled from other parts of the country and one OI had even flown in from New York.

The tour of the School was led by Mr (Richard) Welbourne and Mr (Steve) Godfrey and the OIs toured classrooms, the Chapel, Great School and the Library where Russ took great delight in bringing with him a library book, Scott's Last Expedition which he had in his pocket. He said, "I can’t actually remember when I signed the book out, or if it was in the boarding house collection, or whether I was loaned it by a friend. I have been a fan of Antarctic exploration for as long as I can remember. This book is a 1931 copy of the diary and letters from the late Captain Robert Falcon Scott Royal Navy, detailing the drama and tragedy of the 1911/12 expedition to the South Pole. To quote the author’s last written words “Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every Englishman…” it certainly captivated me.

"The book is rather dog-eared now, as I have read it several times and it is one of my favourite books I possess (note, not own)! My own Royal Naval career has taken me deep into the Antarctic circle during winter and I have only the utmost respect for the explorers of the day. 

"Captain Scott’s memorial stands proudly overlooking Plymouth Sound and the difficult Vanguard Bank turn for Naval ships entering the River Tamar. He remains one of my personal life heroes; he was by no means perfect but as a courageous leader, there are few to surpass his bravery or his compassion for his team. Perhaps not all heroes have to succeed?

"It is 30 years since I left Ipswich School and I thought it was about time I should return the book to its original home, our OI reunion provided the opportunity. After an awkward apology from me, the Headmaster, Mr Weaver has kindly granted me an ‘extended loan’ for which I am honoured and grateful, especially as I doubt I could afford the overdue fine with inflation… I shall keep it safe and read it again, just in case I missed a bit!"

The OI host for the Class of 1994, Chris Newstead (OI 1983-94) commented, "I think we were all astonished by our group’s turn out and then just how easy it was to reconnect and share stories and updates again, after all this time. It was wonderful too that so many of our era’s teachers were able to join us to connect and share their memories. And it was great to see the School’s enviable facilities once again, and indeed to hear some impromptu foot stomping on the Dining Room floor when a plate dropped. Ha!

"I think I made a point during my short speech about a gentle tribalism within a year group (be that brought about through boarding, music, sport, or another emotional dimension) but that it is something that can flourish when underlined by a greater security enabled through respect and common kindness. It was abundantly clear that those values still live on within us all."

After three hours at the School the OIs decamped to The Greyhound pub to continue their reunion. 

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