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Alumni continue to stay involved with the College via its Association in many ways such as through a sport or by providing
existing students with work placements. Current students continue to benefit from those alumni who have been willing to offer
a small amount of their time.
A few thoughts from Trevor Cave (U71), member of the Association Committee:
"Oh, does the Association do that then?"
The words of a former CCRUFC player at a recent event at the Mansion House
The Churchill College Association does various things about which you might hear and read, if you are still in touch. What many people do not realise is that there is quite a lot of Association activity and renewed involvement with the College can be enormous fun and very helpful to resident members studying at Churchill today.
Having come into the Committee via coxing boats again, I asked at the AGM if there were schemes for "relevant specialist enthusiasts" to be involved in other activities. There has been, for some time, a group of City lawyers who have contacted and encouraged the present law students and there's also Eddie Powell's business group. Plus, of course, there's the pub nights in London - Strand and City. I believe that the cricketers come back and play a match or two against the College most years and rugby has its Bulldogs but I do not know about any other sports. Please let us know, at Churchill.Association@chu.cam.ac.uk. I know the GODS used to have a mad hatters lunch each year, perhaps they still do but I have heard of no other cultural alumni liaison. Please tell us of any more.
I have recently been asking companies in my sector if they might offer placements to undergraduates for gap year and/or long vac's (a bit like my 1:3:1 sandwich apprenticeship in the 1970s: very good experience and grounding in the working world.)
I have also been trying to stir up former boaties to take more of an active interest in the Boat Club, with mixed success I concede. Sue Brown (G80), Eddie Powell (U67)and Simon Butler (U61) have achieved much more.
After a few discussions and at a couple of Reunion lunches, a pattern of potential activity is beginning to emerge, most notably with several very simple and quick and easy things to try.
Let's begin with the professional field. If any of you work in businesses or organisations that might place clever undergrads for gap year or long vac's, please contact the Recruitment Officer via the Alumni Relations Office at the College. If any of you, like me, go to quite a lot of trade shows e.g Farnborough, DSEI, RailTech etc., do please ask around a bit to see if exhibitors have suitable schemes. I steered Alex Lumley (the former Admissions Officer) around Farnborough this year and we ended up with useful placements for specific students e.g. a Czech mathematician in a Czech aerospace company, a German compsci in Austrian Airlines etc..
Others already know more about the law group and business groups. Please get in touch with the Association if you feel you might help.
My efforts with the boat club have alerted me to the possibilities with other sports and activities. The overwhelming thing I noticed when coxing and coaching the Boat Club a bit, has been how much busier the academic work is for all students now than in my day - and those who know me will recall that I was a mediocre student but even allowing for that, I think that most students now work harder than many of the real swats of my day. Thus there is great scope for helping them with their extra-curricular activities.
Firstly, let's try to establish lists of everyone who has been involved with a sport. Even if you no longer take part, please just jot down a list of those you remember who were in your sport. Feed it back to the college, via the Alumni Relations Office initially, and in conjunction with the present club or other volunteers, we can compile reliable lists. Then we can see if they might still be willing to help the present members. e.g. I cox regularly in London and occasionally in Cambridge. I can be quite useful to almost any college crew - especially if they are short of a cox or coach.
If not training or competing regularly do you still coach a sport? Come and give a few sessions to the resident clubs if you are in range. Don't forget about making good use of High Table Dinners when you come.
If you are no longer active at all in your sport, maybe one or two of you close enough could join your club committee and help the resident members run the club a bit. There could be a useful post for an old lag running liaison with past members. Perhaps another could help finding coaching etc. Lastly, again if you are in range, get in touch with your old club and come and support it in cuppers etc. The resident members are most impressed when alumni return to cheer for them.
There is probably a very similar sequence, to a degree, with the non-sporting, more cultural activities. Did you sing or play an instrument? Try to remember and list your fellow musicians, get in touch with the present members who do as well, come and join the college band again. Do you teach music or have a skilled pal who does? Try to arrange some teaching. Might someone volunteer to be a music liaison contact? For Phoenix Society (a.k.a. Socratic Scoiety) are you a potential speaker yourself or do you know someone? I happen to know one MP and some retired senior military but I'm not so good on Academics - perhaps there's scope there.
There's also scope in the subject societies. I once attended a college History Society meeting where a fellow of Queens, I think, talked utter rubbish about WW2 aircraft. 3 or 4 of us from aerospace backgrounds shot him down in great detail and by the end of the evening he was asking us for detailed answers on some matters, which we could give him. Perhaps some of you have a specialist knowledge of a particular period of history or a specific foreign land for Geog Society (is there one?) Come and share it with the present members.
Do you need a reason for all this? Initially for me, I enjoy coxing boats and it is quite something to cox a Churchill college crew for real as a regular active sportsman in my 50s. I do not deserve to be the only past member enjoying this. I raced with the Women's First Boat, W1, Head of the Cam 2004. Later that day, when I shouted "Do it for Winston" to a crew with pink blades, a St John's man asked , quite genuinely, "Oh, is Churchill College named after Winston Churchill then?" He actually had not realised.
St John's may have a problem but we certainly do, if people do not even connect us with our founder.
More than anything else, I have gradually become more and more aware of how special Winston was and how special we are to commemorate him.
One could ramble on at great length but by way of brief comparison, just consider some other older and younger colleges.
Master Lord Broers noted, at one Association Dinner, how Maersk McKinney-Müller felt the world had not recognised Winston Churchill sufficiently and he has therefore given expansively to the College to redress the world's shortcoming.
Leaving out all the biblical dedications, which were made for different cultural reasons befitting their antiquity, just think of a few secular ones. Newnham and Girton are simply places. Downing was a civil servant, Lady Clare gave her late husbands' money away, Lady Sidney married the Earl of Sussex and they paid for a hall to be built. Ditto Countess of Pembroke and, most recently. Which Queens by the way? Mr Robinson sold televisions!!!!!
As Master Sir Herman Bondi wrote for me, Winston was key in saving this world from an awful tyranny which would still affect lives today and for many decades. Many of today's students would never have been born but for Winston. He was also a Nobel laureate, great sportsman, accomplished painter, inventor of the tank (yes, he won WW1 also) , Even the BBC viewers voted him our greatest Briton. I feel he was probably the greatest man of the last 500 years at least and deserves to be remembered for many more centuries.
We are all Winston's international living monument and he is worth celebrating. We can all help with that by remaining involved as much as we enjoy with our great College and its Association.
As Roddy Galbraith (G72) put it "Churchill does not have alumni like other places - we are members of the college no longer in residence." Let's maximise and enjoy our lifelong membership to the full.