Thirty Years On

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Friday 7 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …

Game ED

Thirty years ago to the month, June 1983, I arrived in Port Elizabeth for the first time.

I was born in Stellenbosch and had been raised in the Western Cape. After having finished my schooling in Oklahoma, USA and graduating from Stellenbosch University, I completed my military service in Oudtshoorn in 1982/1983.

In the possession of a Higher Diploma in Education and an Education Department Bursary to be repaid, I had applied for a position in Port Elizabeth.

The post had been advertised in the Cape Provincial Education Gazette in early 1982 at the beginning of my two year stint in the military:

“The Cape Education Department has a vacancy for a teacher to head up a newly established Port Elizabeth Computer Studies Centre based at the Grey High School for Boys.”

I applied to The Rector (!), Post Box X0002, Cooper’s Kloof 6002 – rector being a term unknown to me – and was duly appointed to the post based on my submitted CV and no interview.

In June 1983, during my “seven days” leave, I thought it wise to travel from Oudtshoorn to Port Elizabeth to view this computer centre and school at which I would be teaching.

Hence, my very first arrival at the Mill Park campus of Grey and my very first view of the magnificent school buildings and the Clock Tower.

tower

I started teaching in January 1984 under Rector Dieter Pakendorf (together with some 15 other new staff members including André van Staden – now Pearson Headmaster and Mike Thomson – now at Michaelhouse. Sadly, most have left teaching.)

I was one of the first to leave. Although I left (twice but finally) at the end of 1988 after a five year stint of teaching to the lure of the business sector, it was an association with The Grey that has spanned thirty years.

I have written and spoken much about the events that occurred and the people that crossed my path during that time. They form a part of my tapestry of Life.

I never really lost touch with the school and returned often under Rector Simpson to address various groups on various subjects ranging from Information Technology to Industrial Relations and Management Principles.

Ironically, during my business career, the Company celebrated its year-end functions in the De Waal Hall and on two occasions I was awarded and promoted on the stage of the school hall!

Shortly after leaving teaching, Pera (then at Collegiate Junior) and I got married. Sean entered the world and entered Grey Junior in 1999 and matriculated from Grey High in 2010. Pera joined the Grey Junior staff in 2003. Phillip started at Grey Junior in 2002. I was now firmly a Grey teaching spouse and a Grey Parent.

In 2005, Rector Crawford asked me to assist in the accounting department and I returned to teaching for a brief term to assist the boys who were matriculating in that year with accountancy. (Interestingly enough, this was my major subject and one that was not offered as a subject when I first started teaching at The Grey. When Rector Pakendorf was quizzed on this by prospective appplicants he would refer the family to the Commercial School in Linkside. Grey, he said, was an ‘academic’ school!)

After becoming ill, diagnosed with corticalbasal degeneration and retiring in 2006, I assisted the schools with numerous projects including the perimeter wall, the Grey-V trains for parents to Bloemfontein, the Supporters’ Club, the Old Grey data base …

But, according to the old adage, all good things come to an end.

And so it is, in four month’s time, when Phillip walks ‘neath the Tower in October 2013, it will bring to and end my direct association of thirty years with The Grey.

The memories will continue. (As will, for a while, I guess, my being a wheelchair critic and accepting my now new title, the spouse of Mrs Lunnon from the Grey Junior School!)

I shall always be grateful for those memories provided by The Grey and for two sons who have been fortunate to receive their schooling at such a fine and proud institution.

Our thanks must go to the Rector, Headmaster and successive groups of teachers at Grey High and Grey Junior who have played a role in educating our sons, both in the classroom and on the playing fields. They are both fine examples of Grey Men, so take a bow, all of you who have assisted us in their upbringing and in their preparation for an unknown, uncertain and imperfect world.

I shall remain a proud member of the Old Greys’ Union – never to be an ‘Old Grey’; because, as I am constantly reminded by my Old Grey sons, if you were not schooled at Grey, not even a transfusion of Blue Blood, can make you an Old Grey!

TRIA JUNCTO IN UNO

 

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Last Night of the Proms

proms

©2013 Edward C. Lunnon

Monday 3 June 2013: 6 years 9 months on …

Game ED

Justice Malala, TV Presenter and Newspaper Correspondent writes in The Times today, “Our current leaders seem incapable of resolving our challenges. These are tough worrying times…”

In the same newspaper, I read the headlines

  • ·         Children Betrayed
  • ·         Far too few social workers to save our abused kids
  • ·         Welfare services are in a bad way
  • ·         Overloaded but underpaid
  • ·         It’s sink or swim time
  • ·         Proper governance is the only way to save us
  • ·         Education is priority
  • ·         SA’s firewall up in flames
  • ·         There is no excuse

There IS NO EXCUSE!

Yes, this is but the tip of the iceberg and the headlines above apply to all our non-governmental organisations. The very associations set up and designed to provide assistance to the ill, the elderly, the children and the needy are themselves in need – often because government is remiss in providing these organisations with the financial assistance that they are budgeted and expected to do!

So the organisations turn for help to the business community (who themselves are battling to post profits) and to the ordinary man in the street (who is also battling the ravages of the current poor economic climate!)

As Justice wrote this morning, “We are going nowhere slowly.”

So it was that this weekend, the St Francis Hospice of Port Elizabeth staged its annual Last Night of the Proms at the Feather Market Centre – a fund raiser of note … literally and figuratively! … and in memory of a great Port Elizabeth benefactor, Philipp Rowland Gutsche.

This year it featured the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Richard Cock, soloists the well-known Von Memerty Family and Musa Ngqungwana, various massed choirs from local schools and the community, the Algoa Caledonian Pipe Band and the McWilliam’s Academy of Dance.

Despite a number of other shows on in Port Elizabeth at the same time, the two shows on 1 and 2 June 2013 were a sell-out – a glowing testament to the people of Port Elizabeth for their magnificent support.

I proposed that we do a sort of retiring offering at the end of the show – asking the audience to empty their pockets for a good cause. It is a good cause – I (and the family) benefit so much from the weekly visits and support that I get from Sisters Gill, Janice and from Isaac and Jenny.

So how does one say thank you to people and an organisation like this?

I tried to do that in the two minutes that I was allowed (see previous blog: THANK YOU) and I hope that I got my message across.

But, if I didn’t, then I saw this on Facebook: Where words fail, music speaks. It surely did this weekend at The Proms! (and in the movie Les Misérables that I watched last night.)

Maybe, the flip side of government’s inability to govern allows us the opportunity to still see and enjoy fundraiser shows such as Last Night of the Proms!

Watch this space next year for another show … and book early.

Thank you again for your support!

(And in the same newspaper I read that that the Communications Minister spent R700 000 on a visit to a prize-giving in Mexico, an unauthorised shopping detour to New York, R35 000 for 2 nights at the Ritz, R10 000 for luxury car hire for 2 days, unaccounted amounts on another trip to the Face of Africa function in Nigeria, twenty other overseas trips, a R6 million management fee paid to her “spouse/boyfriend” …)

How many sick people or abused kids could be cared for out of that?

When will the people communicate with the Minister and with our government? Hopefully at the next election … or is that wishful thinking?

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Thank You St Francis Hospice and Supporters

This was my thank you speech at the LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS held in the Feather Market Centre, Port Elizabeth on 1 and 2 June 2013.

The event is held as a fund-raiser for the St Francis Hospice.

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Ladies and gentlemen – good evening, and thank you for those words of introduction.

Yes, I am Ed Lunnon – the face of a voice that you may have heard on AlgoaFM. 

If I may paraphrase Shakespeare, let me say to Ian von Memerty and the dancers today 

“If music be the food of love, dance on.”

 But, unfortunately, in life, the dancing does come to an end.

 And, for some of us, that dancing comes to an end far too soon.

 The “us” I refer to, are the 600 patients with life-limiting illnesses who are the caretakers supported by the caregivers of St Francis Hospice.

 But, we are not just “patients”. We are husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, oupas and oumas – we are people, just like you, for whom the dancing has abruptly stopped and who need care and support.

 Today, I am their face too.

 And, on their behalf, I wish to thank the organizers and the musicians for making this magnificent production possible.

 I wish to thank the men and women of St Francis Hospice who sustain and encourage us along very difficult steps.

 ‘Kind of angels’, Bono called them. They are caring people – Just like YOU are caring people!

 People who support and assist financially to enable the Hospice to remunerate their carers to continue providing comfort to us

 and possibly, sometime in the future, comfort to you and your loved-ones.

 Thank you, our loyal supporters, for all your care shown in the form of financial support, today, in the future, and at the end of this show!

 Your caring for St Francis Hospice allows them to care for us.

 So, from the bottom of our hearts,

 To you, the supporters – Thank you for the money.

 To you, the carers – Thank you for the moments.

 To you, Richard and your performers – Thank you for the music.