160th Anniversary Dinner proves a huge success
The 160th OHAFC Anniversary Dinner, held at the Hurlingham Club on Friday night, was a great success with over 150 guests enjoying a superb meal and some interesting entertainment.
Club President Andy Butler hosted the evening that began with a few pre-dinner drinks in the Palm Court before gests made their way to their tables for the meal. This year a lavish menu of smoked salmon, pressed beef cheek and some rather exotic miniature desserts ensured that everyone was well fed (and watered) in time for the speeches.
Vets striker Harry Hoffen received a warm round of applause as he hobbled up to the stage on crutches to host the Heads and Tails game. Prior to doing so, Harry spoke warmly of the support he has received since suffering his horrific broken leg in January and assured everyone that he would return to action in OHAFC colours as soon as possible. He handled the coin, a 5p piece rather unkindly supplied by his brother, so well that in just a few minutes the room had been whittled down to the last remaining contestants and, for the second dinner in succession, it was boy against girl in the final, with the current Head of School (Carlo Agostinelli) going up against Max Curry's girlfriend. And once again it was the girls who took the honours, Ellie winning the cash having rather been forced into a call of heads by the inexperienced schoolboy.
Current Harrow Headmaster, and former head of soccer at the school, Mel Mrowiec then presented the more significant silverware: Tass von Hirsch was not present to collect the Jubilee Cup so a member of his winning team (school boy Christian Boland) was on hand to deputise; the Bert Worthy Young Player of the Year Award went to a delighted, and somewhat surprised, Cyprian Owen-Edmunds, who has featured for both the 1s, 2s and 3s in the past year to great effect; and finally the Charles Clover Brown Award was handed to Phil Berry, just reward for his significant contribution to the club both on and off the field over many years.
Once the prizes had been dished out, Mel took to the stage to deliver an excellent speech chronicling the history of football at the school and its relationship with the OHAFC that has endured and flourished despite some tricky moments over the past decades. The speech was well-received - except for the references to Ipswich Town's accomplishments in the late 70's and early 80'- and at its conclusion Mel was invited by the President to become a Vice-President of the Club, an invitation he was delighted to accept.
There then followed the first appearance in many years of a professional stand-up comedian at an OHAFC dinner: Ian Irving trod a fine line between comedy and some rather more risky material, perfectly judging the mood of his crowd. He also managed to gently ridicule Fred Woolley on several occasions - just payback no doubt for some of the many jibes Fred has handed out during his halcyon days as the club joker.
With the speeches over, guests returned to the bar for some final drinks before heading off into the night. For many of the younger members, and some of the older ones who really should have known better, a late trip to Le Fez in Putney beckoned - glamorously renamed, the old Fez club had indeed undergone an extensive refurbishment inside. Disappointingly, this meant the famous old square-lit dancefloor was a thing of the past, although it mattered little to Dinner Secretary Paul Molloy and Arthurian League kingpin Matt Barry, both of whom could barely keep their eyes open after downing a Jelly Baby cocktail, one of the local specialities.
Huge thanks to the Hurlingham Club for hosting the evening, to Messrs Molloy and Butler for their efforts in organising the night and to all who attended and made it such a fun night. We hope to see you again in 2021.
A full gallery of images from the dinner will soon be available on the website courtesy of Lizzie Worthy.