Hebronites Enjoy a Warm Day and South Indian Buffet at the Hebron Reunion 2022 in London
Over 120 Hebronites from every decade since the 1940s turned out in London on Saturday for the first reunion to take place since the Covid restrictions. Having not had the opportunity to meet together since the gathering in 2020, it was a reunion to remember and a chance for catch-ups and conversations with lifelong Hebron friends.
With grateful thanks to our host, Lord Karan Bilimoria, and the wonderful staff at Café Spice Namaste, Hebronites were able to enjoy a well-appointed new restaurant venue at Gallions Reach overlooking the river Thames and London’s City Airport on the east Docklands. The day included a delicious south Indian buffet lunch that never fails to bring back the flavour and aroma of life in the Nilgiri Hills. Also in attendance was Hebron alumna (former staff) and author of the book ‘Seize the day’ who was able to sign copies for those that had purchased them from the Hebron Memorabilia table. Once again, the event was brilliantly organised by Hebron alumnus and UK Hebron link, Tim Archer, who continues to dedicate his time to the reunions, and to whom Hebron is incredibly grateful.
The largest contingent at the reunion were recent Hebron graduates from the past couple of years, perhaps testimony to the fact that it has been tough on the leavers of 2020 and 2021 who, due to the Covid restrictions, were not able to enjoy the normal closure at Hebron of a Graduation Ceremony and the Leavers’ Weekend, many of course who now live and study in the UK.
The reunion was also attended by Dr. Jerry George, Chairman of Hebron Council and Principal of Clarence School, Bangalore, Mr. Beulah Wood as well as current Hebron Principal, Mr. Timothy Wright. Both gave important speeches to all those attending, with a particular focus from Mr. Wright on exciting plans to increase contact with Alumni and the development of a Hebron Alumni Association on the appointment of a dedicated Alumni officer at the school, Mr Stanly C. Sam, who will be responsible for engaging Alumni in more meaningful ways as the school approaches its 125th Anniversary Celebrations in 2024.
On a soberer note, Dr. George spoke about the very important issue of how the School and Hebron Council are seeking to address concerns that have been raised by alumni about painful incidents that took place during their time at Hebron School. In a statement that will be sent to all alumni, he outlined the process for this, emphasising the School's whole-hearted commitment to listen to every concern, to respond appropriately, and to make any necessary changes to ensure Hebron provides the best holistic education experience possible for its current and future students. It was a very welcome message and a reminder that Hebron acknowledges mistakes from the past that must be addressed, and that the School will not compromise on their current Safeguarding Policy which is benchmarked against the highest worldwide standards.
The school announcements also featured ex-staff member Mr. Henry White who has recently reengaged with Hebron and, together with new staff member Shoma Stanly, has helped produce a new website for the school, including the production of a number of promotional videos which can be viewed on the website at hebronooty.org. Mr. White took the opportunity to remind all the Alumni in attendance that there was an exciting new Alumni section coming soon to the website and that the school was looking for interesting stories from anyone wanting to share their journey since leaving Hebron. Folders entitled, “Once a Hebronite, always a Hebronite”, were handed out to everyone at the end of the day and included details of how Alumni can update the school with their stories and share their contact details.
Introduced by Mr. Alastair Reid, former Principal of Hebron and Chair of the Sheiling Trust, was Hebron Alumnus (Class of 1978), Lord Karan Bilimoria, host of the reunion. Lord Bilimoria addressed the Alumni crowd with his perspective on the last couple of years during the worldwide Covid pandemic, and his experiences in UK Government as a seated member of the House of Lords and in his role as Chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). He cited two examples of where he had been instrumentally involved in helping in the UK’s response effort to the huge events of the last two years; firstly, the Covid crisis and particularly the support of the Government to provide essential Oxygen supplies to India; secondly, the urgent response to support frontline Ukrainian soldiers with ration-packs and essential supplies so they could effectively defend their country against the Russian invasion since February this year.
The day would not have been possible without the dedication of Restaurant Owners and Celebrity Chefs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala and their incredible team of staff at Café Spice Namaste who worked so hard to make the day so enjoyable for everyone in attendance, and to whom Hebron would like to again say a heartfelt ‘thank you’.