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Secretary’s Report - October 2022

Greetings to you all.

This is my last Secretary’s Report to you all. My term in office expires on October 31st, and from November 1st and for the next two years, we will have a new Hon Sec.


This being the case, it is perhaps inevitable that I find myself in a reflective state of mind. Although there may be some truth in the observation that for the past 2 years, VOCS has been in a state of suspended animation, at least we haven’t gone under!

COVID, and the health restrictions which followed, have played havoc with our usual slate of activities. As a social organisation, not being permitted to socialise except in specific circumstances has had an obvious effect on our activities.  For the first time since our founding almost 100 years ago, we have had three consecutive years with no Boat Race Dinner.  Even the Second World War failed to achieve this!  Plans are afoot, however, for a 2023 dinner, and we even have a date for this (April 29th).  More information about the format for this event will be forthcoming over the next few weeks. 


Having said that, however, our book club managed the transition from in-person to Zoom with a minimum of problems, and I’m please to announce they have already returned to predominantly in-person meetings for the first time since the pandemic. 

The VOCS movie club was born out of the pandemic, and has also been very successful. They watch movies on Netflix, and discuss them via Zoom. They are, however, planning their first in-person theatre event for later this month. 

If any of you are interested in (or even, mildly curious about) either or both of these clubs, please let me know at and I will see to it that your interest (or curiosity) is answered. 

The VOCS 2020 summer picnic was a great success, and I am sure that the 2021 and 2022 picnics would have been even more successful, had the weather cooperated with us. Unfortunately, it didn’t!  I live in hope, however, for 2023. 

As for other activities, we are always interested in hearing from you about the events you would like VOCS to undertake. We have over 375 active members, and I feel sure we could put on many more (and different) events, if only you would let us know what these may be. 

When I look back over the past two years, the one area of which I am most upbeat is the composition of your new board. For a social organisation like ours, I believe it important for the board to present at least a passing resemblance to the demographic profile of the membership.  A society is unlikely to thrive if its board is drawn from only a small sector of its membership. I am pleased to announce that with the new additions to our board, we represent the general membership far more accurately than was previously the case. True, we still have a way to go in respect to ethnicity and gender, but we’re getting there.  We are always interested in hearing from those who are interested in joining the board, and if this applies to you, please email me at


Even though they have only just arrived at the table, the new board members are already making a big difference to your society. The initiative for an Oxbridge and Ivy drinks do on October 27th came from new board members, and has already been massively subscribed to (70 attendees at the last count).  There will be plenty of other events to be announced in the future. 

So as my two years as your Hon Sec draws to a close, I am proud that we have successfully weathered the COVID storm, and I am confident that your society will thrive in the coming years. 

It has been a pleasure and a privilege to have served you for the past 24 months. 

Simon Taylor
Hon Sec (for the next couple of weeks, at any rate!)

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