Douai Crest

Report on Pavilion Day - 9th July 2017


Crispin Maunder, the President of the Douai Society received this letter from one of our most senior members who has been involved in Society events for longer than anyone else:

“It was quite magical and in all my days as an Old Dowegian I have never experienced any function more enjoyable. I can only admire the thought and hard work which must have gone into such a spectacular occasion.

The weather of course helped but it was the setting: the beautiful Marquee and the Douai Room itself, coupled with the good humoured patience of those of the organisers, who tried so manfully to move the throng of Old Dowegians away from the source of refreshment to the site required for the group photograph, that all combined to put everyone into such a good mood . Like most others I spoke to I have never before met so many friends from the past in one day, so your publicity machine obviously worked extremely well.”

200 ODs, wives, partners and families gathered to celebrate the opening of the Douai Room last Sunday (9th July). Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was not able to attend due to illness, but Abbot Geoffrey took his place in re-dedicating the Pavilion to its original purpose as a memorial to those former pupils who died in the First World War. A board listing their names is in the main entrance to the Pavilion.This was followed by the Annual Mass for the members of the Douai Society, living and dead. The company then returned to the Pavilion for the formal opening of the Douai Room, accompanied by champagne before sitting down to an excellent lunch in a lovely large marquee fittingly resembling the roof of the Mound Stand at Lords!

After lunch a cricket match was played between a team of ODs and Old Gregorians (former pupils of Downside) - we are delighted to report that the match was won by Douai by five wickets
The Douai Room, which is the upper floor of the Pavilion and which leads on to the balcony, was enthusastically welcomed by everyone. It includes new boards showing the captains for Ruby, Football, Cricket and Swimming, a display cabinet with sporting trophies and other memorabilia, a touch screen with a digitised set of Douai Magazines going back to 1894 and a 15 minute film, made by Jonathan Kight (OD 1993-98) together with display boards describing different aspects of the history of the school. Thanks are due to everyone who donated items, not all of which could be displayed, but will be kept in a reserve stock. One of the treasures is a replica of the shield awarded to the Sevens team who won the Public Schools Rugby Sevens in 1959

The Douai Park Recreation Association (DPRA) raised the bulk of the money for the Pavilion and they should be congratulated on a magnificent achievement but the Douai Society contributed £100,000 to the building itself and £25,000 for the Douai Room. This sum was made up of 50% from Society funds and 50% from individual Old Dowegians. It was always the intention of the Council to achieve this balance. Before last Sunday there was a shortfall, but this was realised on Sunday by the proceeds from a raffle and auction; these were matched by an anonymous donor, resulting in a final figure for the day of £14,400.

Fr Abbot was slightly embarrassed when he drew out the top prize in the raffle: a helicopter ride . . . . . and the winner was Fr Godric!

Many people commented that one of the best aspects of the day was not just the number of people present but the wide age range, including children and babies.

As the day ended there was much discussion about future celebrations and events. The question of access to the Douai Room was also brought up. Richard Morris, former teacher and heavily involved in the DPRA ever since the school closed has given us the following: “For further information regarding the hire of facilities at Douai Park, please use the contact form on the DPRA website  or email If you wish to visit the Douai Room in the pavilion, it is best to check that the pavilion is open using the availability menu on the website.”

Photographs of the day are available on these Douai Society website pages