e-Matters - 24th January 2022

Dear Members and Friends,

A warm welcome to the first edition of e-Matters in 2022, bringing you updates on news, events and more.
In this edition of e-Matters, we celebrate the alumni who have been recognised in the New Year’s Honours List, update you on developments in the library and the Meadow, and share news from alumni.
Due to Covid restrictions, some events in the first half of this term, such as the Memorial event for Christopher Butler, sadly had to be postponed but we look forward (with fingers crossed) to a full programme of events for members and friends from next month. Please do take a look at the list of events being held during the rest of this academic year.  We hope that you are able to join us at one or more. 
You may be interested to know about revisions being made to the Christ Church Association Constitution. More information is given below and we will be consulting alumni about this and other aspects of our Alumni Relations activities in due course. 
Lastly, we are able to report that Christ Church and the Dean have agreed to enter into mediation towards the end of January and we will update you when it is possible to do so. 

With all best wishes,
Philippa Roberts
Development Director


New from the House

Events Update

Tom TowerDear Members and Friends,

We are very keen to return to holding our usual programme of events, but also understand that with the ongoing Covid situation caution is needed and we need to be flexible.

An email will be sent to all who have booked an event two weeks before it is due, to confirm whether the event will be going ahead. Should some people find it uncomfortable to attend we will allow cancellations at that time without any cost. However, we reserve the right to charge all participants if a cancellation is made within two weeks of the event. If we are forced to postpone at short notice, participants will be able to move their booking to the alternative date or have a full refund. 

Please see below for the latest events schedule (subject to Government guidelines prevailing at the time):

1 February: TGIF London drinks, London
7 February: Lord Willetts lecture, Christ Church
10 February: Gaudy lunch. Christ Church
15 February: Gaudy lunch. Christ Church
16 February: Launch of Annual Charles Stuart lecture. London

2-5 March: Torpids Oxford
7 March: C H Stuart Society, 100th Anniversary dinner London
12 March: Family Programme Lunch Christ Church
17 March: Christopher Ainsley Memorial Event Christ Church
18-19 March: Mark Sansom Retirement Event Christ Church
19 March: 1960,61,70,71,80,81,90,91 Reunion Dinner Christ Church
25 March:1962,72,82,92,02 Reunion Dinner. Christ Church
26 March: Returners’ Dinner in Hall Christ Church

1 April: Intercollegiate Golf Oxford
2 April: Rugby Varsity Matches Twickenham
3 April: The Boat Races London
6-8 April: Meeting Minds Global University Event online
19 April: Development Board and 101 Gaudy Christ Church
26 April: Morton Hall & White Cottage gardens visits Worcestershire

3 May: Chapel Royal, Hampton Court/Music Trust event Christ Church
13, 14, 15 May: Bristol, Hereford & Hergest events
25-28 May: Summer Eights Oxford
28 May: TOM event & BC Drinks/BBQ Christ Church
28 May: ChChBCSoc Dinner Christ Church

1 June: Board of Benefactors’ Reception in House of Lords London
12 June: Christopher Butler Memorial Event Christ Church
18 June: Commemoration Ball Christ Church *see below for an important message from the Development Office
21 June: Tony Cheetham event Christ Church
24 June: Gaudy 1981-85 Christ Church
29 June-3 July: Henley R. R. (Drinks on Sat.)
30 September: Gaudy 1986-89 Christ Church

Please pencil the dates in your diaries. We look forward to welcoming you back to the House soon!

Revisions to the Christ Church Association Constitution

Members of the Christ Church Association (CCA) – which is open to all alumni – may be interested in hearing about current work to update the Constitution of the CCA. The revisions will bring it in line with current best practice and reflect changes that have occurred over the more than three decades since the CCA was formed. The present constitution dates from 1999 and no longer reflects that way that the CCA Committee and Development and Alumni Office operate.

The process is now underway and we have a working group, comprising a sub-group of four members of the CCA Committee and three trustees nominated by the Governing Body for this purpose. All seven members of the working group are, of course, members of the CCA itself and/ or of the CCA Committee.

The working group has met twice and will be meeting twice more this term.  A consultation on the revised Constitution and some other aspects of Christ Church’s alumni relations activities will be carried out and alumni views will be warmly welcomed.


Mike Rosewell, ChChBC Coach 1978-90

Mike Rosewell (far left) and the winning House crew.We learnt with great sadness of the death of Mike Rosewell in August last year at the age of 84. Mike was known to many of us as the Christ Church Chief Coach from 1978-1990, or as the Rowing Coach and Economics Teacher at St Edward’s School, Oxford. Beyond that Mike made a huge contribution to the sport of rowing as The Times’ Rowing Correspondent, a member of the ARA Council and as coach of GB Junior Squad, OULRC and OUWBC.

All of us who had the privilege to have been taught or coached by Mike remember him with great fondness for his inspiration, his devotion and his sense of humour. Mike was a superb coach both technically and motivationally and was able to inspire in his crews a strong belief, ruthlessness and controlled aggression, whilst always conducting himself with decency and thoughtfulness for those in his charge. Many of us who were mentored by Mike feel a huge sense of gratitude to him for either setting us on the paths of our rowing careers or for being responsible for some of the moments of our greatest rowing successes and happiest memories.

With that in mind, the Men’s First Summer Eight crews from 1984 and 1985 (which Mike had taken to second and head of the river) have decided to make a donation to allow the college to purchase an Empacher racing 8 to be named in Mike’s honour. It is our hope that in remembering Mike in this way, we will be able to support and inspire the current and future generations of Christ Church rowers as a small reflection of what Mike did for us. 

If anyone else would like to support this fund in memory of Mike please click on this link https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/alumni/donate-online find “The Boat Club” in the drop down list, and add “The Mike Rosewell Boat” in the comment section. If you have any questions please email simon.offen@chch.ox.ac.uk

The 1984/1985 Men’s First VIII crews

From the Library...

Library Newsletter Volume 12Christ Church Library Newsletter - Volume 12, Issues 2-3 (2020-21).
A new volume of Christ Church Library Newsletter has just been published. The journal is available in hard-copy and online. The latest issue consists of 52 pages of articles and studies on a wide range of topics, highlighting the depth and variety of very recent research conducted on the Christ Church collections.
To access the online version, please see https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/christ-church-library-newsletter-volume-12-issues-2-3-2020-21
To access all issues of the journal, please see https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/christ-church-library-newsletter

Another important Greek Manuscript has been digitised

A Miscellany of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Texts (MS 49) has been recently digitised and is now available for consultation. This is a codex frequently requested by scholars. It contains a variety of religious and historical texts, with booklets dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries. It was most likely produced in Ioannina, Epirus. MS 49 benefits from detailed codicological and palaeographic descriptions, and has been extensively discussed in the most recent issue of the Library journal (Christ Church Library Newsletter, Volume 12, Issues 2-3 (2020-2021). For more information, see https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/library-and-archives/another-important-greek-manuscript-has-been-digitised

Dr Cristina Neagu
Keeper of Special Collections


From the Cathedral Music Trust

Photo of Peter VargaWe are pleased to introduce the new Music Trust Officer, Peter Varga.

"As Music Trust Development Officer, I work closely with the Organist and Trust to promote the musical life of the House, and the Cathedral Choir in particular. We seek to fundraise to ensure its continued vibrancy with the aim of promoting excellence, education, and access in perpetuity."  

"As an experimental psychology DPhil student at Christ Church, my research on the interpersonal communication of emotion through music draws on my background in philosophy and theology as well as a lifelong love of music.  I have both led and supported a variety of sacred music programmes including directing the William & Mary Schola Cantorum, serving as Organ Scholar at St Dominic’s Church (San Francisco), and working as administrative assistant to the Pastoral Associate for Liturgy and Director of Music Ministries at the Cathedral of St Matthew the Apostle (Washington, DC)."

"I am pleased to bring together these diverse and interdisciplinary experiences in my work with the Music Trust to support the long and venerable tradition of sacred music at Christ Church."


The Gardener's Blog: Tree Planting

Tree deliveryThanks to very generous donations from the family and friends of Christopher Ainsley (one of the donors of the Jubilee Bridge) who died last year, we have had the opportunity to plant some new specimen trees around the Meadow. In total, we have planted eighteen trees, which included 3 Pin Oak (Quercus palustris), 2 Black or Water Oak (Quercus nigra), 2 Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa), 2 River Birch (Betula nigra), 2 Japanese Zelkova or Keaki (Zelkova serrata), 5 Katsura Trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum), 1 Italian Alder (Alnus cordata) and a Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) for the Cathedral Garden.

The trees by which to remember Christopher have been planted along the approach to the Jubilee Bridge, but we have also added a small copse of trees at the northern end of Ansell’s Field to the south of the Visitor Centre and works compound.

Due to the generosity of the donors, we were able to buy trees of a good size to make an instant impact. However, this meant that carrying out the planting was not an easy operation, so we had to bring in a contractor to dig the holes for us, unload the trees, and position them in the holes. The three largest trees (Quercus palustris) weigh in at around 3.5 tonnes each and are around 10 metres tall.

Click here to continue reading John James' blog.
Click here to learn more about The Christopher Ainsley Memorial Fund.


Urgent: Commemoration Ball Tickets

Emails have been sent to all alumni and friends who booked tickets for the Commemoration Ball, delayed from 2020, to 18th June 2022.
Thank you to those who have replied, and let us know whether you would like to keep your tickets or request a refund.

If you have not already done so, please respond to our email as soon as you can, confirming whether you want your tickets or not.

IF we do not hear from you by the 31st January, tickets may be cancelled and a refund available on request.


Degree Days and Graduating

Christ Church is very pleased to facilitate the taking of degrees by members of the House and looks forward to welcoming its graduands to celebrate this important achievement.

Formal submission of degree candidates to the University at the Sheldonian Theatre is undertaken by the Censors of Degrees, Professor Judith Pallot and Professor Mark Edwards. 

The organisational and hospitality arrangements are made through the Academic Office (tel.: 01865 286574, e-mail: academic.office@chch.ox.ac.uk)

Information on booking a degree ceremony can be found here.


News from Alumni


New Year's Honours List 2022

New Year's Honours 2022

Congratulations to Gareth Davies (1991, PPE), Sir Laurie Magnus (1974, PPE), Professor Irene Tracey (Former Official Student of Christ Church), Imran Shafi (2002, PPE) and Samantha Job (1988, History) on their awards in this year's New Year Honours List.

Gareth Davies was awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for Public Service. He has been has been Second Permanent Secretary of the Department for Transport since January 2022. His responsibilities include decarbonising transport, technology, international and security. He was appointed Director General, Aviation, Maritime, International and Security Group in the Department for Transport in May 2019.

Sir Laurie Magnus was awarded CBE for services to Heritage, particularly during Covid-19. He is Chairman of Historic England, the public body that champions and protects England's built historic environment. He is also a member of the Culture Recovery Board, created to oversee the delivery of the Culture Recovery Fund, a £1.57billion fund to tackle the crisis facing cultural organisations and heritage site.

Professor Irene Tracey was awarded CBE for services to Medical Research. Professor Tracey is a former Official Student and Governing Body member (2001-07). She held until recently the Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetic Sciences, was Head of the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences and was Director of the Oxford Centre for Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain (FMRIB – now WIN), amongst other academic roles within the University. In October 2019 she became the 51st Warden of Merton College, Oxford.

Imran Shafi was awarded OBE for Public Service. He is a senior civil servant, a Director of Digital Infrastructure, at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Before this role, he was the Prime Minister’s private secretary for public services. 

Samantha Job was awarded Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for services to British Foreign Policy. She became the Director for Defence and International Security at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) in March 2019. Samantha has been a career foreign service officer since 1992 and worked on geographical issues from South East Asia to the Middle East and thematic issues from war crimes to how to use social media in foreign policy. 

Samantha was featured during the 40 Years of Women celebrations, and her video can be found here: https://www.chch.ox.ac.uk/alumni/women-house-samantha-job


Photo of Sir Antony AclandMemorial Service for Sir Antony Acland

Sir Antony Acland (1949), alumnus of Christ Church, passed away on 8th September 2021.

Sir Antony Acland, who has passed away aged 91, read PPE at Christ Church from 1949 to 1953. A memorial service will be held on 4th February at 2.30pm in College Chapel at Eton, where he was Provost in the 1990s.  Members and Friends are most welcome to attend.


Organ Recital by Clive Driskill-Smith

Photo of Clive Driskill-SmithClive Driskill-Smith (1996) is giving an organ recital at St James’ Episcopal Church in Los Angeles on Sunday, 13th March at 6:00 pm.

Clive is the Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Fort Worth, Texas, a post that he combines with an international concert career. During the last few years, he has performed at the National Cathedral in Washington DC, Melbourne Town Hall, Westminster Abbey, the Grand Philharmonic Hall in Perm (Russia), and the National Performing Arts Center in Taipei. He plays frequently at Festivals – such as the BBC Proms, the East Texas Pipe Organ Festival, and National Conventions of the American Guild of Organists – and he has worked with numerous conductors, including Sir Stephen Cleobury, Klaus Tennstedt, and Sir Colin Davis.

Clive read Music at the House and was awarded the Christopher Tatton Organ Scholarship. From 2001 to 2018, he was the Sub-organist at Christ Church Cathedral.

Tickets can be booked on St James' Episcopal Church's Eventbrite page.


Kahlil Somauroo (1998): Help needed as family home got destroyed in the Marshall Fire

Kahlil Somauroo's family house is destroyed in the Marshall Fire
Kahlil Somauroo read Jurisprudence at the House from 1998-2001. His family home was destroyed in the Marshall fire in Colorado on January 30th.
We thought contemporaries would like to know that his friends have set up a GoFund Me page to help them rebuild their lives: https://gofund.me/1da54a6a.

Michael Legge (1962): A Golden Wedding Celebration in the House

Michael and Linda at their weddingTwo items in the October edition of e-Matters resonated with me. The report on the death of Kenneth Bell reminded me that Linda and I became engaged in the Elizabeth in October 1970 and the account of the recent wedding of two members of the House brought back memories of our own marriage in the Cathedral a year later.
Since I had already gone down, making all the arrangements in the days before the internet presented some challenges. Most notably, the caterers sent the wedding cake to Linda’s flat in London which we discovered too late to get it to Oxford. Fortunately we managed to source a replacement so we ended up with two cakes. The great day itself came at the end of a heatwave. Fortunately the weather held long enough for the photographs in the Master’s garden but then, as we departed at the end of the reception in the Hall, it broke in an enormous thunderstorm.

Michael and Linda at their Golden wedding celebrationFast forward 50 years and we thought it would be appropriate to mark our Golden Wedding by holding a lunch for family and friends in the House. To this end we booked the McKenna room well in advance. Of course, thanks to Covid, this occasion wasn’t straightforward either. We had to postpone the event once, and a number of friends, including all those from overseas, were unable to come. Nevertheless in September about 40 of us were able to gather together, almost a quarter of whom had been at the wedding itself. Of my three closest friends from my time at the House, unfortunately my best man, Jim Hodgkinson, and Gordon Wheeler were not well enough to travel but we were delighted that Ray Williams was able to join us, not least because he had married Linda’s best friend at college and it was through them that we met.
This time the weather was kind to us, with the College buildings looking at their best in the late summer sun. The chef produced an excellent meal, well complemented by wines from the House cellar, even if the Buttery Manager declined to provide champagne at the £1.50 a bottle we paid 50 years earlier! My thanks go particularly to Haley Wiggins in the Events Office whose efforts ensured that the day went without a hitch. And to Lucy and Alex, the report of whose wedding prompted me to write this piece, I wish them as happy a marriage as Linda and I have shared over the last 50 years.


Hugh Sockett (1956): The Estella Trilogy

Book cover of A Star That Would Not DimProfessor Hugh Sockett (1956) has recently published his third book in The Estella Triology: A Star That Would Not Dim.
The Estella Trilogy comprises three novels: Pip and Estella, Better Expectations, and A Star That Would Not Dim. The Trilogy is a sequel to Dickens’ Great Expectations from 1840, the date scholars attribute to the end of Dickens’ novel, up to the final years of the 19th Century.  While Estella is the central character in all three books, Pip and the Gargery family with other new characters inhabit the personal, social, cultural and political struggles of the era.


John Jefferies (1986): The Heaton Podcast

The Heaton PodcastJohn Jefferies read Modern History at Christ Church from 1986-1989.  He is now Senior Tutor at Warwick School. Every week John and the Head of History, Olly O’Brien, discuss an issue of historical or political interest. Previous episodes range from the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, the reputation of Richard III, was Andrew Jackson America’s craziest President and “The End of History or the end of Fukuyama?”    
A Star That Would Not Dim is available on Amazon and Kindle.
More information can be found on https://www.hughsockett.com/


Find out more about the Heaton Podcast here. It is now streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts.


Other News

IntoUniversity Bike RideIntoUniversity Bike Ride on 14 May 2022

Christ Church has for many years sponsored IntoUniversity Oxford South Eastan after school club in Blackbird Leys designed to support the academic achievement and aspirations of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

IntoUniversity are organising a fundraising bike ride in Oxfordshire. Details are set out on the flier here. Members and Friends are most welcome to join. 


Christ Church featured on BBC's Antiques Road Trip

Antiques Road Trip came to Oxford University to visit the locations of the flights of England’s first aeronaut. Early on the morning of October 4, 1784, James Sadler, the very first Englishman ever to fly, brought his self-built aircraft to Christ Church Meadow. With only a local journalist present to record the event, Sadler took to the skies. He floated gradually and silently in his balloon and became the very first person ever to look down upon Oxford. Sadler's flying career took off again later from Corpus Christi College.

Click here to watch the episode of Antique's Road Trip on BBC iPlayer.


Alumni Poetry

Somewhere In The Urals
By Dr Hemal Jayasuriya (1978)

Your eyes were always peering
Into the microscope, Zhivago
 At unruly microbes containing
Mutated genes. You wanted to find a way
To nullify them, to bring relief to those
Suffering humans; you really wanted to
Leave the laboratory and be close
To women and men, listen to their problems.
You were battling your feelings that were
Pulling you apart from within.
You wanted to be someone else who saw
Life in the flesh as it happens, to engage
With all in full. Originating from
That quescient  giving Centre
Of your throbbing Being
There were so many, a many
And many triangles coming to be
Centred from your irresistible Being
Known and unknown to you, you the point
Of origin of the entangled Dances
You the Lord of the Dance
One sought after by all around.
No one man can be a one to many.
Take a train across the snowy wilds
Of Siberia to the warm climes of
Eastern landscapes, slipping to islands
Basking in the blue waters of the South Pacific
Where time, unsensed, runs ever so slowly.
You will be touched and caressed by winds
And warm embraces gently telling
You how to unentangle crossed threads
And to be yourself and find your real Self