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Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas address

My speech to this year's Christmas dinner at Connaught Hall

Photos from the evening are available at

I hope you are all having a good time. I think this has been a great end to a very enjoyable first term. And it’s not even over yet – we’ve got live music in a few minutes, then Christmas pudding, carol singing after dinner, and our Christmas masquerade ball at 8 o’clock till 1.

I said in my speech to the welcome buffet this year that I hoped you would all quickly settle into the Hall and make it your home; I am delighted to see that you are doing just that: there is a real sense of community at Connaught Hall this year, and I know many of you have made friendships here already that will endure long beyond your time at University.

I hope events like the welcome buffet, like this dinner, the Christmas tree dressing last week, and our night out on Foundation Day help you to meet people you otherwise would never get to know and reinforce your sense that this place is your home and our community is your family here in London.

Still reflecting back to my welcome speech: I tried to play down my role in enforcing discipline here because I hoped you would all get on with each other and pretty much stay within the rules. So I’m very pleased to say that by-and-large I think you’re possibly the friendliest, most mature – and frankly, the one of the best – year of residents I can remember.

The Residents' Club Committee this year have been doing a good job of balancing events and activities with the need for financial restraint this year. And I think after
tonight’s masquerade ball you will agree they have worked extremely hard to organise a fantastic party for you. We had a few weeks without a Sports Officer, but as you should have seen, Amin was unopposed in the by-election last week; so we now have a Sports Officer and you should start to see some more sports events
being organised.

The Committee have had the disadvantage of not being able to hold late parties for most of this term because of licensing issues following our welcome party. But I think we have got over these issues, with a few tweaks to how we organise our parties, and I hope tonight’s ball will be a fresh start and the first of several successful parties for this Committee.

As always, get in touch if you have any suggestions for me and my team, the Bursar’s Office, or the Residents’ Club. We can only make things better with your help; if you tell us what you want; and report things if they’re not working as they should.

Now, the kitchen staff have been working all day to prepare this super meal for us, so I think we should say thank you for all their hard work.

The other people we have to thank are all the residents who helped set up the dining hall today – I think it looks amazing, thank you!

And finally, our musicians.

Don't forget to have your photo taken beside the tree and stay for carols after pudding. Then put a mask on and enjoy the party in the bar.

I am going to hand over to our in just a few seconds: Polly & Sam, Alex, and Kate & Elliott.

If you are travelling during the holidays, I wish you a safe journey and look forward to seeing you back relaxed and refreshed next year.

And I wish all of you a wonderful, joyful Christmas, and a happy, successful new year.