|18 Dec 2018|
A Celebration of our friend 'Gumbie'
On the 20th October 2018, friends of Graham Lambie, who was tragically taken from us while serving in Northern Ireland in 1988, gathered from all over the world to remember a dear friend.
Graham was so loved by all that grew up with him at Gatton, that the sense and purpose to pay our respects just grew and grew until the time came when, with the support of the Chairman of the Gatton Association Benny Jones, we were able to secure funding for a tree to be laid in his honour near the Chapel and a dinner to be held in Gatton Hall.
The Organisers and the Event
This event was organised by a number of friends who have stayed in contact since they left school and thought that after 30 years now was the time to bring together as many people as possible to remember Graham. Tina Wisener (Taylor), Andrew Steeden, Sean Burroughs and Sean Blyth between them managed, over a period of year and half, to gather a noticeable following on social media to inform as many people as possible about this event using Facebook and WhatsApp. All of which received a very positive reaction until the final number reached 60 friends and former teachers.
The Beginning …
The day began with meeting at the flagpole. Gatton Hall stood proud in the background in a day which was blessed with a blazing sunshine, and tall shadows which reached out and embraced those who gathered.
A brief walk to St Andrew's Church and soon we were back in the time where communion and the singing of hymns would be just like being back at school. The Reverend Mark Pullinger conducted the service.
Hugh Meredith read, with a booming and echoing voice, a poem which had been especially created for the day titled ‘The Gatton Family that is and the Gatton Family that is yet to be’, and Sean Blyth read the Eulogy.
The Tree Planting...
After the service was conducted an Oak sapling was laid near the Chapel. Jonah Jones with years of experience in the Marines, used his skill with a spade to ensure the tree was planted and securely housed in the pre-dug hole.
A minute’s silence was added to set the tone. After which a generous Sean Burroughs, who had raided his wine cellar, supplied everybody with a glass of Prosecco, with which we raised a toast and celebrated our memory of Graham. It was a lovely finish to what had been to then a very emotional day.
Friends stood as one and all remembered ‘Our Gumbie’. The oak will stand proud and act as a reminder of this day in each of any future visits to the school.
In the wonderful settings of Gatton Hall with the backdrop of scenery which captured the lakes and woodlands of Gatton, we all sat down to enjoy a fine feast and plenty of wine.
After dinner speeches were said by the much loved ex-housemaster of Weston Ken Lobley, who mentioned why we were all there and continued with a very touching and endearing speech which resonated with everybody who sat and listened.
Benny Jones continued the speeches, with a touching reminder of Graham’s escapades at Gatton and then later on an episode of sharing a ‘few beers’ after he had left school.
Before the dancing began a very grateful audience had generously decided to give gifts to the organisers, which were very gratefully received. The night then continued with much dancing and celebration with a group of friends who just enjoyed an evening that was touched with a mixture of sadness and joy in seeing friends who in some cases had not seen each other for decades.
The Final Evening Party
After the final curtain call called time at Gatton Hall, by a remarkable sense of expert planning and execution, the school mini bus was used to ferry the remaining guests back the Bridge House Hotel where nearly all of the guests were staying. What can be best described as an evening to remember continued to the early hours and finally the evening was complete.
The morning after a touching voice message was received from Tracie Lee who was Grahams widow and now in the US, thanking everybody for their thoughts and sent her love. It was a lovely closing to the day before.
From all the organisers to all those who attended and contributed, Benny, Barny, Marnie, Louise and everybody at Gatton who made this possible, our eternal thanks.
Hounds for Heroes and the Gatton Foundation
During the evening a legacy was created so that the evening had a very poignant sense of contribution in some way to our Armed Services and Gatton. We are pleased to announce that in total a sum of £820 was raised, of which £500 has been donated to Hounds for Heroes and the remainder to the Gatton Foundation.