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Beaufort Society Annual Meeting 2021

Posted on Nov 30

2 min read

Beaufort Society Events & News

For the first time in two years, St John’s welcomed members of the Beaufort Society back to College for their annual meeting on Saturday 16 October. To kick off the festivities after such a long time apart, the Master, Heather Hancock, greeted guests with a glass of bubbly and autumnal sunshine in the garden of the Master’s Lodge.

Although the programme was slightly condensed (and where possible took place outdoors) to prioritise keeping people safe in College, the sense of joy to be enjoying a formal lunch in Hall once again was palpable.

Over coffee Heather Hancock thanked the Beaufort Society for their continued support of John’s, and gave an update on life and news in the College community. This included a mention of the ground-breaking plan to offer free university places to the country’s most disadvantaged students through the Free Places support package, and the news just announced that the College will continue its reputation for musical excellence by featuring male and female voices in the Choir for the first time.

Heather then introduced the guest speaker Honorary Fellow, Johnian and Beaufort Society member Dr Heidi Doughty OBE. Heidi is a consultant in Transfusion Medicine and works for NHS Blood and Transplant. She is currently the national clinical lead for emergency planning and President of the British Transfusion Society. Heidi came to St John’s as a postgraduate student in 1983 to study medicine, before completing higher training in haematology and healthcare. She entertained those gathered with anecdotes of her life as a medical student in Cambridge (and of her light blue Renault 4!)  in the 80s and her inspirational clinical career that followed.

Summarising her hopes for both future Johnians and the Beaufort Society, Heidi finished with the following thoughts:

I want the next generation to have the freedom to explore, and to be confident that they have our encouragement and support. It is why we are here today. An alternative translation of our motto is “Forget me Not”, which is why a tiny blue flower appears with Lady Margaret’s white daisy – the marguerite – in the decoration surrounding the College arms on the Great Gate. “Forget me Not” is a fitting motto for the Beaufort Society, which celebrates and remembers our connections with St John’s whilst looking forward to the future.

Dr Heidi Doughty OBE

After lunch guests enjoyed the opportunity to see more of St John’s once again and chose one of the organised afternoon activities. These included a guided tour of the College architecture with Professor Deborah Howard, Professor Emerita of Architectural History, to discover the points of interest from the elaborate Tudor heraldry of the Great Gate in First Court through to the 12th Century ‘School of Pythagoras’.

Tim Waters, Head of College Buildings, shared an update on the development of the Community Hub – the most significant project at St John’s since the Old Divinity School was completed. The south west corner of Second Court will become a hub and social centre for all members of the College community, and Tim spoke about what the main changes will be and how the construction plans were formed.

Another option was to listen to Dr Victoria Harvey, Admissions Tutor, speak about the challenges of the admissions process during the pandemic, and how making the right decisions for the College’s admission policy will help to create a diverse academic community.

Since Lady Margaret Beaufort’s founding bequest, St John’s has enjoyed a long tradition of recognising its benefactors, whose support has allowed the College to flourish over the last five centuries. The Beaufort Society was established in 2009, in honour of our foundress, to show gratitude for the enormous contribution made by those kind-hearted individuals who have promised a gift to the College in their will.

If you are interested in more information about leaving a legacy to St John’s and joining the Beaufort Society, please email Emma Talibudeen or ring her on 01223 338605