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Beaufort Society Annual Meeting 2023

On Saturday 14 October, Beaufort Society members and their guests enjoyed a memorable day in College for their annual meeting. Hosted jointly by the Master, Heather Hancock (1984), and the President of the Beaufort Society, The Lord Browne of Madingley (1966), this event celebrates the enormous contribution of the kind- and far-sighted individuals who have promised a gift to St John’s in their will.

Bubbly was served on arrival in the Old Divinity School, and this community of friends and Johnians gathered in the Central Hall to hear an update from the Master on life and learning in College.

Festivities then continued in the Hall with a delicious lunchtime feast, and Lord Browne thanked the Beaufort Society over coffee for their continued generosity to current and future generations of Johnians. Lord Browne welcomed Christopher Gray, who joined St John’s as Director of Music in the spring of this year, as guest speaker. Christopher gave an enlightening speech about current activities and his vision for the Choir’s future.

After lunch biologist, filmmaker and Johnian Tom Mustill (2002) gave a fascinating lecture on his book How to Speak Whale: A Voyage into the Future of Animal Communication. Tom captivated the audience with an insight into his thrilling scientific investigation into the pioneering world of animal communication, where remote robots and artificial intelligence are changing our relationship with marine animals forever. With sound recordings fresh from the sea, he presented new discoveries from expeditions underway now and explained what these mean for our relationship with whales and other species. An interview with Tom features in the latest issue of Johnian and you can read the full article here: Communicating with cetaceans

To round off a beautiful day in College, the group gathered once more in the Master’s Lodge for afternoon tea, before finishing with Evensong in Chapel.

Thanks are due to everyone who made the journey back to Cambridge for this year’s event. It’s always a joy to feel the friendships and community blossoming within the Society, and to have this opportunity to express our gratitude for the continuous support given to St John’s.

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.

All photography by Ben Minnaar at