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Latest News

This is where we will post the latest breaking news.

Please scroll down the page to ensure you get all the news.

The Spring/Summer OJA newsletter has been published.

The OJA Spring/Summer newsletter has been published and is available in the Newsletter section of this web site.

It will also be posted to those members who have indicated that they require a hard copy of the newsletter.

 The OJA AGM & Annual reunion dinner 

2024 OJA Annual dinner-02.jpg

Saturday 21st April 2024 saw the 103rd OJA Annual Reunion Dinner held at the Queen's Hotel, Southsea.

(To avoid confusion; this is not 103 years since the OJA started as the annual dinners were interrupted by the pandemic and 2 world wars. I expect that there are those amongst you who will do their research and add to this information.)

There were 50 guests attending, and judging by the level of noise throughout the evening, the event was a successful, animated and cheerful affair. The ages ranged from 24 to 'pushing 90.'

The dinner was preceded by the OJA AGM which took place in the separate 'Prince's room.' Business was conducted efficiently and all the necessary items covered, with the one special item of adopting the new OJA rules. The rules were approved unanimously and are posted on this web site under 'OJA Admin.'

The dinner took place in the 'Royal Suite' which had its own private (Charlotte's) bar.

The nominated charity - The Bro. Raj project was well supported by the raffle which raised £460, all of which will go directly to the project in Sri Lanka. You can learn more about the project using this link

The evening formally ended at 22:30 but informally continued on towards midnight. A few OJ's enjoyed a shared breakfast at the hotel in the morning.

I think it can be safely said that the evening was a success, enjoyed by all.

We hope to see more OJ's at the next dinner where you can catch up with old friends, face-to-face. An experience that cannot be replaced with a screen.

Please Note:

All future OJA Annual Reunion Dinners will be scheduled for the 3rd Saturday after Easter Sunday (20th April 2025.)

The  2025 OJA dinner will be 10th May 2025.

2025 OJA Annual Dinner

More details coming soon...................

The OJA committee met on  Saturday 20th April.  for the 2024 OJA AGM.

The next OJA committee is planned to meet  Early May. 

All OJA committee activity is intended to be open and transparent. Submissions by the membership for consideration are always welcome.

In particular any suggested revisions to the new set of OJA rules.

(Please use the links below.)

The AGM was held at the Queen's hotel, Southsea, and preceded the 2024 OJA Annual Reunion dinner.

All the normal items were covered.

The Old Johannian Association

AGM April 20th 2024


Queen’s Hotel, Southsea


·       Welcome and apologies.

·       Minutes of previous AGM. – Chairman - Andy Valvona

·       Chairperson’s report. – Chairman – Andy Valvona

·       Presentation of Financial reports. – Treasurer – Andy Valvona

·       Constitution amendments (Rules) – Stefan Bartkowiak

·       Elections

  • Andy Valvona Chair-Person, Membership Secretary, Treasurer.

  • Steve Bedingham – Archives Manager

  • Stephen Davies – Events Manager

  • Dominic Fontana – Linkedin

  • Cheryl Fontana – Committee Member

  • Vacant – Editor 

·       Life Memberships (if any)

The new standing OJA committee.

Andy Valvona - Chairperson / Treasurer / Membership

Stephen Davies - Events

Steve Bedingham - Archives

Dominic Fontana - OJA Linkedin

Cheryl Fontana - Committee member

OJA Associated executives.

Anna Nguyen - OJA web site

"Kes' Kesteven - OJA Facebook

OJA Rules version 8.0 posted (03 Feb 2024)

Adopted unanimously.

The OJA rules have been revised. You may view the proposed set of rules by clicking on the link immediately below.

If you have any queries or items that you would like the OJA committee to consider on your behalf, please click on the link below to provide details of your submission. 


It will be posted to those who have indicated they require  this service.

The OJA 'favoured' charity

 Brother Raj 

News Extra:

The 2024 OJA Annual Reunion Dinner traditionally holds a raffle. The proceeds go to the nominated charity for the year. In this case it remained the 'Bro. Raj' charity. £460 was raised and will be sent to Sri Lanka shortly.

Hi everyone. Christmas is a time for giving, and I'd like to take this opportunity to make you aware of the OJA 'favoured' charity. It is a Lasallian project; Brother Raj in Sri Lanka. The OJA has supported Bro. Raj over the years, mainly through the raffles at the annual dinners. Here is an extract from what we know now.

Jane Anne Turner - Just Giving

I was Head of RS and Chaplaincy from2005-2019, that is my main connection with SJC. I worked particularly with Brothers Sean, Ben and Michael O'Hara. I took young people to work with Brother Raj in the schools and among the poor and I have always maintained a link with both the Brothers and Brother Raj in Sri Lanka.

Just Giving message

I started a link with Sri Lanka when I was working at St John's College, Southsea. The De La Salle Brothers have schools in many poor areas of the world. I visited three times with students, we took donations such as sports equipment and stationery for the orphanage, we worked in the schools, we painted the dining hall in Boys Town, made friends and had some small understanding of what it is like to live in extreme poverty. I remember a small girl giving us a picture from a magazine, she had nothing else, her home was a one roomed brick building by the railway line.

Your donations will go directly to the poor. I have paid for my flight and I will stay with the Brothers. Your money will be given to those who suffer from leprosy, it will buy rice and dry goods for poor families and it will support the work of the schools for poor children, buying them shoes, stationary and allowing them an education, to extricate themselves from poverty.

On behalf of all the people you will be helping, thank you so much.

As we get closer to the annual dinner, preparations continue. One of the important parts of the dinner is the raffle. Always generously well supported. This year the proceeds will again go to the Bro Raj project in Sri Lanka. Below is one of the prizes on offer this year.

Here is the latest news from Jane Turner who is visiting Bro Raj

Lasallian Volunteers


February 1st -22nd 2024 : Colombo Sri Lanka


I am in contact with Brother Raj and I asked if I could visit and volunteer for three weeks in February. He invited me to stay with the Brothers at  De La Salle House, Mutwal, Colombo 15. He had prepared everything with great care before my arrival; I was met as soon as I got off the plane and assisted through the airport. This level of kindness was how I was treated throughout my stay. 


In the house I was given a peaceful room with a ceiling fan and AC (which I didn't use) overlooking the coconut palms and out to the Indian Ocean. I could watch the men fishing for crabs, going out in small rowing type boats with a pole for oars, and the pelicans who gathered every morning on the rocks. The beach is however strewn with plastic and litter from the sea, and the fishermans' homes are a tight cluster of mostly two roomed cement blocks, with little if any sanitation.To the left are the giant cranes and heavy engineering of Colombo dockyard, and beyond that the controversial Chinese harbour. 


Some of the families who live in the beach area are the ones who are welcomed by Brother Raj and the volunteer teachers for after school classes on Tuesday and Thursday. They are given help in their school subjects so that they do not fall behind. Some of the most needy families are given dried food: oil, rice, milk powder about once a month if funds allow. The cost of living has risen so much in the last year that even with work, most families struggle to provide two basic meals a day. Once a term needy families are given exercise books, all books have to be paid for in Sri Lanka and this cost can prevent children attending school. I was able to join in with two ceremonies of giving, to shake hands with the very grateful parents. I represented all those who had given me donations to bring from England. The weekend after I left, Brother Raj and some volunteers took home- cooked food and fruit to people in the Leprosy Hospital, this is another important outreach carried out by Lasallian volunteers.


I very much enjoyed staying with the Brothers, talking to them, eating the delicious Sri Lankan food together, taking part in the evening prayer and going with them to the Sunday mass at different churches. Some Brothers are elderly and have a carer looking after them, their acceptance of illness and their positive outlook is humbling. I was able to walk each evening with Brother Nelson and get to know the area and the lives of the people.

Brother Raj and Brother Nelson celebrated their birthdays whilst I was there. I joined in the special evening prayer service for them and the celebratory dinner with many invited Brothers who gave warm, appreciative speeches. I met Brothers Granville and Denzel who invited me to visit Diyagala Boys’ Town.


Boys’ Town and the associated Technical Institute in Ragama

cannot fail to impress. The campus is situated 20 km north of Colombo on a hill,  surrounded by rubber and coconut plantations. For 56 years, Boys’ Town has provided a holistic education for underprivileged young men between 15 and 20 years who may be school drop- outs, the destitute or from broken families. They are given a four year training programme which includes theoretical and practical training in either welding, lathe, electrical or car mechanics; they carry out farm work and animal husbandry, they learn household skills:    cleaning, cooking and laundry they take part in daily sport activities, religious practices and extra- curricular activities such as the Western Band. I visited Boys’ Town nine years ago when I brought young people from SJC, they all very much enjoyed taking part in the football matches, associating with the boys and decorating the huge dining hall.


Brother Granville showed me the visitors hostel, there is ample space here for a group to stay and have their own programme, this brings in necessary funding for the institute. He also showed me the boys hostel.; due to lack of finance, many boys are having to sleep on the floor. The Brothers are trying to raise funds to renew and fix beds so that boys can  be away from insects on the floor.


The main volunteering that I did was to teach English at De La Salle English Medium School, Colombo.. I was welcomed to the school by the principal Brother Christy Croos and the vice-principal Brother Nelson. I am an English teacher and I very much enjoyed teaching in all grades from the eight year olds to those about to take the O level at age 16. I helped with the newly formed debating society, helped to re-organise the library and took part in school events such as the Independence Day celebration and the Ash Wednesday mass. The staff and students could not have been more welcoming, and I felt very much part of the school.


De La Salle College, a Tamil and Sinnhala school, is part of the Brothers’ Mutwal campus, there is also a pre-school in the grounds. Brother Raj is the director of the pre-school  and another in Colombo. I was able to visit both pre-schools and join in their English action prayers and songs to start the day. The teachers were smiling and welcoming. I would have liked to take part in art and sport activities and share English songs . 


Whilst I was staying, De La Salle College was preparing for the annual sports meet. I was invited to watch the heats at the stadium in Colombo where the 4 houses competed in athletics. Many boys ran in bare feet, the school had bought some t-shirts so that those who couldn’t afford to buy had the correct colour. The following Sunday at 6am was the 6km road race. I was invited to lower the Sri Lankan flag to start the race and take part in the ceremonies and photos that go with such an event.


To conclude, I would encourage anyone who is considering volunteering with Brother Raj and the associated Lasallian projects in Sri Lanka, to go and see. You will be very warmly welcomed. There are also projects in South India, the Philippines and Thailand. You may want to call in if you are on holiday, you may wish to spend a few mornings with the pre-school children singing and doing art activities, you may like to read English books with a group or have  conversation about life in the UK, you may have other particular things that you would like to do. I would encourage you to go and take the gift of yourself. I plan to return next February to continue my teaching.

An extraordinary tribute to an extraordinary OJ

Yesterday, (7th November 2023) a tribute was paid to George Alagiah in the form of a memorial service at St. Martin-in-the-fields.

Organised by the BBC it emphasised the remarkable 'human' aspect of George. An aspect of SJC that is continually recurring.

A group of George's contemporaries were invited and present, and gathered afterwards at Browns restaurant in the camaraderie that George was so often part of in the past as in the OJA centenary dinner.


An extract from George's words to us all....

"If you haven't already told the people you love that you love them, tell them; 

"If you haven't already told them how vulnerable you sometimes feel, tell them; 

"If you want to tell them that you'd like to be with them until the front hall stairs feel like Everest, tell them. 

"You never know what is coming around the corner. 

"And if, lucky you, there is nothing around the corner, then at least you got your defence in first."

Remembrance Sunday 2023

s we approach the 11th day of the 11th month, it seems apposite that we remember the SJC "Fallen."

The development project has a new name


As time passes, the development plans for the college are becoming clearer.

A new document on the plans is now available.

More information can be found under the Archives/St. John's College section.

St. Jean Baptiste De La Salle Found!!!

Jean Baptiste DLS.JPG
Jean Baptiste DLS.JPG

Not only is this great news, that the iconic Jean Baptiste De La Salle statue is safe and sound, but our readership is inclusive of the community of brothers.


I noticed in the recent Old Johannian Association Autumn Newsletter that you asked on page two about ‘the disappearance of the St John Baptiste De La Salle Statue’.  Are you referring to the very large black statue?

That statue originally came from the Brothers Community at Assington, Suffolk, and is now at the entrance of St Peter’s School, Southbourne.

All the best,


Bro Michael Curran FSC

Auxiliary Visitor (Provincial)

De La Salle Provincial Team

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