OA 2024 Issue 05


OLD ALLEYNIAN RFC It gives me great pleasure to report the OARFC continues to grow and thrive, achieving its purpose as a community rugby club whilst retaining important and close links to the College. Membership now stands at over 1,200 – including both players and social members – with good age and gender diversity. The highlight over the last 12 months was the 1st XV winning the Papa John’s Community Cup at Twickenham, beating Harlow 34–7 in front of a healthy crowd of supporters. It was great to see so many OAs in the line-up, including Tyreece Asamaoh (11–18), Benjamin Osuntokun (11–16), Tom Marchant (08–15) and Toby Anthony (02–12). The 1st XV also won their league, Counties 1 Kent, with a 20-point margin over the second-placed team, and were promoted into Regional 2 South East, in which, at the time of writing they sit in fifth place after 14 games. The 1st XV’s success in the cup and league is a reflection of strength across the senior club: over 50 players represented the 1st XV, led excellently by Gill Crouch, and 77 players represented the 2nd XV. Players have been ably supported by the coaching team, led by James Knox alongside Charlie Thompson (06-13), Laurence Boyle, Griff Jones, Alex Smiddy (90–00) and Steve Jeal. Over the season, the 1st XV secured a top ten place across all levels in the number of tries scored. The 2nd XV are at the time of writing second in Counties 3 Kent, having won nine of their eleven games. It shows how far the club has come that our 2nd XV is now playing at an equivalent level to the 1st XV when I joined almost 20 years ago. Similar success has been found by the 3rd XV, who are at the time of writing at the top of the Kent Metropolitan League A, having won all but one of their matches this season, and the 4th XV, who are second in the Kent Metropolitan League B. The Age Grade section of the club continues to generate a hub of activity on a Sunday morning, with over 650 age grade players and affiliated members. As well as providing opportunities for College boys to supplement the rugby they play at school, this section of our club is a valuable community asset. Through the club’s ‘Give it a Try!’ outreach scheme, we have supported almost 450 children across over 158 sessions at nine local schools. This not only supports new membership at the club but also enables us to share more widely the benefits of rugby that members enjoy. In 2023 the OARFC marked the 125th anniversary of its foundation, on 8 October 1898. This remarkable achievement was celebrated with the 125th Anniversary Ball in June, with several OAs, old and young, in attendance. We are pleased to have provided Terry Adams (47–54), a proud Old Alleynian, with a final outing at the club before his sad passing later in the summer. The ball raised funds for the fit-out of the replacement shed as a girls’ changing room, which we hope to begin later this year. We were grateful to Elliot Read, Deputy Master, for attending on behalf of the College. In addition, the club was pleased to enter arrangements with the Alleyn Cricket Club (ACC) that see cricket played on the grounds in summer. The ACC secured funding from the ECB and Surrey Cricket to re-lay the wickets, work that has allowed us to extend this relationship further. Phil Kent, Chairman OARFC

The Moon Village Association is an NGO based in Vienna whose goal is the creation of a permanent global informal forum for stakeholders like governments, industry, academia and the public interested in the development of the ‘Moon Village’. The Moon Village is not a literal village on the Moon, it is not an International Space Station on the Moon, and it is not a single science facility. Rather, it is a diverse community of projects carried out by stakeholders from different fields (for example, technical, scientific, cultural, economic), and the idea is that the Village acts as a catalyst for new alliances between public and private entities. Additionally, the Moon Village will provide a strong inspirational and educational foundation for future generations. Currently the MVA has over 600 participants from more than 65 countries and 30 institutional members around the globe, representing a diverse array of technical, scientific, cultural and interdisciplinary fields.

Does that mean that you would quite like to be an astronaut one day? Definitely. That is certainly one of my dream jobs! This year I commanded the UK’s inaugural analogue astronaut mission, organised by a company called Space Health Research, who specialise in analogue missions that simulate the human and technological exploration of space. It was a fantastic experience and I got to work with a brilliant crew. If that experience is anything to go by, I think I would love working as an astronaut. I can also see career opportunities opening in this space. The tail end of this decade will see commercial space stations launched, which will require private crew for maintenance and operations. We are already seeing civil and commercial astronaut missions such as Inspiration4, the world’s first all-civil space mission that raised millions for charity, and Polaris Dawn, which will see the first commercial space walk. I expect to see a growing number of opportunities beyond the standard government astronaut routes. The future looks very exciting.

UK Space Command works with allies and partners around the world to make space safe, secure and sustainable for all generations. The UK Space Operations Centre is based at RAF High Wycombe where personnel collate and analyse and assess space information to support UK and allied military forces. Military space analysts work alongside civilian space analysts from the UK Space Agency to monitor the safety of UK satellites and track orbital events, including potential satellite collisions and the re-entry of objects into the Earth’s atmosphere.

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