A message from your President

Kevin Leigh, President 2018

The President of the Old Southendian Association 2018 is:

Kevin Leigh

(Sparta, 1978-1981),

Who would have imagined that over 35 years after leaving the school I would be introducing myself as the President of the Old Southendian Association? It is not something I foresaw. I must therefore thank Chris Sorrell (who I am very pleased to say will follow after my year as President) for asking me a number of years ago if I would like to become the Hon. Legal Adviser to the OSA after the previous holder of the office took a well-deserved retirement. This brought me onto the Executive and the rest, as they say, is history! My role as advisor has thankfully not required too much input from my professional life as a barrister. Indeed I think most people will know me more as the bloke with the camera at events asking you to smile for yet another photograph then posting them onto Facebook.

I begin by thanking the Association for asking me to be its next President. As someone for whom school years were spent only in the sixth-form and on the athletics track, I have always admired the camaraderie engendered by the school as pupils grew up together. As one of the biggest organisations of its kind in the UK, the OSA is a real treasure and a glowing tribute to all those who have kept it going over the decades and importantly made it bigger and better as time rolls by. I was therefore genuinely surprised and extremely flattered to be rung by Martin Stansfield one morning last year to be asked if I would accept the honour of being your President. I you remember the American sitcom ‘Night Court’ where a young inexperienced lawyer suddenly became a judge as no-one else was around above him on the long list of names to take on the role, I was fortunate to be at home when Martin rang.

I am looking forward to a year in which I hope to be even more part of the family of friends that is the OSA. I follow in the footsteps that many decent and deserving people have filled. I would like to see a record number of people turn out for events over the next year. Therefore I implore each of you to ask just one person you know that is not already a member to consider joining. If each one of you asked only one person we must surely create a substantial new intake so that if I leave one thing behind after my year it will be one, I sincerely hope, in which more new faces join with the familiar ones to enrich our Association.

Finally, tradition requires that I say something about myself. I do so diffidently as I have always enjoyed making a difference but from the shadows and not the limelight. As a practicing barrister since 1986 I have been involved mostly in property development and land law. I used to do a lot of crime, as lawyers say, both prosecuting and defending, until the early part of this century when I concentrated solely on my civil practice with only the occasional foray into the criminal courts. I married a lovely local lady called Vanessa and we have two wonderful children, Briony and Oscar. Our son is an old boy himself and I am looking forward to him attending our annual dinner this year along with my father Terry, another old boy. Please smile for the camera when you see me!