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Eton Societies Week 2

*Simeon: Revd Jonathan Fletcher on the existence of God

Orwell: Professor Kevin Warwick on cyborgs

*Photographic: Mr Donovan Wylie on finding your voice

*Debating: Female Etonians; Santa Claus

*Medical: Mr John Anderson on prostate cancer

*Law: Mr Desmond Browne QC on the right to reputation and privacy

Design: Architecture Today

*Adventure Society: Mrs Serena Brocklebank on climbing Everest

Film: The Lavender Hill Mob

Hispanic: Film (El Orfanato)

Events for which reports have been provided are marked by an asterisk.


Simeon Society: Revd Jonathan Fletcher

This week, Revd Jonathan Fletcher, of Emmanuel Church, Wimbledon, a fairly regular speaker, came to talk at the newly renamed Simeon Society on the title “Does God exist?” He provided an insightful and straightforward argument from cosmology. The meeting in Upper School was attended by around 25 people, an encouragingly high number for the first week of the year, and lasted around half an hour.

Daniel Wright (WFM)

The Photographic Society: Mr Donovan Wylie

The society was a very informative and insightful event. The speaker, a Magnum photographer, was a man who was passionate about photography to a degree that I had never encountered before. He spoke vividly about his view that one must ‘find one’s voice’ in photography. He has photographed the green zone in Iraq and also some hill forts in Northern Ireland, he is the only person to have done so in both cases. Finding one’s voice involves persistence and determination in his mind. The photographer must photograph anything that catches his eye. This is always an effective way to extend one’s repertoire.

Hubert Cecil (ASR)

Debating Society

 Returning to Upper School with the motion ‘This House Would Never Admit Girls To Eton’, the first meeting of the Debating Society was an evening of amusing and enthusiastic oratory. Patrick Leigh-Pemberton KS and Edward Wingfield (JDN) acted as opposition to the motion proposed by Sam Winders (RJM) and Tom Oliver (RJM). Both teams performed well, introducing some interesting and well embellished points about the effects, detrimental or otherwise, of allowing the fairer sex into the div. room. The motion was defeated by a popular vote.

Accompanying the main debate of the evening was a miniature, quick fire version with the motion ‘This House Believes That Father Christmas Is Better Than The Easter Bunny And The Tooth Fairy Combined’. This off-the-cuff debate was performed with great flair by Jack Browne (JDN) and Alex Harries (ASR) as the proposition, and Mathew Guinness (RDO-C) and Archie Kelly (RGGP) in opposition. The motion was closely carried.

Bobby Leigh-Pemberton (JDN)

Medical Society: Mr John Anderson (Consultant Urological Surgeon, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals)

An energetic speaker, Mr John Anderson took an audience of just under 60, expertly through the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.  Mr Anderson began by describing what can go wrong with the prostate (nothing, prostatitis or benign enlargement (BPH), cancer) and by arming the audience with some alarming statistics; although the prostate is the most common site of cancer fore men, 66% of men in the UK do not know its whereabouts let alone its function.  The diagnosis of prostate cancer by means of the PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) test was revealed to be difficult to administer on a scale wide enough to provide all males over 50 with regular check-ups but Mr. Anderson mentioned that we could, even as soon as 2020, witness the arrival of a vaccine against prostate cancer that could keep the vast majority of the male population (prostate) cancer-free.  The speech was followed by a multitude of questions from the keen audience that prompted some intriguing answers that touched on many aspects of medicine, from science and clinical practice through to the medic’s lifestyle.  A thoroughly enjoyable evening, it was a great start to what will be an exciting year for the Med Soc. 

Nicholas von Guionneau OS (NCWS)

Law Society: Mr Desmond Browne QC (OE) (Chairman of the Bar Council)

Desmond Browne QC addressed the Law Society on the subject of “freedom of expression and right to reputation and privacy”. In front of an excellent turn out of boys, Mr Browne gave an insightful talk, using fascinating examples to demonstrate the often controversial debates regarding peoples’ right to privacy. One of these examples was the Naomi Campbell case; the case, which Ms Campbell won against the Mirror newspaper, was a key case in British Law, and Mr Browne described all the details with superb accuracy whilst keeping the whole crowd entertained for the duration of his address. Following the address, many excellent questions were asked from the floor, paying tribute to Mr Browne’s most interesting talk.

Huge thanks to Mr Browne and also to the Provost and Lady Waldegrave for giving the Law Society the superb opportunity of hosting the address in Election Hall.

Tom Greenhalgh (NCWS)

Adventure Society: Mrs Serena Brocklebank

Mrs Serena Brocklebank began by describing her connection with Everest through her grandfather who was on the failed 1933 expedition to conquer Everest.  He was also an OE, giving Mrs Brocklebank her connection with Eton.  After this, she described her two attempts to conquer the mountain; the first in 2004, following the route of her grandfather up the north side, thwarted by weather conditions in the death zone; the second in 2006 bringing success in her bid for the summit from the south side.  She particularly noted the contrast of the experienced, Sherpa-assisted summit attempts with the brave attempts made by her grandfather and his contemporaries with their comparatively primitive equipment.  Mrs Brocklebank also used lots of striking images to help illustrate her story, showing just how challenging and dangerous Everest remains no matter if the media say summiting is now just a monetary issue.

Theo Scott (PBS)

Design Society: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

Two partners from Richard Rogers’ company came to give a talk to the design society this week about ‘Architecture Today’. An interesting talk about the world of architecture was given, showing the challenging and busy lifestyle of a modern day architect. Around 40 people came to the Design Department for the talk.

Tom Holliday (CMJ)

DATE POSTED: 21 September 2009

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