Drinks in the City reconnects the Gordonian community

Aberdeen saw the launch of the first Drinks in the City event in May at the Esslemont Bar and Restaurant where attendees enjoyed reigniting friendships and provided a platform for Gordonians of different generations to network whilst enjoying drinks and canapes. A special thanks goes out to our speakers, Steve Parkinson, Class of ‘85, Chief Strategic Partnerships and Events Officer at Bauer Media and Sophie Boyne, Class of ‘04, Teacher of Drama at RGC who were discussing the importance of creativity in the world of work. We also are very grateful to Tito Daramola, Class of 21 who entertained attendees by providing live acoustic music throughout the evening. 

Each of the Drinks in the City events have a different theme for the evening. In Aberdeen, Steve and Sophie were excited to share news of the College’s focus on Creativity, announcing three new initiatives that are being developed for pupils who are interested in the creative sector which have been established as a result of the genuine passion from former pupils to support the next generation and enthusiasm to help the College promote creativity at RGC. The three initiatives include:

  1. The launch of a new biannual Creative Minds Festival on Friday 4 November. The festival will take place onsite at Schoolhill with a full day programme of activities and workshops for pupils in junior and senior school to showcase the wide range of creative career opportunities that are available across the sector. The aim of the festival is to inform, equip and inspire pupils who are interested in pursuing this career pathway.

  2. A biannual pupil trip to London which will include a tailor made programme designed for pupils who are interested in the Arts and wider creative industries such as radio, television, musical theatre, journalism or advertising.

  3. In 2023-24 the College will be introducing a new NPA Creative Industries course to the curriculum for senior school pupils.

In June we were delighted to host the second event of the Drinks in the City series at Bread St Brasserie in Edinburgh, where we were joined by Ruaridh Jackson, Class of ‘06. Ruaridh, former Scotland international rugby union player, is now the Brand Development Manager at The Glenturret and an Entrepreneur having launched The Garden Shed Drinks Company, a unique, organic, gin business. Ruaridh spoke about his transitions from school to the world of sport and then from rugby to business and entrepreneurship; noting the highs and lows with a few laughs along the way!

Attendees thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his journey, especially from his own, honest point of view, and his advice on staying true to your values, reaching for your goals and realising your own potential. We were sorry not to be joined by Evie Rae, Class of ‘11 on the night due to unforeseen circumstances, she was very much missed. We will, however, be converting Evie and Ruaridh’s planned Q&A style talk into a feature for the upcoming Pelican magazine which will be published later this summer. A special thanks goes out to Ruaridh for his time and company on the night, and to Evie for her support in the run up to the event.

In London, Gordonians and friends reconnected for the first time since the start of the pandemic at the Michelin Star restaurant, HIDE. Hosted by Matthew Mawtus, former pupil from the Class of ‘03 and Executive General Manager at HIDE, guests sampled fine wines and enjoyed matching canapés. A truly tantalising experience; Matthew used his training and passion for wine to deliver a tutored wine tasting of the highest standard. Having graduated with a BA in Hotel and Hospitality Management from The Scottish Hotel School at the University of Strathclyde, Matthew joined Gordon Ramsay at Claridges as Commis Sommelier.  He went on to win UK Young Waiter of the Year in 2007, UK Restaurant Manager of the Year in 2016, GQ Front of House of the Year in 2017. The excitement did not end there when in 2018 Matthew was approached to open HIDE as Executive General Manager. 

Alumni and friends were in good spirits and celebrated the achievements of the Gordonian Bursary Programme which currently enables one in seven pupils to attend the Senior School on a fully funded bursary. There was great will and desire among guests to extend the programme and help transform the futures of many more children. The high level of energy from former pupils in London also extended to the Gordonian Mentoring Programme which supports pupils and alumni  on their career pathway journeys. A number of guests expressed an interest in sharing their experience of working in the tech sector to aid one of RGC’s most exciting new initiatives, RGC Online. Beginning this year, RGC Online is a new online education service delivering Higher Computing Science and Higher Applications of Mathematics with an additional offering of five groundbreaking modules in Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Game Design, Entrepreneurship and Cyber Security.

We have greatly enjoyed this new series of events and very much look forward to building on the success of the Drinks in the City events programme connecting with many more of you in the near future.

Find out more about our Alumni events programme below: