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Balloons that spell out congratulations

First, many congratulations to Sean Hannigan on his election as President of South College JCR. I look forward to working with Sean. Having studied at Durham at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, he is perfectly equipped for the important role of representing South's UG and PG students. I know Sean will work hard to build on the excellent foundations established by Richard Freeman and, of course, Haf Serajee.

I am exceptionally grateful to Haf who has done outstanding work as a Pioneer Scholar, JCR Vice President and most recently as our interim President. Haf's commitment to South and to our values is immensely valuable and greatly appreciated.  I know that she will continue to make an excellent contribution as Vice President and as a source of wisdom and good advice. Thank you very much, Haf.

I spent a cold but happy weekend watching South sports teams play at Maiden Castle. On Sunday, I was delighted to see the beginning of our men's Rugby side's impressive victory in their first competitive match against Grey B. I had to miss most of the game to take an injured player to A & E, but the match marked an excellent start to the season. Well played, the Owls. Later, I watched our mixed Lacrosse side win against Josephine Butler. This was another exciting performance and augurs well for the future. 

I hear excellent reports about Netball, Football and Rowing too. South's Netball players are plainly destined for greatness. Our men's football side has made a superb start to the season, and I'm thrilled to see both experienced rowers and novices on the water. The Boat Club's commitment to the South cause was illustrated when several members moved straight from the river to the Lacrosse pitch. Bravo, but do beware of hypothermia.

At our formal today (Monday) I will welcome several guests to South. My former BBC and University of Kent colleague Angela Harrison will be sharing advice about careers in journalism in the Library at 5pm before joining me at High Table. If you have questions for Angela, please do join us. Also at High Table tonight will be Professor Maggi Dawn, Principal of St Mary's College and Professor Rob Lynes, Principal of Stephenson College. 

Thursday is Remembrance Day. I hope many of you will join me and Jeremy Cook, PVC Colleges in The Plaza to mark the occasion, with readings and poetry before South's own superb trumpeter, Charlotte Ward plays the Last Post. We will all share in the traditional two minutes silence in honour of those who have served and died in war.  

In my weekly News and Current Affairs seminar in the Library at 4pm on Friday, I'll analyse and discuss the editorial content of the New Statesman edition of 5 - 11 November and The Spectator edition of 6 November. Those attending should read both in preparation.