My first term at Downing has been both exhilarating and exhausting. I remember from my days as a student how intense the 8-week Oxbridge term is, and it’s just the same as Master!

It’s been a whirl of matriculations, meetings, drinks parties, dinners (a Master doesn’t go hungry!), music recitals, exhibition openings and alumni events, and a rash of committees. I quickly discovered that the College has more moving parts than I had imagined.

On top of that, this term has seen several additional events: the official unveiling of our Barbara Hepworth sculpture, the 100th anniversary of the armistice, the Oon lecture, the Service of Thanksgiving following John Hopkins’ funeral, and an extra alumni party in Edinburgh to coincide with Vicki’s exhibition there.

It’s been a real pleasure to find in Downing such a rich community - the depth of our music, the range of cultural events in the Heong gallery, the many moving services in the chapel, and the intellectual variety of the College societies’ events. Not to mention Downing’s renowned sporting prowess – already I’ve witnessed some terrific successes in rugby, football and rowing.

And just as term ends for me, the Fellows have to move into an extra gear, with a gruelling week interviewing literally hundreds of candidates for next year.

Vicki and I are hugely grateful to all the Fellows, students, staff and alumni who have made us feel so welcome here. I do appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to ensure the place runs smoothly.

Thank you all too for responding so constructively to the many demands of our fast-moving community. I hope you have a very happy Christmas and I wish you all the best for 2019.