Words offered by a former Burser, Wg Crd John Myers –
"Fred Boyne was a special, larger than life character, much admired and respected, who made an indelible mark on the college’s formative years, and everyone who came into contact with him."
With the dedication of this bench, we celebrate Fred Boyne’s own respect for, his pride in, and his commitment to this college. The dedication of this bench, to which the Garden Fund supported by fellows and staff has largely contributed, speak of the depth of the college’s affection for Fred.
As we dedicate this bench, we reflect upon those who will sit here, in the grounds of Robinson College, to read and think and chat and relax and who, consciously or subconsciously, will see and hear all that goes on around them.
I never met Fred Boyne, so I have taken a variety of quotations from testimonies offered by students, staff and fellows, past and present. This dedication will be shaped around those testimonies.
“Fred was part of what made Robinson feel like home.”
Feeling at home:
Who will worry about exams, having telephone conversations, drinking coffee, or tapping smart phone screens. We hope that those who use this bench will do so because they feel at home, that they feel part of the community life of this college and that they might feel part of something greater.
“The eyes of Fred Boyne were everywhere”
For those who sit here and all they see and hear: those who will hear birdsong or the buzz of insects, or see the wildlife, the kingfishers and muntjacs. Who complain about clouds, or bask in sunshine, or marvel at stars.
That they might see the wonder within the everyday, and feel part of something greater.
“Dr Uduku. You are now a fellow and can walk on the grass” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
For all who may walk on the grass, and who sit and enjoy the gardens here. Who see the cultivation and care invested in these gardens, speaking of the human desire to forge beauty from what nature has given us.
May those who enjoy these gardens see divine and human creativity converge, and feel part of something greater.
“Fred inspired respect and affection and made a huge contribution to generating Robinson’s delightful ethos of modernity and tradition.”
For those sit here to study. For those will allow a book to carry them elsewhere, to the story of other worlds and other peoples, to hear voices from the past, or to understand our world in a new light. May those who read books from here find new ways of seeing, and feel themselves part of something greater.
“It always makes me smile just to think of him and I’m very grateful for his kind words and support during my time at Robinson.”
For those who sit here in the company of others, in joy, in sadness, in anxiety or frustration. Those who sit with old friends or spouses, or family members or new acquaintances.
May this be a space where they hear and see one another and themselves in new ways, and feel part of something greater.
And so we dedicate this Bench to the memory of Fred Boyne, the first Head Porter of Robinson College. It marks our gratitude for his role in shaping the ethos of a young college, his commitment to all members of this community, and the college’s affection for a character who, in the words of one fellow, was a true moulder of the college.
Let us Pray
We thank you for the ways in which aspects of your character are expressed in the lives of those with whom our lives interweave.
We thank you for the life of Fred Boyne and the impression his presence has left on the life of this college.
And we thank you for the community life of this college, for this bench, and for all your gifts of love and grace.