OUS Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Welcome from the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Group Chairman – Mike Gretton

The core purpose of the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Group, which includes Portsmouth and Southampton, is to arrange events and activities to enable alumni to meet each other at lectures, talks and visits of mutual interest. We are now aiming to have events and activities which are more accessible to members in full time work and their families.

In addition to our core purpose, the Committee has a vision to increase our involvement and contribution to the Access and Outreach project to raise the aspiration of students towards Oxbridge and higher education. This project is to support the ambitions outlined by Oxford University in their outreach goals:

“The University of Oxford undertakes a wide range of activities to inform, attract, and support the most able candidates from all socio-economic, cultural and geographical backgrounds. We know that our main challenges lie in encouraging students from under-represented groups to apply to Oxford and in helping them to make competitive applications. As a result our outreach activity has become increasingly targeted at those groups that are under-represented in higher education in general and the University of Oxford in particular.”

Our approach in the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Group is to set up partnerships with key schools and colleges in our area to support both the ambitions of Oxford University and the aspirations of those schools and colleges. Our aim is to help to encourage bright, talented students (particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds) to aspire to achieve the very highest level of academic attainment that they can.

If you would be interested in registering for our core purpose of meeting other alumni, or to contribute to our vision for Access and Outreach, please email the Group Director.

In amplification of the description of our vision for Access and Outreach in the Chairman’s welcome, we have a group of around 30 members who are involved in our activities. In normal times, the group meets on a regular basis to further the aims of the project.

We have been mentoring in Barton Peveril Sixth Form College for some time, and in 2021 students gained a remarkable number of offers: 17 from Oxford and 6 from Cambridge.

Once we (Oxford University, the schools/colleges and our members) are released from lockdown, our focus will be on supporting the aspirations of the Oxford for South East consortium and on building partnerships with target schools and colleges in our area – particularly in the coastal areas of Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight, which are underrepresented at Oxford.

If you would like to help and support the Access and Outreach project, please contact our Lead Committee member, Nick Stenning.

The Group Committee organises events each year: these are usually within or close to the county and offer something that is not readily available to the general public. Members may bring guests and we welcome other OUS members (full or associate) irrespective of residence.  Up to now they have consisted of an annual lunch with a speaker, a summer visit to a place of interest, and an autumn evening lecture.  These will continue (Covid-19 restrictions permitting) with other events and activities which are more accessible to working people. 

Membership of our Group is open to alumni who are resident in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and is subscription-free. For events, participating members share the costs.


If you wish to register as a Group member, the online process is very straightforward. Go to our page on MembershipMojo and you will see this paragraph:

“If you’re not already a member of the Branch, it’s quick and easy to join here – just press the “Join Us / Renew” button on this page and give us your details.” 

Please complete as many details as you can, of which the key ones are your name, matriculation college and date, your email address and your postcode. You will receive acknowledgement of your membership.  If you find you cannot join through the Membermojo website, please email the Group Director with the key details plus an address including the postcode.


Subject to any remaining restrictions relating to Covid19, the Group is planning five events for the rest of 2021:

  • A special Reception on Monday 6 September to be held at the Hospital of St Cross, Winchester 6.30 – 8.30 pm. £15 per person, one additional guest welcome. To confirm your attendance at the reception, please contact the Group Director  
  • A special Autumn Reception for residents of the Isle of Wight at Halsey Manor, 6-8pm on 11 September - £15 per person, one additional guest welcome.
  • The Freshers’ Reception on 30 September for those starting at Oxford in October.
  • A lunch at 1200 for 1230 pm on Saturday 9 October at the Holiday Inn on the outskirts of Winchester. The speaker will be Admiral Sir Philip Jones, GCB DL (Mansfield, 1978) who retired as First Sea Lord (the professional head of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines) in 2019 having been involved in two major Defence Reviews. 

  • A presentation on Access and Outreach at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, by the Principal, Jonathan Prest, on 3 November in the evening.

Our summer and autumn Receptions will be a wonderful opportunity for mingling in the lovely surroundings of the Master’s Garden at St Cross, and historic Haseley Manor (by kind permission of Professor Anthony Roberts – Worcester 1969 - and Dr Vivian Roberts), as well as hearing more about the Society’s activities. For these events graduates are invited to bring a spouse, partner or friend if they wish.  We will ask for a contribution of £15 per person to ensure that there are suitable refreshments!

The Committee hosts for these Receptions are:

  • Angharad Ruskin     Jesus 1993
  • Mike Gretton           Trinity 1965
  • Sarah Kane (IoW)   Pembroke 1987
  • Tessa Love             Lady Margaret Hall 1965

To confirm your attendance at the receptions, please do contact the Group Director and for Isle of Wight residents, please also contact Sarah Kane. Further details will be forwarded to those who register nearer the time of the events. 

Freshers' reception

Each year in late September, just before the start of Michaelmas Term, the Group holds a social event which is open to all Hampshire-based Oxford candidates who have achieved a place at Oxford (both undergraduate and postgraduate), and who will be going up to Oxford in the next week or two. The Chairman and other group members host the event, together with a few current undergraduates from Hampshire who kindly come along to chat to Freshers about their experiences at Oxford. About 30 Freshers attend and clearly enjoy and appreciate the event, which is intended to give them the opportunity to meet and chat with other Freshers, and also to hear a bit about what they will experience in their first year at Oxford from those who have just been through it themselves. In 2020 the Group managed very successfully to hold this event online with the help of Zoom and are actively considering repeating the online format, which made the event accessible to Freshers from all corners of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Spring lunches

Recent events, usually held in April/May, have included talks from:

  • Dr Timothy Hands, Headmaster of Winchester College on a range of educational matters (2017)
  • Sir Ivor Roberts, President of Trinity, on ‘Conversations with Milosevic and other war criminals’ (2016)
  • Lord (Robin) Butler of Brockwell, on 'My Life with Five Prime Ministers' (2015)

Summer excursions

The group has, in recent years, organised summer excursions to the Watts Gallery and Artists’ Village near Guildford; Chichester (for a guided tour of the cathedral and a lecture at the Pallant House Gallery); Wilton House near Salisbury, Petworth; and Chawton House Library, each with separate guided tours for participating members and including a lunch. The 2018 excursion was a day excursion to the Isle of Wight, to visit the recently re-opened home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Farringford, and also Osborne House.

Autumn lectures

Recent autumn lectures (usually held in October, in Winchester) have included as speakers:

  • Professor Anne Deighton, Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College Oxford, and Professor of European International Politics in the Department of Politics and International Relations at Oxford
  • Dame Helen Ghosh, Director General of the National Trust
  • Professor Alan Barr (Head of Particle Physics at Oxford and Fellow of Merton College)
  • Dame Jessica Rawson, Warden of Merton College
  • Giles Henderson, CBE, Master of Pembroke College, talking about his experiences as a Head of House (2013)

The Committee of the Oxford University Society Hampshire & Isle of Wight area, which includes Portsmouth and Southampton, is seeking to broaden the membership of an already vibrant society to include alumni of all vintages in our events and community engagement (widening access to Oxbridge and other Higher Education):

  • Events for members of the Group. We plan to build on our current mix of lectures and lunches with one or two organised events each year to provide opportunities for members to get together for local events – social, artistic, musical, political, sporting and just simple fun! Please see the Forthcoming events tab for more information.
  • Community engagement. Our priority is to support the University of Oxford in its policy of widening its intake to include students from all backgrounds and educational settings, with the emphasis on raising aspiration and maximising potential. Please see the Access and Outreach tab for more information. 

If you would like to be kept in touch with these developments, especially if you are interested in helping to organise events, please email the group Secretary for further information.

Or you can go to our online database and fill in your own details. All data will be stored in a GDPR compliant manner. 

If you live in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and wish to join the group and be kept informed of events, please email the group secretary and ask to be added to the contact list.

Or you can go to our online database and fill in your own details. All data will be stored in a GDPR compliant manner. 

Specific members of the Group Committee can be contacted as follows:

Group Director 

Group Events Lead

Access & Outreach Lead

Isle of Wight Lead 

Group Chairman