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OUS Dorset

OUS Dorset fosters continuing friendships and intellectual stimulation amongst members who, for all their diverse and fascinating skills and backgrounds, have the University of Oxford experience in common. It also fosters contact with the University.

Please email the group secretary for further information on Dorset group activities.

Activities and group membership

A committee of co-opted members organises each year a lunch, usually with a guest speaker, and an outing. Both are mid-week and in the daytime. All events are within or close to the county and usually offer something that is not readily available to the general public. Members are invited to bring a guest and we welcome other OUS members (full or associate) irrespective of residence.

Membership is open to alumni who are resident in Dorset, including Bournemouth and Poole, and is subscription-free. For events, participating members share the costs. We do not raise funds for the University, or for any other charity, but we do offer travel bursaries – please see below.

We should be delighted to welcome new members and to send details of our activities. We would also be pleased to hear from existing members who would like to join our committee, which conducts its business mostly via email and phone, plus two lunchtime meetings per year.

Our 2017 lunch will be at Rushmore Golf Club, Tollard Royal, on Tuesday, 10 October. Our speaker will be Dr Peter Down of Dorset County Museum. (Full details will be mailed/emailed to members in due course). 

Our recent activities are described in the following section. 

Recent activities

Our May 2017 visit and lunch was held over two days. We met at the local museum in Beaminster, and were welcomed and informed by the helpful staff. Few of us had ever known of the history of this interesting, small town, which was an isolated community, as it was never on the railway network.

After a fascinating look round the museum, we were taken on a tour of the town and the Parish Church. We then enjoyed a superb lunch at the Admiral Hood Inn in Mosterton, where the home-cooked food was to be recommended.

Following lunch, we visited Horn Park gardens, by kind invitation of the owners, and were led round by the Head Gardener, who enthused us about the place. It was an exceptional visit and was finished off by tea and cakes. The sun shone - the clouds threatened rain - but it held off.

The 2016 annual outing was to Stock Gaylard House near Sturminster Newton at the start of May. It was both a private visit and a rare opportunity, as the house is open to the general public on a limited number of days each year. Members and guests had guided tours by the entertaining owners of the historical House, full of fascinating artefacts, followed by a splendid tea. We also had the opportunity to explore the grounds, set in a beautiful landscape, including the Parish Church of St Barnabas in the garden. Feedback showed this to have been a most worthwhile and enjoyable visit.


The 2016 annual lunch and general meeting was in mid October at the Royal Lion Hotel, Lyme Regis. Our guest speaker was the Rt Hon Dame Annette Brooke DBE, who gave us informative and entertaining tales of Westminster. She was a University of Cambridge-trained teacher and lecturer in economics, Poole’s 749th Mayor and MP for Mid-Dorset and North Poole, when she was also spokesperson on Children’s Issues and Local Government. Before lunch we enjoyed a guided tour of the operational Town Mill, adjacent to the hotel, which was much appreciated by our members and guests.

Dorset group bursary award 2018

OUS Dorset is extending its Summer Vacation Bursary for 2018 to provide two bursaries to Oxford undergraduates, of up to £350 each, towards the cost of undertaking, or of otherwise taking part in, a 2018 summer vacation project that aims to further their personal development and to enrich their life, in that capacity, for the benefit of their college.

All Oxford undergraduates who are either ordinarily resident in Dorset, or who have matriculated from a Dorset school, are eligible to apply for these bursaries, other than past and present award holders, final year undergraduates, third year medical students; or graduates of any university. 'Dorset' includes only the local authority areas of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole. The bursary scheme does not extend to Dorset postal addresses in other local authority areas.

The project should be started in and completed wholly between the last day of Trinity Term (Saturday 16 June) and the first day of Michaelmas Term (Sunday 7 October).

In weighing the merits of any application, OUS Dorset will focus particularly on how the proposed project may assist the personal development of the applicant, as an undergraduate member of his or her college, and on how engaging in that project may enrich the applicant’s student life to the benefit of that college.

Projects may be in any place and of any kind, but must have the approval of the applicant’s college.

The group awarded its 2017 Summer Vacation Bursary to Duncan O’Brien, a biological sciences student at St. Anne’s who came up from The Gryphon School, Sherborne in 2015. His travel project was to dive in Honduras to study if and how reef complexity affects the abundance of resident fish species.

Completed applications for the 2018 bursary scheme must be lodged with OUS Dorset Honorary Secretary Dr Tony Pawley, Honorary Secretary, OUS Dorset at 20 Cotton Close, Broadstone, Dorset BH18 9AJ, by Friday 16 March 2018.  

Applications received after this date are unlikely to be considered. Applicants are not being interviewed. Outcomes will be notified by Friday 20 April 2018 and will be final. Full notes on the scheme can be found via the link below.

Download the 2018 bursary scheme notes.

Download the 2018 bursary scheme application form.