Enjoyed Founder’s Day? Join us at our next big alumni event – the Headmaster
January 1, 2016
January 1, 2016
Founder’s Day is in many ways the highlight of the year for the entire Queen Elizabeth’s School community – which emphatically includes our old boys, as well as current QE families. I was so pleased to see and meet so many Old Elizabethans at this year’s celebration, with the numbers swelled particularly by past pupils from recent generations.
I hope to see equally large numbers of past pupils at our next major alumni event, The Old Elizabethans’ Association Dinner on Friday 17th November. It is always an enjoyable occasion and I do hope that many reading this will accept this invitation to come along and hear our guest speaker, Robert ‘Judge’ Rinder (1989–1994).
The preceding day, Thursday 16th November, sees another occasion with heavy involvement from our old boys, our annual Careers Convention for Year 11 boys and their parents. We are always interested to hear from old boys who would be prepared to share their professional experience and expertise: if you are interested, do, please, contact my office.
Founder’s Day 2017 marked 444 years of the School’s history. The day began as usual with our Thanksgiving Service at Chipping Barnet Parish Church, followed by the procession back to the School and the Roll Call and Reading of the Chronicle in front of the Main Building.
Our guest speaker at the service was an old boy, guest speaker Ashley-James Turner (OE 2001–2008), who is today Director of Business Development at CoreAzure, a leading Microsoft UK Partner specialising in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
After his A-levels, Ashley-James went up to Oxford to read Geography. Upon graduating in 2011, he began work in the field of sustainability and environmental science, before making the transition into IT. But he cheerfully admitted to the congregation: “As anyone who knows me will be able to attest, I am not the most obvious candidate when it comes to technology. As my IT team tell me, the biggest threat to my laptop isn’t malware – it’s me! I still cannot figure out how to connect my iPhone with the car’s handsfree, and heaven forbid should I try to navigate through satellite television…”
He reflected on how technology had moved on in the brief period since he was at QE – “we had white boards that were on rollers…and I can remember when I thought Snake on the Nokia 3310 was surely the greatest technological triumph of the 21st century”. Today, Ashley-James counts the support he is able to provide to educational institutions such as QE in dispersing the latest advances in technology as one of the privileges of his job.
The service featured anthems from composers including Vaughan Williams, Tavener and Rutter performed by School musicians and the School and Chamber choirs. Bible readings were given by current School Captain Oliver Robinson, and his predecessor, Varun Vassanth, while the Headmaster led the prayer of remembrance for old boys who had died recently.
Once the formalities were concluded, the Founder’s Day Fete and the annual Stanley Busby Memorial Cricket Match took place. As is now the custom, the match featured a team of alumni taking on the present School First XI on the Third Field.
This year, it was present pupils who won, but by the narrowest of margins. Batting first, the old boys set 165 for the loss of 8 wickets in 20 overs. The innings highlight was the 91 from 57 balls from Kushal Patel (OE 2009–2016). Director of Sport Jonathan Hart said: “It shows that spending a year out in Australia playing Grade cricket has put him in good touch.”
The First XI lost a couple of early wickets, but a 46 from the in-form Kevin Van der Geest and a 59 from Ayush Shah had the game looking safe. However, once they were both out, things became very close, Mr Hart reported. “With the game tied and two balls remaining, a sharp piece of fielding from Ram Sivarajah gained a run-out. So it was down to the last ball, and it was the First XI who claimed victory, managing to secure the one run required to win.“
On the Stapylton Field, the fete presented a colourful spectacle at which OEs and all our other guests had ample opportunity to relax and have some fun on an unusually hot early summer’s day. Performances by School musicians contributed to the vibrant, festive atmosphere, as did the stalls selling a wide variety of international cuisines. The fete, which is the culmination of many months of planning by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, raised an impressive total of almost £20,000 for the School this year.