Traditional festivities brought the term to an end for the pupils and staff of Queen Elizabeth’s School – while one member of the Elizabethan family was singled out for the honour of an invitation to The Princess of Wales’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbey.
Highlights of the final days of term included the delivery of this year’s hugely successful charity collections to the local community and the School’s Christmas dinner, served complete with musical accompaniment – and all the other trimmings!
There was more festive music at the QE Service of Nine Lessons and Carols this week at Chipping Barnet parish church and at the Winter Concert at the start of the month.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “My best wishes and season’s greetings go to our all families, alumni and friends. It’s been a super end to a tremendous term that included the royal visit last month by HRH The Duke of Gloucester.”
“This year has seen QE, the Sunday Times State School of the Year for 2022: achieve an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report; open a new Music building, and celebrate the best A-level results of any state school. It’s certainly been a year to savour! I hope pupils and staff will enjoy their well-earned rest and return in January ready to celebrate our 450th anniversary in 2023.”
Among the guests at Westminster Abbey last night were Diane Mason and her husband, George. The Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Barnet, Martin Russell, nominated her in recognition of decades of work in support of The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s and other causes in the borough. Diane worked at the School as a PE teacher many years ago and was a longstanding Secretary to the Friends’ Executive Committee.
The service was attended by the King and Queen Consort, as well as The Prince and Princess of Wales and George and Charlotte, alongside other members of the Royal Family.
“Diane, and indeed, George, have been stalwart supporters of the School for a very long time, and this rare honour is well deserved indeed,” the Headmaster added.
As it has done every year since 2014, QE ran a charitable food collection for Chipping Barnet Foodbank to benefit the most vulnerable living in the local area. In addition, boys and staff collected clothes for Homeless Action in Barnet.
QE Caretaker Steve Anderson said at the end of term: “I have just got back from delivering the charity donations with four of our prefects and I have to say I have never been more proud to be a QE staff member.
“The generosity of parents, boys and staff was unbelievable; the staff at the two centres were overwhelmed and very grateful.
“I am sure a lot of people will benefit from the kindness from our School.”
Tuesday’s Christmas dinner for boys and staff featured the traditional roast turkey – or a vegetarian option – together with roast potatoes, honey roast parsnips, carrots and brussels sprouts.
To make it even more festive, the Saxophone Quartet – Suraj Cheema and Leo Dane-Liebesny, of Year 13, Arjun Patel, of Year 12, and Leo Sellis, of Year 10 – played for the diners.
The four were also among the many musicians involved in the Winter Concert in the School’s Shearly Hall on the first day of the month.
The programme featured several different genres, with the pieces played ranging from Michael Jackson’s Beat It, performed by the Electric Guitar Ensemble to pieces more traditionally associated with Christmas, such as the excerpts from Handel’s Messiah performed by the Senior Strings and the Chamber Choir.
This week’s carol service in St John the Baptist Church started in darkness, before the church returned to light as the congregation sang the final verses of Once in Royal David’s City.
As well as other favourite carols and Christmas Bible readings by boys and staff, there were lesser-known musical treats, such as the Vocal Group’s rendition of Dormi Jesu – a setting of a short lullaby text collected by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge while he was on a tour of Germany with William Wordsworth in 1798.