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Remembering Diane Mason: tributes paid to “inspiring” FQE stalwart

Headmaster Neil Enright today paid tribute to Diane Mason, a longstanding supporter of the School, former parent and retired staff member, who has died at the age of 88.

Diane’s association with QE extended back to 1985, when her eldest son, Andrew (Andy), joined the School, followed two years later by his brother, Chris. She quickly became involved in the work of The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, serving as Secretary for some 35 years, until retiring earlier this summer.

Diane was also employed at the School from 1997 to 2011, fulfilling administrative roles in areas including the careers programme and the School’s liaison with FQE. She was also an extra-curricular tennis and swimming coach at QE, drawing on her background in Physical Education. She then continued to support the School as an exam invigilator.

Last December, in recognition of her work for FQE and other causes in the Borough of Barnet, Diane was among the guests at a special carol service at Westminster Abbey spearheaded by The Princess of Wales. The service was attended by The King and Queen Consort and The Prince of Wales, Prince George and Princess Charlotte as well as other members of the Royal Family and VIPs.

Offering his condolences to her family, Mr Enright said today: “Diane will be sorely missed within the Elizabethan community. Few have made such a broad and sustained contribution to the School and The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s.

“Over several decades, she brought great energy, vigour and dedication to all that she did, and my  colleagues and I are immensely grateful for her inspiring and steadfast support.

“Furthermore, Diane was liked and respected by everyone here at QE: occasions like Founder’s Day simply will not be the same without her. She embodied the best of FQE and its values, and I know she will be fondly remembered within our community for years to come.”

Having taken the decision to remain actively involved in supporting FQE after her sons left the School, she worked alongside her husband, George, who survives her.

Diane was a convener and recruiter who made things happen, rolling up her sleeves and leading by example. She also encouraged others to become actively involved in the Elizabethan community.

Those who have known her many years include Barrie Martin, the School’s longstanding former Chairman of Governors, who continues in his role as FQE Director. Speaking at a special event at this year’s Founder’s Day marking his retirement from the Governing Body, he credited Diane with getting him involved in the work of the Friends. This, he said, led to the then Headmaster Eamonn Harris (1984–1999) summoning him to the Governing Body.

Diane also served on the Governing Body, as a parent governor, campaigning in support of the School securing grant maintained status in 1989 – the success of which restored QE’s independence from the local authority.

Deputy Head (Pastoral) David Ryan and his former colleague, now retired, Colin Price (Second Master from 1999–2019) have both independently commented that the charity’s name, Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, could have been invented for Diane: she was truly a friend of the School.

As well as The Princess of Wales’ carol service – for which she was nominated for an invitation by The Representative Deputy Lieutenant of the London Borough of Barnet, Martin Russell – highlights of her association with the School include her formally opening the Shearly Hall in December 2009.


Making history at the 450th anniversary year Founder’s Day

Past, present and future came together to make Founder’s Day in Queen Elizabeth’s School’s 450th anniversary year an unforgettable occasion.

Always a highlight of the School calendar, Founder’s Day this year featured a string of anniversary-related special events, including the burial of a time capsule, as well as time-honoured traditions, from the reading of the School Chronicle to a cricket match between the current School XI and alumni.

The afternoon fete, run by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, drew the biggest numbers in recent memory, while there was a moving retirement ceremony for Barrie Martin MBE, QE’s long-standing Chairman of Governors, who steps down from the role this summer.

The event, which raises funds for the School, was a financial success, too. Having raised their target to £25,000, the Friends saw this figure comprehensively beaten: the current total stands at £41,042.48, including more than £28,000 on the day itself.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Our anniversary slogan is ‘thriving from ancient roots’ – and Founder’s Day 2023 exemplified this to the full. In the morning we reflected together on our long and rich history in the thanksgiving service at the parish church, while the happy crowds at our colourful afternoon fete were a reminder of just how vibrant and successful is the Elizabethan community of today.

“Barrie Martin made an immeasurable contribution to that success: the 24 years since he became Chairman of Governors have seen QE rise steadily to its position today as one of the UK’s leading schools, and generations of boys owe him a debt of gratitude.

“Fittingly, the burying of the time capsule on Staplyton Field gave us an opportunity to look to the future, as any organisation must do if it is to maintain its success. The artefacts in the capsule include predictions from our current Year 7 about what the School might be like in 2073, when we hope the capsule will be opened on QE’s 500th anniversary.

“My thanks go to the small army of people – including FQE volunteers, staff and pupils – who made the day such a success, and to the many who contributed so generously to maximising FQE’s income, which will be invested in the School.

“I hope many will be inspired to help in the future: you can put the third Saturday of June in 2024 in your diaries now!” Mr Enright added.

The day began with an innovation: a procession from Tudor Hall – the School’s home from its founding through to 1932 – which arrived at St John the Baptist Church promptly for the 11am service.

There, Giles Martin (OE 1992–1999) the son of the Chairman of Governors and the Programme Leader for Higher Education Practice at Bath Spa University’s School of Education, reminded the boys and wider congregation of the words of Gandhi: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as it you were to live forever.”

Reflecting on his memories and experiences at the School in music, debating and sport, he stressed the importance of teamwork. He was part of QE’s undefeated water polo team of the late 1990s.

After staff and boys made their way to Queen’s Road, the Roll Call and Reading of the School Chronicle took place in front of Main Building, with two paragraphs added to the latter’s account of QE’s history, covering the royal visit in November by The Duke of Gloucester and the 450th anniversary celebrations, including the March service in Westminster Abbey.

School Captain Darren Lee, of Year 12, stepped forward to fill the deep hole dug for the time capsule. This included:

  • A letter from the Headmaster to the Elizabethans of 2073;
  • Darren’s reflections on the 450th celebrations;
  • 450th memorabilia including a 450 badge, documents and flowers from the abbey preserved in resin by Art teacher Jeanne Nicodemus;
  • A copy of the recent whole-school photo;
  • The Year 7 pupil’s predictions – intended as a surprise for the Elizabethans of the future, it can however be noted that the boys predict technology, and AI in particular, will radically change education methods!

The Barrie Martin retirement ceremony included the presentation of a book of photos from his years of service, a framed sketch of the School and other mementos. Flowers were presented to his wife, Perin, as well as another of the resin cubes containing flowers from the 450th anniversary service (supplied by the florist who also provided flowers for the Queen’s funeral and King’s coronation).

A photographic portrait of Barrie will be placed in the ‘crush hall’ in the Main Building upon his retirement. It was taken by the School’s photographer Eleanor Bentall, who has also taken portraits of subjects including Boris Johnson, former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, Clare Balding and Tinie Tempah.

Thanking those present, Barrie, who is also Chairman of FQE, recounted how he came on board with the Friends after being approached by FQE stalwart Diane Mason. He joined the Governing Body in 1989, having been invited by Eamonn Harris (Headmaster 1984–1999): “I wasn’t stupid enough to say no to the Headmaster!”

Recalling some of the key milestones in the years that followed, he said he was unable to thank all those “exceptional people” that he had worked with, who had “made what I did possible”. Particular thanks were, however, given to the three Vice-Chairmen of Governors he worked alongside: the late Sid Clark; Ken Cooper; and Nick Gaskell, who will succeed Barrie as Chairman on 1 September this year.

The 1pm–5pm fete brought together current and past pupils with their families, as well as families of boys who will join Year 7 in September, large numbers of Old Elizabethans from different eras, local residents, former staff and other supporters.

The ever-popular international food tents were extended this year, while there was a range of impressive culinary creations battling it out in the Cake Competition. Additional attractions included a VEX Robotics tent – popular with parents as much as anyone! – and Ju Jitsu, where, rumour has it, Barrie Martin was seen performing a martial arts hold.

Away from the Stapylton Field, the QE Collections mini-exhibition included a rare opportunity to see the original 1573 Royal Charter that brought about the founding of the School. A particular draw was a book-signing by Dr John Marincowitz (Headmaster 1999–2011), whose new history of the School was published in March. This had to be extended due to the long queues. He said: “I met many lovely boys, old boys, parents and even a descendant of former Master James Barcock (1689-1719)! Such a variety of really interesting people.”

At the back of the School, the Stanley Busby Memorial Cricket Match on Third Field saw the old boys claiming what Head of Cricket Richard Scally described as “a well-deserved victory”. He added: “Both openers for the OEs – Omar Mohamed and Shahil Sheth – scored quickly, amassing 50 runs each and setting a challenging total of 159. In reply, the School lost early wickets and the run rate became too high, and although there was some strong resistance from Year 12’s Rohan Belavadi and Ranvir Sinha, it all proved too little too late, and the old boys won by 39 runs.”

  • Donations can still be made through the dedicated Founder’s Day JustGiving page. The fundraising total includes money taken on the day, online giving, sponsorship from a House Music competition on the eve of Founder’s Day and the sale of advertising.
  • The full-colour, 56-page fete programme includes a range of features, as well as advertisements from donors and supporters. You can read it here.
Go-ahead for refurbishment of Chemistry laboratories following £100,000 grant

QE is to completely refurbish two Chemistry laboratories, following confirmation that it has been awarded a £100,000 award from research and education charity, the Wolfson Foundation.

The work will not only provide new equipment and fittings for the busy laboratories in the large 1970s Fern Building, but will also increase their capacity.

The Wolfson Foundation grant will be supplemented by a contribution from The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s charity.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Sciences are tremendously strong at QE at all levels and we already have huge numbers studying Chemistry at A-level, many of them going on to highly regarded courses at university, such as Medicine. This award will enable us to provide them with the best, modern facilities.

“We are very grateful both to the Wolfson Foundation and to our parents, alumni and friends who give through FQE.

“We plan to carry out the work in the summer holidays this year, along with both the next phase of improvements in the Fern Building and, hopefully, the start of work on The Robert Dudley Studio – the new drama and spoken-word facility to be created within our Main Building.”

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of the Wolfson Foundation, said: “We are very pleased to support Queen Elizabeth’s School, enabling them to create outstanding facilities for their students.

“We hope the new Chemistry laboratories will encourage and inspire students at all levels to study Science.”

The bid to improve the two laboratories, S9 and S10, was submitted to the Wolfson Foundation last summer. The School is working with experts in the field of school laboratory installations.

Floors, ceilings, services, teachers’ stations, student workbenches and tools and fixtures will all be replaced, with new wiring and feeds for IT and utilities also included within the scope of the project.

QE’s Head of Chemistry, Amy Irvine, today spoke of her delight that the work is to go ahead.

“The facilities in those laboratories are no longer of a standard that best suits teaching practical science lessons, so this is extremely good news. The refurbishment will make it easier for us to deliver the best possible lessons. Boys of all ages here will benefit, while the work will make QE an even more attractive destination as we continue to recruit high-quality staff to the department.”

QE currently has 18 teachers and three laboratory technicians across three Science subjects, with nine of these working in Chemistry.

The Wolfson Foundation is an independent charity with a focus on research and education. Its aim is to support civil society by investing in excellent projects in science, health, heritage, humanities and the arts.

Since it was established in 1955, some £1 billion (£2 billion in real terms) has been awarded to more than 12,000 projects throughout the UK, all on the basis of expert review.

Twitter: @wolfsonfdn

‘Under pressure’ but ‘don’t give up’! Families, friends and colleagues battle it out at FQE quiz

Representatives from across the School community teamed up for the first Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s in-person charity event since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The 50 people who turned out for the FQE Quiz included Governors, current and former staff, parents and alumni.

During a relaxed but keenly competitive evening, seven teams wrestled with rounds on themes ranging from famous duets to doctors.

And after all the scores were in, the honours went to Team 3, made up entirely of Year 7 parents. With their score of 113, they narrowly beat teams 1 and 5, in joint second place on 111.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “After such a long enforced break, it was wonderful to have people back at the School enjoying themselves and to see such a sweep of competitors from across our whole Elizabethan family.

“My congratulations go to the winning team – it is the first time that I can remember victory going to parents of our youngest boys.

“I also thank our quizmasters , Peter Forrester and George Mason, ably supported by Karen Forrester and Diane Mason, who have together run these quizzes for a number of years.”

Alongside the many parents taking part, there were teams featuring FQE Chairman (and Chairman of Governors) Barrie Martin.

Team 1 included a number of current teachers, together with partners, while Team 2 comprised Old Elizabethans and Team 5 included former members of staff. Participants enjoyed drinks and snacks from the bar, while a fundraising raffle was also held during the event in the Main School Hall.

The winning parents in Team 3 were: Seleena Jigajinni; Suyogi Jigajinni; Maya Mandalia; Uday Mandalia; Sri Nori; Dan Wright; Chirag Mehta and Mona Wright.

Here a few sample questions, with answers below:

General knowledge round
Who succeeded Laura Bush as US First Lady?
Orbiting Jupiter, which is the only moon with its own magnetic field?

Lines round
What is the former name of the Jubilee Line from Stanmore to Baker Street?
Built in the 1930s, what was the name of the German defensive system which stretched 390 miles from the Netherlands to the Swiss border?

Famous duets round: who sang…?
Under Pressure
Don’t Give Up


General knowledge round
Who succeeded Laura Bush as US First Lady?
A. Michelle Obama

Orbiting Jupiter, which is the only moon with its own magnetic field?
A. Ganymede

Lines round
What is the former name of the Jubilee Line from Stanmore to Baker Street?
A. Bakerloo Line (up to 1969)

Built in the 1930s, what was the name of the German defensive system which stretched 390 miles from the Netherlands to the Swiss border?
A. Siegfried Line

Famous duets round: who sang…?
Under Pressure
A. Queen and David Bowie

Don’t Give Up
A. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

“It’s the big day; it’s Founder’s Day!” – the QE community gathered online to celebrate an illustrious past and look forward to a bright future

Queen Elizabeth’s School today celebrated Virtual Founder’s Day 2021 with an internet broadcast that featured a good measure of time-honoured tradition and a generous helping of innovation, all laced with a healthy dash of fun.

Highlights of the YouTube Premiere programme that went live at 12 o’clock included a Founder’s Day weekend Showstopper Bake challenge introduced by TV celebrity Mel Giedroyc, former BBC presenter of the Great British Bake Off.

Introduced by Headmaster Neil Enright, the half-hour programme included the annual Roll Call, the reading of the School Chronicle and elements of the traditional Founder’s Day church service. Mr Enright reminded viewers that fundraising remains a focus of the day, with more than £22,000 raised in last year’s lockdown Founder’s Day to support the education of boys at the School.

Donations can be made via the dedicated Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s Founder’s Day JustGiving page.

With QE’s Music School now nearing completion and funds required to equip it to the highest standards, there was a strong musical theme in the programme: this included the first-ever performances from the new building, with young musicians donning hard hats and ‘hi-vis’ vests over their uniforms.

When the outbreak of the pandemic forced last year’s Founder’s Day online, all hoped it would be a one-off. That was not to be, but although this year’s event was again virtual, there was now great cause for optimism, said Mr Enright.

“We are now in a very different position to 12 months ago: the School is open, classrooms are buzzing with activity, many clubs and societies are meeting, and our lives are moving, step by step, closer to normality,” he said.

“I take great comfort that during the unprecedented difficulties and uncertainties of the past 16 months, the School has not just coped, but thrived and even, in the words of our Chronicle, ‘flourished’.”

The School could look back with pride, but also forward to many “rapidly approaching” exciting developments, such as the Music School, which is due to open in the autumn of this year, Mr Enright added.

The video included a specially recorded segment from Mel Giedroyc, supplementing her first video announcement of the QE Founder’s Day Showstopper Bake challenge earlier in the month. In today’s film, in her own inimitable style, she announced to the “QE massif” that it was time for them to take up their sieves, whisks, graters and bowls: “It’s the big day; it’s Founder’s Day…We would love you, please, to create the most incredible, outrageous, flamboyant, delicious, beautiful Showstopper Bake – and remember, you have got to be sponsored to do it: that is how we raise the dough to raise the dough. See what I did there!”

Anyone making a ‘bake’ – which can be a cake, biscuits, bread or other dish – is invited to send Mel a photo of it via for her to judge. Bakes with a musical and/or a QE theme will gain extra credit.

The YouTube Premiere also featured a special appearance by musician and improvisor extraordinaire ‘Harry the Piano’, recorded at the Coach House Piano Showroom on the King’s Road in Chelsea. The School’s new £75,000 grand piano, which will grace the Music School’s Recital Hall, is coming from Coach House.

After appealing for viewers to give generously to Founder’s Day and lauding yesterday’s Pianoathon at the School, Harry deftly played the Great British Bake Off TV theme in five very different musical styles – Mozart, Chopin, samba, rock band Queen and Debussy.

Other musical elements of the video included the National Anthem in the opening section performed by the Founder’s Day Chamber Choir. They were recorded in Chipping Barnet Parish Church, where the Founder’s Day Thanksgiving Service takes place in normal years. Also filmed in the church was a reading of the School Prayer by 2021 School Captain Siddhant Kansal and the singing of the Founder’s Day hymn, Now Thank We All Our God.

There were three performances from the Music School construction site:

  •  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, by the Foundation Day Saxophone Ensemble
  • Oblivion, by the Year 8 Trio
  • Prelude, Gavotte and Waltz from Shostakovich’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano, by the Year 9 Trio.

The video’s closing credits were played over the Year 9 Trio’s performance. These included thanks to the sponsors and supporters of Founder’s Day – companies and organisations which are also listed in a specially produced brochure.

The reading of the Roll Call took place, as tradition dictates, in front of the Main Building, but because of the pandemic, only the School Captain, the House Captains and the Year 7 forms from each of the six Houses appeared, with the boys responding to the School Captain’s call with the words ‘Ad sumus’ (‘Here we are’).

The School Chronicle – a formally written summary of the School’s history – was recorded in various locations and featured a number of speakers, beginning with former Headmaster John Marincowitz (1999–2011) and including Governors, staff and pupils.

Year 9 pupil Zeyvuan Wu read the latest addition to the Chronicle – “And be it known that during the Covid-19 pandemic, which twice caused all the schools in the land to close their doors to most pupils, the challenges were faced with ingenuity and resolve” – before Mr Enright concluded the reading with the customary blessing upon the School: “May it always flourish!”

Other highlights of the Founder’s Day week have included a special event to celebrate QE Collections – a new online facility offering free access to a wide range of digitised archives relating to the School and local Barnet area – and the opening of advance pre-sale orders for Dr Marincowitz’s new definitive history of the School, which is due to go on sale during QE’s 450th anniversary year in 2023.





Well on the way: good progress in family’s fundraising efforts for Founder’s Day

Brothers Jaydon and Kiaron Lad and their mum, Anjuna, are well past the half-way mark in their quest to run and cycle 300km to raise funds for the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE) charity.

Inspired by Kiaron’s success in raising money for the NHS during last year’s lockdown in a fundraising event created by QE’s Director of Sport, Jonathan Hart, the Lad family members set themselves the challenge of covering 100km each before this year’s FQE Founder’s Day on Saturday 19th June.

So far, they have successfully overcome near-freezing temperatures, illness and technical issues (a malfunctioning tracking app and bike speedometer) as they have clocked up the miles towards their ambitious target.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Sadly, as in 2020, this year’s Founder’s Day will have to be a virtual event. The Founder’s Day Fete, organised by FQE, is usually our single biggest annual fundraiser, bringing in around £20,000 to help us provide state-of-the-art facilities and increased opportunities for all our pupils. Last year, thanks to the sterling efforts of many across the Elizabethan community, we successfully reached that target.

“I commend the Lad family on their efforts on FQE’s behalf and wish them well as they seek to complete their ambitious challenge. As we look forward to the day itself, I hope many will sponsor them and will also back the exciting fundraising activities we are planning.”

Jaydon, of Year 7, said: “During lockdown, both the School and my parents stressed the importance of staying active and exercising (outdoors if possible) in order to look after our mental and physical health. We were keen to do something that would provide a challenge – so nothing too easy and straightforward, but then on the other hand nothing too difficult.

“My brother has been going out running and has also inspired our mum to take it up. Not being a fan of long-distance running myself, I thought I could join them on my bicycle, and, from there, the idea of raising money for the School was born.”

It was, said Jaydon, a challenge which fulfilled the desired ‘SMART’ criteria, since it was Specific, Measurable (using the speedometer and apps), Achievable, Realistic and Timely (if steady progress was maintained, they should have sufficient time to complete it before the Founder’s Day deadline).

Venturing out mostly at weekends, the Lad trio got off to a strong start, covering 31.76km between them on their first excursion.

It has not always been easy.  Jaydon initially found it difficult to adjust his speed to that of the runners, and, on week 2, in addition to his “not really feeling it”, his speedometer started displaying in mph instead of kph, necessitating a little mental arithmetic to make the conversion on the fly. A few days later, Kiaron, of Year 9, and his mum headed out again, but Jaydon felt unwell and stayed in bed, making up the distance missed with his own solo effort a few days later.

The three’s longest distance came the day after Jaydon’s 12th birthday when, in honour of the occasion, his mum suggested they try to cover 12km each. They duly hit this target, with a combined total of 37.01km.

Two days later, they were out again. “I was expecting another slow bike ride today, but boy was I wrong!” reported Jaydon in his fundraising diary. “As we were only aiming for 5km, my mum and my brother were looking at trying to beat their previous run times and were running faster than normal.” Both of them achieved it.

That speedy effort took the total for their first seven runs and rides to 183.63km, which leaves them well set to meet their overall goal of covering the 300km on or before Saturday 12th June, the weekend before Founder’s Day.

  • To sponsor the Lad family, simply visit the Virtual Founder’s Day JustGiving page which has just been set up, mentioning ‘The Lads 300km’ in any accompanying message.
Laying foundations for a bright musical future at QE

A major milestone in the project to build a new, multi-million pound Music School at Queen Elizabeth’s School’s has been reached, with the first ‘concrete pour’ at the site.

Selected staff and pupils were on hand to celebrate the arrival of the concrete mixer – the first of some 150 lorryloads due at the School over the coming months!

Headmaster Neil Enright, who was among the group witnessing the historic event, said: “It is exciting that the construction phase of this major project is now well and truly under way.

“While the Covid-19 pandemic has inevitably caused a few complications, we have been very keen to press ahead with this project: it represents not only a significant investment in our facilities, but is also a sign of our confidence in the future at this difficult time.

“Indeed, while we have extensive precautions in place to keep everyone here safe from the virus, we are trying, so far as is possible, to ensure it is ‘business as usual’ for our boys, our focus remaining firmly on providing them with the best possible education.

“If all goes according to plan – Covid-permitting! – we should be able to open the new building during the 2021 Autumn Term.”

The £3.5m-plus project received the go-ahead in 2019 after the Department for Education accepted the School’s £2.2m bid (comprising a £1.2m grant and £1m loan).

Completion will involve substantial financial support through the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, thus continuing a long record of FQE backing which has been instrumental in ensuring the School has been able to open a succession of new facilities over the past 25 years.

The purpose-built Music School complex will provide essential support for QE’s booming Music department – until lockdown began earlier this year, there were more than 20 ensembles at the School, with over 160 boys singing in the Choir.

It will feature a new performance venue and a number of much-needed teaching and rehearsal rooms. In addition, the two-storey building will provide additional assembly space to accommodate QE’s lecture programme, as well as a covered atrium for boys to use at break times.

The School’s new Deputy Head (Operations), Tara O’Reilly, said: “The site has been ‘prepped’ and ready for building work to start for some time, so it is good to see the area now full of machinery and to be able to watch the construction team from our contractor, TJ Evers, who are all working hard to break ground and put in the foundations for the new building.”

Watching the concrete pour alongside the Headmaster and Ms O’Reilly were Director of Music Ruth Partington and Music teacher Caroline Grint, together with two of the School’s senior musicians, Year 12’s Raphael Herberg and Conor Parker-Delves, both of whom have just started their A-level Music studies.

Raphael said: “We are very excited about the new Music block,” while Conor added: “We are really glad this is happening for our Music Department, and that future QE students will get to enjoy it.”

Happy Founder’s Day! (now updated with photo gallery)

“Welcome to a Founder’s Day like no other!” With these words, Queen Elizabeth’s School’s 40th Headmaster, Neil Enright, began his short address during today’s special YouTube broadcast.

While the normal full Founder’s Day programme – including morning church service and afternoon fete – was not possible this year because of the coronavirus lockdown, organisers from the School and the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s were nonetheless determined to make it a virtual event to remember.

The half-hour video presentation featured Founder’s Day traditions adapted to an online audience, music from QE’s Virtual Chamber Ensemble and Virtual Orchestra, and spoken contributions from boys, governors, Old Elizabethans, FQE Executive Committee members and staff. This was followed by a special Founder’s Day curry Cook-Along.

“I would like to wish every member of our wide Elizabethan community a happy Founder’s Day,” said the Headmaster after the YouTube Premieres had finished screening. “Thank you to everyone who tuned in to our main broadcast and to the cook-along – I hope you enjoyed both our programme and your special lunch afterwards. For anyone who wasn’t able to join us at 12, the videos remain available on our YouTube channel.”

The Founder’s Day fete is customarily the single-biggest fundraiser of the School year. Towards the end of the main broadcast, Old Elizabethan Robert Rinder (TV’s Judge Rinder, 1989–1994) appealed for viewers to give generously towards the School’s next major project, the construction of a new Music School, which is expected to get under way early in the next academic year.

By 3pm today, nearly three-quarters of the £20,000 target had been raised through the dedicated Virtual Founder’s Day JustGiving page, with 329 separate contributions.

In their comments on the JustGiving page, many donors lauded the efforts of Tricia Reid, Parent Governor and member of the Executive Committee of FQE, who today ran a solo half-marathon – her first – in Richmond Park to raise money for Founder’s Day. After successfully completing her 13.1 miles, she had a message for all her supporters: “Pleased to have done my first half marathon on a very special day in history! I did it for all of you – thank you so much for all your support.”

Other special fundraising initiatives connected with this year’s Founder’s Day include a recent FIFA 20 PS4 tournament and the Year 7 online quiz night taking place on 4th July.

  • Pictured are: top, Mrs Tricia Reid completing her half-marathon today; right, Chairman of the Governing Body and Chairman of FQE Mr Barrie Martin MBE, reading part of the School Chronicle, and, left, School Captain Ivin Jose, of Year 12, leading the House-by-House Roll Call (responses via Zoom!).


  • Main Founder’s Day presentation
  • Virtual Founder’s Day 2020 JustGiving page
  • Cook-Along led by Nik Gulhane, Founder of North London’s Spice Monkey school of Indian cooking. Nik’s ingredient list and preparation instructions are available here. Younger boys may need adult supervision, since the recipe involves the use of sharp knives, cooking oil and a hot oven.
  • A special Founder’s Day edition of Roundness, The Queen’s Library podcast. For current QE families, this is  available from the Roundness page on the eQE digital platform; it is also available from all normal podcast services, including Spotify and Apple. The podcast looks at the colourful lives of three 16th and 17th-century governors, drawn from the research of Dr John Marincowitz (Headmaster 1999-2011), who is writing a history of the School and its relation to English education more widely.

Gallery: Many of the pictures below have been contributed by members of the Elizabethan community. Enjoying their Cook-Along curries are: two Year 7 boys, Suhaas Sabella and Tristan Fink; one Year 8 pupil, James Conway; Year 9 pupil Aston Anup Daniel and Art teacher Jeanne Nicodemus. The photos of the meal itself and the food preparation are from Manomay Lala-Raykar, of Year 11, and Yash Patel, of Year 9. There are images from the main YouTube presentation – starting with the Roll Call and ending with Robert Rinder’s appeal – and from the Cook-Along video. Also shown are more photos of Mrs Reid’s half-marathon triumph.


“Join us for Founder’s Day this Saturday!”

Despite this year’s unique circumstances, Founder’s Day 2020 goes ahead this weekend – as an innovative virtual event combining tradition with fun.

Organisers from the School and The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE) were determined that, the Covid-19 crisis notwithstanding, Founder’s Day 2020 should still be a day to remember.

Together they have laid on a rich digital programme that showcases creativity with entertainment: attractions include high-quality musical performances from some of the School’s leading musicians, an exclusive live video curry Cook-Along from a professional chef and a special message from Old Elizabethan Robert Rinder (TV’s Judge Rinder, OE 1989–1994).

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “Founder’s Day is always a highlight of the Queen Elizabeth’s School calendar – a unique opportunity to bring together the whole Elizabethan community, including boys and their families, as well as alumni, governors, staff, friends and neighbours. On Saturday 20th June 2020, we are doing that again, except that this year, it all takes place online.

“I warmly invite all our families, friends and supporters to join us at noon on Saturday for our virtual programme, which includes much to entertain and inform and will also feature some treasured Founder’s Day traditions, albeit adapted for an online audience. Do log on and join us for this enjoyable day!”

Founder’s Day is FQE’s single biggest annual fundraiser for the School. Mr Enright appealed for people to give especially generously this year, since the School is facing a coronavirus-related drop in income due to the reductions in external lettings. FQE have made it quick and easy to give by setting up a dedicated Virtual Founder’s Day 2020 JustGiving page.

“I am immensely grateful to all our families and alumni for their unceasing support for the School and for the financial generosity of so many,” added Mr Enright.

Even before the day, money has been flooding in, with more than 130 individual donations already bringing in around a third of the £20,000 target. These have been accompanied by comments such as:

  • “Kudos to the FQE team for not letting COVID-19 hamper the annual celebration of the Founder’s Day event. Thank you.” – Pratyush Dutta Gupta, of Year 9
  • “Well done to everyone at QEB – students and staff! The great work has touched, and continues to touch, many lives. Thank you.” – Joan Okhiria
  • “I feel lucky to be part of this wonderful School. A huge thank you for all of your support – especially to those teachers who came in and looked after the keyworker children during this difficult time.” – Rhian Kotwinski

The main Founder’s Day presentation – launched as a YouTube Premiere – runs from noon until 12.30pm on Saturday 20th June.

That is followed after a short gap at 12.45pm by the Cook-Along, when chef Nik Gulhane will teach viewers how to cook a special Founder’s Day lunch in an exclusive-to-QE YouTube Premiere broadcast.

Anyone can take part, although Nik, Founder of North London’s Spice Monkey school of Indian cooking, is especially encouraging QE pupils to try their hand at cooking – and urging them to get sponsorship to raise funds for the School for doing so.

“I understand that sharp knives, cooking oil, boiling water and hot ovens may all be involved, so some pupils may need a little helping hand from adults to make sure it all happens safely,” said the Headmaster.

Ahead of Saturday, a special edition of The Queen’s Library’s Roundness podcast has been published. For current QE families, this will be available from the dedicated Roundness page on the eQE digital platform, but it will also be available from all normal podcast services, including Spotify and Apple.

The three stories in this podcast are based on the research of Dr John Marincowitz (Headmaster 1999-2011), who is writing a history of the School and its relation to English education more widely. Exploring the lives of three governors from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the episode sheds light on an under-explored area of the School’s history.

Creator, Surya Bowyer said: “The often dangerous escapades of these three men are stranger than fiction, and must be heard to be believed.

Founder’s Day: a fitting celebration for the whole Elizabethan community

Formality and fun came together on Founder’s Day to create a fitting 446th anniversary for Queen Elizabeth’s School.

Pupils, old boys, parents, staff and many other supporters of the School turned out in force for the afternoon fete, which followed the traditional church service and the reading of the School roll and of the School Chronicle earlier in the day.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was a very happy occasion and a great celebration of the School’s 446th birthday, enjoyed by all parts of our community.

“I was particularly pleased to see so many Old Elizabethans returning to their alma mater: the number of alumni who attend is rising year by year. This year, they ranged in age from 18 to 90, some of them regular visitors and others coming back to QE for the first time since leaving.”

The Founder’s Day service in Chipping Barnet Parish Church began in stirring style with the processional piece, Sigfrid Karg-Elert’s Now thank we all our God, performed by organist Drew Sellis, of Year 12, who also led the Chamber Choir’s contributions to the service.

“The music was perhaps particularly strong this year, with another highlight being the Magnificat, sung by the School Choir’s trebles and altos,” said Mr Enright.

The guest speaker was Old Elizabethan Tommy Peto (2003–2010), who has recently embarked on a new role in management and strategy consulting after enjoying a glittering academic career at Oxford. Since going up to Brasenose College to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics, he has won several academic prizes and gone on to take an MPhil in Politics, before completing his doctorate last year.

In his speech, Tommy urged the boys who were in the congregation to find out what they enjoy and to be both creative and hard-working in the way they pursue it as a career. “Your friends might all want to become lawyers, perhaps your parents want you to become a doctor. These are good professions, interesting, challenging and worthwhile. But you shouldn’t live someone else’s dream. If you do, neither you nor they will be fulfilled…There’s an old adage here: choose a job you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.

“You should think widely about what it is that you enjoy, to find out what you want to do. This is such an exciting time, with huge changes in technology and society upending how we work. There are so many jobs that didn’t exist for our parents.

He continued: “Think creatively about what you might want to do, and if the role doesn’t exist, create it.

“If I had to boil this down…, it would be into these three things: find what it is you enjoy; be creative about how to do what you enjoy, and do it. Because you can do it. You’re bright. You’re at a top school, and you’re in one of the world’s most dynamic cities. You can do it. But it’s up to you to decide what ‘it’ is. Now go do it,” he concluded.

The Headmaster said later: “I am most grateful to Tommy: his speech was engaging, entertaining and accessible for the boys who were in the congregation. It was lovely to welcome his parents, partner and brothers to the School for the occasion – his younger brother Harry being an OE himself [2005-2012].”

After the service, the boys walked back to the School, accompanied by their teachers, who wore academic gowns for the occasion. The School assembled in front of the Main Building for the reading of the roll and of the School Chronicle. This tradition, established by Headmaster Ernest Jenkins in 1930, involves the Headmaster reading aloud a formal history of the School, which is updated annually.

Then it was time for the fete to begin. Organised by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, this colourful event takes place on Stapylton Field, with stalls and attractions to cater for all ages and tastes. The fete is FQE’s biggest fund-raising event of the year.

Conditions were a little challenging for the Jazz Band as they performed, requiring them to resort to the tried-and-tested method of securing the pages of their scores with clothes pegs to stop them blowing away entirely! Undeterred, they put the crowd In the Mood with Glen Miller’s classic swing piece, alongside a selection of other popular tunes.

Some of the visiting alumni participated in the afternoon’s cricket match, which pits the School against an OE XI. Changeable conditions made for a tricky wicket for the batsmen on both sides.

After the OEs were bowled out relatively quickly, a straightforward win for the School seemed to be on the cards, but as the OE attack began toppling the School’s middle and lower order, the game suddenly looked in the balance. In the end, the School was, though, able to surpass the OEs’ total.

“As ever, a fun and friendly atmosphere pervaded the cricket fixture,” said the Headmaster. “Indeed, the same may be said for the afternoon as a whole – the weather held and the atmosphere at the fete was tremendous. My thanks go to all – including FQE volunteers, the many participating boys and my colleagues – for their contributions to making the event such a success.”

  • The fete raised £21,000 in cash donations on the day, with a further £3,000 donated via a Just Giving page.