Formality and fun: Founder’s Day 2015

The rich traditions of Founder’s Day were leavened with a good helping of fun and spiced with a pinch of innovation for 2015.

At the Church service which starts the day, guest speaker Andrew Kramer (OE 2001-2008) mused on his own memories of Founder’s Day: “What I remember most was the short walk back up Wood Street to the School, a walk that I am honoured to be joining you on shortly.”

""In processing from Chipping Barnet Parish Church to the School, Headmaster Neil Enright, teachers and pupils were literally following in the footsteps of countless generations dating back to the Charter that established the School 442 years ago, Mr Kramer said. “Elizabeth I, who granted that Charter, was also a believer in communal outings like this. Every summer she would take the court on her travels, travelling about the kingdom to keep an eye on things.”

In a lively and entertaining address, the guest speaker also reflected on two major ways in which QE has shaped him. Firstly, he learned that it is “ok not to know what you want to do when you grow up”. Boys should take the time to explore their interests widely at QE and respond to the bespoke advice offered by their teachers.

""The second lesson was “the importance of remembering how lucky you are”, he told boys in the Thanksgiving Service congregation. This luck consisted especially of: the calibre of the teachers; the wider community of parents and friends “always ready to lend a hand, offer a work experience placement, or organise the fete we’re about to enjoy”, and in the friendship and competition offered them by their QE classmates.

After the walk back through the town, the annual Reading of the Roll Call and the Chronicle took place from the steps of the Main Building. VIPs attending included Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, former Mayor of Barnet Councillor Hugh Rayner and Mrs Susan Rayner, Chairman of Governors Barrie Martin MBE and Mrs Perin Martin, as well as two former Headmasters, Dr John Marincowitz and his predecessor, Eamonn Harris.

""The formal proceedings completed, guests, staff and boys then enjoyed the Founder’s Day Fete, organised by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s, which is the biggest cultural event in the School calendar. Parents, guest and boys took to the Stapylton Field and other areas to sample numerous attractions and entertainments, ranging from traditional fairground stalls to more high-tech delights. Fete-goers also had the opportunity to win in the raffle a weekend’s use of the new Jaguar F-type sports car.

""New this year was a display of fencing, while Irish dancing was back, following a successful debut performance in 2014. The International food tent was again a hit, with cuisine on offer from India, Sri Lanka, China, Japan, West Africa and Turkey. The barbecue and cake stall also went down well with hungry fete-goers.

An old boys’ team took on the School XI in the Stanley Busby Memorial Match, a fixture played regularly in the early 20th century and then revived in 2012. Unfortunately, after a period of play, the game had to be abandoned as the rain closed in later in the afternoon.

""The Headmaster said: “I know that the many hundreds of Old Elizabethans, parents and friends who came along to the fete had a thoroughly good time. I am grateful to them and to our VIP guests for supporting us and making Founder’s Day a thoroughgoing success. I am perhaps especially grateful to our Year 12 boys who were clearing up at 4pm: by then, the heavens had opened and they got very wet!”