Founder’s Day: a fitting climax to the School year

Founder’s Day, the highlight of the Queen Elizabeth’s School calendar, proved a great success this year, with a programme that combined cherished tradition with a number of innovations.

After the downpours of 2013 and, indeed, several recent years, Founder’s Day 2014 was bathed in glorious sunshine throughout, ensuring a festive atmosphere among the many hundreds of visitors.

Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It was a splendid day from start to finish; from the morning’s service at the Parish Church and the Reading of the Chronicle at lunchtime, through to the fete and cricket match in the afternoon, Founder’s Day was a fitting climax to our School year. I would like to thank the scores of people whose estimable efforts contributed towards making the day a success, whether staff, parents, pupils or other supporters of the School.”

""Old Elizabethan Kiran Patel (OE 2000-2007) was Guest of Honour at the Thanksgiving Service. In his address, he drew parallels between his current life as a junior doctor at Barnet Hospital and memories of his School days. Even in the Lower School he had held the ambition of attending medical school. He spoke of the importance of the rapport he developed with his teachers and of how, as a young boy, “casual conservations with prefects…offered me a unique and unrivalled insight to the groundwork and preparation needed prior to reaching these important milestones”.

""“Our School is blessed to have teachers who deliver a bespoke education tailored to each individual’s needs, and who are passionate, caring, and wholeheartedly dedicated to their pupils’ success. I would encourage every pupil to use this resource to its fullest potential,” he told the congregation in St John the Baptist Church.

The VIP party included: QE Chairman of Governors, Barrie Martin, and his wife, Perin; Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; the Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Hugh Rayner, and his wife, the Mayoress Susan Rayner; Martin Russell, Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London and Representative Deputy Lieutenant for Barnet; and Hans-Wilhelm Lümkemann, Headmaster of Friedrich-von-Bodelschwingh-Gymnasium (a German grammar school with which QE undertakes language exchanges) and his wife, Frau Gabriele Lümkemann.

""“I was particularly pleased to welcome Herr and Frau Lümkemann, who seemed greatly to enjoy the day’s festivities and, indeed, their whole weekend in London,” said the Headmaster.

After the service, guests repaired to the area around the steps of the QE Main Building for the Roll Call and Reading of the 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. This year’s Chronicle recorded the awards of MBEs to Mr Martin, the Chairman of Governors, and to the Head of Mathematics, Fauziah (Gee) Scarisbrick.

""With the formal proceedings concluded, guests enjoyed a relaxing afternoon on Stapylton Field, at the Founder’s Day Fete organised by the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s.

Visitors strolled happily in the sunshine among more than 50 stalls, enjoying refreshments ranging from jugs of Pimms to a vegetarian barbecue and the delicious and varied delights of the ever-popular international food area. Many of the attractions were those of a traditional summer fete, such as hoopla, a plant stall and a coconut shy, but there were also faster-paced activities, including ‘laser mayhem’, a bungee run and Scalextric in the Main Building.

""The Fete programme included some new entertainments this year, including an excerpt from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by teachers, and Irish dancing in the Performance Arena. “The Shakespeare actors brought great amusement to the proceedings, helped by some rather extravagant costumes,” said Mr Enright. The Irish dancing was organised by the Murchu Duiginn School of Irish Dancing, owned and run by a QE family. The School Concert Band also performed during the afternoon.

""The hot weather not only emboldened a number of teachers to take their turn in the stocks and suffer a soaking, but also enabled the Stanley Busby Memorial Cricket Match to be played on the Third Field, where there was a beer tent for the Old Elizabethans and Indian food was served. In this long-awaited ‘past vs present’ match, the School First XI beat the OE XI.