Opportunity beckons for the QE community to come together to celebrate and to raise funds for future facilities on one of the most important occasions in the School year – Founder’s Day.
For the first time in three years, the day’s events, including the popular afternoon fete, are being held live and in-person. Founder’s Day takes place this Saturday, 18th June.
Headmaster Neil Enright said: “It is wonderful that we can meet each other physically again after the pandemic-affected years. Founder’s Day is the School’s biggest individual fundraiser, so, as well as being a splendid occasion of celebration and community, it is the source of much-needed funds that will be used to enhance facilities and opportunities for current boys and those who will enter our doors in future years.”
Those unable to attend in person can still make what will be a valued donation, however large or small through the School’s JustGiving page, which has been retained for this purpose, Mr Enright added.
This year’s events starts tomorrow, Friday, with an inter-House Music and The Voice Challenge which will be live-streamed. Each house will have an hour to put on a concert which must feature not just music but also a vocal element. The challenge is for each house to raise as much sponsorship as possible, and the School has created online giving pages for each house, listed below, along with the times of the performances.
Money raised from this will be divided between the School’s planned Robert Dudley Studio – a 104-seat drama and spoken-word studio – and the cost of commissioning a piece of music for next year’s QE 450th anniversary celebrations.
“The music challenge promises to provide a plenitude of high-quality performances which display the boys’ creativity alongside their musical talent. More broadly, the Founder’s Day events themselves provide pageantry, fun, fellowship and a celebration of all that is great and good about the Elizabethan community,” said Mr Enright.
Founder’s Day itself will commence on Saturday morning with the traditional church service for Year 7 and invited guests at Chipping Barnet Parish Church. This will be followed by the Roll Call and reading of the School Chronicle, in front of the School’s Main Building.
The Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s (FQE) Fete will feature food and drink for all tastes, as well as stalls and games. It is promised that some members of staff will be found in somewhat less dignified circumstances than usual – stuck in the stocks!
There will be music to enjoy, as well as Shakespearean monologues delivered by Year 8 dramatists. The afternoon will also feature the Stanley Busby Memorial Cricket Match, played annually on Founder’s Day by Old Elizabethans and current senior pupils.
On an equally celebratory yet more reflective note, there will be a service for those who wish to honour the memory of Eamonn Harris (Headmaster 1984-1999). Mr Harris died in late 2019: a memorial service planned in 2020 had to be called off because of the pandemic.
“Eamonn was one of the most significant figures in QE recent history,” says Mr Enright. “He raised the stature of the School enormously, laying the foundations for our current success, and it was also under his leadership that the FQE, as we know it today, was born.”
The day is scheduled to come to a conclusion at 4.30pm. “My thanks go to all those involved who have worked so hard to bring everything together for what, I am sure, will be a great celebration,” said Mr Enright.
“By coming to the fete, or sponsoring the music challenge, you are supporting the FQE charity, which, in turn, benefits generations of pupils. Your contributions enable us to develop facilities and provide transformational opportunities to young people which we could not achieve based on our state funding alone.
“We appeal to you to give generously and trust you will thoroughly enjoy the events. Rest assured that we are most grateful for all support and donations, large and small,” added Mr Enright.
Details of the concert timings for the Music and The Voice Challenge are as follows. Each link is a click through to a House-specific sponsorship page: