Tradition combined with innovation at Founder’s Day

Tradition combined with innovation at Founder’s Day

Founder’s Day 2014 was a fitting climax to the School year, with Old Elizabethans playing a key part in making it a success.

After the downpours of 2013, this year’s Founder’s Day was bathed in glorious sunshine throughout, ensuring a festive atmosphere among the many hundreds of visitors.

Old Elizabethan Kiran Patel (OE 2000-2007) was Guest of Honour at the morning Thanksgiving Service, while in the afternoon, as the Friends of Queen Elizabeth’s Fête took place on Stapylton Field, an OE team took on the School XI in the Stanley Busby Memorial Match on the Third Field.

The cricket match was played regularly in the early 20th century but the fixture had fallen into desuetude. It was revived in 1984 for one year only as a retirement ‘gift’ to Eric Shearly (1920-2005), a former pupil and master. In 2012, it was permanently re-instated by the Headmaster and named in honour of Mr Busby, who was a QE parent and also a Governor from 1989-2011.

2012 saw a narrow victory by the School. Last year’s match was called off because of the rain, but this year the game passed off without a hitch, as PE teacher Richard Scally reports.

“Batting first the Old Elizabethans started very positively and, with some big hitting from Viyaasan Umachandra (38), it looked as if QE first XI could be set a very large target. However, tight bowling from both Kushal Patel (2-13) and Jaimin Patel (3-22) restricted the OEs’ initial run rate. Wickets then fell regularly and by the 24th over, the OEs were all out for 120.

“After starring with the ball, both Kushal (51) and Jaimin (41 not out) opened the batting and soon chased down the runs required, with the loss of only 2 wickets.”

Mr Scally concluded: “In what was a glorious afternoon, it was wonderful to watch an enjoyable and friendly yet competitive afternoon of cricket, with the School retaining the Stanley Busby cup.”

Visiting OEs were well catered for on the Third Field, where there there was a beer tent and Indian food was served.

In his address at the service in St John the Baptist Church, Kiran 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 the parish 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, Gabriele.

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. Visitors strolled happily in the sunshine among more than 60 stalls at the fête, 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 fête, 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 hot weather emboldened a number of male teachers to take their turn in the stocks and suffer a soaking.

The fête programme included two new entertainments this year, namely an excerpt from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed by teachers, Irish dancing in the Performance Arena and the first performance at the fête by the QE Barbershop Quartet. “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.