Well, we finally made it to the end of term. I am sitting at my desk feeling very smug having just finished 108 Headmaster’s reports – the end is in sight, surely? The sun is shining, Cornwall beckons…the Summer holidays are well and truly here.
What a magnificent term this has been, wrapped up in style with some notable events and performances. There was a moving Leaver’s Evensong on the penultimate Sunday of term, celebrating not only their time at Woodcote but also the 60th birthdays of Mr. NIck and Mr, Beharrell. This was followed by a Champagne reception on the lawn and then dinner for a hundred or so in the school Dining Room.
On the following Tuesday the Leavers, plus HK and EL and the dogs – Nellie and Tilly – managed 3 circumnavigations of the lake, some 13 and a half miles. Several of the boys walked far further, not knowing their way (round a lake?!!) and dispersing themselves over a wide area when they got to the Totem Pole – some to Smith’s Lawn, a few to the Valley Gardens and one to Bishopsgate! However they were soon scooped up and we completed the last lap en masse. I’m not sure of the final tally but the boys raised close to £1500 – their donation to the Sunflower Ball.
On Wednesday, while the rest of the school were hard at work in Exams, the Leavers went Mountain Boarding with EL and AGM. This apparently involves an oversized skateboard down a very steep hill – they loved it. I would have gone to but unfortunately I had to go to Wimbledon for the day. Shame…
On Thursday of that week the Leavers went waterskiing – this is the highlight of the year for me. You will only know what I mean if you have been to a waterskiing cable and stood at the first corner. Priceless!
Friday and Saturday were the two nights of the Leavers’ play – Albion. It was a light-hearted romp through the history of the English and it was hilarious. Mr. Beharrell and Mrs. Pringle had done a superb job and the boys were simply tremendous. On Saturday morning the Fathers took on the Leavers at Cricket and went down by just one run. There were barbecues on both Friday and Saturday evenings for the whole school and parents.
On Sunday AGM took a touring cricket side to Suffolk and there was a boarders’ outing to Lords for a T20. Meanwhile EL and I caught the Eurostar to Paris with 23 boys for the Leavers’ Trip to EuroDisney. We had a tremendous 4 days and even managed some culture with a bateau down the Seine. We also took in the sights of the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the PSG Official Merchandise shop in the Champs Elysees! They also filmed a lipdub to Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls” which was shown at the Leavers’ Prizegiving!
Whilst we were away, one of our boys who was competing in the National Athletics Finals in Birmingham won the Long Jump final – an astonishing achievement, especially coming only 2 years after our last National Champion, in the 200m. Not bad for a little school like ours….
Sadly there were no swimming sports this year due to a pool malfunction but otherwise we finished the term in the usual way with a Barbecue and silly games until late on Thursday night followed by Prizegiving and chapel on Friday morning. After lunch we had Leavers’ Prizegiving, where I hope I spoke kindly and with some words of advice for each boy. The Leavers’ photos have now been taken and they will adorn the walls of the school as a permanent reminder of their time here – joining what we roughly estimate to be another 1500 old boys, whose pictures line the corridors of the school.
Finally, as if we hadn’t had enough by this point, on Friday night we had the inaugural Sunflower Ball at the Royal Berkshire Hotel, organised by EL and a committee of mothers. There was a fabulous cocktail bar making a cocktail that had been designed specifically for the event, two ‘chicks for tricks’ magicians, an auction of very generously donated prizes plus a blind auction, heads and tails, a lucky dip (I won a Kate Spade Handbag!), a casino and an absolutely brilliant live band led by our ex-Director of Music, Nick Ovenden. It was a simply terrific evening and certainly raised in excess of £10,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and also for the school. Thank you to all who donated / attended and also to EL, Robin and the Committee for making it such a success.
Oh….and the Reds won the House Cake.
Have a great Summer.
That is all.