Gayhurst this week celebrated its 110 year anniversary, which also coincided with the 10 year anniversary of co-education from an all boys school.
Following a celebratory, family roast dinner with specially designed cup-cakes for dessert, the children and staff welcomed the Grandson of the school’s second Headmaster, Capt. Stormont Gibbs, who was responsible for bringing the school to its current Bull Lane site in 1927. Mr Harrod led a special assembly, delighting the children with his tales, memories and pictures of Gayhurst through the 30s, 40s and 50s, many of which included his Grandfather or his mother, who was the first female pupil long before the school went co-educational.
Capt. Gibbs, whose name is carried by one of school’s academic houses and also the Main Hall, was hugely influential in making the school what it is today. His memoires about his service in World Word I, have been edited into a book entitled, ‘From the Somme to the Armistice’, by one of his former Gayhurst pupils. Mr Harrod concluded his Assembly by presenting two ‘There but not there, Tommy’ figures which have been produced to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War I, to the school in memory of his grandad’s military service.
Mr Harrod said that he was very proud that the school continues to put the happiness of its pupils at the heart of all it does, continuing the work started by his Grandfather. The decision to become a co-educational school in 2008 had that very ethos in mind as the staff and Governors were keen to truly serve the needs of its families. One parent said, on hearing of the celebratory plans for the 1st of October, “I would have absolutely no shame in gate-crashing this occasion. As it is, I can’t, but I am excited that it is happening and I am very proud to be a parent of children that have attended and attend Gayhurst School”.
Following David Harrod’s trip down memory lane, the year 6 Pupil Leaders gave a short presentation to the rest of the school about life in 1908. They looked at different areas of history such as transport, architecture and fashion! After the assembly the whole school gathered, wearing their commemorative t-shirts, in a 110 shape to be photographed from above. The youngest children in the Nursery were very excited to be involved, and quite wriggly too!
In further celebration of the school’s history, an Alumni Association known as the Gayhurstian Association (GHA) has been formed. Membership of the GHA is open to all ex pupils of all ages as well as past members of staff, all of whom will be known as “Gayhurstians”. The logo for the Association was designed by Year 6 pupils.The aim of the GHA is to build a community of alumni through events and reunions, to provide opportunities for networking and to collate articles of memories, stories and photographs of the past. Mr Harrod’s memories will form the foundation of this collection.
Current Headmaster, Gareth Davies, commented, “that it was a fitting celebration of the school’s long and proud history. It is so important that current pupils gain an understanding of how the school and society have changed over the last 110 years. The formation of the GHA is a wonderful opportunity for them and other alumni to keep involved with the school long into their futures. It is great to be able to link past, present and future.”