The day began on an unsure footing. I had arrived at the appointed hour (10:45am) and no one was there! Wondering if I had made a huge mistake a nervous quarter of an hour passed with lots of scanning the road looking for arrivals. Thankfully people did start to turn up, almost as if everyone had met in Kingham village, before making that final drive up to The Hill.
It had been a year since we last met but like all events people began by continuing conversations they were having as if it were yesterday and being introduced to people they either didn't know or didn't recognise. Talking was the order of the day, so you can assume at every juncture and between set moments conversations continued with little pause.
A simple service in the chapel led by the Headmaster was a moment to reflect why we were there, or at least to consider one of the reasons we had come and those who have passed.
Lunch was a hubbub of chatter and good food. Although I am from a later era than most (1979-1984) I always find sitting at the Durham table a great joy. The stories of people's time on the Hill are striking in their similarities with mine and in many ways very reassuring that life on the Hill had not changed over the decades, perhaps it is similar even today?
After lunch the headmaster gave a candid talk about Kingham Hill today and where he hopes the school will be in the future. Bravely he opened the floor to questions and took great care and time to answer everything asked. It has to be said when he voiced his personal desire to include Old Boys and Girls in the life of the school it was absolutely genuine and he has our greatest appreciation and heartfelt thanks. Things could be, have been, so very different.
Mike Kent spoke about the impending careers day (see article on the home page) and the need to have Old Boys and Girls come back to the school to speak to current year 5 and 6 pupils about the 'real working world' they are about to enter. He made the point that whatever your job, rank, position or wealth was - lower or higher, whatever - your life experience and wise words may make all the difference in the life of a Kingham pupil. If you can, please come.
Iain Helstrip provided a short questionnaire asking some basic questions. This, to give it its fancy name, is Market Research, perhaps not a term you would associate with such reunions! The point is without knowing what you think we are not ever going to meet your needs in the way we should do and aspire to do. If you are sitting on a questionnaire please please send it back!
I was genuinely amazed when I asked if anyone had NOT been on School Days yet - no one put their hand up! Of course we remember not to 'volunteer' or 'admit anything' so I am sure there were some amongst the crowd who weren't going to. I was pleased some people took the chance to get a little help using the website and, for the first time, registering on it.
The School Days website is a fantastic tool and resource for your use today and, many generations away, a resource for our families in time to come and remember your life. Please consider completing your personal profile fully, sending in your stories and encouraging others to get registered.
The Organ recital. My oh my how that old organ sang! The headmasters' wife is an accomplished organist and her playing was the best I've ever heard. What more can be said, you had to be there as no words can truly describe the emotion.
Time for tea and coffee and to explore the archive material on display in the main hall. Some of the items were genuine treasures and more time could easily have been spent looking though them. I particularly liked the bound newsletters and read 3 from 1939-1940 as war broke out. Very moving and we hope to start bringing you choice items from these newsletters into School Days very soon.
Some people finished the day by going into Kingham village to visit the graves of those who were on the Rohilla and Teddy Cooper.
See you next year!
Warmest regards to everyone!
KHSD Administrator / User Support
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Some words from John Timmins who organises this event.
Had the following people not assisted me, to get this event off the ground yet again for the second consecutive year it would not have happened.
Firstly we must thank the school for actually allowing the event to go ahead on a school Exeat Weekend, normally the school is closed for the day, as all students are away from The Hill for the this weekend and not due back until 20:00 hrs.
Our thanks must go to both the Rev.Nick Seward and the Chaplin Andrew Savage, for officiating also the organist Hannah Seward without whom we could not have strained our lungs singing the hymns we enjoy so much to.
Now to the meal, this was excellent fit to grace any of the top UK restaurants, thanks only to the catering department meals are cooked in house; a special mention to those front of house staff who's silver service enhanced our day so special thanks to both Heather Rhodes-More and Andrew Broome the new catering manager.
Finally I must not over look those members of school staff who behind the scenes set up the main hall for us this year ready for both Mike and Elaine Kent to set out the Archival exhibition that jogged many memories:
I must apologies if any one was disappointed over the tea trolley at the end of the day genuinely I based this on last years demand when by 16:00 hrs most people had left, as we made our way to Kingham Church yard.
Those who atteded; (please let us know if you are not on this list)
- Mr. & Mrs. Stewart Brindley Staff: 1948 - 1958
- Mr. & Mrs Basil & Judith Benson Staff: 1954- 1962
- Bruce Arnold OBE. Bradford 1945 - 1950
- Mr. Frank Foster Bradford 1958 - 1962
- Mr. Tim Hildesley OBE. Bradford 1956 - 1962
- Mr. & Mrs. Mike Kent Bradford 1951 - 1959
- Mr. Frank Hemmins Bradford 1951 - 1959
- Elizabeth Fuller (Staff) Clyde 1948 – 1956
- Chris Hooper & Jenny Woolnough Clyde 1940's – 1950's
- Ray & John Radford Clyde 1948 – 1956
- Michael Mallorie Clyde 1953 – 1958
- Michael James Clyde 1948 – 1956
- Rex Humphrey Clyde 1951 - 1957
- Andrew Worsley Clyde 1954 - 1960
- Lloyd Silverthorne Clyde 1961- 1965
- John Bennett Clyde 1961- 1965
- Eddie B. White Durham 1942 - 1950
- Leo & David Smith Durham 1948 – 1956
- Mr. & Mrs. Melvin James Durham 1956 - 1961
- Mr. & Mrs. Iain Helstrip Durham 1961 - 1965
- Simon Howlett Durham 1979 - 1984
- David Shorrock Durham 1957 - 1964
- Mr. & Mrs. Tony Middleton Greenwich 1963 - 1967
- Mr & Mrs. Nigel Jackson MBE Greenwich 1964 - 1971
- Mr. John Thompson Greenwich Late 1960's
- Mr. Peter Worsley Norwich 1954 – 1961
- Mr. Matt Huber Norwich 1955 – 1961
- Mr. Neil Lakeman Norwich 1957 - 1962
- Mr. Robert Latham Norwich 1957 - 1962
- Mr & Mrs. Brian Dean Sheffield 1948 - 1952
- Philip Hildesley Sheffield 1956 - 1962
- Richard Mullarkey Sheffield 1957 - 1964
- Tony Thompson Sheffield 1961 - 1965
- John & Eileen Timmins Sheffield 1957 - 1962
- Mr. William Collett Stratford 1940's 1950's