I would like to acknowledge the exceptional actions of two pupils, Max Rydon and Tommy Finney, who separately have recently raised monies for charity. Max decided that his birthday presents for his 13th birthday would take the form of a collection from friends and family towards Cancer Research. Max managed to donate a total of £375. Tommy decided to run a basketball shootout in aid of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance, a charity we support as a school. Through his efforts, Tommy managed to raise a total of £120. Well done both boys!
My congratulations go to Mariella Whittle and Poppy Corbett for their endeavours in an area that does not have a very high profile at Twyford, but in which a small number of pupils are highly dedicated. Mariella and Poppy attended the auditions for the English Youth Ballet. They travelled to Salisbury to compete with 60 other performers on the stage, being judged by two examiners for over a solid 2 ½ hours. In the end, Mariella was selected outright, and Poppy was placed on the reserve list – hopefully with positive news in a few weeks. Rehearsals begin soon for a performance of The Nutcracker late in April.
Thank you the sterling work of the TPA Fireworks Team, we had a marvellous treat last Friday; excellent entertainment, perfectly choreographed, with a very calm and enjoyable atmosphere throughout the evening. As well as thanking the particular TPA team who put so much in to the planning and execution, I would extend my thanks to Charles Gillow and his team of support staff, who were very helpful in their practical assistance, as well as meticulous in getting all parts of the campus back in order for the sports matches the next day.
You will see the article presented by Andrew Keeling recounting a similar event at Twyford School back in 1898. Not too much changes… Readers may be amused to hear that when I arrived as Headmaster, in 2010, I was instructed that it was my ‘job’ to light the bonfire. The Head Groundsman then briefed me: they had left a channel to one side of the pallets and wood, through which I had to crawl on my tummy – lighting some paper soaked in diesel placed right in the centre of the bonfire. It was only when I was inching forward in this very small space that I asked myself how on earth I was going to get out at speed if everything caught light rather too quickly! In the end all was well. But I only did this once. This year, as last, the Head boy and Head Girl fired a rocket into the bonfire from a safe distance, thus adding another dimension to the event.
On Monday morning our Prep Assembly was taken by Dr Liz Harrison, our Independent Listener. You will remember that Dr Harrison has taken the Assembly in the week of our Act of Remembrance for the last three years, usually relating her theme to stories about her own relatives. This is all the more pertinent because, as well as being our Independent Listener, Dr Harrison coordinates the British Legion Poppy Collection for the Twyford Area. This time, Dr Harrison headed into potentially controversial territory: the decision of the English and Scottish football teams to wear a poppy at the football matches this evening, in defiance of FIFA’s ruling. Careful to be clear that she was not endorsing all forms of disobedience, Dr Harrison gave a clear explanation of the aim and origins of the poppy: as the idea of an American individual, taken up in Canada, and then embraced most energetically in the United Kingdom. Her message was that the poppy is not a political or religious symbol at all, but is a reminder to all people of all nations and cultures about those affected by war.
This Friday morning, we once again saw the whole Twyford School community, all pupils, all teaching and support staff, gather on court for our traditional Act of Remembrance. The little ones were fantastically patient and still. Jamie Loudon once again played the Last Post and Reveille with real conviction and emotion. It was an appropriately fitting pause in our busy lives.
On Monday evening this week a small gathering were ‘wowed’ by our Music Gap Assistant, Imogen Baker, when she performed a fantastic range of songs in Music School. After impressively delivering some dynamic and well-known extracts from bigger classical works (Bach’s Magnificat in D, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Hayden’s Missa Brevis) we were then treated to a series of ‘lighter’ pieces that were equally difficult and yet remarkable in their execution (three Schubert songs, Dring’s A bay in Angelsey and Seascape by Britten). There was a collection at the end of the concert to help raise funds for the costly process of auditions that Imogen must pursue in the next months for a place at one of the top UK conservatoires. If you would like to assist Imogen in her ambition, please contact me.
Over half term Old Twyfordian, Andy Greenleaf, son of Rosy competed in the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, HAWAII. There were over 2000 competitors taking part including, 124 from the UK, all of whom had qualified via selected iron man events across the world. Andy came 53rd overall in the competition that including 60 male professionals. He was the 2nd Briton to finish, with the only one beating him being a full-time professional. In his age group of men aged 30-34 he was 5th overall in the world. This is a truly remarkable achievement in a unbelievably gruelling and unforgiving sport. We take our hats off to Andy.
Coming up on Saturday, we have our usual Headmaster’s Drop-In (8.15 am – 8.45 am) followed by a meeting of the Pupil Welfare Group (8.45 am – 10.00 am), where the theme is Boarding. Chaired by Sally Johnston, Gregg Lewis and Caroline Matravers-Scott will also be in attendance. Please do come along to one or both of these events.
Later on, at 11.30 am, there will be a concert in the Mulberry Pavilion. The ensembles performing will be the Jazz Band, Wind Band and School Orchestra.
We are having really significant problems at the moment because parents are permitting their children to come in to match teas in the Pavilion. These teas are only for parents and relatives who attend matches, and younger siblings who attend the matches are also welcome. These younger children must remain under the close supervision of those parents. In recent weeks problems have arisen from:
a. Unruly behaviour and poor manners of the very young children accompanying families, and
b. Pupils who have played in matches, who have then consumed their tea and come into the Mulberry Pavilion to find their parents. They have then consumed cakes and sandwiches that are not intended for them.
I am afraid these problems have been added to by parents collecting children from Pre-Prep and then helping themselves to match teas as well – having no connection to the purpose for which the teas have been provided!