Old Farnhamians' Association

Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration

5th June, 2016

The original buildings which are now home to Farnham Sixth Form College in Morley Road were opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1906 and this year celebrates its 110th birthday. Over the years the site has paid host to many special occasions, including a visit and lecture by Field Marshal Montgomery just after the Second World War, the opening of new classrooms by the Duchess of Gloucester, a visit by Mike Hawthorn who was World Champion Racing Car Driver at the time. We are now able to add to this list the celebrations of the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, which took place on Sunday 5th June on the college lawns.

The event was presented by a combination of the Old Farnhamians’ Association, Old Grammar School Girl’s Association, Farnham Educational Foundation and Farnham Sixth Form College with invitations open to former pupils of the old Farnham Grammar Schools.  The initial plans were hoping to attract 120 people, but as the word spread the final number present was close to 150 people. Many former pupils travelled from all over the country to be with old friends and classmates, while one who lived in Thailand arranged to be home for the event, one who lived in Switzerland did the same, and one made his usual annual pilgrimage from Baltimore in America.

Among the guests were relatives of former pupils who formed the nucleus of the centre of Farnham. Pullinger, Aylwin, Bone, Goddard are all a few of the many businesses spawned by the grammar school.

The event was organised by a committee chaired by Old Boy, Cyril Trust. Old Girls and Old Boys worked hard to prepare the dining areas, which included the college dining room and two marquees supplied and erected by The Hedgehogs. It was encouraging to see almost a dozen current students helping set up and run the day and their Student Management Team turned out in full to make sure the day was a success for their college.

Walking through the areas one was surrounded by Union Jacks. Tablecloths, serviettes, table centres, souvenir programmes all promoted this special year for the monarch. Included in this was a giant birthday cake, baked by the daughter in law of a former teacher at the school and waiting to be cut by special guest, Wendy Craig, chief executive of Tindle Newspapers.

Arriving at the reception guests received a souvenir programme, a name badge and were taken to their tables by students. Inside the dining room stood a bar, again run by an Old Boy and students, who offered a free drink on entry. Alongside this was a Royal Raffle table with all prizes associated with the Queen and royalty in general. Another table advertised two new books about the school for sale, as well as promote the Farnham Lecture in September, which also has Royal connections. Finally a table to promote Disability Challengers, who will receive the proceeds of the event.

At 1.00pm, Dr. Jason Jones, the Director of the college, welcomed all the guests, and then an excellent buffet lunch was available by kind permission of the Old Girls. With so many old classmates and friends meeting under one roof, the atmosphere of nostalgia took over and the marquees rang out to the chatter and laughter of the guests. It was very much an occasion of “Do you remember when?”. By 2.30 pm the guests had consumed the spread laid out and it was time to cut the beautifully decorated celebration cake. Wendy Craig graciously performed this task and guests waited to see if it tasted as good as it looked.

As the lunch came to an end the College Director asked guests to stand and drink a Toast to the Queen. All very patriotic, and why not on such a wonderful milestone for the monarch.

As the guests relaxed with their slice of cake and a tea or coffee, advancing down the steps into the dining room came the ladies of that excellent a capella harmony choir, In Accord. For the occasion Sue Lampard, their leader, had arranged a programme made up of a song from each of the decades of the Queen’s life. Nine songs in total, starting with Bye Bye Blackbird (1920) and ending with Skyfall (2012). This excellent choir finished by singing the National Anthem. Beautiful singing as usual!

Following the entertainment was the drawing of the Royal Raffle and guests received some gifts which will recall the occasion. Thanks to the efforts of the students the raffle raised over £300 in total.

At 4.30 pm Dr Jones closed the afternoon and thanked everybody for supporting the event. For some former pupils guided tours of the college had been arranged and some present had not entered a classroom for many years. Once again, nostalgia ruled!

Cyril Trust














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