Old Sedberghians Return to Celebrate 20 Years of Girls at Sedbergh School
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The OS Club was delighted to welcome back more than 200 Old Sedberghians, Staff, Parents and Friends of the School for an action-packed two days of sporting fixtures and both formal and informal socials. After the forced cancellation of last year’s OS Weekend, this year marked the largest gathering of Old Sedberghians for quite some time and this year was particularly special as we celebrated 20 years of girls at Sedbergh School.
Saturday commenced with two excellent lunches. Some 60 guests gathered for the President’s Lunch in the Hirst Centre as they enjoyed a buffet lunch in front of scenes of the 1st XV warming up for their first home game of the season against St Peter’s, York on Buskholme. Meanwhile, Guests of Honour- former Headmaster Christopher Hirst and former Sedbergh Junior School Headmistress Sara Hirst- hosted the Pioneer Girls’ Lunch with another 60 special guests in Robertson House along with Housemistress Hayley Christy and Housemaster Ian Christy.
The lunch was well-attended by many of the first girls at Sedbergh along with parents, staff and friends of the School who were invaluable to the great success of this crucial time in the School’s 496-year history. Past parents Nick and Penny Aubrey were joined by Sara Hirst for the ribbon cutting and unveiling of a commemorative oak tree to mark the occasion, which now sits proudly alongside Winder Drive in front of Robertson House.
Saturday afternoon then saw two key sporting fixtures play out as SSFC’s 1st XV played the annual Wavell Wakefield match (held in honour of William Wavell Wakefield [SH 1912-1916]) against St Peter’s, York on Buskholme. Wet conditions saw a gutsy performance from both sides with Sedbergh delivering a spell of impressive tries in a gruelling 28-7 win in favour of the home side.
At the same time, the 1st VII School Hockey Team took on Stonyhurst College on the Astroturf, with the Sedbergh girls taking to the pitch for their fourth match of the week. The team showed great character and leadership in a hard-fought but convincing 7-0 victory over the visitors.
As the iconic Sedbergh mizzle settled in, some 180 guests assembled in cocktail dresses and suits for the OS Weekend Dinner which this year, after a number of years at The Black Bull Hotel and Simonstone Hall, returned to Powell Hall. Guests were greeted and hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Jan van der Velde (L 77-92), and throughout the three-course meal were treated to enchanting performances from choristers Amelia Horan (C 16-21) and Ella Seymour (L 16-21), who were deftly accompanied by Amelia’s elder brother James Horan (W 12-17) on the piano. Newly ordained Rev. Olivia Haines (R 04-06) (the first female OS to do so) said the grace and guests later listened as the first Sedbergh Head Girl Freya Findlay (R 03-08) eloquently delivered a moving speech in which she described what being a Sedberghian meant to her. Fellow former Head of School and OS Club Committee member, Maria Mendoza Guerrero (L 13-17) then gave the Loyal Toast- the first time in history for a female OS. Headmaster Dan Harrison warmly welcomed the Old Sedberghian community for the weekend and, at the end of the evening, OS Club President Brig. David Biggart (P 59-65) eloquently delivered the keynote speech to a captivated room. The Dinner ended in true Sedberghian style with a hearty rendition of ‘Winder‘ (in astounding unison).
The sun emerged the following morning as the Sporting Sunday commenced with the OS Commemoration Service in the School Chapel, with readings from Brig. David Biggart, OBE and Jan van der Velde.
Finally, the most emotional moment of the weekend occurred at the Henry Foster Memorial Match between the Old Sedberghians and the Anti-Assassins on Buskholme. The special match was held in memory of Henry Foster (W 16-18) who tragically passed away in the spring of this year. The OS team put on a brilliant performance to triumph 46-17. After the match, there was a special memorial service where a commemorative tree and a plaque were placed outside Winder House in Henry’s memory.