This year’s Commemoration of Benefactors, held on Saturday 27 May, saw over 1000 visitors arrive at Dean Close to celebrate the successes of the year. For the very first time, the Service was held in Tewkesbury Abbey which involved the logistical accomplishment of busing the entire School community to Tewkesbury and back on a bank holiday Saturday. The effort was deemed worth it for the majesty of the surroundings and the stunning acoustics that resounded around the thick stone walls above the choir stalls.

As everyone returned to School the Houses held drinks receptions around the grounds to welcome families and friends to the event. This was followed by speeches in the marquee from the Chair of Council, Headmaster, Head of School and guest speaker, Benedict Allen. This year the Headmaster touched on our rapidly changing world, questioning the value of a Dean Close education for a future that no one can possibly predict. Head of School, Rory Kavanagh, gave an adroit speech equating his school days to the twists of a Rubik’s Cube before producing a 12-sided version to depict the start of his new life after School, particularly negotiating the student loan system! Finally after handing out prizes on stage, Benedict Allen stood to give an animated and highly amusing speech on his experience of surviving in the Amazon jungle alone, not without a few near-death experiences.

At lunchtime, picnickers stayed inside as the weather looked ominous but it did hold, which meant the traditional cricket fixture of ODs v 1st XI took place as usual, with the School victorious. The Old Decanian Society held a ‘Class of 1997’ reunion outside the pavilion with over 30 ODs and their families coming together for picnics and fun at their old School.

During the afternoon families enjoyed attending the highly impressive art exhibition in the BonBernard Gallery, making their own ice creams in the Cookery School and looking around all the academic displays. Finally the Concert Band provided classic entertainment before the plethora of Uganda raffle prizes were drawn and handed out. At that point, it was officially half term and the School emptied out after a thoroughly wonderful day.

Click here to read the Headmaster’s speech

Click here to see a photo gallery of the day