This year’s Commemoration of Benefactors, held on Saturday 26 May, saw over 1000 visitors arrive at Dean Close to celebrate theachievementsof the year.Celebrations started with pupils, parents and staff travellingto Tewkesbury Abbey for the Service of Commemoration. As well as beautiful surroundings, the Abbey provides stunning acoustics for the 800 strong congregation and the renowned Dean Close Choir.

As everyone returned to School the rain started to fall, but in true Dean Close fashion, the community were unperturbed. The Houses held drinks receptions around the grounds, gathering under umbrellas and trees for shelter, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere despite the drizzly conditions. The Concert Band were also on hand to liven up the slightly gloomy weatherand provided classic entertainment as pupils and visitors entered the marquee.

Once inside the marquee, the Chair of Council, Headmaster, Head of School and guest
speaker and Warden of the Dean Close Foundation, Emma Taylor, delivered their speeches.

This year the Headmaster dedicated his speech to celebrating the co-curricular successes of the pupils. He asked pupils to stand up if they had played in sports fixtures, performed in a concert or play, sang in a choir, exhibited their art, taken part in a community action project, or taken part in the Yoga in the Park event. By the end of this list every single pupil hadstood up at least once, with many of the pupils standing up in a number of the categories. Head of School, Izzy Montgomery, gave an insightful speech about how the School is like a hockey team. Izzy equated all of the School groups to different positions on the hockey pitch, including pupils, parents, teachers, house parents, matrons, estates staff and catering,to name just a few. She explained how they are all vital to the successful running of the School and that behind every front runner and goal scorer is a strong team of defenders. Finally,afterpresentingprizes onthestage, Emma Taylor stood to give a speechsharing her experiences during herfirst year as Warden of the Dean Close Foundation.
Emma focused on futures, not just of those receiving their awards and moving on to the next
step in their educational journey, but of the School itself and its development in the coming years.

As guests left the tent the sun broke through the clouds just in time for lunch! Picnickers braved the lawns and the bouncy castle, that hadthankfully dried off in time for the Old Decanian Society’s ‘Class of 1998’ reunion and their children.

During the afternoon families enjoyed attending the impressive art exhibition in the BonBernard Gallery, making their own ice creams in the Cookery School and looking around all the academic displays; while some of the School’s most established musicians busked outside the marquee to raise money for the Uganda project. As the day drew to a close and Half Term officially began the Schoolfamilies and visitors made their way homeafter a thoroughly wonderful day.