Last Friday, I was fortunate to be part of one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had while at Felsted School. The leavers of 2013 had arranged a ten year anniversary reunion in London, and it was incredible that more than 60 of that year group had got back together to share stories, meet up and spend time together. Organised by Ruby Osborne, Jamie Baker and Esme Bronwen-Smith, former students had come from all over, including coming in from Germany, Holland and the USA for the event.
This was community in action, and while not all of those there were always close friends, the common link brought them together for a fabulous evening. There was someone who had just completed an incredible challenge riding across Patagonia (I think that is right!), another who was in training for an Ironman, another who was writing AI script for a major global company, someone else who had just played in a Twickenham final, another who had a very young child, someone else who had run the London Marathon, someone was in a neck brace, after a broken neck in a fall during a horse race and someone else was working in a rehab clinic.
There were traders and brokers, lawyers and artists, and most things in between. Everyone had a story to tell, but most of the talk on the night was bringing back memories of times spent at school. These were often not about the 'big events' but the small moments spent in houses with others, and also seemed to focus most on when things had gone wrong in some way!
It was great to see people reminisce with former HMs and teachers as well, and even for those for whom school did not appear to be a smooth journey, these memories almost always brought a smile. To get so many people back together was testament to the strength of the links and the feeling of belonging that these young people had together. We had to return to Felsted before it got too late, so we might have missed the more emotional stages of the evening, but when we raised a glass to one young man from the year group who is no longer with us, there were tears in many eyes.
Now that the 'class of 2013' has done this, the exciting news is that we already have volunteers organising next year's gathering for the leavers of 2014, and they hope to make it even bigger and better than the one that we have just had.
I would like to take a moment to congratulate all those who have been doing exams in the last few weeks on your commitment and hard work. Keep going and make good use of the Half Term break to reset your focus on what lies ahead. You can still make a real difference. I would also like to encourage you to support Mr Entwistle who is undertaking a remarkable challenge this coming weekend in running the Grand Union Canal Race, 145 miles in under 24 hours, in support of Magic Bus.
Whether by encouragement, following his progress, or offering a few pounds to support his fundraising, I am sure that this will help him through a quite remarkable challenge.
Have a very good Half Term break.