23 March 2019
High winds did not deter over 100 Old Girls and former teaching staff from attending a very special SHSK Society Golden Anniversary Reunion on 16 March. Travelling from as a far as Canada, Spain and throughout the UK, this special event which takes places once every five years is open to all those who left St Helen’s fifty years or more ago. It is a wonderful opportunity to come back to the School for an afternoon of reminiscing, nostalgia and rekindling of friendships.
Reverend Elizabeth began the afternoon’s programme with a beautiful Chapel service which, of course, included a stirring rendition of the school hymn, accompanied by our wonderful Chapel Choir. The corridors then rang with hoots and cheers as the prefect team led tours of the School, taking in familiar sites such as Old School Hall, complete with a temporary recreation of a boarding cubicle curated by School Archivist Georgina Blackmore. In what are now the art rooms up on the second floor many of the Old Girls remembered the days when they were boarding rooms and told tales of having their hair dried by the gas fire in Matron’s room.
Guests gathered in Yolande Paterson Hall to listen to Headmistress Mrs Dougall speak of the pride she has in the School and its students, and what an important part our Old Girls have played and continue to play in shaping the history and spirit of St Helen’s and its future.
This was followed by an impeccably presented afternoon tea served in the Atrium. Old Girls stayed on, chatting and viewing more of the archive material. Letters written by our current Year 5 students to Old Girls attending asked searching questions of their time at St Helen’s. ‘Were there any funny school rules?’ to which one answer was ‘Lots of strange rules, the one which annoyed me most was not being allowed to ask “why?”’. ‘What was the food like?’ which received mixed answers ranging from ‘awful’ to ‘variable’ to ‘very good, with buns every day and hot doughnuts on Friday’. We are sure that the Year 5 students will enjoy reading their responses!
It was a wonderful occasion and we were thrilled that our Old Girls enjoyed their time back at School. We look forward to seeing them again in 2024 if not before.
‘Such fun – very glad we came!’ (Titian Fleming, 1966 leaver)
‘A fabulous day of reminiscence’ (Myra Jones, 1969 leaver)