The date has been finalised for the Tom Palmer Memorial Day. Full details of events and timings will follow later, but let me give you an idea of what we are planning for the 26th May, at Abbotsholme. In the morning there will be a service in Chapel, starting at 11.00. Lunch will follow, then there will be an afternoon of outdoor activities - all things which Tom himself would have enjoyed. After a cup of tea, there will be a tour of school for those who are interested, then the Dinner will begin at 7.00. All events will be free, apart from the Dinner for which you will need to buy tickets. We will probably not be able to offer accommodation in the boarding houses this year, though.
It’s not every day that you get a chance to write your own obituary, or at least that’s what it feels like.
I write to introduce myself as the new Head of Abbotsholme School: your school. I was educated at Arnold School, Blackpool where I attended as a boarder from 1966-1977 before going on to study a Joint Honours degree in Physical Education and Sports Science and History at Loughborough University. It was here that I also successfully completed my PGCE before taking up a post at the Royal Grammar School, Colchester, as a boarder master and PE teacher. Eight years later, I moved to Devon with my wife and two boys to the place where I had been appointed as Head of PE and Games. Something of a ‘Mr Chips’ career followed, and from 1989 to 2013, I experienced life at Shebbear College as a member of the SMT, Head of Boarding, Timetabler, Examinations Officer, Deputy Head and then Headteacher. All of this was in addition to being a PE, Psychology and History teacher.
I retired, as planned, at 55 with the intention of travelling, playing more golf and actively enjoying ‘me’ time: it was a slightly unrealistic plan! Within the year I started to help with the recruitment of overseas pupils, and shortly afterwards was asked by the Methodist Schools to help mentor a young Head at a local prep school. More recently, I have acted as Programme Director for Oxford Royale, running three two-week residential courses for 185 students aged 13-15 who were housed in the halls of residence at Oxford University. Then, in late October, I received a phone call………..and the rest, as they say, is history.
Lots and lots of past pupils, staff, parents and governors gathered at school on Sunday 2nd of July to bid a fond farewell to Steve Fairclough, Tom Palmer and Gordon Selwyn. After fourteen years at the helm, Steve Fairclough is leaving school to enjoy a well-earned retirement in the Isle of Wight and the Abbotsholmians’ Club and the Abbotsholme Parents’ Association came together to organise a celebration to say goodbye and good luck.
Steve had requested a fete with traditional games, so in true Abbotsholme style we hung a tarpaulin between a tractor and a JCB and set up a coconut shy. We were incredibly lucky to have a glorious day and we enjoyed a delicious hog roast, strawberries and cream and imbibed lots of alcoholic and non-alcoholic refreshments whilst trying our hands at ‘mini golf’ and ‘catch the rat’. It was lovely to be able to catch up with old friends and see familiar faces from the past. A good showing of current parents and staff meant we were able to give a rousing send off to our long term staff departees.