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Never a dull moment...

1675 Society Founder’s Day Tea

On 1 May, we celebrated Founder’s Day in honour of Henry Smith, who founded the school in 1675 following his bequest of £1,000 to educate the ‘poor boys’ of Reigate. We had Founder’s Day cake toppers adorn the delicious cupcakes available for purchase at breaktimes and our RGS Foundation Ambassadors handed out flags for our students to wave in recognition of the day. It was a great sight to see so many flags around the school.

With the perfect setting to host our 1675 Society Founder’s Day Tea, we had everything prepared to welcome our guests. As our 1675 Society members arrived, we greeted them with polite conversation as they were led to the Headmaster’s Study for refreshments. It was a great opportunity for our visitors to meet some of our students and RGS Foundation Ambassadors, Emi W, Theo L and Bronwen R, popped along to chat with our 1675 Society members, made up today of former pupils and staff. As they exchanged stories, we made the executive decision to avoid the threat of rain and move up the next part of our agenda which involved hoisting our new Founder’s Day flag in the playground. Our guests delighted in each having a turn to raise the flag and smile for a picture.

After Martin Hetherington (RGS 1986-1993 and current staff), joined John and Jane Manfield (both former staff) for a photo, our guests made their way back inside to hear from RGS Foundation Executive Catherine Hutchison. Catherine spoke of our new campaign and the plans for our 350 anniversary celebrations which include a decade of philanthropy, before passing the baton to RGS Foundation Executive Tracey Thornton, who followed on from this with how each person within our community can ‘Find their Fit’. As part of the new campaign, Changing Lives, Building Futures, we encourage our Reigatians to find their own way to support, whether that be mentoring, donating, offering advice and expertise, raising awareness or simply lending their time to speak with our students.

We had the honour of welcoming Lower Sixth students Eleanor Br and Eleanor Ba to the study who kindly performed a selection of beautiful arias accompanied on piano by Ms Tse. This was a beautiful and serene moment for our guests. As we said goodbye to our students, the table was set for a delicious afternoon tea consisting of tasty sandwiches and sweet treats such as mini éclairs and traditional scones, complete with jam and cream. As our visitors enjoyed conversation with old friends and the RGS Foundation team, Headmaster Shaun Fenton dropped in to welcome our guests and reiterate Catherine’s earlier message of how our community is important to us and spoke with enthusiasm about the 350 celebrations that lay ahead, reminding everyone that whilst we have much to celebrate, it is about the legacy that we leave for the next 350 years and embracing our local community that we can support philanthropically. As he has said before, Shaun told the visitors that this is their school, and he is just the caretaker, and they are welcome back anytime.

Catherine led off from this to speak about the importance of legacies and the impact this can have on building a foundation for the future but recognising the past and handed over to Jodie Lazarus, Reigatian Community Officer, to speak of the archives project we are working on. This includes plans to exhibit memorabilia around the school, host an exhibition in 2025 of old photos, programmes, portraits and treasured RGS keepsakes but most excitingly the proposed launch of an archives platform that will offer our community the chance to view old photos online.

It was a delightful afternoon, and our extended thanks go to everyone that helped in making this afternoon a success.

For photos from the event, click here.

To read about Founder’s Day and see the photos from the RGS Ambassadors, click here.

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