More than 100 Third Formers who have volunteered for the Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze Award spent the day training in school. Meanwhile, a further 19 headed off to Snowdonia in the aftermath of Storm Gareth for a day of outdoor adventure, communing with the natural world and challenging themselves to try new things. In three groups, armed with maps they navigated their way up forested slopes to Llyn Elsie, a magical hidden lake tucked away at the top of the hill to the west of the town. Coming down, they negotiated a different route taking in the magnificent views of the Conway Valley with the dramatic Snowdonia mountains beyond.
Just when most would have been happy to soak in a hot bath and call it a day, these intrepid adventurers made their way to Gyg Carting to experience the thrill and skill of whizzing around a racing track in go-carts that had more in common with Formula 1 racing cars than anything that could be described as ‘carts’.
After eating heartily at McDonalds all returned to school at the end of a long and exciting day, tired but happy, with another ‘first’ to add to their experiences of life that are an essential part of growing up.
The Natural History Group spent a terrific day taking part in a guided ‘hawk walk’ at the Battlefield Falconry Centre in Shrewsbury. Led by the Centre’s experts, the students ambled a mile through the North Shrewsbury countryside in the company of a beautiful Central American Harris Hawk, each having the opportunity to tempt it to the glove with a piece of meat.
Having the bird swoop in from the various positions it took up in surrounding trees and hedges was a delight, and the students learned a great deal about both the bird itself and about the craft of the falconer.
Back at the Centre, we were introduced at close quarters to several of the Centre’s owls, many of the students taking selfies with Boris, the (very obliging) Canadian Long-Eared Owl!
It was a great experience for the Natural Historians – eyes widened and minds opened to the beauty of these wonderful birds, and the need to ensure their ongoing protection.
Shrewsbury School golfers enjoyed an excellent day at Hawkstone Park. The clouds had only just cleared when we arrived at the course and spirits were lifted by the excellent bacon baps on offer. Once the draw for teams had taken place, rigorous warm-up routines and strategy meetings ensued.
There was great camaraderie on the golf course, which helped combat the blustery conditions and occasional showers. The afternoon ended in glorious sunshine and with a win by two shots for Dr Pattenden's team of Rory McDonald-O'Brien, Daniel Schofield and Sithi Srichawla. Well done to them.
The day was rounded off with a well-earned meal at The Golden Arches before returning to School. Well done to all the boys for their positivity, good humour and excellent company - they were all great ambassadors for the School. My thanks to Mrs Huxley and her daughter, Mr Joyce and Dr Pattenden for their support on what was an excellent Field Day.
Meanwhile the Creative Writing Group spent the day travelling in the footsteps of William Wordsworth and composing their own lines, perched above Tintern Abbey in ‘Devil’s Pulpit’ on the banks of the Wye.
“With pleasing thoughts / That in this moment there is life and food / For future years”.
Many pupils spend their Thursday afternoons volunteering in the local community. On Field Day, they were spread across the town helping in care homes, with a garden project at Barnabas Church and litter-picking and tree-planting at Greenacres Primary School.
The Sports Leaders Group welcomed almost 50 Year 6 pupils from Meole Brace Primary and Presfelde Prep School to a Fives Skills Session and Tournament. None of the boys and girls had ever tried Fives before, and they all had a wonderful time learning new skills.
The 40 Sports Leaders had planned the event carefully, with introductions to the game, health and safety briefings, warm-ups relays around the court and then teaching the children how to hit the ball with both hands, before getting a proper game going.
The children had a break with doughnuts and juice before going into a full tournament. They were paired up and after each ten-minute game, winners went up, losers down and then pairings split as they found their own level. A great time was had by all!
CCF cadets had a busy day too: the Royal Marine section visited the Royal Marine Reserves in Liverpool, the Army Section were taking part in the Salamca Competition Day at Nesscliff Training Area; the Royal Navy Section journeyed downstream by canoe; and the RAF Section headed to RAF Cosford.
Members of the Creative Arts and Media group were finishing off a spectacular Art Mural at Meole Brace Primary School, while others spent the day at Birmingham City Art Gallery.
The Dancing Group had a wonderful dance workshop with Gavin Tsang, dance captain for Miss Saigon and The King and I, the Mountain Bikers were careering around Antur Stiniog, the Judo Group were at the British Judo Centre of Excellence in Walsall, the Film and Video Group were busy working on their latest blockbusters and the Rovers Adventure Club were out rock climbing and hiking.
The Concert Party spent their morning entertaining pupils at Grange Primary School before rushing back to school to perform in the afternoon at a Tea Party for local elderly people organised and hosted by the Global Social Leaders, with catering provided by the Cookery Groups: Global Social Leaders/Age Concern Tea Party.