With the unseasonal snowfall hastening the end of the Lent term, the Establishment and Boarding House cleaning teams leapt into action to spring clean the houses in time for the arrival of the National School Fives competitors on Sunday 24th March. Meanwhile the Laundry staff made up close to 500 bed sets in addition to dealing with a mountain of laundry from the matrons.
I don’t expect that when Seb Cooley agreed to organise the Fives that he had anticipated that competition day would be preceded by Andy Richards and his Grounds team having to sweep the courts clear of snow and grit the whole area, but they rose to the challenge with games starting on time.
Unfortunately the football pitches didn’t fare quite as well and we had to cancel the ISFA under-13 Football Festival, not a hard decision to make with 10 cms of snow on the ground but a real shame for the footballers travelling to us from all over the country.
The Maidment Building was in full use throughout the holidays. Wigan Youth Orchestra rehearsed there prior to their performance at the Royal Northern College of Music. They were followed by the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain, staying with us for their third year running, whose stay culminated in a performance in front of 500 proud parents.
On the sporting front HD Sportsworld held their boys’ and girls’ football festivals with England goalkeeper Joe Hart visiting. He was kept extremely busy signing autographs whilst chatting to the youngsters and passing on a few coaching tips.
Not to be outdone, the Andrew Flintoff Cricket Academy held another of their regular non-residential cricket courses with Jimmy Anderson, one of England’s leading strike bowlers, in attendance. The highlight of the Q & A session was when one young boy asked Jimmy, “Are you tucked in when you’re fielding?” After repeating the question it became apparent he was referring to his England shirt and presumably he was also checking out that his Mum’s dress code instructions were correct!
Jimmy Anderson and Joe Hart surrounded by their fans
In the final week of the holidays, pre-season training camps were very much in evidence for the rowers from King’s School Worcester, Lincoln College in Oxford and our own J14s, along with cricketers from Manchester University, with the School 1st & 2nd teams playing Millfield, Worksop, Worcester Academy and Giggleswick School.
Ed Moore and his team organised a range of non-residential holiday activities featuring – for the first time – archery, fencing and canoeing, along with our established swimming, tennis, trampolining and performing art courses, all of which were well attended and great fun.
In conclusion, this was our busiest Easter to date, with 3,200 bed nights and the KH team cooking and serving 9,400 meals. The success of the programme helps to generate profits that contribute to funding school bursaries. My thanks to everyone who played their part in ensuring our guests enjoyed their stay here. Many staff, too numerous to mention, have helped tremendously and there have been many compliments about the high standards of facilities on offer.
Finally I do sometimes get asked why do we host so many groups and organise so many activities. I guess part of the answer lies in the obvious pleasure guests experience from being at Shrewsbury, but also from when I receive a letter from a star-struck Joe Hart fan – and I quote: “Thank you for organising the greatest day of my life.”
General Services Manager
Future England goalie Jay Bevan (aged 10) with friend Joe Hart