Sunday, 3 July 2011


Each year around the beginning of July the Master and Wardens make their annual Visitation to Bancroft's School.  As with all other Company visitations the purpose is now entirely ceremonial.  There is no longer any examination of staff or pupil competence as there was a hundred years ago.  In fact the level and diversity of academic achievement at the school would rule me out as an examiner much above Prep school.  Instead there are many opportunities throughout the day to meet everyone associated with the school including governors, Bancroftians - both at the school and leavers- and staff .

The day started with an excellent musical performance at the Preparatory School that is traditionally intertwined with prizegiving.  We then set off for lunch in the Head's garden.

However I had been asked by Past Master Stephen Foakes, Chairman of Governors, whether I would be prepared to unveil a plaque commemorating the completion of some very handsome art rooms and a study room for the sixth form.  I was, of course, was most honoured.  But as I drew back the black crepe curtain and was about to announce the building open I suddenly realised it was not called the Art and Sixth Form Block but had been re-named the Lyons' Building.  It was a total 'gotcha' moment.  Everyone else was in on the secret and photos will be posted in due course.

It was explained that the reason was that my surname is a lot shorter than using the term Arts and Sixth Form Block. Whatever the reason I am deeply honoured.  I was a governor at the school from 2002 to 2008 and Chairman for most of that period.  It was a time when we embarked on a huge modernisation programme that still continues.  It is a very odd experience to be recognised in this way and I am deeply touched that the governors and staff felt this was an appropriate thing to do.

After lunch it was prizegiving and speeches.  I presented the first Drapers' Company Medal to a school (see another post this month) and also got to have a go on a piece of sports equipment.  (Details follow)

Then it was off to visit exhibits and a final cup of tea and slice of cake.

As is now normal the sun shone throughout the day.  The traditional cricket match ebbed and flowed throughout the morning and afternoon and I had been both deeply surprised and honoured in equal measure.

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