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Celebrating 400 Years

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Celebrating 400 Years

400th Anniversary Celebrations

As a school we celebrated this ‘milestone’ in 2014, involving not only our current students, but our much valued former students and our local community.

The year began with a message of support and wishes from the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

A special ‘Commemorative Book’ was commissioned by the school, and Caroline Meeson a Former Art Teacher at the school, with the help from local historians produced a marvellous historical account of the schools 400th year history.

This book was cleverly turned into a short film created and written by Jan Hobson, Community Governor at the school, edited by former student Tom Packer and narrated by Alex Packer.  This has been used to impart the schools epic history to students.

The ‘Heritage Quilt Project’ started in 2011 with the aim of creating five quilted panels to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the school.  This massive undertaking was driven by the enthusiasm of Amanda Duke, Project Manager and Steyning Grammar School Art Teacher, who was ably supported by the Project Steering Group; Caroline Meeson, Jacquie Gale, Jan Hobson, Elisabeth Harden and Jane Hogg and an army of volunteers including over 450 community members and students.  The completed panels have been put on permanent display in the Shooting Field Learning Resource Centre for all to enjoy.  The Heritage Quilt Project video above has  been filmed by Jan Hobson and Gilli Goshawk and edited by Bob Cassidy, providing a wonderful visual overview of this amazing project.

A DVD was produced to record the life and spirit amongst the student body of 2014, the orginal idea of Lindsey Thompson, devised, developed and filmed by Jan Hobson and edited by Tom Packer. This film has been shown at reunion and festival events and has been loved by all that have seen it especially the students and teachers.

The main ‘School Reunion’ event on Saturday 24th May 2014 was a great success with some past students coming from as far away as Canada, New Zealand and Australia.   The former main entrance to Chatfields was once again opened onto Church Street to welcome those interested in touring this historic site, looking at the exhibition and all the carefully displayed archive material spanning the school’s 400 year history. Special thanks go to the Steyning Festival for weaving the school's 400th anniversary theme so successfully into the 2014 Festival.

It was moving to former students who were able to look over this collection lovingly gathered over many years by the School Librarians Joyce Sleight, Joyce Maskell, Elizabeth Peters and Vivien Kingston-Jones.  Thanks go to Caroline Meeson, Cathie Ballard, Chris Tod (Curator of Steyning Museum), Janet Pennington (Sussex Historian) and George Barker (Steyning Grammar School ‘Old Boy’ and author), who reorganised the whole archive primarily to display at the reunion event. 

On Saturday 19th July 2014 over 250 ‘Old Boys’ returned to the school for a special reunion journeying from all over the UK as well as Australia, Canada, France, America, Malta and Sweden.  A special Church Service was held in St Andrew and St Cuthman Church followed by a buffet lunch and tours of the school.