Pupils and staff, past and present, look back on building’s 100 years

Children dressed in period costume for Edwardian Day as part of the centenary celebrations for Ferney Lee School, Todmorden
Children dressed in period costume for Edwardian Day as part of the centenary celebrations for Ferney Lee School, Todmorden

CHILDREN, teachers, families and the local community took part in a series of events to celebrate a school building’s centenary.

The Ferney Lee School building, which has previously been home to other schools, celebrates its 100th birthday in 2012.

To mark the occasion, a series of special events took place last week, during which past and present pupils, staff and governors gathered to reminisce about their time at the school.

Helen Hannah, headteacher at Ferney Lee School, said: “It’s been a brilliant week. The staff have been absolutely fantastic and pulled out every stop. I’m really proud of them.”

The celebrations began with an open afternoon featuring displays of old photographs and school memorabilia.

“We had 180 people attend, including the brother of Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson,” Mrs Hannah said.

“It was such a privilege that we have the facility for all the ex-pupils, staff and governors to come together, enjoy a cup of tea and a cake, look at the photos and reminisce about the good old days.

“To be able to do that for them felt like such an honour.”

Children and staff dressed up in period costume for an Edwardian Day to find out what school life was like when the building first opened.

“They really enjoyed dressing up as if they had walked through the door 100 years ago,” Mrs Hannah said.

“The children found out things including what would have happened if they were caught talking in class in the olden days.

“It was a living history really. It’s very different to now.”

One of the highlights of the week was the centenary show, which featured every class performing a routine about each decade in the building’s history.

“We have had the most staggering feedback from families about it being the best show they have ever seen,” she said.

“The hall was absolutely packed to capacity. The children rose to the occasion. Everybody dressed up, including the staff.”

As part of the celebrations, a group of children and staff visited Dorothy Kershaw, a former secretary, to talk to her about her school memories.

The children wrote an article based on their interview with her and it formed part of the centenary display.

“We were honoured that she contributed to our fact-finding about the school in years gone by,” Mrs Hannah said.

The week drew to a close with a balloon release.

One balloon was released for every child on roll at the school.

Children also put together a time capsule, which was planted in the school grounds with a plaque saying it should be opened in 100 years’ time.

“In celebrating the past, we have also looked to the future so the kids understand that history is a living, moving thing that they are part of,” Mrs Hannah said.

“We have had lots of comments from visitors about how fantastic the school looked, how the classrooms were colourful and vibrant.

“They were really bowled over by the quality of the children’s work.”

Ferney Lee School would like to thank Morrisons, The White Hart, Gemma from All Occasions, and all those who provided memorabilia for the open day.