pic 1.jpg
pic 2.jpg
pic 3.jpg
pic 4.jpg
pic 5.jpg
pic 6.jpg
pic 7.jpg
pic 8.jpg
pic 9.jpg
pic 10.jpg
pic 11.jpg
pic 12.jpg
pic 14.jpg
pic 15.jpg
pic 16.jpg
pic 17.jpg
pic 18.jpg
pic 18b.jpg
pic 19.jpg
pic 20.jpg
pic 21.jpg
pic 22.jpg
pic 23.jpg
pic 24.jpg
pic 25.jpg
pic 26.jpg
pic 26a.jpg
pic 27.jpg
pic 28.jpg
pic 29.jpg
pic 30.jpg
pic 31.jpg
pic 32.jpg
pic 33.jpg
pic 34.jpg
pic 35.jpg
pic 36 2.jpg
pic 36.jpg
pic 37.jpg
pic 38.jpg
pic 39.jpg
pic 40.jpg
pic 43.jpg
pic 44.jpg
pic 45.jpg
pic 46 2.jpg
pic 47.jpg
pic 48.jpg
pic 49.jpg
pic 50.jpg
pic 51.jpg
pic 52.jpg
pic 53.jpg
pic 54 2.jpg
pic 55.jpg
pic 56.jpg
pic 57.jpg
pic 58.jpg
pic 59.jpg
pic 60.jpg
pic 61.jpg
pic 62.jpg
pic 63.jpg
pic 64.jpg
pic 65.jpg
pic 66.jpg
pic 67.jpg
pic 68.jpg
pic 69.jpg
pic 70.jpg
pic 71.jpg
previous arrow
next arrow

Saturday 2nd July 2022 saw the 149th Founders’ Day for St Mary’s Calne. Despite the grey skies, nothing could dampen the spirits of the whole school community on this very special day.

The day started with the Commemoration Service at St Mary’s Church, Calne. The Vicar of the Parish, Reverend Bob Kenway, welcomed the congregation to what was his last Founders’ Day Service for St Mary’s, as he is retiring after 41 years in the Parish! The School Chaplain, Reverend Jonathan Beech, then extended his welcome to all, in particular the Guest Speakers for the day – the Reverend Canon Michael Johnson and Nadia Wassef.

The service was a fitting way to end the term and included readings from Head of Chapel, Rosie, Deputy Head Girls – Saskia and Chloe, and Head Girl, Khalilah. Head, Dr Felicia Kirk, delivered the Founders’ Day Prayer, remembering all those who founded the school. The Address by the Reverend Canon Michael Johnson was ‘illuminating’ on many fronts, as he used the analogy of a candle flame to demonstrate the words of Jesus to his followers: ‘You are the light of the world’. He told the story of a wealthy man, who, on his deathbed, left instructions in his will on how his wealth (tied up in camels) was to be distributed between his three children, stating ‘whatsoever you give away in life it will be returned to you.’ Unable to divide the 17 camels amongst them according to the instructions, it took a poor neighbour donating his camel for the children to solve the dilemma – finding they then had one camel left, and so returning the camel to the neighbour. The neighbour’s kindness and generosity made a difference. Revd Johnson then shared a second story, one of his own experiences during a holiday on a Greek Island, when an unfortunate incident with a deflated bike tyre left him stranded in the blistering heat. A passer-by on a motorbike displayed huge kindness by not only returning with parts to fix the bike, but by providing him with ice cold water – an act which he has never forgotten. Revd Johnson urged the students to embrace Christian principals themselves through acts of kindness, big or small, and let their own light shine ‘through what you do, how you are, and how you care.’

The service was full of beautiful musical performances, under the direction of Miss Marie-Claire Arthur, Director of Music, and Mrs Bethan Dudley Fryar, Director of Junior Consort. Indeed, Music on Founders’ Day was a true success, with wonderful performances given by the students throughout the day. Particular thanks go to our UVI soloists in the Church Service, Elan, Charlotte, Daisy and Amy. Junior Consort’s performance of Dr Gibbs’ piece, alongside select UVI Leavers, was moving and memorable.

Following the Commemoration Service, it was back to St Mary’s, for the day’s celebrations to continue. We were fortunate enough to have a superb UVI Leavers’ Concert in the Music Marquee, organised by Mrs Bethan Dudley Fryar, which saw many of our Leavers perform as soloists or accompanists and finished with a strong and rousing finale including most of the year group. Music in the afternoon was a real treat, with winners of the song competition performing alongside String Sinfonia, Strictly Strings and Concert Band.

The whole school community were also able to view the outstanding Founders’ Day Art Exhibition, showcasing the school’s wonderfully talented pupils. Over 100 pieces were on show throughout the school, featuring the best examples of art created in the past academic year. In addition, our Artist In Residence of the past two years, Ms Rezakhani-Hilton, had her legacy work on display, with a showreel of works created during her time with us.

Although the weather prevented families having their picnics in the grounds, everyone thoroughly enjoyed getting together in their daughters’ Houses to share this special time together, prior to the Prizegiving.

The Prizegiving in the Main Marquee opened with In Our Service, the choral tribute to Her Majesty The Queen in honour of her Platinum Jubilee. Chair of Governors, Mr Svante Adde, delivered words of welcome to everyone, highlighting how the students had faced unprecedented challenges over the last two years. He stressed how proud the school is of the Leavers, who have met these challenges head on, with a ‘Calne Girls Can’ attitude. Mr Adde thanked all the staff, Dr Kirk and the Leadership Team for their 'unflinching dedication’. In addressing the Governing body, he praised the work of former Chair of Governors and Patron, the late Richard Southwell QC, who was a Governor of St Mary’s for 24 years, eight as Chair, and who sadly passed away in December 2021. He welcomed new Governor, and Guest Speaker from the morning’s service, the Reverend Canon Michael Johnson. Mr Adde touched on the forthcoming activities next year, when the school will celebrate its 150th Anniversary, and how important the Bursary campaign is in making the school accessible to students from all walks of life, before wishing the Leavers a bright future and handing over to Dr Felicia Kirk.

Dr Kirk added her words of welcome to those of Mr Adde, and expressed her thanks to the Revd Canon Michael Johnson for his excellent Address, before welcoming the Guest Speaker for the Prizegiving – Nadia Wassef – entrepreneur, women’s rights activist, bookseller and author of Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller. She thanked the whole team involved in the huge build up and work involved in Founders’ Day, with special mention to the Music and Art Departments, the premises, grounds, catering and housekeeping teams, and all the staff and pupils who put so much time and effort into preparing for this unique day. Dr Kirk bid farewell and thanked those staff who are moving on to new positions for their huge contribution to the school, including Mrs Sanchez, Miss Stevens, Mrs Unwin, Mrs Ross, Mrs Lovell and Mrs Rothwell. Sincere gratitude was expressed to the St Mary’s community – all the parents, grandparents and friends of the school – for their support, in particular to the Parents’ Guild who do so much to support the pupils, and also the Governors and Chair of Governors, Mr Svante Adde, who have guided the school through such challenging times.

Dr Kirk’s focus then turned to our UVI Leavers, ‘they have worked hard, had lots of fun, and, individually and collectively, thrown themselves into everything they do.’ Dr Kirk shared some humorous anecdotes and memories, which touched on their dancing skills, hair-dying mishaps, ear piercing fiascos, love of dressing-up and competitive streaks. She praised the students’ ‘sense of community’, in particular their volunteering and fundraising for charities such as Doorway, as well as their support for each other during lockdown. Dr Kirk touched on their cheeky behaviour on a Geography fieldtrip, and the unfortunate incident on an Art trip when a bag of bicarbonate of soda (for a facial) caught the eye of airport security who thought it might be something else!

On a more serious note, Dr Kirk gave a vote of thanks to the terrific prefect team, under the outstanding leadership of Khalilah as Head Girl, ably supported by her Deputies, Saskia and Chloe, and praised all the Sixth Form on their resilience and how well they had coped during the disruption caused by the pandemic. Dr Kirk then looked at some of the global issues people are facing, which had been highlighted at the World Economic Forum held in Davos earlier in the year in their ‘Global Risks Report’. The importance of more countries being on a stable economic footing in order to help combat climate change, and the growing digital dependency which has resulted in increasing cyber attacks were two of the global issues Dr Kirk considered, with the alarming statistic that ‘in 2020, malware and ransomware attacks increased by 358% and 435% respectively’, with cyber attacks also becoming a means to disrupt other countries. Dr Kirk addressed the UVI Leavers, who will be soon at the forefront of dealing with these common global issues. ‘We need you, the next generation, to step up and take the opportunities that these challenges and risks represent’ as St Mary’s has provided them with a solid foundation and the ‘power and belief to use your voices as future changemakers.’ Most importantly, Dr Kirk emphasised that the school had provided the students with ‘the core skills across the curriculum of leadership, teamwork, communication, interpersonal and awareness across the curriculum that will help you build the specialist knowledge and future solutions. And, most important of all, we have encouraged in you the values that will motivate you to want to create these solutions.

Dr Kirk concluded by stressing the importance of gender equality, and how important it is for the students to make their contributions and make the most of the freedoms which previous generations of women have fought for: ‘I look forward to seeing you step forward to play your part, whatever your talents and areas of study…. I hope you will from time to time think back to this afternoon and remember that you are the light, and this call for action.’

Dr Kirk handed over to our Guest Speaker for the Prizegiving, Nadia Wassef. On International Women’s Day in 2002, Nadia and her sister, Hind, co-founded Diwan, a small corner bookstore in Cairo. Over the last 20 years, it has grown into Egypt’s fiercely independent leading chain of bookstores, with 10 branches, and a publishing house.

Nadia delivered an inspirational speech, drawing on excerpts which she had written in a letter to her own 18-year-old daughter, containing seven wishes and seven suggestions for ways of thinking of the future. Her speech ended with some very wise words for the Leavers: ‘Take stock of where you came from and where you hope to go. Be proud, be humble, be serious, be silly. Don’t be scared to show this world who you are and what you are made of; and give it as good as it gives you, if not better.’ We are extremely grateful to Nadia for allowing us to share her full Founders’ Day Speech with you here.

The much anticipated Prizegiving followed Nadia’s speech, with the awards being announced by Senior Deputy Head, Mrs Diana Harrison. Well done to all of the girls, and to Moberly Company who were awarded the Company Prize!

Head Girl, Khalilah, then gave a very witty Vote of Thanks. She reflected on how the year group had gone from ‘badly dressed LIVs to glam, intelligent, women!’ and considered some of their legacies, including the Mushy Peas App (for Young Enterprise), the new Platinum Jubilee Garden… and their fashion sense! She recounted some of the year group’s pranks and mishaps with hair dye, and gave a heartfelt thanks to all of the Staff and Teachers for their support. Khalilah ended with a quote that one of the teachers had mentioned to her: ‘Be good and if you can’t be good, don’t get caught!’

Dr Kirk wrapped up the proceedings in the Prizegiving marquee, and, as is traditional, the Leavers left the Main Marquee to the music of The Great Escape! Everybody then enjoyed more music in the Music Marquee and afternoon tea, rounding off a perfect day.

Good wishes to the Class of 2022 with the next stage of your journey, and the very best of luck for your A Level results in August!