Blue Coat School celebrating Founder's Day virtually

Covid-19 means Blue Coat School in Oldham is celebrating Founder's Day a little differently this year.

Today (Wednesday) marks 186 years since the Egerton Street school was founded by Thomas Henshaw, back in 1834. 

Normally, pupils and staff from the Church of England academy for 11 to 18 year olds would march from school to The Church of St Mary with St Peter to attend a service of thanksgiving for the gifts given by local people which made the building of the school possible. 

Whilst at church, a wreath would be laid to commemorate those who have died in war and another by the gravestone of former pupils. 

The Last Post would be played, followed by a minute's silence, before a service took place in the church. 

At the end of the service, pupils and staff would then march back to school where they would stand in silence whilst a former pupil laid a wreath by the bust of founder Thomas Henshaw in the reception area. 

This year, the coronavirus restrictions means the school has had to take to online celebrations so they have instead put a video together - which you can watch at the top of the page. 

The people featured in the video are as followed: 

Head Girl and Head Boy - Eve Parker and Max Butterworth
Muster - Mr Read
Slaidburn - Nine Mr Hewsons
Reading 1 - Arya Ali
Reading 2 - Harry Seymour
Message - Mr Ford
Prayers - Amelia Handley
Rouse and Last Post - Michael Ballantyne
Video - Mrs Clewer

Mayor of Oldham, Cllr Ginny Alexander, said: "I pay tribute to Blue Coat School on their Founders Day, albeit quite the change from the norm. Last year I had the absolute honour and privilege to attend their Founders Day service as Mayor of Oldham.

"This day celebrates founder and hat manufacturer Thomas Henshaw, who died in 1810, leaving £40,000 for the endowment of The Blue Coat School. The foundation stone was laid in 1829 and the school was opened in 1834 as a boys' boarding school, before evolving into the mixed gender academy it is now. I bet Mr. Henshaw could never have imagined that 210 years after his death, his legacy would be upheld by one of the best schools in this country.

"To this day it was truly one of the most moving, emotional and prideful moments of my Mayorship. To walk alongside the masses of staff, pupils and the public in an act of appreciation to the founders of Blue Coat was absolutely phenomenal.

"I admire the way you have taken the negative consequences of the Coronavirus Pandemic in your stride and have worked to continue to deliver exceptional support for students and the community. Keep up the good work." 


Main image:

Pupils and staff from Blue Coat School on the march on Founder's Day in 2019. Photo: Nigel Wood. 


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