To officially mark the close of the school’s Quincentenary year, the Old Pocklingtonian Association hosted its annual reunion dinner at the stunning Haberdashers’ Hall in the City of London.
Prior to the dinner there was a special attended Evensong service at St Paul’s Cathedral followed by a private wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate the school’s founder, John Dowman, who was buried in the chapel of St Catherine on the south side of old St Paul’s in 1526. Dowman was also a Haberdasher, so the ‘Quincentenary Finale’ was indeed a fitting end to the school’s 500th celebrations.
Over 200 Old Pocklingtonians, former and current parents, staff and governors came to the Evensong service which was also open to the general public. The service was led by the Dean of St Paul’s, the Very Reverend David Ison.
The canon in residence, the Reverend Canon Philippa Boardman read the First Lesson (Micah 4. 1-5) and the headmaster, Mark Ronan, read the second lesson (Luke 9. 28-36). The prayers were led by the precentor, the Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, assisted by chairman of governors, Christopher Oughtred, and Tom Nash (68-77), president of the Old Pocklingtonian Association.
The address was given by the school chaplain, the Reverend Jim Roberts and was followed by a hymn chosen by the school: “The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended”, the music for which was written by an Old Pocklingtonian, the Reverend Clement Scholefield (1839-1904).
Following the Evensong service, the wreath-laying party were escorted to the Dean’s Aisle for a private ceremony during which Dowman descendant, Eve Gillmon, laid a wreath by the Colet Memorial to commemorate John Dowman. Colet was the founder of St Paul’s School and was Dean of St Paul’s at the same time as Dowman was Canon.
After the service, guests made their way to Haberdashers’ Hall to finish the evening in style at the black tie dinner. Old Pocklingtonian’s had travelled from as far afield as South Africa, USA and Canada to come to the dinner and tables were arranged in year groups to maximise enjoyment. Some Old Pocklingtonian’s had organised and booked their own tables for a get-together of their year in what for many has become an annual tradition. With so many people attending and such a lot of catching up to do, it was quite a task to get people to their seats for dinner. With the formal proceedings over, guests were then invited to mingle and enjoy a drink at the bar before moving off to the ‘after-party’ at St Bart’s Brewery.