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Back to the Future at Leighton Park School


Leighton Park School rounded off a year of celebrations of its 125th Birthday with an Open Day for its alumni, known as Old Leightonians, on 19th September.

Almost 100 Old Leightonians and their families came from across the country and even from across Europe to enjoy a look round the school, guided by current students, to visit old haunts, inspect new buildings and to hear about exciting planned developments. It was a precious chance to meet up with old friends and teachers too. The school’s Archivist, John Allinson, displayed some of the treasures from the school Archives and spoke about the history of the school. And of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday, without birthday cake!

One of the highlights was the burial of a time capsule, the brainchild of two of the students Katinka Pim and Robyn Ellis. Old Leightonian Hugh Dawson, who was celebrating his 90th birthday at the weekend, spoke about his memories of schooldays during World War II and how the school’s ethos and values remain strong, almost seventy years after he left. He then scattered soil over the capsule. It is to be opened in 25 years, and contains photos, memorabilia and as a souvenir of the school play this year, the mask worn by The Phantom of the Opera, Dan Barber. A number of other Old Leightonians then enjoyed helping to fill in the hole.

Robyn commented “Ever since I joined in the school I have wanted to make my own mark, and when the offer came along I could not resist helping. The idea was that future generations of students who will come through the school will just get a little snippet of what the school was like in its 125th year and so they can see how much it has developed. At the launch I had a little glimpse of what I hoped would happen; one of the OLs gave a speech about what the school was like not only during the 50th birthday celebrations but also during the war. This was so special since it really shows how the school has come through such a horrible time better than ever and just one step closer to the Quaker value of peace.”

Leighton Park, a Quaker School, opened in March 1890, with four boys. Girls joined the school in the Sixth Form in 1978, and the school has been fully co-educational since the early 1990s.

Famous alumni from the school include actor Jim Broadbent, singer songwriter Laura Marling, Olivier winning actor Nat Parker, Nathan Crowley (Oscar nominated Production Director on films eg Interstellar, the Dark Knight series), Michael Foot, Richard Wilkinson (co-author of The Spirit Level, leading researcher in social inequalities in health and the social determinants of health), Oscar winning film director Sir David Lean and composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett.

Published: September 22 2015

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