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#42 - 1999

With the new millennium on the horizon, 1999 was a year of celebration everywhere, but at Shiplake College there were additional celebrations as it was the year we turned 40!

We enjoyed reading this newspaper article written by staff member Michael Edwards, about the School's Ruby Anniversary.


The programme for the lavish Millenium Ball is available to view in our online archive.

Our actual birthday on 1 May inspired a round of celebrations. The Bishop of Dorchester led a service of thanksgiving in the Sports Hall, including a procession symbolising life at the College. Retired deputy headmaster, Hans Wells-Furby returned to carry his history of the College; biology contributed a skeleton, geography a globe and James Bailey represented rugby with his England UI6 shirt. On the eve of the anniversary, pupils enjoyed a barbecue on the terrace. The school orchestra concluded its programme with a very moving performance of the 1812 Overture. The Combined Cadet Force supplied loud accompanying artillery sound effects while a spectacular firework display took place overhead.

The procession including artifacts symbolising life at the College during the thanksgiving service

The College was honoured to welcome back Mr Alexander Everett, co-founder of the Shiplake College with his wife Eunice, who returned to address the school. Mr Everett, then 77 and living in Oregon, USA, remembered how he had been determined to create a school where pupils could be happy. He was delighted that the celebrations had provided a special and memorable week. He told the Shiplake pupils to "be outrageously yourselves" and to have the confidence to live out their visions of the future.

A fortieth Anniversary Appeal was launched, printed in The Court, Headmaster Nick Bevan said: “Modern Languages, History and Geography suffer from cramped accommodation at a time when the demands of new technology, the need for more creative space, proper audio facilities and resource rooms are vital. Therefore, the second phase of the plan is to refurbish the Science Block housing Biology and Chemistry and then expand upwards with a new floor providing a home for Modern Languages, Geography and History.

The Governors have demonstrated an enormous act of faith in supporting the school's future and have made £600,000 available for these developments. We have created a Development Committee which has been set the task of raising £500,000. The Committee is dynamically chaired by a former parent who is now Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group, Bob Phillis.

We are determined that these imaginative and exciting projects will be completed and that Shiplake will take its place amongst the best schools of the next century.”

Does anyone have a copy of any of the Viking Voice newspapers reported here in The Court? Unfortunately we don’t have any but would love some for our archives. Please get in touch if you can help.

We love this article from the Reading Post about pupil Tom Chilton becoming the youngest person in Britain to pass his National B motor racing licence. Tom is now a professional British racing driver and we are very proud of his success.

Also in 1999:

- Suzie Longstaff, née Ellis, cox to the 1996 GB Women's Olympic crew, joined the College to teach maths while at the same time preparing for the World Championships in Ontario! Suzie is now Head of Putney High School.

- Eleanor Guy was appointed as our first ever female prefect and deputy Head of College alongside Alex Cain.