In our final 'Shiplake at 60' instalment we’re onto 2019 and it’s another year of celebration as the College commemorates not only its 60th anniversary but also the 15 years served by Gregg Davies as Headmaster.
The Old Viking Society celebrated with a very special lunch in the Great Hall. Over 100 former staff and pupils came back to the College for a three course lunch and tour of the school. Representatives from every decade were in attendance including two former staff members David Welsh and Hans Wells-Furby who both joined the College 59 years ago back in 1960. The College was delighted to host representatives of four of our Headmasters: in addition to the Davies’ former headmaster Peter Lapping came with his wife Diana, Annabel Bevan, the widow of Nick Bevan and their two children attended as well as two of John Eggar’s sons Robin and Julian.
On our actual birthday, the College celebrated by laying the foundation stone of the multi-activity centre, which the Chairman of Governors unveiled is to be named The Davies Centre, much to the surprise of Gregg and Alison. Old Vikings and Olympic rowers Will Satch (07O), Ben Hunt-Davis (90W), Richard Lester (67S) and Malcolm Carmichael (74S) attended the ceremony to help 'break the ground', along with a number of governors and members of the Shiplake community.
In June, the College hosted a lavish Diamond Ball in the front field marquee. Nearly 200 parents, staff and friends of the College celebrated our anniversary in style and raised a lot of money for charity at the same time.
There was massive success for the boat club as the College’s first eight broke the championship course record on their way to winning the Schools' Head of the River in March. Headmaster Gregg Davies said: “It’s great to see that the passion of the coaches for their crews to succeed has been borne out. I think we can now begin to believe that we are here to stay amongst the elite of schools’ rowing. I couldn’t ask for a better leaving present!” Then in May, the College had its most successful National Schools’ Regatta to date winning medals (three bronze and four silver) in seven different events, including silver in the Championship VIII and the school’s first medals for the girls. All crews certainly lived up to their expectations.
Once again the marquee was packed on the last day of term for an emotional speech day. The Chairman of Governors, Tim Eggar, unveiled Gregg Davies’s portrait to the 1,000 strong crowd made up of pupils, parents, staff, governors and friends of the College. The painting will hang in the Old Viking Room alongside the other portraits of former headmasters. This was followed by a very heartfelt speech by Gregg Davies, who stepped down after 15 years at the helm.