Commemoration Day

A joyous day to remember as Clitheroe Royal Grammar School celebrated its 464th anniversary!

On 17th July, we held our annual commemoration day and it was a particularly special occasion as students, alumni, governors and staff also wished a fond farewell to the school’s Headteacher of 14 years, Mrs Child.

Commemoration day has its roots in the founding of the school, in 1554. The school was founded as, “The Free Grammar School of King Philip and Queen Mary”, ‘for the education, instruction and learning of boys and young men in grammar, to be and to continue for ever.’

A statute from 1622 states that every year on a day close to St John the Baptist’s Day (or Midsummer Day), the school must gather together for a “sermon” at the Parish Church of St Mary Magdalene. This has, as instructed, happened annually since that time.

The service was conducted by The Reverend Andy Froud and we were lucky enough to receive a sermon and a blessing given by guest preacher, The Right Reverend Dr Jill Duff – Bishop of Lancaster.

The Sixth Form’s Deputy Head Girl, Lauren Petrie, gave a lovely reading of ‘The Birth of John the Baptist’ and the service was accompanied by the wonderful sounds played by the organist Mr David Thornton BEd, FRCO, LRAM, ARCM.

Alongside hymns sung by all members present at the church and prayers led by Reverend Froud, we were entertained by the magnificent CRGS Choir, directed by the school’s Director of Music Dr P J Allcock BMus (Hons) MA PhD. The Senior Brass Ensemble also performed, accompanied by the CRGS Choir.

Personally, it was an honour, as Head Boy of the Sixth Form, to give a reading of ‘Comfort for God’s People’ from Isaiah, Chapter 40.

To end the service all Main School students, along with members of staff, lined Church Street as a procession was held down both Church Street and York Street, culminating at the Sixth Form Centre.

After a lovely buffet lunch at the Sixth Form, the Chairman of Governors led a fitting tribute to Mrs Child.  After 14 successful years as Headteacher of Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Mrs Child has decided upon retirement and is looking forward to travelling the world with her husband; they are both keen photographers and I am sure we will see many photos from the amazing places they visit!

In her time as Headteacher, Mrs Child has overseen, among many other notable achievements, the vast improvements of facilities at both sites and in particular at the Sixth Form, where the new block offers excellent facilities for learning.

Mrs Child also oversaw the creation of my personal favourite part of the Sixth Form Centre – The Smithies Library (made possible by the incredibly generous bequest from former student Arthur Smithies and his wife, Joyce).  As a token of the school’s appreciation for Mrs Child’s tenure at Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, she was presented with the lovely piece of art created by a Dutch sculptor.  The art, a ceramic chimpanzee, is lovingly known as ‘Jimmy’ (Clitheroe)!

This was a fantastic way to round off what was an incredible day of celebration and joy for the school, as it honoured its traditions, celebrated its history and looked forward to times ahead.

Thank you for everything Mrs Child.


George Poole
Head Boy (Sixth Form)

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