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Master's speech 2006

My Lord, Chairman of Council, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, may I please add my words of welcome to those of the Chairman. We are indeed honoured that you are here in such numbers to recognise and celebrate the achievements of the Haileybury pupils on this our most important day of the year. We believe the attendance exceeds 1,500 for the first time in anyone’s recollection, making this truly a whole school occasion We are reminded that in a community of such extensive and diverse opportunity every one of our 741 pupils will have successes worthy of recognition today. The challenge for us is to ensure that each of those achievements is properly and genuinely acknowledged, well aware that it is the powerful combination of opportunity and encouragement, at the very heart of the school’s ethos, which enables pupils to make the most of their God given talents. I hope our parents and visitors find a great deal of pleasure in each other’s company and much of interest in the various exhibitions set out in the programme.

We are particularly pleased to welcome important representatives of the local community today. It remains an important element within our vision that we meet our responsibilities as good neighbours. Not infrequently, expressions of gratitude are voiced concerning the way in which we welcome visitors from the area to share our activities or to use the buildings and grounds. A substantial number of our pupils too do great things for others, for instance on Wednesday afternoon within the community service scheme, but you need to dig deep to discover what is going on about which, to their credit, they don’t boast. In a similar spirit we have happily agreed to one of our younger pupils, Craig Hawes, briefly interrupting the cricket at around 3.30pm to release hundreds of balloons in aid of the Hertfordshire Scout Groups’ Andaman Island Appeal to build a scout shelter to help the victims of the Tsunami. Please support Craig today if you can. He will have his own way of making his presence known.

The Haileybury Society, the society for former pupils, continues to encourage all our endeavours very generously. Their support in tangible form provides bursary funding, the Society recently having committed itself to another substantial subvention for next year. I also want to thank those of our parents who devote much time to serving on the Committee of the Haileybury Parents’ Association and particularly to thank this year’s Chairman, Mr Tim Edwards. The HPA social gatherings provide a great deal of pleasure and strengthen the important community dimension of our school.

Before focusing on the pupils’ many splendid achievements this year, I wish to salute and to thank several colleagues whose devotion to the school over many years is drawing to a close. Andrew Hambling came to Haileybury almost 50 years ago in September 1956 as a junior History master, a ‘beak’ in the parlance of the day. Shortly afterwards he married Helen who was working in what we, until recently, called the Sanatorium. Helen supported her husband with the greatest loyalty as he assumed increasing responsibility; Head of History, Master i/c Cricket, Housemaster of Thomason and, from 1986 to 1991, Second Master. In March 1999 Andrew very kindly agreed to succeed Alastair Macpherson as the Honorary Archivist, since when he has devoted the care of a specialist to our historic material and mounted many an Archive exhibition. This year he played an enormous part in the historical aspect of the bi-centenary celebrations. On the anniversary weekend in early February, Andrew gave a scholarly lecture on the East India College. His persuading Sir Mark Tully to visit us recently to remind us of the long and honourable connection with India was a major coup. Andrew’s latest publication "The East India College at Haileybury, 1806-1857", which deservedly has sold very well, will provide a permanent memorial to his massive contribution to this community. His interesting Archive exhibition will be displayed again today in the rooms under the Clock in Quad with Andrew I expect radiating his characteristic enthusiasm and affection for the school and its history. Do call in if you possibly can.

Mr David Wright came to join the staff to teach History in September 1973. You will instantly have calculated that makes this his 99th term. He came to Haileybury having held the prestigious Ehrman Studentship in History at King’s College, Cambridge. American by birth, he very quickly embodied so much of what’s best in the British public schoolmaster. Academically distinguished, with to his credit the authorship of the Register of Thomas Langton, a 15th century Bishop of Salisbury, he made his mark in every area of the diverse life of the school. At various times David Wright served as Librarian, Master i/c Saturday night films, Master i/c of the Bridge Club, Master i/c of Athletics, Editor of the Haileyburian, in the days when that involved three publications per year, Head of General Studies, Master i/c of the Wine Tasting Society, organiser of Cross Country and the steeplechase, Master i/c of the Yearlings D Rugby Team, Librarian and from 1988 until 2000, Housemaster of Kipling, with his wife Helen very extensively and generously involved in support. Latterly he has complemented his part-time teaching of History and tutorial duties in Trevelyan with immensely valuable work for the Haileybury Society including production of the Society’s on-line newsletter. Nobody has more contacts with former pupils. We thank him for his prodigious endeavours on behalf of Haileyburians of all ages.

Mr Nicholas Jardine has served the school very loyally too for 23 years since his appointment as Head of English in 1983. Nicholas Jardine has been an articulate, persistent advocate of the importance of the academic and cultural dimensions of our community. A man of faith and vision, of Nicholas Jardine, it was said "You bring a love of learning, a delight in your subject, a committed, professional example in all that you do and a warm and generous friendship to all of your colleagues". Nobody has devoted more care or radiated greater warmth towards tutees than that which Nicholas Jardine bestows on his Lower School 1 charges and nobody has been more faithful in recent years in support of our artistic events. Mr Jardine will be a very welcome member of our Learning Support staff in future years.

On this occasion last year we paid tribute to the 12 year service to Edmonstone of its then Housemaster, Alister Bartholomew, and wished him well as he embarked on a new role as our Development Officer. At the end of this term, Alister will move away to take up the responsibility of Director of Educational Development with Capital Partners. We wish him very well indeed as he embarks upon an exciting and challenging new innings.

We also wish very well Bert, Clare and baby Tom Robinson when Bert moves to a senior post at a distinguished school in his homeland, Campbell College Belfast, after 10 outstandingly successful years at Haileybury.

I long since abandoned hope of providing any sort of comprehensive account of the school year on Speech Day. There is time only for brief reflections and to share with you some ambitions. There will be few here this morning who have not at some stage this year had their breath taken away by the sheer extent of what goes on term by term in this community. You may have been struck by hundreds of boys and girls playing games as far as you can see on Saturday afternoons, once the Lower School pupils have vacated the grounds that is, or the number, variety and quality of our musical performances or that extraordinarily vivid, entertaining Fashion Extravaganza, or unlikely characters distinguishing themselves on stage or Ben Thomas playing seven times for England, or the number who v