150 not out for top Mayfield school

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Designers, film-makers and peers of the realm will all be taking a trip to Mayfield this year to help a school celebrate its 150th birthday.

2012 may have been a great year, with the excitement of the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee, but 2013 promises to be even better for St Leonards-Mayfield School.

The independent Catholic girls’ school has just kicked off celebrations to mark its 150th year, and has a whole host of exciting events planned to mark the occasion.

Anniversary celebrations began in January with a celebratory mass and ‘opening ceremony’ in the concert hall.

Students performed an array of songs and dance including excerpts from the stage show and musical of the moment, Les Miserables, and read out congratulatory messages from Catholic schools around the world.

The Provincial Leader of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Sister Monica Martin, officially declared the year open.

Amongst the planned events for the 150th anniversary year is an old girls’ reunion, a Summer Ball and the launching of a special time capsule.

The girls are working on the capsule which they will be burying within the new sixth form centre in June.

In October there will be a poetry festival, hosted jointly by the school and poetry magazine Agenda.

The anniversary celebrations will be closed in November at a mass officiated by the Papal Nuncio.

Former students and high-profile speakers will be visiting the school throughout the year to give inspirational and informative talks with current students.

Amongst guests on the list are former pupils Lindka Cierach, fashion designer to members of the royal family and Hollywood stars, and scriptwriter Olivia Hetreed, best known for her work on the film Girl With A Pearl Earring, which was nominated for multiple Oscars and BAFTAs.

The next planned event is a public lecture by The Lord Moynihan, titled ‘The story behind the London 2012 Olympic Games - Can there be a lasting legacy?’ on Thursday, March 14 at 7pm. Members of the public wishing to attend can contact the school on 01435 874637.

St Leonards-Mayfield School was founded in 1863 when Mother Cornelia Connolly and her group of young pupils enjoyed a picnic in the grounds of The Old Palace, leading to the restoration of the medieval ruin and the establishment of St Leonards-Mayfield School.

An Independent Schools Inspectorate report from September 2012 gave the school an overall rating of ‘excellent.’