Generations of past pupils help South Downs school celebrate 150th birthday: Pictures
Around 150 people were welcomed by staff in Victorian costumes to Ashurst CE Primary School at a special Open Day with displays of photographs, films and memorabilia spanning across the 150 years.
The displays included historical documents from a century ago, local Ashurst Village history and many happy memories of events throughout the time right up to the present day.
There were many memories jogged, including about typical school days: the cold old swimming pool – long since taken away – old heating systems, school dinners and the many outings, residential visits and fun that has been had at the school over that time.
School spokesperson Mandy Hedley said: “It was an absolute joy to see past pupils and local residents meeting up again. On the day there were many old friendships rekindled and new friendships made.
"The school was also honoured to have three ninety-five+year olds who came along to help us celebrate.”
These included former pupil Mr John Eaton, Mrs Christine Jesse, a long-term governor; and the wife of a former headteacher, Mrs Zahoui, who lived in the School House part of the building before it was converted into part of the school many years ago.
Ashurst CE Primary School was packed throughout the day, a tribute to the fond memories that are held by past pupils and staff. It was also a chance for new residents in the village, along with current parents’ pupils, to see the part the school has played in village life throughout the years.
South Downs MP Andrew Griffith also helped the school to celebrate the occasion by planting a Liquid Amber tree in a new woodland play area. This was followed by the Bishop of Horsham, the Rt Rev Ruth Bushyager, leading an inspirational assembly before cutting a ribbon to formally open the play area – now named ‘King’s Grove’, by popular vote of the pupils.
This was followed by a lively and fun evening event held in Ashurst Village Hall, organised by the Friends of Ashurst Primary School, which included a local band, pancake food stall and bar. The evening ended with a firework display enjoyed by all.