Bedales celebrates 125 years of education

Bedales Pre-Prep, Dunannie, Bedales Prep, Dunhurst, Bedales Senior

Celebrations to commemorate the 125th anniversary year of Bedales School came to a head at the end of term when the school held their annual Parents’ Day on 30 June.

Described as a “sun blasted, music saturated, joy crammed and amazingly positive and full blooded fanfare for Bedales” by Chairman of Governors Matthew Rice, current, past and prospective parents and students were treated to a wonderful day of exhibitions and events.

Among the day’s proceedings were tennis tournaments and presentations, a lower school production of there is a war (but it’s not here yet), two music concerts in the Lupton Hall, a series of Old Bedalian reunions ranging from 10 to 40 years, the traditional Stoner alumni XI vs Bedales cricket match, Old Bedalian Gyles Brandreth’s one-man show, Break a Leg, in aid of the John Badley (bursary) Foundation, and tea and jazz in the marquee.

Performance has also been the theme at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst and Pre-prep, Dunannie, with a triumphant Dunhurst Blocks (years 7 & 8) play, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a Dunhurst Summer concert that featured every pupil and included a medley from West Side Story, and a Dunannie Nursery leavers’ concert.

In the run-up to Bedales Parents’ Day, 24 students from Block 5 (year 11) and 6.2 (year 13) and teachers completed an arduous five-day 125km walk from the old Bedales in Lindfield, where the school spent its first six years from 1893, to the current estate in Steep.

The old school is now split into private residences, and the walkers were treated to a tour of the school and chatted with the owners before heading south down the Sussex Border Path to link up with the South Downs Way. Sleeping under canvas for three nights, the walkers also spent one night in the splendid jockey accommodation at the stables of Goodwood House.

The group was met back at Bedales on 29 June by 98 year old SAS veteran and Old Bedalian Mike Sadler, together with youngest member of the school, three year old Liberty Camping, before all school pupils and staff walked to the Memorial cricket pitch for a ‘125’ drone photo. To mark the occasion, Mike Sadler and Liberty then helped plant a tree using soil carried by the walkers from the original school site.

In the final week of term, there were also many tributes to Keith Budge by students, staff and governors as he leaves Bedales after 17 years as Headmaster. Magnus Bashaarat will take over as Headmaster in September.

Photobook of 125 celebrations | Gyles Brandreth | Mike Sadler news article (subscription may be required)