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News > School News > Bury Grammar School Founders' Day 2023

Bury Grammar School Founders' Day 2023

9 May 2023
United Kingdom
School News

Bury Grammar School Founders' Day 2023 in pictures

Bury Grammar School Founders' Day 2023 

On Founders’ Day Bury Grammar School celebrates the re-founding of our School and gives thanks to our benefactors and donors. Founders’ Day has many long-standing traditions dating back many generations to 1730. Last week we celebrated our 453-year history. 

The cadets who paraded in their ceremonial blues uniform playing in the Corps of Drums were outstanding as they lead the whole school from school to the Bury Parish Church. However, Founders’ Day is not just about the Friday which sees the parade and services; there is, in fact, a whole week of events.

Founders’ Day Assembly – Tuesday 2nd May

The week began with the Founders’ Day Assemblies which took place on Tuesday 2nd May. This year Ms Cromey (Teacher of English) and Miss Sherriff (Head of Year 7 Girls, Teacher of Geography) led the assemblies, with our special guest in the Senior Girls’ School, Mrs Robinson, Chair of the Old Girls’ Association. The teachers remembered their Founders’ Days at BGS as pupils and recollected how this feels even more important to them now, as they enjoy their very first Founders’ Day as teachers at their favourite school. They talked about what Founders’ Day means to them and we heard messages of hope, generosity and the value of education. Some of our talented Year 7 pupils recited the Founders’ Day poems they had written, which you can read here: 

Year 7 Founders' Day Poems

We also heard that in 1823 the school logo was changed from the Manchester worker bee, symbolising diligence and perseverance to the swan that we use today symbolising wisdom and understanding, making the swan logo 200 years old this year.

Founders’ Day Concert, Wednesday 3rd May

We warmly welcomed our guests into school to our celebratory Founders' Day Concert on Wednesday and our talented pupils did not disappoint! 

Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Lads' Vocal, BGSBeatz, Wind Ensemble and Festival Choir all performed in the first half of the concert.  Special highlights were solos from Louie and Katie who are both in Year 13 and leave us this year.   

The second half of the concert was a performance of Vivaldi's Gloria.  Pupils from across the school were joined by a professional ensemble to perform this ambitious work.  Sophia, Abby and Chloe all performed beautifully as soloists.

The concert was particularly poignant for our Year 13 musicians, for whom this was their last BGS concert, and it was clear it meant a great deal to them and their teachers, along with everyone who took part.

Many thanks to everyone involved in this special event.

Rehearsal for Founders’ Day, Thursday 4th May

Thursday was a hive of activity as rehearsals took place in school and, for Year 13s, in the Parish Church where all the run-throughs went smoothly! The School Captains practiced their readings, the Choir sang beautifully, and our prefects rehearsed the coordination for the collection perfectly. 

You can hear our incredible choir singing Zadok the Priest here:

Choir Video of Zadok the Priest

The Old Girls' Association AGM and Dinner, Thursday 4th May

A wonderful time was had by all at the Old Girls’ Association Dinner and AGM, which was held at the Greenmount Golf Club and provided an evening of reminiscences and laughter. Many thanks to the Old Girls’ Association, who fund a bursary and a scholarship, and to all our Old Girls who themselves support the School and the Bursary Fund, continuing the theme of altruism which was central to Bury Grammar School’s founding principles.

Founders' Day, Friday 5th May

An exciting day of Founders’ Day celebrations began with the traditional morning Communion Service at Bury Parish Church, led by Reverend Julian Heaton. Afterwards, guests enjoyed breakfast at BGS whilst the whole school prepared for the procession from BGS to Bury Parish Church with the CCF - a very proud moment for the School. 

Did you know that our CCF is now one of the oldest and, we believe, the largest voluntary CCFs in the country? 

In 1892 Reverend William Henry Howlett founded the BGS Cadet Corps. This became the current Combined Cadet Force which today has well over 100 members - both boys and girls - and retains strong links with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. The Combined Cadet Force, with its Corps of Drums in their Blues, traditionally leads the procession on Founders' Day from the School to the Parish Church. 

As the first few beats of the drums were heard, the memories came flooding back for all those of us who had experienced Founders’ Day before. The CCF led the way, out of the School gates, followed by the Principal and Senior Leaders, Governors and Senior Prefects, watched by the School, who joined the procession as it passed Bridge Road.  

Junior pupils and Seniors in Year 7 to Year 9 accompanied the parade up to Bury Parish Church, after which they looped back to School for Founders’ Day Assemblies in the Primary Division Hall and the Roger Kay Hall. These assemblies were led by Mrs Howard, our Primary Principal joined by Pat Lomas (Granny Lomas), and Mrs Hartley, our Acting Deputy Head Pastoral (Girls), and Mrs Howard, our Head of Year 7 (Boys).  

On arriving in the centre of Bury, our pupils, CCF and school leaders paused at the Cenotaph to remember our Fallen Swans and all those who died in the First and Second World Wars. The RSM and School Captain laid the wreath, and the Last Post was played by Hattie Bluer, Year 10. This provided the crowds that had gathered and the School with the time to take a moment to reflect and give thanks.  

The service conducted in Bury Parish Church was attended by pupils in Year 10 to Year 13, the CCF, teachers and support staff, Governors, supporters and friends of the School and local dignitaries. The protocol, hymns, readings, dedications and music followed the same format adopted by many previous generations.  

Founders’ Day has been one of the major events on the School calendar for many generations and we have always celebrated the day with services at Bury Parish Church. The intertwining history between the School and the Church goes back hundreds of years and we thank them for their support, Revd Heaton for leading the service and for his wonderful sermon.  

As the Choir sang and the School Standards were once again paraded through the Church, many of us were instantly taken back to Founders’ Days gone by. Staff and pupils who have joined BGS since September 2022 were taken aback by the scale of the event and have, we hope, enjoyed creating their own new memories.

Following the service, our School Governors, Principal and Senior Leaders were joined by staff, supporters and friends of Bury Grammar School for a very special Founders’ Day lunch. This is one of the important traditions of the day that brings people together, thanking them for their support and looking forward to the future for a school that is as special as ours.

It was heart-warming to see how many former pupils, staff, Governors and friends of the School took time out of their busy lives to travel (in some cases, hundreds of miles) to be with us on Founders’ Day.

We were also quite overwhelmed by the number of people who lined the streets of Bury to watch the parade and who came to pay their respects at the Cenotaph.

What does this mean for the pupils of today? The opportunity to be part of something special, to learn how to conduct oneself at a formal event, to experience a unique occasion, to give thanks for our education and to create memories which may be of comfort in years to come. 

The Old Boys' Association Founders' Day Dinner, Friday 5th May 2023 

Following the daytime events, the Old Boys’ Association met for their annual Bury Dinner, traditionally held on the evening of Founders’ Day. The Main Hall was filled with laughter and memories and a marvelous evening was had by all!

Chairman Bill Ullathorne (Class of 1972) was joined by School Captain, Tommy and Vice-Captain, Joe. Thank you to Old Boy and Guest of Honour, Peter Brathwaite (Class of 2002) an internationally acclaimed opera singer, who delivered an insightful and interesting speech about his work and journey through the creative arts, and how Bury Grammar School helped to instill the strong foundations for his future career.

Message from Richard Smyth, Chair of Governors 

Message from Jo Anderson, Principal





Bury Grammar School
Tenterden Street, Bury
Lancashire, BL9 0HN



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