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News > School News > Founders' Day 2024 At Bury Grammar School

Founders' Day 2024 At Bury Grammar School

13 May 2024
School News

Founders’ Day is the most important occasion in our school year when we celebrate the re-founding of Bury Grammar School and give thanks to our benefactors and donors.

Here you will be able to see Bury Grammar School Founders' Day 2024 in pictures:

Please take a look at Bury Grammar School Founders’ Day 2024 in pictures: click here

You may also enjoy watching our time lapse video of the parade leaving Tenderten Street: click here

There are many more photographs and video footage from the day on our social media accounts too, accessible via these links which we hope you enjoy:



A Brief History of Bury Grammar School

Bury Grammar School Boys was founded in 1570 by Reverend Henry Bury, a wealthy philanthropic clergyman who was committed to educating the people of Bury, Reverend Peter Shaw, the Rector of Bury, and Edward Stanley, the third Earl of Derby, who gave land on which the School was built.

The stone dated 1625 in the wall fronting on Bridge Road is from the building on The Wylde; at this time only, boys were admitted!



1630 – 1640. Henry Dunster: Headmaster went to America and became First President of Harvard University.

1663. Roger Kay was born at Woodhill, Bury.

In 1726 Roger Kay bequeathed money for the re-founding of the School. With regard to girls, he said in his will of 1729, that ten ‘poor girls’ from the town of Bury might receive an education and learn to read well " be good accountants to fit ’em for Trades...”

In 1730. Ten girls were chosen according to Roger Kay’s statute by the three trustees: Rev. Mr. Lister, the master: Mr Edmund Pilkington, the usher: and Mrs Elisabeth Holt. A requirement of entry was the ability to read.

They were:

Elisabeth Openshaw

Ellin Buckley

Rachel Gordon

Mary Holt

Catherine Booth

Alice Kay

Dorothy Wolfenden

Catherine Wood

Mary Warburton

Jane Yates.


To discover more, our Bury Grammar School timeline can be viewed via this link on our School Website.

Today we are proud to have almost 700 girls and 700 boys attending Bury Grammar School and last week we all celebrated our school’s 454-year history.

It’s more of a Founders’ Week, rather than just one day and we begin with a Founders’ Day assembly to set the scene.


Founders’ Day Assembly – Tuesday 30th April 2024

Our week began with the Founders’ Day Assemblies which took place on Tuesday 30th April. In which our Senior School pupils heard from teachers Mr Cooper-Latham (Teacher of Biology, Head of House Derby and IC Army Section) and Miss Sherriff (Head of Year 10 Boys, Head of Geography), who are both former BGS pupils. The teachers fondly remembered their Founders’ Days and recollected how proud they are to have been a part in this special tradition in the history of our school.



Founders’ Day Concert - Wednesday 1st May

We were very happy to welcome guests to our Founders' Day Concert on Wednesday, and our pupils, as always, truly impressed!

The concert featured performances from BGSBeatz, our Symphony Orchestra, Festival Choir, Rock Ensemble, and Piano Soloist, the Flute Ensemble, Lads’ Vocal, a Guitar Solo, the String Ensemble and the finale saw fantastic performances from the Concert Band.

The soloists Connie P who played piano, Frank L played guitar, Sophia M and Helena S played violin performed with professionalism, ease and confidence, providing a real highlight of the evening, along with African Funk, the last piece of the evening!

For our Year 13 musicians, this concert was particularly meaningful as it marked their final BGS performance. It was clear that this event brought mixed emotions of pride tinged with a little sadness that this is the last time they will all perform together as students at BGS. It was heart-warming to see this emotion was also shared by their teachers, and proud parents in the audience.

Thank you so much to Miss Downing and Miss Britton, our Music Directors and everyone involved for making this event so very special!

You can see the programme from the evening here: Founders’ Day Concert Programme.



The Old Girls' Association AGM and Dinner - Thursday 2nd May 

It is tradition for the Old Girls’ Annual General Meeting and Dinner to take place the evening before Founders’ Day and is a wonderful opportunity for alumnae to re-group, catch up and enjoy each other’s company.

The affection the Old Girls have for their school is still so apparent and very special to witness.

Special thanks must go to our Old Girls' Association for their ongoing support of BGS and for their generous contribution to funding a bursary and a scholarship. In the Founders’ Day assembly two Dorothy Lester awards were presented to Year 13 students Emily H and Reilly C. This scholarship is in memory of a former and much-loved Headmistress, Miss Dorothy Lester. The award carries with it a monetary prize so pupils can organise independent travel with an educational benefit.



Founders' Day - Friday 3rd May

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Bury Grammar School Founders’ Day processions through the streets of Bury, to Bury Parish Church, is breath taking. Led by the Corps of Drums the school march or proceed with pride to the Bury Parish Church for the official Founders’ Day ceremony.

Before this however, our morning usually begins with a Communion Service at Bury Parish Church for who choose to join, led by Reverend Julian Heaton. Afterwards, guests enjoy breakfast at BGS whilst the whole school prepares for the procession.

Our school has a thriving Combined Cadet Force (CCF), bringing together an Army Section (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) and an RAF section (from 2019). Our CCF dates back to 1892, making it one of the oldest Combined Cadet Forces in the country with very close links to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers which is fitting owing to the town of Bury being the home-town to the Lancashire Fusiliers.



Combined Cadet Force

Mrs Grace Mehta (Wd Cdr (RAF Air Cadets) and CCF Contingent Commander / RAF Section Commander) and 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 and Year 8 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 Mrs Isobel Hinchliffe, and Mrs Hartley, Senior Teacher and DDSL, and Mrs Howard, Senior Teacher Inclusion, Head of PSHEE, joined by Reverend Samuel Eccleston. 

​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 B, Year 11. 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 Years 9 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.


Each year our wonderful choir play a crucial role in celebrating Founders’ Day, offering a tribute to the founders and benefactors of school through their songs. The choir expertly incorporate traditional songs or hymns that hold significance to our School's history and values. And, of course, music has a unique ability to evoke emotions and create a sense of unity stirring feelings of pride, nostalgia, and gratitude.



Participation in our school choir fosters a real sense of community among pupils providing an opportunity for pupils with different strengths, interests, and year groups, to come together, rehearse, and perform as one group, bonding friendships along the way.

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.

Click here to hear our school choir during Founders' Day

The Old Boys' Association Founders' Day Dinner, Friday 3rd May 2023

Each year on the evening of Founders’ Day, tradition is upheld by Bury Grammar School Old Boys when they hold their Founders’ Day Bury Dinner.

The evening began in the Old Boys’ Club Room, overlooking the cricket field, and was followed by a dinner in the Main Hall. Guest speaker Richard Bell (1984) attended, who most latterly served for five years as Managing Partner of Deloitte's Financial Advisory Business in the UK. He is a member of Deloitte's Global Financial Advisory Executive, is the Global Turnaround & Restructuring leader, and is focussed on Mergers & Acquisitions in the Sports Industry.

The Guest speaker was followed by a toast to the School which was proposed by Sameer Sheikh (1999), and the response was given by Jo Anderson, Principal.

It was an evening of reminiscing and laughter amongst friends.



Message from Jo Anderson, Principal

“As we celebrate our 454th year and honour the legacy of our founders and benefactors, we embrace the timeless values that have guided our school through centuries of excellence in education. Founders’ Day celebrates all the important factors that make our school so special: the pupils and students, the teachers, the support staff, the Governors, parents, and friends of our school and indeed the whole community. Thank you so much to our team at school, guests and supporters who made Founders’ Day 2024 such a special occasion. We are immensely proud of our school and look forward to the future with great optimism and confidence.”






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



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