Tuesday May 3rd 2016 dawned bright, sunny and rain free! The school garden was blooming, the refreshments had been prepared, the children had learnt and practised their songs, the guests had been invited, the prayer written, the tree purchased. But what was it all for..?
It was in 1906, that a Miss Maud Chignell first opened the doors to Lyonsdown School – a new ”school for girls and kindergarten” in Richmond Road New Barnet.
Since its foundations, the school has grown and developed to become one of London’s leading, successful small day schools, keeping faith with its Christian founding values and principles of right conduct, kindness, non-violence, honesty and integrity, which today are manifest in its motto “Pride of Place”.
We combined the 110th anniversary with a tree planting ceremony in memory of Mrs Doris Sortain, Headmistress of Lyonsdown from 1954 to 1983, and were pleased to be able to welcome back two previous Headmistresses: Mrs Dorothy Rickards and Mrs Roberta Molloy, as well as several ex teachers, staff, governors, pupils, parents, Head teachers from other schools in the area and Mr Julian Templeton, Minister from St John’s United Reformed Church in Somerset Road, New Barnet. Present too, was our Chair of Governors, Ms Andrea Morley and other members of the current governing body, alongside some of our current parents.
We were especially honoured that Mr David Burrowes MP, and ex Lyonsdown boy, was able to join us as our special guest and speaker. Mr Burrowes remembered fondly, his time at Lyonsdown, recalling Mrs Sortain as a formidable yet caring Headmistress – wanting all of her charges to achieve their very best. However the young David did remember being told off by Mrs Sortain for forgetting his lunch box one day, and says that to this day, he still makes sure that he doesn’t forget his lunch when in Parliament! Yes, early firm foundations really do last a lifetime!
As you can see from the photographs, the morning was enjoyed by all. A special thank you goes to the FLS, staff and all who helped make the day so memorable.
The prayer, especially written for the occasion and read by our Head and Deputy Head girls, Alisha and Nikita.
Today we have come together to celebrate 110 years of life and learning at Lyonsdown School. We give thanks to our founder, Miss Maud Chignell and all subsequent Head Teachers, including Mrs Doris Sortain, who have faithfully carried the mantle of the founding values and principles of our wonderful school across the decades.
We give thanks too, for all the teachers and staff who have been instrumental in shaping and guiding the early lives of thousands of boys and girls, setting them on a path to lead successful, fulfilling lives with a clear sense of service, kindness, tolerance and respect towards others.
We also acknowledge the selfless service of all our governors and parents who have guided and supported the school in so many ways over the past 110 years, giving freely of their time, energy and commitment, and so helping to shape Lyonsdown into the thriving, happy school we see today.
Lord, bless our pupils and their families. Continue to care for our school, today and tomorrow. Let us all keep dear, the values and principles set down by our founder, in true fulfilment of our school motto: Pride of Place.