This week we are saying goodbye to several members of BGS staff who, between them, have given over 100 years service to the school. Some of our younger leavers have only been with us a few years -working as valued members of our learning support department or as cover supervisors. They are now going off to train as teachers themselves (good luck to Adam Taylor and Laura Gibbins) or, as is the case with Amelia and Alice going travelling. First stop: Budapest. We are also saying goodbye to Rebecca Marshall (English and Theatre Studies), Alex Barnes (English) and Mark Desborough (Computing) who between them have given 19 years of excellent service to the school. Mark is out on the field every lunchtime, chatting to our boys and taking the occasional penalty kick.
Special mentions, however, must be given to the following, extremely long-serving triumvirate: Joya Chisholm, school social worker (22 years); Mark Parish, Science (22 years) and Chris Elvidge, Geography (34 years). The most amazing thing about these three is the fact that they still tackle each day as if it is a fresh start; treating each new intake of boys as a unique collection of individuals with their own brilliance, potential and anxieties.
To celebrate our leavers we had a series of speeches after school on Wednesday where colleagues (thank you Mrs Mckee, Mrs Brown, Mr Hamshaw-Hart, Mr Wilkinson and Mr Gibson) paid tribute to the dedication and attributes of our leavers. It was an affectionate, humorous, and moving occasion. A bit like the episode of Blackadder when they ‘go over the top’. Without the death.
Chris Elvidge has taught something in the region of twenty-eight thousand lessons at BGS. That the number of boys opting to undertake GSCE Geography remains as strong as ever is testament to the experience, energy and enthusiasm that Chris puts in to the delivery of his lessons, day, after day, year after year. We have also lost our own BGS double act. Chris, for 24 years (“He has divorced me one year before our silver anniversary”) has been the Ernie to Mr Gibson’s Eric. The Ronnie Corbett to his Ronnie Barker.
We wish all of our leavers the very best for their futures and thank them immensely on behalf of all the thousands of students whom they have inspired during their time at BGS.
And to Chris Elvidge, Mark Parish, Joya Chisholm: you are truly remarkable.