FORMER pupils and staff of The Queen Elizabeth’s School will be pouring into Mansfield this weekend to take part in the 450th Anniversary Celebrations.
More than 500 people from various parts of the world - including Australia and America - have booked their places for Saturday’s Reunion Garden Party.
And as Sunday’s Gala Day is an open invitation to the people of Mansfield to join in the fun - free of charge - QE School will undoubtedly become the town’s focus of attention this weekend.
John Carter, chairman of both the school’s governors and trustees, was insistent from the outset that the celebrations should involve everyone in Mansfield, not just those with a close association to the school.
He said: “Part of our responsibility as the Queen Elizabeth’s Trust is to create opportunities for sharing the school facilities and involving the community in the life of the school. This project fits perfectly with those objectives.
“Literally thousands of children have been educated at QE School over the past 450 years.
“Throughout that time it has been situated at the heart of life in Mansfield, and it’s only right that we should involve anyone who wants to join in the fun.
“The celebrations are an ideal chance to showcase the school and all its good work and I sincerely hope that people turn up in their droves for Sunday’s Gala Day.
“Very few schools reach the ripe old age of 450, and it’s a milestone of which to be hugely proud.”
Mr Carter believes that the demand for tickets to the Reunion Garden Party is confirmation f the high regard in which so many former pupils hold the school.
He added: “We’ve had lots of touching comments from people who attended QE School in its Grammar School Days, as well as since it became a comprehensive in 1993, and they are really looking forward to coming back and meeting up again with old friends.
“Our thinking at the outset was that we ought to do something special to mark the 450th anniversary ... and it has grown from there.
“It’s going to be on a much bigger scale than we originally envisaged - not least with Tuesday’s Royal Visit from the Duke of Gloucester - and we are delighted with the way things have worked out.”
Entertainment at the Garden Party will be provided by Blidworth Colliery Band and there will be performances on both the Saturday and Sunday of The Assignment, a specially commissioned play which celebrates the ups and downs of life at the school as well as Mansfield in general.
A whole host of activities are planned for the Gala Day and they have been carefully selected to reflect the school’s remarkable history - including a Victorian Fair, Elizabethan sword-play, a Craft Fair featuring old-fashioned skills, and music from the award-winning Thoresby Colliery Band.