The St Michael’s Day festivities spread beyond the school and out into the community when Bishop Stephen joined staff and pupils in the traditional processional circuit of Hadleigh Road and London Road in commemoration of patron saint, St Michael.
The Bishop, a former Belfairs School pupil, told St Michael’s School pupils that the processional route, was especially significant for him as he was born in Hadleigh Road.
Each pupil created a colourful St Michael’s Day flag or pennant decorated with crepe ribbons. The theme was depicted throughout the school. Nursery pupils illustrated God’s Love with hearts, reception pupils showed the Michaelmas daisy, Year 1 produced dragon designs and the rest of the school carried pennants depicting St Michael.
At the close of the communion service, held in the school playground, Bishop Stephen cut a 90th anniversary cake assisted by his wife Rebecca.
Mrs Cottrell was Deputy Head girl at St Michael’s School in 1970 when it functioned as an Anglican religious community under the Order of the Holy Paraclete. Rebecca shared a photograph with the school of her younger sister Katie a former pupil 40 years ago at the 50th anniversary cake cutting conducted by nun Sister Olive.
Pupils held celebrations throughout the day and in the evening there was a service in the schoolChapel followed by a Thanksgiving dinner in the school hall for present and past members of the school community.
A special anniversary Year Book, to be published before Christmas, charts the school’s success and growth with anecdotes and memories from past pupils and staff. It includes early chronicles of the school as a convent community founded by St Michael’s and All Angels in 1922 with 12 day pupils and seven boarders. It came under the auspices of the Order of the Holy Paraclete before being handed over to Chelmsford Diocese in 1972 when the remaining nuns left.
This year’s celebrations have included a 90th anniversary exhibition of old school photographs, artifacts and work produced by each year group focusing on one of the nine decades of the school’s achievement and a colourful anniversary pageant
Headmaster Stephen Tompkins said:
“ It was wonderful to have Bishop Stephen to lead our 90th anniversary celebrations on St Michael’s Day.
The visit emphasized the strong links that have existed between the school and the local community over many years. I am quite sure that the children will always look back with fondness to this special day. ”