Alumnae sing and celebrate
On Sunday 8th March, 170 alumnae spanning nine decades joined us for our 4th Annual Alumnae Reunion.
Our most senior guest was Catherine Mulgan, who taught History at South Hampstead from 1978 to 2002. Our most recent returning pupil was Sasha Charles, who left South Hampstead in 2015 and couldn’t resist the invitation to come and sing in our alumnae choir.
This was a very special day of celebration as we welcomed alumnae who had supported our Waterlow Hall Campaign to mark the completion of the project, and as we recognised International Women’s Day 2020. Our beautiful new Waterlow Hall was filled with bunches of mimosa, the flower chosen to represent International Women’s Day; in her speech, Headmistress Vicky Bingham drew on the significance of mimosa to the event:
‘The yellow colour is, of course, very South Hampstead. I am told that yellow has stood for wisdom and intellect throughout the ages. It represents personal power and fulfilment, abundance, courage and self-confidence and it is supposedly full of creative and intellectual energy – qualities in no short supply when in a room full of South Hampstead women. It is also the flower of reunification and means to ‘expand’ your life – whether referring to family, career or adventure. ‘
Reunion celebrations were of course the most important part of the day, with large groups of former pupils celebrating decade anniversaries since leaving South Hampstead. Thanks to the evolving Coronavirus situation, elbow bumps replaced handshakes and kisses – but the greetings, as old friends rediscovered each other, were no less warm. Many had travelled to join the celebrations, including three alumnae from North America; we were also delighted to welcome 30 former staff, including Headmistresses Averil Burgess and Jean Scott.
As part of the day, our Come & Sing choir met in the morning to rehearse with our Director of Music, Dr Steve Collisson; they then performed a lovely mini-concert dedicated to the memory of a former Head of Music, Jean Middlemiss. The concert concluded with all the alumnae joining together for a moving rendition of ‘O Joyful Light’, which has been sung at the end of term at South Hampstead since the 1940s, and is now the school song.
After tours of the new school, tea, cakes and more chat, the alumnae slowly drifted away into the late afternoon, with Mrs Bingham inviting them to take a sprig of mimosa as a memento:
‘To remind you of Jean Middlemiss’ ‘triumphant life’… to unite you with women around the world and to celebrate our reunion today.’
We look forward to welcoming more alumnae back again next year. In the meantime, please don’t forget to cast your vote for our South Hampstead nominee, Dr Jess Wade, in the GDST Alumna of the Year award.
You can download a copy of the Reunion Brochure here.