Annual Alumnae Open Reunion 2018

On Saturday 9th June, the Development Team were delighted to welcome over 60 former pupils and staff back to Withington for a day of celebration at our Annual Open Reunion. Guests ranged in age from the Class of 1949 to Class of 2008, and it was particularly wonderful to welcome back a huge cohort from the Class of 1978, who were celebrating their 40th class-year anniversary.

Our day started in the Lecture Theatre, where guests were welcomed by Mrs Haslam, Toni Leden and Diane Hawkins (née Hutton, Class of 1975) the alumnae representative on the Board of Governors. This year’s reunion marked Toni’s last in the role of Development Director, as she is due to retire in the coming months, so as part of her speech Mrs Haslam presented Toni with a bunch of flowers to thank her for the worthwhile work she has done during her time at Withington.

Following the speeches Archivist Hannah Brown made a presentation about the new Digital Newsletter Archive, funded by the Withington Annual Fund, which allows anyone who wants to the opportunity to log-on to an online portal to view our entire archive of School Newsletters since the first one was published in 1904. Hannah gave us a demonstration of the software, and alumnae were excited at the prospect of looking through the newsletters themselves.

We then moved to the Junior School Hall to enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, prepared by Mrs Cartledge and her team, and celebratory glass of fizz. There were photos and archive materials on tables which provided prompts for our guests to catch up with one another and share memories from their school days.

The real highlight of the afternoon was the tour of the school, which included a first look at our new Sports Centre. Alumnae were delighted to see this fantastic new facility, and to hear about the benefits it would bring to the Withington community. Many of our guests were visiting us for the first time since they left school, and some had not returned to Withington for over 40 years. They were interested to find out about the changes that have taken place in the intervening years, both to the school building and to its curriculum, yet many commented on how the school still retained the same spirit and warmth as it had done when they were pupils here.

Following the tours, many of our guests convened in the Founders’ Room, where a wealth of interesting Archive resources was on display. Old Girls and former staff alike reminisced and shared memories until it was time to say farewell. Once again, the Open Reunion was a fantastic occasion, with everyone in attendance contributing to the wonderful, happy atmosphere of celebration. Many thanks to those who joined us on the day, as well as everyone who volunteered their time to help-out, including current staff and former pupils. The day was a great success, and we are looking forward to next year’s already!