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ELMSLIE TODAY -The Newsletter of the Elmslie Old Girls’ Association Centenary Edition. 1918 - 2018

Updated: Sep 27, 2018

A note from your Committee

Dear Members

Welcome to a rather special, Centenary Edition of Elmslie Today.

2018 saw hundreds of Elmslie Old Girls, along with their families and friends, attend a weekend of celebrations of our School.

It was in 2015 that Miss Smithies initially mentioned the importance of 2018 and, we spent months meeting and planning a series of events for a lovely May weekend.

Alison, Val and myself will forever be grateful for the help and support that we received from the various sub-committees and, we have invited the organisers of each event to say a few words.

We hope that you enjoyed some or all of the events and will enjoy reminiscing with us on a weekend that exceeded our expectations. As we spent many a cold and blustery night, meeting at the Imperial, discussing the arrangements, we could only hope to have so many successful events and, we were not disappointed.

We now look to the future and invite all Elmslie Girls to the AGM at the Imperial Hotel on Monday, 24th September at 7:30 p.m.

There are more details towards the end of this newsletter.

From Alison, Val and Barbara, thank you.

The Cocktail Party

The Elmslie centenary celebration weekend kicked off in fabulous style with the Cocktail Party at the Beach House as the sun set over the Irish Sea. We were lucky enough to catch up and sip cocktails under the watch of Blackpool Tower. In fact, the purple and gold cocktails proved so popular they needed to get in reinforcements! Old friendships truly were renewed, helped with lots of photographs around the tables. The Elmslie Girls' Facebook Group was immediately awash with post after post of gaggles and giggles of gals. Mrs. Humpage's lovely speech brought back those years at school and we'd like to think that the school buildings themselves, back on Whitegate Drive, could hear our rendition of the school song. A huge thank you to the welcoming committee on the door - we all appreciated the badges as we all looked a 'bit' different from our school photos!

Roll on next time!

Amanda Munden (Haslam) 1981-1988 & Louise Carter (O'Toole) 1984-1992

The Sparkling Reception and Light Supper

Around 50 “old girls” arrived at The Imperial to share stories, meet old friends and view the fantastic display of memorabilia on the Friday evening of our Centenary Weekend.

The Imperial Hotel Blackpool has hosted all of our Centenary Planning Meetings as well as Annual School Reunions for the past 10 years so it was fitting to open our weekend of celebration at the hotel with a light supper and sparkling wine. It was also a delightful alternative for those of us wishing to meet in a more quiet and relaxed atmosphere. (Others alternatively met at the Beach House for the Cocktail Party).

Guests checked in at an old school desk and were offered sparkling wine whilst they connected with school friends - some not seen for around 50 years or more! Our ‘light supper’ of Chicken a la King and rice was served with more sparkling wine so when we heard the girls at the Beach House Cocktail Party were singing the School Song we couldn’t resist our own rendition!

The School Song.. “Omne Bonum” was to resonate throughout the whole weekend, which was an emotional and perfect time of remembrance and celebration.

The scene was set for what proved to be a full weekend of memories, friendships, tears and laughter. The Louis Room was filled with displays and photographs from every decade of the school life. There were the honour boards of degrees awarded to past girls and year photographs from the late 40s to the 90s. There were photograph albums of Elmslie plays and fashion shows and holidays abroad. There was also a slide show of over 200 photographs from Miss Brodie and the original school to photographs of the school and pupils in the 1990s. Mannequins around the room were clothed in various items of school attire, including a purple track suit that no one could remember!! The room was open for girls to visit, meet, chat and reminisce throughout the weekend.

The Sparkling Reception got things off to a fantastic start with time to ponder over school memorabilia and there was definitely the “the spirit of Elmslie” felt by everyone who attended.

Valerie Williams (Goulding)

Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving

"It matters much more what a girl is than what she does, and if you have learned to work hard, play hard, keep faith, forget self, help others, you will have begun to be, in the highest sense of the word, a useful member of society".

Miss Elizabeth Brodie, School Magazine 1928

The Centenary Service was, for many, the most important of our centenary celebrations. its venue was St Paul's Church with which the school had a long and happy association and in which the School Banner now hangs. Its theme was, not surprisingly, "Omne Bonum Dei Donum". Its purpose was to give thanks and praise to God for all that Elmslie meant to each of us as either teacher or pupil there, whilst reflecting something of the school's history. All the twenty seven participants, including the Minister, were Old Girls or ex-staff drawn from each of the former Head Mistresses' era. Even the organist was the father of a former pupil. It was a true Elmslie occasion given excellent support from the Churchwarden and helpers of St Paul's. The large congregation enjoyed the service and expressed warm thanks for the happy memories it evoked. There were a few tears too!

As might be expected, the hymns were all well-known at Elmslie - 'Lift High the Cross', 'Praise my Soul the King of Heaven', 'Now Thank We All Our God', the School Hymn: '~Unto Thy Throne' and 'The Day Thou Gavest'. this last hymn, so often sung at Leavers' Evensong, was included, as were the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, by popular request despite the morning hour of the service.

Familiar from school services, the two lessons were taken from St Paul's Epistles; Philippians 2 v1-11 urges us to "look not only to our own interests but also the interests of others" and Romans 8 v31-39 reminds us that nothing can "separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord".

The Prayers of Praise and Thanksgiving included the well-loved and beautiful General Thanksgiving from the Book of Common Prayer and the Intercessions included the School Prayer and the Collect of St Ursula.

The sermon illustrated the ways in which Miss Brodie's aims for the school were both fulfilled throughout the many changes over the years and also inspired all of us who were privileged to be a pupil or teacher there to be a "useful member of society".

At the end of the service everyone joined enthusiastically in the School Song, which resulted in a few more tears! The retiring collection raised £600 which was divided equally between St Paul's Church and the Children's Society. The service booklet itself was designed also to be a souvenir of the Elmslie Centenary Celebrations.

We are very grateful to everyone who helped in any way to make our Centenary Service so successful and memorable.

Elizabeth Smithies


In the early days of planning for the Centenary Celebrations I was thrilled that the Imperial Hotel was

willing to let us have the exquisite Louis Room for the whole weekend. This meant that I could show as many old girls as possible my collection of photographic albums and memorabilia from my 38 years association with Elmslie.

My collection from the Brodie years is small as I was small, but I do have a fantastic album of Miss Jean and Miss Peggy Brodie at the Winter Gardens for a school ball, and Val Williams, our Treasurer, brought another wonderful Brodie album.

My collection of albums date mainly from 1978 to 2000 when the school closed. They show many aspects of school life including fashion parades, summer balls, art exhibitions, flower festivals, bonfire nights, school trips, young enterprise, and sponsored walks to name a few.

If anyone is interested in seeing them, who didn't come to the Centenary Weekend, please contact me on 01772 379967.

Thank you especially to Val for bringing her memorabilia and setting up the fantastic videos, to Margaret Rodwell for her contribution and to Jane Tyson and Miss Smithies for the loan of school uniforms. It was really lovely that old girls appeared over the weekend contributing items.

Special thanks to Maggie Woodings for helping me set up on Friday morning which stretched to 4pm!

Also sincere thanks to Jill and Peter Atherton (Waltons Coaches) for helping me transport everything to the Imperial Hotel and very importantly transporting everything back to our barn at home on Sunday.

That brings me to my next thank you to all the wonderful friends who helped clear up, it was quite a challenge.

Finally, it was such a thrill to see the Louis Room full of people at all times of day over the whole weekend sharing special Elmslie memories. Thank you to all the committee members for your support and encouragement.

Elmslie was and always will be in our hearts.

Sue Humpage Hon. Chairman

Gala Dinner and Dance

The Gala Dinner Dance held on Saturday 19th May 2018 at The Imperial Hotel was a very special, happy and memorable event. It was well attended by a very wide age range from Brodie Girls to the last to leave in2000 when the school closed. The event was open to Old Girls, Staff, Friends of the School and their Family and Friends. It was wonderful to see that the family ties are still so strong. A lot of people had travelled a long way, including France and the USA, and this meant so much.

The evening started with a sparkling reception in the Louis Room where a delightful pianist provided beautiful background music. The Louis Room was also filled with memorabilia which everyone enjoyed looking at.

The Imperial Hotel looked after us very well and following the reception we all moved to the Lancastrian Room to be served an excellent meal.

The highlight of the evening was the Toast to Elmslie School given By Carrie Longton Taylor (1977-1983) co-founder of mu Her words were truly inspirational and captivated everyone in the room.

A standing ovation was certainly deserved. Miss Smithies, who had been Carrie's Headmistress thanked her, from us all, in glowing terms.

A very special moment and an astonishing surprise came, when Miss Smithies spoke some very kind words and presented me with Miss Brodie's Brooch. I was and, I am still, deeply honoured and I will treasure and wear it with pride, especially as I was a Brodie girl.

To finalise the formal part of the evening we all sang heartily the School Song accompanied by the Band's excellent pianist. "When our school days are behind us and fresh duties we pursue, memories then will crowd upon us and old friendships we'll renew”

The evening was then made complete with the wonderful band. They were a joy to dance to, a joy to listen to and a joy to watch. What a difference when the Band are enjoying it too. A big thank you to Matthew Hardy and his Band, Mr Swing's Dance Orchestra. You made the evening even more special.

If anyone wanted a quiet time the Louis Room was available with seating, flowers, candles and so much to look at.

Thank you to Beaverbrooks, through Susie Nicholas, for donating such a beautiful diamond pendant for the envelope raffle, which raised £704.15 to be shared equally between the Elmslie Old Girls Association and local children's charities.

Thank you also to everyone who helped, encouraged and supported us and especially the Centenary Committee.

Sue Humpage: Hon. Chairman

Malcolm Humpage: Centenary Treasurer and Bookings

Afternoon Tea

The Elmslie Centenary weekend was brought to a close at the Imperial Hotel with a beautiful afternoon tea, accompanied by a selection of music played by a string quartet from the Minstrel’s Gallery. During the afternoon, we had a magnificent musical interlude from two Elmslie stars - Nicola (Eaves) Wood and Jane Wilkinson who sang 2 duets and 2 solos and at the end the Elmslie school song was sung again with much gusto. Congratulations to all the musicians and the Imperial Hotel for such a wonderful end to our weekend.

Margaret Rodwell

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