OS Weekend Review

On the weekend of Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October, the OS Club was delighted to welcome back more than 200 Old Sedberghians, Staff, Parents and Friends of the School for an action-packed two days of sporting fixtures and both formal and informal socials. After the forced cancellation of last year’s OS Weekend, this year marked the largest gathering of Old Sedberghians for quite some time and this year was particularly special as we celebrated 20 years of girls at Sedbergh School.

Saturday commenced with two excellent lunches. Some 60 guests gathered for the President’s Lunch in the Hirst Centre as they enjoyed a buffet lunch in front of scenes of the 1st XV warming up for their first home game of the season against St Peter’s, York on Buskholme. Meanwhile, Guests of Honour- former Headmaster Christopher Hirst and former Sedbergh Junior School Headmistress Sara Hirst- hosted the Pioneer Girls’ Lunch with another 60 special guests in Robertson House along with Housemistress Hayley Christy.


The lunch was well-attended by many of the first girls at Sedbergh along with parents, current and former staff and friends of the School who were invaluable to the great success of this crucial time in the School’s 496-year history.


Past parent Penny Aubrey (formerly Clover) and her husband Nick were joined by Sara Hirst for the ribbon cutting and unveiling of a commemorative oak tree to mark the occasion, which now sits proudly alongside Winder Drive in front of Robertson House.

Saturday afternoon then saw two key sporting fixtures play out as SSFC’s 1st XV played the annual Wavell Wakefield match (held in honour of William Wavell Wakefield [SH 1912-1916]) against St Peter’s, York on Buskholme. Wet conditions saw a gutsy performance from both sides with Sedbergh delivering a spell of impressive tries in a gruelling 28-7 win in favour of the home side.

At the same time, the 1st XI School Hockey Team took on Stonyhurst College on the Astroturf, with the Sedbergh girls taking to the pitch for their fourth match of the week. The team showed great character and leadership in a hard-fought but convincing 7-0 victory over the visitors.

As the iconic Sedbergh mizzle settled in, some 180 guests assembled in smart attire for the OS Weekend Dinner which this year, after a number of years at The Black Bull Hotel, returned to Powell Hall. Guests were greeted and hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Jan van der Velde (L 77-92), and throughout the three-course meal were treated to enchanting performances from choristers Amelia Horan (C 16-21) and Ella Seymour (L 16-21), who were deftly accompanied by Amelia’s elder brother James Horan (W 12-17) on the piano. Newly ordained Rev. Olivia Haines (R 04-06) (the first female OS to do so) said the grace and guests later listened as the first female Head of School, Freya Findlay (R 03-08), eloquently delivered a moving speech in which she described what being a Sedberghian meant to her. Fellow former Head of School and OS Club Committee member, Maria Mendoza Guerrero (L 13-17) then gave the Loyal Toast- the first time in history for a female OS. Headmaster Dan Harrison warmly welcomed the Old Sedberghian community to the weekend and, at the end of the evening, OS Club President Brig. David Biggart, OBE (P 59-65) eloquently delivered the keynote speech on behalf of the OS Club to a captivated room. The Dinner ended in true Sedberghian style with a hearty rendition of ‘Winder‘ (in astounding unison).

The sun emerged the following morning as the Sporting Sunday commenced with the OS Commemoration Service in the School Chapel, with readings from OS Club President David Biggart and OS Club Chairman Jan van der Velde.

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At the Astroturf, many familiar faces were welcomed back as the 1st XI Hockey Team took on the OS girls for the first OS Hockey match in two years. A great game was played in fantastic spirit as the School came up trumps 5-2.


The OS vs. 1st VII Netball match in the Hirst Centre took place at the same time in similar spirit, in what was described as a full throttle match of super intensity and quality. The OS team provided a stern test for the current Cumbria County Champions, with a somewhat harsh scoreline of 28-6 in favour of the School team perhaps not accurately reflecting the well-contested and hard-fought encounter.

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Meanwhile, the OS Golf Team, comprising of (from middle to right) Lewis Smith (H 12-17), Sam Stewart (SH 12-17), Peter Johnston (H 54-59), John Walford (E 61-66), and Richard Witt (Past Parent/Staff), took on the School team in a six-a-side fixture for 9-holes on the Sedbergh Golf Course.

In the OS rifle match, the OS team comprising of Geoff Watson (E 89-94), Katherine Fleck (L 11-16), Anne Fleck (Honorary OS), Lauren Robinson (L 05-10) and Lewis Smith (H 12-17) took on the impressive School Senior Squad in a tightly contested encounter.

Please see a report below from coach Mr Christy:

A very good afternoon of shooting and a very tight match between the OS and the senior squad.

Geoff, Katherine, newly appointed Honorary OS, Anne, Lauren, and Lewis made up a formidable opposition to Sedbergh with no less than two GB shooters amongst their five. With Katherine, Geoff and Anne opening for the OS’s.

Katherine set the benchmark for the OS team and the match, with a group of 13mm, which was equalled but not bettered throughout the entire afternoon. Sedbergh were up next to shoot and solid performances from the seniors resulted in four equal scores of 20mm each from Ollie, Sarah, Keira and Tsvetana.

That left the bottom order for both teams to decide the outcome of match, the OS team declared that anyone whose name began with ‘L’ should go last, so that left Lauren and Lewis to shoot. Both shooters put in very strong cards of 15 and 16mm respectively, which left the Senior squad having to shoot for the match. Imi and George both shot for Sedbergh and being super-numerary decided they would take the average of their two cards as a single score, giving an average of 14.5mm rounded up to 15.

Afterwards as cups of tea and a considerable number of biscuits were consumed, Mr Christy had to contend with several friendly protests by the members of one, particularly overly competitive OS family (who will remain anonymous), it was finally decided to call the match a draw, and set about the important task of finishing the tea and biscuits in an act of reconciliation.

Match – Prone .22” supported at 25 Yds onto 10m single Pistol diagrams, grouping size to count.

Course of Fire – Three sighters followed by 10 to count


Geoff Watson26Ollie20
Katherine Fleck 13Sarah20
Anne Fleck 19Tsvetana20
Lauren Robinson15Keira20
Lewis Smith16Imi13 )
  George16 ) 15
TOTAL115 95
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Finally, the most emotional moment of the weekend occurred at the Henry Foster Memorial Match between the Old Sedberghians and the Anti-Assassins on Buskholme. The special match was held in memory of Henry Foster (W 16-18) who tragically passed away in the spring of this year. The OS team put on a brilliant performance to triumph 46-17 over the Anti-Assassins. After the match, friends and family of Henry then attended a moving service during the presentation of a commemorative tree and plaque outside Winder House in what was a poignant end to an exciting and memorable weekend.

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Many congratulations to those involved in ensuring the weekend was a rousing success. We hope to see you all back again next year!

Please see below for some additional photos:

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