Heath Old Boys Association

News and events

Founder’s Day Celebration 2017

On Thursday, 15th June 2017, at 7.30 pm, the good Dr Favour gazed down puritanically from his timeless niche on the west wall of Halifax Minster. Perhaps he was amazed that his founding of a grammar school over 400 years ago in a barren northern clime is still being celebrated and in a form that he would recognise. For this is the third of its revived kind; he has had time to ponder and perhaps to be amused, though by all accounts he was a man not easily amused.

A view diagonally across the chancel of Halifax Minister showing the Heath Old Boys, the chamber choir and the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale in the top right of the picture next to the Ven. Dr Anne Dawtry
2017 Founder’s Day Service

The service again took the form of a complete evensong, that loveliest of liturgies, in the choir stalls, which were packed with civic dignitaries, Old Boys and their consorts, and those leading the service.

The Minster chamber choir, conducted by the Revd Dr Hilary Barber, sang magnificently from the opening Preces to the Magnificat to the Nunc Dimittis. G.P. Smith read the immortal ‘Let us now praise famous men’ passage and J. Robertshaw read a familiar but highly appropriate passage from Ephesians 6 while the collects were the Founder’s Collect and others that would be familiar to those who attended the school when W.R. Swale was Headmaster.

The address, given by the Archdeacon of Halifax, the Ven. Dr Anne Dawtry, focused on the theme of mutability and found meaningful links with both the readings and the hymns. We were all scholars once again.

The Chamber Choir, as well as singing the service, contributed ‘The heavens are telling’ from Haydn’s Creation as the anthem.

The Mayor with the bust of Dr John Favour to his right From left to right, the Mayoress, the Mayor, Sammun Mumraz, Head Girl, and Matthew Shaw, Head Boy, with the bust of Dr John Favour to their right
The Mayor beside the bust of Dr John Favour and the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale with Sammun Mumraz, Head Girl, and Matthew Shaw, Head Boy

We then processed down the central aisle to the west end of the Minster to gather before the the bust of the austere Doctor who was willy-nilly garlanded with a nosegay by the Head Girl and Head Boy. The Founder’s Collect was read and Chairman Jim Farrell read out a translation of the Latin inscription in the outer wall of the School House to which it was moved from the original school building:

The land was bad and barren all, with thickets overgrown;
Not fit for crops of any kind, but rough with horrid stone.
Then people warm with piety and holy in their thought
This greatest of religious works into existence brought,
To make the land of greatest good and bless the people too.
And so a blessing on the land, not on the owners, grew.
Long live the Queen Elizabeth who granted us such grace,
And prosper Thou, O God, this work, that it may never cease,
But live in vigour through all time. So, Christ, with this intent,
We give ourselves, we give our means, unto Thine honour bent.
A view from behind the refreshments table down the nave showing attenders partakig of the refreshments
Enjoying the refreshments

Proceedings concluded with a sumptuous buffet organised by Jon Hamer. Thanks go to the many people who helped to make the occasion such a success, the Archdeacon for leading the service, the vicar for hosting us, the Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale, Councillor Ferman Ali and his wife, for attending, Head Teacher designate, Mrs Lynnette Cassidy, the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Governors, the Head Girl and Head Boy, the choir, Jim Farrell for organising the event, the HOBA committee for their hard work and Jon Hamer and colleagues for organising the refreshments.

With its blend of spiritual, historic and social, it is hard now to see how this, now, annual event can be improved upon. Dr Favour would surely agree!

Rod Eastwood [1954–1961]