Crossley Heath Prizegiving 2022

The 2022 Prizegiving took place on 19 December 2022.

Jim Farrell [1977–1982] writes:

I attended the Crossley Heath School Prizegiving. This took place after the heating failed on the morning of a bitterly cold day which threatened the cancellation of the proceedings. However, the elite infrastructure, robust systems and protocols gave rise to a skilled intervention (Caretaker/Plumber) which saved the day.

The evening had a slight change of format from previous years with the ‘meet and greet’ of dignitaries, honoured guests and ‘us what is knowing the upper class folk,’ taking place in the main hall. After being welcomed by the Head Girl and Boy, Sloka Jami and Sai Karumuri (who are hoping to study Medicine at Newcastle and Economics in London respectively), we made our way to the bedecked and transformed sports hall where the top table speakers processed to a brass ensemble fanfare of ‘Marathon Runner’ (John Miller) ... most impressive.

The proceedings commenced with opening remarks from one of the Governors (not mentioned in the programme and whose name I missed!). He welcomed everyone, formally congratulated all and spoke briefly about pride in The School, education, pupils and parents.

The school choir formed in rank at the front similar to one side of a British square. They sang and were led beautifully; it was quite stunning and modern!

As the choir silently dispersed the audience awaited the words of Mrs Lynette Cassidy, Head Teacher. After acquainting us with staff retirements and changes her speech reflected on the ‘Class of 2022’ whose education thus far had been exceptional due to Covid. They are the first year post pandemic to sit exams again and will always have that common bond, that they were educated through such a traumatic time. She praised them and their families’ achievements and wished them every success in the future.

What followed was a slick and proud presentation to all successful pupils. On a personal note, David Harrison is a Heath Old Boy and contemporary of mine as both he and his wife, Liz, watched their daughter received a prize — a proud yet sharp reminder of The Continuum.

Guest speaker Dr Richard Armitage took the podium; after leaving Crossley Heath School in 2007, he trained in Nottingham as a Medical Doctor and now practices there as a GP. However, this young man has more to him than meets the eye. He has gone on (whilst still actively being a GP) to attain further qualifications in both Public Health and Research and is an Associate Professor. He has also set up and runs several Heath Care Charities. His speech consisted of his thorough enjoyment and gratitude for the time he was at Crossley Heath School and all those involved in his educative start. He proceeded to give us three ‘Adventures:’

  1. His involvement with Covid, his pride in knowing ‘this is what I trained for,’ ‘this is my time.’ His input led into the fundamental plans nationally to deal with the problems of Covid, its effect on society and the personal loss of his mother;
  2. He described working abroad in refugee camps and war torn areas in this case specifically The Ukraine right now. Being at the forefront of trauma and re-establishing the Health Care structure — a chastening time when all is rubble and you’re being shelled both politically and physically. He is returning to The Ukraine in January.
  3. The final ‘Adventure’ was to state that he had donated a kidney this year, not to a sibling, just a random gift to an unknown donor! He felt his need for it was out weighed by others... remember he is still only a young man! To say it was one of the most inspiring speeches I have heard is a complete understatement.

After the silence which follows something extraordinary there is an applause which is discordant as your mind thinks on what should I do?

At this point I was thinking, ‘I'm so glad I don't have to follow that!’ Enter the young female Pianist, Abbie Gilligan from Crossley Heath School, who was brilliant. Remember the name.

Up next, Mrs Virginia Lloyd DL. I hoped this would not be a dry formulaic speech. Knowing this lady I was confident it would not be and I was right. Another thoroughly dynamic, motivational and relevant speech, telling all of how she left school with two O Levels... disaffected. ‘The only person who could change my lot was myself.’ She told the audience how she decided to make a change and by her mid twenties had qualified as a Solicitor. Later in life with her husband they developed a multi-million pound business. She also sits on several Charity Boards and is a key player in the arts via Opera North and The Hepworth Gallery to name just two. She points out, from her start, ‘If I can do this, think what you can achieve,’ ‘improve your own Town and environment as well as the World.’ Powerful stuff.

Sloka Jami and Sai Karumuri gave thanks and gifts to the Guest speakers and the Head.

William Blake’s 'Jerusalem' rang out to the final procession — while I for one pondered my next move.

All guests and prize winners were invited to light refreshments in the main hall.

I came away thinking, ‘The future is bright.’

Not bad for a Cold Wednesday in Halifax!

Among the prizes presented were:

A list of prizewinners from the Speech Day programme
Extract from the Speech Day programme
A list of A Level and GCSE certificate winners from the Speech Day programme
A Level and GCSE certificate winners