Soham Grammarians
Lower School Speech Day, Wednesday 16th July 1969

Roman pageant is high spot of Soham speech day

Boys from the Lower School at Soham Grammar School broke away from the traditional form of speech day last Wednesday afternoon, when they presented a colourful Roman pageant for parents and friends after the formalities of the day were finished.

The boys donned shields, helmets, armour and packs to depict the XIV Roman Legion pitching their 10th camp at Soham on the late evening of July 10th, 146 AD after completing a three-year tour of duty on Hadrian's Wall. An authentic touch was provided by the mounted Centurion who rode at the head of the column, and realism was added when the invaders took shelter behind their stockade to resist an attack by a group of barbaric-looking natives. The 120 costumes took a term and a half to make during craft periods.

In a short address the headmaster, Mr EA Armitage, congratulated two past Grammarians, Geoffrey Allen and Peter Coxhead, on gaining first [class] degrees at Oxford and Cambridge. "For a small school like Soham Grammar School, in a place nobody outside Cambridge and few even in Cambridge have ever heard of, to have gained the highest honours in their examination at Oxford and Cambridge is something worthy of calling attention to this afternoon. Perhaps my mention of it will inspire these younger members of our school to do equally great things - at least they know what can be done and has been done," he said.

"I know that the Lower School is a happy and thriving community - like a younger member of a closely knit family, having a life of its own while retaining the closest possible ties with the main school," Mr. Armitage added.

He also welcomed Mr REG Jeeps, formerly England's rugby football captain, who later presented the prizes.

The headmaster of the Lower School, Mr RA Taylor, gave his annual report.

Parents showed up in good force and with keen interest when the parents' meeting put a start to the year's activities. "Much can be gained to mutual advantage by these contacts and I hope they long continue to be supported," said Mr Taylor.

Among the events held during the year was a visit by the second forms to the Scott Polar Exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge.

Mr Taylor said that the Junior School were well represented in the school scout troop. Four second form boys were members of the patrol which represented the troop at this year's county camping and activities competition finishing fourth in both - an overall result better than that of any other patrol present.

The Lower School could feel proud of its chess players, said Mr.Taylor when he told parents that the school team reached the area finals of the Sunday Times schools tournament.

Mr Taylor also mentioned how encouraging the results had been after last year's speech day when he took for his theme the necessity of boys getting to know each other better by contacts out of school. "A great number of boys, with your encouragement, have paid visits to other boys' homes. I cannot stress the value of such visits and friendships made. By them, a young boy will come to realise that he is not on his own, surrounded by the family wall of protection, but is part of a school complexity into which he, perhaps, has integrated easily, and has often wondered why his friend has taken more time to do so."

Before presenting the prizes Mr Jeeps referred back to Mr Armitage's address, reminding the boys that the masters still took a great interest in them after they had left school.

Prizewinners were:
Form 1: SH Oakey, English; DI Sizer, French; SP Watson, science; NJ Lund, science and history; KLG Covell, geography; GR Double, mathematics; BJ Capper, art; SA East, PE; SP Sulman, verse speaking; P Taylor, public speaking.
Form 2: PR Gregson, English and French; MD Bayes, science and history; T Hardiment, science; RM Hill, geography; DJ McKinley, mathematics; SJ Glover, art and PE; EJ Kisby, music; BJ Greensmith, Latin; CG Jacobs and EM Reed, woodwork; RG Lovell, verse speaking; D Cazenave and MD Baynes [Bayes], public speaking; T Hardiment, Platt Memorial Prize; S Curtis, Lower School, Scout Prize.

Tea was served on the lawn and then the pageant followed on the field.

NB This event was incorrectly dated 16th June in the report in the Soham Grammarian

Link: 14th Legion
If you have the formal programme for the day or photos or recollections, please contact the editor
source: Ed Kisby
page created 11 Oct 12: updated 12 May 21