At the end of term, after 9 years of service to the school our illustrious headmistress, Mrs Sarah Buckle, will be retiring. Farewell and thanksgiving events began on Monday 4 July 2016 as we entered her final full school week. The day began with whole school assembly as it does every Monday. Assemblies with Mrs Buckle are always lively; she usually gives a thought-provoking presentation on topics such as world events or inspirational people and often includes beautiful photos, art or references to sport, reflecting some of her many interests. She then goes on to acknowledge the many achievements of girls from the previous week. As a result, assemblies often overrun! This week, however, she surprised the school by completing the business swiftly and then announcing that the rest of assembly would be spent as a break on the hill in the sunshine. A lovely touch much appreciated and enjoyed by all, especially as it included a gift of a chocolate ‘Freddo’ for every girl and a treat for all the staff in the staffroom.
What Mrs Buckle didn’t know was that there were more events planned for the day. Following a special lunch with invited guests, including her husband Mr Ken Buckle, the whole school assembled in Chapel at 2.30 pm for a Service of Thanksgiving. This was an opportunity for all members of the school community to show Mrs Buckle the high esteem in which she is held. Representatives from every year group shared their impressions of her during a homily ‘Farnborough Hill style’, Maria (10B) performed a beautiful liturgical dance, and words of thanks, written on small white hearts, were hung on a ‘Tree of Gratitude’. Hymns, music, readings and prayers, all known to be Mrs Buckle’s ‘favourites’ made this a very moving experience indeed. Full of emotion, she thanked and praised everyone at the end including her husband for his unstinting support during her career.
In true Farnborough Hill style the service was followed by ice-lollies for the girls and a reception organised by the ‘staff to staff’ committee for staff, former staff and governors with champagne, speeches and afternoon tea. Members of the Senior Leadership Team: Mrs Griffiths (Deputy Head), Mrs Duffin (Director of Admissions) and Mr Hoar (Assistant Head) shared some of their favourite moments and experiences of working closely with Mrs Buckle, and Mr Maher, Chair of the Trustees, also gave a glowing tribute. What shone through these speeches was her warmth, energy, hard work, competence, sense of humour, vocation, inspiration and dedication. Mrs Buckle remains in post until the end of August when she will hand over to Mrs Alex Neil. She is then looking forward to retirement and the opportunity to travel and to have enough time to enjoy her many interests.