Our inaugural event was held on the 26th January at St. Paul's Cathedral. The Service of Thanksgiving was led by the Rt Rev'd and Rt. Hon Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, who himself is a former pupil.
The Cathedral was packed to it's 2230 capacity with all 1200 pupils in attendance, along with staff, parents, governors and friends of the school including descendents of Richard Hale himself.
We were delighted that the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, the Mayor of Hertford and the Bishop of Hertford could also join in the celebrations.
The celebrations continued after the service with a fundraising lunch for 300 guests at the Merchant Taylors' Hall in Threadneedle Street. Here, alumni, parents and members of the Richard Hale Association enjoyed banqueting in the Great Hall and welcomed the opportunity to reunite with old school friends, some of whom had not met for over 20 years.
400 - Tales of Hale, our school production, followed closely with a cast of over 180 pupils performing at Hertford Theatre over four performances with a sell-out Saturday evening performance.
The production was a selection of previous productions, interspersed with readings by former pupils including ex Headmaster, Mike James, Head Boy, Adam Rhodes and Former President of the Richard Hale Association, Eric Riddle.
On the 24th March, the Richard Hale Association held their annual dinner at Ware Priory with 140 "old boys and girls" in attendance. Guest Speaker, ex Headmaster Mike James and Lord Michael Dobbs, Hon President of the RHA, entertained the audience wonderfully with their amusing anecdotes. It was a very successful and enjoyable evening with around £5,000 raised towards the sports hall via the auction and prize draw.
The 400th celebrations continued on Saturday 1st July as we held the 400th Anniversary Rugby Festival & Family Day at Hertford Rugby Club. Ten teams of former and current students competed against staff and parents in a 6 a-side touch rugby competition. It was a highly competitive tournament with the Year 13’s reaching the final against a team of former pupils led by Ed Moss. It was a close game but with a final score of 4-3, Ed Moss’s team were the victors. The family day was well attended with children, together with some adults, competing against our sponsors, Go Move (www.gomovehome.co.uk) in a goal scoring competition. Live entertainment was provided by former pupil, Ed Tattersall. It was a truly community spirited day with many people suggesting that this should become an annual event!
During the last week of the Summer term, we hosted a Performing Arts Festival with 3 nights of entertainment performed by both the Music and Drama departments.
The Festival kicked off with the Junior and Senior Theatre evening with the Junior Theatre performing Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett. The play takes Shakespeare’s Macbeth to a new level. With the vast majority of the cast comprising of Year 7 students they all rose to the challenge of performing this complex tale. In true Richard Hale tradition a few boys also played female roles with whole cast pulling together brilliantly in this complex and comedic play.
Next it was the turn of the Senior Theatre group who performed scenes six and seven from Tennessee William’s iconic play, The Glass Menagerie. The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on Williams himself, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Rose.
The evening was a wonderful celebration of both the School and the Drama Department.
Night Two saw the Primary School & RHS Showcase evening. Pupils from Morgan's school from as young as 6 rehearsed and then performed at the school. It was wonderful to see how confident these pupils were at such a young age.
The Festival finale was the Last Night of the Proms Gala Concert. It was a wonderful celebration of musical talent at Richard Hale and a lovely way to round off a very busy year of music; this was the 30th performance of the year! The concert opened and closed with the Concert Band, performing a variety of marches, film themes, and patriotic music including ‘Pomp and Circumstance’. The audience joined in marvelously with their furious flag waving and the National Anthem. We also heard from many of our small ensembles, including the Piano Trio, String Quartet, Flute Ensemble and Junior Wind and Strings groups. The St. Paul’s choir gave their last performance of the year with ‘Blackbird’ and ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’.
The penultimate 400th Anniversary event of the academic year was the Cricket Festival held on Sunday 23rd July at Hertford Cricket Club. Current pupils and recent leavers from various age groups joined forces to play three matches against both Old Boys and parents over the day. The first match started at 10.30am when the School played the Over 50’s team who scored a very commendable 131-5. The School won in the 16th over but the sizeable crowd had enjoyed a hugely entertaining match. The second match saw the School facing a very strong Over 30’s team comprising of two recent full County players but managed to hold them at a modest 125 in their 20 overs. Class bowling followed and the School were bowled out for 117. Rain followed the teams as they walked off and the third match was delayed by 1½ hours. This match saw the School facing the overwhelming favourites to win, an Over 20’s team which comprised of players who had won the County Cup back in 2008 and are still the only team from RHS to have won this. With a score of 140 it was a tall order for the School as they came in to bat. However, in a fitting climax, the School won the winning run off the last ball at 7.45pm, some 9 hours after the start of the festival! Lunch was served to 60 guests in a marquee and it was wonderful to see so many pupils, parents and friends of the school there to support the event.
On Sunday 6th August, the annual Rock at the Castle event took place, organised by Hertford Town Council, who had chosen Richard Hale School as the main beneficiary. The sun was shining and over 10,000 people came to the castle to listen to the many talented local musicians. Members of our school community very kindly volunteered to man each entrance gate and collected donations as people arrived. We managed to raise £3,559 on the day which will go towards the 2017 Development Fund.
On Friday 29th September, the "Tricky Dicky School Disco" returned to the School. Parents and staff enjoyed reliving this iconic event with many dressing up in 80's fashion. Herts Events provided the "tunes" free of charge with an extensive playlist from every decade and the drinks were flowing at the bar manned by the Parents' Association. Due to it's popularity the disco will now become an annual event.
November saw the last event of 2017 in the form of a "Celebration Dinner" which took place at Three Lakes in Westmill. The response to the event was incredible with all 160 tickets selling out within 24 hours. We were delighted that Lord Michael Dobbs acted as Guest Speaker and a 7 piece band provided the entertainment. It was a night to remember and a fitting finale to the 400th Anniversary celebrations.
Our fundraising continues in our quest to raise money for the equipping of the new sports hall.
We are still actively looking for further sponsors who can partner with us and who will benefit from the exposure that the School now receives via it's social media marketing. Please click on the icon to the left to view the Sponsorship Prospectus.
Donations and contributions to our "buy a brick" campaign would be most appreciated. We have currently had 80 bricks sponsored. To book your place in the school's history and to leave a lasting legacy - click on the icon to the left to find out more.
Please continue to interact with us via our social media to see updates on the progress of the sports hall and a slideshow of all the events will be available shortly.
We would like to thank everyone for their contributions during 2017 and for celebrating this momentous milestone with us.