School Holds Service Of Remembrance
8:24am 12th November 2013
The Act of Remembrance in front of the Thomas Hardye School memorial gates in Queens Avenue, Dorchester, honouring those Old Grammarians and Old Hardyeans who gave their lives in armed conflict, went ahead at 11am on 11 November, despite steady rain. The tradition began in 1957 at Hardye’s School and has continued at the modern Thomas Hardye School
Normally. over 2,000 students and 200 staff stand in front of the Memorial Gates, but in view of the weather, Head Teacher Michael Foley made the decision to truncate the numbers involved to the sixth form and representatives of all other years.
The names of all Old Hardyeans and Old Grammarians who fell in successive wars were read by four students- Imogen Carter, Max Luck, Aishlen Fields and Jack Purseglove. Head Teacher Michael Foley led the minute’s silence and the brief Act of Remembrance, culminating in the last post sounded by bugler Joe Brindley. Henry Love read the Kohima Declaration.
The corps of drums paraded in front of the School’s Memorial Gates, with detachments from the Army and RAF Combined Cadet Force.
Among guests at the ceremony were the Mayor of Dorchester, Coun. Stella Jones and the Vicar of St. Peter’s Church, Rev. Vicky Thurtell. President Peter Foster led 16 Old Hardyeans, including the new Chairman Godfrey Lancashire, Secretary Michel Hooper-Immins and Treasurer Alan Brown.
Thomas Hardye School is thought to be the only school in the South and South West to maintain this respectful tradition, where students and staff stand silently in front of the Memorial Gates. It began when the stone pillars and iron gates were consecrated in 1957 at Hardye’s School in Culliford Road. The Memorial Gates and pillars were rescued from the old school in 1995, before it was demolished and re-erected outside the new Thomas Hardye’s School at the end of Queens Avenue, complete with the twin stone wyverns- the School’s historic symbol- carved by the late Ken Batty, art master for many years. "This memorial to those whose names are inscribed on the Rolls of Honour was erected by the old boys, parents and Governors. Dedicated 18 July 1957." Inside the new School are two rolls of honour, one for Old Grammarians who fell in the Great War and the other honouring those in subsequent conflicts from 1939.
"It was 53 years ago- in 1960- that I attended my first Act of Remembrance outside those handsome iron gates and the stone pillars with the wyverns on top. I recall it snowed that day in November 1960 and we all got very cold," reminisces Old Hardyeans’ Secretary Michel Hooper-Immins. "Today, it is still a supremely dignified tribute by today’s young people. We old boys and the Head Teacher are always very proud of them."
Founded in 1905 as the Old Grammarians, the Old Hardyeans- also known as the Hardyeans Club- is one of the most successful old school associations in the county, bringing together the old boys of Dorchester Grammar School and Hardye’s School, plus ex-students of the modern Thomas Hardye School. In the times of Queen Elizabeth I, it was Thomas Hardye [with a final "e"] described as a Yeoman of Frampton, who endowed Dorchester Grammar School in 1569. Hardye’s [shopping] Arcade today stands on the site. The Grammar School moved to Culliford Road in 1928- renamed Hardye’s School from 1954. The new Thomas Hardye School in Queens Avenue opened in 1992, encompassing the best traditions of the two previous schools- but admitting girls for the first time since 1569! Writer Thomas Hardy OM, who lived at nearby Max Gate, laid the foundation stone of Hardye’s School in 1927. He was no relation to Thomas Hardye, founder of the school, nor of Admiral Thomas Masterman Hardy!