Pupils, students, staff and guests joined together at Blackburn Cathedral for our Founder’s Day service to pay tribute and offer our thanks to those who, over the last five centuries have helped to form Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School.

The service was led by The Reverend Dr Jenny Gaffin, Canon Precentor who welcomed us all to this annual service.

Year 6 pupils performed African Traditional Allunde, under the direction of Miss Cockshott, Subject lead for Music followed by a reading ‘The Sweetest Lives by E Barrett Browning from Year 12 Student, Muhammad Dodia and another beautiful performance by Our school Choir and Year 6 pupils of Cuncti Simus Concanentes.

The Commemoration of Benefactors was addressed by Head Mrs Gammon.

In the spirit of profound gratitude, we gave deep thanks to the many people who have helped us since our foundation and whose generosity has helped to ensure our survival not forgetting the many anonymous benefactors who, since the sixteenth century, have helped to support our School, in particular, the parishioners of Blackburn who, in 1509, provided the first endowment for the Chantry and School very close to this spot.

We thanked:

  • Thomas Stanley, 2nd Earl of Derby for his endowment of land, and the Duchy of Lancaster whose annual payment of £4 7s 4d was initially paid to the Schoolmaster. This was raised to £100 by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 2007.
  • Sir Edmund Assheton of Whalley and Joseph Feilden, who gave us the land on which the School now stands
  • John Tattersall of Quarry Bank who in the same era endowed a scholarship fund
  • Daniel Thwaites for his extreme generosity, crucial in establishing the main building at West Park Road which we still occupy to this day.
  • Robert Carr Radcliffe, who as Chairman of Governors generously sponsored a New Science Wing in 1905, now the Radcliffe Wing, and his widow who furnished the Radcliffe Room after her husband’s death.
  • Alderman Harry Harrison for acquiring for us the playing fields at Lammack from which pupils still benefit.
  • Alderman Lawrence Cotton OB, Mayor of Blackburn from 1917-1921 for the House Challenge Shield, first presented on 1st July 1920 and still in use.
  • Robert Slater who was at the School from 1896-1898 and gave a stained glass window, the Charter Window, unveiled in Big School in 1926.
  • Thomas Boys Lewis who provided the remaining stained glass windows in Big School with their Elizabethan theme.
  • The Prest family, the Whittakers, the Walshs, Mr Barnes, Mr Read, Mr Podmore, Mr Lynch, Mr Cook, Mr Peat, Mr Bland and Mr Sharratt for their contributions in order that these windows could be refurbished.
  • The former Headmaster, Mr Arthur Holden, Mrs Bertha Holden, Mr William Hare (Senior), Mr Edwin Leach Hartley, Sir Harold Derbyshire, Miss Annie Holden, Dr N T Holden, Miss M M Holden, Mrs J M Cooper and the Cambridge Old Blackburnians’ Association, for Hartley House, now the Art Department.
  • Mr John Singleton and his family for all their work in supporting the School and for their contributions to the Sixth Form Centre Singleton House.
  • Henry Whittaker, OB, for his generosity in giving to the School the painting of the old Parish Church which hangs to this day in the Head’s study, the original portrait of Queen Elizabeth I in Big School, and the Burne-Jones stained glass window above the entrance to the Holden Laboratories.
  • Blackburn Council for our long-standing cordial relations and their historic support which included a generous contribution towards the construction of the Holden laboratories in 1956.
  • The Brian Mercer Charitable Trust, the Wolfson Foundation and Blackburn Chemicals Ltd, for the refurbishment of laboratories.
  • The Ogden Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation for their support
  • The Old Blackburnians’ Association for the considerable generosity over the years in funding a number of major refurbishments and equipment, including the Garstang Room, the Primary Science Laboratory, the Chandeliers in Big School, a new school minibus and their financial support of the Duke of Edinburgh scheme and the Year 9 Creative and Humanities days.
  • The Old Co Association for their continued support since we became a Free School in 2014 and their guidance which has allowed the school to transition into the school we are today. We thank them for their donation of a new school minibus, their support in subsidising whole school visits and events and their donation to the current redevelopment of the Brooklands building.
  • To all those involved in the Lammack Sports facilities, in particular, the Football Foundation and Blackburn Community Sports Club.
  • The Bowland Trust.
  • All individuals and companies including Gray’s school-wear who have provided prizes.
  • Mr John Read who has made a substantial bequest that allowed the school to refurbish both the gym and the swimming pool in September 2019.
  • Mr Alan Haworth who left the school £40,000 and Mr Ian Wilson Stancliffe who left the school the sum of £10,000 both of which have been used to spport the redevelopment of the Brooklands building.
  • The Old Blackburnian Lodge for the support it has provided to the school.
  • The individuals who make regular contributions, large and small.

The Head concluded by also thanking those who simply give time, often the most precious commodity of all, who reassure and support in myriad ways.

We paused for a moment of reflection, whilst Mr Braime, Teacher of Art performed a beautiful violin solo of E Elgar’s ‘Salut d’amour’ followed by a reading from Year 10 pupil, Myra Khairy.

The Reverend Dr Jenny Gaffin, Canon Precentor, addressed the congregation followed by another performance from Year 6 pupils and the school choir of B Farrell’s ‘God Beyond All Names’. Prayers were led by Rohan Gupta (Y8) Olivia Pickup (Y9) and Yousef Khairy (Y10) and the Lord’s Prayer, read by Head Girl Alina Abbas.

The choirs’ final performance was VC Johnson’s Kuimba.

During the final hymn, an offering was collected in support of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) with a final blessing from The Very Reverend Peter Howell-Jones.

A beautiful service that was full of thanks and gratitude. Thank you to all our pupils, students, and staff who represented QEGS at this significant event you did Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School proud.