An enormous thank you to Friends of Pinewood and all the volunteers who helped them on the day, for such a successful and fun Summer Afternoon last Friday. We are thrilled to announce that the event raised £2900! This is a tremendous amount and, as well as being put to good use within the school, will also help us make generous contributions to our chosen charities this year: Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Pennyhooks Farm Trust, Julia’s House and Wiltshire Treehouse.
Congratulations to both Lottie J (epee) and Ben T (foil) for reaching the last 8 in this year’s England Youth Championships held at the University of Hertfordshire near London. It is always challenging playing sport against the very best in the country and even more so when playing at the younger end of an older age group. This was the case for both our Year 7 fencers who only lost one bout all day – their quarter final! Lottie’s opponent would go on to finish second, having had the fight of her day against Lottie, only pulling away by three hits at the very end. Lottie finished 7th . Ben had an equally successful day finishing 5th overall with his opponent winning bronze in the end.
Last weekend Lottie participated in the Dunstan Epee Challenge in the U14 age group (making her even younger in the age range) and came away with bronze having won 9 victories in a grueling pool competition where she had 16 fights over the course of the day.
In the U10 Regional Championships, our younger fencers acquitted themselves very well, winning 8 medals between the five of them as the best fencers from Wiltshire, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire gathered to see who was best with the blade:
Joao Filipe R – Epee Gold and Foil Bronze
Arthur GR – Sabre Gold and Foil Silver
Hugo F – Epee Bronze
Georgia L – Epee Bronze
Olivia K – Sabre Gold and Epee Bronze
Congratulations to you all.
Matches came late this term as we hosted St Francis and travelled to Hatherop. New fencer and Squad Captain Elizabeth B did an excellent job, gathering her fencers and putting everything into her bouts.
Well done to you all on a great year and the best of luck to our fencers competing in the Hatherop Challenge this Sunday.
For the fourth day running, we had to wake the children from their contented slumbers. The sun was already beaming down and the view from Bryn Bettws remained idyllic. The children were remarkably efficient in packing up with only your author causing issues by slicing his finger on the wheel of the table tennis table. Idiot ! Matron put me off games ! Parris did a great job of patching me up. At least I was able to film and photograph the brilliant rafting session that all enjoyed in Cardiff on the return journey, not to mention some gentle downtime and a large coffee! Lunch was bought by the children in two local supermarkets. A feature of the week has been giving them some independence and many shopped wisely. Amber won the healthy eating award with her chicken pasta salad. The M4 was boringly slow between Cardiff and Newport so, having run remarkably to time on many occasions all week, we arrived back at school at 5.10 rather than 4.30. The genuine and warm thanks from the children as they left for home was most gratifying. It was such a fun week. There are still more tweaks to make. The location of Bryn Bettws is stunning, but the infrastructure is tired. We knew this from last year and have plans in place for next year. I had plans in place for this year and was badly let down. I stressed to the children that it was a place to stay and that they can do 5* with their families. We went for the activities which 8AG, in our traffic jam feedback session, simply said were amazing. The innovation of eating out in the evenings worked beautifully with some good food and astonishingly good behaviour. Indeed the most fuss in the Beefeater on Tuesday emanated from the playful banter of Mr and Mrs Hoyland and who was going to eat the solitary chocolate brownie!
To conclude, South Wales may be unfashionable, but it has so much to offer a group like ours and it is so accessible. The general consensus was that the surfing day on Tuesday was the best, though some would make a case for the gorge walk. All the activities had their place in the jigsaw of the week. I was most enamoured by the walk to Rhossili on Wednesday. It had enough challenge to test the children with a constant stunning view and the tantalising prospect of that wonderful beach at the end which we had to ourselves. Special.
I must end by first thanking 8AG. I was on my own with them in my bus and they were simply brilliant company. Not once did I have to modify behaviour. My utmost thanks has to go to the amazing team that gave their time so willingly. Mrs Makin and Miss Parris, a double act of kindness in the blue bus, the calm and efficient Mrs Wright and the wit and wisdom of BHB and Benbow. Our senior staff who drove down for their respective days, our amazing kitchens who will do anything for us, always service with a smile, Mr Downe for inspiring 14 children up Blue Scar and leading our biking day and chef Siebert who cooked up a feast for us on Thursday evening. I can’t wait for next year!
It’s getting emotional. The week has flown by. The reality is lessons on Monday, keep out of trouble to avoid a dressing down from AG and our precious loved ones are deep in our thoughts. Anyway, enough of the teachers, the kids are having a ball!
Thursday is a Pinewood led day and with the absolute legends Downe and Siebert along for the ride, we nailed it. The Afan valley is rich mountain biking terrain. Most did the leisurely 2 hour railway trail. 14 children rose to the challenge of the hard Blue Scar with climbs totalling 1000 ft! The brilliant bike hire centre was agog at the feat. SD and EB take a bow! The group, split in 2, and had a gentle time at the windy beach at Aberavon chatting and eating.
Meanwhile, back at our hillside retreat, JS prepared a braai fit for a king for 53. With such talented colleagues, we can make these kinds of trips work. Volleyball, table tennis and group gatherings were enjoyed before raconteurs BHB and EB hosted an awards ceremony that hilariously celebrated our wonderful week.
Once packed up we have the treats of rafting in Cardiff and the madness of taking 46 children armed with cash to buy lunch in two separate supermarkets!
We hope to be back by the sports hall at around 4.30pm.