END OF AN ERA
Lesley Reynolds is leaving Derby Grammar School after 24 years service, in recent years as Deputy Head.
She was the first member of staff to be appointed by Roger Waller, the founding first Headmaster in 1994; they were teachers together at a Comprehensive School in Northampton. Roger taught Chemistry and Lesley, Biology.
A Farewell Garden party was held in Lesley’s honour on Sunday 9 June 2019 attended by up to 150 members of staff, Governors of the School, Old Derbeians, Parents of past and present pupils and many more well wishers.
Ralph Holden, President of the Old Derbeian Society, amongst other speakers, spoke in tribute to her enduring work and support as an honorary member of the Society, and presented her with the Society’s ladies silk scarf, assuring her of our best wishes for a successful next stage in her career.
The President’s Address is given below :
“Dr. Norris, Governors, Members of Staff, Pupils of Derby Grammar School, Parents and Old Derbeians
I am here as President of The Old Derbeian Society whose members are from both the old Derby School and this wonderful new School, Derby Grammar School. I say “new” as a relative term – the old School had a history going back at least 870 years when the Bishop of Mercia placed it in the hands of the Abbot of Darley Abbey in 1150, but if you know your history of Derby, the tradition is the old school was founded by King Alfred’s sister when she captured Derby from the Danish Kingdom 200 years earlier. All schools have to be “new” at some stage, and proudly next year on its 25th anniversary, this School will no longer be “new”.
This is both a sad occasion and a joyous occasion, and also a milestone event in the emerging history of the school. Sad because we are losing Lesley, but joyous because we are celebrating her unique achievement in helping to make this school the great school it has become.
I speak on behalf of our 700 alumni of the Old Derbeian Society from all over the world, not only to thank you, Lesley, in person for all you have done for the school, but also for all your support for The Old Derbeian Society over the past 24 years.
We remember that in 1995 you were, dare I say, in the “Gang of Three” who came to Littleover, with Roger Waller and Paul Hilliam, to these unique buildings, set in their beautiful mini park, to found a new school. Incidentally, I nearly called you “The Three Musketeers” but in all your many battles with the authorities to get the school up and running, I don’t think you ever swiped anyone with your sword!
From the word go, when the Old Derbeian Society changed its 100 year old constitution to embrace in its membership the school leavers of the new school, you gave the combined Society your full, unqualified support and encouragement, contributing to the flourishing Society it is today. Your input has been enormous, attending all those boring Committee meetings, supporting us at our annual social functions and vitally, for the Society, ensuring that we were brought within the consciousness of the school leavers who presence now ensures the Society will live on for posterity.
Lesley, I haven’t got an anecdote about your amazing time in launching the school, but I love the story that says it all – when little “Johnny” was brought by his parents in the summer of 1995 to view the school, they stopped by the gardener pushing a lawnmower over the vast lawn. They said “Excuse me, my man, can you tell us the way to the Headmaster’s Office?”. The gardener wiped his hands on a dirty rag “very nice to meet you – I am the Headmaster!”.
Lesley, we insist you write your memoires of those early days, with Roger and Paul as a historical record – you must have been chief cook and bottle washer to the fledgling school on a daily basis.
As a Society, we especially admired all you did in those difficult days when Richard Paine’s failing health forced him to give up his headmastership and you took over the stewardship of the School, ensuring its seamless day to day management for 12 months until the appointment of our new Head, Dr. Norris.
Lesley, as a small gesture of our appreciation, please accept this gift of the Society’s silk ladies square in the colours of the old and “new school” – not everyone’s favourite color combination but I’m told by the fashionistas silver, black and green go well with shocking pink!!
Lesley, a huge thank you from the Society for all you have done for us and our sincere best wishes for your new future career.”