Farewell to Lesley Reynolds

Farewell to Lesley Reynolds

Lesley Reynolds , Deputy Head of Derby School has retired from teaching after an illustrious career.

We have reproduced our President’s farewell address to Lesley below.


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.”
Annual Cricket Match

Annual Cricket Match

The annual cricket match between Derby Grammar School and the Old Derbeians took place on Sunday May 26 at Hilton Cricket Club.

The Old Derbeians gathered from across the UK, called together by their captain Ananth Srinivasan.

Top scorers for the Old Derbeians were Jack Smith (82) and the captain, Ananth (48). For the DGS side, top scorers were Toby Ganley (47) and Varchas Swamy (28). The Old Derbeians won with a score of 184.

Barrie Sheard, Archivist with the Old Derbeians, presented the Alan Sanders trophy to ODS ​captain, Ananth. He thanked everyone for turning out and said: “Another year of great cricket – thank you to everyone for turning out. It has been good to catch up, good fun and good cricket. I award man of the match to Jack Smith, and on the school side must mention Toby Ganley who put in great performance.”

We will announce the date of the 2020 match soon.

Derby School After WW2

Derby School after World War 2

An article submitted by Alan Hancock (1946-1953)

This article was the winning entry on the latest website competition.

I entered Derby School in 1946 and left, to take up National Service in the Royal Navy before going on to university, in 1953. Looking back after more than 70 years, I appreciate what a momentous period of social and political upheaval that was. In 1946, I had little idea. But I believe that I understood, even then, that I was in a very unusual and progressive school, with an eclectic mix of staff driven by the post-war fervour.

The teaching was effective, and some of it inspired, but what I remember best is not what went on in the classrooms, but more the extra-curricular life. At least, that is what exercised the greatest influence on my future.  I could cite the school plays (I appeared in two major productions, of St. Joan and Murder in the Cathedral) or the musical tradition (I played violin, abominably, in the school orchestra, my voice broke during a performance of Messiah and I made a few attempts at composition). But the school trips abroad were probably the most influential part of my school life – they were responsible for a lifetime of international work and travel. And in retrospect, they must have been quite unusual at that time, taking young students into a Europe which was still trying to recover from the devastation of a world war.

The first trip for me was an exchange visit to Grenoble in the French Alps, when I believe I was twelve. It was my first trip abroad, and made even more exciting by our stopover for a single night in Paris (and a first taste of an illicit glass of cider). Our placements in Grenoble were eccentric: one of our party spent his time in a chateau, complete with servants, while another was taken to the local market each morning to help the family sell shoes. My friend and I were lodged together in a bourgeois apartment in the centre of the city, with weekend sorties into the Alps (where we ‘helped’ to hunt wild boar). We were rather poorly matched with two brothers who were much older, and who created a sensation when we returned together to Derby (they were both good looking, and one of them, on the wilder side, hooked up during his stay with a girl working in Woolworths).

The second trip was also an exchange, with Bruhl, a small town south of Cologne dominated by a lignite mine and notable mainly for its native painter Max Ernst.  There we spent a week or so in a local school, which was an enlightening insight into the culture of a German high school (especially the raucous end-of-year celebrations).  We must have been very early young visitors to Germany after the war, though we weren’t particularly aware of it.

The third and final school trip was to the small town of Pont Croix, close to the wild peninsula of the Pointe du Raz in Western Brittany. This was not an exchange visit: we stayed in some kind of boarding school or convent and lived (in my unreliable memory) on artichokes. We must have developed curiously accented French, as this was largely a Breton-speaking region. My most vivid image though is quite different. The toilet facilities were primitive, and we used an outside latrine, without running water. I kept my identity card and paper money (what there was of it) in my trouser pocket, and on one occasion, they slipped out of their moorings and dropped into the latrine. One of the staff heroically volunteered to be held by his legs and lowered into the pit to retrieve my funds and identification, something clearly beyond the call of duty (let alone sense). He was successful, and my money was laid out to dry on the grass, though it – and my identity card- were best located through a sense of smell for the rest of the holiday.

For me, there was one other memorable trip to come – also thanks to the interest and tutelage of Mr (WOB) Butler, geography teacher. I was not studying geography, but that did not deter him from tutoring me in writing an essay for a competition organised by the (then Overseas League), on the intimidating theme of demographic problems in the British Commonwealth. Possibly because I was younger than the other competitors, I was awarded third prize, which took me on a month’s study tour to Cyprus at a time when the island was not yet divided, but when nationalistic pressures were already visible, even to a young student.  I was not then politically aware, but the island itself was a joy – full of exotic Mediterranean landscapes that I had never seen before and a culture (and a cuisine) far removed from Derby. To cap it all, I experienced my first flights, and stopped off in Rome and Athens for a couple of days on the way. I even had the excitement of being delayed in Athens on my return journey (and the additional excitement of sending a telegram to warn my parents, ending up on a return flight abroad the new Comet aircraft. That created a thirst for travel which led to a professional lifetime of living and working abroad in an international arena. Without my time at Derby School, I imagine that my life would have been very different, and much poorer.

An Assembly of Celebrations

An Assembly of Celebrations

Derby Grammar School’s final whole-school assembly before the GCSE and A-Level examinations begin focused on celebration this morning.

We were delighted to be joined by Gil Bowles and Sarah Crane from YMCA Derbyshire who presented us a huge cheque for the Tanzania Project.

The relationship between the YMCA and the school has developed over the years and this year, as well as their annual cake sale to raise funds for the Tanzania Project, the organisation wanted to donate back to us part of the funds raised by the DGS staff team who took part in the SleepEasy event in March.

A team of five staff braved the wind and rain to sleep out for the evening, raising over £2000 and contributing to the fantastic £55,320 raised by the SleepEasy event. This morning a cheque for £1066 was presented to the Tanzania project leads Mrs. Sly and Mrs. Charnock.

On receiving the cheque Mrs. Sly said: “We are truly humbled that the YMCA as a charitable organisation itself, and for whom fundraising is so vital, can make this gift to our Tanzania Project charity. Thank you, this will make a huge difference to the children at Gedeli B school.”

The focus then changed to the inauguration of our Year 13 students, who are shortly to begin their A Level examinations, into the Old Derbeian Society (ODS).

Ralph Holden, President of the ODS, addressed the school saying how honoured he was to present each one of them with a gift which symbolises them leaving school and joining the society.

The ODS exists to ensure Derby Grammar School ex-pupils can retain and rekindle friendships, and it keeps the link with the school in perpetuity. All ODS members are life members.

Miss Stebbings, Head of Sixth Form, finished the assembly by wishing Year 13 well in the coming months and in their careers. She said: “I wish you success, that you strive for the things that you want and, most of all, that you are happy.”

Annual Dinner – 2019

Annual Dinner – 2019

The Society Annual Dinner 2019 will be held at the Grange Banqueting Suite Littleover, Derby on Saturday 22nd June 2019
This is a change from the traditional timing of November, allowing more recent Old Derbeian members and others, the opportunity to be present.
We are also opening the dinner invitation to guests of members, school staff and parents of current school students, to make the event a more inclusive affair.
Plans are in hand for the school Jazz Band to be present as well as the Barber Shop Choir, who will be back by popular request. The reception will hopefully, weather permitting, be on the terrace on what we hope will be a super midsummers night.
Tickets have been set at £30 per head so no increase on last year!

The Dinner Application Form can be accessed here:


Please try and book a table for you and  your guests. If you require further information please contact us at the following email address.
We look forward to seeing you and your guests at the event


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