OLD WIRKSWORTHIANS Approximately 60 former pupils of the school established in Wirksworth 437 years ago by Anthony Gell, gathered to commemorate its founding at a special service held at St Mary’s, Wirksworth.

The Revd Canon David Truby kindly officiated, assisted by Curate Janet Turville, who gave the address.

Accompaniment on the organ was provided by Chris Dixon.

The service followed much of the traditional style adopted over the years, with biblical readings by the Headteacher of the Anthony Gell School, David Baker and by the current Chairman of the Old Wirksworthians Association, Tony Rugman-Jones.

In recognition of the importance of the links between town and school, the Deputy Mayor of the Town Council of Wirksworth, Alison Clamp, attended the proceedings.

Performances were given by a number of students of the School; firstly, by their Jazz Band, whose “Junior” section played two numbers, followed by the combined Band, including more senior students, who played two more numbers, all conducted by Simon Olphin, teacher of music.

Then the congregation was entertained with songs beautifully performed by the girls School Choir, conducted by Naomi Smallman.

Tribute was paid to the work done by Alex Gillions, who runs the school orchestra, who was unable to be present and to the accompanist, Sian Mosley.

The service culminated in the traditional laying of a wreath at the tomb of Anthony Gell, sited within the Church.

There then followed a mouth-watering buffet held by kind permission of the Wirksworth Cricket Club at their pavilion and expertly provided by Margaret Chamberlain (of The Nags Head, Hulland Ward).

Many present are looking forward to the next gathering, which will be the Annual Dinner, in October. Bookings should be made via the Secretary, Eileen Chadwick, Tel. 01773 550063.

Any former pupils of the Anthony Gell School who may be interested in coming to future events are welcome to enquire via the Secretary or with Tony Rugman-Jones, email tojotony@hotmail.com or tel. 077 900 36741.