Strictly’s Brendan on the dance floor at Haddenham anniversary bash

Brendan Cole dancing at Haddenham. Pic
Brendan Cole dancing at Haddenham. Pic

A star from TV’s popular ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ joined the fun as a Haddenham school celebrated a big landmark.

Haddenham St Mary’s School celebrated its 150 years anniversary on Friday, April 27, with a fun-filled afternoon that featured pupils singing and dancing before an invited audience.

Not only was the event graced by the presence of the local disco-dance champion of 1999, another prominent VIP guest was Brendan Cole, the ballroom dancer specialising in Latin American on the BBC TV show.

Former head teacher Pauline Woods, who was at the helm when the school transferred in 1981 from its original home in the Victorian building now known as St Mary’s Centre, provided a touching recollection of that dramatic improvement in the school’s accommodation. She also paid tribute to the further quantum leap that has been now achieved with the four new classrooms that have been added to the east side of the school, increasing the space and enhancing the facilities considerably.

Mrs Woods went on to cut the ribbon, marking the official opening of the new classrooms.

A number of pupils read aloud their thoughts, highlighting their delight in being part of the school and particularly in being able to enjoy the new classrooms. This was followed by an enthusiastic rendition of ‘The Bare Necessities’ from The Jungle Book.

The head teacher (and former disco dance champion!) Karen Collett was extremely pleased to acknowledge the help and support of Bucks County Council in bringing the new classrooms into being, the architects and the builders - especially the project manager.

Teacher Alice Gilbert Scott announced that she and the pupils had been preparing and choosing items to bury in a time capsule to mark the anniversary. These items included some selected writings and drawings by pupils, plans of the newly built classrooms, ‘diamonds’ used as rewards for good work and effort, a current edition of a newspaper aimed at young readers, a school lunch menu for the week, a ‘Star of the Week’ pupil reward certificate, a photograph of some pupils participating in a drumming workshop, and a school sports T-shirt bearing the school’s badge.

Celebrations continued with pupils demonstrating a high tempo dance routine - and the musical rhythms were simply too much for Brendan Cole to resist, as he also joined in with the moves!

The main event concluded with a cake-cutting performed by Brendan.

He also took the opportunity thank staff and pupils for the invitation to join them at this historic event and to encourage them in continuing their hard work to achieve their future goals. This was followed by some further words of encouragement from Aylesbury’s Deputy Mayor, Mark Willis.

Guests adjourned to the new classrooms to enjoy a slice of the anniversary cake and to see a display of the school’s history.