Celebrations at Birkbeck to mark 50 years

John Birkbeck's daughter, Mary Freeman, cuts the cake with Councillor Robert Palmer, watched by FJ Birkbeck's grandchildren and Headteacher Lynda Dobson, Chair of Governors Mark Grantham, Head Boy Harry Margarson and Head Girl Lauren Parkinson. EMN-141022-114521001
John Birkbeck's daughter, Mary Freeman, cuts the cake with Councillor Robert Palmer, watched by FJ Birkbeck's grandchildren and Headteacher Lynda Dobson, Chair of Governors Mark Grantham, Head Boy Harry Margarson and Head Girl Lauren Parkinson. EMN-141022-114521001

Birkbeck College in North Somercotes marked 50 years of success last week, with pupils old and new coming together for the occasion.

The school opened on October 20, 1964, and was founded by the Director of Education at the time, Councillor 
F. J. Birkbeck.

Members of Councillor Birkbeck’s family were present alongside 340 other attendees over the course of the weekend, which culminated in the main celebration on Monday (October 20).

Relatives including Mr and Mrs Freeman (Birkbeck’s daughter and her husband), and Mr and Mrs Hyland (Birkbeck’s niece and her husband) were in attendance alongside Birkbeck’s granddaughter and his 
great-grandchildren.

Birkbeck College’s first ever head girl and head boy, Monica Booth (nee Wells) and Jack Libell, were also in attendance alongside the current head girl and head boy, Lauren Parkinson and Harry Margarson.

The programme of events over the weekend included afternoon tea and cake, the burying of a time capsule, and a speech from Ken James, one of the school’s longest serving governors.

In his speech, Mr James welcomed Councillor Birkbeck’s ancestors and praised the contributions of former staff and pupils at the school.

He said: “Aegeter, Alger, Tristram, Birch, Loveridge, Dobson – and so into the sixth decade of heads who have led this school so ably and with students’ needs at the forefront of their thinking.

“I have been fortunate – nay privileged – to have been associated with Birkbeck during each of the periods that these heads have guided the school to this point”.

He added: “There is something known as The Birkbeck Factor – the fact that hundreds of former staff and students have visited over this 50th weekend is a tribute to it. It does exist. It is very 
special.”

Birkbeck’s headteacher, Mrs Lynda Dobson, commented on the contents of the time capsula that was buried in the school grounds for a future generation to unearth.

Mrs Dobson said: “The time capsule contained a price lists of a variety of goods, a signed photo of the Year 11 Rugby team, an old mobile phone, a report about how technology affects our everyday lives, a list of current staff and students, a prospectus, a copy of The Times
newspaper from yesterday, and a whole school photo.

“I wanted the finders to know what life in 2014 was all about.”