“Exemplary in every way: courteous, smiling, impeccably well behaved, interested and interesting and just simply a lovely group of young people.”
Revd. Simon E. Hall,
King’s College School,
A year after selection, and following a pre-tour term of training, two hours a week, 13 boys and 13 girls and 4 members of staff departed for the UK on Thursday 19th March. Six matches in six days were to follow. It was a wonderfully eclectic all-encompassing visit where work and play were always going to go so well, with not one, but two, CCF opportunities – read on!
Their first destination and fixture was at Culford School where the Tour Party arrived to a warm welcome and the opportunity to watch a full Combined Cadet Force(CCF) parade with a ‘Tornado’ providing a great fly-past! Five further matches would take place against Bury St Edmund’s Junior Club side, Orwell Park Preparatory School, The Perse, Gresham’s and Bishop’s Stortford College.
With true grit, determination and passion, within two matches, our Kenyan grass hockey players had begun to transform into experts, learning and refining their skills from their more experienced Astro Turf opponents. This was beautifully evidenced in the final fixture where the boys’ defeat was a narrow 1-0 and the girls’ drew 1-1.
Off the pitch, the Tour Party were just as busy; one evening they were billeted out to parents and “behaved with impeccable manners and conversation, yes conversation with us,” according to one hosting parent. Opportunities to go-kart, rollerskate, have a seal-watching boat trip and historical visits to Framlingham Castle and King’s College Chapel in Cambridge (“…the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life,” commented one pupil)all ensured that there was never a dull moment. A fantastic highlight to end on was the trip to London’s West End for a second CCF opportunity, to watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
Returning, “happy, confident and very grown up,” according to one parent, and with many personal letters thanking the Tour Party Staff for their hard work it was clearly a successful tour. Reverend Hall in his closing comments to the Headmistress perhaps summed up the whole trip: “All your pupils and staff represented themselves and their School to the finest.”
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