Spitfire flypast and former teachers help in 40th anniversary celebrations at Henlow

Henlow Academy 40th anniversary - teaching staff from 1976, Di Thomas, Brian Capell and Stuart Ponting
Henlow Academy 40th anniversary - teaching staff from 1976, Di Thomas, Brian Capell and Stuart Ponting

Former pupils and teachers were among visitors at a special event hosted by Henlow Church of England Academy as it marks its 40th anniversary.

An open afternoon was held on Saturday, July 9, when lots of former pupils, parents, staff and governors were able to visit the school and view the classrooms as they are today.

Henlow Academy 40th anniversary cake

Henlow Academy 40th anniversary cake

There were displays, photographs and memorabilia from across the 40 years, a special flypast by a Mark II Spitfire, and original staff and pupils from 1976 were present.

In the evening, celebrations were rounded off with a grand social in a marquee on the playing field, with a barbecue and live music.

To mark the occasion, former head teacher Ray Payne has researched and written a book to tell the history of the school. Copies of ‘Celebrating Forty Years’ can be purchased from the school office at £7 each, with all proceeds going to school funds. Call 01462 813733.

The school, originally known as Henlow Voluntary Controlled Middle School when it opened in September 1976, has held a number of other events to commemorate the occasion.

Activities ranging from drama productions, a 1970’s school lunch, a history talk, displays, social events and a flypast by an aircraft from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight team have all taken place.

On Friday, June 17, pupils researched events of the past 40 years. They dressed in period clothing, enjoyed a picnic lunch on the field, conducted a village parade around the streets of Henlow and attended an anniversary assembly.

Guests and speakers at the assembly included the former head teachers, some former pupils and the Rt Rev Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans.

Caren Earp, the school’s current head teacher, said: ”We are very proud of the quality of education that this school has offered to young people in the past, and continues to do so today. We are delighted that so many people have engaged with our invitation to join us in celebrating the 40th anniversary.”