late July, 23 current pupils and 60 former
pupils formed an 80-strong volunteer group to run the 2014 Oundle School Mencap
Holiday (OSMH), now in its 32nd year, held at Oundle School.
only does Oundle Mencap give a week’s holiday to 40 children with learning
disabilities, it offers their families a week’s respite from care and enables
Oundle Sixth formers to learn about caring for young people with learning
disabilities in a safe and protective environment.
theme of the 2014 holiday was ‘Space’.
During the week the children made space rockets out of cardboard boxes,
decorated photo frames, perfected their circus skills, enjoyed playground games
and performed plays, which included plenty of dressing up.
and volunteers enjoyed the usual days out to Twin Lakes and nearby Wicksteed
Park, as well as boating on Rutland Water and a visit to nearby Sacrewell Farm. Owing to roadworks in Norfolk, this year’s traditional
day out at the seaside took place not at Hunstanton, but at Skegness in
Lincolnshire, where all enjoyed swimming in the North Sea and taking on waltzers
and other rides in the amusement park.
holiday week also included a rousing welcome for Old Oundelian Al Gordon, who
undertook a 1,000-mile cycle ride around the islands of the UK to raise money
for Oundle Mencap. The final leg of his
month-long trip saw him cycle into Oundle to the joyful cheers of children and
said, “The rigours and ups and downs of
1000+ windy and hilly miles around the UK’s larger islands were immediately
forgotten as I rode into Oundle to a raucous and emotional welcome
from the Mencap youngsters and the dedicated group of Old Oundelians who give
up their time year after year to make this fantastic week happen. Five minutes in this environment is all that
is needed to see how much OSMH means to everyone involved, and what is achieved
on so many levels.”
Gordon has now raised over £18,000 for the charity, which represents more than
half of Oundle Mencap’s annual operating costs.
Taylor, Holiday Leader, commented, “Once
again the children had a wonderful holiday thanks to the tireless energy and
effort of all our volunteer helpers, from first-timers to the very
experienced. I receive so many letters
and emails from the children’s parents when the holiday is over thanking us for
the brilliant time their children have had.
Many of them talk about their holiday all year.”
Ratchford, OSMH trustee and Housemistress at Oundle School, commented, “Our Sixth Form volunteers were incredibly
quick to learn the ropes. We are
enormously proud of them for the exceptional care they have given to these
vulnerable young people. Several have
told me that this was a life-changing experience and that this has
fundamentally changed their perception of disability for the better.”
mid-August 2014, five senior Oundle Mencap volunteers travelled to St John’s
School in Leatherhead, Surrey, to lend support for the first St John’s School
Community Holiday, which has taken the Oundle Mencap model, borrowed expertise
and experience and created its own dedicated holiday week for 20 children.
over the late May Bank Holiday in 2014, the third Oundle Mencap Outdoors
holiday took place, a camping weekend for young adults with learning
disabilities. Close to 40 young people
and volunteers camped in the village of Wadenhoe, near Oundle, and enjoyed
cooking outdoors, craft activities, collecting firewood, horse riding, climbing
and archery – when the rain abated!
more information on Oundle School Mencap Holidays, visit www.oundlemencap.co.uk.
School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about
90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the
21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent,
School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the
Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded
the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876,
the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School,
primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils
from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools
under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the
the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading
English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who
established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering
schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2007, SciTec - a major and
ground-breaking new science complex - opened, housing 16 state-of-the-art
laboratories. The School is now embarking on a large SciTec Campus development
project which will see a new Mathematics
department constructed adjacent to SciTec as well as a significant upgrade to
the Design and Technology department within the Patrick Engineering Centre. Due
for completion in September 2016, the development will unite Science,
Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and
philosophically, enabling pupils to move
seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of
a workable technology. A concurrent Sports Masterplan will upgrade sporting
facilities across the School over the next few years, including a new 1st
XI cricket pavilion due to open April 2015.
are currently 1110 pupils are on roll at Oundle School, with 850 boarders and
250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior
School, a day School for children aged 4 to 11.