IT was certainly an afternoon to remember for Sol Boon and Lottie Wilkinson, who were formally announced as being King’s Ely’s new Heads of School for 2019/20 before then going on to win the school’s annual Hoop Trundle.
Crowds of students, staff, families, dignitaries and friends of King’s Ely gathered around the East Lawn of Ely Cathedral for the trundle, which took place after Prizegiving on May 3rd. The trundle is one of King’s Ely’s most historic and fiercely-contested events, and sees the school’s King’s and Queen’s Scholars, dressed in their distinctive scarlet red gowns, racing each other while bowling traditional wooden hoops.
Each year, up to twelve students in Year 12 become King’s Scholars (boys) or Queen’s Scholars (girls) on the basis of academic excellence. They become members of the Cathedral Foundation, strengthening the special link between King’s Ely and the cathedral, and they also qualify for other privileges throughout the academic year.
The King’s and Queen’s Scholars are all great friends but their competitive side was most certainly on display for the Hoop Trundle, which commemorates the re-founding of the school by King Henry VIII in 1541. Having dissolved Ely monastery, which had educated children for centuries, he gave the school its first Royal Charter and inaugurated the first 12 King’s Scholars.
One of the privileges he allowed them was to play games, including the bowling of hoops, in the cathedral precincts. In 1970, the school admitted girls for the first time in its 1,000 year history, and three years later the King’s Scholars were joined by Queen’s Scholars at the request of Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to the school in 1973.
Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, said: “In outlook and educational practice, we are by no means a traditional school. However, tradition has its place and this very silly but highly entertaining event, gives us all a boost just on the cusp of exam season.”