Oundle girls tackle rugby match head on…..
1st April 2015

For seven years now, girls from Oundle School’s Sixth Form have joined together to play a game of rugby in memory of former pupil, Thommy Purbrook and to raise money for The Thommy Purbrook General Scholarship Endowment Fund. This year’s match took place on Sunday 1st March and so far has already raised nearly £1450.  

Thommy’s career at Oundle was tragically cut short when she died from meningitis whilst on a School trip to St Petersburg in December 2008. A scholarship fund was established by Thommy’s parents, Clive and Belinda, with the intention of it being awarded to a child who, like Thommy, would take full advantage of the academic and extra-curricular opportunities that Oundle can offer. The first recipient is now at the School, in Thommy’s old House, Sanderson.  

Thommy’s time at Oundle was marked by her enthusiasm, energy and determination and one of her many talents was rugby – she was Captain of the Girls’ Rugby team. For this year’s match, the 1st XV Captain, Emma Kemsley-Pein (18) and Annabelle Sherwood (18), Vice-Captain, organised a team each.  

The end result of the match was 34-5 to the Wyatt, New House and Dryden girls who proudly received The Thommy Purbrook Plate from Mr and Mrs Purbrook. 

Emma and Annabelle commented, “Both teams played really well and tried their best; it was so nice to see that this event remains a tradition and is still very important to the girls and to the School. We would like to thank the coaches and teachers who helped us in the organisation of this event - it wouldn't have been a success without them. So far we have raised over £1,450 and hope to continue to raise more. Thank you to everyone who came to watch in the cold and donated and helped us out.”

Rugby coach, Ian Clark commented, “The match was a tribute to the commitment of the girls, with some huge tackles and dogged defence. Both sides performed admirably, and thanks to the organisers and competitors for carrying on this important tradition.” 

Thommy’s father, Clive Purbrook, commented, “As ever, a wonderful day both on and off the pitch, and the amount of money raised for Thommy's fund is fantastic.  Belinda, Barney and myself are all very touched that the match played by the girls in Thommy's memory has become so firmly entrenched in the School’s calendar, and is approached by the girls and everybody else who plays a part with such a fantastic spirit.  The quality of the rugby on display was also a testament to the girls' talents.” 

Headmaster, Charles Bush added, “This occasion is always a wonderful festival of girls’ rugby at Oundle, played in a carnival atmosphere, raising a huge amount for a very important charity.  It also celebrates the excellent state of girls’ rugby at Oundle which is so strong partly as a result of Thommy’s massive contribution to the growth of the game. “

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Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle 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, its campus.


The 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 day House.


At 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. 


There are currently 1100 pupils 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. 

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