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Old Colfeian Spring Reunion April 2016

Former Colfeians turned out in force for the spring reunion at the end of April, held at Old Tom’s Bar in Leadenhall Market, near Lloyd’s of London.In one of the busiest events to date, nearly 70 former pupils and staff met up for an informal evening of drinks and nibbles with every generation of Colfeian represented. 

Alumni Relations Officer, Russell Joyce said “This was a great venue and a great night; it was so pleasing to see lots of new faces joining the reunion for the first time.  I wasn’t the only one celebrating a milestone (20 years since I left Colfe’s as a pupil) - there was a real show of force from the class of 2006 who were celebrating their tenth anniversary and there’s always a good turnout from the class of 1997.  These reunions are important because they foster and celebrate the unique bond that we all share as Colfeians."

Old Colfeian Reunion April 2016

Old Colfeian Society Social evening September 2015

Over 50 Old Colfeians gathered for our biannual social evening in the city. This was a particularly busy evening, made all the better by a rousing rendition of Carmen Colfanum at closing time!


Old Colfeian Society social evening

Colfeians bury time capsule under new Leatherseller's Hall

A time capsule filled with items representing life at Colfe’s School in the 21st century has been buried under the foundations of the new hall of the Leathersellers’ Company in Bishopsgate, London.

Colfe’s has been under the care of the Leathersellers’ livery company in the City of London since 1664. Last year the school celebrated the 350th anniversary of the Act of Parliament which consolidated its relationship with the Honourable Company.
For the time capsule, pupils researched and collected wide-ranging items including a student planner, an exercise book, a sixth former’s grade card, music played by the orchestra this term, a school jumper and a copy of the school calendar. Twenty-one pupils wrote a sentence describing their lives and what they felt about Colfe’s.

Everything was placed in a metal time capsule which the children sealed during a special ceremony.

Master of the Leathersellers, Dr Anthony Watson, said, "It gave us all a thrill to bury the time capsule, which will not be seen again for a hundred years. Well done to all the students for such an imaginative selection of items to represent their lives today. What will their great-grand-children think?"

Amal Weatherill (Year 12) said, “This was the seventh time in its history that the Leathersellers’ hall has been rebuilt, and I was very impressed with how big it will eventually be – half the size of the London landmark, the Gherkin. “We also learnt that in 1878, during the last re-build, a ‘time capsule’ was buried – it was an old wine bottle filled with newspapers – unfortunately it has never been found. This time I doubt that will be a problem, as our time capsule is made of metal with locks and a special air-tight sealant. A plaque will mark the spot for future generations to find.”


Burying of the Time Capsule at the Leathersellers Hall March 2015

Act of Parliament secures Colfe's forevermore!

350 years ago, in 1664, an Act of Parliament was passed which ratified the Reverend Abraham Colfe’s ‘charitable guifte’ establishing the school that still bears his name.  

The Act also affirmed the relationship between the school and the Leathersellers’ Company, which was to be ‘to bee called and knowne by the name of the Owners and Governors’ of the school. 

This event has been commemorated at a reception in the school, when the Second Warden and the Archivist of the Leathersellers’ Company addressed an audience of staff and Old Colfeians.  

Abraham Colfe lived through some of the most turbulent times in English history, yet he was single-minded in his ambition to endow a school in perpetuity. When he started buying land for this purpose, Charles I was still on the throne.  Thirty years later, when Colfe’s will was granted probate in 1658, Cromwell was in power.  By the time the Act of Parliament was passed in 1664, the monarchy had been restored under Charles II.The original Act, which was recently re-discovered during the demolition of the Leathersellers’ Hall, is written on vellum (leather) and is priceless.  

The Act Decrees that:

  • Forever hereafter there shall be a school by the name of Colfe’s in the county of Lewisham in Kent 
  • 'the Society of the Mistery or Art of the Leathersellers of the Citty of London shall be forever hereafter the Governours of the school of Lewisham of the foundation of Abraham Colfe' 


350th anniversary of the Act of Parliament founding Colfe's

remembering WWI Colfeians

An outstanding display commemorating Colfe’s involvement in the First World War is now on view in the Senior School reception area, illustrating many individual stories and accompanied by a comprehensive and more detailed dossier of information in the library. A version of the display is also available in the Prep School.

The painstaking research has taken nearly two years to bring together. It has been led by our librarian Judy Cardnell and Colfe’s parent Andy Whittaker.
Andy Whittaker said, “The display and dossier are just the tip of the iceberg, but I hope they give current Colfeians a sense of history, of respect, of empathy and of continuity: stories of pupils who a hundred years ago went into battle, the same age as our Sixth-formers are now, some of whom even lived in the same roads as current pupils.”

The research has provided a rich seam of Colfeian stories including

  • Private Tom Hatcher Godfree was killed in action at Ypres in 1915 and his brother Private Reginald Barber Godfree, who joined up the day his brother died, was also killed in action two years later, aged 19.
  • Women such as Edith Cavell (whose father and uncles attended Colfe’s) who famously became part of an underground organisation repatriating allied soldiers. She was arrested in 1915 and executed by firing squad.
  • The tragedy of our youngsters such as Private William Thomas Smith who was killed by a German sniper on the Vimy Ridge front aged only 17.
  • Lieutenant Victor Maslin Yeates who was posted to the RAF, flew 248 hours, crashed 4 times, was shot down twice and became an ‘ace’. Victor wrote the book Winged Victory, considered to be one the great books of the time.
  • And fellow author, Lieutenant Henry William Williamson who was gassed in 1917 but went on to win the Hawthornden Prize for Literature for Tarka the Otter.

Andy Whittaker added, “Thank you to Tiggy Whitham, our in-house graphic designer, who has helped enormously with the display. “I hope that our current Colfeians take some time to read the display, reflect, remember and be proud of our many Colfe’s heroes.”


OCs Gary Warner and Steve Parish return to Colfe's

On 26 February 2014, the incumbent and long-serving President of the Old Colfeian's Football Club, Gary Warner and Crystal Palace FC Chairman, OC Steve Parish, returned to Colfe's to give an inspirational talk to pupils and teachers about how to make a success of your life.  48 year old Steve, who joined Colfe’s  in 1976, focused his talk to the packed Beardwood Theatre, on his time at school and his ingredients for success, which included the Colfeian qualities of perseverance, hard work, knowledge, integrity and leadership.  Steve, who bought Crystal Palace FC in 2010 and sold his Advertising Company: Tag, in 2011 said, “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about Colfe’s and am extremely grateful to the school.  It encouraged me to express my opinions and gave me a level of education and confidence which I didn’t appreciate and realise how valuable it was until I left school and met other people in the real world.  I didn’t go to university and  while my parents wanted me to go into the Insurance business, I realised that this really wasn’t what I wanted to do; it was a pivotal moment and I haven’t looked back.   It is so important to do something you enjoy and love; come to terms with what you’re good at, and persevere at it.”Accompanying Steve was Chairman of the Old Colfeians FC, Gary Warner.  Gary was at Colfe’s with Steve and they have remained good friends ever since.  Gary said “It’s been thirty years since Steve and I were at Colfe’s and we just felt like we'd come home..  Colfeians are still so friendly, down to earth and confident; it hasn’t changed.  The Old Colfeians FC  is entering a new and exciting stage and I would urge the younger Colfeians to join us when the leave school, and keep the ties and continuity with the school”
Taking questions after the talk, Steve was asked by one of the pupils why he bought Palace. He said “I’ve been a Palace Fan since I was four years old because they had a better kit at the time than other teams!  Co-owning the club was a real dream for me and I am very proud of the club and what we’ve achieved in getting into the Premiership. It’s great to meet the next generation of Colfeians who are so passionate about the game.”
12 year old Connor  Macdonald,  who has started Year 7 football training with the school, said “I enjoyed the talk because Steve Parish was successful in a sport that I really enjoy, even though he said he’d never played football!.  I liked that he also went to Colfe’s, because it made me think that I could achieve great things too.”

Crystal Palace Chairman Steve Parish visits Colfe's School

Old Colfeian Society inaugural dinner 2013

Over 80 guests gathered for the inaugural dinner of the Old Colfeian Society at The Waldorf Hotel on Friday 29 November 2013. Guests enjoyed a drinks reception sponsored by our Chairman, Martin Cartwright, followed by a three course meal with wines and port. Entertainment was provided by Cecily Watts, singing Greenfinch and Linnet Bird, accompanied by our Head of Music Katie Collinson on piano and Oliver Bowring treated us to an excellent rendition of Haydn's Piano Sonata in D Major, which he had performed the week before to pass his Grade 8 piano exam with distinction. The toast to the Old Colfeian Society was provided by school captains Oliver Bowring and Sara Stevanovska, before the OCS President, Greg Jones QC replied. There was not one, but two rousing renditions of Carmen Colfanum before guests retired to the Adelphi suite to enjoy the guest ales.

We are pleased to announce that the Annual Dinner will be back again next year, last Friday in November (28th), venue TBC. We hope you're able to join us.

Photography courtesy of Oliver Bowring


Hundreds of Colfeians past and present, along with their parents and other guests gathered at the Old Colfeian War Memorial on Sunday 10 November 2013 to pay their respects to the fallen. We were particularly lucky this year to be joined by Sqn Ldr Rakesh Patel, Lt Harry Garston (Royal Regiment of Fusiliers) and Lt Dan Smith, Army Air Corps. All former cadets at Colfe's School and all currently serving Old Boys. All are welcome in 2014.

Old Colfeian Society Social Evening Thu 26 September 2013

Nearly 50 Old Colfeians of all ages gathered exclusively in the downstairs bar of the New Moon pub in Leadenhall Market to socialise and celebrate that unique quality that bonds us all. The evening was full of laughter, with Andrew 'JT' Thomas winning the champagne draw. A great mix of former pupils of all ages, and current and former staff as always. We look forward to seeing you all at the 2013 OCS Annual Dinner - book your table now!

2013 Southern England Reunion

Over a dozen Old Colfeians and their guests gathered at Parkstone Yacht Club on Friday 10 May 2013 to enjoy a fantastic luncheon and to reminisce about their different experiences at Colfe's over the years. The Headmaster updated guests on current developments and future plans for the school. One particular highlight, from Professor Ian Carrington recalls the time he took to the bench to play the organ at an Abraham Colfe Service only to hit the wrong button and find the organ rising beyond his reach!

2013 Poole Reunion

First OCS and Development London Social a resounding success!

Members of the Old Colfeians' Society gathered at the Loose Cannon underneath Cannon Street Bridge for the first joint social event between the Development Office and the newly formed Old Colfeians' Society on the evening of Thursday 25 April 2013. Over 50 former pupils, current and former staff attended the event which lasted into the small hours. Particular thanks go to Mark Hodgon OC for making the trip from Australia, David Knee from Woking and Mobility Expert, Pieter Cross who won the champagne draw! A great time was had by all, reminiscing about happy times at Colfe's in a relaxed and friendly setting.

Art Exhibition January 2014

The Art Exhibition on the 23 January was enjoyed by parents, staff and students alike and displayed the achivements of our A-level and GCSE artists. 

Created with flickr slideshow.

Of Good Wit and Capacity - a sell out event!

Over 70 Old Colfeians including many former pupils and staff at Colfe's attended the official launch of former Headmaster Vivian Anthony's book - Of Good Wit and Capacity - A history of Colfe's School 1972 - 2002. Brief speeches were given by the current Headmaster, Richard Russell, Development Officer, Russell Joyce and Former Headmaster, Dr Vivian Anthony who is kindly donating profits from the sales of the book to the Colfe's Charitable Trust to fund bursaries and development projects.

The book was so popular, we sold out of hardbacks on the evening! We're happy to announce that more are available to buy online here, by telephone 020 8463 8119 or you're more than welcome to pop in and collect one!


Of Good Wit and Capacity Book launch

Pleasant Poole

Colfeians from across Southern England enjoyed a delicious lunch with the most superb views at Parkstone Yacht Club on Thursday 26 April 2012.

2012 Poole reunion

Colfe's Careers and Higher Education Convention

Thursday 15 March 2012

We had over 300 parents and pupils (years 10-13) attend including many from our partnered school, Conisborough College.

A very big thank you to all the advisors and staff who volunteered their time to make the event a success. It was especially nice to see so many Old Colfeians returning!

2012 careers convention

 Annual Reunion Dinner

Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the OCA

On Friday 19th March, over one hundred Old Colfeians gathered at the RAF Club to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Old Colfeians Association. It was lovely to see so many ex pupils, and we were particularly grateful to those who had made a special journey from abroad - namely Richard Burton from Germany and Ian Priestley and Pieter Cross from Switzerland.

The RAF Club proved to be a fantastic venue, and we would like to thank Major Chris Cherry who kindly agreed to act as sponsor on behalf of the School. In addition, thanks must also go to the OCA, who very kindly part sponsored the pre-dinner reception.

John Nunn, President of the OCA, gave the welcome speech, which was followed by the Headmaster, who provided an update on recent school activities. Chris Cherry, OC and current member of staff, gave a very humorous and nostalgic after dinner speech, reminding us all of the special qualities we share as Old Colfeians. As the dinner drew to an end, guests continued to enjoy themselves late into the evening in the bar.