Alumnae News

Dame Alice Harpur School Reunion - Saturday 17th September 2016


The annual Dame Alice Harpur School reunion was held in the Senior School.

A record turnout of over 130   old girls, from all eras, enjoyed an afternoon of reminiscing, including a large group of 1984 leavers (pictured) who were catching up over the weekend together.

The alumnae were greeted by a  warm welcome from Bedford Girls' School's Marketing and Development Officer, Emma MacKenzie, who gave an update on all the latest school news.

Tours of the School ensued, led by a group of Sixth Formers. The celebrations finished with a delicious afternoon tea and a browse of archive material in the library.


Old Girls' Lacrosse - Wednesday 7th September 2016

The annual Bedford Girls’ School lacrosse match between the 1st XII and Alumnae team marked the opening of the state-of-the-art Cople Fields sporting facility.

Cople Fields boasts six full size lacrosse pitches, which will also be used for rounders, and a modern pavilion, offering large changing rooms and an impressive viewing gallery.

As one of the UK’s premier girls’ schools for sports, BGS is looking forward to hosting regional and national lacrosse tournaments at Cople Fields.

“Cople Fields is a wonderful new addition to the School’s estate, and will help cement our reputation as a leading school for sport,” said BGS Headmistress Miss MacKenzie, who witnessed a 10-4 win for the 1st XII in the company of more than 200 members of the School’s community.

“We play lacrosse at a high level nationally and it is important that we have the room to host regional competitions and tournaments. Cople is a stunning site and there is a real sense of excitement within the Bedford Girls’ School community about the facility.”

Granted planning permission in the summer of 2014, the School enlisted the services of Northamptonshire-based S.A.C. Construction Ltd to construct the new sporting facility on the 30-acre site, sitting on the outskirts of the village.

In addition to laying new pitches and building the pavilion, the two-year project has included undertaking an archaeological survey, managing the migration of Greater Crested Newts to a newly created pond, planting a community orchard and installing swift boxes. The site will also be used as an outdoor learning space, providing pupils with an alternative environment to study in.

Miss MacKenzie added: “Cople Fields is much more than just lacrosse pitches; in the summer it will provide us with a wonderful venue for holding rounders tournaments, and all year round the girls and teachers will be able to make full use of the area.

“We are very thankful to Cople village for their support and we look forward to inviting the village school to use the resources at Cople Fields.”

To see a range of images of the opening of Cople Fields, click here.

Playing for Pitches - Tuesday 21st June 2016

Bedford Girls’ School Sixth Former, Izzy Gurney, was joined by England cricket greats, Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch, in her efforts to raise money for charity.

As part of her Playing For Pitches fundraising campaign for Afghan Connection, a charity which supports refugees returning to Afghanistan, and its programme to promote gender equality for girls through cricket, Izzy hosted an evening of cricket on Bedford School’s pristine cricket pitches.

England’s finest cricket captains, Old Bedfordian Cook, and Gooch, held masterclasses for Bedford School and BGS students, and signed shirts, ahead of mini games between the two schools’ teachers and students. Bedford School provided a wonderful barbecue and Izzy organised a raffle of cricket related prizes to raise further funds. Dame Alice Old Girl Anna Edwards, a producer for Sky Sports News HQ, was also kindly on hand to provide her support and hand out prizes.

Having received donations totaling £205 via her JustGiving page, Izzy, who keeps wicket for Buckinghamshire U17 Girls, raised a further £1,000 on the night.

Miss MacKenzie, Bedford Girls’ School Headmistress, said: “It is part of the School’s ethos to engage in community and charity work. “Our girls are passionate about the rights of girls and women across the world, and choose to support causes which address these issues.” She added: “Izzy has worked tirelessly in raising money for Afghan Connection. The support shown on Tuesday night at Bedford School by Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch, staff, students and parents proves just what an important issue gender equality for girls is. “For the boys and girls to work collaboratively on important issues such as Playing For Pitches is very rewarding for them, and helps them grow as individuals.”

Alumnae Leavers Drinks 2011-2015 - Friday 17th June 2016

Leavers from 2011-2015 were welcomed back to Bedford Girls’ School for an early evening reception in the Sixth Form Common Room and Gardens. It was a beautiful summer evening and a chance to catch up on all the news of our former students, and those of the heritage schools. The evening was a lovely occasion and everyone was brimming with news!

There have been several changes to the interior at Bedford Girls’ School over the past few years and the former students had the opportunity to view the new sports facilities and tour the newly refurbished Sixth Form House.

The Leavers Drinks will be an annual event in the alumnae calendar, inviting back the previous five years of leavers.  

Work The Room - Wednesday 15th June 2016

Our annual Work The Room event was held on recently and once again we were able to welcome parents, alumnae, governors and other friends of the school community to join us for the event.

Earlier in the afternoon the Lower Sixth girls took part in a workshop which covered the importance of networking and how you present yourself in a business environment. The girls covered lots of scenarios and advised how they should apply themselves. The event was facilitated again by parent and Chair of The Alumnae, Mrs Kate Whitlock, herself a professional coach and mentor.

Following the workshop the girls’ had to practice their newly found skills with the visitors over a drinks reception. The girls embraced the evening and used the opportunity to truly ‘work the room’, impressing the guests with their thoughtful questions and overall confidence.

Dame Alice 1985 Reunion - Saturday 11th June 2016

The Dame Alice Harpur School 1985 Reunion took place on Saturday 11th June 2016. The event was held in the newly refurbished Sixth Form Common Room and adjoining gardens.

The group were welcomed by Headmistress, Miss MacKenzie, before enjoying tours of the school. For the majority of those attending it was the first time that they had been back to their former school.

The afternoon finished with a delicious afternoon tea and a chance to look at lots of old photographs from their time at school which involved lots of laughter and the recounting of happy memories.

Guild Biennial - Saturday 14th May 2016

The Bedford High School Guild celebrated its 63rd Biennial with alumnae of all eras, along with several past heads, gathering together to mark the occasion. This was the second time this event was held at Bedford Girls’ school and particularly poignant as it was Dorothy Chandler’s last time as Guild Chair, before stepping down. 

The day followed its traditional format and began with morning service in the Assembly Hall led by Guild Chaplain, Paul Fricker. The theme of the service was Reflecting on the past and looking forward. The speaker for the service was Sarah Miller (née Rainbow), a former Head Girl of 1992. Sarah gave a very moving speech of her time at Bedford High School and the personal difficulties she faced in her senior school years.

The Guild were treated to both Acting Director of Music, Jo Turner, accompanying the hymns and to Maria Lee (Year 13) for her solo. Maria’s interpretation of Summertime by Gershwin was simply beautiful. We were fortunate that the rain kept clear and the song choice was in keeping with the time of year.

The service was followed by the Annual General Meeting, where Miss MacKenzie was able to personally thank The Guild for their generous contribution towards the Sixth Form refurbishment and explain in detail the work that had been carried out over the summer holiday. A delicious buffet lunch followed, which gave the alumnae plenty more opportunity to catch up. 

The afternoon concluded with coffee in the Sixth Form Common Room and an enjoyable few hours perusing a selection from the archives. The archive team, led by Kathy Fricker, have done a super job in collating the history of the High school and the Guild Members were able to pour at their leisure over old photographs and memorabilia. We were delighted that Sue Claremont from the archive team was able to join us for the afternoon and to elaborate on some of the material on show.

Lion King - Thursday 12th May 2016

Alumnae enjoyed a special performance of The Lion King Jr by the BGS Spotlight Youth Theatre.

This family favourite has been in the pipeline for a number of years, after Mrs Perren, Head of Drama, was wowed by seeing former Youth Theatre member, Gloria Onitiri, perform in the production in the West End in 2002. With a junior version released for school performances in America, The Lion King Jr eventually became available in the UK in 2015.

The show was immensely popular amongst the girls, with over 40 enthusiastic actors, singers and dancers wanting to be part of the cast list. Mrs Perren said: “We are certainly very proud of our young cast and dedicated team of older girls who took on the responsibility of stage managing this production. Organising such a large cast required them to demonstrate their resourcefulness, initiative and patience. “It was a pleasure putting on the show and it was great to hear so many people enjoying it.

Bedford Regatta - Saturday 7th May 2016

The Bedford Girls’ School Rowing squad recorded their biggest ever medal haul at the Bedford Regatta. With supporters from across the School’s community cheering on the crews from the BGS enclosure throughout the day, the girls rose to the occasion.

Years 9-11 crews and the seniors all represented the School at the Regatta, with four finals reached and three golds won. The Year 11 crew of
Katie McDonagh, Emily Baker, Lily Hudson, Molly Garrigue and
Imogen Fereday were racing novice, but still managed to reach the final and beat an adult crew from Auriol Kensington, by a length, to win their category.

The Year 10 quad also reached the final, winning their semi-final comfortably, but a strong crew from King’s Ely proved too much.

The Year 9 second crew of Megan Harris, Alice Cooke, Alana Pillai, Hannah Tollman and cox Olivia Kemp marked their first ever regatta with a win. The girls beat Great Marlow School on the line in the semi-final, and then stood their ground in the final to beat Kingston.

The Year 9 first crew of Ellie Simester, Erin Knight, Anna Lewis, Grace Batten and cox Sophie Parry had a very tight semi-final. The girls were a length behind at the halfway stage but stuck to their race plan and rowed through their opposition to earn their place in the final.

In the final they came up against a strong crew from Kingston, but they kept cool heads to claim BGS' third win of the day.

Miss Round, Head of Rowing, said: “The support at the Regatta was amazing from staff, parents, relatives and girls. The roar from the BGS tent was incredible and really helped our rowers give that extra bit of fight coming into the finish line.”

London Alumnae Drinks - Friday 22nd April 2016

On Friday 22nd April The Alumnae held a London reception for all eras at the modern Rotunda Restaurant and Bar, King’s Cross. The evening was well attended, with many London-based alumnae, young and old, making an appearance, notably a large group of 1986-1988 Bedford High School leavers.

Alumnae were keen to share their stories of school and work life, with many eager to revisit school and share their experiences with the current crop of BGS girls. It was also an opportunity for Headmistress, Miss MacKenzie, to introduce herself to alumnae and share her vision for the School.

Jane Austen: At Home - Thursday 14th April 2016

Girls, staff, parents and alumnae enjoyed a one-woman play about the life and times of English novelist Jane Austen. Devised and directed by Jane Austen expert Stephen Siddall, the play used only Jane Austen’s words; it was a celebration of the wit and liveliness of her mind, and drew on material from her memoirs, letters, juvenilia, poetry and novels.

Performed in the Drama Studio by Emerald O’Hanrahan, who is the current voice of Emma Grundy on the Archers, Jane Austen: At Home has been performed across the country, in stately homes, theatres and schools.

History  Conference - Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Alumnae were invited to join girls studying IB and A Level History to listen to a day of lectures, given by some of the UK’s best university professors and experts.

The day comprised four different talks. Firstly, Professor Paul Lewis from the Open University gave an informative talk on Poland and the Soviet Union, which was particularly useful for the Lower Sixth girls' study. Secondly, Professor James Chapman told the story of the Cold War through James Bond films, and gave an interesting insight into Ian Fleming's own influences.

Dr Vivien Miller gave a fascinating session on the US case of the Rosenbergs; and their convictions as spies, including recent developments. Additionally, Dr Simon Sleight ended the day with a memorable lesson on Australian youth culture during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Lecture on the Suffragette Movement - Monday 23rd November 2015

The alumnae enjoyed hearing Professor Krista Cowman, Professor of  History / Director of Research at the University of Lincoln. Professor Cowman is a specialist in Women's History and historical advisor for the recently released film, The Suffragette. Professor Cowman will be giving a presentation on the suffragette movement and her recent involvement with the film.

Dame Alice Reunion - Saturday 26th September 2015

On Saturday 26th September the annual Dame Alice reunion was held at Bedford Girls’ School. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon and we had a record turnout of old girls’, from all eras, in attendance.

The old girls’ were greeted to a selection of beautiful music played by Isobel Stearn and Amy Lammin, accompanied by Deputy Director of Music, Jo Turner, followed by a warm welcome from Headmistress, Miss Mackenzie, who updated everyone on all the latest school news. Tours of the school followed, led by Amber Joe, Chelsea Spanoudakis, Emily and Leila Duchenne. The celebrations finished with a delicious afternoon tea. A selection of archive material was available for guests to peruse in the Library.

This year we were delighted to be joined by alumna, Laura Gibbs, who was selling her gorgeous collection of oilcloth bags, gifts and homewares, which are all handcrafted by Laura and her team in Amersham, Buckinghamshire

To view the photos from the event please click the enclosed link

Old Girls' Lacrosse - Thursday 3rd September 2015

To mark the beginning of the new school term, there was a friendly lacrosse match held at the School on Thursday 3rd September 2015 between the current First Team and our Alumnae. In an evenly contested match, played in glorious sunshine, the First Team ran out 11-9 winners. Bringing the afternoon to a close, players, friends, teachers and parents discussed the match over some light refreshments, with many already looking to rematch next year.

To view the photos please click

Dame Alice 1993 Leavers Reunion - Saturday 13th June 2015

On Saturday (13th June) BGS welcomed the Dame Alice year of 1993 for an afternoon of catching up and reminiscing over tea and cakes in the Learning Resource Centre.

Unfortunately due to the inclement weather it meant they were unable to spill out in to the school gardens, but spirits were not dampened and everyone had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

On arrival, the former students were greeted by Headmistress, Miss MacKenzie, who updated them on the developments at BGS and the forthcoming plans for the Sixth Form area this summer, where we intend to entertain alumnae in the future.

The former students – many of whom had not been back since leaving – enjoyed tours of the school, led by current pupils, and looked through the archives.

The next reunion, open to all Dame Alice alumnae, takes place on Saturday 26th September, 2pm-5pm. For further information, please contact Emma MacKenzie in
the alumnae office via

London Business Networking Forum , Tuesday 5th May 2015

Working in partnership with Bedford School's Old Bedfordians’s Club a joint networking event was organised for London based alumnae. The evening was held in the beautiful surroundings of Trinity House with spectacular views of Tower Bridge. It was a super evening and a great opportunity to both catch up with former school friends and make further business contacts.

Heritage Day

Bedford Girls’ School was delighted to host a special Heritage Day for former Headmistresses, Governors and benefactors of Bedford High School for Girls on Friday 3rd May 2013.

The occasion began with our guests enjoying a tour of the school where they were able to see the legacy items brought over from the High School in their new locations at BGS. As well as taking in our Heritage Corridor, which houses photographs and paintings of former Headmistresses from both Heritage Schools, the party were able to see the boards that identify former Head Girls and our display case of memorabilia from BHSg and Dame Alice Harpur School. The fabulous stained glass windows, kindly donated to the BHSg Junior School by the Abrahams family, and now in pride of place at BGS, were particularly admired as another tangible reminder that our history enhances our future.

Speaking at a beautifully sunny reception in the gardens of Burnaby House, Deputy Head Girl and former High School pupil, Lottie Bruce said: “All these physical things are a constant reminder and presence of Bedford High, but there is much more than that to remind us. Bedford High had an infectious feel of enthusiasm and community about it, and I can also feel that here. Therefore, it is not just the physical, material memorabilia that has been bought over which you can see, as well as these, I hope you can feel a certain aspect of Bedford High in this school like I can”.

To read more about the day, click here.

Miss Morse Memorial Service

The Memorial Service for former Headmistress Miss Morse took place on Thursday 21st March 2013 at 3.30 pm at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford, followed by Afternoon Tea at Bedford Girls’ School. It was a fitting occassion to commemorate the life of a much loved and inspirational headmistress. The event was well attended and provided a wonderful opportunity for shared recollections and a stroll along our Heritage corridor. Thank you to all who came along.


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