THE Midhurst Rother College (MRC) Gilbert Hannam prize-giving day basked in spring sunshine as top students were awarded for their hard work.
In keeping with tradition, the day began with a church service at Midhurst Parish Church, St Mary Magdalene and St Denys, presided over by the Rev Dave Willis with guest speaker the Rev Michael Barter who received the gift of gloves, a bequest made by Gilbert Hannam in his will in the 17th century.
Students, staff and families welcomed speaker Andrew Loukes, the exhibition, house and collections curator at Petworth House. His inspirational words brought to life the magnificence of Petworth House, and two of the greatest artists in history who spent so much time on our doorstep, Constable and Turner.
Musical contributions came from Year 11 students Lily O’Regan on acoustic guitar, Sophie Marshall playing the flute, and Baylee Reed on snare drum.
In the principal’s address, Dr Joe Vitagliano was pleased to present his personal awards to sixth formers Ashley Baker and Catriona Gibbon, who have made outstanding contributions to college life and are university-bound with offers to study veterinary science and forensics respectively.
The prestigious Kershaw Music Award was presented to Baylee Reed by Paul Mellings, president of the Midhurst and Petworth Rotary Club.
It marks the third success in a row in recent weeks for Baylee who, as leading cadet, has been given the Commander Brown National Award. His ambition is to be a marine bandsman and he was chosen from cadets around the country to win the prestigious award. He was also placed first in the District Boswains Call.
Captain Michael O’Kelly, as member of the Gilbert Hannam Education Foundation, awarded three special sets of prizes. Essay prize submissions are put forward anonymously and judged by the foundation.
First place was awarded to Peter Thomas, who was also last year’s winner, second to Kate Cheshire and third to Baylee Reed.
The Lucas and Hyman Travel Awards were also presented by Captain O’Kelly. Winners were Caroline Miller, Shane Fumagall, Simon Dennis and Sam Massey, who will now undertake an expedition to Venice, and Oliver Van Zwanenberg, Catriona Gibbon and Tanya Dudman, who will travel to Naples with their Hyman bursary.
For the full story, see this week’s Midhurst and Petworth Observer (out March 20).