Maidenhead primary school marks 150th anniversary

A Maidenhead school is marking its 150th anniversary this month with visits from former members of staff and the town’s MP, Theresa May.

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School first welcomed children back in 1871 and has been based at two locations in Cookham Road during its distinguished history.

To mark the occasion, the school held a summer fayre at the weekend which was attended by hundreds of people, while a whole school mass was held yesterday (Wednesday), attended by former teachers and staff members.

Over the coming weeks, students will be hunting for time capsules buried in the year 2000 and going through their contents, before placing their own capsules for future generations to find.

Headteacher Rosemary Akehurst took over the role in January but previously attended the school as a pupil in the 1980s under the tutelage of head Jim Campbell, who retired in 1998 after 30 years of service.

“It is like a homecoming – I was head girl in 1987 under Mr Campbell who was the iconic headteacher,” she said.

“I am absolutely delighted to have been given the opportunity to be headteacher at the school I attended as a child.”

Mrs Akehurst added: “I think it [the anniversary] is important for the town and I had not appreciated that until becoming headteacher.

“The old school down the road was a very different environment to what it is now.

“When I was at school I remember on a Friday afternoon tidying Mr Campbell’s cupboard and education has come on quite a bit since then.

“It is a huge milestone and a great opportunity for us to celebrate as a school the Catholic education that we provide in Maidenhead.

“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school and a diverse community.”

Maidenhead MP Theresa May was present at the summer fayre, and Mrs Akehurst added that other pupils once at the school have gone on to achieve great things.

These include Posh Pawn TV expert Claudia Valentin and Kate Foster, UK Ambassador to Somalia.

Another past member of staff to inspire Mrs Akehurst is Margaret Tracy, who was deputy head when she joined the school earlier this year.

“If I can do half the job Margaret and Mr Campbell did then I will be really proud,” Mrs Akehurst said.

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