May 2012 sees the grand opening by Watford Football Club Chairman, Graham Taylor, of York House Schools' brand new all-weather multi-sports pitches. It will be one of the finest facilities in the area and will help maintain our presence as a leading independent prep school in Hertfordshire.
This development was originally the idea of our enthusiastic and highly-motivated Head of PE & Games, Mr Woodford. With his determination and drive, the seed of an idea has grown alongside an impressive fund-raising machine driven by all the parents, teachers, governors and pupils of York House School to reach the target required. And, as is the York House way, it was achieved quickly and with great success by all those involved. With lots of fun had along the way! Works are due start in March with little disruption caused to the school routine. We look forward very much to the first ball being kicked in celebration soon.
The first cut is the deepest for sure... We are off and running - well, standing back and watching the digging from a safe vantage point. A proud moment for Mr Woodford on Monday as he dug deep-ish(!) and realised his dream of seeing York House School with modern all-weather pitches, that underpins the ambitions of the school to provide the very best facilities for its students.
So far we have seen some very active digging and earth removal under the bluest of Hertfordshire skies. A large truck arrived to supply much aggregate, the first of many no doubt!
Nursery were out in excited numbers on Thursday afternoon seeing the men and their magnificent earth moving machines make light work of it all. A good start indeed...
We are all banking on the pitches providing a great spectacle and this week it is really happening. The soil is forming an impressive gallery position on the cricket pitch side and the trucks are off-loading aggregate as quickly as the men can spread it around the footprint. A few trees have been removed and will of course be replaced by even more new ones, which has really opened up the space.
The weather has been quite glorious since the First Cut, but today signals a change... snow! Well, we'll wait and see on that one, but work is certainly moving in the right direction.
The Easter eggs have been worked off, the inclement weather has passed (hopefully!) and the foundations are almost complete. The pitches are taking on another dimension this week with the outline of the pitches clearly visible and the whole surface area is looking good... and quite large!
More large trucks of aggregate arrived today and the workmen are busily distributing it across the site in the dumper truck. The cows in the adjoining field seem to be less excited about the whole thing…!
After a week away and with the new Summer term now started, we return to find a black square of tarmac, briefly visible through the April showers when it decides that is enough rain for the day. Good solid progress.
The playing carpet is ready and waiting, whilst the launch event excitement is building to a fever pitch! What will next week bring us we wonder? Bright sunshine? More rain? Just maybe...
Let's play sports!
The sun shone down on York House School and our excellent new facility was officially opened by Mr Graham Taylor OBE on Tuesday 29 May 2012. Mr Taylor brought warmth, humour, kindness and wonderful words to the children, parents, governors and staff present, making many lifelong Watford FC supporters very happy indeed!
The cutting of the ribbon was followed by some words of thanks and praise from the Headmaster Mr MacDougall for the York House School family, who all came together and gave so much in time, effort, money and drive to see this project be implemented and realised.
Mr Taylor praised and delighted all with tales of his living locally during his first tenure as Watford FC manager and cycling along the lanes around the school on his way to training, but never having been down the drive to the School itself. We were all very pleased indeed that he visited us today and gave his valuable time to visit us for the first time, and the invitation to return is an open one.
As a token of our thanks the Headmaster presented Mr Taylor with a School shield which he said would sit very proudly on the shelves of his study amongst his collection of gifts from around the world. We take that as a great honour and are truly grateful to him for making a wonderful day so very memorable for everyone at York House School.
He was a great sport and took part in a penalty shoot-out against the Headmaster, with the School's finest goalkeepers between the sticks. Unsurprisingly, the former England manager comfortably slotted his shot home, whilst Mr MacDougall had his saved. The gentlemen moved onto netball where both found their shooting skills a little rusty, but we'll allow them that!
The ceremony on the pitches, in front of the whole School, was followed by photographs and autographs and then some much needed refreshment in the cooler environment of the Archdale Hall.
What has been built here will allow the girls and boys of the School for many years to come to play a variety of sports that makes the experience of being a York House child so very memorable and special. For it to be opened in the year of the London Olympics resonates that this is a true legacy for the development, health and education of all children who attend this wonderful school.