HELP SOLVE THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING PROGRAMMES

A Sutton School which has been holding a popular annual arts festival for more than half a century wants former pupils and staff to help find missing programmes from the event’s history – just in time for the school’s 60th birthday next year.

It was way back in 1961 that Fairfax School held its first Eisteddfod – a two-day competition based on the traditional Welsh festivals that celebrate art, literature, music and performance.

As part of the 60th birthday celebrations, staff were planning to display programmes from the Eisteddfod’s history – but were shocked to find they had some missing from their archive.

Now they want ex-pupils and staff to solve the mystery of the missing programmes.

Deputy head of Academy Mrs Rachel Boyce: “I would love to fill these gaps before the anniversary, because we’re going to have an exhibition and a big reunion on the 27th of September next year and it would be wonderful to display all of them at that event.

“We’ve got an archive of them going all the way back to the sixties, and it would be nice to have a complete set.

Deputy head of Academy Mrs Rachel Boyce: “I would love to fill these gaps before the anniversary, because we’re going to have an exhibition and a big reunion on the 27th of September next year and it would be wonderful to display all of them at that event.

“We’re asking former pupils and staff members to take a look through any keepsakes they have from their time at Fairfax to see if they can help us solve the mystery!”

The missing years are: 1961, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1977 and then the years from 2007-2012.

Each year’s Eisteddfod has a different theme, and the pupils compete to design the front cover of the programme.

Charlotte Green's winning design for the 2018 horro-themed Eisteddfod.
Charlotte Green’s winning design for the 2018 horror-themed Eisteddfod.

This year’s event, on December 19th and 20th, has a ‘horror’ theme with a colourful programme designed by 16-year-old pupil Charlotte Green.

Hundreds of pupils from the school’s four houses – Coventry, Kenilworth, Stratford and Warwick – battle it out in the Eisteddfod’s 12 categories, which range from photography, food and flower arranging to choirs, dance and plays.

The heads of house, and the house captains, play an instrumental part in setting up the festival each year, which is the biggest event on the school’s calendar.

Kath Philpott, who will be chairing the panel of judges, said: “Every year you think ‘they can’t top last year’ and then they do!

“What inspires me most is the atmosphere of friendly rivalry between the houses. If one house produces a very impressive entry the other houses are thrilled for them – it’s very competitive but inspirational too. They cheer for each other!”

Fairfax is also appealing for former pupils to get in touch in time for next year’s big reunion.

Head of Academy Deborah Bunn said: “We’ve had a fantastic response so far, with former pupils from as far afield as Australia and the US getting touch, as well as from across the UK. It seems Fairfax still holds a very special place in their hearts.”

If you are a former pupil and would like to know more about Fairfax’s 60th birthday plans – or if you can help replace the missing Eisteddfod programmes, email alumni@fairfax.bham.sch.uk.

Deputy Head of Academy Rachel Boyce with Kath Philpott and some of the programmes.
Deputy Head of Academy Rachel Boyce with Kath Philpott and some of the programmes.

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