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Children’s television presenter and founder’s daughter help school celebrate 50th birthday

PUBLISHED: 12:41 26 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:41 26 May 2018

Children at Cecil Gowing Infant School celebrate its 50th birthday at the Maids Head Hotel. Picture: Safrron Robnnson

Children at Cecil Gowing Infant School celebrate its 50th birthday at the Maids Head Hotel. Picture: Safrron Robnnson

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Fifty years ago, school life would have been a world away from today.

Pupils at Cecil Gowing Infant School celebrate its 50th birthday, Picture: Saffron RobinsonPupils at Cecil Gowing Infant School celebrate its 50th birthday, Picture: Saffron Robinson

In spring 1968, the first cohort of youngsters were setting out in education at Cecil Gowing Infant School, in Sprowston, getting to know their new classmates and exploring their brand new classrooms.

Fast forward five decades, and today’s pupils have just finished two weeks of celebration for the school’s 50th birthday, including a party at the school.

The birthday party, held last week, was attended by school founder Cecil Gowing’s daughter, Annabelle, and two of his granddaughters, Jane and Tiggy, along with children’s television presenter and zoologist Jess French, former teachers and parents.

And on Friday, all 180 children visited the Maid’s Head Hotel, in Norwich, to bring celebrations to a close, with a special assembly held in its Minstrel Suite.

Cecil Gowing Infant School has celebrated its 50th birthday. Picture: Isabel StubbsCecil Gowing Infant School has celebrated its 50th birthday. Picture: Isabel Stubbs

Each year group sang a song at the assembly, which ended with the school song - aptly named Cecil Gowing is the Best - before a disco got under way.

Isabel Stubbs, school headteacher, said: ”We have had a lovely fortnight. It has been wonderful celebrating with the parents and the children. I would like to thank Amy Elvin and the Maids Head for their support. Our activities at school and the visit to the hotel for the party are something the children will always remember.”

Pupils - who have been creating a garden to mark the 50th birthday - were visited by Mrs Elvin, the hotel’s wedding coordinator and a parent at the school, to help them plan the party.

She said: “We collaborated with Cecil Gowing Infant School in 2016 with a wedding planning event and were really pleased to be asked to be involved in the 50th birthday celebrations.

Annabelle Gowing, Cecil Gowing's daughter, plants a tree at the school's 50th birthday. Picture: Isabel StubbsAnnabelle Gowing, Cecil Gowing's daughter, plants a tree at the school's 50th birthday. Picture: Isabel Stubbs

“During our visits to the school, we have been using the phrase ‘teamwork makes a dream work’ to emphasise the importance of working together and have explained the range of celebrations that we host including weddings, birthday parties and christenings.”

It was also a chance for the school to reflect on its heritage. Mrs Stubbs, who met former headteachers at the event, had been keen to learn more about the school founder, a local farmer and aviator who donated land for the school.

He was born in 1898 and, according to Sprowston Heritage, attended Bracondale School in Norwich as a boarder.

Cecil Gowing plants a tree at the school's opening, 50 years ago. Picture: Isabel StubbsCecil Gowing plants a tree at the school's opening, 50 years ago. Picture: Isabel Stubbs


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