The Old School Studio Old School Lane, High Street, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4YS 01223 833064
The Old School Studio

Cambridgeshire based art studio offering Tutored Painting
Work-Shops, a Drop-in-and-Paint Club and Cambridge Open Studios

A Friday Surprise, or Two!

The surprise visit!

It was Friday 23rd March, and it started like most Drop-In days do with a flurry of activity and anticipation.  There were 12 students (the Friday Friends as they like to be known) and every-one was working on something different and exciting, so I was being kept very busy indeed, but everything was under control, or so I thought!

Peg Simmonds, former Deputy Head of Whittlesford Village School

That was until at 11.35am the phone rang, and Meg said, “we’ll be over at about 12.15pm, is that OK for you?”

“Who will be over at 12.15!” I exclaimed.

“Peg Simmonds and a few visitors from the William Westley Primary School” (an email had been sent, but got lost in the ether).

The next half hour was spent scurrying around preparing for what was to be a very special visit.

That visitor was Mrs Peg Simmonds, 101 years old, although you’d never know it!  It was almost 55 years to the day after she’d been appointed as the Infants Teacher to the Old Whittlesford School, and coincidently taught in the very room that is now the Old School Studio.  She eventually became the Deputy Head, a post she held until her retirement in December 1975, after the school had been relocated to the other side of the village in 1972.

VIP Studio Guests

After a photo session outside, the group of 6 people were invited in to see what changes have taken place since the school closed.  The group consisted of (left to right) Pat Carter (Vice President of the Whittlesford Society), Mr Paul Bryant (present Head Teacher, William Wesley School), Penny Brown, (formally teacher at the Old School), Mrs Peg Simmonds (then Miss Snell), Miranda Harper (former teacher at the Old School), and finally Miranda’s daughter Catriona Harper-Osmant, who was also a teacher at the new William Wesley School.

Mrs Simmonds was charming, and showed a real interest in what we’ve achieved in the studio, as well as spending time looking around, reminiscing and chatting to the Friday Friends; who were all delighted to meet her!

Her old “stomping ground” is our cosy studio!

The group had spent a happy morning at ‘the new school’ attending a special assembly marking Sports Aid Day, touring the premises and having lunch with pupil members of the school council, before dropping in at The Old School Studio.  A longer nostalgia tour of the Old School is planned for July when other former staff and pupils will be invited to a ‘Reunion’ to see how exciting new life has been breathed into the old school in the five years since Dave and myself took over the lease to what has become The Old School Studio, shortly after Essex Framing Services relocate  here with their framing business, gallery and gift shop.


The surprise presentation!

Then, as if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, the Friday Friends made a presentation of their own to Dave and me as a sign of their appreciation.  It was completely out of the blue, but so lovely to know that what we have created is so loved by the people that use it!

The Friday Friends present…

Firstly, Dave was presented with a bespoke T-shirt, which he immediately put on and it fit perfectly (check-out the photo).  Its brilliant and so true, ‘What a difference a Dave makes’.

I can say without hesitation that without Dave’s help, the studio would not function, and I think everyone who knows him now would say the same.  He’s so vital to us on every level, so a big ‘thank Dave’.

Val and Dave with their surprise gifts

And then I was presented with a beautiful orchid, again a complete surprise, but such a lovely gesture.  It’s days like this that make all the hard work feel worthwhile!




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This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 27th, 2018 at 8:54 pm and is filed under Drop In Painting Day, Extra, Review, The Old School Studio. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.