High profile sporting and media figures, were among the 1,000 Old Mancunians (OMs) and guests, who gathered for Manchester Grammar School (MGS)’s big reunion.
Currently celebrating its 500th anniversary year, MGS has had a diverse range of events over the course of the year; culminating in a gala dinner at The Point in Old Trafford – the School’s 211th annual Old Boys’ Dinner, on 21 November 2015.
Guests were welcomed by Chairman of Governors, Maurice Watkins CBE, and Dr Martin Boulton, the School’s High Master. The anniversary programme has included talks from successful businessmen such as Dragons’ Den star, Theo Paphitis, and the former chief executive of Manchester United, David Gill. Also included were academic lectures, a world premiere with the Hallé Orchestra, a cricket match at Lord’s and celebratory reunions in Israel, London and New York.
The Bishop of Manchester and Old Mancunian, the Rt Reverend David Walker, said Grace before comedian Chris Turner, a rising star on the comedy circuit who left MGS in 2008, provided entertainment with his signature improved freestyle rap and stand-up comedy.
Also an OM, award-winning journalist and Political Editor of Sky News, Faisal Islam – who was the Junior Steward – gave after-dinner speeches.
“This evening marks the culmination of our centenary celebrations, and it is testament to the strong emotional ties our Old Boys have to MGS; that they have come from all over the world to be here tonight”, Watkins said.
“This School was founded in 1515 on the principle that it would provide an education of the highest quality for boys, regardless of their parental income and background, and we remain true to this ethos today”, he continued.
The High Master, Dr Martin Boulton, said, “I came to this School as a boy on a bursary, so I know how life-changing it can be. I believe that this is what makes MGS one of the best schools in the country, and it is incredible to look around the room tonight and see so many Old Mancunians who have risen to the very top of their professions.”
Martin Stephen said: “Manchester Grammar School is more than an education. It makes young people fly, regardless of race, colour, creed or the social or economic standing of their parents”.
“MGS isn’t just a school. It’s one of the truly great and lasting causes every right-thinking person needs to rally round”.
Sir Nicholas Hytner said: “The Bursary Appeal is dear to the heart of countless Old Mancunians like me who believe that ability to pay fees should not be a criterion for entrance to MGS. I was lucky enough to be educated (magnificently) at the School under the old Direct Grant system, when any boy who passed the entrance exam could be sure of a place”.
Mark Chilton said: “It always amazes me the diversity of people with many interesting stories to be heard”.
Michael Crick said: “Manchester is the city to be right now – for culture, business, science and academic life. And MGS is the nursery of tomorrow’s Northern Powerhouse. I loved my days there – not just the superb teaching, but all the other activities which prepared us for life – drama, art, music, politics, camps, journalism, politics and sport. I wish I could experience it all again”.