Big plans to mark school anniversary

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A bike ride to Rome, a specially brewed beer and a 1965-themed show are all being planned as part of an Ilkeston school’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

A special Mass is being held on Friday July 10 at 7pm at Saint John Houghton CVA, in Kirk Hallam, to mark its special birthday, during which a garden of remembrance will be blessed and opened.

Staff and students are working hard to plan events in the run up to the big day, including a sponsored bike ride, which will see students cycle the equivalent of the 1,330-mile distance to Rome.

Two students from each year group will take part and be asked to complete the challenge at the academy on July 9 and 10.

Jim Nash, head of science, is organising the event.

He said: “We had 178 students apply to take part and we picked eight at random. They have been training hard with a staff member and they will take it in turns to complete the distance on spin bikes that have kindly been provided by DE7 Fitness in Ilkeston.

“We are planning on having a screen up, which will have a map on it that will show how far they’ve cycled and will hopefully spur them on.

“They will also be sponsored £1 a mile and the proceeds will go to CAFOD and the Teenage Cancer Trust.”

Mr Nash has also been working with Peak Ales, in Bakewell, to brew a special one-off Saint John Houghton beer that will be sold after the Mass on July 10.

He said: “We are only making a certain number of bottles available and it will be sold at £3 a bottle with proceeds going to charity. It’s just something a bit different to help us mark our 50th anniversary.”

Saint John are also hosting a 1965-themed show, which will take place at the academy tonight (July 2) at 7pm.

Dan Quenby, music teacher, said the show was shaping up to be a very special event.

He said: “We’ve got about 25 students and 25 staff who will be performing music from the year 1965 at the show and some comedy sketches.

“We’ve got music from The Who and The Beatles and the students are loving it. They are putting lots of work into their rehearsals and it’s promising to be a great night.”

Anyone who has a connection with the academy is invited to attend the open air Mass at the academy on July 10.