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Former School Nurse Donates Artwork at Tea at the Riley

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A former Bolton School nurse returned 27 years after her retirement to enjoy Tea at the Riley, the Sixth Form Girls’ monthly cross-generational tea party.

Shirley Parkinson was the School’s nurse for 13 years before her retirement, and in that time she looked after pupils across the whole campus, from the infants at Beech House to pupils in the Sixth Form. Since her retirement, the School has seen a number of big changes, not least the construction of the Riley Sixth Form Centre at the heart of the School where Tea at the Riley takes place.

However, perhaps the most poignant was the demolition of the old Beech House to make way for Hesketh House Junior Girls’ School in 2009.

When Shirley retired, the School presented her with a beautiful painting of Beech House with children playing outside. The image was painted by Bolton School Old Girl and parent Mavis Nwokobia, who is also a former member of staff, and features the artist’s daughter playing with a skipping rope at the centre of the picture. The bright and colourful watercolour captures the essence of the “dollhouse” building that used to stand to the rear of the Girls’ Division.

Shirley has very much enjoyed the painting over the years. However, she has now decided to donate it to the School as she no longer has room to display it following a change of address. She brought the painting with her to Tea at the Riley, where she presented it to Sixth Form students.

Seeing the image was a real surprise for some of the girls who joined the School after the original building was demolished! They were delighted by this window into the past, and really enjoyed hearing Shirley talk about the Beech House she had known.

Infant pupils at Bolton School now enjoy a custom-build Beech House on Dobson Road, and where the “dollhouse” once stood is the state-of-the-art Hesketh House Junior Girls’ School.

After the presentation, Shirley was joined for part of her afternoon tea by Girls’ Division mathematics teacher Mrs Elaine Hayes, who she remembered from her time as School nurse. This was a lovely opportunity for them to catch up, and also for Shirley to share her memories of School with current pupils.

Following the enormous popularity of Tea at the Riley last year, the Sixth Form girls decided to continue the tradition, offering older people in the local area a free afternoon tea experience, including finger sandwiches and cakes hand-made by Sixth Form volunteers, as well as the chance to talk to the girls and be entertained with music or games.

 

Anyone ‘young at heart’ is welcome to join the Sixth Form girls for Tea at the Riley, which takes place once a month at the Riley Centre from 2.00pm – 3.30pm.

To reserve your place, please contact the Bolton School reception on 01204 840201.

 

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Shirley presents the painting to two delighted Sixth Form girls

Shirley presents the painting to two delighted Sixth Form girls

The old Beech House before its demolition in 2009

The old Beech House before its demolition in 2009

Guests enjoy Tea at the Riley in the Leverhulme Suite

Guests enjoy Tea at the Riley in the Leverhulme Suite