OAK Magazine Issue 9

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The Issue 9


Winter Edition 2023 Keeping our alumni informed, around the world.






28TH APRIL 2024 12.00 NOON MEET







from the Headmaster The Guinness Book of Records features a whole range of improbable records relating to mass-participation. These are often rather specific – in October of this year, for example, 2,355 people gathered in Pasay in the Philippines to make the largestever human mattress domino chain – but the common feature is that people like to gather to do something together. At AKS, we are a bit more traditional, but we share that spirit. This has ranged from gala events, such as the 125th anniversary Old Arnoldian Dinner, to insightful mentoring sessions from notable alumni including Director of BBC Breakfast, Richard Frediani, and actor Jason Langley, who generously offered their time to inspire and advise students. Our community is the first thing that people notice when they visit our school. Our Foundation aims to extend that tangibly across our locality, so we can support those who would benefit most in providing a transformational education. We are looking forward, then, to our

In this issue From our Director of Development Development Office Impact Overview Careers Spotlight Arnold School Focus King Edward VII School Focus Queen Mary School Focus KEQMS Focus Upcoming School and Community Events

Change Their World Walk, where we aim to raise money in support of our Bursary appeal. Whether you can offer your legs or your voices, I know that our whole community will be eager to help our school make a difference once again.

David Harrow, Headmaster

AKS Lytham, Clifton Drive South, Lytham St Annes FY8 1DT 01253 784100 I www.akslytham.com OA K M ag az i n e - I s s ue 9 - Wint e r 2 0 2 3


From our

Director of Development

The academic year started with a flurry of activity in the Development Office as we transformed the OAKS Hall at AKS on Saturday 30th September to host our first ever Alumni Reunion Dinner to celebrate the Old Arnoldians’ 125th Anniversary. On behalf of the Old Arnoldian Committee, it was our pleasure to host 180 guests which included former teachers, headmasters and alumni spanning from 1955 leavers to the class of 2016 – amazing! We also have plans to host another Old Arnoldian Reunion Dinner in 2024 as well as introducing an Old Lidunian Reunion Dinner too! In September, the Headmaster and I had the absolute privilege of going behind the scenes of the BBC Breakfast Show hosted by its Editor, Notable Alumnus and AKS Lytham Foundation Patron, Richard Frediani (Old Lidunian). Sitting on the BBC Breakfast Show Red Sofa after the show had aired with its presenters was surreal! Over the past couple of months, we have also benefited from alumni coming into school and talk to students about their careers and experiences. A big thank you to KEQMS alumnus Samuel Ottner, KES alumnus Ben Halford and Old Arnoldian Tony Church who all delivered fascinating sessions to our students to support with the school’s career and enrichment programmes. At the end of October, we were honoured to have been shortlisted for the Institute of Development Professionals in Education (IDPE) Award for Ambition and Progress. This is an industry standard award open to all Development Offices across the UK and to become a finalist recognised the progress we have made for our alumni community since we established the Development Office last September.

At the beginning of November we also had the pleasure of hosting the Queen Mary Association (QMA) for their Annual General Meeting and Afternoon Tea. The gathering turned into a fascinating exploration for a group of inquisitive QMA alumnae, brought together by their shared curiosity and love of a good challenge. We also hosted our very first Patrons’ Lunch for the AKS Lytham Foundation in November which gave us the opportunity to give thanks and express our heartfelt gratitude to our patrons and supporters since we launched the Foundation in May. The lunch also gave us the opportunity to share our ambitious targets for the upcoming year and to unveil the Change their World Campaign, which will be the focus of fundraising for the Foundation in the coming years. In a bid to raise awareness of the Change Their World Campaign across our entire school and alumni communities, we are organizing the Change Their World Walk—a 10-mile sponsored walk on Sunday 28th April 2024, from AKS up the coast to Blackpool and back. Please read on to find out how you can get involved in this wonderful community event! We are looking forward to everything we have planned for our alumni in 2024 and if you have any suggestions or ideas, then please do get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you. Sarah Walton Director of Development 01253 376040 sarah.walton@akslytham.com


Alumni 2022-2023 OAKS is the AKS alumni for our legacy schools Arnold, King Edward VII, Queen Mary, KEQMS and graduates from AKS today, plus past and present teachers, staff, parents and grandparents as we move into the future as a combined community encapsulating each school under the OAKS association. Progress made since the new Development Office was established in September 2023.


Notable Alumni Gallery

880 36 917& 29 people have joined our new alumni platform from across the globe


videos added

Careers Education and Mentoring Support We already have


Online Mentors supporting Beyond AKS since its launch in July 2023

Social Media

portraits featured We are proud to introduce the first phase of the new Notable Alumni Gallery in our Sixth Form Centre to recognise former pupils of the heritage schools and also to inspire our current and future students.

Events We have held events and have

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more alumni events planned for the year ahead.


1,126 2 79% The OAK Magazines published

Facebook followers

Launch of OAKSAKS


Average online open rate

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AKS Celebrates the 125th Anniversary of Arnold School



A proud past and a bright future ahead The OAKS Hall at AKS Lytham was transformed on Saturday 30th September as we hosted our first ever Alumni Reunion Dinner to celebrate the Old Arnoldians’ 125th Anniversary. On behalf of the Old Arnoldian Committee, the Development Office at AKS hosted 180 guests which included former teachers, headmasters and alumni spanning from 1955 leavers to the class of 2016. In attendance at the event was Suzanna Mayer Pennington who was accompanied by her husband Jonathan Sawyer. Suzanna is the great niece of the Founder of Arnold School, Frank Truswell Pennington and it was our honour to welcome Suzanna to AKS for the Old Arnoldian Anniversary Dinner. Frank Pennington was born in 1872 into a farming family at South Scarle, near Sutton-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire. With no professional qualifications, he came to Blackpool in the early 1890s as an assistant at the High School in Lytham Road. On 4th May, 1896, at the age of 24, and with £5 lent to him by an uncle, Frank Pennington opened the doors of a new school in part of Victoria Hall (now demolished) in a passage off Bond Street in South Shore. He gave it the name South Shore Collegiate School. On its first day he enrolled ten boys. By the end of its first term there were 16; by Christmas 1896, 30. The number grew rapidly and the school soon needed larger accommodation. In the Autumn of its first year, it moved to a Masonic Hall in Waterloo Road. In 1898 Pennington took a house, 17 Alexandra Road, for boarders. He then acquired adjoining land from Blackpool Corporation, built a school capable of accommodating 100 boys and opened the new building in September, 1899 with 70 boys.


Arnold School Focus

In September 1901 the school moved, for the last time, to a building in Lytham Road, which a Dr Thomas Ward had opened as a boarding school in 1870. Dr Ward’s school had closed in the 1890s after the death of its founder. With the move to Lytham Road, the young Pennington (still then in his 20s) changed the name of his school to that of Dr Ward’s establishment, Arnold House School. The name remain unchanged until the 1920s when it became Arnold School. Pennington died in May 1938 at the age of 66. His funeral was held on the 42nd Anniversary of the day he had founded the school. During those 42 years, Pennington’s was the greatest influence on the style and development of the school. All who remember him, confirm the powerful impression he made on them. In assembly, they recall, he could hold the whole school still and was a mesmeric influence. He could achieve more by raising his eyebrows than most could do by raising their voices. His devotion to the school was complete, and few pupils left without acquiring the virtues of loyalty, hard work and public service which he had himself. (The Old Arnoldian, Issue 35. November 1982). Suzanna, great niece of Frank Pennington said: “I wonder what Frank Pennington would have made of the night. I’m sure he would have been proud to see such longlasting excellence, passion and devotion. The foundations of Arnold School are clearly alive in AKS today”.

David Harrow, Headmaster at AKS Lytham said: “It was extraordinary to spend an evening with so many Arnoldians from across the generations, including my forebears Richard Rhodes and Bill Gillen, and with Suzanna Mayer who, as a descendant of Frank Pennington, represented a remarkable connection will the original founder of Arnold School. As always with such events, there was an intangible magic in the room, as the history of the school was made real in the OAKS Hall once again”. Bill Gillen, Headmaster at Arnold School 1993-2003 said: ‘’The Old Arnoldians’ 125th Anniversary Dinner was a wonderful and unforgettable occasion in the stunning setting of the OAKS Hall at AKS. I greatly enjoyed seeing so many former pupils and colleagues after so many years. With the continuing huge and staunch support of the Old Arnoldians, the pre-eminence of the AKS is assured”. Richard Rhodes, Headmaster at Arnold School 1979-1987 said: “The 125th Anniversary Old Arnoldian Dinner was an excellent occasion on which many former pupils of Arnold School came together to reflect on their indebtedness to the quality of the education they had received at Arnold and the warmth and affection created by the friendships they made there. This was all enhanced significantly by the appreciation of the smoothness of transition to AKS, which was clearly evident and bodes well for the future. It was a pleasure and privilege to be there”.

tham t Office at AKS Ly The Developmen date for the has now set the

ian 2024 Old Arnold Reunion Dinner mber 2024 Friday 6th Septe t.com/events Visit oaksconnec ur early bird to register for yo ! access to tickets

OA K M ag az i n e - I s s ue 9 - Wint e r 2 0 2 3


Richard Frediani - Notable Alumnus and dedicated AKS Lytham Foundation Patron A warm welcome from the BBC Breakfast Show followed by a return visit to AKS, inspiring students with valuable careers advice. At the beginning of the academic year, Headmaster, David Harrow and Director of Development, Sarah Walton had the extraordinary privilege of visiting the BBC Breakfast Show studios hosted by its Editor and one of our notable alumnus Richard Frediani. Their visit ended with the surreal experience of sitting on the red sofa and meeting the Breakfast Show presenters, Sally Nugent and John Kay, after the show had aired. Richard attended King Edward VII School between 1974 and 1984. He started his career at Red Rose Radio and with a career now spanning more than three decades. Richard has worked at local, regional and national levels, including Programme Editor for ITV News at Ten and News at 6.30 and Head of News at ITV Granada. Richard has won BAFTA and National Royal Television Society awards and has played a key role in developing new talents from all backgrounds. In 2019, Richard was appointed as the Editor of BBC Breakfast.

King Edward VII School Focus

Headmaster David Harrow said, “An incredibly impressive visit, generously and comprehensively stewarded by Richard Frediani: it was inspiring to see the creativity, professionalism and teamwork of a whole host of people behind the scenes and on camera, making a complex and ever-shifting operation look effortless. A profound lesson in what can be achieved when passionate people come together”. Director of Development, Sarah Walton, added, “It was a privilege to see what goes on behind the scenes 24/7 to deliver the BBC television breakfast news programme. Richard’s leadership values are centred around collaboration and teamwork and it was fascinating to learn how the BBC teams work together to navigate news production as it unfolds in real time”. In November, we were delighted to return the hospitality and welcome Richard back as keynote speaker at the Future Fair in November to share with our students a fascinating insight into his career. Richard took the time to chat with students about the range of skills and team roles it takes to make a national news programme including top tips for those interested in a career in Broadcast Journalism and the Media Industry. Thank you, Richard Frediani, for inspiring our students! 8

Exploring Nostalgia: The Queen Mary Association’s Annual AGM and Afternoon Tea at AKS On a Saturday afternoon in November, the Queen Mary Association (QMA) hosted its Annual General Meeting and Afternoon Tea at AKS. The gathering turned into a fascinating exploration for a group of inquisitive QMA alumnae, brought together by their shared curiosity and love of a good challenge. Fiona Smithson took centre stage with her engaging ‘Curiosity Corner’ quiz, presenting fifty peculiar implements that sparked the participants’ detective skills. Tables competed against the clock to decipher the uses of vintage gadgets, ranging from familiar egg coddlers to more enigmatic items like the equine tooth rasp disguised as a shoe horn and a cigar lighter cleverly camouflaging a case for portable heated hair tongs.

Queen Mary School Focus

The quiz delved into the mysteries of a wheelwright’s measure, a worker’s pay tin, a nasal douche, and a tool for removing rings from bulls’ noses. The afternoon witnessed laughter and puzzled expressions as guests attempted to unravel the purpose behind a straightener for bulls’ horns and a brass guard designed for cleaning military buttons. Amidst the cerebral challenges, the AKS Catering Team treated everyone to a delightful afternoon tea, offering a respite from the quiz intrigue. Following the tea, President Deana Whalley led a brief AGM, expressing gratitude for the support received, particularly acknowledging those who travelled long distances, including Elizabeth Dawson from Oxfordshire. The event concluded with presentations by Sarah Shepherd and Sarah Walton, providing updates on the Alumni Office at AKS and the charitable mission of the AKS Lytham Foundation. As the QMA looks ahead, President Deana Whalley called for new members to join the small and friendly committee, extending an invitation for those interested to contact Secretary Liz Bickerstaffe at lizzibick@yahoo.co.uk. The Queen Mary Association’s AGM and Afternoon Tea at AKS not only rekindled nostalgic camaraderie but also exemplified the association’s commitment to intellectual engagement and philanthropy.

OA K M ag az i n e - I s s ue 9 - Wint e r 2 0 2 3


Notable Alumnus Jason Langley gives AKS Students an insight into Acting We were delighted to welcome Notable Alumnus and accomplished theatre, television and voiceover actor, Jason Langley, to AKS in November. Jason attended KES from 1995 to 2002 and returned to deliver 2 inspiring workshops to our Drama and Performing Arts Scholars and students with a keen interest in Acting and Production. Jason took to the stage in many school productions during his time at KES most notably playing the Emcee in Cabaret. He then studied Drama at Hull University before he went on to study Classical Acting at LAMDA, graduating in 2007. This year, Jason starred as Danny in ‘Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical’ touring the UK and Canada. Theatre includes; ‘Tina: The Tina Turner Musical’ (Aldwych), ‘Oslo’ (National Theatre and West End), ‘Hedda Gabler’ (National Theatre), ‘War Horse’ (West End), ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ (Mercury), ‘Enron’ (West End), ‘Ghosts’ (Greenwich Theatre), ‘Nicked’ (Hightide), ‘One Night In November’ (Belgrade). Television includes ‘Breeders’ (Sky), ‘Us’ (BBC), ‘Hang Ups’ (Channel 4), ‘Count Arthur Strong’ (BBC), ‘Lucan’ (ITV), ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’ (Fox/BBC Worldwide), ‘World Without End’ (Starz/Channel 4), ‘Room At The Top’ (BBC), ‘Life Class’ (Channel 4). Voiceover includes the #1 Audible series of Tom Marcus spy novels. Jason took the time to chat with students and answer specific questions about how to enter the industry as an aspiring actor. Jason is also a Patron and passionate advocate of the school’s new charity, the AKS Lytham Foundation. Thank you, Jason Langley, for inspiring our students!



AKS Lytham Foundation unveils “Change Their World” Campaign AKS Lytham proudly announces the launch of its transformative charity, the AKS Lytham Foundation, dedicated to changing the lives of local children from disadvantaged communities through fully funded bursaries. The Foundation’s first goal is to raise funds for 10 transformational bursaries, allowing deserving children the opportunity to join AKS Lytham from Senior School to Sixth Form (ages 11 to 18). Unlike existing bursarial support at the school, these new bursaries, covering tuition and associated costs like uniform, curriculum trips and lunches, aim to remove financial barriers entirely for recipients and their families. All bursaries will be meanstested.

Unlike many schools who benefit from an endowment to start a Foundation, AKS is building an entirely new fund with its own philanthropic drive for its inaugural bursary appeal. The campaign encourages various forms of support and all donations go directly to the fund and will be recognised:

Recognising financial pressures on local disadvantaged communities, AKS aims to identify talented children whose lives could be positively transformed by accessing education at AKS. In response, the school is mobilising its alumni, school community, and local supporters for the “Change Their World” Campaign.

Single Gift* Welcoming single gifts of any amount, each contribution directly fuels the bursary fund.

Sponsor a Student* Donors can fully sponsor a student on a transformational bursary, leading the charge in the Change Their World Campaign.

Regular Giving* Donors are urged to make regular contributions, starting from as little as £20 a month, to support students through their academic journey. Leave a Legacy* Leaving a legacy gift to the AKS Lytham Foundation in one’s Will stands as a powerful and lasting contribution. *UK tax-paying donors may be eligible to include Gift Aid on their charitable contributions. (charity number 1191646)

To learn more, donate, or receive a free brochure, please contact Sarah Walton, Director of Development, at 01253 376040 or email sarah.walton@akslytham.com.

Support for




from Senior School through to Sixth Form

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Need to raise

£1.3 m 110% Bursaries over the next few years


Upcoming School and Community Events Old Arnoldians’ vs Old Lidunians’ Boxing Day Match Tuesday 26th December, 3.00pm at Fylde Rugby Club

Little Shop of Horrors Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th January at Lowther Pavilion Tickets available now from Lowther Pavilion

AKS Senior School Open Evening Wednesday 6th March from 6.00pm

AKS Cabaret Thursday 21st March at 7.00pm at AKS Tickets available nearer the time

Change Their World Walk Sunday 28th April at 12.00pm. Starting and finishing at AKS Lytham. Enter now on: www.oaksconnect.com/events

Old Arnoldians’ Reunion Dinner Friday 6th September from 6.45pm at AKS Register your interest now on: www.oaksconnect.com/events

Old Lidunians’ Reunion Dinner Saturday 7th September from 6.45pm at AKS Register your interest now on: www.oaksconnect.com/events

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