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Pocklington School celebrates the 2024 Commemoration of Benefactors Service

Pocklington School celebrates the 2024 Commemoration of Benefactors Service

On Friday 9th February 2024, Pocklington School celebrated one of the most important days in the school calendar, our service of Commemoration of Benefactors and Founders, which this year was led by Canon Bill Merrington (School chaplain) and we were delighted to welcome the Most Rev. and the Rt Hon. Stephen Cottrell, The Lord Archbishop of York as our guest preacher.

The 'Commemoration of Benefactors' service has been a main event in the Pocklington School calendar for many years. It provides a space to reflect and give thanks for those who founded our School and for those who have supported it in the 510 years since, whether that be through financial support, gifts in kind or with their time. The traditions surrounding the service include the processing in of teaching staff, as well as music, reflections and prayers remembering figures in our School's history.

Prior to the service, we were delighted to welcome members of The John Dolman Society who are all benefactors of Pocklington School, as well as members of the 1514 Legacy Club, for a tour of School, lunch in the dining hall, and then coffee with members of the School prefect team, and members of our teaching staff.

During our Commemoration service, The Archbishop offered a thought-provoking sermon, imploring pupils to make the most of the ‘hand we have been dealt’ in life, to make the most of the opportunities we have been given. There was also a reminder that we must never forget our duty to be aware of those in need, and that we are accountable when we fail to support. Hattie Cobb (Lower Sixth) sang a moving rendition of Amazing Grace, which was interspersed by readings from pupils about the history of the school, the philanthropic aims of the school, and the development aims of the School.

Toby Seth, Headmaster, said ‘We were delighted to welcome members of our school community to our service of ‘Commem’ and were particularly pleased that Archbishop Stephen came to preach. His sermon was uplifting and inspiring, and I’m sure that our students valued his words. I was also moved by the words from our readers which underpinned our values of courage, truth and trust, and which confirmed our philanthropic roots.’

Jenny Preston, Development Officer, said ‘It was lovely to welcome members of the John Dolman Society and 1514 Club and be able to thank them for their generosity in supporting School through their donations to the John Dolman Trust. I know that our guests particularly enjoyed talking to students about the opportunities available to them at School and beyond.’

Membership of the John Dolman Society is open to anyone who donates to the school. Members are invited to Commemoration and other school events throughout the year.

The current fundraising campaign is to support the Shape the Future Bursary Campaign. For more information about joining The John Dolman Society, or supporting the Shape the Future Campaign, please contact Jenny Preston at or call 01759 322626