Skip To Main Content

Canford Centenary celebration

Canford Centenary celebration

School Centenary marked with a Proms in the Park celebration

On Sunday 25th June, over 2,200 past and present pupils, staff, families, members of the local community and other friends associated with Canford School, Wimborne gathered for a ‘Proms in the Park’ Garden Party to mark the school’s centenary year.

The celebrations began at 12 noon when guests arrived in glorious sunshine to picnic on the lawns. With alumni attending spanning every decade from the 1940s to the 2020s, there was much reminiscing and the chance to take tours of the school to revisit old memories and see developments and changes including the new boys’ boarding and day houses, new library and Assembly Hall. Art workshops and lawn games entertained children and adults alike until 3pm when the centenary music concert began on the outdoor stage with the Canford Manor as an impressive backdrop. The orchestra, wind orchestra, concert band and jazz band involving over 80 school musicians and Friends of Canford Music played an ambitious and varied two hour programme ‘Proms in the Park’ style.  A special guest performance on keyboard by Headmaster Ben Vessey in ‘Chariots of Fire’ by Vangelis started the concert in fine style, followed by toe tapping favourites including selections from ‘West Side Story’, ‘Mr Blue Sky’, ‘Swingin’ on the Moon’, highlights from ‘Jurassic Park’. No 100 year celebration would be complete without a special rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ which the Wind Orchestra and Concert Band duly provided, and ‘A Fifth of Beethoven’ provided the grand finale at 5pm, ending with a firework flourish.

For those looking for a permanent reminder of the day, centenary merchandise from water bottles and bags through to a special ‘Canford in 100 objects’ book compiled by the school archivist and limited edition Anthony Eyton commissioned prints were on sale. See details via the link below:

Canford Centenary Merchandise

Headmaster Ben Vessey commented:

What a wonderful concert and Garden Party we all enjoyed on Sunday.  It was Canford and its community at its finest and a perfect, fitting tribute to the school’s historic centenary year.   The sun shone, families mingled and picnicked through the beautifully maintained and manicured grounds, and many fond memories were shared by alumni spanning the generations.  The music was absolutely stunning from our combined ensembles and community musicians and went far beyond all expectations of a Proms occasion. I think our founder The Reverend Percy Warrington would have been truly proud.

Director of Music Christopher Sparkhall was delighted with the outcome of many months of planning by the Music department:

It was a privilege for our musicians to perform to such a large and appreciative audience, and to lead our centenary celebrations at ‘Proms in the Park’. There has been a lot of rehearsal throughout the year, and I am proud of the hard work put in by the pupils in all of our ensembles over many months to prepare for this event. They played brilliantly, and I am sure that the occasion will be one that they, and those in the audience will remember for many years to come.

For more information about Canford’s centenary celebrations this past year, including a link to a YouTube recording of the live stream concert, please visit:

Canford 100

Canford Proms in the Park