The 75th anniversary of VE Day last Friday was particularly poignant. As well as a celebration of peace in the past, it also symbolised the coming together as virtual communities in the face of the current COVID-19 struggles. Again we pray for peace, albeit in a different form.

Downsiders engaged wholeheartedly with a special programme of learning and fun for the day. The Head Master opened the day with a welcome speech video shot up in the charming surroundings of the School’s pavilion. Dr Tapia ran an online Inter-House Live Chess Competition, which was won by Fifth Former Alfred who secured 11 matches undefeated. Very popular was the Retro Selfie Challenge, where pupils and staff dressed up in the style of famous WWII posters.

Mr and Mrs Dolman took up the Lindy Hop challenge and danced off their socks in fine form and their daughters took part in the Bake Off, creating delicious treats for the local care home Fosse House. A ’75 Sports Challenge’ was run by the Sports Department, which saw pupils and staff completing 75 reps of a range of physical activities. The day ended with virtual tea parties and the sharing of stories and photographs from VE Day 1945 with extended family members online.

It was a day to reflect and remember the past, to take a pause for the present and share the time together, even though we’re apart.

Downside pupils and staff can access all the images and videos uploaded for the day via the School’s Padlet account, which is on the School’s VE Day Programme.