01 October 2021

Great founder celebrated with ceremony and tree planting in historic year for John Lyon School

Founder’s Day celebrations once again paid tribute to John Lyon, as the School which bears his name celebrates 145 years and the first girls.

Two Acts of Commemoration at St Mary’s Church on Friday 1st October saw pupils gather alongside 20 Old Lyonians for a short ceremony of words and music, including the traditional laying of a wreath at the tomb of John and Joan Lyon in the church.

Led by the Vicar of St Mary’s, The Reverend James Power, the ceremonies reflected on the work and legacy of John Lyon’s founder. He highlighted the the importance of John Lyon both in his time and today, touching on the School’s important move to coeducation this year.

John Lyon Head Katherine Haynes welcomed pupils and OLs, and in his address, The Mayor of Harrow, Cllr Ghazanfar Ali talked about the School today, and how our founder would have pride in what the School has achieved.

Bible lessons were read by Deputy Head boy Harsh Hingorani and Monitor Will Davey, and Head Boy Vinay Kapoor read the School Charter. A wreath was laid by Monitors Fares Shehata and Vinaykarthik Rachakonda.

Music for the Founder’s Day service was led by the John Lyon Motet Choir, directed by Mr Huw Jones and accompanied by Mr Andrew Furniss on organ, with additional brass and percussion. The Choir sang John Ireland’s anthem Greater love hath no man, and they also led the School in the singing of the hymn, Lord of all hopefulness, the National Anthem, and the School Song.

After the Founder’s Day Commemoration a new tree was planted in Red House Garden to mark John Lyon School’s 145th anniversary, which is being celebrated throughout 2021. The tree, a a tulip tree, is placed near the cedar which was planted in 2016 to mark the 140th anniversary.

John Lyon was a philanthropic yeoman farmer who lived in the village of Preston in Harrow 450 years ago. He and his wife, Joan, set in motion the creation of Harrow School, founded in 1572, and then 300 years later in 1876 a new day school which bears his name.

In a Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I are the words: “Our beloved subject, John Lyon…by instinct of charity, hath purposed in his mind a certain Gramma School…of new to erect, found and forever establish for the perpetual education, teaching and instruction of Children and Youth…giving a very good example to all others to imitate the like hereafter, and also to the common profit of all our subjects.”