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09 October 2020

John Lyon’s Founder commemorated in a day of distanced celebration

The church on the Hill wasn’t packed, as is tradition, but John Lyon’s founder has been celebrated in three special Founder’s Day events.

2020 Founder’s Day on Friday 9th October saw pupils head up the Hill to St Mary’s Church in three separate groups, to hear words and music in celebration of John Lyon, a philanthropic yeoman farmer who lived in the village of Preston in Harrow 450 years ago. In his lifetime he created what is now Harrow School, and then 300 years later in 1876 a new boys’ day school was opened and named after him.

Led by the Vicar of St Mary’s, The Reverend James Power, the short ceremonies reflected on the work and legacy of John Lyon’s founder. He highlighted the generosity of John Lyon in his time and how what he had put in place in the 16th century is still alive in the School today.

The School’s Head Miss Katherine Haynes, then spoke to pupils, reading from John Lyon’s Dream, the most complete history of the School written by the late Michael Burrell (OL1956). She said: “A great deal has happened in the life of our School since being founded, to make us the vibrant 600-student strong School that we have become today.

“John Lyon’s Dream links to thousands of boys and scores of teachers who have made our school what it is. Nowadays, the dream of our Founder lives on in the day to day life of our School. Every boy, and every staff member, contributes to the quality and ethos of our School. And it is fascinating to see how, through testing times and easier ones, there has clearly been a definable John Lyon spirit characterising our school and our community.”

The Year 7 ‘bubble’ Choir sang Ave Verum Corpus by Edward Elgar and the School Song, Stet Fortuna Domus. The Pride of Lyon’s motet group performed and O Come, ye servants of the Lord, by Christopher Tye, an English composer from the time of John Lyon.

As the ceremonies ended, pupils exited the church via the tomb of John Lyon, at which a wreath had been left to mark his death at the beginning of October 428 years ago.

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