We had some excellent news for our Young Enterprise team this week: NuLeaf Tea won the North Yorkshire County finals!

Whether you were cajoled or merely persuaded into buying their various teas when you visited the College this year, you will surely agree that they showed excellent sales techniques. It’s no surprise then that they won three awards, for Best Financial Management, Best Sales, Marketing and Customer Focus, and Overall Best Company in North Yorkshire. The team - Lily Browne, Francesca Foxcroft, Bella Illingworth, Oliver Saxby, Giorgiana Bolza and Matilda Tidmarsh - delivered a four minute presentation to an audience, submitted a company report and survived a grilling from a panel of judges about their journey so far. Congratulations to them and to their coach, Modern Studies teacher Mrs Stannard. They now progress to the Yorkshire and Humber finals on 13th June.

Our week began with a very moving service of remembrance on VE Day, when we welcomed eight WW2 veterans, including seven who had travelled from Russia, to lay wreaths in memory of fallen comrades from the Russian and British forces and say prayers for peace and the building of relationships between nations. History A level students, CCF cadets and Russian students also enjoyed the opportunity to hear, first- hand, the veterans’ stories, including that of the attending British veteran, gunner Austin Byrne, who was rescued from his torpedoed ship and nursed back to health in Murmansk. Thank you to one of our parents, Dr Vera Lyalina, who arranged the visit and to Major Blackford for organising the day.

On Saturday 19th May, another of our parents, Mrs Hewitt, is organising a prayer vigil in the Crypt of the Abbey Church. The Eve of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon Christ’s disciples, is also a special day this year for the Hewitt family, as it would have been their daughter Mariana’s 7th Birthday.  They invite everyone connected to Ampleforth to join them in praying for the Holy Spirit to be poured out upon Ampleforth, the Community, its works and its wider family.  The evening begins at 8.45pm and finishes at 8.00am, and will consist of times of prayer, praise and worship and silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Students are welcome to attend, but must do so accompanied by their parents.

On Wednesday, 13 Year 10 girls went to Stanbrook Abbey in nearby Wass for a day of retreat and encounter with Benedictine religious women. The theme of the day was Creation, God is the potter and we are his clay. The beautiful spring weather allowed us to fully appreciate God’s creation, spending time observing nature and listening in silence. An afternoon walk with the sisters gave students the opportunity to ask many questions about the religious life. It was a most welcome day of quiet, rest and prayer.

A keenly-fought Junior Inter-House Football competition saw St Thomas’ win the final with a golden goal winner against St Hugh’s on a beautiful summer Sunday evening in the Valley. St Thomas’ had progressed after finishing second in their group behind St Hugh’s, who had beaten St Dunstan’s in the first game of the tournament. St Oswald’s set the early pace with three wins against St Cuthbert’s, St Edward’s & St Wilfrid’s and St John’s, but lost 2-1 to St Thomas’ in their semi-final. St Cuthbert’s progressed to the semi-final from their group courtesy of a 2-1 win against their Hume House neighbours, only to lose 1-0 against St Hugh’s in the semi-final.  On the hockey front, congratulations to Year 10 student Josh Connor, who was selected to play for North Yorkshire Hockey U15s on Sunday - he will play for them again this Saturday.

Our A level Drama and Theatre students performed for their first examined unit this week.  Students have been working hard this term to create original devised pieces based on mental health and, inspired by the working practices of Frantic Assembly, the pieces told difficult, human stories through the use of physical theatre. The two groups performed to an exceptionally high standard, giving incredibly moving and exciting performances to a sell-out audience of students, parents and staff. Meanwhile, the Theatre is very busy with less than two weeks now to the Exhibition production of Wind in the Willows. The cast are rehearsing hard and learning their lines, and the creation of the set by the enthusiastic Green Room is progressing well. Year 9 student Louis Moss has written, directed and produced an innovative trailer featuring Ranulph Blake-James in the eponymous role of Toad. You can see his film here, and book your tickets here.

If you are in the Valley this week, you will be able to enjoy the Piano department’s second concert of the summer term, on Wednesday 16th May at 12.40pm in the Main Hall. It follows a very enjoyable spring concert last Sunday, when there was the opportunity to hear Benedict Turner-Berry perform the first movement of Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. The Brass Ensemble, Pro Musica, the College Orchestra and the Big Band all featured in an enjoyable programme which highlighted our students’ talents across the age range.

The music department was very pleased to receive a certificate from the Incorporated Society of Musicians this week, in recognition of the number of our students who sat GCSE music last year. While there is so much concern nationwide about the threat to the arts in British schools, it’s clear that they are an important and vibrant part of life here at Ampleforth!

Eleven members of the RAF Section from the CCF went Air Experience Flying y at RAF Leeming. Each cadet was briefed on mandatory safety aspects of the flight before having a 30-minute opportunity to experience flying with a qualified instructor.  They were also fortunate enough to be able to take the controls themselves and to experience aerobatics first hand, with some even taking control of the Grub Tutor aircraft for the loop-the-loops and barrel rolls.

On Wednesday afternoon, Hambleton Equine Clinic hosted a group of Ampleforth College and St Martin's Ampleforth students, giving them the opportunity to learn more about possible veterinary career paths and the treatment of horses. One of the vets and the head vet nurse gave the students a detailed tour of the clinic, a progressive and specialist equine practice providing a full range of equine services to the professional and recreational horse owner - and the only purpose-built equine clinic in North Yorkshire.  They saw digital x-ray and ultrasound systems, videoendoscopes, the MRI and nuclear scintigraphy (bone scanner) facilities, and the operating theatre and recovery room, as well as hearing about some of the practice's current cases. Finally, head vet nurse Becky gave a bandaging masterclass and then Molly (an aspiring vet nurse herself) was challenged to have a go at bandaging the lower leg of an obliging (and perfectly well) pony. She did brilliantly and surely has a great future career ahead of her!  Thank you to all at Hambleton Equine Clinic for taking the time to give our students such an interesting tour and for answering all of our questions so knowledgeably, and to the College's Equestrian Coordinator, Mrs Cook, for arranging the trip.

Thirty of our Year 10 students are in the Yorkshire Dales for their three day Silver Duke of Edinburgh assessment expedition this weekend, hoping it might not be too wet! We wish them all success.