Founder's Day 2024 - A Day to Celebrate and Remember | Epsom College
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Founder’s Day 2024 – A Day to Celebrate and Remember

Saturday 25 May dawned with glorious sunshine, and launched another superb Founder's Day. College Archivist, Rebecca Worthy, recounts this year’s celebrations.

This annual event sits firmly in the calendar as the day the College dedicates to remembering our Founder, Dr John Propert, and his endeavours to establish Epsom College.

The Early Days of Epsom College

The first meeting to discuss the idea of a College to support the children of doctors was held in 1851. It then took Propert several long years of campaigning and fundraising until the first 100 boys walked through the open doors in 1855. This year, Canon Adrian Esdaile expertly drew upon Propert’s journey during his Chapel sermon to highlight the themes of hard work, perseverance and service to the community. It set a tone of thankfulness that permeated all corners of the day. 

A Day of Celebration and Remembrance

Historically, Founder’s Day has always been Epsom College’s biggest day of celebration in the year. Guests have always donned their finest hats, prettiest parasols and shiniest shoes. The pupils have always strived for House sporting success and to break those much-desired records. Indeed, this year the day was jam-packed with sporting prowess, beautiful singing and dancing and much reverie, as picnics were consumed and stories exchanged on Wilson pitch. But we also welcomed the artist Alastair Adams who unveiled his portrait of Emma Pattison, commissioned by the College. He has worked painstakingly for several months, and not only did he entirely capture Emma’s warmth and strength, he also signalled her love of nature, her joy found in music; particularly in the Chapel setting, her support for girls at the College and the love for her daughter Lettie. The unveiling brought a wave of emotions for those present as we remembered Emma and Lettie. We gave thanks to Emma for her life and reflected on the remarkable work she achieved in the short time she was with us. 

In parallel, we remembered Mr William Lewis who was the only Old Epsomian to lose his life on D-Day. The CCF cadets had carefully painted the silhouettes of soldiers into the grass in the Garden of Remembrance outside Chapel, supervised by Head Groundsman Jason O’Keefe. The statue of Tommy looked down on them as they framed the details of William Lewis and his ultimate sacrifice. Around the 80th anniversary of D-Day on Thursday 6 June, these details will remain on show. If you have a moment to stop and read about his endeavours, you will find a moving story. 

Dr John Propert would be immensely proud of the way that we celebrate his special day. Indeed, he would see the day as the culmination of his key drivers: benevolence and excellence. These qualities were clearly intertwined in the many facets of Founder’s Day and once again offered us the chance, as a community, to give thanks for his hard work and what Epsom College has achieved in 2024.