Welcome to the Westonbirt Association website, which helps the former pupils and staff of Westonbirt School keep in touch with other alumnae all around the world and with our social programme, which includes events at Westonbirt School and other venues.
Founded in 1930, the Westonbirt Association is the membership organisation for former pupils and staff of Westonbirt School, the boarding and day school for girls, in Westonbirt, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire. It has thousands of members from all generations of the school’s past pupils, spread all around the world.
Wherever your life after school has taken you, membership of the Association will ensure you feel part of the vibrant and caring Westonbirt community long after you have left.
Not a member? Don’t worry, whether or not you joined the Association on leaving school, if you have been a pupil or member of staff here for any length of time, you are eligible to join – and to start enjoying the benefits of belonging.
Membership of the organisation offers you many benefits:
We are grateful to the School for the support they give to the Association to raise awareness and nurture the close link between us, e.g. managing our database and hosting our website within theirs, to keep our data secure, hosting our events and meetings.
In return, the Association is pleased to be able to help the school in practical ways, for example by providing guest speakers for the School’s “Inspiring Women” careers day, giving guest lectures about their area of expertise, or offering work experience to current pupils. Many members enjoy demonstrating in this way how far in life their Westonbirt education has taken them!
We also encourage current pupils to succeed by offering the Memorial Bursary and the Mary Henderson Travel Award, which you can read about in more detail below.
Former pupils frequently ask to return to School for a year group reunion. The School is more than happy to accommodate you all and help Alumnae wanting to organise such events back at School. Please email Alison Salih on firstname.lastname@example.org for information. Please tell us about your event so that we can report it on the website. Photographs especially welcome.
As Alumnae, we can really appreciate the beauty of Westonbirt House and grounds. Former pupils are welcome to visit. However, please contact the School Reception on 01666 880333 beforehand to make sure your preferred date fits in with the School Calendar.
Westonbirt School opened on 11th May 1928 and so this year we look forward to a very special birthday.
90th Year Commemorative Book
A commemorative book will be published in May to coincide with the 90th birthday celebrations which will include a grand celebration evening to mark this important milestone in the history of the school.
The book will be 128 pages and contain full colour photos covering the history of Westonbirt House and Westonbirt School, the opening of the school and developments throughout its history to today.
90th Year Grand Celebration Evening
Join Westonbirt Schools for a grand celebration ball as we mark our 90th Birthday! Becoming a school for girls in 1928, Westonbirt has seen many changes and developments over the years and we are delighted to welcome you to celebrate with us on this auspicious evening. At the same time, we recognise it will be 150 years since the building of Westonbirt House, the magnificent Victorian mansion which we are so lucky to be the guardians of and which houses the main part of our schools.
DRESS: Black tie or Roaring 20's - your choice! Arrivals: 7.30pm, Buffet Supper from 8.30pm; Carriages: 11.30pm; Tickets: £50 per head
Annual Association Day Saturday 12th May 2018
The Association holds an annual Association Day at the School, usually on the first or second Saturday in October, depending on the date of the School Open Day.
However this year we will be holding it on Saturday 12th May 2018 to coincide with the celebrations of the School's 90th anniversary and 150 years of Westonbirt House.
After a brief GCM and AGM on the Saturday morning, the main event will kick off in the afternoon. All Old Girls and their families are invited to picnic in the grounds on the Saturday, which is also another ideal day for Section reunions.
The Association will also have a networking area there:
The School is also organising a Ball for the Friday night.
To register your interest in attending the next Association Day, please email the Association’s President Leigh Ralphs. If you are on your Section Rep’s mailing list, you will be sent an invitation each year.
Celia Graham Lacrosse Tournament (Old Girls vs School ) Saturday 8th September at 1.30pm
This has been brought forward from the original planned date in October to accommodate university students before the start of their autumn term. If you would like to play, please contact Stephanie Thorndyke (Section 84) via email or Facebook.
Sections often choose to hold year group reunions on strategic anniversaries, e.g. 25 years since leaving school, or for their own significant birthday years e.g. 30, 40, 70. However you do not need the excuse of a particular date to enjoy getting together with your friends!
The easiest way to arrange a Section reunion within school is to get together at an Association Day. We can reserve a lunch table for your Section on request.
Alternatively you may like to join one of the formal tours of the house and gardens, organised by the Holfords of Westonbirt Trust. These include an exquisite afternoon tea in the Library. Click here to enquire with the HOWT team.
If you’d rather create your own event in school, just contact Alison Salih to discuss your options.
Of course, plenty of members hold informal reunions at other venues all the time, whether dinner parties, trips to the pub, or joint holidays. If you are meeting with other WBs, don’t forget to send us news about it for the Magazine and photos for this website and our archives. Feel free to post them on the Association’s Facebook group’s wall and tag us on Twitter too!
A Note re Other Kinds of Events at Westonbirt
The School Chapel and Westonbirt House and Grounds are available to hire for private events such as weddings, christenings, parties and memorial services. Bookings from Association members are very welcome.
The School calendar includes many concerts, plays, public lectures and other events open to the public. Westonbirt Association members are warmly invited to attend. You’ll find a current list online here.
Current practice is that new members are welcomed to the Association at a special celebratory Leavers’ Cream Tea in the Library in their final term of Year 13. Any departing staff may also join as they leave. Any former pupil or staff who did not take out Association membership at the time of leaving the school may join any time afterwards.
What does membership cost?
Life membership costs just £100, and if you joined before you left the school, your parents will have already paid for it!
If not, former pupils are welcome to join at any time after they have left by completing the application form and paying the £100 one-off fee. You are entitled to a £10 discount for every decade that has lapsed since you left the school.
What happens when I join?
We will put you in touch with the appropriate Section Rep who will be your main point of contact for news, from the Association to you and from you to the Association.
We will send you email newsletters twice a year, and, if you subscribe to the Westonbirt Association News, an annual News Magazine. Please note that you may also order copies of the Magazine in paperback or as an ebook via Amazon wherever you are in the world. (Find it by typing “Westonbirt Association” into the Amazon search box.)
The Westonbirt Association manages a special bursary fund set up in the late 1940s in memory of the five former Westonbirt pupils who lost their lives during the Second World War while they were members of the forces, civil defence or nursing services. Each year the fund gives a bursary to help fund the sixth form fees of one or more pupils.
To be considered for the Westonbirt Association Memorial Bursary, girls must be nominated by the school in the spring of their Year 11. Candidates complete an application form and are interviewed by a panel from the Westonbirt Association committee. As well as providing welcome financial help, the process provides good experience for later job and university applications, and, receipt of the award enhances the CV of successful candidates. Once awarded, payment is made for both years of the recipient’s sixth form.
Since the foundation of the Memorial Bursary, we have helped more than eighty pupils in this way. With income levels from investments so low at present, and school fees rising, new donations are always welcome to increase the value of the award.
How to Donate
By cheque payable to “Westonbirt School” and clearly marked for the Westonbirt Association Memorial Bursary Fund and sent to the Finance Manager, Westonbirt School, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QG
Online by standing order to Westonbirt School via Barclays Bank, sort code 20-03-84 account number 30951927
As the school is a charity, bequests are free from liability to inheritance tax. If you wish to leave a bequest to the fund, all you need to do is send your solicitor a request that the Westonbirt Assocation Memorial Bursary be included in your will with the following wording:
I bequeath to Westonbirt School in the county of Gloucestershire the sum of £x, free of duty, to be used for the purposes of the Westonbirt Association Memorial Bursary.
You might also wish to inform the school by emailing or writing the following message to the current school Finance Manager at Westonbirt School, Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QG:
I intend to make a bequest to the school for the purposes of the Westonbirt Association Memorial Bursary.
This cup was instigated following the departure of former headmistress, Mary Henderson, in 2012, and is awarded to a Year 11 girl to encourage their Modern Language skills. Donations to this fund may also be made as for the Memorial Bursary above, but please specify that your payment is to benefit the Mary Henderson Modern Languages Award.
GL8 8 QG
GL8 8 QG