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College & OF History: 1975-2000
Into the Third Millennium
Framlingham College...
By John Maulden

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A Fantastic Evening Celebrates Thirty Years of "Girls at Fram"
Sometimes, when writing about an epoch-making event, one reaches for a superlative and realises that they've all been over-used. This is very much the case when trying to describe the simply outstanding entertainment, fine food and brilliant company that more than 150 OFs and their guests enjoyed on Saturday 22nd September - the majority of them female for the first time in our history.

The little thumbnail photograph shows, in the centre, Carol Kirkup (née Machen), one of the very first three girls at Fram. Norman Porter, our indefatigable Hon. Gen. Sec., had convinced the School that this was an event well worth supporting, and they did us proud.

Each lady was presented with an orchid corsage at the front entrance and we were then ushered into Paul's Court for Cava Cocktails. The cocktail hubbub was tremendous as people caught up with each other - and sadly rather drowned-out some fine music provided by Imogen Webb (cello) and Lucy Clouting (flute). They didn't lack for a fan-club though, chief among them our own Norman Porter shown here at the conductor's rostrum.












When people were finally persuaded to stop chatting, and settled into the dining room, we were greeted by Tony Lawrence who invited us to enjoy some more musical entertainment before supper - this time from Ladies' singing groups drawn from, first, Year 11, and then, Year 10. I kid you not - they were brilliant. Even more so when you consider that this was only two weeks into term and some of them were new-girls. Just to give you an idea, here's a photograph showing the Year 11 team.

It goes without saying that the supper itself was excellent - those College caterers always do a fine job. However, it has to be said that we were all rather anticipating the musical and theatrical entertainment to come, with Laura Wright (now Head Girl) perhaps topping the bill. She first sang a couple of solo pieces, and quite beautifully, before being replaced on the stage by Christina Johnston and Chantal Clelland, both of whom ran her a close race, and then, finally, all three of them in trio. Rob Goodrich, who of course coached all his singers and accompanied the visitors on piano, deserves great praise - as does Clive Norton, who gave a very convincing performance as jazz accompanist on the double bass.

The singing was interspersed with a couple of extracts from Shakespeare: Puck's address to the audience from A Midsummer Night's Dream performed by Jane Sims and, later, a little Macbeth performed by Imogen Broad (née Slaughter) and Charlie Mackrill (a rather brave young man in Year 13!). If anyone has a photograph of any of these performances, we'd be very grateful for digital copies by email to admin@oldframlinghamian.com.

Those of you who don't like long speeches on such occasions would have been pleased that only Brian Smith (President SOF) and Gwen Randall (the Head) spoke - and quite briefly. Brian principally to welcome all those girls who had responded so willingly to Norman Porter's and John Gooderham's invitations, and to thank all those who had made the event possible (and in particular the performers). Gwen departed from her accustomed script, relaying exam and sporting results, to give us a bit of background to the introduction of "girls at Fram". She wanted to laud the memory of Laurie Rimmer, then headmaster, who was initially very much against the idea ("over my dead body" was the quotation) but then had a damascene moment and became a huge supporter of the venture, waging a persuasive campaign to convince governers, staff, parents and pupils that girls would improve the school in every possible way.

At the end of the evening, a good many of the Lady OFs present were persuaded to pose on the Paul's Court staircase - shown here. It would be good to have everyone's name and all information will be gratefully received, either by the website admin team or Norman Porter.

It would indeed be wonderful if as many people might attend the next Suffolk Supper - which rumour has it will be at Brandeston Hall, as part of the 60th anniversary celebrations for that venerable institution.