Christmas is a magical time at Mill Hill and this year was no exception. As the final curtain came down on the end of term assembly, there was just enough time to reflect on an action packed fortnight, during which firm Mill Hill traditions rolled in thick and fast.
First up, are the seasonal House hogs – a favourite amongst the Housemasters/mistresses and House Parents, serving up the perfect opportunity for House spirit, a healthy dose of themed costumes, Christmas quizzes and musical entertainment. Not to mention, of course, the sumptuous fayre, brilliantly conceived, prepared and served by our catering team. A picture of the School dining room ‘The Hall’ hangs in my office and it is wonderful to think that today’s boys and girls are part of history, amongst friends, young and old, and are still enjoying this wonderful venue today – long table, benches and all.
An old favourite, the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, was a triumph in 2019. The evening began with a reception hosted by pupils enrolled on the Leith’s Cookery course, who prepared and served canapés in a warm and convivial atmosphere. The School Chapel provided the perfect setting for the service itself and for this most traditional of School events. The story of the birth of Christ was skilfully told through bible readings from pupils, parents and staff, interspersed with beautiful anthems sung by our accomplished Chapel Choir, who really were on top form this year. And, of course, everyone in the congregation loved singing the familiar carols. The evening ended as it had begun, with the Mill Hill Community gathering together for a reception in the Octagon, where mince pies and mulled wine, not canapés, were the order of the day. Speaking of carolling, the Foundation Chapel Choir also popped over the road to The Grove, the Head’s house, resurrecting a much loved tradition of singing Carols to the Head before tucking into hot chocolate and mince pies.
Following on from our pupil led Video Production Group’s Christmas video last year, where staff performed a popular Christmas hit, ‘All I want for Christmas is you’, under the guidance of Mr Minett and Mr Kyle, the Group produced a video ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’. The production has already amassed a significant number of hits on our YouTube channel and it is safe to say that this new tradition is a firm favourite within the Mill Hill Community, with plans afoot already for next year’s production. Another new introduction this year centred on the European tradition of hosting Christmas markets. Housed in the Octagon, day and boarding Houses set up their own Christmas themed stalls serving everything for the savvy buyer looking to get ahead of the game with his/her present shopping. Also hosting stalls were the Mill Hill Common Room and members of the Belmont Enterprise Group, all supported by hard working members of the Mill Hill School Parents’ Association who provided a gift wrapping service. In the end, the Mill Hill Christmas markets spanned four days and raised the grand sum of £1,900 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Chosen by the pupils, we hope that the funds raised will make an invaluable contribution to the charity’s important work.
Which brings us nicely to the end of term and the Full School Assembly. Sports reports, pupil awards and Drama Oscars were all standard fayre, providing pupils with well-deserved recognition. However, it was Mr David Proudlock who stole the show, who, after nineteen and a half years as Head of Drama, retired. The debt owed to Mr Proudlock by Mill Hill School, and the pupils who have been taught by him, is immeasurable and he leaves a long lasting legacy. Mr Proudlock represented so much of what has defined the Drama department for so long, and we were pleased to wish him a restful and enjoyable retirement.