On the evening of Friday 17 September, students, parents and teachers gathered on the Mansion lawn for an evening to remember: the Summer 2021 Peacock Ball. Much like the Chelsea Flower Show, Summer came late this year; and yet it was worth the wait. It was a two-tiered affair, celebrating the Cokethorpe careers of both the 2021 Leavers and those of 2020. The students, some of whom had returned from University to attend, were at their gracious, exuberant best, and there was magic in the tent.
The Ball, organised by Chair of the CPFA, Mrs Priestley-Smith and her outstanding team of helpers, was on the theme of James Bond. Lavish Martinis cocktails, a casino (Blackjack, Roulette), and a full height James Bond cut-out, rather offputtingly, around every corner. Fortunately, there weren’t too many corners.
The food was delicious (a lovely cut of lamb), and the wine flowed. After the meal there was dancing to a terrific local covers band. From Queen to Queen Latifah, no song was left unheard and no corner of the dance floor was left undanced on. A stunning display of fireworks at 10pm provided brief respite for the hips, and then the guests were back on the dance floor.
In my speech I likened the students to hungry caterpillars becoming butterflies (with a two-year-old child, the work of Eric Carle is up there with Tolstoy…); they have struggled, more so than any generation in living memory, to emerge from their chrysalides. And yet, as they were reminded, the struggle of the past two years will serve them well, and their wings are already beginning to grow strong. An occasion of this nature is bound to be special, but – perhaps like the Chelsea Flower Show with its wildflower corridors and decorative ponds – the Peacock Ball 2021 was extra-special.
We are indebted to Miss Sheldon and her team for delicious food, Mr Bowsher and his team for the stunning backdrop, Mr Griffiths and his team for logistical support; but, above all, I would like to extend a huge and heartfelt vote of thanks to Mrs Priestley-Smith and the CPFA for making it happen.