We thank Peter Pentecost, Edenhurst parent (1996-2000) for this wonderful contribution for our final newsletter, which he wrote in honour of Mr & Mrs Copestick. Peter delivered the speech, entitled “The Colonel/Mr Nick”, during the Edenhurst Friends Association (EFA) Ball at Keele Hall and we are delighted to have Peter’s permission to share it with all parents, staff and Bellevue colleagues. We hope you enjoy it!
The Colonel/Mr Nick
To Old Oundelians he’s the Colonel, to you all just Mr Nick
But no matter which, he’s just the same and that has been his trick.
Whether sorting out an errant pupil or which way a putt is breaking
The one thing one can rely on is that his attention is painstaking.
In 1961 Nick’s Mum & Dad started Edenhurst.
The house and allotments all school converted – just 15 strong at first.
But, their timing great, they struck a chord of growing unmet need
And before too long – just 2 years on a hundred mouths to feed.
For near 4 decades Mr Nick has been its stalwart head
Once Bill & Syl were Cornwall bound – he took over instead,
But his time at the school went further back to days of pupilhood
When allegedly in the eyes of Bill he struggled to be good.
To Oundle he went at a tender age into the Berrystead,
A relief ‘twas to be away from Bill whose tellings off he’d dread.
His new surroundings suited Nick – he positively flourished
The music, drama, sport and work - several appetites well nourished.
His subject was Biology - it took him to study further
It’s hard to note his golf back then was really mediocre
But he was in a special place which for golf it ne’er eschews
His golfing prowess blossomed, studying at St Andrews.
What next for Nick? Well it seemed as if destiny had prescribed
Either that or it was as a result of something he’d imbibed.
A teaching qualification was clearly what the doctor ordered
Where better to gain that honour, but at the ‘other’ place - in Oxford.
He passed the test and graduated – that is he got his blue
But rumour has it, it would appear he satisfied the examiners too.
With his he went to Alleyns to embark on his career
But how long before towards Edenhurst his ambitions would surely veer.
It wasn’t all plain sailing – I recall some times of tension
With interviews, strange goings-on would divert his golfing attention
But in the end it all came right when Bill chose at last to retire
And Nick stepped up to run the school, to drive it and inspire.
Throughout those years the school at Edenhurst had thrived
Bill and Syl had grown the roll - now more than 226
At times it taught its pupils right up to GCSE
The curriculum since has ebbed and flowed and now finishes at Prep 6.
The whole offering of the school has changed a lot over the ensuing years
New classrooms and facilities to match & keep ahead of peers.
Academic success has always been at the heart of the school’s belief
And all round positivity and good manners - to parents’ relief.
Nick has constantly concentrated on keeping well up to date
He’d work so hard to keep all busy – idleness he’d hate.
He invested heavily into IT to enable pupils to surf
And more recently on the sporting front a pitch of astro turf.
The school provided a lot of scope for music and for drama
And skiing trips and outward bound and other exciterama.
The fundamental philosophy of busi-ness to keep a healthy mind
And commitment in every possible sense to other humankind.
He always looked to develop more the school’s parental appeal
Whether to eleven plus or CE for those with boarding zeal
Or for those who went to other schools or Grammars
The honours board tells the story of numerous worthy scholars.
What could Nick do move things along and develop the school still further?
More staff, split years, encouragement and indefatigable fervour.
What would be next? Perhaps a programme of involving some serious bursary?
No – more, much more ambitious – a fully-fledged pre-school nursery.
A master stroke – like a memorable 6 iron – unerring and wonderfully straight
The people flocked to bring their kids, so many they soon had to wait.
It gave the school a new lease of life and a pipeline of great thirst
For the culture of educational excellence offered by Edenhurst.
Succession planning was a problem for Nick, it made him stop and pause.
No obvious solution to find someone as wedded to the cause.
What should he do with the school – his life’s work through and through?
Then, a piece of serendipity – strong interest from Bellevue.
Nick entered the negotiations with very mixed emotion
But with sinews stiffened and secretly, so as not to cause commotion,
He soldiered on and did the deal to sell the Edenhurst adventure
And now, here we are 7 years on, all set fair for the school’s bright future
Nick’s parents’ vision for the school he’s taken to great new heights
I bet they’re looking down right now – his achievements in their sights.
Sylvia stayed involved from afar, but Bill’s retirement allowed
Mr Nick to take over, develop the school and make them both so proud.
I first met Nick in ’68 – a very important school prefect
When I arrived at a ‘waiting house’ – a lowly irritating insect.
Who could have known after all these years we’d have enjoyed so much,
The school, the golf and comradeship – and a medal we can still touch.
The time has come for Nick & Suzanne to bow out from Edenhurst.
Come September no doubt it will feel strange and their emotions might well burst,
But their work is well done, their race is now run, so let us all now be upstanding,
To toast Nick, Suzanne and Edenhurst – in every way ‘Outstanding’.
Peter Pentecost (Edenhurst Parent: 1996 – 2000)