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A Toast to Mr & Mrs Copestick

Posted on 10th Jul 2018

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)