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Who we are and where we are

Posted on 15th of November 2017

Who we are and where we are

At this time of year we are reflecting on our history, and how important our sense of community is to us. Pilgrims is Bedford-based and is proud of both its location and its heritage. We thought we would use this blog to talk about our links to Bedford and what they mean to us, how involved we are with our local community and what we love about where we are.

Harpur Trust – a charity with a local focus

Pilgrims is owned, managed and supported by The Harpur Trust which also incorporates Bedford School, Bedford Girls’ School and Bedford Modern School.

Even though the Harpur Trust is one of the largest charities in the UK, everything it does is for the Bedford area. The trust, founded by Sir William Harpur in 1566, provides and promotes education, offers help and relief to the sick or distressed while employing over 1,100 people in Bedford.

Pilgrims continues the Harpur Trust tradition of supporting local charities by nominating a different one each year to become our chosen school charity. This means that all monies raised through our many events, is given directly to our chosen charity. This year we are supporting Keech Hospice Care who are based in Sandy in Bedfordshire and who provide hospice care for adults and children with life-limiting and terminal illnesses. The school also raises funds for national charities such as World Down’s Syndrome Day and Children in Need.

Did you know about Bedfordshire Day?

Bedfordshire day is held every year on 28th November and is a day to celebrate all that is great about the county of Bedford including its history and its culture. You might be curious about the significance of 28th November and it was chosen because it is the anniversary of the birth of John Bunyan, author of Pilgrim’s Progress.

The Friends of Bedfordshire Society organised Bedfordshire Day to invite anyone and everyone to take part however they’d like, even if it just means eating one of Bedfordshire’s famous clangers (as recently featured in The Great British Bake-Off!)

Famous Bedford-born people

  • The late, great Ronnie Barker was born in Bedford in 1929
  • Former Countdown hostess and I’m a Celebrity contestant Carol Vorderman was born in Bedford in 1960
  • And of course, our very own Sir William Harpur was born in Bedford in about 1496. He was a merchant who become Lord Mayor of London and went on to establish the Harpur Trust.

Pilgrims School is very proud to have Bedford as its home. The children’s learning takes them on trips outside of school to local places of interest. At Christmas, the Year 2 children use St Paul’s Church for their Carol Concert and they also make decorations for our tree as part of the Christmas Tree Festival at St Peter’s Church. As we are located right next to Bedford Park, we also go on daily walks with the younger children from Little Pilgrims. They love feeding the ducks and singing songs as they journey around the park in their wooden wagons. Bedford Park also hosts an annual ‘Proms in the Park’ event each summer and our choir are proud to be invited to sing.

We believe that schools should sit at the heart of their local community and the Pilgrims ethos is all about engendering kindness and curiosity in our children. That’s why Bedford and our heritage, as the beginning of the Harpur Trust journey, are so central to our core values.