Elder event underway

Elders events

Our Elders’ Association frequently organise events and reunions to network, meet with old friends and reminisce about school days. Often, current Sixth Form students are also invited to attend too, enabling them to see the truth in the adage, ‘Once a Cobham Girl, always a Cobham Girl’.

Have a read of some of the Elders’ recent events.


Elders' Lunch | Cobham Hall

From Mrs Tracey Balch, Chair of the Elders Association:

One Saturday during the Autumn Term, Elders were invited to return to Cobham Hall, to enjoy drinks in the Vestibule, a delicious lunch in the spectacular Gilt Hall, and to hear Antony Spencer, the CEO of The Mill Hill Foundation, speak about the exciting development of Cobham Hall joining the Foundation.

Elders heard about the new investments made in the School and the thoughts for the future. Mr Spencer was open to Elders asking questions and they were also able to speak to him independently afterwards, which was appreciated. He was pleased that the School alumni wanted to be part of the development. Elders enjoyed tours of the School and saw the new Reception area during the afternoon, and the day ended with tea in the Gilt Hall.

Firstly, I would like to thank all the Elders that attended and the staff at Cobham Hall, especially as everyone had to contend with Covid restrictions and petrol shortages! This, we had not anticipated, but Cobham Hall Elders/Staff spirit came to the fore, which we really appreciated.

We would like to thank Cobham Hall for their incredible and very generous hospitality, the Gilt Hall was beautifully set up and decorated for our lunch and the food was delicious. The Park deer also wandered across the grass to make it even more picturesque.

An enjoyable and informative day was had by all and another great opportunity for Elders to reunite and catch up.

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'Women of Achievement' Dinner | Searcy's London

On Friday, 30th November 2018 the Elders’ Association Committee hosted a Drinks Reception, followed by a dinner at Searcy’s in London, for Elders who had gone on to succeed in a number of professions.  The rooms were festive, a massive Christmas tree present and glowing fires providing a warm welcome for all and a great atmosphere to celebrate so many incredible achievements.

This was the first dinner of this nature and proved to be a great success. It was an inspiration to see so many Elders in the room covering the span of the school years. Professions in the room were TV and Radio Journalists, Designers, Lawyers, Film Producers, Barristers, working in the Financial industry, working in/with United Nations, working in Charities, Environmental Organisations, at the Portrait Commission, Artists, well known and successful Photographers, Headships of Schools, Land Management, Geology, and many many more. Invited Elders who were sadly unable to attend included Global Film Directors, Make up artist to the stars, Pro bono international lawyers, News Broadcasters, Award winning Journalists, Head Teachers and Company Directors.

We were extremely thrilled Lady Airlie, one of the first Trustees/Governors of the Educational Trust could attend and join us for the evening, and eight Elders from the first pioneering year. It was wonderful to meet these Elders and for them to chat to and mingle with Elders through the past years to current students in Year 13, (Group 7) meet new Head, Ms Maggie Roberts, the Chair of Governors, Mr Martin Pennell and the Senior Leadership Team of the School.

As the Elders arrived at Searcy’s for the drinks, and as the evening progressed into the dinner, the chatter, whoops of meeting each other after many years, the laughter and the general noise, escalated.  Wonderful.

The Chair of the Elders’ Association, Tracey Balch spoke and welcomed everyone, introduced Ms Maggie Roberts, thanked Lady Airlie, congratulated the pioneering ladies present who had paved the way for women and for the rest of us, congratulated all those present on their successes, and informed all those present of the many professions that Elders had excelled in. Tracey commented on how impressive this list was from such a small school, something to be proud of and that this occasion should provide a wonderful opportunity to network.  “If boys schools can why can’t we!!!” There was a huge cheer after this.

Maggie Roberts said how much she was looking forward to meeting everyone and hearing about their professions. Elders were keen to meet her and many have offered help by speaking to current students, offering work experience, shadowing for a day, small workshops and data collecting for past year groups.

Current students agreed it was a fantastic opportunity to network with Elders from all walks of life including journalism, acting, authors, business, photography, environmentalism, design, medicine, law, psychology, and many more.

Due to the success of this event, and the growing number of Elders we are hearing from, we hope to hold such an event again in the future.

Thank you to everyone involved, and thank you to all the Elders out there – so proud of your achievements.


Below is a summary of quotes received from Elders in attendance:

  • “ Wow, what an incredible evening on Friday. So enjoyed every minute!”
  • “ Every conversation I had was positive and it was evident that all present have been successful and were pleased to have the opportunity to network as well as have a lovely meal in exclusive surroundings.”
  • “ It is a wonderful to see how accomplished Cobham Hall Elders are and it is of course in part a testament to the education/experience we all benefited at Cobham Hall. “
  • “I congratulate you on a wonderful evening. The venue was well chosen, the dinner was very good as were all the arrangements  which seemed to work like clockwork. I very much enjoyed the company of my dinner companions (whoever did the setting plan did well to mix us all up!)”
  • “That was a superb evening! “
  • “I chatted to so many wonderful ladies, so interesting to hear what everyone is up to.”
  • “Terrific night”
  • “It was such a lovely evening and really fascinating to hear what all those talented Cobhamites have been up to! It was also good to talk to the current pupils.”
  • “Was a lovely evening with a chance to chat with some exceptionally interesting people. Venue was beautiful too.”
  • “The table you put me on was fascinating, we had wonderful chats all about the school to the beginning and I loved hearing the up-to-date news. Also such fun to see familiar faces again- and great to see everyone so successful.”
  • “It must have been a mega-task to track everyone down and organise the evening, so congratulations on such a successful event.”
  • “Just wanted to say a MASSIVE thank you for a great night.”
  • “I enjoyed catching up with old friends and the time went all too quickly.”
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Drinks Reception | Fortnum & Mason, London

Cobham Hall Elders gathered together at a Drinks Reception in The Gallery Restaurant, Fortnum and Mason, London on Thursday 15th March.  Drinks and canapés were enjoyed by Elders from the pioneering years, and attendees also included current Sixth Formers and Staff.  Elders were able to share their experiences and professions with their peers and inspire students.  Conversations flowed and laughter and chat filled the room.

We were delighted to welcome Mr Alastair Dick-Cleland, from the Landmark Trust, and Mrs Virginia Duncanson, Chair of the Cobham Hall Heritage Trust, there to promote the restoration of The Old Dairy.  Elders had an opportunity to discover more, view photographs and to reminisce on its past uses!

The occasion was a poignant moment to introduce the new Headmistress (from September 2018), Ms Maggie Roberts, who mingled with past and present Cobham Hall girls and staff.  The Elders’ Association presented Ms Roberts with a welcome gift and thanked her for attending the evening.

A gift was also presented to Caroline Stevenson, for long service on the Elders’ Committee. We also celebrated two special birthdays – one for a current Sixth Former and the other a Cobham Hall Pioneer.

The evening also marked the launch of the Cobham Hall Elders’ Professional Directory (CHEPS), only available to Elders.  There is a networking area on the Cobham Hall Elders’ Facebook site (replacing the old printed handbook) where Elders can link up with other Elders from different professions, eg artist, photographer, designer, lawyer, author, gardener, doctor, physiotherapist, to name but a few.  We would like to encourage all Elders to submit a paragraph on their profession, along with a contact email or telephone number, if possible.

The Cobham Hall 50th Anniversary Book was also available for sale, along with a postcard book featuring a selection of images of Cobham Hall and its artefacts.

Mrs Tracey Balch, Chairman of the Elders’ Association, thanked everyone for attending “a happy Cobham Hall Elders’ reunion”.

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50th Anniversary Book Launch | Fortum & Mason, London

The Elders’ Association hosted an event to celebrate the launch of a book celebrating 50 years of Cobham Hall as a school.

To mark the School’s 50th year, an anniversary book was commissioned by the School, Unicorn (PTA), and the Elders’ Association, who played an important role in the book’s development.

Hosted at The Gallery in London’s Fortnum & Mason, the event was a great success, with many going home with a copy of the book, and many wanting to share details of it with their school friends or former colleagues.  Along with Elders from throughout the School’s history, the event was also attended by Julia Booth, Marketing Assistant, Kerry Smith, former Librarian, and Jan Massie from Brilliant White Design, who were all instrumental in the book’s production.

Chair of the Cobham Hall Elders’ Association, Tracey Balch, commented, “It was great to see so many Elders at the Cobham Hall Book Launch and I would like to thank everyone for all the positive and heart-warming messages afterwards about the drinks evening and also about the ‘must-have’ Cobham Hall book.  It is fabulous and captures so much of our numerous and memorable experiences there.”

Anyone wishing to purchase a copy of the book can email marketing@cobhamhall.com.

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Drinks Reception | BBC Studios

The event was hosted by Cobham Hall Elder, Mishal Husain, at the BBC Studios in Central London and was attended by more than one hundred former students and staff.

Tracey Balch, Chair of the Cobham Hall Elders’ Association, commented, “It was wonderful to see so many faces from the past, to hear all the news and to catch up with people.  To think we had people in the room covering the majority of the years right from the beginning of Cobham Hall as a School until just a few years ago.  The event was really ‘buzzy’, ‘Cobham Hall noisy’, non-stop chatter and laughter and the food and wine flowed all evening.  A very big thank you to our host, an Elder, Mishal Husain and the BBC.

It was great to have the then Headmaster, Paul Mitchell, and the Leadership Team from the School and I know some Elder to Elder networking was going on too, which is great!  Thanks to the Elders’ Committee for organizing another magical evening.”

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Hog Roast | Cobham Hall

Hosted at Cobham Hall, Elders enjoyed a sunny reunion in June 2014.

Elders Chairman, Mrs Tracey Balch, commented after the event: “The recent Elders’ Hog Roast Day was a warm, sunny day and we would like to thank all the Elders that attended and supported us. The Hog Roast and numerous salads, followed by locally grown strawberries, were delicious and greatly appreciated by all.  The  bouncy castle and swimming pool were put to good use by the younger attendees! The Elders, both staff and girls alike, enjoyed wandering around the School and showing family members where they slept, the Dungeons and of course remembering and recalling various antics.

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50th Anniversary Reception | Waldorf Hotel

To mark the School’s 50th Anniversary, a reception was held in Palm Court at The Waldorf Hotel.  Over 100 former pupils and staff mingled and reminisced, along with current staff and students.

There was an impressive range of ages present, from those who attended the School in its first few years, right up to girls in their first year of university who completed their IB Diploma at Cobham Hall in 2012.

Several former Heads were present, with Cobham Hall’s original Headmistress sending her warmest regards to all present, read out by the event organiser and Chairman of the Elders, Mrs Tracey Balch, whose daughter, in her final year at Cobham, also attended.

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