British School of Brussels celebrates turning 40

13th January 2010, Comments 0 comments

The British School of Brussels welcomed close to 150 guests to an evening reception on 7 January 2010 to inaugurate the School’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Dr Brenda Despontin, the School’s Principal officially opened the event and HE Dr Rachel Aron, British Ambassador to Belgium, in her opening words congratulated the School on its remarkable achievements over the past four decades.

Representatives from companies, embassies, NATO, local community businesses, the British Chamber of Commerce, School staff and parents joined in the evening’s celebrations.  Special guest Mr Peter Pantlin, son of the late founder, Sir Dick Pantlin CBE, reminisced about the distant days of the late 1960s when he helped his father by sticking stamps on the envelopes of the all-important questionnaire, asking: “Is a British School of relevance and importance in Brussels?”   “What a silly question you may now ask” he recalled.
The evening included the singing of a specially commissioned birthday song by Primary School.  children  aged 10 and 11, who with the support of a Canadian songwriter had written the words themselves.  The song is a story of the School’s history and refers to the challenges and inspiration of all who contributed to the School’s growth. “A great performance by all involved with lyrics that have captured so well the life of the School”. said.Carole Denny, Vice Principal of Primary School

The Memorabilia Exhibition “Life Begins at 40”, displayed vividly the School’s history since the inaugural meeting in December 1969, and the official opening in 1970 by the HRH Duke of Edinburgh, with photographs of  previous BSB Principals teachers and students, BSB sports kit, publications and video footage of School drama performances through the years. 

A special feature was a series of filmed interviews including one with former Principal, Jennifer Bray, and others of BSB alumni including the current BBC director of  ‘Holby City’  all remembering their times at the School. To end the evening, Secondary School students put on a fashion show with students modelling 1970s clothes donated by staff and parents.,

The”Life Begins at 40” Exhibition is open to the public between 16.00 and 17.00 free of charge, from Monday 11 to Friday 15 January 2010 at the School. 

The British School of Brussels is organising a series of events throughout 2010 to celebrate its 40th anniversary.  Events include
• a BSB Open Day on 13 March
• an Alumni Reunion on 19 June
•  a Prom Music Concert on 20 June
• an Awards Evening on 22 June
• a VIP Reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence in October 2010.

Further details of all these events are available at

Display cabinets were on loan by kind permission of The Royal Africa Museum, Tervuren

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