After nearly 30 years of serving the community of New Milton, Reverend Andrew Bailey is due to retire later this month. The Arnewood School marked the occasion with a special celebration assembly and a tree planting ceremony, followed by tea and cake.
Reverend Bailey was invited to attend the Year 7 assembly, accompanied by the school’s Chair of Governors, Mrs Cook. The Arnewood School choir sang “This is Amazing Grace” as a montage of images of Reverend Bailey was projected on the big screen behind them. The display contained images of Reverend Bailey, a frequent visitor, in school and at work in his parish church.
The Gryphon Trust’s CEO, Mr Pressnell gave a congratulatory speech in which he recalled the many occasions Reverend Bailey had supported the school. This included one memorable occasion with Bishop Dakin, the new Bishop of Winchester, where everyone was soaked by an unexpected sudden downpour. Mr Pressnell wished Reverend Bailey “a happy and long retirement secure in the knowledge he had given dedicated service to others through his ministry”.
The event was organised by Miss Vincent, Head of Year 7, who said that “Reverend Bailey has played such an integral part in the annual traditions of The Arnewood School year-after-year; We will certainly miss his presence.” Reverend Bailey said he was touched by the gathering and gestures of gratitude towards him.
The Reverend Bailey has strong ties with The Arnewood School. Miss Vincent observed he had christened a good many of its pupils and married many of their parents since the mid-90s. There is a longstanding tradition for Year 7 students to attend St Mary Magdalene’s for their Christmas Assembly which is officiated by Reverend Bailey. The Revered Bailey happily blessed the school’s new flag standard, and is always involved in the yearly Christmas shoebox present appeal. This involves Arnewood students putting together gift packages for children in difficult circumstances throughout the world.
After the assembly a small group of children congregated on the Arnewood Sixth lawn to plant a symbolic tree in honour of Reverend Bailey. The school selected an acer campestre, which is the UK’s only native maple. The tree is a sturdy broadleaf that resists air pollution and provides a haven for wildlife. It will be marked with a plaque for Reverend Bailey as an enduring legacy of his commitment to the school and parish.
The group then retired to the Aspirations Conference Room to enjoy some tea, cake, and relaxed chat. Reverend Bailey shared some of his plans for retirement and made the children laugh saying his first action on retirement would be to “throw his alarm clock in the bin!”