orphans meet the Southern Provincial Police orphans.
The Gurney Day
Celebrations held at St Andrew's on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 was
special for three reasons.
marked the 60th Anniversary of the closing of the Southern Provincial
Police Orphanage (SPPO), Redhill, Surrey.
marked the occasion when a new headstone was unveiled at Miss C.
Gurney's grave and a new Gurney Rose Garden dedicated, at St Andrew's,
featuring the old headstone.
brought about a meeting for the first time, between the old boys & girls
of St George's House, Harrogate, (North),
and their counterparts from the SPPO, Redhill, Surrey ,(South).Both
organisations had originated through the efforts of Catherine Gurney
and whilst they had known of one another for many years, the opportunity
and reason to actually meet had never presented itself, until this day.
In talking to one another about Orphanage life they soon discovered that
their experiences ran a parallel and similar course. Visit www.redhill-reigate-history.com
about the history of SPPO.
St Andrew's, Harlow Moor Road, Harrogate
A group of St
George's Old Boys & Girls, including spouses, attended the Commemorative
afternoon. They met with other guests from and representing, Christian
Police Association, Trustees of The Gurney Fund, Trustees of Flint House
(the Police Rehabilitation Centre at Goring-on-Thames, Oxon) St Andrew's
and The St George's Police Trust.
Earlier in the day, Sheila Stephenson, representing the St George's Old
Boys & Girls, was interviewed at York Radio studios to explain the
background to the day's events. Later a photographer and reporter
from the Yorkshire Post attended the function to cover the story of
Catherine Gurney and the organisations she created.
SPPO were well represented, with about 20
Old Boys and Girls along with their spouses having made the journey to
attend the ceremony.
Robin Field-Smith, H.M. Inspector of Constabulary,
addresses the visitors to St Andrew's
Chairs were placed by the Gurney Rose Garden and everyone was welcomed
by the Chief Executive Officer of St Andrew's, Michael Baxter, QPM, BA (Hons),
MCIPD and Robin Field-Smith, H.M. Inspector of Constabulary. Paul Upham of the Gurney Fund gave a short address,
explaining the purpose of the event and told everyone about the new
Gurney Rose Garden and the old headstone from Miss Gurney's grave at All
Saints, Harlow Hill, Harrogate, which had been donated to St Andrew's by
the Trustees of the Gurney Fund and relocated to the Rose Garden. A new
headstone had been erected on Miss Gurney's grave a few days before. Two
further speakers, a Trustee of Flint House and Don Axcell, Director of
the Christian Police Association, then explained the significance of
Miss Catherine Gurney and the important role she had played in all the
organisations represented there on the day.
After a buffet lunch, a special cake was cut by
the the eldest old boy's from SPPO and St George's, they were Tom (aged
87) who had left SPPO in 1935 and Arthur Boschi (aged77) from St
The Group, taken at St Andrew's
The two oldest old boys, cutting the cake
A quiet walk through All Saints, Harrogate
The original headstone, now located at St Andrews
The new Rose Garden Plaque The new
Some of the St George's group visiting St Andrew's
Elsie Gale & Sheila Stephenson at St Andrew's
After talking about their experiences and thoughts about St George's and
the SPPO, it was discovered that whilst the
old boys and
girls were aware
of one another, each knew little about the other's organisation, even
though their lives
and routines were very similar.
The SPPO old boys and girls recalled the 6.30am cold dips in the Redhill
Swimming Pool and one remembered the canings
received from his Superintendent Mr L.W.Terry-Jupp.
The type and quantity of food
served in both establishments appeared to be similar too.
At the end of the function and after
thanking their hosts, the St George's group visited All Saints Church,
paid their respects to Miss Gurney. They viewed her grave (a red rose bush had been
placed on the grave the previous
day) and new
headstone, after which it was time for farewells and the return trip
home, all agreed that the day had
been one that was both moving and well worthwhile.