“He was playing Peacham and I was playing Lockit
in the Beggar’s Opera – we sang a duet
together!” said Mr Riley. After leaving Norwich
School , they lost touch with each other, before meeting
again earlier this year at a garden party.
The Speech Day prize-giving in Bristol Cathedral
was the last for Mr Riley, who leaves at Christmas
to become Head at The John Lyon School in London .
His successor, Mrs
Anne Davey, who takes over in January
2005 and will be the school’s first-ever female
Head, was among the special guests at the ceremony.
Mr Riley joked that since their last on-stage double
act, his own acting career had “nose-dived”,
while Cllr. Cook’s had gone from strength to
strength. The Lord Mayor is a professional actor, who
has performed in Eastenders as well as acting with
The Royal Shakespeare Company and at Bristol Old Vic.
Cllr. Cook told the pupils he had seen something
none of them had ever witnessed: “The sight of
your Headmaster in shorts! Little did we know that
we would meet years later when he was Headmaster of
this Cathedral School and I was Lord Mayor – one
of the wonderful things in life is its sheer unpredictability.”
During his speech, Mr Riley heralded the school’s
exam success this summer, when it achieved its best-ever
GCSE results and its best A level performance for 10
And he spoke of his sadness at the Government’s
decision to abolish the Assisted Places scheme. The
scheme paid for some brighter children to attend independent
schools, with the last group of such pupils having
left the Upper Sixth this summer.
Removing it had deprived youngsters of opportunities,
particularly in areas where state schools were not
performing well, he said. “Why do we have a have
such a dividing line between public and private? We
don’t have it in the Health Service any more;
why do we have to have it in education?”
Bristol Cathedral School has pioneered work to share
its musical expertise and its facilities with LEA schools
in the city. The work has included leading the Bristol
Voices project, which gives hundreds of youngsters
at primary schools across north Bristol the opportunity
to learn from professional singing teachers.