Once again, we accompanied four of our Sixth Form students – Zak Brannan, Max Baldock, Livia Airoldi and Freddie Brasher – and students and staff from Lisburn Friends School, Leighton Park School, and Sibford School, to retrace the footsteps of George Fox, on our traditional Southern Quaker Schools Pilgrimage, better known as ‘the Fox Trot’.
We started our pilgrimage by stopping at Clitheroe Meeting House where we heard about Fox's life from the charismatic speaker Ben Pink Dandelion, Professor of Quaker Studies. We then ascended 557m to reach the top of Pendle Hill, where George Fox had a vision 'of a great people to be gathered'. Although it was very cold, we had time to reflect on this significant event in Quaker history without which our Quaker Schools would not exist. Despite a very wet trudge all the way up Firbank Fell, one of the highlights of the weekend was when each of us stood on the top of George Fox's pulpit, (where Fox had allegedly addressed a thousand people), and delivered a speech on what inspires us. For all, it was quite a daunting thing to do, but also immensely liberating for some.
We visited Kendal and the Quaker Tapestry with its 77 panels (and found our schools in one of them). Some amongst us experienced an hour-long meeting for the first time when we joined Swarthmoor Meeting in Ulverston. We then visited Swarthmoor Hall, the ‘headquarters’ of Quakerism in the 17th century, also home of Margaret and Judge Fell at the time. It gave us the opportunity to dress up in Quaker garb (see photo). It was particularly soggy in the afternoon, so we took refuge in Cornishead Priory and Modern Buddhist Temple and appreciated its peacefulness. In the evening, the students entertained the staff with their own quiz questions, charades and a poem on the theme of George Fox and Quakerism. If you have a chance, ask Freddie what his clever charade was!
Indeed, it was a wonderful four days, filled with walking, magnificent views, hilarious entertainment, and new friendships, but also a personally enriching experience of our Quaker heritage for each of us.
Céline Potts, Quaker Overseer / Teacher of Languages
Claire Settle, Senior Art Technician
If you want more information on the Fox Trot or Quakerism at Sidcot School, do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Student comments on the Fox Trot 2017
"I think the Fox Trot was a really good and fulfilling experience. We got the chance to discover a lot about the origins and beliefs of Quakerism but also to discuss the differences between our school and other Quaker schools. Given that we were a small group of 14 students, we really got to know each other and got along quite well. Those four days of getting away from school and life problems to get a full immersion into the history of Quakers was a memorable experience that I'm glad I got a chance to take part in." Livia Airoldi, Upper Sixth
"To see the foundations of a religion and where it all began is harrowing, but something absolutely amazing and empowering." Max Baldock, Upper Sixth
"The Fox Trot was a valuable trip that really opened up my mind to both the history of Quakerism and to life at other Quaker schools. It was a really fun trip and a great chance to really get active with all the exploration and hill climbing." Freddie Brasher, Lower Sixth