On Tuesday 5th February we were delighted that our new Gillespie astroturf was officially opened by Tom Heap, BBC Rural Affairs reporter and a presenter on BBC Countryfile. Despite the rain, it was a wonderful occasion with the whole of the Upper School and a number of pre prep children out to watch as well as the players from Sedbergh School who were here to play hockey in the afternoon.
The astroturf is named after a former Head Boy of Cargilfield, 2nd Lt Alexander Douglas Gillespie, who died in 1915 at the Battle of Loos. Tom is the great nephew of AD Gillespie and is one of the trustees of The Western Front Way, a charity formed to build a path across the Western Front to honour those who died in World War 1.
Three months before he died, Alexander wrote to his old Headmaster at Winchester College (where he moved to after leaving Cargilfield) about the pathway that he envisioned as a remembrance for the war after it finished. He wrote that he dreamed of a “long avenue between the lines from the Vosges to the sea... I would make a fine broad road in the 'No Mans Land' between the lines, with paths for pilgrims on foot and plant trees for shade.” He wrote that he wanted it to be “the most beautiful road in all the world”.
His brother, Thomas, also an old boy of Cargilfield, died in WW1 as well, joining up after winning a silver medal in the Rowing Eight at the Stockholm Olympics of 1912.
Click on the link to see Tom talking about the legacy of his Great Uncle.
AD Gillespie is one of 125 old boys and masters of Cargilfield who died in WW1 and whose names are remembered on the war memorial in the school Chapel.