Pupils greeted by famous faces including Dame Judi Dench, Johnny Vegas and Harry Hill in school’s incredible 150th birthday video
Stars from the worlds of sport, TV and film were among those who recorded an incredible video message wishing a school a happy 150th birthday.
The Queen and Prime Minister Theresa May also sent letters of congratulation to St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, Rotherham, to celebrate the huge milestone alongside messages from Jesse Lingard, Dame Judi Dench, Lorraine Kelly, Johnny Vegas and Harry Hill.
Teacher Gavin Sharp and his colleagues spent almost a year collecting the 150 messages from famous personalities to create the clip, which also featured Hollywood legend Helen Mirren, Manchester City superstar Sergio Aguero and famous faces from children’s TV such as Dick and Dom and Mr Tumble.
He said: “We’d already written hundreds of letters, sent thousands of emails and had the phone put down on us so many times.
“But in good old St Bede’s fashion, we dug our heels in and managed to get 150 through sheer determination.”
The video was kept under wraps and shown for the first time at a garden party held on Saturday to celebrate the school’s birthday.
Many of those appearing in the video had connections to Rotherham and South Yorkshire, including politician Lord William Hague, actor Brian Blessed and TV presenter Dan Walker.
Gavin came up with the idea of collecting videos to play at the school’s garden party and tasked his Year Six pupils with writing letters to their favourite celebrities.
After the first few videos came in, a colleague suggested collecting 150 videos and the idea took off.
Gavin had collected 100 videos by June this year but, he said, the final 50 messages were the hardest to get, with some videos came in too late to make the final cut, including a message from Arctic Monkeys, lead singer Alex Turner.
He said: “When we played the video on Saturday at the garden party there was quite a lot of disbelief from adults, pupils and colleagues – stunned faces.
“Countless garden party guests kept asking, ‘How on Earth did you get?’.”
Gavin said he had a lot of support from staff at town centre literacy charity, Grimm & Co, who managed to secure messages from author and screenwriter Jeremy Dyson, author Joanne Harris and actor and author Paul Clayton.
His friend, Sheffield United coach Lee McMahon, helped him get a message from Manchester Utd and England stars Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard