Juhlat - Our 40th Birthday

We had a party! This was the scene at the Victory Hall in Mobberley on Saturday as we waited for remaining guests; we had around 100 in the end. Anyone wandering in by mistake would have looked on and probably thought it was a pretty typical social event, but maybe noticed the Finnish flags and the not very local accents. Would they have known it was Finnish? If they had, would they have been able to point to Finland on a map? Perhaps not; the UK has so many diverse communities these days, and the Finnish one isn't the most numerous by any means. But here was a nice cross section of the many Finns who have come to settle in the North West of England, Manchester in particular.

By July the School itself has long since finished for the year, and many of its members have gone away, some to enjoy Finland's here-one-moment-gone-the-next summer. I'm exaggerating - Finns may tell you it's like that, but summer is often a blessed time in Finland and I can well remember being amazed to get sunburnt on my first visit, not at all what I was expecting! But it was our 40th birthday and we definitely had enough people for a party. It was brilliant to see so many old friends who I've become sadly used to following only on the dreaded Facebook. One or two from Finland in fact. Some new faces too; several of those appreciated the warmth of the gathering and we hope they'll be back for more, at our school in Sale this autumn.

You want some meaty stories? Well, there's no scandal or drama to talk about, unless you want the one about our fantastic caterer Minna arriving to find the gas had been turned off. She worked wonders with the electric stove but it meant we did start later. Maybe this wasn't a bad thing, because the normally highly punctual Finns were arriving late themselves, with stories about getting lost in this beautiful part of Cheshire. Hmm, you know, this wasn't really the middle of nowhere, as you could tell if you walked outside and watched giant A380s unnervingly low on their final approach into Manchester Airport.

We had a few speeches first, the highlight being some well deserved awards to three ladies who have been with us for all those 40 years and contributed hugely to the life of the school. And we had some congratulations read out, sent to us by various august bodies such as Suomi Seura - the Finland Society. Then there was that delicious buffet; then music and some moderate and responsible drinking, and a raffle. Oh, and works submitted for our art competition were on display and that was judged. I should also mention our very special celebratory newsletter which was produced just in time for the party. It's a lovely souvenir full of memories from members past and present, and contributions from younger students, one highlight being a special tribute to our long serving inspirational teacher Iris. It's always people who really make a party, just as it's people who make a school or any society. As much as I should be emphasising the historical nature of these celebrations, I'm really left with my lasting impression of a large group of friends who have made a good thing together, and this evening, reminded themselves that they really enjoy each other's company! :)

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