News From Woolverstone

Independent Schools Moves to Reassure Residents Over Coronavirus

Update: Monday, February 10.00

Royal Hospital School has also moved to confirm there are no cases of the Coronavirus among its pupils, following reports of a suspected case at a private school over the weekend. 

Sarah Stewart, director of communications at RHS, said: "I can confirm that there have been no positive cases of nCoV at the Royal Hospital School. We have a number of pupils from mainland China and other parts of the world but none of them have been in China or Hong Kong since the start of term which is over five weeks ago.

"None of our children are returning to China or Hong Kong over the half-term period. We, like all schools, have established protocols and will continue to monitor the situation, taking advice from Public Health England and communicating with the entire school community as appropriate. Our thoughts are with the pupils who are understandably anxious about their friends and family."

Full story below....

Sunday, February 9, 16.00

A Woolverstone school has reassured residents on the Shotley peninsula it has no cases of the worldwide Coronavirus and will not be allowing any Chinese students access for the foreseeable future.  

A speaker at a Communion service on the peninsula is understood to have alluded to the congregation a pupil at a private school has contracted the Novel Coronavirus pneumonia (nCoV) but Woolverstone school moved quickly to deny the rumour, despite not being named directly.

Ipswich High School, based at Woolverstone Hall in the village, is now owned by a Chinese investment company based in Hong Kong, and has attracted a large number of students from China. Purpose-built boarding facilities are being built in the grounds, including at the former Dairy House, with boys now accepted at the former all girls school.

Head teacher Oona Carlin has recently left to join a private school in Qatar and deputy Nicola Griffiths is acting as the head until Mark Howe takes over in August later this year.

Mrs Griffiths, acting head of Ipswich High School, where fees are up to £33,000 per year, said: "We are not accepting any pupils from China, and affected regions, until the outbreak is contained.

 "At a local parish church service this morning a speaker unhelpfully announced to parishioners that the school has a suspected case of the virus. We have followed up with the church concerned, who are attempting to correct this error and contact the congregation to provide reassurances and we ask for your assistance in dispelling this rumour."

"We will continue to work closely with the local community to keep everyone informed of the preventative action the school has taken so far and any possible further developments. 

All children travelling from China have been told they need to spend 14 days in self isolation before attending private schools in the UK, including the high school at Woolverstone.

nCoV pneumonia is believed to have originally started in Huahan seaford market in the Chinese region of Wuhan, possibly by virus carrying newly slaughtered animals, with 800 deaths from the virus worldwide. Infections inside stand at almost 37,200 and global infections have passed 280 in 28 countries and the mortality rate is 2%.

It is understood that the Catholic church advises when a virus is prevalent holy communion wine, representing Christ's blood is not shared while wafers, representing the body of Christ, are and this was the case at the service this morning, when the person spoke and the symbolism may have been misunderstood.

Other private schools with Chinese students returning from the New Year celebrations, or other home visits, not on the peninsula, including St Josephs, Ipswich, could also be at risk.

For more information from Woolverstone's Ipswich High School please call 780201. RHS can be contacted on 326200.

Astonishing Life of Mary Berners Revealed

Saturday, January 18, 13.00 

An in-depth illustrated talk is planned to be held to tell the astonishing story of the life and times of Mary Alice Berners, eldest daughter of Charles Hugh Berners who was squire at Woolverstone Hall (pictured) between 1891 and 1919. 

The talk will be given by former teacher at Woolverstone High School, and current parish council chairman Simon Pearce who has been exploring Woolverstone local history, who invited people to glimpse through a window on to a part of our Peninsula history. 

Mr Pearce said: "Alice's story has fascinated me for more than four years and is of quite extraordinary colour, breadth and interest spanning the British Empire at its height and yet so local to ourselves." 

The talk will be held on Friday March 27th at 7.30 pm at Berners Hall, Woolverstone.  Entry is £6.00 - with a glass of wine (or other refreshment) included with the ticket Email: or phone 01473 780009 for tickets or more details.

Tickets can also be bought at Orwell Stores, Chelmondiston.

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