Actress Sarah Parish opens new Portsmouth High Junior School building

Portsmouth High School was delighted to welcome actress, Sarah Parish, to its Junior School yesterday (Tuesday 24th May) to open new classrooms for Year 3, 4 and 5.

The sun shone on the playground as the school’s Chamber Choir and Little Voices sang to Sarah and the invited guests including the Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Councillor Ken Ellcome and the Deputy Mayors of Havant and Fareham. Other guests including, parents, staff, governors and alumnae of the school had lunch served from one of the new classrooms and mingled outside in the grounds.

Sarah has worked extensively in film, theatre and television for the past 22 years. After starting her career on the West End stage she went on to star in such programmes as Peak Practice, Cutting It, Mistresses, Hearts and Bones, Monroe, W1A, Atlantis and most recently the comedy series Trollied. Sarah is married to actor James Murray and together they have set up a registered charity, the Murray Parish Trust in memory of their late daughter Ella-Jayne. The charity raises vital funds for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit based at University Hospital Southampton, a centre of excellence providing world class care for critically ill children from the whole of the South of England.

Sarah was presented with a cheque to the Murray Parish Trust for £800 which was raised by the girls at the Junior School who undertook an obstacle course in the grounds. The amount raised was match funded by Barclays Bank.

Sarah, on opening the building, said: 

‘Thank you so much for this generous amount of money raised.  I hope that everyone enjoys learning in this beautiful new building.’

One guest, an alumna of the school, Barbara Kendall, who was at Portsmouth High School from 1936 to 1949 remembered ‘running around and around on the playground, which was then grass, playing games. ‘It was a very long time ago,’ she added.

The Headmaster of the Junior School, Paul Marshallsay, said in his welcome: 

‘This new environment has connected our school and focused learning around our beautiful grounds here at Dovercourt. The building is spacious and flexible, offering modern areas for our teachers to use. It is an excellent addition to our already first rate facilities and we are so grateful for Sarah taking time out of her busy acting schedule to be here today.’

Jessica M., 8, was chosen to present a bouquet of flowers to Sarah.

‘I was asked to present the flowers as I really want to become an actress,’ said Jessica. ‘I asked her lots of question and one of them was “ if you weren’t an actress, what would you be?”.Sarah told me that she would have liked to have been a marine biologist. She told me that I should be confident and not to give up if I wanted to be an actress.’

Find out more about the work of the Murray Parish Trust.