A celebration of Darwin's Families and Gardens

Darwin College hosted a Families Day on Friday 2nd June, a new innovation which already looks set to become a treasured tradition. 

Conceived and organised by Sustainability Engagement Officer and PhD student in Physics Meg Groom, in collaboration with DCSA Families Officer and PhD student in Manufacturing Chen Ye, the day was a joyful celebration of Darwin's outside spaces and riverside gardens, as well as of the wider College community represented by the families of staff, students and Fellows.

After a cloudy few days, the sun appeared on schedule and shone throughout a wonderfully relaxed and festive afternoon. Children had their faces painted; entered a drawing competition run by Beau Roberts, the Head of Wellbeing; were led on raucously informative tour of the gardens by Gardening Fellow (and Fellow in Zoology) Dr Torsten Krude; planted seeds under the gentle instruction of College Gardener Derrienne Bell, and followed the Master, Dr Mike Rands in a birdwatching walk in which so many of the College's feathered inhabitants, from the heron to the entire family of ducklings, turned up on cue that they appeared to be on the payroll. 

Student volunteers managed a candle-making craft stall which was in danger of being too popular for its own capacity; led punting trips and oversaw kayaking adventures on the river; and arranged a series of lawn games.

As the afternoon wound down, outfits were changed, gowns donned (ranging from the official to the Hogwarts-inspired), and guests gathered on the lawn for early evening drinks. Catering Manager Ivan Higney rounded up a troupe of enthusiastic junior volunteers to strike the gong and recite the College Grace, before a relaxed Family-Friendly Formal with a perfectly judged menu of tomato soup, chicken and pasta, and layered cheesecake with bright blue bubblegum ice cream. It won't be the first time that some guests at a Formal had to be carried home, but it's more unusual for everyone to be happily on their way by 8pm. 

Thank you to all involved.