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Stratford Girls' Grammar School Stratford-Upon-Avon
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A Night at the Manor - Y10 Fundraising

Having heard about the ghost of the Grey Lady who is rumoured to inhabit the Manor, we were very excited when we were offered the opportunity to stay overnight in the manor to put the rumour to rest!  We both agreed that if there turned out to be a ghost however, we would probably scream and run – which did turn out to be a fairly accurate prediction...

When we arrived we were ushered into the hall by Mrs Cornell and told the layout of the evening ahead.  It was to start with sports and games, including bench ball and the parachute organised by Mrs Scott and Mrs Williamson. After a competitive session of limbo we decided to move our things into the Manor before tea.

As we stepped through the doorway into the manor, it became apparent that the night would be taking an eerie turn - cobwebs lined the walls and the only light source was small electric candles around the rooms.

We excitedly bustled into the common room – which had big bowls of popcorn courtesy of Mrs Frazer – and claimed our space for the night. We were next to the fireplace which was somewhat unsettling considering the creepy stories about it! At this point it was almost time for our tea, so we went back to the canteen and painted each other’s faces while we waited. We were called up group by group to put our own toppings on mini pizzas and we waited for them to cook.

After we had eaten we entered the manor with trepidation, where we were told that for the next 12 hours we could only use our dim torches, and the lights were not to be turned on. Then we ascended the stairs into our separate rooms depending on our teams. Our first challenge was to put together as much of two jigsaws  as we could in 15 minutes and with help from Mr hall we managed to complete most of it, although the screams from the other teams down the hallway already filled us with excited fear of what was to come.

Next, we had to try and solve puzzles along with making a moving car out of Lego. Our team appeared to have the mental age of five year olds as we only managed to complete one puzzle after accidentally dropping it. Although we tried this tactic with other puzzles, it was to no avail, but we were successful in terrifying ourselves with the loud noises they made. At one point we all saw what looked like a floating dress in the doorway – which luckily just turned out to be Mr Hall trying (and succeeding) to scare us. After this experience we decided that in true Shottery style we would sing some old classics to try and ward off any evil spirits that would terrify us even more. Our acapella version of high school musical did earn us extra points from Mrs Cornell. 

Our final task was by far the most memorable, we had a list of random items, for example a piece of string and an empty packet of crisps, that we had to collect from around the manor. We were in a pair while the rest of our group went off to find other items. One of us gingerly opened a door and just as she began to say that the corridor looked scary Mrs Cornell jumped out at us. We shrieked and sprinted away as fast as possible! When we had eventually finished the challenge, we were told that we could go to the priest hole up in the attic which we were all intrigued by. As we walked up the old wooden stairs into the attic to see the priest hole, Mrs Cornell said ‘girls, can you hear something?’ At this point we knew that something was about to happen, but nothing could have prepared us for the terror that was about to come. As one of the pieces of artwork toppled down and Shelley screamed behind it, one of us scrambled away and we all fell in a heap on the floor, laughing. 

Once we had all completed our challenges, we went back to our common room and decided it was time for the ghost stories. It was pitch black and we became even more fearful as the teachers kept scratching on the windows from outside, and Mr Hall even put a dress on a bench so it seemed like there was a floating woman outside. Once we had heard all of the ghost stories, we decided to use a machine that supposedly records the sounds of ghosts to see if the grey lady was really in the manor. One girl started recording and asking questions like ‘show us a sign if you are here’, and as we all had so much adrenaline already pumping through us, we all fully expected a book to drop upstairs or for a door to suddenly close, so we were all frozen to the spot. Luckily none of this did happen, but we refused to listen back to the recording until morning, in case there was a small noise that could be heard in the background.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and we will remember it for years to come, thankyou for those who made it happen and put so much effort in. 

Abi Hutchinson and Rachel Steinheimer, Year 10

Published on 11th April 17