I arrived at the gates of the Protestant Cemetery in Northam Road at 6.15a.m., well before the appointed time for the Hutchings memorial service, but I wasn't surprised to see the school bus already parked by the roadside. There was already a large contingent of school prefects, teachers and other Old Frees already present. The prefects and teachers from Hutchings Secondary School were also there.
I quickly went up to them to say my Hellos and got immersed into conversations about their presence and of course, the Bicentenary celebrations. Then Bishop Charles Samuel from the St George's Church arrived and after several more minutes of talking, we all walked into the cemetery to try and find the tomb of the Revd Robert Sparke Hutchings in the darkness. But the pathway was familiar and soon, we located the place without any problem.
Billy Yeoh, the president of The Old Frees' Association, quickly tore off the plastic sheet from a new marble slab that had been laid to commemorate the Bicentenary. And finally at seven o'clock, the memorial service got underway. It lasted for about half an hour, after which wreaths were laid by the Free School prefects, the Hutchings School prefects and a representative from the Church. The School Rally was then sung followed by that of Hutchings School. After that, we all dispersed to go our separate ways; for me, it was a drive to Penang Free School for the Bicentenary Speech Day.