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No Drama – We’re Online!

Our drama students have always enjoyed a varied and inspiring enrichment programme and, despite being bound by COVID restrictions, this year is no different.

To kick off the new term, the first Drama Society meeting was held by video conference, and led by recent Old Bedfordian, Jonny Hosking (12-19), a well-recognised face in school after excelling in drama during his time at Bedford School, starring in many school productions.

Talking to Jonny before the call he told us, “It’ll be great to touch base with the group that largely defined my time at Bedford School. I hope by sharing what I got out of my years at school and my Gap Year, the boys will get a sense of what is waiting for them outside The Quarry. In a time when theatre and the arts are on their last legs, hopefully the boys will feel inspired to keep the show going!”

The session had a great turnout with approximately 15 boys dialling in.

Antoinette Keylock, Head of Academic Drama, said, “I am delighted that Jonny could take the first Drama Society session this week. I have many happy memories of teaching him and he was President of the Society too! Even despite the current pandemic, I was determined to make sure this society remains popular and allow all boys at Bedford School to attend remote lectures that will enrich their education.”

Next Monday, we look forward to welcoming OB Logan Jones (06-17) who will run a session on ‘Drama at University’. All boys are welcome.

OB Logan Jones (06-17)

Halsey Brothers Cycle 942 Miles for Charity

We have heard many inspirational stories about boys who have achieved incredible things during lockdown and the summer, all raising a tremendous amount for charity.  

Two of these boys are brothers Hugh and Giles Halsey, who are in the Upper Sixth and Remove Form respectively. They decided to put their unexpected spare time to good use when they challenged themselves to cycle 942 miles (the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats) around Hertfordshire.

The boys wanted to use their time productively while raising money for charities close to their hearts. Hugh, being interested in genetics and biological research, supported the A-T society which funds research into this rare genetic disease. Giles supported the Songbird Survival charity as the sound of birdsong really helped to lift his spirits during the quietness of lockdown, and he was surprised to learn that songbirds are in steep decline. This was a way he could help the charity to save these incredible creatures.

They cycled around 30 to 40 miles a day and over the course of 33 days, and raised £3,635 between them. They were even interviewed on BBC 3 Counties Radio and Heart FM in late July, and Giles was filmed for his charity’s website for their endeavours!

We are pleased to say that they completed their challenge at the end of the summer, and even managed a few rides on the real Land’s End to John O’Groats route when they went on holiday to Scotland and cycled across the Forth Bridge.

Speaking after completing the challenge, Giles said, “I have cycled 942 miles! I am blown away by the generosity of strangers, and this experience has rekindled my faith in humanity.”

While they are back to focussing on their school work now, they have left their charity fundraising pages open if you would like to make a donation:

Just Giving – Hugh

Just Giving – Giles 

 

Our New Sculpture Studio Opens

Boys studying art were delighted to see that our sculpture studio had undergone a major refurbishment over the summer.  

Thanks to the generosity of Old Bedfordian Gilbert Lloyd (50-58), the old studio, which is located close to the Quarry Theatre, benefited from a major overhaul, opening the studio up to create a bright and airy space with a wonderful, tranquil ambience. With two picture windows looking out onto the Quarry Gardens, we hope the new studio will be an inspiration to all those boys doing sculpture.

The sculpture studio is one of three specialist studios in the art department – the others being a painting and printmaking studio; these allow the boys to be a taught by a specialist teacher in each particular area. All boys doing art rotate between the three areas and for the Sixth Form artists there will now be the additional option to do MIG Welding.

James Nicholl, Teacher of Sculpture said, “The transformation of the studio over the summer is unbelievable. Light is absolutely integral to the sculpting process and the bright, wide open space of new studio offers the boys the room to sculpt, construct and cast work of a larger and more ambitious scale. The Sixth Form spaces stand up to those of any higher education art school and the addition of a workshop space with metal and wood working equipment provides the boys with opportunities to gain skills that, in the old space, were not safely viable. This new, more cohesive space has been a joy to teach in; the functional archival shelf system in place streamlines the storage of work and the overall design of the work space makes it a superb learning environment. I am incredibly privileged to teach in this space and I am immensely grateful to Gilbert Llyod for his generosity and to all those involved in helping this project become a reality.”

Gilbert Lloyd has been a long-time supporter of the school, and generously first donated to the school back in 2008 when the Gilbert Lloyd lectures were introduced. Following the opening of the Gilbert Lloyd gallery at the entrance to the Art School in 2018, a plaque was unveiled by Gilbert and his wife Elfie.

Darcy Places First in British Open

As with most sports, clay pigeon shooting has suffered this year, which is why we were thrilled to hear that Lower Sixth Former, Darcy McBride returned with a bang to finish in first place in the U21 British Open. In the final, held on 6 September, Darcy shot a 75 bird layout to tie for first place. This then resulted in a shoot off in the afternoon, which again ended in a tie. This forced a sudden death for the title, with Darcy just pipping the top spot.

At the age of just 16, Darcy is the youngest person to win this national competition since 1948 – when the competition was founded.

Throughout lockdown, most of the big shooting competitions were cancelled or rescheduled. However, Darcy used this time to train every Thursday in Norfolk and entered smaller competitions as and when he could until more major events opened up, such as The Churchill Cup, held at the end of August, where Darcy also secured the first spot.

Darcy will now go on to compete in two further competitions: the Beretta World Sporting Championships at Deptford Farm, Warminster on 11 September and The Lyalvale Express Masters at Aitken Grant and Lang on 12 September. Good luck, Darcy!

Joba’s Board Games for the Elderly

Lower Sixth Former Joba Thomas used his spare time during lockdown to create an inspiring and heart-warming initiative to support the mental wellbeing of elderly people living in local care homes.  

Lockdown restrictions forced thousands of elderly care home residents, many of whom suffer from dementia, to stay inside their homes, isolated from the outside world. Joba came up with a solution to help ease their feelings of loneliness and combat boredom, as part of a social entrepreneurship challenge issued by the school.

Joba told us, “Many, including myself, believed that the UK Government had failed to provide enough support for care homes during the pandemic, and so I began thinking of ways that I could make a positive difference. Upon doing some research, I built on the idea of sending board games to the elderly in care homes in my local area. Board games are proven to be fantastic for keeping dementia patients mentally stimulated, and are scientifically proven to slow the rate of cognitive decline at an old age.”

Joba focused on his local area of Hemel Hempstead and some nearby towns, and arranged for board games, garden games and card games via Amazon, to be sent directly to care homes to help them keep their elderly residents motivated and active during the lockdown.

The project was funded by Joba’s fundraising scheme. He set up and marketed a GoFundMe page, which, thanks his smart marketing skills, soon saw donations rocket to £455.  

A total of 43 games were donated to 14 care homes – five of those care homes were in Hemel Hempstead, seven in St Albans, one in Kings Langley and one in Chesham. Overall, a grand total of 691 elderly care home residents benefited from his project.

While the initiative has now come to a close, Joba reflected on his time and told us, “I have learned many things during this project, such as how to confidently and effectively communicate with management, how to budget and also how to organise large amounts of information on Excel to allow a project to run in a smooth and coherent manner. Above all, I have learned how much of a difference someone can make, even when confined to one’s home.”

Tatler Schools Guide 2021

We were delighted to receive yet another glowing and rather unique, review from Tatler magazine as part of their Schools Guide 2021 review of top independent schools. 

“There’s a lot on offer here, which is probably why the school produces determined, decent all-rounders who achieve strong academic results at the same time.”

Tatler Schools Guide 2021

The review also talked about our Community Partnership Programme and how we aim for every boy to have contributed to the local community by the time he leaves school. They highlighted the variety of sport on offer, and even Captain Sir Tom Moore’s grandson, Lower Sixth Former Benjie Ingram-Moore got a mention, following all his work helping his grandfather raise £33 million for NHS Charities. 

The full review will be published online next month – look out for the link on the school’s social media channels. 

‘Super Saturday’

It has been a very dry six months for sports fans across the nation, whether you usually participate or spectate, this has had a huge effect on the wellbeing of many. However, with the recent easing of lockdown restrictions, it has been uplifting to see some of our favourite sports being played once again.

Despite the lack of sporting events of late, Old Bedfordians, pupils and teaching staff spanning our school community have got straight back in the saddle and have led the way in their respective sports, both on and off the field.

Lower Sixth Former Darcy McBride proved that his shot is as hot as ever when he placed first in Juniors (an under 21 competition) at The Churchill Cup at the weekend. Not only was this a superb comeback after a long period off, but at the age of just 16, it makes him the youngest winner in 72 years!

Darcy McBride, Lower Sixth Form

OB Benedict Eggeling (14-17) of RC Favorite Harmonia was in the German gold medal men’s eight in the recent European Rowing Under 23 Championship held in Duisburg, Germany. In calm conditions, Benedict’s crew established a strong rhythm to take an early lead in a competitive field, beating the Romanian and Italian crews into silver and bronze by over a length in a time of 05:44.40.

OB Benedict Eggeling (14-17). Photo credit: Detlev Seyb / @meinruderbild

OB Ethan Vernon (07-18) represented Team GB at the recent European Cycling Championships in Plouay, France. Taking part in the Under 23 individual time trial, over a distance of 25.6km, he finished 14th with a time of 31 mins 28 secs, with an average speed of 47.3km/h! If that was not enough, he then competed in the Road Race, covering a distance of 136km. Unfortunately, the onset of cramp, while in the leading group with 10km to go, robbed him of a high finish. He now has his sights set on the 2021 Olympics.

OB Ethan Vernon (07-18)

It is not often that you find four Old Bedfordians playing in the same squad. Emilio Gay (11-18), Alex Wakely (96-07), Charlie Thurston (07-14) and Harry Gouldstone (12-19) are an integral part of the Northamptonshire County Cricket team and were showcasing their cricketing prowess over the weekend of 5/6 September. Emilio, Charlie and Harry all played together against Gloucestershire in the Bob Willis Trophy match. Unfortunately, play had to be abandoned just before lunch during the first session of play, when it came to light that a non-travelling member of the squad had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Completing the Old Bedfordians cricketing foursome, Alex played in the Vitality T20 game last Thursday for Northamptonshire Steelbacks, seeing them through to a four-wicket win over Glamorgan at Edgbaston.

OB Emilio Gay (11-18)

Sir Alastair Cook (98-03) has finished a strong season scoring consistently for Essex County Cricket Club in the Bob Willis Trophy competition. The current statistics for this competition show Sir Alastair and Charlie Thurston ranked fifth and eighth respectively in the number of runs scored, so some healthy OB rivalry.

After being selected for Eddie Jones’ England squad in the last Six Nations Championship, George Furbank (13-15) and Fraser Dingwall (13-17) continue to be an integral part of the Northampton Saints squad, regularly taking to the field in the Gallagher Premiership campaign. Both recently renewed their contracts with the club. Not forgetting, of course, Kayde Sylvester (17-19) who, fresh out of the Upper Sixth, joins the club’s Senior squad.  

OB Fraser Dingwall (13-17)

OB Kayde Sylvester (17-19)

For all those armchair sports fans enjoying live sport again, we have seen a whole host of Old Bedfordians in the commentary box exhibiting encyclopaedic knowledge in their chosen sports.

Ned Boulting (78-86), known to legions of British cycling fans for his work covering pro cycling for ITV, is the lead commentator on this year’s Tour de France on ITV4. Ned has covered every Tour de France since 2003, along with a host of other live sporting events.

OB Ned Boulting (78-86) interviewing Chris Froome, four-time winner of the Tour De France

Those of you who enjoy triathlons may have heard Matt Chilton (76-81) commentating on the recent Triathlon World Championships held in Hamburg. Matt has also been the voice of skiing on British television for the last decade and a half, and is currently the lead commentator for Ski Sunday.

Former England and Lions rugby international and broadcaster Martin Bayfield (80-85) has worked as a presenter and reporter across the Heineken Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and Premiership Rugby Cup, and regularly presents the weekly live debate show Gallagher Premiership Tonight. Recently, you may have seen him as the Gallagher Premiership Rugby anchor man for BT Sport. Those of you who tuned in to the Leicester v Sale game over the weekend will have also spotted fellow Old Bedfordian and current Teacher of English in the Prep School, Sam Roberts (85-96), commentating on the game.

The need to comply with the myriad of rules and regulations associated with the return of sport has shone a spotlight on sports governing bodies and administrators. Old Bedfordians Mark Darbon (87-97), CEO, Northampton Saints and George Wood (83-94), Swim England, Sport Development Director, have both been involved in the safe return of their respective sports.

Meet four boys who achieved amazing things for charity this summer

Back in April, and at the height of lockdown, Captain Sir Tom set a precedent when he walked 100 laps of his drive to raise a staggering £33 million for NHS Charities. In so doing, he also inspired a nation and, in particular, four Bedford School boys who put their time in lockdown to good service.

Oliver

Fourth Former Oliver Yates set himself a massive 300k running challenge to raise money for Spiny Norman’s Hedgehog Support, which rescues and rehabilitates poorly hedgehogs.

Oliver’s pledge to run 300k (186 miles), equates to the average distance a hedgehog roams in a year. Oliver told us, “I originally planned to run 5k a day, but I’ve actually run anything between eight and 20k a day. “I started running on 25 April and so far, I have completed 260k. This has raised over £1000.”

Oliver’s grand finale took place on Saturday 27 June with a superb half marathon ending at Spiny Norman’s Hedgehog Support in Wyboston where he was also able to feed some tiny hoglets and meet some of the residents.

Peter

Upper Sixth Former Peter Barrington used his vocal talents to raise money for NHS Charities and Help Musicians UK when he took part in a live-streamed charity concert ‘Lockdown Live’ with The New Scene Live.

Peter played a 45-minute set of  both original songs and covers – you can listen to his performance here.

Peter was also a runner-up in the national music competition ‘Prospect 100’ with his song ‘Haiti’ and, as a result, he won mentoring from Danny Zook, manager of Migos, one of the biggest hip-hop groups around right now.

Freddie

Fourth Former Freddie Tucker organised a charity golf day along with three other young members of the Highgate Golf club; two Lower Sixth pupils from University College School and one Lower Sixth pupil from St Paul’s School.

The pupils played the ‘longest day in golf’ on Saturday 27 June.  Starting at 4.30 am and finishing at 10.00 pm, the day raised money for five charities: Under One Sky (which gives much-needed food and supplies to the homeless in London), UNICEF Yemen Appeal, Black Lives Matter, The Winch (a Camden based charity which helps children to succeed regardless of their circumstances) and Alzheimer’s Society.  To date, they have raised over £6,000 and counting.

Joba

Fifth Former Joba Thomas has been raising money to buy board games for the elderly in care homes in his home town of Hemel Hempstead as part of a social entrepreneur challenge at school.

Joba came up with the idea as a solution to a problem in the local community.

Joba said: “With lots of care homes being in lockdown and visitors not allowed in, I thought it could be having an effect on their mental health and wanted to do something to help. Board games can help to alleviate the stress induced by this pandemic. Additionally, for care home residents with dementia, board games are a fantastic way to stimulate memories and maintain mental agility, and so I decided to raise money to buy board games to give to care homes in my local area, Hemel Hempstead.”

Joba has generated a great deal of interest. He has spoken with eight care homes so far who are interested in his idea, and he plans to expand to Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire as well.

If you would like to help Joba buy board games for the elderly in care homes, you can visit his fundraising page here.

Continuing the Charitable Work of Captain Tom

Mr Chris Jones and a team of helpers from the Bedford School community have been busy sorting through mountains of stamps to donate to charity thanks to Captain Tom Moore.

In April, our Great Hall was turned into a hive of activity when it received mountains of cards wishing the war veteran a happy 100th birthday.

Staff, parents, pupils and Old Bedfordians spent a staggering 1,750 hours opening more than 160,000 birthday cards to put on display – all while carefully setting aside the stamped envelopes.

The stamps have now been donated to two charities: locally based Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB).

Susie Spyropoulos, Teacher of Geography and Head of Charities, said, “It was important for us as a school to donate the stamps to charitable causes. It was the natural step to maintain the phenomenal work that Captain Tom has undertaken in raising nearly £33million for NHS charities.

“His family was keen that we use them to help causes both locally and nationally.

“We hope this donation helps both charities continue to provide their vital services for people in need.” 

Captain Moore walked 100 lengths of his garden and became a beacon of hope for the nation during the coronavirus lockdown.

To mark the occasion, post across the country was adorned with a specially created postmark wishing Captain Moore a happy birthday from Royal Mail.

It is not yet known how much each charity will receive from the stamps which are bought by dealers who pick out any unusual or valuable ones to sell to collectors. The rest are then sold for crafting or paper recycling.

Tori Ablard, Head of Hospice Fundraising at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, said: “Thank you so much to Captain Tom Moore and Bedford School for this fantastic donation.

“It is the gift that keeps on giving; not only has Captain Moore raised a phenomenal amount of money for NHS charities, but by donating his 100th birthday card stamps to us he will also raise vital funds for our hospice.

“The money raised will make sure we can continue to offer our expert palliative care and be there when it matters for people at the most difficult time of their lives.”

Becca McRow-Brewer, RNIB Senior Manager, Community Giving, thanked the school and Captain Moore for the donation of stamps. She explained: “Stamps make a real difference as the RNIB recycles them into much needed funds.

“Over two million people with sight loss in the UK are facing huge challenges during the coronavirus crisis, and these funds will go a long way to help give blind and partially sighted people the practical advice, local connections and reading services they need at this uncertain time.”