Prizes and Wise Advice for Boys
Friday, 24 June 2011
Bolton School's Summer Prizegiving for the Boys' Division rewarded students with wise advice from a Knight along with commendations for their hard work and success.
Sir Malcolm Williamson, Former CEO of Visa International and Standard Chartered PLC and Old Boy of the School, was this year's Guest of Honour. After handing out awards to pupils, he gave an inspiring speech, telling the boys they should seize opportunities in life, work hard and be prepared to take risks and make sure that by the time they get to 50 years of age they had no regrets. He told them to know their strengths and weaknesses and to play to their strengths. He had very fond memories of his time at Bolton School and how it had instilled in him interests that he still carries with him today, namely a love of the outdoors and mountaineering, chess, the violin and cross-country running. Interests which had also served him well during his national service in the RAF and in mountain rescue. Later in life, they became recreational pursuits which offered a counter-balance to his illustrious career in business, which saw him rewarded with a knighthood in 2007 for his contribution to the financial services industry.
Earlier in the evening Mr Michael Griffiths, Chairman of Governors, gave an opening address in which he congratulated the School on its outstanding ISI school inspection report and he reminded the audience of boys, parents and staff that Bolton School is a "quite extraordinary school", where there is a "can-do" culture and where pupils are instilled with a confidence to go out into the world and make a difference for good. He reminded the Year 13 leavers that Bolton School is very much an extended family and that they will remain part of the school community for the rest of their lives. His final advice to them was to go out and to try and make each place they visit in life, a little better.
Headmaster, Mr Philip Britton, brought the evening to a close with a compelling review of the academic year. Speaking of how "enormously proud" he was to be Head of the Boys' Division, Mr Britton pointed to the clarity of vision and enduring success of the School, present when Malcolm Williamson was a pupil and still with the school today. Scholarship was important and students left the School to stand alongside the very brightest minds at the top universities and also imbued with an intellectual curiosity that stayed with them for life. Whilst there is clearly much to celebrate in terms of the academic, he told the boys that examination results were a passport and not a destination and that a Bolton School education prepares them for life. He reminded the audience of the boys' success regionally and nationally in sport, music and drama. He spoke of the leadership skills developed at Patterdale and on the School's boat, Tenacity of Bolton, and on the wide range of field trips and through foreign travel. The School, one of the three oldest institutions in the town, was and always had been an integral part of the borough and boys made a difference to the town in myriad ways.
The evening was punctuated by some fine solo singing performances from the joint choral prize winners, Iain Barr and Duncan Peel; a wonderful xylophone solo from Ben Dilworth, Senior Young Musician of the Year; and the jazz band were conducted by and played Ben Smith's arrangement of "Against All Odds", featuring Michael Conroy on saxophone.