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Matthew Burns

SEDBERGH SCHOOL SPEECH DAY, MAY 2015

The school assembled at the end of Half Term for Speech Day, welcoming Lt Col Revd Nicholas Mercer, Assistant Chaplain at Sherbourne School as principal Speaker and Mr Michael Cuthbertson, Governor, to preach at the Speech Day service in Chapel.

Lieutenant Colonel the Reverend Nicholas Mercer was educated at St Andrews University and Oxford University. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1990 and commissioned into the Army Legal Service in 1991.

He served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia Herzegovina, Cyprus, Germany and was Command Legal Adviser for the Iraq War 2003 for HQ 1st (UK) Armoured Division. He was a lecturer at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law 2001-2011 and Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2011/12.

Ordained in Salisbury Diocese in 2011, our guest speaker this year is currently assistant Chaplain at Sherborne School, Dorset.  The link below shows some of the work he was involved with. Here he talks to Channel 4 about the treatment of prisoners during the Iraq war.

http://www.channel4.com/news/top-army-lawyer-slams-mod-over-human-rights-abuses

In the Headmaster’s speech, he addressed a question he is frequently asked, “What is Sedbergh best at?” The answer is not sport, or even rugby, but how our success lies in the quality of our teams, whether they be on the pitch or the exquisite music we enjoy at concerts. He said: “Week after week, we pause to listen to the Choir sing anthems in Chapel.

Very few people enjoy the privilege of listening to such finely crafted music every week. In fact, I would go so far as to say that work such as the 16th Century piece ‘In Pace’ by Blitheman, ‘Caprice Basque’ by Sarasate and Brahms’ piano quintet in F Minor have made this year my career highlight in terms of music.

So let’s place music alongside academic and sporting excellence. Beyond that, House Unisons, House Entertainments and House matches are manifestations of teamwork and all that will continue as we look forward to the spectacle that is ‘Les Miserables’ which we will perform in November.

“Prize Giving recognises the achievements of individuals and rightly so, but whether it is on the pitch, the stage or in the examination hall, those who succeed at the highest level only do so through the support of those around them. Isaac Newton reflected this in 1676 when he wrote, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” The same may be said of those who have achieved individual excellence at Sedbergh.”

According to the Independent Schools’ Council, there are now only eight Full Boarding Schools in England. Sedbergh is one of these and this year, two of our Houses celebrated major anniversaries – Winder is 100 and Hart 125 years old.

With help from the Foundation, both houses have raised more than £165,000 to give bursary support for pupils who would not otherwise benefit from a Sedbergh education. 

The Headmaster’s full speech can be found here

If you would like to find out more about boarding at Sedbergh and arrange a bespoke taster, or if you would like to find out about the bursaries available, please contact admissions@sedberghschool.org.

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