Lord Patten of Barnes was Principal Guest at St Benedict's Prize Giving on Monday 24th June. Alumnus and Patron of the school, Chris Patten is Chancellor of Oxford University and a Crossbench member of the House of Lords.
In his address, Lord Patten - the last British Governor of Hong Kong and a Conservative politician until 2011 - said: "St Benedict's made me. It gave me the three Benedictine ideals of moderation, common sense and seriousness." Happiness, he said, is not found in material wealth but in excelling in what you enjoy. He cited Sir Roger Bannister - his contemporary at Oxford - as an example of someone who had sought excellence and fulfilled his potential: not only by running the first sub four-minute mile at the age of 25 while practising as a junior doctor, but also by making an important contribution to medical research in the field of neurology.
Lord Patten went on to talk about the value of seriousness, in terms of diligence and approach rather than lacking a sense of humour. Quoting one of his teachers, who had told him "never to be afraid to argue with anyone you disagree with", he said seriousness means getting your facts right and doing things properly.
Finally, Lord Patten said that it was important to remember how lucky we are, living "in the light", with the advantages of good education, security and opportunity. He urged pupils always to strive to "share the light" with others; with the millions of people in the world who live in the shadow of conflict, deprivation, poverty and injustice.
Headmaster, Andrew Johnson, said: "I strongly believe that a concern for other people, coupled with a wide range of co-curricular interests, help our young people to be resilient adults: not just in the world of work but to be fully thriving human beings - well-grounded and able to make a valuable contribution to society." St Benedict's, he said, helps pupils to find and develop their talents and interests through academic enrichment, sport, music, drama, and opportunities to engage with voluntary service and charity fundraising.
The Prize Giving was attended by parents, pupils, staff, governors, alumni and friends of the school.
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