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Chairman’s Address


My friends,

It was with great interest that I learnt some months ago that Sedbergh School had commissioned a new promotional video. Having starred in the last one, I was glad that it would finally be superseded, and my debut as an actor would finally be consigned to history.

Now, on hearing the synopsis of this new blockbuster I have to admit I was somewhat intrigued. The central character was to be an actual wolf to reflect the Spirit of Sedbergh. This was a brave directorial decision indeed. If the maxim ‘don’t work with animals and children’ wasn’t enough, Sedbergh was going to mix the tender offspring of trusting parents with the Hound of the Baskervilles. It had me thinking the outtakes would be fun to watch in a Quentin Tarantino kind of way.

At the Premiere, with the great and the good of the world in attendance, and as I fought my way along the red carpet past ball gowns and champagne waiters, I did wonder what age category the British Board of Film had given it. So I settled into my chair, popcorn in hand, and watched with glee as the lights dimmed.

Oh my goodness! I was greatly and pleasantly surprised, even uplifted. It was sophisticated, it was subtle, it was sublime, it was Sedbergh. My fear that the wolf would just be a labradoodle with sticky-on ears was unfounded. I don’t know what breed it was but it would have scared the daylights out of me had I come across it on the fells, presumably gnawing on a recently killed sheep.

More importantly I showed it to my daughter who is the proud owner of my four grandchildren. She and her husband don’t see the School as an option because of the distance from here in Sevenoaks to Sedbergh. But she indulged me and watched the video.

It was an epiphany moment for her. Suddenly she wants to know all about Sedbergh and wants her and her husband to visit. ‘Dad’ she said ‘ look at those beautiful blue clear skies. I thought it rained all the time in Sedbergh’. I looked at my shoes and said ‘No, it’s a common misconception. Besides, global warming has done it wonders’. ’And the air’ she continued, ‘it looks so fresh, not like down here’. (I’m not sure why her part of Sevenoaks has smog and acid rain but then again I live on a private road).

The point is, it resonated. It changed the mind of someone who was until that point quite entrenched. What a fabulous job; congratulations to Andrew Fleck and the marketing team.

And well done Wolfie; you did us proud, even though you are slightly offside in the closing scenes as the ball is passed long the backs.

Ladies and gentlemen, see what you think. Please share it, like it, and, most of all, appreciate it.

Jan van der Velde
Chairman, OS Club