Motto Ps


A letter from Headmaster, Dan Harrison:

Dear Old Sedberghians

As we approach the quincentenary of Sedbergh School I have felt it necessary to review the School motto to ensure it properly reflects our values as we enter a new age.  The Current motto, Dura Virum Nutrix, while cherished and upheld by many Old Sedberghians, is no longer part of the identity of younger Sedberghians. 

The School has had a number of mottos over the years.  Dura Virum Nutrix was adopted in 1893 but started to fall out of use at the end of the last century.  Conscious of the gravity of such a change, and the importance of ensuring that any motto was valued, supported and indeed celebrated by the wider Sedbergh community, I began a consultation process to discuss the motto.  I sought to ensure that any change to the motto was desirable by the wider community and would have longevity.  However, this does not mean our past is forgotten or that Dura Virum Nutrix is banished.  It remains part of our heritage.  Most of all, it will forevermore, and quite rightly, continue to be displayed on The Cloisters.

Letters were sent to the parent body and the Old Sedberghian community as part of an open consultation to gather feedback on the current motto and options for the future.  The Common Room staff were also consulted.  As with any major change, there were strong views on all sides, but one common phrase appeared repeatedly in the many letters and emails arriving on my desk.

The lyrics to ‘The Long Run’ and in particularly the phrase, ‘never shall you strive in vain in the long run’ were cited often.  The words to ‘The Long Run’ are learned by every Sedberghian in their final years at School.  It is sung under the breath by boys and girls pushing themselves to complete the challenging Wilson Run.

Old Sedberghians from many walks of life speak of recalling this phrase in times of hardship, seeking solace and discovering unexpected reserves of strength when things got tough.  These lyrics, sung first in adolescence, have sustained many Sedberghians when their need for comfort and personal resolve was great.  In short, these lyrics are woven through the very being of Sedberghians young and old, resonating deeply with the values instilled by the School community and ‘the hills that have stood around us’.

It was decided therefore that this phrase should inform the new motto, but contracted to Never Strive in Vain.

With best wishes.

Yours sincerely

Dan Harrison