The Indomitable Spirit of the Sedberghian

Jan van der Velde -Outer hebrides

On my many travels around the country and indeed around the world I meet Old Sedberghians from all walks of life and at all stages of life. Many I have now known for a long time and each life’s journey is interesting and different. This is one of the fascinations of my role as Chairman.

No matter what the walk in life I have found time and time again a common thread. The School, the Hills, the House system, the boarding, the staff, all had an effect in our formative years and imbued in us an ethos that seems to survive the eroding winds of time.

I see this now in my old Lupton House study mate and life long friend Paul Page who, deciding that something was clearly wrong when he was off his beer at our curry night last November, was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer.

Such news is never taken lightly. But to the outside world Paul has shown stoicism, optimism, fortitude, and a quiet acceptance that his social life may be a little quiet for a while. He has been as much a strength for his family, his wonderful wife Caroline and his three children, as they have for him.

He uses humour to bring sunshine to the darker days. He refers to his time at Sedbergh as a metaphor for hope and endurance, in that whatever the struggle the right attitude of mind is enough to carry you through and ultimately prevail.

He never complains.

Right now he is at Danny Bridge. So come on Paul, keep running, despite the pain and despite the weariness that is now setting in. The finish line is within distance and when you get there, when you cross it arms held high, a little thinner and, yes, with less hair, we will all be waiting and we will all be cheering.

Such is the Sedbergh Spirit.

Jan van der Velde
Chairman OS Club