Chairman’s Message: The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Brown

The Future’s Bright, The Future’s Brown

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Peter Attenborough, Headmaster of Sedbergh School from 1975-1981. He was an outstanding Headmaster and a brilliant orator. Tributes I’m sure will follow but recently he was kind enough to write to me following my article on ‘endeavour inflation’ and I was so very pleased that he had remembered with fondness his time in the ‘70’s at Sedbergh. My thoughts, our thoughts, are with his wife, Sandy, and his family, at this difficult time.

The School prospered during his tenure. This is his legacy, a foundation upon which the present School is built. I am glad to report that the School continues to flourish and that numbers are increasing. It is a beacon of aspiration and opportunity in the North of England. Just as in Peter’s time, the quality of management, and dedication of staff, has done much to make it so.

While the School continues to celebrate its heritage and traditions it has evolved into a modern, forward looking, educational establishment. As it approaches the quincentenary in 2025 it has great plans to invest in the long term future of its infrastructure for the benefit of generations to come.

Such vision does not just belong to the School. The OS Club, which is approaching its 125th anniversary has its ambitions, to be likewise modern, relevant, and inclusive. While our values remain the same – Heritage, Friendship, Support – the way in which these are woven into our daily activities should reflect the age in which we live.

The Club was originally created to allow alumni of the School to continue to celebrate their friendships formed at Sedbergh. That was back in the 19th century. Since then the School has changed, society has evolved, and our stakeholders are much more aligned. In the 21st century we therefore need to broaden our appeal.

In terms of Club membership those that attended Sedbergh as pupils will always have their special place within the Club and their status reserved. But there are many who voice the opinion that we should now be more inclusive. For instance, there are a number of widows (and presumably one day widowers) who have faithfully attended OS events with their OS partner for many years until their husband’s passing. After that we see them no more. They are, in effect, abandoned by the Club at a time when their loss is felt the most. In certain circumstances we have made widows honorary members of the Club but there needs to be a more structured and defined approach such that widows are supported and included, rather than ignored and forgotten.

Parents interaction with the School is different to my time back in the ‘70’s. Parents are now much more involved in School life, partly because of the many activities and social functions for both pupils and parents. Many parents make lifelong friendships as well as developing a deep love and respect for the institution itself. Some wish to continue their connection with Sedbergh after their child/children have left. It has been suggested therefore that we create a special category of membership for parents. There are number of benefits to the Club such as widening the pool of mentors and career opportunities for young OS.

Some of these ideas will require an EGM to change our constitution. I will be writing shortly and in more detail once the Club has finalised our thoughts. Until then any thoughts, comments, or views are welcome. (Please email Ben Collins:

On a separate matter, and if you have still not shifted the pounds put on over Christmas, then why not get involved in the Global Run. Last year was a great success and this year we hope to surpass the 70k views of the video we had in 2019. A new promotional video will be released within the next few weeks with instructions on how to take part. So, no excuses, find those old trainers, brave the weather, run, smile, and send us a pithy message.

Good luck!

Jan van der Velde
OS Club Chairman