Living like a Lord – ISA Whitbread Memorial Prize 2016 – Todd Lindley

As a result of his GCSE performance (8A*, 2 A, 1 B) in his GCSE examinations, his contribution to school life, his performance on the sports and athletic fields and his contribution to the wider community as a sports coach, Todd Lindley was awarded the Whitbread Memorial prize 2016.  It is always lovely to win an Award, and as you can see from our announcement last term, both Todd and the school were pretty pleased.

Actually receiving the Award takes a huge bound forward in terms of prestige, as Todd, his mother Julia, sister Gabriella and grandparents Alan  and Monica Sibley found out on Tuesday. The family party, accompanied by Headmaster John Rayer and myself were invited to the House of Lords by the President of ISA, the Lord Lexden to receive the award. todd-hs-of-lords-4As it happens, I have known Alastair Cooke for many years, from his previous professional life as the general Secretary of the Independent Schools Council. As soon as he read our submission in nomination of Todd for the award, he recognised the fact that Todd’s sister had received the same award 3 years previously (item 10 on this ISA bulletin), and with extraordinary generosity invited Gabby to the House to enjoy the occasion.

It gets better, because we were invited to witness Question time in the House for 60 minutes or so, when the Speaker of the House of Lords, Lord Fowler made his noble statement on the failure of John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons to consult with him on the question of Donald Trump being invited to speak to the House. We witnessed real politicking in the making, something which was a main news headline later that day. It gets better still, when shortly after Lord Speaker’s intervention, we witnessed former Claires Court schoolboy, Lord James O’Shaughnessy, now a junior minister in the Department for Health, defend the government’s strategy to ensure we have sufficient nurses in our hospitals for the future. Boy, by even the Lords’ gentle ways, James was given a grilling by home and opposition members. Filled with admiration for the work of the house, we descended from Strangers gallery into the main circulation square of the lords, only to be greeted by Lord O’Shaughnessy, like long lost friends!  Whatever else happened then could only metaphorically put the ‘icing on the cake’, which  actually happened, because Lord Lexden then invited us to tea with him in the Lords Dining Room!  And of course there was the little matter of the presentation itself, which took place in one of the excellent meeting rooms, somewhere in the gods above the chamber.


Other highlights included mixing with many of the most famous Lords of the Land for an afternoon, such as the Lords Neil Kinnock and Michael Howard, sharing the Gents with Lord David Putnam and taking tea with one of the kindest, nicest men you could ever meet, The Lord Lexden OBE. Sadly there are few photographic highlights of our afternoon spent as Lords of the Land, because such technology is left at the door. However, Messrs Lindley, Rayer and Wilding were snapped all at once in our gracious host’s company, a photographic memory that I will treasure for a long time to come.  #CCpride


About jameswilding

Academic Principal Claires Court Schools Long term member & advocate of the Independent Schools Association
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