23/05/2016

Are Friends Eclectic?

Art Friends Eclectic?

The above was probably my favourite ever 'Personal Best' headline. Thanks to Chris Waddell, the creative inspiration behind our termly magazine... And the man who dutifully posts the weekly ramblings which constitute my Headteacher blog.

This is no exception.

I wonder how many of us have our memories - our lives - defined by music... And possibly sport. The capturing of a moment...

Last weekend I had a flashback. It came to me as I was about to present trophies at our amazing Fun Run and Community Day. Standing in the May sun in the middle of our grass running track I was taken back almost thirty seven years to the day, when I had just run in - and remarkably won - the Under 15 Boys Newbury District Schools 1500m championship. One of the first of what have now become hundreds and hundreds of very special memories of this wonderful school. And I also remember that somewhere playing in the background, probably from a radio in one of the neighbour's gardens, was Tubeway Army's Number 1...

'Are Friends Electric'.

Are Friends Electric?

Somewhat ironically, I've blogged before about the loneliness of long distance runner; the sport as a previously solitary and sometimes introspective discipline. Certainly at the time I have just described it was how as a teenager I unfashionably stretched and challenged myself to do things that I thought I wasn't capable of achieving. Another 200m sprint after the seven previous ones that made you want to vomit!

www.parkhouseschool.org/Blog/The-Loneliness-of-the-Long-Distance-Runner.aspx

Now, however, running seems to have developed as perhaps the most gregarious of all sports. One that brings people together as much socially as competitively. Think ParkRun... That dimension was for me certainly one of the really key themes of last Sunday. Firstly, because it brought together over 500 runners of all ages, shapes and sizes in a common challenge. And secondly, because the event is wonderfully supported in terms of its organisation by Newbury Runners, which started as a local group of three friends who just decided to go out for a run together, began to invite others to join them and just three years later have over 800 members, with groups spread right across West Berkshire!

Fun Run Photo
Fun Run Photo
Fun Run Photo
Fun Run Photo
Fun Run Photo

The power and importance of friendship, of ensuring that all benefit from human company and social interaction. One of our central school values. One that students regularly identify when making their recommendations for reward on our House Noticeboards...

Notice Board Image
Notice Board Image
Notice Board Image

So this also resonated with me in another context this week when I had the great privilege of attending launch of the West Berkshire Volunteer's Befriending initiative, looking to ensure that potentially lonely and isolated people have the opportunity to meet and chat with others. We're getting involved. There's a massive role for the school to play in this as a focal point of our local community...

Befriend Logo

Perhaps after all friendship does need to be eclectic...

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