Pedalling for a bright future

By Tess Burrows, Old Bedalian

Bedalians have always been brilliant at being the change, shining a light bravely for others  to follow. Never has this been more important than now in the current climate crisis.

I’m sure you are aware that if we don’t collectively and urgently make changes, our world will rapidly become uninhabitable.

Please would you write a Climate Action Pledge promising what you personally can do as an extra commitment to make a difference at a global climate level?

Every positive action help. Think planting trees or cutting down on fossil fuels, eating local plant-predominant foods, or many other ways of cutting your own carbon emissions…

Complete your Climate Action Pledge on this form, and return it to me at

I am proud of my Bedales education, which I believe gave me a springboard to tackle seemingly impossible challenges to help our world. In the last 20 years, I have carried messages to the far points of the planet for peace. This Autumn, I have committed to carry Climate Action Pledges to COP 26, the United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow, to lay at the feet of world leaders.

The journey will be 600 miles on my old mountain bike weighed down by camping gear, along with a friend and my granddaughter. I am very slow on a bike – I average not much more than four miles an hour! But we hope to inspire thoughts of getting around without using fossil fuels at whatever age. I am 73 and my granddaughter is 13.

Thank you for your support.

If you would like to sponsor us, we are raising funds for three environmental charities: Protect Our Winters (Climate Change Action), Sustrans (UK Cycling Network) and World Wide Fund for Nature (Save Tigers from Extinction). Five inspirational adventure books are also available to purchase on my website, sales in support of the above charities.

More info

Careers update – National Citizen Service and Meet the Medics

By Cheryl Osborne, Teacher of Biology and Careers Advisor

Last Friday, Harry Draycot from the National Citizen Service (NCS) joined the Block 5 assembly via Teams. He explained what the scheme entailed and how they could get involved. This year they are offering two or three week placements covering outdoor pursuits, life skills and in the third week helping to plan and bring to life a rewarding community project. Considering students have been locked away from their peers and have lacked the much needed socialising that they would normally do, this scheme seems more important than ever to get involved in. This will enable them to meet new people and gain some very valuable skills, as well of course, having lots of fun. More information about what is involved and how to apply can be found here.

On Monday, five Old Bedalians – Luke Austen, Adam Osborne, Claudia Anholt, Ollo Catton and Molly Graham – joined a group of students from both Bedales and Bohunt to describe their experiences of applying for, studying and practising medicine. It was fascinating to hear how they had found the application process; three had got in first time round, one had to take a gap year and reapply, and one was unlucky enough to fall short of the grades required, but despite this they showed huge perseverance, first studying Biomedical Science and reapplying as a post-grad. After what will have been eight years of study, they are very keen to start their career.

Students were provided with advice about the importance of volunteering, for example in a care home, rather than just observing doctors at work, although the latter is useful for students to gauge whether they feel the job would be right for them. The different course styles of the five universities (Bristol, Exeter, Manchester, Oxford, and UEA) were described and, although there are some differences, most follow a similar structure with lots of hands on experience. Oxford was the exception, with three years pre-clinical, leading to a Medical Sciences BSc, followed by three years clinical. Research into what suits your own style of learning was strongly recommended. The pros and cons of intercalating (taking a year out to study for a BSc/BA) were also discussed.

It was refreshing to hear that the two qualified doctors are loving their jobs, and their ability to study alongside working, particularly during and after the second foundation year after graduating, when study time is given. This has led one to take on a Master’s in Global Health and Expedition Medicine and the other to be appointed as Clinical Fellow in Acute Medicine. It was interesting and reassuring to learn that there were plenty of opportunities for qualified doctors prior to deciding on a specialism and embarking on up to eight years of further training.

All the OBs said that they are happy to be contacted by students thinking of a career in medicine and I would like to thank them for this and for giving up their time to attend the event. Their bios will be available to students on the Professional Guidance area of Firefly and their contact details are available from Cheryl Osborne on request.

Old Bedalian news – February 2021

Barty Phillips (nee Brereton, OB 1946-1950), former Design Correspondent for The Observer who has written around 30 books on gardening and the home, has launched a blog to keep her focused in lockdown.

Barty’s Garden explores Barty’s passion for gardening through regular posts that focus on everything from winter flowers and Evergreen trees to observations from her garden in the snow, each illustrated with beautiful photographs.

Read Barty’s blog here.

Judith Herrin has kindly gifted a copy of her new book, Ravenna: Capital of Empire, Crucible of Europe to Bedales’ Memorial Library, following the book’s publication in August 2020.

A TLS, Spectator and Telegraph Book of the Year, the University of Oxford’s Peter Frankopan describes Ravenna as “an outstanding book that shines a bright light on one of the most important, interesting and under-studied cities in European history. A masterpiece.”

Find out more about Ravenna here.

Simon Anholt‘s new book, The Good Country Equation: How We Can Repair the World in One Generation, was published in September and has now been chosen by #UNGenevaReads – the book club of the United Nations in Geneva – as their Winter Read. Find out more about the book here.

#UNGenevaReads is hosting an online conversation with Simon Anholt to discuss the book and tackle tough questions like ‘Why doesn’t the world work like it should? How can the world work together?’ on 26 February. Find out more about the event here.

Barnaby Phillips’ new book, Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes, is set for publication on 18 March. Loot tells the story of a tragic and relevant chapter in British and African history, the defeat of an ancient kingdom and the story of some of Africa’s greatest works of art.

Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East and former Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, said: “This timely, thoughtful and beautifully crafted volume deftly guides us through a truly astounding passage of events. These are the kind of histories that change the way that we look at things we thought we knew – whilst shocking us at the things that we simply hadn’t grasped.”

Find out more about Loot here.

Delilah Montagu is celebrating the release of her new EP, This Is Not A Love Song, her first EP since 2019’s Gold.

The EP includes recent singles ‘Us’, ‘Loud’ and ‘Version of Me’, as well as three previously unheard tracks. Listen to the EP on Spotify here.

Jacy Wall (nee Davies, OB 1960-1968), tapestry weaver and printmaker, is represented in an extensive new craft show at Soshiro Gallery in Welbeck Street, London, along with nearly 100 other international makers.

Crafting a Difference runs from 21 January until 2 April 2021, although currently online due to COVID restrictions. A selection of work will also be streamed in the Crafts Council’s annual show, Collect, which also takes place online in February. For more information and to view the show, click here.

Careers update: ‘Beyond Bedales’

By Alex Beckmann, Alumni Liaison Manager
Photos by Abby Hilton, 6.1

The inaugural Beyond Bedales careers event took place on 11 October, when Old Bedalians Peter Grimsdale, William Miller, Claire Whalley and Kirstie Allsopp returned to impart a wealth of knowledge about careers in television to 36 students across Block 5 (Year 11), 6.1 (Year 12) and 6.2 (Year 13).

Students were delighted to hear from OBs with varying paths to success and the visiting OBs were equally pleased to spend time encouraging so many interested young Bedalians.

Block 5 student Milo Whittle said: “I thought it gave really useful insight into the industry and I would recommend to students to come along to one of these events in the future – even an industry they don’t have any interest in, because they will still get something out of it.”