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Nicholls Lecture Series – OB Henry Pugh

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07 March 2018

On Friday 2nd March, the Nicholls Lecture Series continued with a talk from Old Birkonian, Henry Pugh. An eye-opening open statement caught everybody’s attention before Henry went on to tell us of the struggles he has faced, and overcome in his life.

He started with his stories about School. He was unable to join Birkenhead School in Prep and therefore found Year 7 a very difficult year. He spent the year battling with his head as it told him he wasn’t as good as everyone else and that he didn’t belong where he was. This feeling continued up to Year 11, where upon he found confidence in his sporting abilities. Through this story, Henry was teaching us that, although he spent four years struggling, he did finally overcome these feelings in the end.

Throughout, Henry referred to his dream of becoming a pilot. Since he was three years old he had had this dream and even by the time of doing A-levels he remained assured that it was what he wanted to do. During the lead up to doing his A-levels, his Grandma became very ill. Initially he had lived in the Isle of Man and at the time of his Grandma becoming ill she was still living there. This meant Henry and his family were travelling most weekends back and forth to the Isle of Man. As a result, along with other things going on in his life, the A-levels he achieved were lower than both expected and required. He couldn’t go on to do what he’d always dreamed but, more importantly, he hadn’t prepared a plan B.

He carried on to tell the sad story of his Dad becoming very ill when Henry was aged just 22 and finished by commenting back on his opening statement. He explained that as a 9-year-old boy he had seen a man on a train, who was seemingly drunk. After seeing him he told his Mum and when he went back to the toilet he saw him in the exact same position again. It turned out that this man had had a heart attack and eventually died. As a 9-year-old boy, Henry had to live with the guilt that he had not reached out to get help for this man and, as a result, he had died.

In conclusion, the lecture gave us all a lesson in the importance of a plan B. Not only that but making us consider that things do go wrong and, instead of sulking, we must be prepared to be proactive and find another way.

Harriet Woollons - Lower Sixth Student