One of the interesting aspects of a BPS education is the numerous opportunities boys have to meet and to learn from interesting people who have done something amazing in their lives. Consider just some of those who have addressed the boys in the last five years: ex-hostages Terry Waite and John McCarthy; T.V. personality and adventurer, Ben Fogle; the larger than life Brian Blessed; BPS old boy/official biographer of the last four British Prime Ministers, Sir Anthony Seldon; Falklands commander Major-General Farrar-Hockley; ex-Captain of the All Blacks, Anton Oliver; World Cup winner, Ossie Ardilles…to name just a few.
I am often asked how the school attracts such interesting visitors. The answer is: in many and varied ways. Here is how the next visitor to the school came to be invited to visit BPS…
At 12.05pm, 0n May 11th, Mrs Wenham and I were driving past Biggin Hill airport on our way to an 80th birthday party. As we did so, we saw an unusual sight: a Tiger Moth bi-plane taxiing slowly down the runway.
I thought nothing more about this incident until the following morning when I turned to page 11 in The Sunday Telegraph to see a photograph of the very same Tiger Moth.
The accompanying article explained that the airplane was being flown by Captain Amanda J Harrison who is aiming to recreate the route taken by legendary pilot, Amy Johnson, when she became the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in May 1930.
‘Here’s an opportunity!’ I thought. I Googled ‘Captain Amanda J Harrison’ to find out more about this terrific challenge: https://www.amandajharrison.com/
These are the headlines I picked up from my search:
To celebrate and promote women in aviation and engineering Amanda Harrison will be flying her 1942 Tiger Moth (DH82a) from the UK to Darwin in Australia. Her plan is to do this starting 11th May this year.
- 9,260 nautical Miles
- 30 days
- 23 countries
- 33 take offs and landings
I then wrote to Captain Harrison via a contact box and 10 minutes later received a reply. She was flying over Mannheim, Germany. Ground control told me she would be delighted to visit BPS and in fact lives in Bromley! As I write this (May 22nd), Amanda has just landed in Rhodes.
Someone else, moulded from the same lump of clay, is Charlie Walker who has visited BPS on two previous occasions to share his amazing adventures. Setting up a visit for next term is challenging, at present, as he is attempting the first unsupported crossing of Papau New Guinea where electronic connections can’t be found. Nevertheless, we will look forward to hearing how comfortable the BPS sponsored hammock he is using has proved to be during his arduous journey!