Single Stories

Last Sunday saw one of my favourite events in the College calendar: the Welling10k Race with Soul, or the Jimmy Higham Fun Run, as it is affectionately known. This was Wellington at its best: 1500 students, staff, parents and members of the local community gathered to take part – some running, some walking their dogs, all enjoying the autumn sunshine.

But behind this event is a story: the story of Jimmy Higham, a young Wellington teacher who lost his battle with cancer in 2010, aged 26. And alongside Jimmy’s story is the story of how the College responded after his death, of how his friends edited a recording, of how a single was released, and how, through sheer Welly spirit, the posthumous single was pushed up the iTunes charts. Does it matter that many of the people who took part on Sunday knew little of Jimmy’s story? Perhaps not, because they were swept along by the community spirit and the courage that he engendered. But I hope that some stopped to ask the question: who was Jimmy Higham? And I hope they felt inspired.

In assembly last week, I spoke about the importance of alternative viewpoints and hidden narratives and explored why it is important to see beyond the headlines. This week, Hayley Canham (L6) will continue the theme. If Hayley had a headline, it might read as follows: Student Releases Second Single. But, as Hayley will explain to the College on Monday, there is another, very different, story.

All proceeds from Sunday’s run will go to support the Jimmy Higham Bursary Fund; all proceeds from the sale of Hayley’s single will go to support the charity CLIC Sargent, helping children with cancer.

Two singles. Two stories.

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