Rugby legend, Neil Back, came to Holme Grange School in Wokingham to speak to pupils, parents and staff about the drive, the sacrifices and the elation of achieving enormous sporting success. The former Leicester Tiger, England International, British & Irish Lion and member of the victorious Rugby World Cup winning side in 2003 touched on lessons that transcend sport and shared his mantra for work and life “to never fail through lack of effort”. He described the effort it took to break into the England 1st XV and his determination to get to the top of the game having been spurred on by classmates who derided his ambition. He also spoke about the importance of mutual respect for all your “teammates” be that on or off the pitch and in all aspects of life. Neil answered questions from the audience and stayed to chat to students and parents afterwards.
The event was also an occasion for Holme Grange to celebrate the array of sporting success of its pupils and alumni. Rugby playing alumni include recent leaver Timi Bakare who now plays for Reading RFC, Berkshire Rugby and in the London Irish Academy and Jake Shortland who is part of the England U18 squad. Amelia Tanner plays for Maidenhead Hockey 1st Team and has been selected for the U17 Performance centre for England hockey pathway. Lia Green now plays football for Bridgewater United Academy U21 squad and rugby for Somerset County U18 team. She has also been selected in the Phase 2 testing for potential Olympic athletes. Harrison Scott plays hockey in the England U18 squad and for Reading Men’s 1st Team and Chloe Phillips is part of the U19 South Regional Squad for Woodley Netball Club.
Current students highlighted for their achievements were Monty (Year 11) who plays hockey in the England U16 squad and Reading Hockey Club’s 1st Team, Madison (Year 11) who is part of the U16 England Hockey Performance Centre and plays for Reading Ladies’ 1a team and finally Elle (Year 8) who is a member of the GB tumbling coaching squad who trains at Lilleshall. Add to that a plethora of students who participate in sports at County level and above in swimming, athletics, rugby, hockey and football. Holme Grange’s Heads of Sport, Mr Charlie Gingell and Miss Becks Fuller, along with the rest of the P.E. staff, are justifiably proud of the School’s successes and suspect that we will know some as household names in the future.