On Wednesday 23 October, we welcomed back a familiar face to help open an incredibly exciting chapter in the school’s life. Sir Ben Ainslie: Olympic champion, global sporting icon, and once pupil of Truro School, officially opened our new Sports Centre.
Arriving on a chilly sunny morning, Sir Ben – or Ben, to his friends – was first hosted in the Burrell Theatre by the school’s sporting elite. Rugby captain Locryn Williams, leading Fencer William Deary and fellow sailor and Head Girl Anna Whitford, among many others, asked him questions of the sport that has become synonymous with his name.
“Sailing brings with it a sense of freedom that you just can’t experience any other way,” he said. “I urge you all to try it, at least once.”
After an autograph session, Ben was led to his namesake sports facility. Visibly moved by the experience, he spoke to an audience of pupils, teachers and local press, of his inspirations, his aspirations and his memories of Truro School:
“I probably shouldn’t say, but I remember daydreaming during my Physics lessons of being an Olympian one day.”
Speaking of coping with the ups and downs of sport, particularly following the death of his dear friend and sailing colleague Andrew Simpson this year, Ben paid homage to the support he’s received throughout his career:
“You just have to believe that things will get better. With a network of teachers, friends and family, you can overcome anything.”
Headmaster Andrew Gordon-Brown called it a ‘wonderful occasion,’ and a fitting way to end an excellent half term:
“Sir Ben is an inspirational person and gave such a powerful message to our pupils about daring to dream and the level of planning and commitment needed to get there. I am very grateful to Ben for supporting Truro School in this way and for his kind words about all we are trying to achieve.”
After sharing his love for History as a subject and picking his old DT teacher, Mr Tall, out of the crowd, Sir Ben touched upon the building itself:
“You have a fantastic opportunity here to excel and succeed in any way you want,” he said, before he unveiled the Sir Ben Ainslie Sports Centre’s plaque. “This school is even better than I remember. It is an absolute privilege to have returned.”
Head over to our Facebook page to see pictures from the ceremony.