Shrewsbury School

School House knights return to inspire the next generation of spies and doctors

Thursday 22 January 2015

No fewer than four old boys of School House from the 1940s went on to receive Knighthoods; we were lucky enough to welcome two of them back within a day of each other in January.

On Tuesday 13th January Sir Colin McColl KCMG (SH 1946-50) gave the inaugural Thomas Pryce VC Memorial Lecture. He was awarded his Knighthood following his time as Head of MI6 (1989 – 1994). Entitled “Secret Intelligence in a Changing World”, Sir Colin described his recruitment to MI6 and gave a brief glimpse of some aspects of his fascinating career and the world of Secret Intelligence. After his lecture, he stayed the night in School House for the first time in more than 60 years!

The following morning Brook Plumptre (UVI), Brendan Parsons (UVI) and Nifemi Okusanya (V) had the privilege of spending the morning with Sir Colin as they showed him round the School and School House. They learned a great deal from the man who led MI6 at a critical time when the Iron Curtain was lifted, the Berlin Wall came down and the Cold War came to an end. They also found out that Sir Colin was known as “C” when he was in office, rather than “M” as James Bond would have us believe!

Before Sir Colin returned home, the boys presented him with his School House Scarf, the highest House award, as a token of their gratitude and in recognition of the fact that it really was quite cold outside!

The next day, we welcomed back Professor Sir Eldryd Parry, KCMG OBE (SH 1944-48). On this occasion he was at school in his capacity as President of the Salopian Club. However, last term he delivered a captivating lecture to the Medical Society on "Frontline Medicine in Africa". Our prospective medical students were greatly inspired by Sir Eldryd’s experiences managing and helping to improve medicine in Africa. He founded the Tropical Health and Education Trust, THET, which helps African medical schools and hospitals to improve staff skill levels. He received the OBE in 1982 and was appointed KCMG in 2011 for services to healthcare development in Africa.

Three Sixth Form prospective medics from School House met with Sir Eldryd to present him with his scarf (see photo below). The following week they were delighted to receive copies of key medical research papers in the post, which he had kindly forwarded in order to help them prepare for their forthcoming medical school interviews.

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