Shrewsbury School

Sixth Form Chapel Interview - Will Heyes

Thursday 6 June 2013

"This school has taught me to not let fear stop me from doing things." Will Heyes (CH) reflects on five action-packed years, in the last of this term's Chapel Interviews with Sixth Form Leavers.

Can you tell us a little about your background?
Will HeyesI am a Heyes... A Heyes is a quiet timid creature, which enjoys the quiet surroundings of the country, never leaves home and generally doesn't get out much. The Hayes (with an A) were farmers in Ireland; they were the ones who stacked the hay onto the carts. But I am a Heyes... with an E...  A Heyes (with an E) is a sub set of Hayes' (with an A) categorised by 'Agris Dyslexis-Indie-Yah' which came from one day when one of the Hayes' (with and A) deciding one day to be a little indie and misspelling it with an E and hence the Heyes (with Es) were formed. Compared to my friends – who are descended from Knights and Kings and wealthy families who have canes and signet rings – It seems pretty dull and boring... but I pride myself in being descended by these indie dyslexic Irish farmers...

Erm... Thank you Will, how about telling us about YOUR personal background?
I was born in the cheery town of Basingstoke, which is, I have to be honest, I don't know where. My family hastily moved away. I was raised in a little village called Kinnerley, where I was placed in the local primary school. After this I was sent to start my prep school days at the late Kingsland Grange School, now Shrewsbury High Preparatory School..... and then to here. I now live on a small quiet hill near Welshpool about nine hours’ walk from here. My mum works in insurance (which I'm not remotely interested in) and my dad works in IT (which I just don't get at all). I am the baby of the family, having a brother - who is a captain in the Royal Fusiliers, married, with two young children and expecting another - and two older sisters - one living in Kent with her French partner, working in 'Anglo- French customer service management' (and I have no idea what that means) and the other learning Psychology at university (which is so beyond me, I can't even spell it).

Why did you choose Shrewsbury School?
I asked my dad this question and he said; "It seemed a good idea at the time" - in the end he's the one paying for it all... But my parents and I always planned to come and we reserved my place in Churchill's two years before I left KG.

Can you remember what your first impressions of the School and House were?
It was the classic post prep school scenario; being in your prime at the top of the food chain at your previous school, and then you get dropped into a big pond...  a really big pond... the pond of secondary education... the RSSPOND... Before I left KG there was only 94 boys in it; I was left to swim in this new pond of about 700 students, and I've never been the best swimmer, having failed my Boat Club swimming test in Third Form, because of my lack of ability to dive down, due to my... buoyancy-ness. My world and the worlds of all my new friends had grown considerably. Our Sixth Form were the biggest people I had ever met.... ever. If you ever saw the size and physique of the 1st rugby captain of 2008, you'll know what I mean.  

Have your opinions of the School changed now you are old and wise?
Will Heyes in Malawi, summer 2012Nope, everyone is still really big and I'm still small. Physically I have only grown a few inches and in fact 'undergrown' the Third Form clothes my parents bought me, promising 'you'll one day grow into them'... all lies... I am very stubborn so my opinions don't change much. But what has really changed is me. When I came to Shrewsbury I was very much the Heyes I defined at the beginning: quiet, timid, scared and didn't get out much. This school has changed me. Although I am still a little quiet around people, and still afraid of a few things. This school has taught me to not let fear stop me from doing things. And with this new-found 'philosophy' (if you'd like to call it that) I have done many things that any regular Heyes would not even consider doing; from simply playing the game Slender way too late at night to performing songs on stage with the Big Band, or from helping out gardening in the orphanage in Malawi, to trekking over the vast mountains in the freezing winds in Norway. This school has given me so many opportunities to show my colours and drive myself to my own limits. And for that I am forever grateful.

What has proved most important that you have gained from your time here?
Whatever I have been doing, I have never been alone. I have always been with my friends. And wherever I have gone without friends, I have had friends come out of it with me. My friends have always been there laughing at my reaction when the Slender man does suddenly appear round the corner. My friends have always been next to me as we 'stick it to the man' and 'bring the rock' in the pop concerts. My friends have always been there when I 'dossed' my own face in when you finally chew the bark off the sugar cane while being laughed at by the kids who are hanging off your wrists in Africa. My friends have always been there to sing the hymns while ascending up the mountain in the icy blizzards. I feel you can never have a great friend till you've fought next to them while paintballing, or fought with them as they try to force you own tie up your nose. You've never had great friends until you produce a cracking play from scratch or successfully fail at trying to make a tractor tyre in to a workable raft. I believe that a Salopian makes the greatest friend. A Salopian and be quirky and funny; they can be a prat and show compassion at the same time; they can be weird but also be the wisest people you will ever know. Shrewsbury School has given me my friends, whom I will never forget.

Will Heyes, RM Pringle Trophy 2012

Will (centre) with fellow Royal Marines

If you could name the highest point of your life here, what would it be?
'The Heroes of Telemark' expedition to Norway, 'Noises Off' Churchill's house play 2012, DofE Silver in the Cotswolds, Fifth Form 2011, 'La Injusticia' the A2 Theatre Studies play that we produced this year, the RM Pringle Competition 2010, 2011 and 2012, 'The Sounds of Summer Concert' 2012 and hopefully this year as well. 'Black Comedy' Churchill's House play 2013, Easter Cadet Leadership Course, Fifth Form 2011, Medic Malawi  trip to Africa 2012, House Singing 2010, 2011 and 2012, my coach weekend Yomp from here to home L6th 2011, 11 years being in the Chapel Choir, running around the Longmynd in the night on the CCF escape and evasion exercises 2010, 2011 and 2012. Losing my voice in a day at the Crogen Cadet challenge doing the gun run, performing in the band The Egg Men at the pop concert 2011, The Arsonists Senior School Play 2012... To be honest, I can't really answer that question.

The Arsonists

The Arsonists, Senior School Play 2012

And your lowest point?
All of the above! I’m pretty sure for every single event I have always been terrified, but the trick is not to think about that and just go with the flow.

What of your future?
If God knew, I'd like it if he could tell me. I have no solid plans for the future. I plan to apply to university to study drama or music performance, or something completely different like biology or environmental science. I would like to make it as a film actor or radio presenter. I would like to be in the jungle or desert as documentary cameraman. I would like to be in a world class big band or rock group. I would like to join the army and train to join the parachute regiment. But to do all this I will need to live for a very long time. But whatever I do or get a degree in, my career plan ends here. After I have had enough of world, I will return to Shrewsbury School to teach, be a housemaster or even headmaster. That would be nice. I want to eventually be involved with creating the Salopians that are being created today. I believe that Salopians that come out of this school are far better than anyone churned out by any other school.

What advice would you like to give to them?
[Juniors] The boys around you are the guys you're going to know for the rest of your life. They are the friends who will haul you out of the snow hole before it collapses from the inside, they are the people who will turn to you when they mess up. Be good to them and they will be good to you. Your Salopian friends will stand out much more than anyone you will meet anywhere else.

[Seniors] I'm not going to give you advice because in the end I am not a wise grey wizard or anything. But consider this, whether you are leaving this year or next. Especially to those of us who have been here since September 2008. I hope you have made strong bonds with those you've your dorms with. Don't let that all go to waste, enjoy your last year in school with your friends, enjoy your last days of lessons with your classmates, enjoy the last half of term with your house and stay in contact with them. That's what I hope to do.

Below: Will (on bass guitar) with the School's Big Band, Easter 2013

Will Heyes and the Big Band, Easter 2013

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