Following a two year hiatus, the PE and Sport Department held the annual Sports Dinner on Thursday 31 March. This wonderful event celebrates the outstanding sporting achievements of our students, recognising their commitment, passion and talent for their chosen sports.
We were delighted to be joined by Karen Bennett, an Olympic Silver Medallist and a double Olympian. She won a silver in the women’s four at the 2015 World Championships before establishing herself in the 8+ Olympic-class boat in 2016. Karen Bennett is a reigning European champion and ended her first full season in the British Rowing teams senior ranks in memorable style – by winning a historic silver medal with the women’s eights at the Rio Olympic Games. It was a pleasure for all attendees to listen to Karen’s honest and open reflections about her career and all experiences that have contributed to her success. Karen shared key messages of guidance with our students, which I’m sure were valued implicitly by all those in the audience.
Following a delicious meal – for which, we must thank the catering team for their enormous efforts in putting together – the presentations of certificates, colours and awards commenced. These accolades acknowledge the accomplishments of students in all sports, as well as sports leadership and volunteering. It was fantastic for everyone to celebrate the achievements of these students, who walked to the stage to collect their award from our speaker, Karen. Hear from some of our students about their favourite aspects of the evening:
We both really enjoyed the Sports Dinner evening as it provided us with an opportunity to catch up with people that share sport as a common interest, but who we don’t normally interact with. We really enjoyed listening to the speaker; she was so inspiring. Her experiences prove it is never too late to get involved with a new sport, and her accomplishments show that anything can be achieved with commitment and dedication. It was rewarding to see everyone collect their colours and certificates from the past sporting year and great to see people continuing with their sports, despite the disruption of covid. We both received trophies for our sports, swimming, and gymnastics, which was a particular highlight and honour.
Libby (Winner of the Hardcastle Swimming Trophy) and Lottie (Winner of the Burn Aesthetics Cup) (Lower IV).
Emma and I were lucky enough to attend the Sports Dinner and experience the inspirational speaking of Karen Bennett. It was amazing to hear such an accomplished sportsperson talk about her journey to the Olympics and her life after. It was great to see the variety of sporting achievements being recognised by the school through colours and trophies. We were pleased to receive the John Tovey Cup for achievement in hockey after such a great season with our team and Coach.
Bella and Emma (Winners of the John Tovey Hockey Trophy) (Upper V)
The Sports Dinner was an amazing evening and it was great to hear from such a talented rower, Karen, and learn so much about her life and how she reached such a high level in her sport. It was really inspiring to hear from a young and talented sportsperson and coupled with the huge number of awards won and seeing so many sporting events being recognised made this a wonderful evening. Having representation from so many ages and seeing everyone together after such a long time made my last Sports Dinner very special.
Amy (Sports Captain and Joint Senior School Physical Education Cup Winner) (Upper VI)
I thought that the Sports Dinner was a great evening to celebrate the achievements of many athletes over a wide range of sports. I particularly enjoyed Karen Bennett’s empowering speech and I think that having an Olympic medallist in the hall was proof to everyone that if you try hard enough, then you can achieve anything. I am particularly grateful for being able to listen to her first-hand experience of what it is like to be a top class athlete and I think that she inspired everyone in the room, regardless of their preferred sport.
Carys (Middle School Physical Education Cup Winner) (Lower V)
As well as celebrating success, the evening raised money to support the charity Sport in Mind. Founded in Reading, Sport in Mind is the UK’s leading mental health sports charity, delivering projects in partnership with the NHS. Our traditional ‘Heads and Tails’ game raised funds for this important charity.
Again, our sincerest thanks to all students and parents who attended and a huge congratulations to all those who were awarded certificates, colours or awards.
The PE and Sport Department