This week James McGladdery OM03-10 visited the 1st and 2nd form students to talk about Meningitis Research Foundation
He is running in The Original Marathon – the Athens Marathon in support of the Meningitis Research Foundation – Please help support James by donating at
“During a week’s break from my PhD research at Loughborough University, I decided to capitalise on the time back in my hometown of Monmouth by paying a visit to where my academic career truly began back in 2006 – Monmouth School. The purpose of my visit was to talk to the 1st and 2nd form students about helping me fundraise for my 2017 challenge of running the Athens marathon for the Meningitis Research Foundation.
Unexpected feelings of nostalgia had already begun, simply walking the familiar route from home to school. Through the crested, black iron gates I went, autopilot taking me past the new William Jones building, when it dawned on me that reception must have changed place since my last time on those well-known grounds! As I was taken to the classroom in WyeDean house (or to those of you who remember, Madame Walker’s old classroom), I passed the “Lunchtime Activities Board”. It was almost breath-taking to see it still laden with photographs from my years’ time!
With not much of a plan in mind, I introduced myself to the boys wondering what I would have thought if some random was stood in front of me on a Tuesday morning. I imagined they’d be pretty unenthusiastic, just wanting to get to lessons 1 and 2 over with before returning to play at first break… How wrong I was.
Immediately the boys in the front row feverishly read over the small posters I had laid out on the tables. In between me introducing the marathon and describing the fantastic aims of the Meningitis Research Foundation, the boys asked a stream questions. What was truly heart-warming was that their questions weren’t just about how fast I could run, or how many times a week I train, but rather took the theme of “what is meningitis?” and “how can we help?”. I never realised how mature the younger boys of the school are until returning these years later.
So, what have we planned? Over the coming months the boys of forms 1 and 2 will hopefully be holding another highly successful bake sale. There are ideas in the pipeline for other fundraising sporting activities; such as rugby and football matches, sponsored runs and team erg (rowing machine) marathons. A fantastic and enterprising “stretch a pound” idea came from the boys where the they invest a pound, buying something like some soap and a sponge, and wash cars, with all of the profits going to the charity.
It was incredible that in just one brief morning back in school I was still able to learn. Monmouth School really does provide an education that goes beyond the classroom. The positivity and enthusiasm about my efforts to raise money for a worthwhile cause were echoed in seconds proving what kind of men are brought up here.