IT IS at this time of year that King’s Ely Senior holds its annual Prizegiving event in Ely Cathedral, and this year’s event was as exceptional as ever.

The school was fortunate enough to welcome guest speaker Old Elean, Andrew Brear. After leaving King’s Ely, Andrew graduated from Durham University and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, before serving in the British Army for 12 years. Andrew then joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and served across the world as a diplomat. Today he works academically and commercially in security and strategy, while also developing wildlife conservation projects in Kenya, specifically with the Tsavo Conservation Group (

Andrew commented on his pleasure at being able to return to his school and speak at the service: “As an Old Elean and the parent of two others, I viewed the invitation to speak at Prizegiving with a mixture of pride and trepidation, knowing this was not an easy audience to please!  The work of the Tsavo Conservation Group is a vital contribution to wildlife security and the future of Africa’s elephants in particular and this message appeared well received. The students of King’s School never fail to impress, with their good manners, confidence and maturity and today was no exception.  A highlight was definitely the excellent speeches made by the Head Boy and Girl – a difficult act to follow!”

The Prizegiving event centres on the students’ achievements and outstanding successes in academic subjects, as well as music, art, drama and sport. There are also notable prizes for contribution to school life, improved student, international student, as well as prefect and scholar prizes. This year, for the first time, the ‘Principal’s Prize’, given to a student who has gone above and beyond to help someone else, was given to a student who ministered first aid to an Ely resident who had collapsed outside the supermarket, Tesco in February.

Principal of King’s Ely, Sue Freestone, summarised how special the event was: Our annual Prizegiving is a celebration of all that our students achieve. One has only to look at the range of prizes and the reasons for which they are awarded to see that we celebrate endeavour, courage, commitment and dedication to a wide gamut of disciplines and activities.

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