Celebrating all our achievements
England’s triumph in the Cricket World Cup final was amongst the most thrilling sporting occasions ever witnessed! A sporting script so extraordinary that even the most talented dramatist would have struggled to craft it.
At so many moments the game seemed lost for England, as a relentless stream of twists and turns delivered a succession of heart racing moments, culminating in the final super over - with a nail-biting run out - ensuring England won the game by the slimmest margin imaginable.
Sport is both an engine and emblem of national pride – a circus in which everyone has a ringside seat, in it together from the first to the last run, ball, try or whistle. Many are inspired by the honour of representing their nation, driven by the desire to be Britain’s best. Likewise, individuals, irrespective of background, are bound together in victory and defeat. Sport echoes life as exultation is amplified when shared and fraternity provides solace in times of disappointment.
How refreshing as well to see the sportsmanship of each and every New Zealand player, who remained humble and generous. In a moment of such great emotion, graciousness prevailed. Surely, once again, a lesson for life more generally.
Achievement need not be seen on a stage as grand as Lord’s pavilion for it to have meaning and value. At this month’s Education Awards in Spalding, I was inspired by the outstanding dedication of our local teachers and the enduring hard work of so many students, as pre-schools, primary and secondary schools from across South Holland, Bourne, the Deepings, Kirton and Swineshead, came together to celebrate success. As illustrated wonderfully on the night, brilliance goes beyond traditional academic study, with music, art, practical learning and sport all playing a vital role in the best educational experience and celebrated thanks to generous sponsors and to this newspaper. Thank you.
Yet, whether it be in the world of sport or that of study, success that ends with awards begins weeks, months or years earlier with the teaching, coaching and learning which are its foundations. As I recently received my Honorary Doctorate for what the University described as ‘my outstanding contribution to education’, I reflected that what was really outstanding wasn’t me, but the encouragement and care, enthusiasm and commitment of my late mother and father, my family, teachers, colleagues and all those who have worked for me. Not least, I am ever grateful to my constituents whose continuing support enables me to champion practical learning and apprenticeships alongside many other causes and campaigns.
It is hugely encouraging to consider the diversity of talent we have here in South Holland and the Deepings – all the skills and strengths which make such a difference to our towns and villages, homes and places of work. Society is defined as ‘the aggregate of people living together in an ordered community’. Through shared endeavour and shared success, social order thrives.