The Walhampton News
Walhampton is a busy pre-prep and prep school within Hampshire. Our news archive features all of our current and old news, announcements and celebrations dating back to 2013.
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Running away to the circus
By Titus Mills
Every Monday morning, I give our Prep pupils a short chapel talk that I hope inspires them and nurtures character. I champion qualities and life skills that I think will take our children far in life.
Today we celebrated the courageous and creative spirit of a remarkable woman – Nell Gifford - who recently passed away, at the age of just 46. Nell had many talents. At eighteen, she postponed her place at Oxford University and travelled to New York to pursue her dream of working in a circus. Lured by the warmth and technicolour of the community under the ‘big top’, Nell later set up her own small travelling circus. From 2000, and over the subsequent two decades, Gifford’s Circus performed in the south west of England charming many families, including my own. Nell Gifford, the ring-mistress, was often seen in a long white dress astride a magnificent grey stallion. She was a force of nature.
This morning in chapel I challenged the children to remain true to their dreams throughout their lives. We talked about the idea of ‘running away to join the circus’. Maybe, there are seasons in all our lives, young or old alike, when we need to chase after our dreams with courage and spontaneity. Maybe we all need to take Nell Gifford’s lead, boldly running towards the ‘circus’; whatever or wherever that may be for each of us.