The View From My Study – 12th January

“Some people revel in taking risks, and some go through life taking no risks at all. I work on the motto that if something’s not impossible, there must be a way to do it.”

These are the words of Sir Nicholas Winton, or Nicky as he was known to his acquaintances and the hundreds of people whose lives he saved. Sir Nicholas is the subject of the film One Life which is currently being shown in cinemas. I have not yet seen it myself but I intend to and have heard only positive things. That’s because the story is extraordinary and a great example of courage, belief and humility.

Just before the outbreak of the 2nd World War, Sir Nicholas ensured that 669 Jewish children in Czechoslovakia, who were at risk of being killed by the Nazis, were given safe passage to live in England. One Life tells the remarkable story of how he did this but it focuses on one particular moment, much later on in 1988, when Sir Nicholas was invited to speak on the popular tv programme That’s Life which was watched live by millions of people.

Sir Nicholas knew he was coming to talk about the 2nd world war but what he didn’t realise until the programme had started was that he was the main subject of the programme and the two women sitting either side of him in the audience were young girls he had saved. Shortly after this realisation, the presenter asked if there was anyone else in the audience who wanted to thank Sir Nicholas and pretty much the whole audience stood up. They had all been children that Sir Nicholas had helped to rescue. It was an electric moment.

Sir Nicholas was a completely humble person who had told very few people about his incredible actions; even his wife did not find out for some years. Seeking to help others without reward is not easily done, certainly not to this extreme, yet it is an example we should all follow and this was my message in chapel this week. In the short term, doing things for others may not always bring the accolades, prizes and glamour of other achievements but those things fade away over time while the memories and gratitude that come from being helped last far longer and are worth much, much more.

It is nice to be a headline-maker every once in a while and we hope all Biltonians can at some stage, but it is so much more important to do the right thing with humility, courage and belief. As we embark on a new adventure through 2024, remember, if it’s not impossible, there must be a way to do it. Happy new year everyone!

HM’s Brekkie makes a welcome return tomorrow – 8.15am in the dining room. All welcome. Happy weekend everyone!

Gareth Jones, Head

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