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Imogen Williams


I started at Skippers when I was about 3 or 4 years old.  I can't remember precisely, but it was definitely the start of my journey in full time education.

My first impressions of the School were of being excited at having so many other children to be with and so much to do. I remember it had a very warm feeling as a school and each time I go back I always chuckle at the fact the child within me always remembers it being so much bigger than it seems to be when I see it with my 'adult eyes'!

My time at Skippers prepared me by giving me choices which has helped evolve my decision making skills. It gave me many friends and developed my socialising skills as well as my realisation of how much I enjoy hearing other people's life stories.  Skippers sparked my passion for sport which has become part of every hour, of every day of my life!

After Skippers I went to Marlborough College, a boarding school in Wiltshire, which was exciting but also terrifying! The transition was interesting since I had been a year ahead of my age group at Skippers and, on the guidance of those around me, repeated my final year at Skippers to ensure I was one of the older students at Marlborough as opposed to the youngest.  It was certainly big fish, little pond moving to be a little fish in an ocean!  Looking back on it now, I am eternally grateful for the skills that my time at Skippers has given me and have only really started to appreciate its impact.

I now work as the Sport Development Manager at The University of Manchester, where I oversee a great team who grow and develop our programme of sporting opportunities for students at the University. Our programmes range from providing opportunities for students to play a social game of badminton right through to those studying a degree in a competitive academic field who need a support network to enable them to balance their studies alongside aspirations of representing their country and potentially being the next Olympic/Paralympic Champions in their sport. I recently featured in the October edition of The Leisure Review.  Outside of work I also volunteer, running a very successful netball club with some amazing ladies.

I am currently planning my wedding to a very special man (I am very lucky!), and my Chief Bridesmaid and closest friend, Josie Dade*, also happens to be a Skippers Alumni.  Josie was actually my biggest rival on the athletics track and I seem to recall she was in most sports, but despite our competitive natures, Josie and I have been best friends since I left Skippers.

I have lots to thank Skippers for.  It provided me with so many opportunities to learn and try many different experiences, but I think I am most grateful for the lifelong friendships it has given me. Anyone who goes there is extremely lucky and will have the foundations to help them have the tools to make their life whatever they dream it to be.

I have so many fond memories from Skippers, most of which are sport related.  The top ones would be:

- The Wadhurst rallies and netball moments we had as a team with Mrs Barkworth.  I loved the tournaments we used to travel to despite the cold, hard netball courts and typical British weather.  There was something rather special about our team and experiencing it all together.

-Getting through the early morning training sessions with Mr Breakwell encouraging me to be as successful as I could be, representing Skippers in the Shot Put at the National Schools Athletics, and cracking at the worst point imaginable for a 12 year old.  I was at the event, throwing my best ever distance (and speculation says the winning distance) and in all my excitement stepping out of the front of the circle to see the joy on Mr. Breakwell’s face drop to sadness and frustration in a split second. I think it has taken me until now to get over it!

- My primary school 'sweetheart'

- School breaks and the games and great socialising that always used to happen on 'top quad'

- Speech and Drama and the competitions we had access to

- Sports Day- I always loved that day

- Getting told off for running in the corridor

- Mr. Burfield (4B, I think, was my favourite class) and many other inspiring teachers

- 'Matron' and her delicious cookies!

- The cheesy annual school picture..in fact all 8 years worth are still displayed in our living room!

- The school ski trip ......Oh I could go on......

* Skippers recently supported Josie in her sponsored bike ride from London to Gibraltar, raising money for the Yellow Fish Hutchins Foundation. Read more here.

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