After a gap of nearly ten years, we were delighted that the traditional Winchester ceremony of Ad Portas took place last week. The occasion was a fitting celebration to mark the beginning of a new school year and a return, we hope, to normality.
Ad Portas is a formal welcome by Winchester College to distinguished visitors. Since 1873, when the current ceremony was first performed, we have welcomed 121 Honorands – royalty, bishops and eminent Old Wykehamists. It is the highest honour that the school can bestow. Last Thursday, 9 September 2021, the College assembled to receive Ad Portas General Sir Nick Carter, an Old Wykehamist and Chief of the Defence Staff, the head of British Armed Forces.
The whole school formed up in Chamber Court with the Aulae Prae (Senior Scholar) standing alone at its centre. As the sound of Chapel clock striking midday faded away, the Aulae Prae greeted General Sir Nick with a speech in Latin and English.
The General’s inspiring reply reflected on his own education at Winchester, his life in service and the qualities of leadership. Of his time at Winchester, he said:
“When I look back now, I realise how fortunate I was to receive the education that I was given at Winchester. It is inspiring to be encouraged to pursue your own interests rather than being taught by rote. It develops an intellectual curiosity that encourages lifelong learning, and it obliges you to have the humility to listen to others."
The General also spoke of the importance of public service:
“I would encourage you not to dismiss public service. It is not as fashionable as the private sector, but for me the clue is in the word ‘service’.”
On Leadership he concluded with this summary:
“There are many other qualities that make a good leader. But these are the four I would wish to commend to you that have served me well – courage, integrity, judgement, and knowledge. And these are all qualities that Winchester espouses.”
Following the ceremony in Chamber Court, General Sir Nick and the Head of the CCF laid wreaths in War Cloister in remembrance of Wykehamists who fell in both World Wars.
7th May 2021
In this year's Wykeham Journal, Professor Paul Elkington MBE (Old Wykehamist) highlights how his work on researching and treating patients with tuberculosis led to the creation of an entirely new type of respirator hood, which is now standard issue at Southampton Hospital and 16 other NHS trusts. Instead of patenting their design, Paul's team put it out on the internet for anyone to copy.
14th September 2021
Inspired by the College’s Vision for the 21st Century which announced a greater prioritisation of entrepreneurship and innovation, we are delighted to announce the launch of Makyth Ventures.
17th May 2021
In this year's Wykeham Journal, Oliver Goodall (recent Old Wykehamist) reflects on how a chance conversation and subsequent bursary gave him the opportunity he'd been looking for.
27th April 2021
In this year's Wykeham Journal, former alumni, General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff discusses how a Winchester education provided him with the ability to think outside the box - a skill tested throughout his career.
14th June 2020
Archivist Suzanne Foster looks back at how the tradition of Winchester Match developed into the event we know today and shares how it looked in past years.
10th June 2020
Whilst the important commemorations of major moments in the Second World War have dominated our collective consciousness in recent months, there are important episodes in British history from that critical period that are less known but where Old Wykehamists played significant roles. History teacher, James Webster, delves into the details.