I was surprised last week to receive an email from the Headmaster of my old School – Lancaster Royal Grammar School (as I don’t have kids or grandkids there I wasn’t as instinctively worried as I once might have been!!!).  I decided to send it to my kids, along with a personal letter to them.  I’m sharing the two letters here, starting with my letter to Nikki, Ben, Bex, Dan and Vanessa.

Lancaster Royal Grammar School was founded 800 years ago – in 1235 and is one of the 30 oldest schools in the UK.  With over 1,000 students annually, quite a few boys (and now finally some 6th Form girls) have passed through that ‘old School on the hill’.

Despite being expelled at the age of 17 – to marry my first love Barbara, I have held the School in my heart.  Many of my lifetime friends went there and two of my long-standing mentors – who subsequently became friends – taught there.

It was at LRGS where I was inspired by ‘Praesis ut Prosis’ – ‘Lead that you might serve’, a motto that I have tried to follow ever since I first wore it on my School blazer over 60 years ago.

About 20 years ago I was asked to give the Graduation address on Speech Day and a couple of years later I was honoured by the School by being selected for their Achievement Honours Board.  I was also honoured to serve on the School’s Board of Governors for a decade.  I was fortunate enough to have helped develop the brilliant, innovative InspirUS programme designed to help working class local kids – and their parents – believe that they could make it into LRGS (if they were hungry enough!) and put them onto an accelerated pathway to find and stimulate being the best they could be.

So LRGS has played an important part of my life – and still does.

Imagine my delight when I received an email last week (a copy of which is attached) from Headmaster Chris Pyle.  I quote:  “The current crop of Upper Sixth students selected me as one of 19 ‘exceptional Old Lancastrians’ who represented the breadth and variety of leadership achievements of the School’s former pupils”.


The 19 of us will be honoured by appearing on a 20 step staircase (the top step is left blank and is reserved for every current/future student to aim for) in the School’s New Building.

(The School will be delighted to show the Honours Board and Staircase to you, or your children who may be interested over the coming years.)

The list includes (amongst others):

  • A priest/confessor to Lady Margaret Beaufort – he was also the messenger between her and her son King Henry VII (1482 – 1522).
  • A Conservative Party Chairman and top Cabinet Minister to Mrs Thatcher.
  • A Master of Trinity College and inventor of the word Scientist.
  • Two Olympic Gold Medallists – cycling and rowing.
  • A Nobel Laureate.
  • A BBC Controller.
  • A War Hero.
  • And my good mate, and fellow founding member of the Black Sheep Club – International Rugby Coach Brian Ashton.

What can I say?

Thank you LRGS.

Thank you Upper VI Students.

Praesis Ut Prosis.


Dear Kevin

I am writing to let you know some exciting school news, which I hope will come as a welcome surprise! 

You have been selected, by a group of Upper Sixth students, as one of nineteen exceptional Old Lancastrians.  We have taken your name and created a piece of artwork to enhance the staircase in the New Building. 

Our aim as a school is to create the leaders of tomorrow who will make a positive difference locally, nationally and globally.  As part of that, we want to showcase the remarkable breadth and variety of achievement of our former pupils. 

We do this in a number of ways already – but the staircase display is a new and particularly eye-catching part of this.  

These are the nineteen former pupils chosen by current students studying A-level Politics.  They span achievement in politics, science, business, sport, law and the arts – and much more besides. 

Christopher Urswick

Sir Richard Owen

William Whewell

Edward Frankland 

Lord Cecil Parkinson

Lord Ashton

Herbert Storey

Frederick Crossfield Happold

Jon Richardson

Joe Abercrombie

André Dallas

His Honour Judge Robert Altham

Bob Shennan

Sean Gilder

Brian Ashton MBE

Jason Queally MBE

Scott Durant MBE

Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe FRS, Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine 2019

Kevin Roberts CNZM

By celebrating your success, we hope that the Old Lancastrian staircase will inspire future LRGS students and visitors for years to come.

We would love to show you in person and invite you back into school to come and see your step at a suitable time.  Please get in touch with the Development Officer if this is something that you would like to do.

I attach a photograph of the Upper Sixth students involved in the selection process and a sneak preview of the stairs.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Chris Pyle


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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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