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8 March

A Brilliant Barnabas Day, Trip to Pakistan & Challenge Cup 2019

Barnabas Day with Keith Carnegie (H 86-88)

Yesterday we enjoyed welcoming Keith Carnegie (H 86-88) back to King’s as the newest member of our Barnabas Group. Our Barnabas speakers are inspirational and motivational OVs who have enjoyed successful careers across a variety of professions. Keith is CEO of the Partnerships Divisions at Bovis Homes, and he had a huge amount of personal and professional experience to share with us.

Keith began the day with a really inspiring address in College Hall where he spoke about his life growing up in Rhodesia, now Zimbawbe, before moving to King’s. He spoke incredibly eloquently of his early experiences there, and the prevalence of politics and racism in the culture. He touched upon the importance of acceptance, self-awareness and humility, and used his own experiences, both personal and in his career to highlight these. He talked especially about his experience of coming out as homosexual and the irony of having been brought up in an essentially homophobic culture. You can listen to Keith's address here.

Keith visited both King’s Hawford and King’s St Alban’s where he talked about the housebuilding industry and took a host of questions. During morning coffee, Keith met with the Headmaster and the Head of School, Sam Martyn-Smith, where he was presented with his Barnabas shield and signed the Barnabas book.

Keith also visited an U6 Business Studies lesson where he talked in great detail about his role and the various wonderful opportunities that exist within the housebuilding profession. He answered lots of questions from the group, particularly talking about the challenges of economic climate, the importance of partnerships and the role of affordable housing, sustainability, Brexit, and also the need to understand and meet customer expectations. Keith was also able to offer some very sound advice, including his own approach to stress, managing teams and the importance of enjoying your work. We are tremendously grateful to Keith for being so generous with his time, and for the wealth of inspiration, experience and advice he was able to pass on.

 

Challenge Cup 2019

The cold and rain last night didn’t put a dampener on anyone’s competitive spirit as King’s played RGS is the annual Challenge Cup Football match at Sixways Stadium. The crowd were in fine voice, and our boys played incredibly well, as did RGS who scored first and took the lead. As the second half started, we were still one down but with everything  to play for.

A stunning goal from a flash of blue saw King’s equalise and the stands erupted with celebration. The game ended a draw and both sides should be congratulated on a match well played. It was a pleasure to see OVs out supporting the team, and Liz and Sophie were delighted to catch up with a few people at the bar during half time.  

A trip to Pakistan with OV Mayor of Worcester

As promised in last week’s OV news here is the report from OV and Mayor of Worcester, Jabba Riaz (Br 91-96) about his visit to Pakistan…

“Like it or not, we live in interesting times. They are times of danger and uncertainty; but they are also the most creative of any time in the history of mankind. My visit to Pakistan certainly proved to be just that, when my itinerary was disrupted by the escalation of tensions between two nuclear neighbours led to military operations. The purpose of the visit was ultimately to meet with the Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan who as many may know was an ex Grammar School Pupil and Worcestershire County Cricket Club Player. I had messages and letters from Phillip Serrell, from RGS and The County Cricket Club to deliver to the PM as well as well wishes from the City. Unfortunately, due to the threat of war I was not able to meet him but delivered the letters to the British High Commission in Islamabad.

The Tour started off with a visit to see the Mayor of the Gujranwala Sheikh Sarwat Ikram, Gujranwala is the city of my birth and one known for its culinary delights as well as the city of Pahelwans! Or Strongmen/Wrestlers, a grand traditional welcome awaited me at a conference venue, where I addressed the City Council, members of the Chamber of Commerce and answered questions on best practice. I left having been awarded the Mace of Wrestlers and a traditional Punjabi head dress known as a Kula!

Of then to Lahore to meet the Mayor of Lahore retCol Mubasher Javed at the iconic City Hall building on the Mall Road a beautiful legacy of the British colonial era. We talked about improving relations and ties of friendship between our cities and exploring any opportunities that may arise out of a possible pro Brexit Result.

Next stop was just further up the Mall road to the Governor’s residence a building of truly regal magnificence and stately proportions. The architecture and history preserved immaculately.   The meeting with Governor the Rt Honourable Muhammad Sarwar was short, but we managed to find common ground and discuss an exciting joint art project a World First which I shall reveal shortly once fully worked up.

A visit to the Capital Islamabad then followed to officially see two ministers in the Cabinet and hopefully to see the PM, but as events transpired these meetings were cut short or cancelled. I only managed to get to see the Minister for Kashmir Mr Amin Gandapur which really was a bonus, we discussed issues around overseas Kashmiri Population of which there is a small community here in Worcester. Naturally the conversation lead, to the crisis in Kashmir and the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri population an issue that is a thorn in the side of the world’s conscience and one that needs to be addressed if we are truly interested in peace in the region.

A short ride along Zero Point in Islamabad led to a visit to the Islamabad Press Club and a tribute to Martyred Journalists around the World. Pakistan’s press is remarkably free and liberal and not at the mercy of state control or political influence. Hence the threat and fear of violence is very real, and many have died delivering the truth. I payed my respects and delivered a short key note speech on press freedom, fake news, neutrality and ethics, I hope the Worcester News takes note!

A 4-hour drive to Mirpur Azad Kashmir was the highlight of the trip, the beautiful scenery, winding roads, lakes and mountains are all visons of a paradise on earth and Kashmir did not disappoint. During the drive I get a call from a friend who also lives in Worcester who happens to be visiting his Mum in Kashmir, his village Nakyal is 5km from the line of control, he speaks in a worried voice, stating that there had been firing and shelling overnight and that they had to evacuate the children and women in the village to safer ground.  The reality of the situation begins to sink in and a sense of a little fear begins to lodge itself in the back of my brain, over the air waves the government announce that the air space is to close due to imminent threat of war. I calm my nerves by thinking about my family back home and I reassure myself that the PM Imran Khan is a capable and diplomatic leader who does not want war, no one can afford a war, especially a nuclear war.

As we arrive in Mirpur the Gateway to Kashmir, I notice an extremely large bill board in the distance with a vaguely familiar figure on it. As we get closer to my surprise the Mirpur Municipal Corporation had commissioned a massive billboard with my picture on it to welcome me to the city! I was naturally gobsmacked!  If there was one thing I had learnt about Pakistani culture then it was they don’t do things by half, they certainly lived up to that reputation. A meeting with the CEO and Cabinet of the Corporation in the City Hall lead to some interesting learning points around recycling and waste management. The city is about the size of Worcester and has a population of around 150,000.

Arriving back in my home village, I meet with local Christians and admire the natives populations effort in helping the Christian community with the building of a church tower. I remember a few years back my father had secured a church bell for the community so that they could enjoy the ringing.

A visit to holy shrines of Sufi saints, brought home the reality that Sufism and faith play a large part in people’s lives here, to give people hope and peace of mind.

With intense poverty and homelessness in large parts of the country, land prices doubling every 3-5 years, the vast contrast between the poor and rich is self-evident. With average wages of a labourer is pitiful; their faith in God is what sees them through their daily existence.

I always say that, despite the chaotic driving, state of its infrastructure and poverty, Pakistan is a country of miracles and great natural resource and beauty. Its people are passionate, innovative and entrepreneurial, they always find a way.

With massive Chinese investment in the country and the emerging mega port of Gwadar it is a country to invest in and look to as an upcoming economy. The tourism capabilities especially Kashmir are untapped especially for mountaineers and skiers alike, the rich, fertile lands of the Punjab and the steel industry provide ample opportunity for willing investors.

I receive news that my flight is cancelled, due to the air space closure I am on the phone know trying to secure an emergency ticket as I need to be back for a very crucial event, the Annual Pancake race at the Cathedral Cloisters, I am running against the High Sherriff- a race I do not want to lose!

I secure an emergency ticket at considerable expense and endure a seven hour drive, through thick fog, plummeting temperatures, motorway closures, diversions, police checks, 1,000’s of pot holes and a broken windscreen wiper, a failure of the heater in the car, I arrive at the airport, only to find that ticketing agent & airline had made an error and that I am booked on the next flight 8 hours later.

I pray silently and remain positive, I find many others in the same position. After final calls are made my prayers are answered as I get a call out stating that there had been a few no shows, I board the plane, I think to myself a miracle, they always find a way to help people, by hook or by crook.”

We were delighted that Jabba did indeed make it back in time for the Pancake Race with King's choristers through the cloisters at Worcester Cathedral which resulted in a very close draw! Well done all!