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26 September

OV Racing Legend Derek Bell Returns as Barnabas Speaker

We enjoyed a visit from OV British sports car driving legend Derek Bell MBE (S 56-58) on Thursday 26th September as the newest member of our Barnabas Group. OVs who have excelled in their chosen careers are invited back to join the Barnabas Group, named after St Barnabas, son of encouragement, to share their life experiences and to offer advice and inspiration to the school body.

In 1956 Derek joined The King’s School Worcester where he enjoyed Maths, Physics and playing for the 1st XV rugby team. After leaving school Derek was encouraged to enter racing and he won his first race at Goodwood in 1964 in a Lotus Seven.

Derek’s record on the track is astoundingly impressive. He won Le Mans 24 hours five times, in 1975, 1981, 1982, 1986 and 1987. He also won the Daytona 24 three times, and the World Sportscar Championship twice. Derek has raced for the Ferrari, Wheatcroft, McLaren, Surtees and Tecno teams in the Formula 1.

Derek is now a speaker and sports commentator and he remains much in demand at racing events around the world. In 1986 Derek was awarded an MBE for services to motorsport, in 2012 he was inducted into the Motor Sport Hall of Fame of America and in 2014 he was presented with Honorary Life Membership of the AA in recognition of his 50 years in Motorsports.

Derek experienced a packed day back at King’s, where he had enjoyed his schooldays. At 8.30am the school playground vibrated as Derek entered through the school gates in his 911 ‘Racing Legends’ Derek Bell Porsche (one of just 15). The car continued to garner admiration and attention throughout the day. Derek gave an inspiring address to the School in Worcester Cathedral, speaking of his time at King’s, as well as his professional career highlights and times of challenge, as well as words of advice and encouragement. You can listen to the audio of his address here.

Derek enjoyed visiting King’s pupils in many lessons throughout the day including Maths, Drama, and Design Technology. It was a particular pleasure for him to meet sixth formers Toby Weymouth and Ed Cosson. Toby and Ed were part of King’s 4×4 Challenge team ‘Edge’ who won 1st Place at the National Finals for the JLR 4×4 in Schools Competition in 2018. Ed and Toby were able to showcase their prize-winning vehicle to Derek and to speak about the process of designing, building and testing the car, as well as discussing how they secured sponsorship and marketing support.

Derek enjoyed lunch with Acting Headmaster, Jon Ricketts (Hon OV), Head of School and Captain of the 1st XV Hamish Stigant, current pupil and budding racing star Theo Edgerton who is looking forward to his racing season ahead and Head of Sixth Form, Josh Hand, as well as Development Director Liz Elliott and Head of Alumni Relations, Sophie Borrillo-McLellan.

A special day indeed for Derek and for everyone at King’s.