Market Deeping Model Railway Club chairman Peter Davies speaks to Stamford Welland Academy pupils during school prizegiving at Stamford Corn Exchange Theatre
The importance of making the right choices was the theme of a poignant speech given by model railway club chairman Peter Davies at Stamford Welland Academy’s annual prize-giving ceremony this week.
He took to the stage at the Corn Exchange Theatre in Stamford on Tuesday where pupils and their families had gathered to celebrate the talent and success seen at the secondary school over the past year.
Peter, who is chairman of Market Deeping Model Railway Club, started by asking the pupils: “What can a grey-suited, balding, not-quite-toothless 70 year-old offer you?”
In a thoughtful and often humorous speech he gave them a whistle-stop insight into his life.
He told of how he had made a poor choice by being distracted from his A-level studies as a teenager by music and model-making and air cadets, and so didn’t gain the grades to train as a doctor - his ambition - but that he had become a biology teacher instead, which had brought him an interesting and fulfilling career.
Peter also said his interests had given him opportunities later on in life. His love of music has meant he played the organ in Canterbury Cathedral and learned how to conduct a choir - despite being left-handed - while he had also, at the age of 69, trained to become a piano teacher. “Should we ever stop learning?” he asked. “Absolutely not!”
Speaking about how being a railway modeller changed his life, Peter said it had been his hobby for the past 60 years, and that it was now keeping him busier than ever.
Explaining that digital controls were a new development in rail modelling, and that was something he still needed to learn about, Peter added: “It is something I know you can help with, and I want some of you perhaps to join me next term in a model railway club at Stamford Welland Academy.”
He said: “Making choices is what makes life interesting. Making the right choices brings rewards, but making the wrong choices can bring misery and notoriety.
“You are here to celebrate the excellence you have achieved through sheer hard work. It’s wonderful to be part of this celebration.
“I’m challenging you to continue to work hard, choose wisely and be flexible about life - and never stop learning.”
Why Peter was chosen to attend the prize-giving
Peter Davies was chosen as guest speaker because Market Deeping Model Railway Club had its annual exhibition vandalised last month.
The show was set up in Stamford Welland Academy’s hall ready to open the following day, when teenagers broke in to the school and destroyed the railways displays.
Each layout had been painstakingly created by members of the club and visiting clubs over many years, and the cost of the damage ran into thousands of pounds.
Police arrested four teenagers who are currently on bail. Read head teacher Vicky Lloyd's letter to parents here.
National media picked up on the Mercury’s coverage and now more than £107,000 has been donated to the club from around the world, including a £10,000 donation from singer Sir Rod Stewart.