Bexwyke Lecture 2023

Posted on: March 27th 2023School News

Holly Budge and Eleanor Losse

MGS was delighted to host multiple other schools from across the region for the annual Bexwyke Lecture event which took place on Thursday 23 March. There were a variety of workshops which took place throughout the day which included: learning about travel and migration around the world based on personal experiences; composing music; exploring role models; learning about safety in the outdoors; creating and performing a dance in a team and considering petitions within the UK parliament in relation to the importance of young people having their voices heard. 

The guest speaker for the day was Holly Budge, Everest summiteer and the first woman to skydive Everest. From falling out of a plane over Everest to ambushing poachers on the front line in Africa, Holly is no stranger to taking action and she entertained a jam-packed Memorial Hall during the afternoon. Holly spoke about the importance of ensuring there is always a proper plan before trying something dangerous. She explained that this ensures that anything is achievable, allowing you to follow your dreams no matter how scary they may seem. She reiterated the importance of attributes such as determination, organisation, preparation, perseverance and having a strong character.

Michael Rollinson, Assistant Head in relation to Partnership, Service and Outreach at MGS, commented: "This year’s theme for the Bexwyke Lecture was “The Magic of thinking BIG!” and our guest speaker was Holly Budge. Holly is an inspirational individual who has accomplished lots in her life. Overcoming her first skydive in New Zealand, and then hundreds, even thousands more, Holy was asked to become part of a team to skydive Everest, setting a new World Record. She was the only female member of that team. Having caught site of the summit, Holly knew she had to one day return on foot to summit Everest. Holly set about learning to mountaineer and climb, and on the way climbed many different mountains as she trained to achieve her ambitious goal of Everest. On the journey she has learnt so much and shared lots of these hint and tips during the lecture. Having that never give up attitude, perseverance and most importantly making sure you are prepared for every eventuality. Holly achieved her goal of climbing Everest and has gone on to do many other challenges including racing across Mongolia on horseback. Another world first adventure".

He added: "The hope and vision that we hoped to achieve, was to encourage pupils to think big and understand that those who achieve might only talk about the highlights but there is always a huge amount of work that happens to gain that achievement. Lots of hard work, lots of perseverance and making sure that when you reach a hurdle, you jump right over it, or smash right through it."

Junior School pupil Mili from Withington Girls' School won the poster competition which was judged by Holly and spoke about her experiences: "After the lecture, Holly announced the winner of a competition which all schools there had taken part in. This involved creating a poster on determination. I was shocked to hear my name being called as the winner. I was so happy that my legs trembled as I walked nervously to the front of the hall to receive my award. I was given a book voucher and my poster had been framed. Holly shook my hand and I could see all my teachers and classmates cheering for me. When I sat down, they all congratulated me. I never thought I would win this competition and am still really surprised. Finally, my whole year were photographed together with Holly Budge and my poster. It was a brilliant day and time away from our usual lessons. Manchester Grammar School was amazing and I was so impressed by the grounds, the lab and the hall that we saw".

Mili added: "I will never forget this experience and will remember Holly’s words in the future. It really inspired me to follow my dreams no matter how big they may be. I hope that I am able to go on some amazing adventures in the future. One thing I would love to do but terrifies me, is travelling into space. With Holly’s advice, I hope this will be possible one day if I maintain a positive mindset and attitude."

Holly Budge inspired pupils to think big and dream bigger. As an adventurer, an Everest summiteer and the first woman to skydive Everest, she has been described as “one of the most accomplished female adventurers” of her time. As the founder and leader of international non-profit, How Many Elephants, she is celebrated by Sir David Attenborough, “thank you for all you are doing to protect the African elephants.”As a keynote speaker on mindset and resilience, HRH Prince Edward has described her as “down-to-earth, funny and incredibly inspiring”. Holly has raised > GBP 500,000 for environmental and social projects. Holly’s passion and purpose are driving forward her innovative, design-led, non-profit, How Many Elephants, to educate a worldwide audience about the devastating impacts of the African Elephant ivory trade. Few people know that 96 elephants are poached every day for their ivory, and at this rate, they’ll be extinct within a decade. Holly’s design-led approach to visualising data in a non-gory and non-political way has proved to be highly successful in engagement and impact. Her global travelling exhibition displays 35,000 elephant silhouettes to show the annual poaching rate in Africa.

Holly launched World Female Ranger Week (WFRW) on June 23-30th 2022, through her non-profit, How Many Elephants. This ground-breaking global awareness week celebrated and supported female wildlife rangers worldwide, raising>£24,000. Holly has supported the work of female rangers for over a decade, earning the rare privilege of patrolling on the front line with the Black Mambas, an all-female anti-poaching team in South Africa, armed with just pepper spray and handcuffs. She has spent time with the fully armed Akashinga Rangers in Zimbabwe and was part of an ambush team, arresting a bushmeat poacher with the Mara Elephant Project in Kenya. All of these teams are making huge strides forward for wildlife conservation and female empowerment; These women are bold. They're changing the game and paving the way for women to stand alongside men at the forefront of conservation, but they need allies. Holly innovated WFRW, a pioneering platform for female wildlife rangers worldwide to come together, share their stories, access peer support, exchange best practices and have the technology available for them to fundraise themselves.

Well done to everyone who was involved in this event! Thank you very much to Holly for her time and inspiring words!

WGS Juniors and Mili winner

Holly Budge and WGS Junior Mili winner of poster competition Image 1 pm

CREDIT Holly Budge (Holly Budge Founder How Many Elephants Everest Summit)

CREDIT Holly Budge (Holly Budge Founder How Many Elephants Everest Summit)