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News > OE News > From Captain of Ramsey to Europe Correspondent for BBC News, OE Nick Beake presents prizes

From Captain of Ramsey to Europe Correspondent for BBC News, OE Nick Beake presents prizes

OE Nick Beake inspired our pupils at Prize Giving with a speech on his experiences as a journalist and his reflection on how his QEH education influenced him.
3 Nov 2023
Written by Abi Purvis
OE News
OE Nick Beake
OE Nick Beake

Over 130 awards were presented to pupils for their outstanding work and individual subject successes.  

QEH Head, Rupert Heathcote, said; “I am enormously proud to be standing here, celebrating another wonderful year, and congratulating so many pupils and recent OEs on their wonderful successes.” 


Our new Chair of Governors Kevin Riley welcomed pupils, parents, friends, OEs and guests to Prize Giving and delivered the introduction. When speaking about the future of QEH school, Kevin said that John Carr’s vision is still at the heart of the school and that the board remains committed to moving forward. 

Rupert Heathcote delivered his report with a twist this year by asking the senior prefects to give an update on the school over the last year. They spoke about the growing achievements in all areas including sport, drama, music, and outdoor pursuits at QEH.  

Mr Heathcote also spoke of the future: “We remain committed to maintaining a diverse QEH community. We passionately believe that ensuring the school is accessible for all enriches our community, enhances academic standards, is socially inclusive, and widens educational opportunity. We are determined over the coming years to make a QEH education accessible to more families through financial support and our partnership work.”  


We were thrilled to welcome OE Nick Beake (1993 – 2000) back to Bristol for our annual Prize Giving ceremony at Clifton Cathedral to award prizes to our deserving pupils. 

Nick Beake is a BBC News Europe Correspondent and earlier that week had reported from the Middle East in Israel. Nick joked that; “Just this year, I’ve covered two wars, two earthquakes, a shipwreck, a train crash - generally if I turn up somewhere - it’s bad news… you really should head in the other direction. I’m not at work today - so I really hope it’s an exception.” 


Nick currently lives in Brussels where he reports on European politics, climate change, migration, sport, culture, and breaking news.  

Nick’s speech was of huge interest and inspiration to our students. Nick said that his first Prize Giving ceremony was 30 years ago and he admitted that the realisation of this made him feel “absolutely ancient”.  

Nick recalled; “Looking back, it was a school trip to the battlefields of the First World War in Belgium that really sparked my love of history - which I went on to study at university. History gives us context to what is happening in the world today.  I was lucky that my history teacher was Mr Bateson, he is the best teacher I ever had. He arranged for us to take part in a debating competition in 1999, which, somehow, we manage to win. We had trips to Finland and Switzerland as part of the European Youth Parliament and as a result met people from across Europe from really different backgrounds. It also gave me for the first time an awareness of how the UK is viewed - and broadened my horizons.  In the here and now - talking of different backgrounds, one of the things I adore about my job is that I’m often part of a team that is thrown together with people from across the world.” 


Nick also spoke about his experiences reporting for the BBC as a foreign correspondent and the lessons he has learnt along the way including the importance of making a human connection. He said; “parachuting into communities and dropping into people’s lives - when they’ve lost everything - can be hugely invasive and intrusive. Sometimes people are desperate to tell the world their story. Other times they definitely aren’t - and you must respect that. But there is so often a middle ground - where you can build rapport, win someone’s trust - and then accurately and sensitively tell someone’s story.” 


All our guests at Prize Giving thoroughly enjoyed hearing Nick’s stories, his passion for reporting truth, and gratefulness of the opportunities QEH provided for him.  

Thank you to Nick for being such an inspirational figure for our pupils and for volunteering your time to speak to and empower them.  

Following the ceremony at Clifton Cathedral, it was fantastic to welcome members of the Elizabethan Society to the School Room at QEH for a short reception.  

Finally, a huge thank you to everyone who sponsors a Prize, these awards could not happen without your generosity. Thank you.


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