Baker’s Beacon Blog – Week 31

9 June 2023

Dear Parents,

What a day for Ride London at the start of Half Term, as the sun shone and 25,000 cyclists and I started out on the 100 mile course from Embankment, around Essex and ending up on Tower Bridge.  The sense of camaraderie and shared desire to complete the course was evident throughout the day and as I crossed the line with my good friend and former colleague Richard, there was a tangible sense of personal sporting achievement.  I managed to complete it in around six and a half hours which I was more than happy with but since that Sunday, I have lost the urge to get back out on the bike…I need a new challenge to aim towards.  With that in mind, I think it would be a lot of fun and we could raise a tremendous amount of money for our school charities if, next year, a group of Beacon teachers and parents attempted ‘Beacon to Paris’.  Cycling out of Assembly on Friday morning in the Summer Term, 84 miles to Newhaven, ferry to and overnight in Dieppe, 104 the next day to Paris, mostly along the old, paved railway line route.  We would then meet families at the foot of the Eiffel Tower before getting the Eurostar back the next day. If you are interested in joining the ‘Beacon Peloton’ (and I already have Mr Walker and Mrs Rowland recruited from staff) then please email me – – and I will get the wheels rolling and lycra all branded up – would be an amazing event…

An amazing event of a different kind on the second weekend of Half Term, as I travelled with Mr Stansfield to the London Aquatics Centre for the IAPS Swimming Finals.  A once in a lifetime opportunity for the boys to compete in the 2012 Olympic Pool and, as with any national competition, you go more in hope rather then expectation of any actual success.  The U11 Medley Relay Team of Joel J, Toby R, Filippos A and Xander B were first up and won their heat, eventually placing 7th in the entire country – that’s some achievement, particularly with Joel from Year 5 who is swimming a year ahead.  Then it was Xander in the U11 50m backstroke.  Xander could have entered most strokes but he chose backstroke and, after the heats were all completed, had the fourth best time and a pretty decent draw for the final, later that afternoon.  A tense and rather tortuous few hours passed before the big event but with the chance of a medal, no-one was going anywhere. As it came to the big moment, Xander and his fellow competitors jumped into the water and assumed their positions as the starter blew his whistle to commence the race start protocol.  As all the swimmers looked focused on their opening backstroke position, Xander looked relaxed, so relaxed in fact that he manged to look up to the stands to give me, Mr Stansfield and his parents a thumbs up and a smile!  The race started and at the turn, Xander was sitting in third position, with a huge final length ahead of him.  As he pushed off beautifully from his tumble turn, he held his stroke throughout the length and caught second and then, in the final few metres, grabbed first place.  We collectively looked up in nervous anticipation to the scoreboard and sure enough, there it was, ‘1st Xander B BEAC’ – cue much excitement and outpouring of emotion in Team Beacon’s small section of the stand.  Number one in the country at anything is an incredible achievement, and we have one of those in our midst at this school.  Well done, Xander and thank you for giving us such a momentous occasion to remember – already looking forward to the IAPS Finals in 2024.

Have a good weekend,

Nick Baker

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