A positive mental attitude in the face of extreme adversity was the message advocated by Simon Weston OBE, Guest Speaker at the 2012 Bearwood College Speech Day on Friday, 1st June.
It’s a message that the 800-strong audience of Senior School scholars, parents and teachers related to closely given the recent GCSE and A-Levels. But the perceived horrors of examinations are put sharply into perspective by Simon’s own horrific experiences.
A survivor of the 1982 Argentinian attack by Skyhawk fighters on the RFA Sir Galahad naval destroyer in the Falkland Islands, Weston’s ship was hit and phosphorous bombs together with thousands of gallons of diesel and petrol were instantly ablaze. 22 out of the 30 men in Weston’s platoon, the Welsh Guards, were killed and Simon suffered 46% burns. Weston was so badly disfigured by his initial injuries that his own mother didn’t recognise him as she looked at him lying in the hospital corridor on a trolley waiting for her.
He has undergone over 70 surgical procedures and major operations during his recovery and has gone on to appear in 5 BBC television documentaries, star on ‘This is Your Life’ as one of the show’s youngest ‘victims’ at the age of 28, presented on BBC Radio Wales and been involved in a variety of charitable enterprises which earned him an OBE in the 1992 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Simon Weston’s brave journey to physical and psychological health is an inspirational story of the triumph of determination. A positive attitude towards any obstacle life may throw at you is the key and a message which the audience at Bearwood College found both motivational and moving.