Students to Teachers: Julie Salmon
Crossways Girls (on the top floor)
Dates at Bede's:
Prep School 1977-1978 / Senior School 1978-1981
Key Teachers at the time?
Peter and Elspeth Pyemont and Roger Perrin very much understood my goal to be a professional tennis player and did an incredible amount to support me. It was amazing to come to a school where most were so understanding and accepting of my ambition. This allowed me to train and compete alongside the academic curriculum. I also remember New Zealander Roger Moses who taught English at Bede's for many years who came to support me when I was playing in a WTA Event in Auckland after I played in Melbourne at the Australian Open.
What did you enjoy about being a student at Bede's?
I had so much fun! Bede's had around 70 students in the whole school in my first year at Senior School. I was a weekly boarder and it felt like one big family with the lawn and the lake being my personal back garden. Looking back it was amazing to think how forward thinking Bede's was for its time especially in comparison to my previous school. I remember I was called in to see the Headmistress thinking it was about the letter my parents had written that morning asking for permission for a day off to represent Great Britain. The response was shattering for me at a young age not only to be told "what on earth was I thinking about any type of career in tennis for but also it was not acceptable to have a day off."
I also loved that I made many friends at Bede's who were equally understanding and got me! I spent nights yes getting up to some mischief but mainly dreaming of playing at Wimbledon. This was the place that allowed me to reach my potential including playing at every International level from U14 through to the Wightman and Federation Cup Teams including to the present day for the Seniors, playing on the WTA tour for 12 years and twice reaching the 3rd round of Wimbledon and playing against tennis legends such as Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King and Hana Mandlikova on Centre Court at Wimbledon.
What has changed since you have been at Bede's?
The size - the campus is incredible, the grounds look amazing and the facilities are fantastic. A major improvement for me has been the addition of the MPH with the gym, pool facilities and additional indoor space means that we can guarantee students can play indoors during the darkest days in winter and we can offer sporting activities year round. Although I am still awaiting indoor tennis courts! One day!
Tell me what you now do at Bede's?
I am the Director or Tennis. My main role is working with scholars and overseeing the whole Tennis activity programme. I also head up the 'Bede's Emerging Talent Programme' with Alan Wells where we give students from various sports, who have got potential to have a career in their chosen sport the tools to succeed including learning about sports nutrition, sports psychology and even PR training. I am really enjoying working with such driven pupils coaching and sharing my passion for tennis and all sports. My aim is to inspire players to not only dream but to believe in themselves and strive to achieve more.