Pyemont Lectures

The Pyemont Lecture series covers a wide variety of topics, readings and conversation.

The lectures are named in recognition of the Pyemont family, the late Mr Christopher Pyemont, Headmaster of Bede’s Prep School 1998 to 2007, and the late Mr Peter Pyemont, Headmaster of Bede’s Prep from 1964 to 1998, founding patron of Bede’s Senior School and former President of St Bede’s School Trust Sussex.

Upcoming Lectures

Lewis Pugh

Date: Thursday 12 November 2020
Location: Online

Lewis is a pioneer swimmer and UN Patron of the Oceans. He was the first person to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world, to undertake a swim across the icy waters of the North Pole and to swim across a glacial lake on Mount Everest. In a career spanning 27 years, the maritime lawyer has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history. His book Achieving the Impossible is an international bestseller.

Lewis is a vivid storyteller. His ability to make his story matter has made him one of the most sought after speakers in the world.

Bonita Norris

Date: Thursday 28 January 2021
Location: Online

Bonita is an adventurer and author. She has climbed the world’s highest mountains, including Mount Everest, and skied to the North Pole. In 2016 she made an attempt on K2 in Pakistan and in 2017 published her first book The Girl Who Climbed Everest.

Bonita has broken mountaineering records, and in 2012 became the third British woman to ever climb the world’s fourth highest peak, Mount Lhotse; considered a technically more difficult climb than Everest.

Bonita's talks are light hearted, heart warming and with inspiring messages woven throughout.

Past speakers

We have been delighted to welcome a range of wonderful speakers to Bede's who have inspired our pupils, families, staff and other members of the school community. In the 2019/2020 academic year, we enjoyed the following talks:

Professor Tanya Byron

In September 2019, Professor Tanya Byron, BSc. MSc. PsychD. FRSA, delivered talks to over 300 parents and staff. Professor Byron has worked as a Senior Clinical and as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist specialising in working with children and adolescents.

Professor Byron discussed the challenges facing young adults in this day and age, and how best parents can help equip them to navigate through the adolescence and all that those years bring. In particular, she discussed how we can support adolescent mental health and develop resilience amongst our teenagers.

Allistair McCaw

In February 2020, leading international sports performance expert and motivational speaker Allistair McCaw travelled to Bede’s to deliver two powerful and inspiring talks to pupils.

During his visit, Allistair spoke with our Sports Scholars and Sixth Formers about how best to optimise their potential – in sport and beyond. Key messages included the importance of exceeding expectations by doing more than asked, instilling discipline to reach your goals, and fostering a positive and motivational attitude for the benefit of yourself and your team.

Chris Lubbe

In October 2019, Bede’s welcomed Chris Lubbe, former bodyguard to Nelson Mandela and internationally-acclaimed inspirational keynote speaker. Having grown up in a ghetto in Durban, South Africa, Chris witnessed first-hand the brutality of apartheid which in turn became the catalyst for preparing Chris to become an activist for democracy. Chris’ talk contained themes such as fear, determination, courage, love and forgiveness, all in the face of blatant racial discrimination.

Joe Townsend

Eastbourne-based Joe Townsend lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2008. Joe’s talk for Sixth Formers in September 2019 covered his life journey from Marine to Paralympian, from the gruelling Royal Marine training to his time in Afghanistan and how he overcame his traumatic injury to compete in the Paralympics.

Ella Al-Shamahi

Ella Al-Shamahi is a palaeoanthropologist specialising in fossil hunting in caves in unstable, hostile and disputed territories. In her spare time, she's a stand-up comic. Ella's talk in November 2019 focused on overcoming fear and gender stereotypes in forging ahead in her career, sharing some amazing stories and photographs of places that she has explored and discoveries made. Ella's dedication and enthusiasm for exploration and the endless hunt for human knowledge was evident throughout her talk, as was her passion to inspire girls to pursue all of their dreams, not just one, because they are more than capable of doing so.

Lisa Heathfield

In February 2020, novelist Lisa Heathfield paid Bede's a visit to discuss dystopia, fiction and the writing life. In her opening address to pupils and parents, she shared the secret of her own inspirations and gave budding writers a clear message: look around you.  In telling of her own writing, Lisa spoke of the historical and contemporary real-life events that have moved her to write, from war and conflict overseas, to the plight of the homeless or marginalised in the UK.