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Sir Richard Branson Returns to Stowe

Sir Richard Branson found time in his hectic schedule to return to Stowe and tell the next generation of entrepreneurs that the school equipped all Stoics with the ability to “go out into the world and make a difference.”

He told them that it was essential for today’s pupils not to be driven purely by academic results alone but to ensure they enjoyed life to the full.

Branson was a boarder at Cobham for four years in the 1960s (1963 – 67) but decided to leave to run his first business venture: a political youth magazine called “The Student”. He’d started the project in his spare time at school, trying to secure political interviews and advertising using an old phone box in the Egyptian entrance. The late Headmaster Bob Drayson told the rebellious 16 year old as he left school “Congratulations, Branson. I predict you will either go to prison or become a millionaire.” Headmaster Dr Anthony Wallersteiner joked with Sir Richard that these days he would have been allowed to do both. Sir Richard, who flew onto the south lawn at Stowe by helicopter, admitted he never dreamt as a schoolboy that he’d return in such style.

“It is great to be back. I have lots of happy memories,” he said.  “There are others, like myself, who weren’t great academics but are determined to get out there and live life to the full. Enjoy every minute of life and try to make a difference. Stowe has both sets of people and both sets of people can do well.”

Sir Richard met a group of 25 high achievers, including the Branson award winner for the pupil showing great entrepreneurial skills and five Branson scholars, who are just completing a year’s exchange project with the Dominican Convent School in South Africa.

He also admitted that school might have been more fun for him if Stowe had admitted girls. “I think it’s far more natural like this,” he said, endorsing Stowe School’s decision to become totally co-educational.

Branson acknowledged that Stowe’s teaching staff had played a part in the success story that has made him and his Virgin brand a worldwide name.

The Headmaster, Dr Anthony Wallersteiner said it had been a pleasure to welcome Sir Richard back to Stowe, and that he would always be an inspiration for current and future Stoics.

To watch the visit click here.

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