Broadcaster, journalist and author Clare Balding OBE delivered a fascinating and inspiring talk to parents, pupils and governors as part of Monmouth School for Girls’ 125th Anniversary celebrations.

Clare’s illustrated lecture was full of insight into a stellar career in sports broadcasting.

She developed a theme epitomised by JK Rowling’s philosophy that ‘if you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough’.

Having been born into a racing family, Clare related her childhood experiences of learning to ride, in which her father championed the idea that to fall off a horse a hundred times would take away the fear of falling.

The fact that, as a toddler, Clare learned to ride on Mill Reef, and eventually became a leading amateur flat racing jockey and Champion Lady Rider in 1990, proved her father was right.

To inspire the many youngsters present in the audience, Clare described the personal quests of many of Britain’s greatest athletes, who, in the face of adversity, became Olympic and Paralympic champions.

Her reflections on the notion that bravery involved ‘being scared of something but doing it anyway’ included her own challenges when asked to present sports such as the America’s Cup and the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 football championships of which she had had no prior experience.

Like the careers of so many athletes, Clare described how determination, focus, preparation and hard work, along with native talent, can make all things possible. Clare brought with her copies of her latest books, including the children’s titles The Racehorse Who Wouldn’t Gallop and The Racehorse Who Disappeared.

After a question and answers session, the school presented a cheque for £2,000 to Clare’s chosen charity, Ebony Horse Club, which raises the education and aspirations of young people growing up in Brixton, South London.

Clare chatted with visitors before a large section of the audience lined up to buy personally signed copies of her children’s books.

The evening with Clare Balding is among a packed programme of events, which have included a Joint Schools’ Concert, Old Girls’ Commemorative Service and an Anniversary Reunion, to celebrate the school’s 125th anniversary. The next event in the programme is a St Catherine’s Day celebration on 24 November.

The school’s 125th Anniversary celebrations will be rounded off by a Christmas Carol Service on 12 December. Both are taking place at St Mary’s Church in Monmouth.

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