Felicity Aspires, Achieves and Enjoys
OGA Annual Lunch and AGM Report, Saturday 18th March, 2023
If ever an Old Girl of King’s High School embodies the school’s motto of Inspire, Achieve, Enjoy, that person is Dr Felicity Bee (KHS 2009 – 2016). Not only did Felicity throw herself into everything while at school, including academic study, sport and music, but she also obtained a place at one of the best Medical Schools in the country, at Cardiff University. Training to be a doctor is challenging, fulfilling and time-consuming enough, but Felicity also trained with the British bobsleigh squad alongside her studies, and aims to compete in the 2026 Winter Olympics. No wonder she was the unanimous choice of the OGA committee to be this year’s after-lunch speaker…
Old Girls and former staff from the 1940s to the 2020s came to Banbury Road for refreshments in the foyer; after perusing Ilex magazines dating from 1947, and admiring a mannequin-clad installation of all King’s High uniforms from the past hundred years, they were given tours of the school site by sixth formers Izzy, Ivy, Phoebe, Megan, Carla and Rose. After the AGM in the Dining Room, chaired by OGA President and Head Master Dr Stephen Burley, and led by OGA Secretary Polly Beidas and Treasurer Sarah Higton, the party enjoyed a delicious three course lunch with wine, cooked by Head Chef Christophe Charpentier and overseen by Front of House Manager Kate Mouzakitis and their staff. Among those attending were seven former members of staff, and three mother-and-daughter combinations, one of which was actually part of a three-generation family, a first for the OGA lunch, comprising grandmother Sonia Halford, aunt Sarah Pinder, and granddaughters Hannah and Sophie Edwards.
Felicity’s after lunch talk was entitled ‘What I want to be when I Grow Up’, mindful of the fact that, at 25, she was younger than the vast majority of Old Girls present. She had fully embraced life in those 25 years, believing in adventure and enquiry, and always waking up with the intention that ‘today is going to be fun’. As a junior doctor who also has also been a sprinter and multi events athlete, Felicity defined the different facets of her busy life by the various types of footwear she wore, namely trainers, surgical clogs, ice spikes, heels (she showcased a lovely glamorous pair of these as she gave her speech), lifting shoes, wellies and Air Force 1s!
The driving force that Felicity possesses make her always strive to win, but she wanted to stress that it does not make you morally bad to wish to be first on the podium. Felicity had always been sporty at school, doing her homework in the car to and from practice sessions, driven by her supportive and much lauded mother, who was also present. But it wasn’t until she was at Cardiff University that it was suggested she might try bobsleigh. She found she had a talent and love for, and an addiction to, the sport, even though the practice sessions were akin to ‘being thrown off a cliff in a wheely bin’. A European bobsleigh meet clashed horribly with a vitally important part of her medical training. Which one should she miss? Again, it was her supportive mother Amanda who thought Felicity should ask the university if she could postpone one and do the other. They could only say no, but incredibly they didn’t! It is hard to keep up in athletic training when all her teammates are full time, but this has only made her more determined.
Cramming so much into her busy life is not always easy. Felicity showed us pie charts of the optimum places to cry at work, and the number of tears shed during which speciality. Running on adrenaline helped her to succeed, and she believed wholeheartedly that a five minute cry and a fake tan was a splendid antidote to a bad day.
It was a talk peppered with humorous tales of ward life; anecdotes about chicken drumsticks and tattoos jostled for position with the more serious side of her medical career. A passionate advocation of women’s health matters, particularly sexual health, and a focus on the vital importance of a child’s first 24 months of life would probably shape her work interests in the near future.
Felicity took questions from the floor. ‘How much sleep do you get?’ was the first question, but the answer was difficult to quantify when working shifts. ‘What is being done in your profession to focus on the first 24 months of a child’s life?’ came another. ‘What are your next goals?’ was the last. Alongside ‘obs and gynae’, Felicity was keen to embrace a full bobsleigh season and to win on the European circuit.
Felicity’s fabulous code for life was to find one’s happy place, and to make time to do three things each day: to stimulate the mind, the challenge the body, and to nurture the soul. We could all do well to follow this advice.
Dr Burley thanked Felicity warmly for her sparkling talk, particularly after a succession of her night shifts. He introduced Old Girl Clare Sawdon who spoke about the Foundation’s hope to endow more bursaries. A raffle in aid of Felicity’s favoured charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust, raised nearly two hundred pounds, and prizes which included King’s High honey and paintings of Eastgate by teacher Dr Mike Barwell were keenly sought.
The event ended with a rousing rendition of Jerusalem, helped by the presence of two professional singers. Any Old Girl or former member of staff is welcome to join next year’s OGA Lunch on Saturday 16th March 2024 when the guest speaker will be Old Girl and actor Kim Hartman (KHS 1963 – 1968). Kim has worked at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre but many will remember her as Helga in the TV sitcom ‘Allo ‘Allo. Booking forms will be available later in the year.