Bedford Modern School was once again the fantastic location for our second Mintridge Ambassador training day on Friday 15th December.

With athletes travelling from various corners of the UK, and some staying locally at the beautiful setting of the Woodland Manor Hotel, we all came together at 9am on Friday morning for tea, coffee and some rather delicious pastries… after all, Friday is a treat day for most athletes! As well as our ambassadors and Mintridge team of Alex, Patrick and Jo, we were delighted to welcome Ampleforth College’s Clemmie Cooper and her family.

Mintridge’s Managing Director, Alex Paske kick-started the proceedings with an overview of Mintridge to date which included key successes in 2017, including our 100th programme, the transition into charitable status and success at the recent Aviva Women of the Future awards.

The biggest focus of Alex’s introduction turned to the presentation of the 2017 Anna Horrell Award.

The Anna Horrell Award has been created by the Mintridge team in memory of Anna who was incredibly influential and encouraging to the sporting endeavours of so many young people, including Alex. We hope that this award is a way to remember Anna in the most positive way to reflect her amazing qualities.

Each academic year, a student (or group of students) that one of our elite athlete ambassadors has worked with will win the award:

“The award is presented to an individual, or group of individuals, that has demonstrated a proactive nature and infectious enthusiasm throughout their programme and has shown great potential in their chosen sport.”

The award includes:

We were delighted to present the award to an incredibly deserving winner in Clemmie Cooper (Modern Pentathlon) from Ampleforth College. Clemmie was mentored by Olympic Silver Medallist, Heather Fell during the summer term as part of a Mintridge Silver Programme. The Mintridge team were constantly impressed with Clemmie’s proactive nature to the programme and always maintaining good communication throughout. Heather commented, “We have been able to suggest ideas but, Clemmie you have been the one to make the decisions which has led you to a fantastic year in your sport. There are no limits for you.” Clemmie has proven to those around her that work ethic, life balance and structure, are the keys to success and as Heather has said, keep using the questioning tool and Clemmie will reach the heights that she wishes to. Clemmie represented Great Britain at the Laser Run World Championships in September, Clemmie has since said that the valuable skills and techniques learnt with Heather were instrumental to her selection.

It was wonderful to have Clemmie’s family with us for our ambassador day as they took part in the rest of the morning and lunch sessions. We look forward to following Clemmie’s progress in the coming months and years.

When presented with the award, Clemmie said, “The Mintridge mentoring programme was honestly SO useful and it has taught me so much including believing in myself and when I have started to do that, I have achieved what I wanted to achieve.”

Heather was unfortunately unable to be with us on the day, so Mintridge’s very first ambassador, Marilyn Okoro, presented the trophy to our very first Anna Horrell Award winner. Congratulations Clemmie.

Our first main training session of the morning was focussed on mentoring and how to become a better mentor. We were very privileged for the session to be led by Switch the Play’s Non-Executive Director, Chris Brindley. With accolades including ‘Britain’s Best Boss’, Chris is one of the UK’s foremost leaders in business and sport. His success is a result of a unique set of experiences including working with Olympic athletes and using sport to inspire success within business. With a focus on high performance, creating winners and delivering change, he has worked extensively with academics from leading business schools as well as executives, managers and team leaders within global PLCs.

Chris gave the ambassadors key skills to take away that the ambassadors can use beyond their role within Mintridge with particular favourites from ambassadors including Chris’s coat of arms, starfish and contracting with the mentee. Pamela Cookey had to adjudicate a certain disagreement regarding the colour of the beach ball which gave yet another tool for the ambassadors to use!!

Bedford Modern High Performance Sports group members were able to join for the final element of the session so that both ambassadors and students were able to see the benefits to both parties of the mentor and the mentee.

Thank you very much to Chris for giving his time and giving everyone such an insight, and to reflect on ways in which they can structure their mentoring sessions moving forward.

Lunch was soon upon us for Chris, the ambassadors, Clemmie and BMS students to enjoy each other’s company and obviously to pull a Christmas cracker or two before moving into the afternoon sessions. Mintridge cupcakes provided by the Stamford Kitchen were a particular highlight for many!

It is safe to say that those in the room were definitely a competitive team and therefore the icebreaker game of Mingle Bingo was a highly contested affair.

“Find Someone Who Has The Same Eye Colour As You”

“Find Someone Who Has Competed At More Than Two Olympics”

“Find Someone Who Has Run A Marathon”

These were just some of the questions that everyone had to run around the room to answer. Fil Kamps, Laura Sugar and BMS student Eda eventually came out on top. By the end of the game, we think that everyone knew each other just a little better, down to who cooks without a cookbook!

Chris had prepared some self-assessment questions for the students. Ambassadors were paired with one student each to look at these questions as well as looking at a variety of current topics within the world of sport today, such as “Doping in Sport” or “Coping with Pressure”. There was much discussion throughout the room and the students were buzzing as they left for the Christmas holidays. That wasn’t before photos and autographs though! Pamela and one of the BMS girls even realised that they went to the same primary school, what a small world! Loughton School certainly have the sporting skills!

The Child Protection in Sport Unit’s Senior Consultant, Michelle North arrived at Bedford Modern for the afternoon session with the ambassadors. Michelle led an interactive safeguarding training session for the ambassadors to look at their responsibilities for safeguarding as a Mintridge ambassador. Various topics were covered with a particular focus into the online community due to the nature of our programmes in addition to the ever expanding world of social media. Thank you very much to Michelle and the CPSU for the support with such an important matter.

The day soon drew to a close, some athletes were able to join us in the evening for our Christmas meal which also included Nick Bowman, who will be one of our trustees once the charity is set up. We had a delicious Italian meal which was the perfect way to end a magnificent year!

Thank you very much to Heather Gilbert and Bedford Modern School for allowing us to host our Mintridge training day at school once again. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Have a wonderful Christmas to all involved with #TeamMintridge and bring on 2018!

If you would like to see our video footage from the day, please visit: