WHAT does a member of the House of Lords, a pioneer in fertility treatment and legend in the science world enjoy doing day-to-day? Well, students at Ortu Gable Hall found out when they were treated to a very special visit from Lord Robert Winston himself last Friday, June 17th.
The Lord took a day out from his busy schedule to visit the students at Ortu Gable Hall, which included taking part in a Q&A with Year 10 and 12 pupils, having lunch with invited Sixth Formers and giving an inspiring assembly about his research in IVF treatment.
Lord Robert Winston is best known for his incredible presenting skills in television documentaries, most notably Child of our Time – a BBC documentary that followed the lives of 25 children throughout their childhood, studying how they grew into adults in an emotional epic. He was made a life peer in the House of Lords in 1995 due to his pioneering work and career in IVF treatment.
Ortu Gable Hall School were honoured to welcome him with a Q&A from Year 10 and 12 pupils who had a lot of questions regarding his career and what he had achieve in order to receive the position he now holds in parliament.
Speaking in depth about his life leading up to his medical career, Lord Robert opened up to students about how frightening he found school as a child and wasn’t sure about what he wanted to do in life.
He said: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was interested in language and music and theatre – but in life there is nothing that is truly accidental, you truly make your own luck, and the great thing about medicine is you can turn your hand to almost anything.”
When asked how he coped with a competitive environment from Year 12 student, Sophia Akintunde, Lord Robert Winston said: “I’m not very competitive, the most important thing to do is fail and learn from those failures. The best way to be in the environment is to ignore it, and instead collaborate.”
At lunchtime, Lord Robert Winston was invited to eat with some of the Sixth Form students at the school, where they discussed his time at Imperial College, his greatest scientific discoveries and his passions for gardening and Shakespeare.
When asked about his favourite experiment he had worked on, Lord Winston mentioned his favourite study, where he looked at women about to be implanted with an embryo who were given a choice between drinking red or white wine, as well as the doctors in the experiment having a drink themselves. The findings in this were that the red wine would help the women to calm down, and, most interestingly, the doctor’s hand would reduce trembling.
After his time with Ortu Gable Hall’s Sixth Formers, Lord Robert Winston gave an inspiring assembly to Year 11s, Sixth Form and some parents in attendance. The Lord then went on to give a moving speech about his own research in IVF, sharing personal stories about his first successful IVF implant and meeting a child born of IVF where the pair “fell into each other’s arms and cried.”
Lord Robert Winston’s lasting words to those at the assembly were for students to realise the value of everything they do in life.
He said: “We have to be very much aware of how small we are. What is not important is measuring our success but questioning the value of what we are doing.”
The reason why I am here today is because you are the future of our society. You need to continue to persist to do the best that you can.”
Ortu Gable Hall would like to thank Lord Robert Winston for his visit that motivated and inspired everyone he met with throughout the day.