Our new Eleven Question interview is on Paul Wallis. Veseyans Rugby Club stalwart and current chairman of the Old Veseyans Association.
1. What is your most lasting memory of your time at BVGS and what are you doing now?
I have lots of happy memories of my time at school. I guess that is why I am still closely associated with it.I played with some very talented rugby players and got as far as the England U-18 squad myself. I achieved what I did because of the influence and support of people like Rex Wallbank and Ron Homer. I guess that means sport was my most lasting memory.
After school I joined the Police and completed 30 years service. I now have a small gardening business.
2. How did BVGS prepare you for the path you took after leaving?
In specific terms the school didn't/couldn't prepare me for a career in the Police. What I do credit it with is the influence the whole school, staff and of course peer group had on making me ready for taking on life after school. I often think people miss this point when they say they didn't enjoy or get anything from school.
3. What was your favourite subject at BVGS and how did it impact you?
Apart from sport, I greatly enjoyed geography and biology. That was a combination of interest in the subjects themselves and the teachers I had. I still have interests based broadly on these areas.
4. Which of your teachers at BVGS was most influential for you and why?
I honestly cannot specifically say that one member of staff stood out. I felt very privileged to have had a number of great teachers. I kept/keep in touch with a good number after school and still do. Obviously some are no longer with us and some a getting on !
5. Is your life similar or different than the way you imagined it would be when you left BVGS and how?
A difficult question. I don't think you can easily answer that as you change with time. I do not doubt the school helped with my development. I suppose the best summary is I have very few life regrets.
6. What advice would you give your 18-year old self now?
I often see this in pupils when I visit school for concerts or sporting events. Make the most of your opportunities. Be involved in what interests you and support what is going on at school as much as you can. You gain life experiences and friends. Study as hard as you can but not to the detriment of all else. I remember many events - involvement in school opera's, sports events, school trips - not so much taking examinations !
7. How do you define success and has that changed over time?
Another difficult question. Great qualifications, successful career and lots of money are easily measured success. Does that make you happy and content ? I guess you appreciate that more as you get older. If you can combine being happy and content with doing and achieving what you want to do you've cracked it.
8. What extra-curricular activities did you take part in at BVGS?
I guess sport is largely extra-curricular in the main. Rugby, cross country (for a few years!), fishing, charity work, school opera's
9. Do you still keep in touch with your BVGS contemporaries?
I keep in touch very frequently with immediate peers (8) and friends from year groups either side. I was the first Wallis to attend BVGS in 1973. Younger brother Geoff followed in 1975 and Simon in 1979. Simon was Headboy in his final year. I maintained contact with the school through the rugby club. I was then lucky enough to have two sons who went to Vesey. Thomas in 1998 and Samuel in 2000. Thomas became School Captain and Sam a house officer. I had very regularly attended the OVA annual dinner after leaving school and after an appeal (and a few glasses of wine !) for new committee members joined in 2010, eventually taking over from Roger Crees as Chairman in 2015. An association with the school of some 44 years.
10. Which house did you belong to?
11. Is there something you would do differently if you could go back to your time at BVGS?
I guess this would be the same for many people - study a little more intensely certainly in the A level years. I got a great deal from time at Bishop Vesey's through my involvement in as many things a possible.