Guest speaker James ShoneOn 1st March, James Shone came into school to speak on the subject  ‘What do we do when a UFO hits our life?’ A strange title that only made sense when you heard James’ remarkable story.

Following a 16-year career in several boarding schools and being a housemaster for 12 of those years, James was appointed as Headmaster to Monkton Prep School in 2012. During his medical assessment a brain tumour was discovered. Over the coming months James underwent two massive operations spending 11 weeks in hospital; the operations saved his life but took most of his sight. Further to this, James had to relinquish a dream job, undergo radiotherapy and then set off into a new future without employment or buoyant health.  

James told his story with complete openness and without an ounce of self-pity. He was honest about the challenges of living as a blind man but his message was an inspiring one of faith, hope and love. Afterwards girls commented that what they had heard was amazing, moving and inspirational.

It made you realise we make everything a big deal and it’s really not”.

It was silent and we couldn’t take our eyes off him.”

It was the best lecture ever.”

James now runs his own charity ‘I can and I am’ that seeks to inspire confidence in every individual. His passion is to see all people with an inflated 'balloon of self belief' in who they are and what they can do. He certainly communicated that passion to all who heard him at St Mary’s.