Oxford professor and TV producer among awardees at 18th Old Millfieldian of the Year Awards
Four former pupils were honoured at this year’s OM of the Year Awards. They join the 63 other former pupils to be honoured by the OM Society since the awards began in 2000.
The awardees included producer Dan Winch (1996-1998; Day), who was the pupils’ choice, Pakistani philanthropist and humanitarian Iqbal Adamjee (1959-1964; Shapwick), Oxford and Imperial College academic Professor Sir Charles Godfray (1969-1974; Shapwick) and para-dressage rider Suzanna Hext (2005-2007; Abbey).
Hosted by President of the OM Society, John Davies, the award ceremony acknowledges OM excellence of achievement in a wide range of fields such as service, academia, business, the arts and sport.
Humanitarian Iqbal Adamjee is a Stanford University Economics graduate and following in his grandfather’s footsteps is devoting his life to philanthropy, acting as a Trustee of his family’s Childlife Foundation supporting large education and health projects. His work with the Foundation has created nine paediatric centres in Pakistan, employing over 700 doctors and technicians to treat millions of children and adults, free of cost. Iqbal travelled from Pakistan with his son, Rehan, for the ceremony, and said, “the school has a lot to be proud of in entrepreneurship and philanthropy.”
A keen biologist while at Millfield, Professor Sir Charles Godfray has spent the majority of his career at Oxford and Imperial College researching population and community ecology, epidemiology and evolutionary biology. He is currently Chair of the UK’s Department of Food and Rural Affairs Science Advisory Council, and is working on the control of malaria-vector mosquitoes. Charles was knighted by the Queen for his services to scientific research in 2017. During the presentation, Charles, who fondly remembers his time at school and his circle of friends said, “I have tremendous affection for Shapwick,” where he was Head of House.
Para-dressage rider Suzanna Hext battled a life-changing injury to become a triple European champion as a first time competitor. A keen rider at school, Suzanna attended the Royal Agricultural University, gaining a first class degree in Equine Science while competing in eventing. An accident in 2012 left her with life-changing injuries, and it was unclear whether she would ride again. However, two years after her accident she returned to competing, and in 2017 she became a European Champion in the Individual, Team and Freestyle events in Gothenburg. In her acceptance speech, Suzanna said her time at school helped to teach her the resilience she needed to move forward after her injury: “Millfield held me in good stead for what I had to overcome and taught me to be independent.”
Television and film producer Dan Winch was the first Millfield pupil to be accepted into the National Youth Theatre, after working backstage on countless Millfield productions. In his speech, Dan said staff at Millfield gave him the confidence and support to pursue his outside interests, and he hoped that his choice of career would inspire current pupils to “follow their hearts.” After accepting a place at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Dan began working for the BBC as an assistant director, working his way onto the sets of a number of award-winning television programmes, such as Boy A, Birdsong and House of Saddam. He made his producing debut on the hit comedy feature What We Did On Our Holiday with David Tennant and Rosamund Pike, and also produced the final series of ITV’s Broadchurch. Dan is currently working on the mini-series A Very English Scandal featuring Hugh Grant.
Following the ceremony, Headmaster Craig Considine said, “It is terrific to welcome our Old Millfieldians of the Year back to school, and to honour their achievements in so many diverse fields. It is inspiring for our current pupils to hear the awardees’ stories of passion, commitment and persistence to achieve great things in their lives, and I’m sure they will aspire to replicate that success in the future.”
Watch a video of the ceremony here.