Norfolk-born writer and actor Stephen Fry offers a morale boost to St Benet's schools

January 29, 2021

Teachers at St Benet's MAT received a surprise this week as Norfolk-born celebrity Stephen Fry offered a morale boost and an insight into how he is coping with lockdown.



A morale boosting message of support from Stephen Fry


The teachers of St Benet’s MAT received a delightful surprise this week as Stephen Fry kindly offered a morale boost and an insight into how he is coping with lockdown.

 Norfolk-born Stephen said: “Don’t ever fall into the trap of thinking that you’re somehow ‘failing’ or ‘getting lockdown wrong’ — there’ is no way to get through all this that is right and proper.  It can be off-putting submitting oneself to the window of social media through which other people’s lives can seem so healthy, happy and efficient… all that baking and exercising that other people are doing …. It can make one feel inadequate.”

He added: “But what other people choose to share of their lives, faked or real, isn’t the point.  We are all getting through this in our own way, and for most of us that means good days, ok days, bad days and awful days. Let oneself have those bad days without feeling guilty and letting self-annoyance make them worse… all this is easier to write and say than do, but I really do feel that we should let ourselves off the hook where we can and allow ourselves to stumble and sulk from time to time!”

Richard Cranmer, CEO of St Benet’s Multi-Academy Trust said: “When I decided to change career and train to become a teacher, it was because I was often working alone and I really missed being with people.  The last 11 months have reminded me how much I miss being around colleagues and pupils – at times I have found it a challenge and have fallen into the trap that Stephen describes in ‘getting lockdown wrong’.  His words should provide reassurance to all of us that those feelings are normal, and to be kind to ourselves.”

Natalie Lewis, office manager at St Benet’s Dickleburgh Primary Academy said: “It’s really reassuring to read, that someone like Stephen Fry understands what we are trying to do for all of our children in schools at the moment.  He seems to get the fact that some days are better than others and that’s OK.  I have always loved Stephen Fry and his honesty and his attitude to life. So having him support our MAT is going to be a real boost for us all.”

When asked what he enjoys reading and listening to during lockdown Stephen Fry said:

“At the moment, I’m re-reading Gore Vidal’s “Narratives of Empire” series.  Seven fabulous historical novels set in the US between the American Revolutionary Wars and the 1950s.”

He added: “Musically, mostly jazz and classical I’m afraid.  Getting very into Duke Ellington at the moment. Otherwise Schubert is my current best friend.”

While most people boost their mood with chocolate, Stephen’s mood booster is ‘oat milk.’  He commented: “To boost my mood, it’s oat milk….pints and pints of it!”

And what is he currently watching on the box?  He said: “I can’t join in with the enthusiasm for current “bingeworthy” TV.  It’s far more likely to be old Midsummer Murders, Silent Witness and Agatha Christie than the hot new Netflix shows… I don’t know what that says about me. I suspect it isn’t good.”

Headteacher, Hannah Holgate, said: “We at Harleston Primary Academy are touched that Stephen Fry has taken the time out of his busy schedule to send us these warm words of encouragement.  Yet again he highlights the need for self-care and allowing oneself to ‘sulk’ sometimes.  Stephen Fry – thank you.  I know that my children and staff are thrilled to receive this message.”


With the likelihood of things not returning back to normal anytime soon, one thing is for sure: we need to keep talking and supporting each other.


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