The Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Lecture


The 2018 Spectrum programme provided a broad range of talks from a wide variety of people, many with a Dragon connection. This year we heard of some wonderful adventures from ODs, including Felix Goodman (OD 2011) and George Warr (2011) who returned to tell us about their travels in Ladakh and Caroline Barby (OD 2001) who shared her experiences living and working with disabled children in Meru, Kenya. To read more about their experiences, which were funded by the Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund, please click here.


Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund Spectrum 2017Ed Phelps, Lucy Touche (OD 2010), Simon Jones (OD 1978) and Freddie Fitzalan Howard (OD 2000)

Last Friday, we welcomed back two ODs to talk about their recent travels and adventures. Both had received grants from the Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund. Freddie Fitzalan Howard (OD 2000) gave a very entertaining talk on his car journey (with a short ferry ride to avoid Syria) across Europe in the footsteps of the 1st Crusade. Then Lucy Touche (OD 2010) outlined her three months spent in Nicaragua as part of International Citizen Service which aims to help tackle some of the Millennium goals. The experience clearly had a profound effect on her and may well help to inform her career choices once she has finished her degree.

We were joined on the evening by Simon Jones (OD 1978) who, as one of the trustees of the NKTF, was part of the panel that decided upon these and many other grants to ODs.

If any OD is considering such an expedition please fill in this form.


Old Dragons Tom Sainty and Ben Ashmore, 2009 leavers and recipients of travel grants from the Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund, enraptured Dragon boarders with tales of derring-do and anecdotes during their NKTF lectures on Friday 22nd April 2016.

Tom worked in a bar in Rome - where he encountered Justin Bieber much to the delight of the Beliebers - to fund an intensive certificate in English Teaching. He spent the summer of 2015 in Sucre, Bolivia teaching English in an orphanage. A hilarious video of boys taking penalty shoot outs, had the children commiserating loudly when a shot was missed, and cheering the good shots.

Driven by his passion for rugby, Ben worked in Cape Town based charity, “Sporting Opportunities”. He spent a packed two months coaching under-privileged children in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town and coached rugby in different conditions, including on a boulder-covered pitch. He spoke about his travels which included sky diving and surfing. He explained to a horrified audience that three days after he had been surfing, a man was attacked by a shark – the children were relieved that the surfer came out unscathed by bopping the shark on the nose.

The Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund was established in the memory of Nicholas Knatchbull (OD 1978), who was tragically killed alongside his grandfather, Lord Louis Mountbatten and other members of the family, when a bomb exploded on their fishing boat off County Sligo, Ireland in 1979. Fittingly, Deputy Headmaster and contemporary of the Knatchbull twins, Ed Phelps (Secretary of the NKTF), introduced Tim Knatchbull who explained more about the fund and introduced both speakers. Two Trustees were also present, former Dragon teacher, Sam Cook, and Simon Jones (OD 1978).

Both talks were moving and inspiring. Our speakers were the very essence of what it is to be a Dragon – respectful, kind and courageous - and it was a truly memorable evening.

Any ODs planning an adventure that will make a social impact or demonstrates public service may apply for an NKTF grant. For further details click here.

Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund Spectrum 2016Sam Cook, former Dragon teacher, Tim Knatchbull (OD 1978), Tom Sainty (OD 2009), Ben Ashmore (OD 2009) and Simon Jones (OD 1978)


Traditionally, two Old Dragons return to the Lynam Hall on the first Friday of the Summer term to give a presentation on their adventures, which have been supported by the Nicholas Knatchbull Travel Fund. This year we welcomed two more who shared inspiring stories that contrasted with our Dragons' everyday experience.

Emily Higgins (OD 2008), dressed in traditional Gambian costume, gave a fascinating talk about the five months, from January to May 2014, she spent living and working in the Gambia with the charity Crosslinks. She spoke with passion and conviction. Dragons were fascinated by the food she ate and the school in which she was teaching.

Harry Johnson (OD 1996), now working for the UN in Rome and writing a book on food security, travelled to Tigray in Northern Ethiopia in October 2014 to find out more about the tragic famine of 1983-85 as part of his research. His talk gave an insight in to the wonder and beauty of Ethiopia as well as the impact of the famine. His stories of individuals’ suffering and their resilience were truly inspiring.

We were delighted that three of the Fund’s trustees were also able to attend the talks: Sam Cook, ex-housemaster of School House and now head of Malvern Prep; Simon Jones (OD 1978), a successful farmer and cheese producer from Cheshire and Tim Knatchbull (OD 1978) the surviving twin of Nicholas and chairman of the fund. Tim kindly spoke at the start of the evening about how the fund came into existence and its importance to the Dragon School, referring to the familiar plaque in the dining room which remembers Nicholas Knatchbull.

If you are an OD or know of one who is planning a great adventure, please find out more about the NKTF grant on our website. All ODs can apply directly to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NKTF Lectures 2015


The first Spectrum of the summer term is traditionally when we hold the Annual Nicholas Knatchbull Memorial Lectures. Every year two ODs who have received travel grants from the Nicholas Knatchbull Fund are invited back to talk to the school about their experiences. In 2014 we were delighted to welcome back Jess Riley (2005) and Imy Blencowe (2008). Jess is presently in her 4th year studying to be a vet at Bristol University and as part of her course travelled to Kenya to work in the Lewa Downs Conservancy. She delighted the audience with some especially entertaining stories about the big game she encountered, including useful tips such as how to take the temperature of a sedated Rhino!

Imy is in her first year at Bath studying International Management with French and chose to spend the summer of 2013 working in a rural school for children aged between 6 to 17 in Mandeville, Jamaica. She gave a thoughtful and clear presentation about the differences she noticed on this Caribbean Island and the impact the trip had on her and the children. She ended with a rallying call about the importance of travel in the wider world. The questions from the Dragon children could have gone on for hours! Thank you to both ODs for coming back to visit us and sharing their experiences with the next generation of Dragons.

NKTF Lectures 2014

If you are interested in applying for a Knatchbull Award please email Ed Phelps at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more details and an application form.