The students and staff of Salisbury Cathedral School were pleased to welcome a guest speaker to assembly on Monday 5th March - Alex Lewis. It became apparent within just a few minutes that this was no ordinary' assembly, but a deeply moving and powerful experience from which both young and old learned more than they thought possible. It's easy to run assemblies where we talk about resilience and growth mind-sets; it's not often that we are privileged enough to see these qualities embodied in someone so inspirationally.
Alex Lewis, from Stockbridge, had his life changed in November 2013 when he contracted a streptococcal infection that led him to be close to death. Alex's life was saved only by amputating all four limbs. Alex spoke about his incredible journey, enduring 100 hours of surgery, over 30 skin grafts and months of rehabilitation. Alex, along with the support of his partner Lucy, son Sam, friends and family has shown real determination and dedication against the odds; this has led him to achieve some remarkable goals such as kayaking around Greenland and a tandem skydive. Details of Alex's extraordinary experience can be found here - alex-lewis.co.uk
During his talk, the room was intensely quiet, as the children listened with such concentration and respect. However, the chance soon came to ask him questions and after a brief tentative moment, the questions came thick and fast. Children were keen to ask how his beloved Labrador Holly' had coped with the change in his physical appearance, as well as asking more practical questions about the working of his wheelchair. A common question theme was how his life had changed - Would he choose to go back to the life he lived before if he could? Did he ever feel like he wanted to give up? The children listened in awe as he spoke of the direction and drive he now has, of his will to live a full life, and of his advice never to turn down the opportunities we are given.
Headmaster, Clive Marriott writes -
The day is now drawing to an end and I feel emotional, realising what a profound experience it has been to meet Alex Lewis. His visit to the Cathedral School has truly been a gift and one that those of us who were fortunate enough to be present to witness his journey, will remember for the rest of our lives. His example, told through a gripping narrative, for both old and young, struck chords and found a deep resonance with every soul in the Big School Room. Personally, I was struck by Alex's independent, charismatic spirit and his indomitable willingness to face another day. Adversity was not a word in his vocabulary.
My biggest joy was to feel the warmth of his handshake and to see the sparkle in his eye.
The pupils enthralled me with their blunt, honest and searching questioning, which ranged from the practicalities of stemming blood flow, with limbs amputated, to the more ethereal probing of how the experience had affected Alex's faith.
Alex's answers were thorough and from the heart.
Alex is a truly remarkable man and one whose charitable endeavours the Cathedral School will aim to support in the years ahead.
Thank you, Alex for touching our lives today.
May you continue to inspire and transform the paths of many people, both young and old.
Report filed 08/03/18
Set in beautiful grounds in the historic Cathedral Close, Salisbury Cathedral School is an independent co-educational preparatory school for children between 3 and 13 years.
Forthcoming Open Days: Friday 18th May from 10-12 noon. Contact Admissions on 01722 555300 or firstname.lastname@example.org