Norfolk-born writer and actor Stephen Fry offers a morale boost to DNEAT schools

January 29, 2021

Staff across DNEAT academies received a delightful surprise this week as Stephen Fry kindly offered a morale boost and an insight into how he is coping with lockdown.



A morale boosting message of support from Stephen Fry


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!”

Oliver Burwood, CEO of Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) said:
“It’s been really inspiring for staff across the Trust to hear these words of encouragement from Stephen Fry and I’d like to thank him for taking the time to share them. At a time when everyone is working so hard these words of positive support will mean so much and will help everyone to keep going. Stephen is absolutely right when he says that none of this is easy, and that we all need to try and find space for ourselves.”

Mr Kevin Lee, Headteacher of Moorlands Church of England Primary Academy in Great Yarmouth said: “I thought Stephen’s message was really inspiring. His words are honest and authentic and he’s absolutely right in that everybody has to find their own way through the situation that we all face.” He adds: “It is also vital that at the same time we all reach out to each other for mutual support. Incidentally, his words have also encouraged me to persist in my lockdown quest of trying to enjoy jazz!”

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.”

Mrs Shannon O’Sullivan, Headteacher of Thomas Bullock Church or England Primary in Shipdham said: “It is encouraging to hear Stephen Fry remind us to look out for each other and keep talking. We are truly grateful for this positivity. Mr Fry has graciously reminded teachers across the county that everything we do is for the children but to not take ourselves too seriously and enjoy each day as it comes. Something we often remind our parents too. Lockdown is about supporting our entire school community and we will continue to follow his top-tips!”

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


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