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Personal Views

Will you present the prizes?

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1739
  1. Alan Craft, professor of child health
  1. Newcastle upon Tyne

    While taking my early Sunday morning exercise I had time to reflect on one of the most stressful episodes of my life. The story started six weeks before, when on the eve of my departure for Australia on a lecture tour the telephone rang and the headmaster of one of our local private schools invited me to present the prizes and say a few words at the school speech day. Seven to 10 minutes was all that was needed.

    Being a relatively seasoned lecturer I could not immediately think of a good reason to say no. Four weeks, 25 000 miles, and 11 lectures later I was back in England looking at the next week's commitments. The entry “Speech Day” on Friday suddenly made me realise that I had better give it a bit of thought. Panic began to set in when I realised that I had no concept of what to say at a speech day. Almost 40 years ago I went to the local grammar school, which had nothing so grand …

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