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Ann Widdecombe gives school’s first Amy Key lecture

Former politician and popular Strictly Come Dancing contestant Ann Widdecombe proved a witty and highly entertaining speaker when she was guest of honour at Truro High School's first Amy Key Lecture.

Organised by the Old Girls’ Association, the event included dinner and the presentation of school badges to each Year 13 student – a lasting memento of their time at Truro High. Ann Widdecombe presented the badges, asking every girl about her plans for the future. She also chatted to other guests, many of whom were former pupils – some from as far back as the Second World War.

Opening her speech with anecdotes that had her audience roaring with laughter, the former MP moved on to weightier topics – such as the need to follow the courage of your convictions – before inviting questions. These ranged from being asked about her views on the future of the House of Lords to whether she thought Anton du Beke was as good looking in real life as he is on the TV and whether she was allowed to keep her Strictly Come Dancing dresses.

“We couldn’t have had a better speaker for our inaugural lecture,” said OGA chairman Sue Dowding. “Ann made sure she got up and walked around to chat to each table and the sixth formers felt she took a real interest in them as individuals. Her speech was a great mix of the frivolous and the serious and was really entertaining and engaging.”

Amy Key was Truro High’s first headmistress. She was appointed by Bishop Benson when he founded the school in 1880. Described by her tutor James Wilson to the Bishop as “the ablest student of mathematics and natural science whom I have almost ever taught”, she was clearly a highly intelligent woman who quickly established an academic reputation for the school that has flourished for more than 130 years.

“The Amy Key Lecture is the OGA’s way of inspiring sixth formers who are about to leave to go on to the next stage of their lives with the same pioneering spirit that she had,” said Sue Dowding. “The lectures will take place annually and we are already looking into speaker possibilities for next year.”

For more information about Truro High’s Old Girl Association, visit, email or call 01872 572822.


Published by: Darren Stevens

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