Joshua’s Story

When the head of sport at Ardingly College first approached me about the possibility of me attending the College, in my mind I dismissed it as a hopeless dream that would be impossible to accomplish. It is only now, when I look back at the last few years, that I realise  my life would be completely different if I hadn’t attended Ardingly. I was offered an opportunity that I did not even know existed until it became real, and it would not be until I arrived at Exeter University for my first day that I would realise, “Ardingly brought me here”. I would not be where I am today without the help of so many generous people, and especially Charles Godwin.

I grew up in the quiet village of Greenfield on the Pennine border between Lancashire and Yorkshire with my parents and brother. I had the childhood all young children could want, filled with love and care. Football became the central theme in my life from an early age, indeed I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t kicking a ball around. I was signed to Liverpool Football Academy at the age of five, and spent nine excellent years there. Two years later I represented England Independent Schools and it was here that I had my first encounter with Ardingly College. I was going to leave the private school system at 16 and join a state college and so wouldn’t be able to represent the independent schools again. My brother was joining my school and it would be very difficult to afford two children at private school. When the possibility of a scholarship was mentioned, I knew it would have to be a special scholarship to enable me to attend, so I didn’t raise my hopes too much. I was invited to visit the College to see what I thought. This was a defining moment in my life. Driving up to the College I was absolutely blown away by the majesty and I was stunned at how beautiful the surroundings were, and the sports facilities were out of this world. I remember thinking, “this is where I want to go, this opportunity is one that will only ever come round once”. My parents were as much in awe as I was, although they did have some reservations about their 16 year old son leaving home to go to school 250 miles away. Yet this never seemed to bother me, and when it was confirmed that incredible generosity of Charles Godwin would enable me to attend, I couldn’t wait for my first day.

Ardingly made me into what I am today. I do not think I would have been able to get in at Exeter University to read Law if I hadn’t attended Ardingly. Doing the IB taught me how to manage my workload, manage my time, and how to answer questions in ways I had never even approached before. The sport was on a different level than any school sport I had experienced, played on facilities way above what was the norm. My academic performance improved, my sporting performance improved and I feel I became a better person by the values taught at Ardingly. I sometimes think how different my life would have been if I hadn’t have gone to Ardingly. I would never have met my wonderful girlfriend, who I have been with for three years now. I would never have met my best friend, who I still see every day as we go to Exeter together and are sharing a house next year. I would never have gone to South Africa playing cricket for the College 1st team, a truly once in a lifetime experience, I was given an opportunity to attend one of the best schools in the country and it has defined who I am today. I am at Exeter University reading Law now, playing football in the 1st team as a 1st year student, and everything I experienced at Ardingly has equipped me to deal with any situation in the real world. Ardingly transformed my life and I am eternally grateful to Mr Godwin for everything he had done to give me this opportunity.

Joshua Higgins, Old Ardinian