Dunford Lecture with Alastair Hignell

Alastair Hignall

Category: Rugby, General, Sport, Speakers

Alastair Hignell: a well renowned sportsman in both the Rugby, Cricket and broadcasting world, delivered what most people considered an excellent and most touching, Dunford Lecture. Talking about the challenges of playing international rugby and county cricket, he gave some inspirational advice to the young athletes at Marlborough.

Hignell or ‘Higgy’ to his friends developed Multiple Sclerosis in 1999, which fundamentally changed not only his sporting career but his entire life. Opening up about the effect of the illness on him and his family, he described the first few years after diagnosis as “incredibly frustrating” and “alone and sad”.
For many people in the audience, who perhaps had family or friends with MS or a similar disease, hearing the important steps (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Understanding and then finally Acceptance) most people go through when diagnosed was incredibly beneficial, as well as interesting. Although Hignell described MS as “random, progressive and scary” it was moving to see how his view of the disease had changed in the last 10 years and to witness his optimism in moving on in the future. At the end Hignell commented that “MS had made him a better person”.

Finally, for those looking to continue their sporting careers, or who may go through difficult times during their life, some advice from Alastair Hignell:

“Honour your talent”

“Don’t die wondering”

“Control the controllable”

“Rise above it”

“Be prepared to acknowledge your mistakes”

“When life serves up lemons, make lemonade”

“Feel great”

“It’s okay to ask for help”

“People can be amazing”

“Life is for living“


Sophie Spink (MO U6)

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