Taunton School Main Building at Dusk

Taunton School welcomes Royal Marines veteran as it marks national Armed Forces Day

Posted: 25th June 2021

Jon White, who lost three limbs whilst serving in Afghanistan, gave the keynote address to Prep School pupils at their prize giving about the importance of resilience in their daily lives.

Armed Forces Day at Taunton Prep School was marked with a visit from the inspirational and motivational speaker Jon White, a former Royal Marines officer.

As the country was asked to show its support for serving troops, veterans and cadets, pupils heard Jon’s story of how his career was tragically cut short – and the lessons this life-changing experience taught him.

He talked to pupils about motivation and how to build skills in leadership as well as how to become more resilient in the face of life’s challenges. Jon donated his fee for the talk to the Royal Marines Charity which provides essential support to ex-serviceman like him.

“It is always a great pleasure to talk to young people,” said Jon, who was forced to leave behind his military career in 2013. “I hope that my story can show youngsters how you can come through the toughest of times and still thrive with the right motivation and support.

“This past year has been difficult for everyone and children, just like their parents, have needed to build their resilience skills as they’ve coped with uncertainty, home schooling and not seeing their friends.

“I hope that my talk today gave them insight in to how my military training helped me cope with very difficult situations both during and after my time with the Royal Marines.”

Taunton School Prep Headmaster, Andrew Edwards, said: “It was a real honour for our school to have such a distinguished guest as Jon on such an important day in the calendar.

“Jon’s courage and selfless devotion to his role during his time with the Royal Marines is exactly what Armed Forces Day is about. We salute these amazing people who protect us and make the world a safer place.”

And this year, the armed forces deserved an extra big thank you, Andrew added. “They have played a critical part in the roll-out of measures to control the pandemic across the UK. We owe them a debt of gratitude for what they have done for us.”

Many families around the world watched the Prizegiving live online. Prep school father Richard Whitelam, watching in Nigeria, said: “I was humbled listening to Jon White deliver such a motivational talk at the right level for these young people.

“Well done Jon and well done Taunton Prep….great job.”

Taunton School has very strong links with the Armed Forces. Military families have been part of the school for decades, enjoying significant financial support whilst proudly contributing to the school’s broad and diverse community.

“From day one in prep school through to Year 13 in senior, children from military families benefit greatly from the stability and the undisrupted education we offer here at Taunton, as well as our wraparound pastoral care,” said Andrew.

“We try to create a real home-from-home.”

Currently, there are 69 children at Taunton prep and senior schools with parents in the forces. Both schools offer significant financial support for military families.

In Year 10 all students join the Combined Cadet Force and many train to become NCOs during their time in sixth-form. Students can choose between the Royal Navy, the Army or Royal Air Force.

The school also has a number of ex-military on its staff and is signed up to the Armed Forces covenant, demonstrating its commitment to those who protect the country with honour, courage and commitment.

A light over a war memorial honouring those from the Taunton School community who made the ultimate sacrifice is lit by an amber light first thing every morning during term time. It is the last light to be turned off every night.

Categories: News Preparatory Senior