One of the UK’s leading judges, Lord Justice Singh, gave an inspirational talk to children at his former primary school.
Sir Rabinder Singh KC told Year 6 pupils at Bannerman Road Community Academy (BRCA) in Easton, Bristol: “Take the opportunities given to you, try to make things happen and don’t be put off by setbacks.
“Fifty years ago, when I was a pupil at this school, I would not have dreamed that today I would be one of the most senior judges in this country.”
Lord Justice Singh advised the children to always be kind to others – one of the key values of Venturers Trust, of which BRCA is part. The judge, who was born in Delhi, India, recalled how he spoke no English when he joined the school at the age of five, but a fellow pupil who spoke Punjabi told him what the teacher was saying, a kindness he has never forgotten.
He said it was a strong belief in fairness, equality and standing up for people’s rights, which he had from a young age, that led him to study law. After attending BRCA and Bristol Grammar School, he earned a double first at Trinity College, Cambridge, then worked and studied in the US before being called to the bar. Highlights of his career include being the first Sikh to be appointed a High Court judge – he wears a turban instead of a wig; being knighted by the late Queen; and being the first judge from a black or minority ethnic background to become a judge at the Court of Appeal.
Lord Justice Singh was given a tour of the school, which has 400 pupils from diverse backgrounds, by three pupils, Yasmine, Fardosa and Israfeel.
Robert Bourns, chair of governors at BRCA, said: “It is wonderful that one of our former pupils has reached such a high position in the country and we are so proud to welcome him back to the school. His talk will inspire our children to believe that they can achieve anything they put their minds to, just as he has done.”