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Alistair Sharp

What are you doing now?

I’m a Methodist Superintendent in North Cornwall – a Church and Charity Leader

What route did you take to this point?

I studied Modern History at University, then worked on a graduate scheme for the British Printing Corporation, running part of a manufacturing site. I moved to run the Postage Stamp Operations and Marketing for Royal Mail.

I was headhunted to become Vice-President/General Manager Ashton Potter (Toronto) and then moved back to the UK to become a Methodist Minister, serving in Darlington, then Rotherham and now North Cornwall.

Any significant crossroads?

I applied for a senior job which saw advertised in the Times. I was only 26 and never expected to hear back from them but got the interview and then the job, from 250 applicants. I’m still amazed, but that stretched me and pushed me into senior roles.

But it was an even bigger career switch to move from industry after 12 years, to giving that up to work with small churches and charities.

Significant decisions you had to make?

To give up significant earning potential, in order to take on failing charities and churches. It is a large emotional commitment to turn them around, especially in some of the most challenging of environments, homelessness and addictions, city centre developments and small rural projects.

What is good about your career?

I get a sense of fulfilment, purpose and meaning in finding and helping to create specialist charities and churches with extraordinary people doing generous things. It is not scale or ambition, but compassion and joy that drives this work. These are much better things to live for.

Any fond memories of school you can share?

I’m very grateful for the personal investment and belief in me from Mr Clive Burrows, Mr Kev Dickens and the Head, Mr Peck, who provided the space and encouragement to really stretch my perspectives and abilities. I would never have done the things I have done without their initial encouragement.

I really enjoyed playing Rugby for the school. I remember the whole team, covered in mud, spontaneously singing the school song as we walked off the pitch having won the Shebbear Schools Rugby Sevens tournament. We were all so proud.

Most challenging year whilst at DHSB?

Upper Sixth. A levels were hard, hard work but worth it.

Any advice for students with us now?

Invest time and money to get really good at something you enjoy. It doesn’t really matter what. It will grow your confidence and your knowledge in other areas will grow much quicker if you are strong and confident in an area of specialism.

Watch out for and take opportunities that other people don’t seem to spot, or care about, so that you can make your distinct mark in life. Develop your uniqueness, and never try to be like everyone else.

And words of wisdom?

Don’t be fooled by wealth, success and fame. Work instead for the things that you want wealth success and fame to give you such as freedom, joy, friendships, purpose, and genuine long-lasting relationships.

Any messages for your teachers?

Thank you. I will always be grateful.


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