Principal says goodbye at Wymondham College speech day

Wymondham College speech day - Melvyn Roffe, Norman Lamb and Peter Rout.

Wymondham College speech day - Melvyn Roffe, Norman Lamb and Peter Rout. - Credit: Archant

As he presided over his last Wymondham College speech day, outgoing principal Melvyn Roffe could not quite find the words to say goodbye.

Wymondham College speech day - Norman Lamb presents a prize to Ellen Parfitt.

Wymondham College speech day - Norman Lamb presents a prize to Ellen Parfitt. - Credit: Archant

After seven years at the helm of one of the county's top schools, Mr Roffe spoke of the college's enduring values and growing academic success as prizes were presented to some of the best and brightest students.

Wymondham College speech day - Daniel Campbell.

Wymondham College speech day - Daniel Campbell. - Credit: Archant

But perhaps the biggest cheer was for Mr Roffe himself as a surprise presentation was made to him in honour of his outstanding years of service before he takes up a new role as head of a private school in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Wymondham College speech day.

Wymondham College speech day. - Credit: Archant

After receiving flowers and a long-standing ovation, Mr Roffe said: 'This is a bittersweet moment. I couldn't quite find the words in my speech to say goodbye.

'Thank-you for all the support you have given me and all the support you have given to this unique but totally wonderful project that is Wymondham College.'

In his earlier address to students and guests, which included ex-pupil and now government minister Norman Lamb, Mr Roffe spoke of how during the past year: 'Wymondham College has become quite good at challenging people's expectations.

He said the college was often prepared to 'do different' and praised how it took students from a wide range of backgrounds across the world.

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He highlighted how the school had recorded its best AS-level and second best A-level results last year, as well as successfully helped 13 students get offers from Oxbridge colleges.

Mr Roffe said the college's success was built on 'the huge potential and enthusiasm that our students bring with with them, whoever they are and wherever they come from'.

He said the support of parents and carers was 'a vital part of everything we do here' and praised 'a hugely dedicated and talented staff, the professionalism and tirelessness of whom is a constant inspiration to me - and I know students as well'.

'If in the last seven years Wymondham College has managed to do anything of value for those students above and beyond some great examination results, progress to fantastic universities and rewarding careers and some wonderful sporting and cultural opportunities, then I hope it is this - that students here know that people come in all kinds each with their own story,' Mr Roffe said.

'That not everyone can be your best friend but it is possible to respect even those you don't much like; that there is no limit on aspiration other than that which you place on aspiration yourself.'

In his address, Mr Lamb said: 'We should reflect on the fact he has been an exceptional principal of this college.

'Collectively, we have a lot to thank him for. I will be sorry to see him go.'

Pay your tribute to principal Melvyn Roffe and the work of Wymondham College by writing, giving your full contact details, to: Mercury Letters, 26 Mere Street, Diss IP22 4AD or email