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A picture of a wooden owl with the South College Logo and the Sky News logo

On Friday, I was delighted to welcome John Ryley, Head of Sky News, to our College Formal. John graduated from Durham in 1984, having studied Latin, English and Russian in Hild Bede College. He has been Head of Sky News since 2006. Fifteen years at the top of a major news broadcaster is an outstanding achievement and John is among the most highly regarded senior journalists in the UK.

Under his leadership, Sky campaigned to bring live, televised debates to British TV screens during the 2010 General Election. Beyond this exceptional contribution to democracy, John has won three BAFTAs and an EMMY for coverage of events including the death of Princess Diana and the September 11th terrorist attacks in the United States. Under his leadership, Sky News has won the Royal Television Society's News Channel of the Year Award on twelve occasions. John is very proud to be a Durham graduate. He is also an exceptional example of the talent this university educates. He enjoyed the South College Formal a great deal and was delighted to meet so many Southies and members of the Palatinate team. 

Also at the Formal as my guests at High Table were the officers of the JCR International Committee. I am exceptionally grateful to this excellent team for their outstanding work, showcased most recently in our Diwali celebrations. Their efforts are visible in College throughout the year and essential in creating and celebrating the global citizenship in which we take such pride. My sincere thanks to all concerned. It was an additional joy to discover that support for my beloved Chelsea FC is spreading throughout the democratic world. Note that the presence of such wise supporters is not the only reason that the International Committee will be welcome at High Table in future. 

Sporting success is becoming a tradition at South. This weekend I watched the men of South Hockey A fight out a very impressive draw against John Snow A. Suffice it to say that we had only the required 11 players and Snow had several impressive substitutes available. This made the achievement still more pleasing. I shall be at another Mount Oswald Derby when South Men's Football A play the next Mount Oswald derby in the Floodlit Cup. The Owls have made a very good start in Badminton, Netball, Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Rugby and rowing. I am sure I have missed out at least one high achieving team. Forgive me!