Boarding, Bake Off and Batting Triumph
Zara chatted with us about her integration into Bloxham life, her experience with Junior Bake Off, and the rise of girl’s cricket.
Q: What has it been like joining Bloxham and the new Girls’ Boarding house, Stonehill?
It’s been so nice. When I left Ashfold, Bloxham was my first choice so I was really happy I had got in. The environment is always really friendly and all the teachers and the pupils, who were already here from joining at age 11, were really welcoming. I feel like a part of the Bloxham community.
Being in Stonehill, especially with it being a new house, is really lovely. I feel like I’ve fitted into the environment really well and the grounds are beautiful. It’s really nice thinking ahead of all the people who will come through the house and for us to know that we helped make it what it is. All the teachers here, Miss Paul, Miss Woodward, Mrs Skevington and Matron, are so lovely. Matron always bakes for us which is a particular treat!
Q: When did your own passion for baking begin and how has this developed over time?
I’ve been baking from a really, really, early age. From when I was two, I would always help measure and pour ingredients to help with my Nanny and Mum, both of whom have been inspirational. Last year in lockdown, I got a chance to really focus on improving my baking skills. I was making everything from cupcakes and biscuits to sausage rolls. We would struggle to walk at the end of the week!
This developed so much that I decided to apply to Junior Bake Off. With the cut off being 15 years old, I only had a few more years so I thought, why not give it a go? I got through to the first round which I was shocked about because apparently there had been thousands of applications that had come in (presumably more because of people like me who had got baking in lockdown). Unfortunately, I didn’t get to the next round but I will definitely apply again next year
Q: You also have a passion for cricket. How long have you been interested in the sport?
I would say that I’ve always been quite interested in sport in general but I only became interested in cricket when we moved to my village when I was about five or six. There was a local cricket team and my friends and I from primary school decided to join it because it sounded like a lot of fun. I was quite young, and they had a little ‘all stars’ group for the little kids to teach them how to do the basic stuff. From there, I then gradually got up to a good standard.
I started to play seriously around four years ago, and now it’s one of my favourite sports. Bloxham has been really good with accommodating my passion for cricket, with my friend Miriam and I being allowed to join the boys’ team . Another girl, Emma, has also joined and so we now have three girls in the cricket team which is really good and a big step forward for girls’ cricket at the school. Bloxham understand that the girls want to play some of the sports that the boys do so they helped us put together a girls’ cricket match against Rugby School. This was brilliant for getting others interested in the sport and I think was the first match of girls cricket that the school has done.
Q: What are the highlights of sports at Bloxham?
I think the main highlight is that there are so many sports to choose from and that they are very inclusive. At a lot of schools there are people that play a lot of mainstream sport and those that don’t play sport are pushed aside. Here though it is really inclusive. If you don’t want to do one of the mainstream sports, there are a variety of options to develop a passion in. At the same time, sporty people have a ton of options and Bloxham accommodates to their needs. Sport is great for everyone’s mental health and you can tell that Bloxham cares about that.
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