Eleanor Sharples, Class of 2012

Eleanor Sharples

Now a member of the Rank Fellowship, Eleanor describes how her Leadership Award changed her life.

Eleanor Sharples, Rank Leadership Award Class of 2011

In 2011, I was awarded the prestigious Rank Leadership Award after an application from my Headmaster confirmed that the skill set I had, demonstrated outstanding leadership potential. When looking back on why I might have achieved such an award, I reflected on the attributes that saw me successful in achieving the Repton ‘CB Fry’ All- Rounder scholarship in 2007 that gained me entrance to the school.

Was this the qualities I had demonstrated in a diverse range of activities whether they be on the sports field, academia or the boarding house combined with my personality, which is to grab all opportunities with both hands that had made me successful? Or was it my ability to organise, challenge, be a team player, ability to motivate and enthuse, that was seen in me for my headmaster to put me forward to endorse the qualities set, to be a Rank Fellow. My time spent as an LAH has further helped me to enhance these qualities.

My involvement with the Rank Leadership Award began when I joined officially as a 16 year old, I went down to London for the annual ‘Leadership Day’ held at Paddington Arts. This provided an opportunity to hear other fellow Rank members’ experiences as well as integrating with others starting like myself. It provided a networking platform for young people and helped forge relationships but not remotely.

I undertook two Community Action Placements (CAP) in my sixth form years at school. My first placement took me to Blackpool, where I became heavily involved with the Blackpool Carers Centre (BCC). BCC provide a range of services to support and enhance the lives of unpaid carers of all ages throughout Blackpool and The Fylde Coast. In particular, I worked closely with the carers of Alzheimer and Dementia patients, providing them with the support they needed in their full time caring role for loved ones with such awful illnesses.

My second CAP was with ‘Westminster House Youth Club, Peckham’. Here, I worked with children from deprived backgrounds who attended the Youth Club during the long summer holiday as a way of keeping them off the streets and becoming sociable with children of a similar age. I was involved in taking the children on various trips and team work activities. Two very different placements, but both enabled me to develop my leadership and team work skills.

For me, achieving a Rank Leadership Award was a privilege. Completing my Community Action Placements was an opportunity not only to be a help and make a difference in the local community but it was also an opportunity for me to give back to Rank what Rank had done for me. Their financial support helped me complete my 5 year education at Repton School and these were without a doubt the best 5 years of my life.

Rank continues to positively impact my life today. They are a great source of knowledge and include fantastic contacts. At the age of 21 and having completed my 3 years at Loughborough University I am at the stage now of directing my life in the way I want to take it which is within the media. The Rank Fellowship have been a huge support in providing me with contacts of fellows who too have been involved within the media. If I could give any advice it would be to make the most of the CAPs you undertake and to stay in contact with Rank. They are not just there for your two years, but the rest of your life. I feel so proud to say that I am a Rank Fellow, there aren’t many, what a privilege.