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04 April 2019

Rather regrettably, my teenage years were a very long time ago!  But despite the consequences of decades of mental wear and tear, two memories stand out.

One was the struggle endured by my Mother – a single parent – as she strove to make ends meet in our damp little rented house in the backstreets of Nottingham.  The other was the kindness of strangers – men and women across a wide spectrum from teachers and cadet officers to shopkeepers and even passers-by, so many of whom went out of their way to help a boy from what we could now call a ‘tough reality background’.

Sometimes their help was tangible – food, clothes, skills – and sometimes it was more spiritual – principally encouragement to raise my sights, to fulfil my potential.

I owe a life-long debt of gratitude to them all and my repayment plan entails large quantities of emulation – doing what I can to help the young people of today find ways of navigating these uncertain times.  And especially those teenagers who come from backgrounds like my own.

I am therefore greatly honoured to be stepping into the shoes of the great Field Marshal Lord Guthrie.  Indeed, it is no exaggeration that only one thing exceeds that sense of honour, namely my pleasure in being given such a huge opportunity to settle that debt.

– Sir Kenneth Olisa


Sir Kenneth Olisa was appointed President of London Youth at our Annual General Meeting on 4th April 2019. To find out more about our Patron and President, click here.

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