On Monday 24 September, members of E, C and B Blocks took part in the inaugural Dick Haddon Prize for Declamation in Russian. By kind permission of the Provost this special event was held in a packed Election Hall and gave boys who study Russian an opportunity to perform poems and extracts from works of prose from memory in their original language; no easy task for a group of boys who knew no Russian before they arrived at Eton!

We are especially grateful to Doctor Angela Slater, former Head of Russian at Eton, for agreeing to adjudicate the awards. She singled out the boys’ pronunciation and accents for particular praise in C and B Blocks, and noted how impressed she was by the E Block candidates who tackled two fiendishly difficult passages after just 13 months of learning the language.

At a time when the study of Russian, and Modern Languages more widely, is in national decline, we are fortunate to have an ever-growing number of keen boys thriving in their efforts to learn this difficult, beautiful and alluring language. Our particular congratulations go to Hugo Roma-Wilson (AW) and Mugamba Wilkins (ASR) for winning in their respective non-specialist and specialist categories, and we look forward to this becoming a regular event for Eton’s Slavophiles.