When Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon in 1969, his first words were, “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

They are words that will resonate down through history, providing inspiration for generations to come.

Neil Armstrong always maintained that they were said off-the-cuff.  But in the months and weeks before the flight, he must have thought about it.

His place in history would always be cemented by not just what he did in stepping from the lunar lander, but what he would say to the millions of people back home on planet Earth.

In a recent interview, his brother claims that his immortal words were composed long before lift-off, and even written down so that his brother could have a sneaky peek and provide some comment.

Either way, I don’t much care, because, for me, it’s the doing that matters – not what you say once you’ve done it.

Which is a long-winded way of explaining that the Chippendale school is now gearing up for our next batch of students, and I’d like to congratulate each and every one of our recent graduates.

Some of the furniture they made was truly inspirational.  Joanna Majewska, for example, and her quirky, round drinks cabinet inspired by the internal mechanism of a clock.

Or Jack Jensen, who made an Oriental-style drinks cabinet that echoed the style of traditional Japanese archways and bridges, even down to rice paper sliding doors.

Or Jon Downing, whose drinks cabinet echoed a lotus flower before blooming, made from 170 computer-cut discs, with its stunning interior space completed in 23.5 carat gold.

Most of our graduates made furniture that wasn’t designed for high speed.  Not so Nick Smith who painstakingly replaced the fairings on his Kawasaki superbike with burr ash veneers and walnut accents – and then highlighted it in 23.5 carat gold.

To see what our students can design and make in only 30 weeks is truly inspirational.

I could go on and on but, frankly, words fail me.  Which may, or may not, have been the case for Neil Armstrong.

Anselm Fraser, principal, Chippendale International School of Furniture