OP Updates

Alannah Norton Lands Her Dream Job Down Under

Alannah’s mum Gabrielle has been in touch to share news of her daughter’s recent career success. Gabrielle tells us more…

Alannah left Princethorpe in July 2010 having joined in the middle of her first term of GCSEs.

She adored her time at Princethorpe and headed off to Glasgow University where she graduated in 2015 at the age of 22 as a Veterinary Surgeon

She is currently working as an Equine Vet in a highly respected equine hospital near Melbourne, Australia. She has just started her second year as a junior clinician, having successfully completed her internship at the same hospital. Alannah is loving both her job and life in Victoria generally.

Mr Kerrigan was her personal tutor throughout her years at Princethorpe and he was always extremely supportive and encouraged her to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an equine vet. She is very fortunate to have always known the career she wanted to have and to also have realised her dream.

We managed to visit in February and spent a couple of weeks touring with Alannah in Tasmania and around Victoria. We had a fabulous time and we miss her even more now.

Fortunately, she will be coming home in May to combine going to a University friend's wedding and to catch up with us all again.

Thanks to Gabrielle for this update. Although not an OP herself, Gabrielle has many connections to Princethorpe including her children and three brothers who were educated here, her sister who was a teacher here and the fact she and her husband Jeremy were married here on 21 April 1989 to name but a few! If you have an OP connection and would like to share an update too, please do get in touch. 

Dan Farrell Ignites Imaginations With His Movie Making Company 'Sparks'

Leaving Princethorpe in 2004, Dan Farrell has been busy co-creating his own company and becoming a published author! He tells us more…

I joined Princethorpe in Year 10 in 2000 and stayed until the end leaving Sixth Form in 2004. After school I took a gap year with a local theatre company and then I went to Bristol University to study English. After graduation, I headed to London to see if the streets were paved with gold(!). 

In 2010 I set up a business with my friend Donna Bamford, Sparks Film and Media Arts, running filmmaking workshops for children. We run projects across London with a staff team of 20 and facilitate workshops for around 500 children a year. 

Since 2010, Sparks has worked with over 3000 young movie makers, using their unique and practical approach to produce more than 1000 movies. Sparks aims to deliver experiences where members have not only huge amounts of fun, but where they also have a say. Every child leaves with new skills and confidence, feeling inspired to try their very best

Last week, Donna and I published our first book, The Movie Making Book: Skills & Projects to Learn & Share. We’re really excited about it – the projects in the book are suitable for movie makers aged seven and upwards. It aims to teach young people all the skills they need to get started, from camera angles to scriptwriting and to special effects. Each project is designed to offer the tools needed to become an accomplished movie maker at home (even with just a smartphone!) and advice on safely sharing movies online.

If you’d like to find out more about Sparks and their workshop visit: http://www.sparks-ignite.com/ and you can purchase Dan’s book online here: http://amzn.eu/4sERldT

Nick Gets Back In Touch With Princethorpe

Nick reminisces on his time at Princethorpe and updates us on what he has got up to over the years including marriage, children and running his own business.

Hi I’m Nick Brosnan (40), I left Princethorpe at the end of what was the fifth year in 1992 and I look back with great fondness to those days. I loved school and made some great friends; I’m still in regular contact with John Yates.

I got married at Princethorpe in 2005 to Claire and have gone on to have two amazing children, Chloe (4) who attends the Princethorpe Foundation primary school the Crescent School in Rugby and Oscar (7 months) who’s a real smiler! We have been living in Rugby for the past 12 years. Since 2012 I have been lucky enough to run my own Education consultancy / project management company serving local academies, schools and colleges.

I’ve got a real love of cars and have a 1977 Triumph Spitfire for Sunny Sundays. I’m a season ticket holder with Wasps RFC and enjoy a few Carlsberg's on a weekend. I’m signed up to Princethorpe InTouch database so I’m looking forward to hearing about the upcoming OP events and hopefully catching up with some old friends.

Ubi Caritas For John Wheildon

Many congratulations to John Wheildon who received his Ubi Caritas award in recognition of devoted service over many years to the parish of St Francis, Kineton on Sunday 7 May from the Monseigneur and Fr Sebastian.

Holly Receives Scholarship To Study At The University Of Law

Holly Gollop updates us on her exciting journey toward becoming a barrister including her time at Bournemouth University and her acceptance into the University of Law.

Even before starting Princethorpe in 2010, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the legal industry as a barrister. I knew choosing this career path would involve a lot of hard work and competition, and it certainly has lived up to this expectation. For this reason, when I finished at Princethorpe, I took a year to travel around Europe and take some time out of education before starting my law degree at Bournemouth University.  

My four years at Bournemouth University has been a roller-coaster experience, with both challenges and opportunities. My next step is to go to law school for a year to study for the bar and last month I received an offer to do this at the University of Law. Unlike university, there are no student loans for law school and I always knew this would be an expensive route. Luckily, I have just been awarded a £10,000 scholarship from Grays Inn which will fund my year at law school. Although I know this next year is going to be the hardest so far, I cannot wait to start preparing for the career I have always wanted!

We wish Holly the best of luck in her next steps towards becoming a barrister. It will be a lot of hard work but it will be worth it in the end.

Big Birthday Celebrations For Mark McGarry

Many happy returns to Mark McGarry who has recently celebrated his 50th birthday. Fellow OP Andy Tompkins contacted the OPs for some Princethorpe related presents before jetting off with his wife to join him for his party in Las Vegas.

Mark takes up the story....

Ive been in Las Vegas now for 28 years! I moved here with my brother Tommy in 1989 after we came out here for a 90 day holiday and just decided to stay. I met my wife Leslie and decided to settle down and start a family here. We have been married for 26 years now and have three children that have now all flown the nest.

Although Ive made many friends in Las Vegas I still look back at my days at Princethorpe and the great friendships I had with Louis Collins, Mick McDermott, Pearce Phillips and many more. Facebook has been great to stay in contact them and I get to peek into their lives from 6,000 miles away and pass the odd comment. We sure put the teachers through their paces!! 

I often wonder where Mr Cooper, Fr Whelan, Mr Wier and Mr Price are and what they are doing, and I'd love to get in touch when I come over for a visit later this summer.

Ive had several visits from Old Princethorpians over the years when they've visited for fun or one of the great fights we hold here in Las Vegas. If anybody is coming out please contact me on Facebook its always great to see them and catch up!

Wayne Olorenshaw Clocks Up The Marathon Miles

Wayne Olorenshaw who was at Princethorpe from 1970 - 1975 shares news of his dedicated marathon efforts over recent years. 

I was at Princethorpe 1970 - 75 and have lived in Leamington Spa for the past 33 years, married, have 2 daughters, married and four Grandchildren. I have been running short distance - 10 kms / half marathons since 2006 when I started running to get fit after my Doctor told me my Cholesterol was high.

For many years I hankered to run a marathon, but I wanted to do it once, and do it big, so kept entering the ballot for the London Marathon, and kept getting rejected, but in 2016 I won a ballot place and started training through the winter months. 

As part of my training, I entered the Warwick Half Marathon on 2 April 2016, three weeks before the London. The evening before we received the terrible news that my wife, Claire had lost her sister, Lucy. Lucy died very suddenly and we were all devastated by the news but nevertheless, I ran the half Marathon the next day, and three weeks later, the day after Lucy's funeral - I ran the London Marathon. It was a day of very mixed emotions for me but I felt the warmth of the crowds lining the 26.2 mile route incredible. 

We later found out that Lucy had died of Lung Cancer and I decided to try and get some positives out of this terrible tragedy. I told Lucy's Husband that I would enter the London Ballot once more and if I got a place, I would run and raise funds for a charity of his choosing, Sam (Lucy’s Husband) thought this was a good idea. 

Months later, in October, when we were motorcycling in Vietnam - my Daughter sent me a scan of my London Marathon acceptance form - I was in again!  Sam and his 3 grown up children had chosen the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation and we chose the Liverpool Half Marathon to run as a family on 1 April 2017 - a year to the day since we lost Lucy. Myself and Claire, and Sam and Lucy's 3 children, Jeremy, Nick and Georgie all ran and raised funds. It was a tough day for us all but we all finished and felt good that we had done something positive on a dark anniversary day. 

Three weeks later I was at the start in Blackheath along with 40,000 other runners, the atmosphere was amazing and as I crossed the start line 17 minutes past 10 am (it takes that long to get to the start!). I started my second London Marathon, determined to better my time from last year of 5 hours and 59 mins! 

If you have your name on your running shirt, you are supported even more in London. Over the next few hours, I was never far away from strangers shouting at me to keep going, offered sweets, drinks, beer and kinds words of encouragement – a brilliant and heart-warming experience without a doubt.

I had been fighting an injured knee and unfortunately at Mile 15 it let me know it was still none too happy. I had to reduce my pace to a walk until Claire found me at mile 18 and strapped my knee, filled me with painkillers, bananas and energy drink and I set off once more. Still encouraged by the wonderful crowd, I started to feel a little better and by Mile 23 my knee felt good enough to run on again. Running down the Embankment with Big Ben in sight is the best view in the world to a London runner; it means you are nearly home and as I turned right at Big Ben I saw Claire, Sam and our friends shouting me on.

I crossed the finish 6 minutes faster than last year - elated and worn out! I could not walk for three days but I raised over £3,500 and the family in total raised £12,000 for the Roy Castle Foundation.

Am I doing the London Marathon again? - you bet!

If you would like to contribute to Wayne’s fundraising efforts, please visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Wayne-Olorenshaw1

Shakespeare's Home Sets Dec Wyer Up For The Big Screen

Young OP Dec Wyer Shares News Of His Recent Acting Endeavours Since Leaving Princethorpe.

I left Princethorpe in June 2015 and started an acting course at Stratford-upon-Avon College in September of the same year. In January 2016 I was approached through college to audition for a documentary called ‘The Baby Faced Killer’, an episode in the series ‘Stalkers Who Kill’, for CBS Reality. This was based on the true story of the grooming and murder of 14-year-old, Breck Bednar back in 2014. I was successful in my audition and the show was aired in March 2016.

More recently, I have found an agent to represent me. They are a prestigious agent based in London and have many successful actors on board. Since being with them I have had many auditions and have been involved in a children's series for CBBC (yet to be aired) and also a recorded a TV commercial for Amazon recently.

My latest project has been for a period film based on the reign of Queen Anne, called 'The Favourite'. I play a footman which is a feature role, with a small amount of speaking. There are many famous actors in the film and the experience has been amazing. The film will be out next year.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Dec on the big screen soon! 

Past Head Girl Hannah Brindley Returns From Year Abroad in Oz

Hannah updates us as she reflects on her year abroad in Australia enthusing about the benefits of travelling and the amazing opportunities that have come her way. 

As my final few months in Australia come to an end I cannot help but reflect on what a year it is has been. Just last weekend I climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge, something I had wanted to do from the beginning of my year here. Looking over Sydney on a gorgeous sunny day (though it is getting colder believe it or not!!) felt like a great way to tie together the year.

I have been working hard too, contrast to what people may think it is not ALL a holiday. I have studied harder this year than ever before, taking third year classes whilst having a part time job and trying to see as much of Australia as I can at the same time as proved to be a bit of a challenge.

Luckily for me Australia wasn’t too much of a cultural change and (though I cannot speak for those who spent time in perhaps less familiar places) I have not missed home as much as I thought I would. I miss the people more than the place. However, I have been lucky enough to meet some truly wonderful people out here which has helped me a lot. Most of them being exchange students from the UK, so when we all part ways it will be nice to know we can visit each other soon.

This time away from home has really opened my eyes to how little of the UK I’ve visited! And we are only a little island in comparison! I am looking forward to doing more exploring when I’m home. I would truly recommend this experience to anyone who is thinking about spending time abroad. These 12 months have definitely . Get out of your comfort zone while you can! Travelling is truly remarkable. It leaves you speechless and makes you a story teller. 

Becky Thornton Returns To Her Roots As New Deputy IT Manager

Becky joins our growing IT department having spent six years with a leading education software provider, Groupcall. Immediately prior to that she worked as an IT Technician at a secondary school in Coventry and at Warwickshire County Council supporting schools across the county. Becky is an Old Princethorpian, nee Uglow; she left Princethorpe College Sixth Form in 2002 to pursue a degree in Theatre – seemingly an unrelated degree to her career - you’d be surprised how handy it can be!

Becky is the 3rd person from the class of ’02 to return to Princethorpe, along with Matt Parsons and Jenny Vaughan (nee Feltbower). Seemingly there was something in the water that year to produce a hat trick of returning students!

Becky is married, with two children, a puppy and a parrot to keep her busy out of work. The whole family enjoy outdoor activities, including the parrot who likes to spook fellow walkers by wolf-whistling or saying hello to them!

Chris Sanders Has The Bright Lights Of Cannes Firmly In His Sights

At Princethorpe in the late eighties, Old Princethorpian Chris Sanders is a trained actor, short film producer, published author and optioned screenwriter.

With several projects going on in different stages of development, things are nothing short of exciting for Chris at the moment!

His book, The Thief’s Son, published in 2014 is a fast-paced, mystery thriller about a young photo-journalist, Sam Locke, who stumbles across his estranged, criminal father while on assignment in Colombia. Attracting the attention of Skyfall Assistant Director Weiwei Si, Chris has been asked to collaborate on a screenplay of his book which Weiwei is hoping to direct.

More recently, having produced a few short films of his own, Chris auditioned for a role in a new ‘Film Noir’ movie Agent Kelly and shortly found himself jetting off to Spain. Playing twin brothers who are both assassins, the story follows a female assassin who avenged the killing of a friend but who now becomes the hunted… tense stuff! Shot on location in El Ejido, Spain, Chris and the other cast and crew are planning to head to Cannes with the finished film next year.

Good luck Chris – we look forward to hearing how you get on!

Chris’ book is available to buy on Amazon here: www.amzn.com/B00A7V8MRU  

Greg’s Wanderlust Soon To Become A Reality

OP Greg Higginson (2014), known for his love of the theatre and all things dramatic, embarks on his next adventure to Tanzania for three months to give back to society.

Greg will be leaving for a three-month volunteering expedition in two weeks’ time. He will be teaching the local school children basic Maths and English and putting his DIY skills to good use building foundations for schools and houses. He also plans to run some drama workshops to bring out the children’s confidence. Keen to help improve the employability rate, Greg will also be teaching some of the older residents’ key communication and interview skills to increase their chances of getting jobs in the local areas or even in the bigger cities. Greg will be staying with a family in the local village which means he'll have no power for three months and rare chances to shower in temperatures reaching 40°C at night!

Greg says, “I had such a fortunate childhood and was able learn vital interpersonal skills and to do the things I love, like drama clubs. I wanted to take this volunteering trip to give back to the less fortunate and teach them how to make the most of their life.”

So far his fundraising activities and events have included coffee mornings, Krispy Kreme Doughnut sales, activity stalls at Fete’s and Dog shows and a Quiz Night!

This is the second solo expedition Greg has taken this year alongside working part time at the RSC Theatre in Stratford. He returned from Asia in February after travelling through the busy streets of Bangkok, boating in the scenic waters of Khao Sok National Park and relaxing in the infamous Ha Long Bay. Plus, teaching in a school in Hanoi proved to Greg that this is something he wants to continue doing.

If you would like learn more about Greg’s story, to donate or just wish Greg luck on his journey please follow the link below.



Samuel Lands Dream Job With Marks and Spencers

Samuel Higginson who left Princethorpe in 2012 updates us on how he has landed his dream job with top food retailer M and S. 

Originally I wanted to be a pathologist, but Mrs Smith my Chemistry teacher told me about a Summer School at Reading University where I could go and learn about Food Science. This sounded perfect as I could combine my love of food and cooking with my passion for science, especially chemistry.

After my A-levels I went to study Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Nottingham. Between years 2 and 3 I completed an industrial placement year working at Marks and Spencer Head Office in London working as a Food Technologist. I was lucky enough initially to be put in the desserts department where I spent six months working on chocolate eclairs (tough job!). My second six months was spent working in the Food on the Move department… sandwiches to most people. One of the most exciting things was when products I had been working on started being sold and I could go and see them in store. After my year with M&S I went back to finish my degree and researched sushi rice for my dissertation for which I got a first!

I’m now nine months into the M&S graduate scheme and currently in the groceries department looking after all kinds of products from fajita kits to jams. I’m lucky that I get to travel all over the country visiting suppliers and developing the products of the future, making sure they are safe, legal and high quality. No day is ever the same and it’s a career I would recommend to anyone.

You can still attend a food science summer school if you are in Year 12, just visit the IGD website.

Home Nations Hockey Highs For Alex Rooney

Having left Princethorpe in 2014, Alex is studying Sports Coaching Science Coaching at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He plays Hockey for Teddington Hockey Club (the oldest hockey club in the world no less!) and last Saturday 13 May was given the Leon Blanchard Memorial Trophy as Club Player of the Year. Earlier in April, Alex and other sportsmen and women from his University were part of teams representing England in the revived ‘Home Nations’ tournament. He tells us more…

After a 5-year hiatus, the ‘Home Nations’ tournament between England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland returned to Edinburgh from 11-13 April. The tournament welcomed six teams from each nation comprising male and female teams fielded for Hockey, Rugby 7s and Football. Unfortunately, Ireland dropped out, which left us facing Wales and Scotland. 

I began my involvement in the program through regional trials, and then national trials. Leading up to the tournament itself, we had a training day in Leeds the day before and made our way up to Edinburgh the morning after. The men’s hockey squad was made up of an ambitious bunch of boys, including a Belgian and an Irish U18, a Scottish U21 and GB U23, so we had a good wealth of experience and quality plus two fantastic coaches.  

We played at Peffermill Playing fields, the Edinburgh University sports pitches and the atmosphere was fantastic. With some world-class facilities at our feet, an excited vibe of elite sport and opportunity was evident.

On the first day of competition, we watched Wales play Scotland, which provided us with some vital information towards our playing strategy. Training in the evening, we shared tactics with the ladies’ hockey squad back at the hotel ahead of our first match against Wales the next day. Facing tough competition and securing a 2-2 draw, we went on to win against Wales on penalty flicks! Post-match, we were cheering on the England Rugby 7s teams (including two other St Mary’s boys) who secured victory in all their matches.

We returned again to the hotel in the evening to share a rehab and recovery session with the ladies ahead of our final match on Thursday. With an early start against Scotland, we unfortunately lost 3-1, but it certainly didn’t mar the experience.

It was great to have the opportunity to represent England in the Home Nations tournament and spending time together as a group. I’m looking forward to the next challenge! 

School’s Finally Out For Lauren And Sophie

Thinking they were leaving with their peers in July last year Lauren Whitfield and Sophie Nicholls returned to Princethorpe in September as staff members rather than students. They reflect on their extra year at Princethorpe and tell us about their exciting plans for the summer.

Lauren continues…
After securing my place at Loughborough University to study Retailing, Marketing and Management I knew that this year as the Marketing, Admissions and Communications intern would be invaluable experience for my future career. It has been a whistle stop tour of Marketing in action, learning about the importance of social media, brand image and how to stuff 150 goodie bags in an hour! Being part of big events has been my favourite aspect, as I love seeing the final product and everyone having a good time because of your team’s hard work. It has definitely been a fast-paced learning curve; joining in the college’s Golden Jubilee year meant LOTS of events and activities that have been challenging at times but so much fun.

Using the skills I’d learnt from my Photography A-level proved to be huge asset to the marketing function of the Foundation. Taking photos at school events or for press releases meant I am often dotting around school with my camera in hand. But not only has Marketing with Mel, Hattie and Helen S been fun but also the Admissions side of the job with Vanessa and Helen teaching me about the application process which I went through 8 years ago.

This job has been a real eye-opener and I can’t thank the team enough for all of the patience, guidance and good humour they have shown me over the past 9 months. I will miss coming into work and having Hattie shout Happy Monday (every Monday), the calming essential oils diffuser in Vanessa’s office, which always puts us at ease and when Mel says a lyric of a song and sings the rest.

Sophie continues…
When I started as a TA at Princethorpe, I honestly had no idea what to expect. I have been part of a variety of departments, which has shown me a new side of Princethorpe that as a pupil you are completely oblivious. Some of my highlights include games afternoon coaching and umpiring netball, which has been my main sport for a number of years. Being able to pass on what I have learnt from not only school netball but also external clubs has been really rewarding.

This year I joined Offchurch Netball club, and also enjoyed playing in a fun social league on Thursday nights with fellow OP Lottie Jones and new PE teacher Hannah Carminati. Being part of the TA team has been the best, working with Mia and Tim from Australia and Rob, James and Katherine whom I have known for years. Supported by Matt and Greg taking me under their wing, as well as the other TAs, has shown me the importance of leadership and teamwork. Living in residence meant this year I could still see Izzy every now and then as she travels back and forth from Crackley, being the TA for Junior 5. We went on a ski trip together over the February half term to retreat from school and for me do something new; Izzy was a pro… I tried my best.

I am going to miss loads of things when I leave: my form group FAC, all the staff I have become really close with and Princethorpe in general. I will definitely be returning from Nottingham for OP events or say hi to everyone. I am so excited for the next few months though; travelling with Lauren is going to be amazing and then starting my Geography course at Nottingham University!

Over summer, we both plan to travel around Europe to tick a few items off our bucket list. We will be gone for a month and leave just two days after we break up for summer so no time for messing around. We start in Barcelona and travel though Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Salzburg, Verona, Lake Garda, Florence, Rome, Naples and Sorrento. We have been booking hostels, Airbnbs and flights in lunchtimes, after school and on weekends to get everything ready and organised. We see each other in the corridor and we both have that sudden excitement that were leaving in a few weeks’ time for the sun and bright sights of Europe.

MSC's Announce OP Fr Carl Tranter MSC As Their Next Provincial Superior

The Princethorpe community extends its heartfelt congratulations to Fr Carl Tranter MSC on his election to the role of Provincial Superior for the Irish Province of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart. He will take over from the present Provincial, Fr Joseph McGee MSC, in September of this year, immediately after the MSC General Chapter in Rome.

Fr Carl was born in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, and was educated by the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart at Princethorpe College. After a couple of years working in banking, he began his formation with the MSC in Ireland in 1986 and was professed in 1989. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1993.

Fr Carl began his ministerial life in the parish of St John the Baptist, Tamworth, Staffordshire. In 1998, he commenced further studies in adult education and pastoral theology in Boston College, Boston, USA. For the following five years, he was involved in the formation of laity and clergy for collaborative ministry across all the territories of the Irish Province.

In 2005, Fr Carl was appointed superior of an international MSC community living a ministry of presence in a poor, multicultural, and troubled neighbourhood of the city of Birmingham, UK. For the last six years, he has been Assistant Superior General of the MSC Congregation and a member of the General Council in Rome. During this time, he has travelled extensively throughout the world, with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart ministering in 50 countries in all of the world’s continents. Fr Carl brings with him a great variety of cultural and religious experience, which will enrich his leadership contribution to the Irish Province.

We congratulate Fr Carl on his election and hope his new role will enable him to be a more frequent visitor to Princethorpe in the future.