OP Updates

OP Tony Cowland Judges ISA Midlands Region Art Competition

A huge thank you to OP Tony Cowland who travelled from the depths of Sussex to be Chief Judge at the ISA Midlands Regional Art Competition held at Princethorpe today (Friday 7 October).

It's the first time in 15 years that Princethorpe has hosted the regional competition and the exhibition was set up in the College's beautiful, historic Chapel.

Tony, who left the College over 40 years ago is now a renowned artist and illustrator. He judged the competition alongside Barbara Forster, Headteacher of Ruckleigh School.

12 ISA Midlands-based schools took part in the competition with work represented from age 3 to 18 years. 150 pieces were appraised from 2D and 3D art, to textiles, fashion, sketchbook, photography and drawing.

The best pieces were awarded either 1st, 2nd or Highly Commended, and the first place winners now go on to the National ISA Art Competition in November.

Commented Tony, "It's been a busy but rewarding day, we saw some true flashes of genuine creativity and imagination amongs the entries. We wish all our winners good luck in the National Finals!".


Three Horseshoes Meet Up For Class Of 1986

On the eve of Princefest OPs John Sage and Mike Cleary (1979-1986) decided to round up a few of the '84 and '86 leavers - and the natural choice of venue was their old stomping ground of the Three Horseshoes. 

There was a decent turnout and, given that it was the first time most people had laid eyes on each other for 30 years, banter levels were soon rising nicely: among the observations was that Wardy (Simon Ward) was still scrounging a lift home - no change there, then - and that somebody should report the theft of Ben Collett's hair to Warwickshire Police. Colin Morgan came along as the Honorary Teacher, and remembered a pretty good chunk of his former pupils' names - old habits die hard. 

By the end of the night Mike Cleary was in full in planning mode for the next reunion, which won't wait another 30 years.

The OPs who came along were John Sage, Mike Cleary, Ben Collett, Simon Ward, Alex Johnson (Healey), Georgina Cowley, Kevin Grant, Jeremy Butler, Paul Doherty, Noel 'Ralph' McDermott, Martin Nwanga, Luke Morris,Tim Wadland and Martin Robson

Bof Kefalas Starts New Role At Compton Verney

I started in my role as Facilities Manager here at Compton Verney in May this year. For those that don’t know, Compton Verney is an Art Gallery and Park located in Warwickshire. My responsibilities include buildings & facilities management, financial planning, operations, health & safety and security. There are quite a few things that I have had to learn quickly, especially regarding the environmental controls required for the artwork. There are certain temperature, humidity and lighting levels that must be maintained in order to protect the art. We have collections of our own, however every three months we have new temporary exhibitions and the environmental records for the galleries are requested by lenders before they agree to lending their works for exhibitions. We also heat our main building via a water-source heat pump which comes from our stunning lake; understanding how the above all works may seem boring for some but not for me, I like it.

I really am enjoying my role here, it is a lovely place to work and the staff are all nice, which helps. I really do recommend anyone to come and visit as there is so much to do here. There’s so much to choose from: seeing the exhibitions and collections, eating in the restaurant and café, or enjoying the grounds where we have bird watching and pond-dipping facilities as well as a children’s play area too. Of course I loved my time at Princethorpe: I don't look upon this like it's the end, I look upon it like it's moving on, it's almost like my work there was done.

What is the single most important thing for a company? Is it the building? Is it the stock? Is it the turnover? It's the people, investment in people and at Princethorpe, there’s some great people. I do miss the crack with the Estates and Grounds teams especially, as well as various other members of staff.

I came back for Princefest which was a great success and I’m sure I’ll be back on occasion in the future; it would be good to see some of you over here at Compton Verney too.

OP Mark Hartley Is The Link In The Chain For College Coast To Coast Cyclists

Over the Trinity Term Friday evening’s cycling club remains a vital link in the extra-curricular chain of events welcoming over twenty keen cyclists each week. Now in its third year, Mr Will Bower’s avid team of bike die-hards were preparing for a bigger feat; a coast to coast tour of England. The tour, starting in Whitehaven on Saturday 10 July wound its away across 140 miles of north-eastern countryside to land up in Tynemouth six days later. This infamous route, the C2C to those in the know, prefered twelve Princethorpe College cyclists and four accompanying members of staff unrivalled access to some of the most beautiful parts of the Lake District fells and North Pennines. With a saddle distance of thirty miles endured each day, the team prepared by taking Department of Transport Bikeability tests. These levelled assessments provided the cyclists with experience of practical skills, route planning and confidence on a range of roads.

At the last Friday’s club meet, participants were awarded with their Bikeability certificates as well as being given the opportunity to meet Old Princethorpian, Mark Hartley, who owns Warwick bike shop Velo Esprit. Mark, and his technician, Jason Mountford, gave practical demonstrations informing pupils how to maintain brakes, tyres, chains and gears; all vital information for when enduring climbs of up to 4500 metres on remote rural roads.

Cycling Club Coordinator and trip leader for the C2C tour, Mr Bower went on,

“The idea of a tour seemed a natural progression from the work that we’d been doing each week on and off the roads. Mark’s visit gave us all an insight into the technicalities of the bike as a machine. We knew what emergency repair kits to carry with us and felt better equipped to deal with the eventuality of a chain breaking or a brake losing friction.’

At the beginning of the holidays the intrepid squad of cyclists took on 180 miles of disused railway lines, off road tracks and minor roads in their bid to succeed as what’s deemed a ‘challenging’ route by the National Cycle Network. 

Minor teething problems such as the inevitable saddle sore, punctures and less than clement weather did little to wither the steadfast spirit amongst this Blyton-esque touring group. Trip leader, Mr Will Bower, commented on the cheerful spirit amongst the riders: their unflappable resilience and sense of achievement as the end of the road drew nearer. With overnight accommodation in comfortable Youth Hostels along the way there was plenty of recovery time nourished by some pretty secure carbo loading to ensure energy levels remained high.

Mr Bower went on, “What was most impressive was the bonding between the pack. With boys from across different year groups it was great to see how well they got on, how they helped each other and encouraged one another during some of our longer days when we were riding upmost of forty miles. Thanks to Mark and Jason we were equipped to take on whatever the challenge threw at us!"

Leamington Meet Up For Ka Wai Lee And Her Teachers

Earlier in the Summer the Old Princethorpians got a plea from Ka Wai Lee to try and help her arrange a meeting with her former teachers whilst she was on a flying visit to England.

Ka Wai from Hong Kong was at the College for Sixth Form from 1992-1994 doing her A-levels in Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry and was keen to find time during a business trip to London for a catch up with former teachers, Colin Morgan, Steve White, John Miller and John Hopwood.

She is now working for an Australian bank in Hong Kong and is married with two sons aged six and three.

A flurry of emails later and Ka Wai was sitting in Leamington on a delightful May evening at the Turtle Bay restaurant rekindling old times with Mr Morgan and Mr White. How's that for a little Princethorpe magic?

Alex Mushore Accepted By Bristol Old Vic

News has reached the OPs that Alex Mushore has been accepted to Bristol Old Vic Theatre School to train in professional acting. Only 14 students are taken a year out of thousands of applicants, and the School boasts famous alumni such as Sir Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons and Daniel Day Lewis.  

Alex is now looking for sponsorship and help fundraising for his second year of training, as he is ineligible for a student loan from the government as he has already had one for a previous degree.

To that end he has set up a gofundme page: 


Alex takes up the story....

When I first came to Princethorpe in 2002 and boarded in Year 8, I was involved in a number of drama productions. When I came back to Princethorpe for Sixth Form in 2006, I had scoliosis surgery and lost a little bit of that confidence I had before to perform. 

I then made sure I worked very hard and was advised when I decided on a Drama degree by my parents to study something else I was passionate about, with the promise that I could always pursue Drama once I had done so. I chose Psychology, and got a first class honours degree from my BSc in Marketing and Psychology and a Distinction in my MSc in Organisational Psychology. In the middle of my MSc, it was discovered that I have dyslexia and mild dyspraxia but I have never let that hold me back in any way during my studies. 

At university I had been performing in a number of shows and training part time at Identity Drama School in London. Following graduation, I worked at Warwick Business School as a Behavioural Science Lab Manager whilst performing in amateur theatre and doing evening courses at Birmingham School of Acting. 

During my time working, I have been saving and auditioning for Drama Schools. I was unsuccessful last year although I got to the last stage of Oxford School of Drama. This year, I got to the last stages of all the schools appied to: LAMDA, National Theatre School of Canada, Oxford School of Drama and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Out of those four, I was offered places at Oxford and Bristol.

I am now over the moon to be through but need some help so if anyone could offer any advice on funding or scholarships I could look into or if anyone can help me with fundraising or sponsorship I'd be really grateful.

I would really appreciate any support anyone is able to give me as I undertake this new journey.

Past Head Girl Hannah Brindley Spends Year Aboard In Australia

Next week I will have been in Australia for three months. It’s absolutely flown by already (which is quite scary) and I am making some truly incredible memories! I have been to the Sydney Opera House, wandered through the Blue Mountains, surfed with dolphins, drunk rather a lot of coffee in Melbourne and taken a helicopter flight over the 12 Apostles. I cannot wait to see what else this year brings!

I joined half way through the academic year as Down Under they do things slightly differently. It’s strange having to start again in terms of making friends etc. Luckily my love of acting has helped a lot. Next week I am performing in a series of sketches written, starring and directed by women. Not only are all the proceeds of the event going to charity but I have met some truly inspiring women in the process.

University work is definitely keeping me busy too! I always have some piece of work to be doing as I am assessed on a number of different things for each module, however in a month or so exams will over and I will have summer out here! A Christmas BBQ on the beach is calling. It’s hard at times. I miss everyone at home, friends at University and of course my wonderful PC family. Nevertheless, I know I’ve have been extremely lucky to have been offered this once in a lifetime opportunity. I only hope I continue to make the most of it.

Harry Graduates And Secures New Job At Akuma Sportswear

After recently graduating from university I have secured a job with Akuma sportswear, a leading supplier of grassroots sportswear with a particular focus on rugby, cycling and polo. My role includes liaising with customers throughout the production process and the administrative aspect of production. 

As a keen sportsman this market is of great interest to me and I am enjoying the high pressure environment that our 2-3 week kit turnaround can create. I am currently in my third month at Akuma and I have joined during the busiest time of the year, with rugby clubs, schools and universities all ordering their kits. I have certainly been thrown in at the deep end with full control of client's orders, organising our factories schedule and working closely with our sales representatives on new enquiries.

I am looking forward to the continued learning and responsibility that this role, inside a relatively small company, can provide me in the near future. 

Graduation Day For Emma Fletcher

I had a fantastic  time at Harper Adams University and after four years of studying, I was awarded a 2:1 in Agriculture BSc (Hons). I decided not to specialise my degree down a certain agricultural route as this enabled me to learn about all of the different aspects of agriculture, gaining a broader knowledge base.

My third year was a year in industry, in which I worked for Moy Park with a poultry scholarship. I was able to learn and work in many different areas of the agricultural sector of this business, gaining a rare insight into the efficiency and high levels of productivity found in the broiler meat industry (at much higher levels than most other agricultural industries). This year inspired my choice of dissertation in my final year; which I chose to research ‘If the UK leaves the EU what are the possible impacts on the broiler meat industry’. This study was obviously a very topical and current subject, and it will now be interesting to put my study into practice, discovering the real outcomes from the Brexit. During this final year I was also lucky enough to be awarded the John Longwill Agricultural Scholarship. Since then, this summer I was working in Norwich for Anglia Farmers on the livestock desk, which is very large national buying group for farmers.

Going forward, I am taking some time out to travel. On Wednesday 5 October I am flying to the USA with a friend to travel around the country for two months. After this I am hoping to work and travel in New Zealand, also visiting parts of Asia, Europe and Australia. After my travelling, I am hoping to return to the family farms to develop some existing and new enterprises. With the hope to maybe start a new livestock enterprise in the future, but also looking into further diversifying the farms with potential enterprises such as glamping, equestrian facilities and a green burial ground.