Births, Deaths & Marriages


Laura Hanrahan Welcomes Baby Ava

OP Laura Hanrahan (nee Crosby-Harris) and husband Phil share news of their latest family addition.

Ava Isobel May Hanrahan was born on 3rd November 2018. Words cannot describe how much love we have for her, she melts our hearts. We are so so lucky to have such a happy and content little lady!

Congratulations, Laura and Phil!


Fr Pat O'Sullivan, MSC - RIP

Fr Pat O’Sullivan, MSC passed away in September. He was a Science teacher at the College from 1972 to 1974. 

Born in Glengarriff, Co Cork, Ireland, he was the second youngest of a family of eleven siblings.  He joined the MSCs in 1961 and was ordained in 1967. 

On leaving Princethorpe he went to Liverpool to teach in a comprehensive school until 1982 when he undertook parish ministry and in 1986 was appointed as Headmaster of the MSC school in Cork.  From 1995 he served in a number of parishes in Ireland.  Fr Pat died on 18 September 2018 surrounded by his family and community.  May he rest in peace.

Carolyn Booth - RIP

Carolyn Booth, who taught English and Drama at the College from 1980 to the early 2000s, sadly passed away just before Christmas.  We thank her colleague and great friend Moira Weir for writing the following tribute to her. Carolyn is pictured front left with Alex Darkes, Pat and Moira Weir.

Carolyn Booth was, quite simply, a treasure. She joined the English Department  at Princethorpe in the mid 1980’s  and spent over 20 years here as a devoted member of staff – devoted to her pupils, her subject, her colleagues and the ethos of the College. Loyalty and integrity defined her character. She was passionate about her family and her students and brought to her teaching a warmth and generosity which encouraged even the most uncertain learners to thrive.

Carolyn’s love for Literature, and Drama in particular, was fostered by her mother who took her daughters from childhood on an annual pilgrimage from their home in Lytham St Anne’s to the Memorial Theatre at Stratford on Avon. Caroline relished the glamour of these visits and went on to specialise in English and Drama in her Education degree. Her teaching was always enriched by her love for theatre and for the power of language and it was this enthusiasm, combined with rigorous high standards for herself and every one of her pupils, which defined her success in the classroom. She was a great teacher, with a wonderful ability to spot latent talent and give students the skills to astonish themselves and their parents under her patient guidance. And she was fun. Teaching next to her for many years, I soon recognised, when I heard hoots of laughter interspersed with her own gloriously resonant (she had a beautiful voice) notes of direction, that her class was in the middle of a rumbustious rendition of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, her own reverence for language shared joyously with many who had feared its difficulties.

She was a specialist in bringing confidence in language to young people who had struggled to find their own voice and she was endlessly inventive in finding ways to unlock the secrets of words for them. She always fought for their right to be heard. Helena’s description of Hermia was never truer than when Carolyn was championing one of her pupils:

“..though she be but little, she is fierce”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream   Act 111 sc 2

This determination to support and enable those in her care made her a stunning form tutor. She was unstinting in chivvying, checking and organising her form to produce well-presented work on time, to behave appropriately, to raise funds for charities, to compete heroically and be the best they possibly could in all aspects of school life. She knew them thoroughly, faults as well as virtues, and defended them stoutly if she felt they had been misunderstood. (She could also give a ringing telling off if occasion arose, never confusing softness with fairness. They trusted her always to be fair.) She dealt with their problems with tact, tenderness and common sense.

As a colleague she was whole-hearted, generous with her time and endless good fun. She performed with gusto in staff revues, plays and pantomimes, ran the drama club for years and supported the Parents’ Association in their fund-raising endeavours (with husband, Mike, always ‘volunteered’ as essential technical support). She was simply lovely to be with and could always be trusted to enliven dreary moments in a staff meeting with some drily apposite comment that would have her co-conspirator from Priors Marston, Rosie Neal, leading the laughter. There was a lot of laughter with Carolyn, so much exuberance, so much to live for, which made the condition which struck her so particularly tragic.

But her legacy remains, not only in her own lovely and successful daughters (how proud she would be of them both). There are many men and women today who owe their confidence in public speaking, their facility with language, their ability to write reports, analyse difficult processes, perform on stage - and to introduce their own children to the delights of theatre and Shakespeare in particular – to one small teacher with one great heart. Carolyn, we salute you. 

Fr Pat Courtney, MSC - RIP

Fr Pat Courtney, MSC sadly passed away on Thursday 7 February in Killarney, Ireland.

Fr Pat was born on 30th May 1941 in Killarney, Ireland. After completing his secondary education, he joined the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart [MSC] and on completion of his philosophy and theology studies was ordinated on 21st December 1966. The first appointment of his priestly ministry was as a teacher in St Bede’s College in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Not long thereafter he was promoted to lecturer in Church History and Assistant Novice Master in the MSC house of studies in Galway, Ireland. On completion of further studies, he was assigned as Parish Priest in St Albert’s, Liverpool where he worked tirelessly for the people both for the Church and in education in what was then a socially deprived area. While normally shy of the limelight, he appeared in the national newspapers as the person who had built the first vandal-proof school.

After his time in Liverpool, Pat became bursar in Princethorpe College where he showed his aptitude and capabilities in the finance department. Not long after stepping down from the post he was appointed as Parish Priest in St Albans & St Stephens in St Albans. After another trip back to Ireland he was appointed Deputy Provincial of the Irish Province, a post he enjoyed as he travelled the world to meetings and engaging with fellow MSC’s. In 2005 he was elected as Provincial Leader of the Irish Province and from 2011 spent his retirement days in Ireland.

Fr Pat’s contribution to Princethorpe College was immeasurable for a man who worked very much behind the scenes. His years as bursar and latterly as Chair of Governors laid the foundation for the College to be the success it is today. His dogged determination at meetings was a hallmark of his ability to focus on the essentials and while listening to other viewpoints he was always concerned as to what was best for the College community of staff, parents and students. Offering a listening ear was his way of living out in the College ethos of caring for others.         

Fr Pat was a wise priest and very much a pastoral man committed to his faith and ministry. He was never happier than in convivial company and most likely with a pint of Guinness or a glass of Jameson in his hand. 

We will remember him with great affection and we commend him to the Lord.


OP Rodothea Paphitis & Savvas - Marriage

OP Rodothea Paphitis (née Kefalas) who left Princethorpe in 2010, got married to Savvas on 21 October 2018. Rodothea contines their story below...

Savvas and I have been together for over three years. We met at a Greek wedding - I was a bridesmaid, and he was a groomsman.

We got married at the same church and venue as the wedding we met at, which was a nice full circle for us. Our wedding was a traditional Greek wedding which involved blessings at our homes and a ceremony at the Greek Orthodox Church in Birmingham. The weather was perfect, we were very lucky to have sunshine and warmth so late in October.

There were a lot of current Foundation staff in attendance and some Old Princethorpians including Lottie Jones and Jordan Casewell who were bridesmaids. Sophie Sheridan, also an Old Princthorpian, was my hair stylist and did an amazing job. Also in attendance was Harry Barnes, Andy Lawn, George Phedon, Alice and Charlie Green and Hannah Pell.

We had an amazing day and are so grateful to all our friends and family who made the day so special for us.

I’m now working at Crackley Hall School, it is lovely to still be part of the Foundation. Sav works at an accountancy firm.

OP Oly Perkins and Beth - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Oly Perkins and his Fiancé Beth Wright got engaged in May. Oly tells us more below...

I left Princethorpe in 2006. I’m now a research scientist at the University of Bath, doing exercise physiology and nutrition research. I completed my PhD there a couple of years ago, studying physiology of muscle in ageing, and did my undergraduate degree there too in Sports and Exercise Science. Beth was a ballet dancer in her youth, but is now a doctor, specialising in Dermatology at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Our wedding will take place in September 2019 at Belvoir Castle, near to where Beth grew up, and where her late grandparents met - he was a butler and she was a girl in service for a family that used to visit for shooting.

Congratulations Oly and Beth!

OP Grace Pugh and William - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Grace Pugh and her fiancé William Hale got engaged in June, Grace takes up the story below...

William and I met while studying for our degrees at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. Soon after, William moved to London and I gained a place on the British Horseracing Association (BHA) graduate scheme. In 2017 we both moved to Newmarket where I currently work for Marco Botti as a racing secretary and William works as a contract manager for a local Tree and Landscaping Company.

William proposed to me on a picnic in a park last June and it was made even more special as my engagement ring belonged to his grandmother.

We are getting married in a church in a small village near Newark in June and will be celebrating with family and friends. My sister Hannah (Princethorpe: 2001-2007) is bridesmaid and my brothers, Michael (Princethorpe: 2000-2006) and Tom (Princethorpe: 2005-2012) are ushers.

We are looking forward to the big day and hoping for good weather.

Wishing you lots of joy Grace and William! 

OP Alice Braithwaite and Matthew - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Alice Braithwaite and her fiancé Matthew Higson got engaged in December, she tells us how they got together.

Matthew is videographer for an outdoor company called Ellis Brighams, I am a store manager for River Island. We actually met online! Our second date was in Dublin which we booked on our first date. It is where we got engaged ,at the top of the Guinness Storehouse!

Our plans for the big day are to have a relaxed day with lots of sunflowers and a big paella! A very small affair and low key.

Enjoy your day Alice and Matthew!

OP Alice Pickin and Tom - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Alice Pickin and her fiancé Tom Affud got engaged in January, here's their story.

Tom and I bumped into each other at a police station! Tom is a Police Sergeant and I was there for work as I used to work in hygiene sales and so was surveying police headquarters. We got talking and haven't looked back since!

Now I work in dental sales in both private practices and hospitals, with a unique product called Cerezen that provides relief from facial pain. Tom is a Police Sergeant at Northamptonshire Police.

Our wedding will be held at Ladbroke Church, the village where I grew up, followed by a marquee reception in my parents' garden, in April 2020.

Congratulations Alice and Tom!

OP Jodie Fisher and Richard - Engagement

Congratulations to Jodie Fisher and her fiance Richard Kelsall who have just got engaged.  Jodies tells us more...

Richard and I met through Bilton Silver Band as this is the band I play in and his dad plays in. Richard works at JLR doing an apprenticeship which finishes in September and I work at Princethorpe and Crackley teaching Brass alongside an Open University degree.

We have some ideas of venue for the big day and we are aiming for April next year.