Births, Deaths & Marriages

A Warm Welcome For Baby Vinnie

Libbi Mead (nee Butler), Class of 2005, and her husband Craig are happy to announce the birth of their son, Vinnie David Michael Mead, who arrived on Monday 6 July weighing in at 7lb 7oz.

We were delighted to hear your news. Huge congratulations to you all.

Nick And Vicky Welcome Baby Archie

OP Nick Green, Class of 2008, and his wife Vicky are delighted to announce the birth of Archie Arthur Simon Green. Archie was born on Thursday 9 July at 6.09am weighing in at 7lb 11oz.

Best wishes and many congratulations to you all.

A New Arrival For Lucy Litwinko

On Tuesday 15 September 2020, Lucy Litwinko (nee Hayes), who was a pupil at Princethorpe College from 1994 to 2001, and her husband Jason, welcomed the arrival of their second child Zachary Gabriel Francis weighing in at 7lbs 8oz. 

Their daughter Sophia, who was baptised at Princethorpe's Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in 2014, has settled into the role of big sister really well.

Many congratulations from us all at Princethorpe, we were delighted to hear your news.

Charlotte And Luke Announce The Arrival Of Aurora-Rose

Charlotte Harris, who attended Princethorpe from 2003 to 2008, and her partner Luke are happy to announce the safe arrival of their daughter Aurora-Rose.

Congratulations to you all we were delighted to hear your wonderful news.

RIP Fr Dan O’Connor MSC

The Princethorpe Community was saddened to learn of the death, in Ireland, of former Headmaster, Fr Dan O’Connor MSC, on 22 July 2020, the day after his seventy-eighth birthday.

‘Dan’, as he was universally and affectionately known, joined the teaching staff at Princethorpe in 1968. Memories centre around his abilities as an incredibly effective Mathematics teacher, a keen sportsman, and someone with a very firm sense of faith and vocation, who also embraced exceptional people skills. He had the ability to get on with anyone, was amazingly inclusive and had a warm and engaging personality, with a quick wit and an amusing turn of phrase.

Growing up in Co. Cork, Dan O’Connor attended Sacred Heart College, Carraig na bhFear, before joining the novitiate of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1958, being ordained to the Priesthood at Moyne Park, Galway on 23rd July 1965, after which he completed a BA at University College, Cork in 1968.

At Princethorpe, Dan was a capable Head of Mathematics and his charges recall his willingness to spend as much time with them as they required, often well outside normal school hours. He sometimes feigned a lack of patience through great dramatic effect, by thumping the chalk on the board, often combined with a quick bark, much to the surprise and amusement of those in the classroom, as well as to the terror of those in the room next door!

His dedication to duty and selflessness continued when, on becoming Dean, with responsibility for boarders, he developed a relationship with the boarding community – numbering nearly two-hundred – based wholly on trust and mutual respect. Such was the strength of the relationship with the Spanish students, that they taught him O and A-level Spanish in their spare time. He built further on this success when he was thrust into the limelight assuming the headship of Princethorpe in 1984, a role which he willingly accepted even if he always gave the impression that he would have been happier on the back benches. He accomplished this task in a wonderfully professional way; his ability to establish trust and his motivational personality meant that everyone was willing to support and do their bit. Dan was unfailingly appreciative and wonderfully considerate. He trod a careful path which meant that, as a strong disciplinarian, everyone was somewhat frightened of him, yet the humility, fairness and kindness which shone through always triumphed.

Dan retained throughout his life a love of both football and hurling and in his time in England, he broadened his sporting interest to include rugby. Such was his power, strength and prowess that opposing teams avoided him as much as possible on the pitch! He was also able to give opponents a good run for their money on the squash courts.

Sadly, his role as Head was brought to a close almost overnight in 1986 when he found that he needed major heart surgery, handing the baton on to Fr Charles Sweeney MSC. Former staff speak of Dan’s sense of humour, when he spoke of spending time in hospital sharing a ward with the then head of Arnold Lodge School in Leamington - many wondered what their conversations might have been! And at another time when travelling to play the doctors at Binley Rugby Club, he had occasion to speak rather loudly to a certain northerner, asking him to 'remove his gum shield and I might understand you' to which the reply came, 'I do not have a gum shield in, Dan!'

Dan did not, however, confine himself to the role of educator at Princethorpe; his was a broader vision of service. Weekends and some early mornings would see him ministering in a variety of parishes within the Archdiocese where he was deeply loved and admired. Specifically, his relationship with the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association inspired and encouraged so many people, as did his presence at their many social gatherings.

Dan had an amazing ability to connect with people and was able to put anyone instantly at ease. He could break up a difficult silence with a witty retort, engage seriously when work was to be done and equally sensitively when the going was tough. He was scrupulously fair, rarely pulled rank, was amazingly level in judgement and displayed a facility of being close to people and assuring them that they alone mattered to him. This was very much revealed while he was Superior of the MSC house in Cork in the attention to detail he displayed in caring for sick and elderly members of the community and in his frequent visits to the sick of the parish; nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

Returning to further apostolates in Ireland in 1990, including Superior at Western Road and a member of the Provincial Leadership Team, Dan retired as Community Superior in Carraig na bhFear in 2015, eventually moving back to Western Road. Gradually his memory started to fail him, and his dementia got progressively worse. But he still had strong memories of events from the past and could pass very witty comments about someone from long ago, or equally on the exuberant pontificating of some member over supper! He moved to a nursing home in Ballincurrig in spring of this year, just before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, where he was cared for wonderfully up until the time of his death.

Dan was acutely aware of how precious the important people in his own life were to him. He valued family, friends and community and was a man of deep gratitude. In all of Dan's life, ministry and activity, he lived out the fullness of the MSC spirit - willing to serve generously, energetically and caringly; to be present and give fully of himself, but without seeking the limelight. In the eulogy at Fr Dan O’Connor’s Requiem Mass, Deputy Provincial, Fr John Fitzgerald MSC, spoke of Dan’s constant companionship, his exemplary care, kindness, appreciation of others and his wonderful laugh and great smile.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Fr Dan’s family and friends and to his MSC confreres, but give thanks for the richness which he brought to Princethorpe and to all his other ministries.

Fr Daniel O’Connor MSC 21 July 1942 – 22 July 2020

A Requiem Mass, also streamed live, was held on Friday 24 July at 11:00 at Sacred Heart Church in Cork, concelebrated by Fr John Finn MSC (Superior, Cork house) and Fr Carl Tranter MSC OP (Provincial Leader), followed by a private family burial at Christ the King churchyard, Knocknagree, Co. Cork.

View Gallery

RIP Paul Meston

Sad news about the death of OP Paul Meston reached us in the summer.

Paul who attended the College in the 1970s, passed away on Tuesday 28 July aged 57, a small funeral for family and close friends took place in Coventry on Friday 7 August.

Paul trained at LAMDA, performed in The Tempest at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 1990 before joining the National Theatre in 1992. He appeared in notable productions there including Robert Lepage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth directed by Richard Eyre, and Alan Cumming and designer-director Ultz’s adaptation of Yevgeny Shvarts’ Dragon.

Later Paul played an excellent Kreon in Kenneth McLeish’s reworking of Greek classics, Omma, and was a vivacious presence in Carol Ann Duffy’s vivid take on fairy stories, Grimm Tales at the Young Vic.

He was a spry, humane Figaro in Lee Hall’s adaptation of The Barber of Seville at Bristol Old Vic in 2006, and deftly dealt with the challenge of doubling up as Drona and Shakuni in choreographer Gauri Sharma Tripathi and director Stuart Wood’s Mahabharata at Sadler’s Wells in 2007.

Among his last performances on stage was the wonderfully debonair title role in Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s By Jeeves at the Landor Theatre in 2011.

On film, Meston’s most prominent role was Friar Francis in Joss Whedon’s glossy 2012 version of Much Ado About Nothing.

His television credits included Kavanagh QC, The Bill and Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, starring David Jason.

There will be a memorial celebration for him in London at a later date.

We send our sincere condolences to Paul's family and friends.


Toby Ties The Knot

Toby Harper-Lawrence (Class of 2014) was meant to get married on Saturday 2 May but as the country was still in lockdown the wedding had to wait. He wasn't even living with his future wife, Emma, at the time so they weren't even able to see each other very often! They were however lucky enough to get married the first day weddings were reinstated, Saturday 4 July, and they have been loving married life ever since! 

It was great to hear your news Toby and we love your lockdown hair!

Many congratulations to you both, we wish you a long and happy life together.


Alice And Tom's Brilliant Back Garden Wedding

The wedding of Alice Pickin (Class of 2012) and Tom Afford was supposed to take place back in April, but like so many due to the Covid-19 lockdown it unfortunately had to be postponed.

Alice wrote, "We didn't set a new date because the most important thing to us was that we could get married and so we planned to marry as soon as government rules allowed. As soon as we found out weddings could take place again we eagerly picked Saturday 18 July and decided to make the best of whatever we were allowed to do!"

"I have always wanted to get married in the Village Church where I grew up and then have a marquee Reception in my parents' garden. This could still go ahead, just on a smaller scale! So we were able to invite 28 of our closest friends and family, and we had an absolutely lovely and personal marriage service followed by an Afternoon Tea Reception in my parents' back garden."

"It really was the most wonderful day, and everyone put in extra effort to make it so special for us. We honestly don't feel like we missed out on a big wedding at all and we feel so lucky we were able to have such a perfect wedding day - it will certainly be memorable!"

We were delighted to hear their news and we wish them both all the very best for the future.

View Gallery

Ben And Hannah Marry In Kent

Many congratulation to Ben Wilcox, a pupil at Princethorpe College from 1996 to 2001. Ben, who is now a Chartered Town Planner working in Plymouth, and his new wife Hannah got married in Kent at the end of August. The couple had originally planned the ceremony for May but, as it did for so many, the pandemic restrictions put an end to their nuptial plans.

Ben told us, "Whilst it was not the wedding we had planned, it was an amazing day spent with family and a few close friends."

We send our best wishes to Ben and Hannah for a wonderful life together.

Wedding Bells For OP Jacob Stone

We were delighted to hear that the wedding of OP Jacob Stone (Class of 2012) and his new wife, Katharine took place on Saturday 5 September.

Jacob wrote, "We had such a fantastic wedding weekend with two receptions over two days to ensure we were complying with Covid restrictions! We had our marriage ceremony at Katharine's Catholic Church on Saturday 5 September followed by a reception at a stately home and gardens in Tolpuddle, Dorset."

He continued, "Then on the Sunday we had some more guests for an Indian-themed garden party (as Katharine is half-Indian) with Indian food and decorations. We had such an amazing time and even though we could only have limited numbers of close family and friends present, we actually really enjoyed the opportunity we had to speak to each of our individual guests, rather than being overwhelmed with the 160 we had initially planned!"'

Jacob and Katharine had a brilliant honeymoon on two Greek islands, Rhodes and Symi, and are now back in Dorset ready to go back to work again.

Many congratulations to them both and we wish them every happiness for the future.

Will Harper-Lawrence Announces His Engagement

We were delighted to hear that former Head Boy, Will Harper-Lawrence, who was at Princethorpe College from 2005 to 2012, is engaged to be married.

After graduating from Edinburgh University, Will started training to be a paramedic, a job that he loves for its care of people, constant activity, and for not always knowing what to expect next! He met his future wife Becky when he was at university. She is a doctor and a great hockey player, who is as active and fun loving as he is. They got engaged in April, at a time when they were both working very much on the COVID frontline.

Their wedding plans are on hold until it becomes clearer what can be arranged in the next year but they are both very much looking forward to settling down to life together.

Many congratulations to you both, we were very pleased to hear your exciting news.