OP Updates

Marks Barfield Architects Shortlisted For RIBA Stirling Prize

OP Ian Rudolph (Class of 1988) shared the exciting news that his practice, Marks Barfield Architects, has been shortlisted as a 2021 contender for the RIBA Stirling Prize, the UK’s most prestigious architecture award given to the architect of the building thought to be the most significant of the year for the evolution of architecture and the built environment.

Described by the Guardian as a ‘mesmerising wooden mosque’ and a ‘photogenic stunner’ the Cambridge Central Mosque is tipped as the most likely to win this year’s prize.

Capable of welcoming 1,000 worshippers but constructed within a low rise, residential neighbourhood, the defining internal characteristic of the mosque are the timber ‘trees’ which form the structural support for the roof and roof lights. The building is stunningly beautiful, the timber ‘trees’, so powerfully evocative of nature, are both uplifting and peaceful and provide a truly inspiring place of worship.

We offer our congratulations to Ian and his partners and wish them the very best of luck for next Thursday 14 October when the winner of this year’s award will be announced.

You can find out more about the Cambridge Central Mosque on the Awards pages on RIBA’s website here: https://www.architecture.com/awards-and-competitions-landing-page/awards/riba-regional-awards/riba-east-award-winners/2021/cambridge-central-mosque

You can read the Guardian Article on the Stirling Prize shortlist in full here: Stirling prize shortlist: from mosque stunner to neo-neolithic flats | Stirling prize | The Guardian

You can watch the BBC News Channel's short report here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfcBq5VKEgU

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David Jones Recognised With Agricultural Award

Many congratulations to Old Princethorpian, David Jones (Class of 1991), who has been recognised with an Associateship Award by The Council for Awards of the Royal Agricultural Society for his Practice and Development in Agriculture.

David was presented with his award at the House of Lords this week and is pictured here with his partner Vanessa Simpson.

Potential candidates for the Associateship Awards have to be invited by a Fellow of the Society for consideration by a National Panel. The awards are for those deemed to have made truly outstanding contributions to UK agricultural progress.

More information can be found out about the awards here.


Nick Baker Ordained As A Priest

Former Princethorpe Foundation Archivist, Nick Baker, was ordained as a priest into the Anglican Communion by The Rt Rev Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester in a ceremony held at the church of St Thomas, South Wigston on Saturday 2 October.

With Leicester Cathedral’s restricted opening hours, because of ongoing renovation work, the service for four of the diocese’s ordinands was held at South Wigston, part of the Wigston Benefice, in which Nick is currently serving as curate. The church of St Thomas was originally constructed in 1893 as the chapel for the Royal Leicestershire Regiment, with a tower added later in 1901 and is now the parish church of South Wigston.

In addition to Nick’s post at Princethorpe, he previously worked with the historic book and manuscript collections at Eton College and Hereford Cathedral. An enthusiastic and knowledgeable historian, Nick trained for his ministry at St Hild’s College whilst on placement in the parishes of Burbage and Aston Flamville. Nick also co-authored the the Foundation's book A Spirit of Family: The First Fifity Years of Princethorpe College in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

We wish him every happiness and success in his ministry and are pleased that he is near enough to call in to Princethorpe from time-to-time. Nick kindly helped out recently, as one of the tour guides for this year’s Heritage Open Day in September.

Picture shows Nick Baker (4th from left) with Bishop Martyn Snow, the other ordinands and their clergy sponsors.



Lauren Whitfield Graduates And Heads For The Slopes

OP Lauren Whitfield (Class of 2016) bring us up to date with her time since leaving Princethorpe.

"After completing my time at Princethorpe as a student in 2016 and following a year as a member of the College's Marketing and Admissions team in 2017, I went on to Loughborough University to study Retailing, Marketing and Management. After three years of study and one year in industry, and a couple of national lockdowns thrown in for good measure, I have finally graduated with a 2:1 Hons and a Diploma in Professional Studies.

The course was varied and interesting, exposing me to a number of subjects which helped me complete my year in industry with BWX Brands UK Ltd as the Sales and Marketing Assistant for a number of skincare brands such as Sukin Naturals and Andalou. I kept up my passion for dance throughout my time at Loughborough, coaching the Tap teams for three years and securing trophies along the way. The club was supportive and diverse providing me with opportunities to perform, fundraise and socialise.

Since graduating I have enjoyed a summer of freedom exploring England and Wales in true ‘staycation’ style. I have also kept myself busy being an ambassador for Tropic Skincare and working as a Marketing and Media Assistant for my Dad’s company noise.co.uk Ltd.

In August I spent five days at The Orchards Cookery School, taking the chalet host cookery course in preparation for my upcoming ski season. I have now secured a job in a chalet in La Plagne at the heart of the Paradiski area. I am so excited to hit the slopes again and live in France for five months, with such a great company. At the end of the five months I plan to travel through Europe and Switzerland before returning home to decide what step to take next. It might be a summer season job, it might be a masters, it might be neither of those things. Either way it’s going to be an adventure!"

We wish the lovely Lauren all the best on her next steps!

Lily Blunsom-Washbrook Awarded A BAFTA Scholarship

We were impressed and delighted to hear that OP, Lily Blunsom-Washbook (Class of 2018), has been awarded a BAFTA Scholarship. Lily told us:

'I was lucky enough to be nominated for the BAFTA scholarship by my Deputy Head of Acting at RCS (the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) where I’m currently studying for a BA in Acting. The process was intense but lovely and full of learning opportunities; it consisted of written applications, interviews and showcasing my acting ability. I thought it was a complete long shot, that I wouldn't be shortlisted let alone become the recipient of such a generous and esteemed award. I cannot put into words how grateful I am to BAFTA for the incredible opportunity that the scholarship offers. It aids my financial situation as well as offering a year long mentorship with an esteemed BAFTA recognised actor, whose advice and guidance will be invaluable at these early stages of my career. I feel very blessed and so lucky to have had all the support from the Princethorpe Drama Department throughout my time studying at the school, it really cultivated my love for acting and I am unbelievably pleased to have got this far doing something I absolutely love, this truly will make the most life-changing difference and I’m excited for what is to come!'

And we are excited too Lily; we can't wait to see how your career unfolds!

Autumn Wells Graduates With A First Class Honours Degree

Many congratulations to OP, Autumn Wells (Class of 2018), for graduating from Nottingham Trent University with a First Class Honours in Business Management and Leadership. Autumn has spent three years on the Commercial Degree Apprenticeship Scheme at Rolls-Royce and has recently started her first substantive role at the company joining the Risk and Revenue Sharing Partners Team at Rolls-Royce, managing the largest Japanese Partner Account.

Autumn says, "I am looking forward to getting stuck into the next chapter of my career and gaining my Chartered Management Institute accreditation later this year".

It was great to hear Autumn's graduation news; we wish her all the best in her career!

OP Helen Kenyon Celebrates Her 50th Birthday At Princethorpe College

Old Princethorpian, Helen Kenyon who attended the College Sixth Form in the late 1980s returned to Princethorpe recently to celebrate her 50th birthday. She was joined by her friends and had a magical day made all the more special by the company of four of her school friends, who also were at Princethorpe for their Sixth Form years.

Pictured together are the five OPs: Ann-Marie Mangan, Helen Kenyon, Maria Brennan, Sonia White and Claire Davis at the front (maiden names).

Helen explains, “Princethorpe holds an incredibly special place in all of our hearts – we have happy memories of being at a school that was like a family. We made lifelong friendships and returning to Princethorpe made my 50th lunch even more special.”

Helen told us that Ann-Marie is still happily with OP, Chris Cusiter having been childhood sweethearts at school, they got back together after a reunion and they have two amazing daughters. Maria married OP Brendan McDermott in the College Chapel (Helen was chief bridesmaid) and they have three wonderful children and that OP Phil McLean picked the friends up from the lunch on the Saturday too, another great friend from Helen’s time at the school.

For the other guests, all Helen’s closest friends, it was a wonderful opportunity to share lunch together in such beautiful surroundings.

Helen continues, “Andrew (Catering Manager) and his team did a fabulous job for us, the food and service were exceptional. All in all, it was a wonderful day to add to our fabulous memories of Princethorpe College.”

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Lottie Jones Nominated For Next Generation Franchise Award

Congratulations to Lottie Jones (Class of 2014), Franchise Director for East Warwickshire Onside Coaching for being shortlisted for the Next Generation Franchisee Award by the British Franchise Association!

Onside - East Warwickshire, provides local primary schools with high quality PE and Extra Curricular Clubs. Since taking on the franchise back in June 2018, Lottie has grown the business to the point where she is now working with eight different schools. Her company also provides fun, active childcare in Rugby in the school holidays and are looking to expand into Coventry and Daventry. They run an Active course which is a mixture of sports, dance and forest school, a Football course, and a specific Netball course. From starting by herself, she now has a team of five sports and forest school specialists and is looking to expand.

Lottie explains, “I love having my own franchise and enjoy being my own boss. Not having a ceiling on your achievements is the best motivation, there are no limits! Having no business background, it has been important to surround myself with people who can help me put my ideas in to reality. The secret to my success has got to be, love what you’re doing. When you are in full control of your own time, you must be driven and passionate to succeed.”

She continues, “I cannot believe that the business has grown to be such a success and unbelievably has now been shortlisted for an award. This just shows age is just a number!

I am so proud of Onside - East Warwickshire and very grateful for my team.

That is amazing news Lottie. The big award announcement is in November and we will all be keeping our fingers crossed for you. Good luck!

Talented OP Athlete Lloyd Ellis Is Welsh Champion

Talented athlete and Old Princethorpian, Lloyd Ellis (Class of 2017), won the Senior Men’s 400m hurdles at the recent Welsh Athletics Championships.

Lloyd competed in Cardiff on 14 August, running a personal best in what was only his second race back after a break from athletics for three years while he was living and studying in Utrecht in the Netherlands. Lloyd, who used to train at Leamington’s Athletics Club, and currently trains at the University of Birmingham, previously ran sprint hurdles but since his return to racing has switched to the 400m hurdle distance.  

Lloyd has just finished a Masters degree at University of Birmingham where he studied Conflict, State-building and Development. He now has a scholarship to do a law conversion course, with an eye to becoming criminal barrister. 

Congratulations to Lloyd on his Welsh Athletics win and good luck with your post graduate studies.


OP Ollie Graham Is Royal Marine Commando

We were delighted to hear that Old Princethorpian, Ollie Graham (Class of 2019) had, after a long, gruelling year of training, completed his commando test, the 30 miler across Dartmoor, and been given his green beret.

We asked Ollie for an update and he told us: 

'Finishing Sixth Form in 2019, I had planned on going to Uni to study Photo Journalism at the University of Gloucestershire. I deferred my place so that I could take a gap year working three jobs to save money and go travelling. In December 2019, I went on a solo photography trip to Hong Kong. This proved an interesting time to visit as multiple riots were kicking off due to China’s increasing oppression. I went with the intent to build up my photographic portfolio and prepare myself for the University course but learned that nothing to do with being in the middle of a riot is really cool…

After this, Covid obviously hit and all future plans got cancelled. Around this time I was 50/50 between going to Uni and signing up for the Royal Marines, and with nothing to do due to lockdown, I applied and started training for it. The more I trained, the more Uni became a bit of a backup option in case I didn’t make it through the arduous 36 week training course. 

Training itself consists of four stages: a 4-week Recruit Orientation Phase, Phase 1, Phase 2 and the Commando Phase. Ironically the first few weeks for me were the hardest, going from a cushty life at Princethorpe, to 5am wake ups, an incredible amount of ironing, and fitness “till your eyes bled,” not to discourage anyone. 

Phases 1/2 you spend a lot of time out in the field learning all of your basic soldering skills; how to maintain yourself in the field, navigation, observation, attacking, defending and recces. The worst drill though is wet and dry. 3am wake ups to go and get in a pool of water, only to go back to your sleeping bag and get changed back into your dry kit. 

Once that’s out the way,  then you’re into Commando Phase. You get onto doing all the Gucci stuff that you see in the adverts. Jumping between fast moving boats,  attacking whole islands, airports, castles/forts, and my favourite, throwing grenades. 

All of this training leads up to the final four tests, the Commando tests. These consist of an Endurance Course, a 9-Mile Speed March, a Tarzan Assault Course, and the 30 Miler. Each one harder than the other, and fuelled by a diet of Dominoes. They’re no easy feat and most lads, trained Royal Marine Commandos at this point, start crying in the final mile. 

Training all in all was the biggest rollercoaster of physical and mental ups and downs. But passing out was the proudest moment of my life, and I thoroughly recommend a career path like mine to anyone leaving Sixth Form.

If anyone is considering it, they are welcome to contact me with questions. 

Thank you for the encouragement and believing in me in sixth form.'

No thanks needed Ollie, it's your tenacity and determination that got you over the finish line. We were all delighted to hear of your success.  



Lawrence Chapman Cycling Challenge

OP Lawrence Chapman (Class of 2018) took on a 500-mile cycling challenge for the charity The Way Of The Horse back in July. Lawrence cycled from Edinburgh Castle to the Tower of London on a demanding route down the backbone of the UK. His charity bike ride took in southern Scotland, the mountains of northern England, the hills of Yorkshire and long stretches of eastern England before reaching the capital city.

Lawrence, who is studying Law at Leicester University, is raising money for a charity close to his home and his heart. The Way Of The Horse is based in Lutterworth and provides self-help programmes for children and adults facing mental health challenges. Their equine assisted therapies harness the power of the horse to support and enable people to resolve their difficulties, form better relationships with others, and move their lives in a positive direction.

Lawrence told us:

'The ride went really well! I raised around £700 for the charity and it took six days in the end. There were some tough days across Scotland and the North Yorkshire moors - especially with some heavy rain but it soon eased off as we got towards Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire. We finished at the Tower of London on Tuesday 6 July.

Charlie Winterton kindly drove us up to Scotland and acted as back up in the van all the way down from Edinburgh to London.'

Well done to Lawrence and you can find out more about the charity here.


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