Alumni News

OPs Rise To The Marathon Challenge

Old Princethorpians and members of the College staff were out early on Sunday morning, after months of training and mounds of carbs, they were ready to wind their way around the streets of our capital city in this year's London Marathon.

We gave them a shout out on Facebook last week but just wanted to say congratulations to them all on their super human efforts.

We are aware of several Old Princethorpian runners this year including:

Imo Butler (Class of 2018) who rose to the challenge of this year’s test of endurance for Sarcoma UK. Imogen ran in memory of a family friend Ellen, who sadly lost her battle with sarcoma cancer last year. Having struggled with injuries Imo managed to complete the course in just over 6 hours and you can find out more and support her here.

Rich Sibbick (Class of 1994) ran the virtual 2020 London Marathon last year and took the challenge on for real this time on behalf of the NSPCC, he managed to complete the course in 5 hours 11 minutes and you can find out more and support him here.

Then Joe Holmes (Class of 2014) ran a virtual marathon completing the distance in just 3 hours 40 minutes!

Two staff members also ran the London Marathon:

Assistant Head - Director of Digital Strategy, Andy Compton, ran for the UK Sepsis Trust in memory of his good friend Rich. Andy completed the course in sub 3 hours 45 minutes and you can find out more and support him here.

Head of MFL, Stella Keenan, who missed out on running when last year’s event was cancelled, asked people to support her by donating to the school’s fundraising for Mary’s Meals. She completed the course in 4 hours 30 minutes, you can support her here.

A truly amazing effort by them all!


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Princethorpe Hosts Its Own ‘Any Questions’

Princethorpe College hosted its own ‘Any Questions’ on Thursday 24 June and was delighted to welcome an MP and local councillors to the school.

Conservative MP for Stoke North, and Old Princethorpian, Jonathan Gullis was joined by Jonathan Chilvers, Green Party Councillor for Leamington Brunswick, and Tim Naylor, former Councillor and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in Rugby to take part in a panel style question session with the College's  Lower Sixth.

Chaired by Politics and History Teacher, Abi Adams, our visitors answered questions on a range of topics including Climate Change, Child Poverty and Education and it was a great opportunity for the students to listen to and contrast the different points of view.

Organised by Rod Isaacs, Assistant Head of Sixth Form, the event was a part of the school’s CORE programme that encourages Sixth Form students to think critically, logically and constructively about the world in which they live.

Abi Adams said, “Many thanks to our visitors for a very constructive session – we ran out of time before we ran out of questions. Our ‘Any Questions’ was both informative and interesting and will have given our students plenty to think about and discuss.”

St. Joseph’s Class Of ’85 Reunion

We were delighted to welcome a lovely group of past pupils to Crackley Hall after 36 years. Sarah Vasey (nee Dewsberry) contacted us, hoping to visit the school and grounds as part of a reunion with her old school friends who attended St Joseph’s Convent School in the 1980s. We were more than happy to oblige, and Headmaster, Mr Duigan, met with the group of seven on a sunny Saturday afternoon back in August.

Sarah commented on how they were ‘surprised’ by the changes to the grounds and gardens, however they could see the positive additions with the ‘multi-purpose hall, up-to-date music rooms, a lovely Early Years Department and a Forest School in the woods.’ The friends reflected on how the original convent buildings give a ‘sense of history and tradition’ whilst the new, shows ‘the school is moving forward into an exciting future.’

School friends, Sarah, Karen, Sangeeta, Rachel, Christine, Rebecca and Julie, were so grateful to Mr Duigan for giving his time on a Saturday during the holidays. Their visit to the school was followed by a pub lunch and then a walk around Abbey Fields before heading back to the pub for an evening of cocktails and for some, a stay over in a hotel. Even after 36 years, time was of no consequence, and they very much enjoyed laughing and sharing memories of their sixteen-year-old-selves which were extremely positive. Sarah has a particularly fond memory of the orchard in the convent gardens and a specific year when she was chosen to help pick the crab apples. Delighted to miss lessons, Sarah spent the morning in the garden with the nuns who lived in the convent but didn't teach, then joined them in the kitchen to make crab apple jelly. A couple of days later she was given a mini glass jar with her name on that she proudly took home. That Sunday, she remembers eating it with roast lamb and all her family said how delicious it was and how impressed they were with her achievement!

We were thrilled to hear how enjoyable their reunion was. In Sarah’s words, ‘the current pupils are very fortunate to attend Crackley Hall and long may the school continue for future generations of children to benefit from a nurturing and rounded education.’

We look forward to welcoming them, and other past-pupils, back next year for the postponed 75th Anniversary Celebrations. Firstly, the 75th Anniversary Open House and St Joseph's Day Mass on Saturday 19 March 2022 and all-being well, the 75th Anniversary Ball on Saturday 14 May 2022.

If you would like to register your interest for these events, or to add your details to the alumni database, please go to


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OPs Sports Day Kicks Off The College's Sporting Calendar For The Year

It was lovely to see so many familiar faces at the OPs vs College Sports Day on Saturday 4 September - this popular annual fixture traditionally kicks off the College’s sporting calendar for the year ahead.

The staff and leavers of 2021 football team started with a great victory over the older OPs. Honours were split in the hockey with the College winning the girls’ match and the OPs coming out on top in the boys’ match. The OPs showed their experience in the netball with a high scoring performance beating the college.

In the OPs v College 1st XV (John Shinkwin Trophy match) the teams, OPs (leavers of 2020 and 2021) and the College played the newly formed version of Ready for Rugby, with the OPs having a fast start and ultimate victory with the College always chasing the game.

The results of the matches were as follows:
Football – Staff/College 3 v OPs 1
Netball – College 16 v OPs 31
Boys’ Hockey – College 1 v OPs 5
Girls’ Hockey – College 3 v OPs 1
Rugby – College 10 v OPs 16

At the After Match Awards, the OPs proudly raised both the Alex Wallis Memorial Shield and the John Shinkwin Cup.

Lee Cassell, Foundation Director of Sport, commented, “It was great to see this day take place after a hiatus due to the pandemic. Once again it showed the true spirt of the Princethorpe community and gave staff, pupils, OPs and parents the opportunity to watch five entertaining matches over the course of the day. A huge well done to all those who played and made the day so special. I look forward to seeing them all again next year on Saturday 3 September 2022 for the next OPs vs College Sports Day.”

It was also lovely to welcome back OP Martin Nwanga (Class of 1986) and his family. It was Martin's first visit back for 35 years and he even brought along his old school scarf, Austin tie and whole school photo. Another OP back for a visit was Edward Hunter (Class of 2006) along with his wife, Emily and 7-month-old baby Hettie. The family were back in the UK after a long stint living and working in Australia.

Thanks to all the players, supporters, organisers and caterers for making the day such a lovely relaxed affair.

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The Princethorpe Connect Community Now Has Over 900 Members

Princethorpe Connect, the Foundation’s online alumni community, passed another amazing milestone in September with membership numbers reaching 900. Our congratulations go to OP, Ben Fish, whose name was pulled out of the hat as our latest membership prize draw winner.

Ben was pleased to hear the news and to receive a voucher from the Foundation as his prize. Ben left the College back in 2011 and he told us:

‘This year marks 10 years since I left Princethorpe College and thinking about it, I can’t believe where those years have gone. After Princethorpe, I undertook a Real Estate degree in Bristol and I now work as a Chartered Surveyor at Avison Young in Birmingham.

I look forward to attending the rescheduled Old Princethorpians’ Summer Supper Reunion and OP’s Sports Day next year to catch up with old friends and teachers.’

The Foundation is now well on its way to celebrating what will be the huge milestone of 1000 online members on Princethorpe Connect. Our alumni community is a great way to stay in touch with former  pupils, staff and parents and to network with alumni from across the ages.

Using the link below, you can join in, so do sign up and get connected, and you never know you might be the next lucky prize winner!

OP Gina Asks Princethorpe Community To Support Her Clinical Psychology Research

OP Gina Bannister, who left Princethorpe 10 years ago in 2011, has asked from some help from the Princethorpe community with a piece of research she is doing. After leaving Princethorpe Gina went on to study Psychology in Liverpool and she is currently training to be a Clinical Psychologist. For her thesis she’s researching Dads experiences of parenting.

She’s looking for Dads with a child under 2 to complete a short survey about their experiences and how they manage their emotions. It should take approx. 20 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.

Comments Gina “We’re hoping that research like this will help towards increasing the support available for Dads in the future.”

If you are interested in assisting with the research just follow the link to find out more and to take part:

Mentoring Platform On Princethorpe Connect

Don't forget that our online alumni system, Princethorpe Connect, offers a mentoring platform that allows Old Princethorpians to connect with other alumni and the wider Princethorpe Community to network and seek professional advice.

The mentoring platform currently features over 240 featured mentors who are happy to provide advice to others in the Princethorpe Community. Those looking for a mentor can search based on industry area or employer and send a mentoring request through the platform.

It's a system that allows alumni to easily ask for and offer support for each other. We hope the mentoring platform will be of help to recent Old Princethorpians, but also to those already established in their careers who are looking to expand their professional network.

The mentoring platform is free to use and you can find out more about it here.

OP Friendly Faces Helps The Next Generation Of OPs

Since A-level results day in August we have been busy matching the Upper Sixth leavers of 2021 with OP Friendly Faces across the UK. We've successfully matched leavers heading off to Oxford, Leeds, Exeter, Loughborough, Plymouth, Reading, Nottingham and Edinburgh to name a few, huge thanks to all the Friendly Faces for supporting this important initiative, it really does make a difference to those first few weeks away from home! 

Our OP Friendly Faces has been running for a couple of years now, it aims to link past pupils established at university with first year OP students. Providing a friendly, familiar face to meet up with over a coffee (compliments of the OPs) or having someone to call in their new uni town or city.  

Comments OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, "We really are delighted that we have been able to match up more of our leavers with OP Friendly Faces. We hope everyone has enjoyed Feshers Week and is enjoying their first few months away from home."




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OP Merchandise - The Perfect Christmas Gift!

Stuck for Christmas present ideas for the OPs in your life? Look no further as items from the OP range of merchandise make the ideal gift for Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries!

Popular items include:

  • Socks with the distinctive Tower design on dark blue background with thin diagonal stripe - priced £9.00 + postage
  • A university style scarf (in 100% wool with navy blue, red and gold stripes) - priced  £31 + postage
  • T-bar cufflinks with a gold Tower design - priced £26 + postage
  • The Old Princethorpian tie. A classic 100% silk tie with a repetitive gold Tower design and thin red diagonal stripes on a dark blue background - priced £19 + postage and packing.
  • Tower pin badge. The 2cm high badge in nickel with recessed metal detail is based on the Tower logo - priced £11 + postage
  • A Spirit Of Family: The First Fifty Years Of Princethorpe College - produced to mark the College's Golden Jubilee this beautiful keepsake is a relflection on the first fifty years of Princethorpe College written by Nick Baker and Alex Darkes, it was published on 1 September 2016 - priced £21 + postage.

Stocks are now available to order online from Princethorpe Connect, please click here, or alternatively email Old Princethorpians.

Don't forget there are also fine art prints and cards of a painting by local artist, Debbie McLaughlin - The Soaring Redbrick Tower. That makes a lovely gift.

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