OP Updates

Ben Pinto's Continuing Musical Success

Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw was delighted to catch up with the musical success of former student, Ben Pinto (Class of 2017) in February when attending a concert at Warwick Arts Centre by Chineke!

Gil takes up the story:

Chineke! are a highly prestigious and internationally renowned orchestra, providing opportunities for black and ethnically diverse Classical musicians. Their motto is ‘Championing change and celebrating diversity in classical music’.

When thumbing through the concert programme, who was playing 1st Clarinet? The one and only Ben Pinto! 

I managed a brief chat with his mum and dad who were in the audience too (and very pleased that his Princethorpe Music teacher was present!). They told me he successfully completed his undergraduate degree at the Royal Northern College of Music last year, and is now studying a Masters performance degree there, whilst undertaking freelance performance work (such as his work with Chineke!).

We look forward to hearing more about Ben's musical success in the future!


OP Evie Receives A Chief Constable's Commendation

A huge well done to OP Evie Headland (Class of 2021) who has recently been presented with a special Chief Constable’s Commendation that celebrates ‘remarkable acts of bravery and commitment’, at a ceremony at Warwick Racecourse. Evie received her award after saving the life of a child who had suffered a cardiac arrest.

Evie, who was 17 at the time, lived next door to the girl and was on her way home when she noticed her neighbour in distress. She went into the house and found the girl in cardiac arrest and administered CPR until paramedics. You can read the full news report on the presentation here: https://rugbyobserver.co.uk/news/life-saving-teenager-among-recipients-of-warwickshire-police-awards-36886/

And there is no limit to Evie’s desire to do good either, as she has signed up to run the London Marathon this year. She will be pounding the pavements for the charity Blind Veterans UK in October and as she starts her journey towards her marathon challenge would really appreciate your support.

You can find out more about her challenge here: https://tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/evie-headland-7da5c

Andrew Kristy Writes Music For Birmingham Royal Ballet 25th Anniversary Celebration

We were delighted to hear that former Princethorpe peripatetic music teacher, Andrew Kristy, has been asked to write the Opening and Finale orchestral music for the Birmingham Royal Ballet - ‘DT25’ - 25 year celebration shows to be performed this May.

Comments Andrew, "I feel so honoured to have been asked this celebratory piece. I recently played the draft music to Artistic Director Carlos Acosta and he was graciously complimentary and wants me to change nothing. “Becoming” will be given its premiere on Sunday 8 May. Writing for a 10 minute Grand Défilé is a challenge in itself, but it’s been a huge amount of fun and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished choreography very soon."

OP Will Lyne Now Owns And Runs Christopher Peters Kitchens & Interiors

Almost 20 years on from his time at Princethorpe, OP Will Lyne (Class of 2004) is now bringing luxury living to Leamington and beyond.

We caught up with Will, a Warwickshire-based entrepreneur and dad-of-two. who has combined his plumbing skills with his eye for design by taking over as owner and lead designer at luxury kitchen and interiors company, Christopher Peters.

Will, who was a student at Princethorpe in the early noughties, graduated in 2004 and went straight on to pursue a plumbing apprenticeship at Warwickshire College. After gaining a few years of on-the-job experience, Will set up his own plumbing and heating company before he turned 25 – successfully running that for more than a decade.

Having worked with a number of local kitchen companies over the years, Will became well-known for his attention to detail and his unwavering work ethic. One company he worked closely with was Christopher Peters Kitchens & Interiors, and when the time came for the founders, Christopher and Jill Peters, to sell up and retire, they approached the person they knew would carry on the legacy of the luxury brand: Will.

So, in April 2019, Will and his wife, Grace, invested in the business. It had already been a busy few years for the couple, having had their son, Theo, the previous summer and then getting married in December 2018 – all whilst taking on their own renovation project and building their dream home. Within a matter of months, Will and Grace had put their own stamp on the already successful business, wowing local clients with their knowledge of the design and install process. Offering a truly bespoke service, clients were keen to meet with Will, Grace and their team of specialists at their showroom – based on Regent Grove in Leamington Spa – and see their unique flair for classic interior design for themselves.

But then COVID hit, and in-person client meetings became a thing of the past, at least for a couple of years. Will and Grace leapt into action, meeting with clients virtually and doing everything within their power to continue to source materials and carry on with renovation projects. Welcoming their second child – a little girl, called Sophia, in October 2020 - was a great end to a rather challenging year. Throughout 2021, Christopher Peters went from strength to strength and undertook some pretty impressive, large-scale renovations. With Will at the helm, Christopher Peters is now one of the most well-known and respected bespoke furniture providers in the area – and running the company brings the Old Princethorpian a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

Will told us, “I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. Running Christopher Peters combines the practical, former-plumber side of me with my passion for creativity. If you’d have asked me what I would be doing almost 20 years after leaving school, I’m sure it would have been something close to what I’m doing now. I’ve always had a can-do attitude, which is why Christopher Peters is as successful as it is. I love running my family-owned local business, and it’s something I’ll be proud to do for the next however many years.”

You can find  out more about Christopher Peters here:

Showroom address: 9 Denby Buildings, Regent Grove, Leamington Spa, CV32 4NY

Website: https://christopherpeters.com/

Email: contact@christopherpeters.com

Contact no: 01926 832511

Instagram: @christopherpeterskitchens

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Christopher-Peters-Kitchens-Interiors-Ltd


Luke Skiffington Exhibits At Liverpool's Walker Gallery

If you are in Liverpool over the next few months, why not take a trip down to the Walker Gallery and take in The Refractive Pool exhibition including work by OP and artist Luke Skiffington.

The new exhibition of work by 40 local artists runs until 8 Jan 2023 and aims to celebrate the diversity of contemorarypainting in the city today.

Luke lives and works in Liverpool now. He left Princethorpe in 1996 and went on to study Fine Art at Goldsmiths College and Chelsea College of Art in London. 

To see more about Luke's work, follow him on instagram or visit http://www.lukeskiffington.com/.

OP Steve Rogers Heads To Scotland To Enjoy The Outdoors

Steve Rogers (Class of 1999) has upped sticks and moved with his wife to Scotland, he takes up the story here:

I joined Ooni Pizza Ovens in early 2022 to lead a team of creative Product Design Engineers when in the office and change my lifestyle away from work. My wife and I have moved to Scotland, living and working just outside of Edinburgh. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to inspire and grow a design team that create great pizza products. Ooni have a great culture, huge ambitions and a genuine passion to make great pizza at home.

I intend to make sure that both our dreams become reality as we make Scotland our new home. We will enjoy the outdoors together, with our Springer, in a country we have loved visiting over many years together!


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Molly Geehan Roving Commonwealth Games Reporter

Hi, I’m Molly and I left Princethorpe in 2019 and came to the University of Worcester to study a degree in Journalism.

Throughout my time at University, I have faced many challenges, particularly the pandemic, but I have now come out the other side and have just handed in my dissertation titled Sexism in Sport: How the Uniform Shapes the Athlete.

In my second year I completed the Sports Journalism module which made my love for sports grow even stronger. So, when I heard that the Commonwealth Games were coming to Birmingham this year, I knew I had to apply. Following my interview in September, I received a job offer as a Flash Quote Reporter which means I will be interviewing the athletes just as they are stepping off the world stage! Once I have finished the interviews, my notes will be written up and sent out to major news outlets such as the BBC and ITV. I couldn’t quite believe it as I have only just finished my degree, and this is my first journalism job. We have just completed some role specific training and are waiting for venue specific training before the Games start at the end of July. I am so excited to get stuck in and interview some world class athletes over the two-week period.

My plans for the future are still very much in the works but my main goal is to work in the social media sector of a fashion brand, creating content for their social media channels and working closely with their copywriters to create top quality posts.

I will be sure to let everyone at Princethorpe know my progress and how I get on at the Commonwealth Games; you might even see me on the TV!

OP Gary Watts Visited Princethorpe In April

On a recent trip back to the England, I found time to visit Princethorpe College with my girlfriend in April of this year. This was only the second time I've been back since leaving the school in 1982. I joined the Army in March 1984 and left in mid 1990. Having secured residency in the US, I moved there once I left the Military. After 25+ years, I recently retired from the San Francisco Police Department and moved to the US East Coast. I was saddened to hear the news of Stan Silcock's passing a few years ago. He was my form teacher and also a big influence in my life.

It was good to see Mr. Darkes still plodding away in his (new) office. When I met him, I immediately called him 'Sir'. He has an incredible memory remembering not just myself, but also my two brothers. Princethorpe College has gone through many changes since my time there, but it is still my 'home away from home'. I hope to visit the school again.

Gary Watts
Princethorpe College 1979-82

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Nicky Sykes Graduation News

Leaver of 2017, Nicky Sykes celebrated her graduation in April 2022, she takes up the story:

I am thrilled to announce that I have graduated from Nottingham Trent University after completing my BSc in Psychology. I thoroughly enjoyed the past four years and I am now completing a Masters degree in Human Resource Management!

I would like to thank Princethorpe College for all their support and guidance in my achievements.