OP Updates

Dan Lane Extols The Benefits Of Taking A Career Break

After completing my A-levels at Princethorpe in 2013 I returned as a Resident Teaching Assistant for a year, after which I spent four years in Exeter studying towards undergraduate and master’s degrees in economics and - in the eyes of my lecturers - probably playing too much Golf.

I was fortunate to secure a Chartered Accountancy training contract with Deloitte LLP on graduation but after three and a half years which included fifteen exams, I decided that there had to be a bit more to life than staring at Excel all day! I left my job in February 2022 to pursue a six-month career break caddying at Kingsbarns Golf Links, just outside of St Andrews in Scotland. For those of you that don’t know, caddying is basically carrying a golfer’s clubs whilst they play their round but actually it’s four hours to get to know someone new, talk about anything and everything and get paid at the end of it! After a couple of months, I was offered a job caddying in New Zealand during the Southern Hemisphere summer and, recalling my days in the office, I decided it sounded like a pretty good idea to extend the break!

I moved to Mangawhai, a beach town just over an hour north of Auckland in October 2022 and spent six months caddying at Tara Iti Golf Club, rated as the second-best golf course in the world outside of the USA. Whilst there my working days were four hours in the sub-tropical summer (aside from two blips with a cyclone and an earthquake) where I was able to meet some amazing people and enjoy a lot of free time on the beach, playing golf and drinking coffee. During my travels I had the chance to caddie for a number of high-profile individuals, including George Roberts (owner of KKR), Jim Donald (former Starbucks CEO), Zac Crawley (England Cricketer) and my longest serving boss, Ric Kayne (owner of Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors and Tara Iti Golf Club) who gave me the opportunity to travel to the South Island to caddie for him at the New Zealand Open. I had a great time and was extremely lucky to meet many other interesting and influential people as well as making friends from all over the world.

On returning to the UK I spent another summer in Scotland before eventually settling back into ‘working’ life, living in Warwickshire and working at a growing mid-tier practice, Cooper Parry, within their Mergers and Acquisitions Advisory team, based in Birmingham.  

On the 07:23 in the morning I do think back and it all feels like a bit of a dream, but for 18 months that’s exactly what I got to live. I would recommend for anyone who has the chance to take a career break to go for it, you never know where it might take you…

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Sean Bostrom Enjoys Moment Of Motorcycle Fame

OP (1982 -1987) and former Princethorpe parent, Sean Bostrom is now living on the Isle of Man and recently had a brush with motorcycle fame when featured in Motorcycle Sports and Leisure Magazine. Sean takes up the story:

Despite joining West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service over 25 years ago, followed shortly by a transfer to Warwickshire Fire and Rescue, before a final move to the Isle of Man, my other ambition in the ‘90s was to enter the world of motorcycle journalism.

This year, I finally got my chance to fulfil that dream, at least for a couple of days...
Thanks to taking part in various motorcycle sports, on and off tarmac, and living on the Isle of Man I have been fortunate enough to have made friends in the industry. One such contact is marketing manager and editor at Mortons Media who publish Motorcycle Sport and Leisure, Fast Bikes, Scootering and Classic Bike amongst many other titles cover all manner of topics.

Charlie, let’s call him that, invited me to take part in a magazine feature last year based around comparing different types of off-road bikes being ridden on the trails of the island which link up with spectators spots of the TT Course. If you’re not familiar with this, it is the longest running motorsport event in the world (since 1907) and it takes part on thirty seven and three quarter miles of the island’s public roads.

The roads are, naturally, closed for practice and racing so once you’re in a good spot to spectate you often have to remain until the roads reopen at the end of the session. That is, in some cases unless you have an off-road bike, mountain bike or quad.

The part I played in the feature as you’ll see from the attached YouTube video as well as in the magazine was that of ‘local expert and fixer’.

In fairness, one of the other journalists, we’ll call him Dave, was pretty familiar with the island as he grew up here and they’d all done their homework well.

I have to say it was a dream come true to play out my biking fantasies for a couple of days, pretending to be a Top Gear presenter as well riding some snazzy new bikes.

If any OPs fancy visiting sometime, do get in touch and I’ll show you around.
As it happens I also do a bit of tour guiding with island visitors all year round but I won’t charge fellow old staff or pupils!

 Watch Sean on You Tube here.


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Pilots Discover They Are Both OPs

En route to Nigeria, British Airways pilots, Captain Ric Hill and Senior First Officer James Tribe discovered they had a lot more in common than they first thought. It was last November when their meet up took place, when Ric and James were the crew for a British Airways Boeing 777 flight to Abuja. It was James’ first flight on the 777 aircraft after moving over from the Airbus fleet.

While chatting during the flight, the pilots realised that they had both attended Princethorpe College (Ric left back in 1984 while James was from the Class of 2013).

James has been a pilot for seven years now, having started with easyJet before joining British Airways in 2018 on their short haul aircraft the A320. He had always hoped to fly long haul and had just completed two months of intensive training. The last stage being flying alongside a Training Captain, in this case Training Captain Ric Hill.

It was a remarkable coincidence and the pilots very much enjoyed swapping stories and anecdotes while on their trip, as both had fond memories of their time at the school.

James said, “It was a hugely enjoyable first trip. Having being part of Fisher House and with Ric an ex-House Captain for Benet, it’s fair to say the rivalry lived on but it didn’t manage to affect the operation.” With Ric adding, “James did a wonderful job.”

And how fantastic was it for us to find out that Princethorpe was a hot topic of conversation at 35,000 feet. We always love hearing news of our alumni so do get in touch if you have your own OP reunion story to share.

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Class of 1975 Reunion

It was really good to hear from Martin Holland (Class of 1975) back in October.

He takes up the story:

A group of us and our partners, from the leaving year of 1975 got together in London on Friday 6 October.

Pre-dinner drinks were hosted by Dominic and Paulo Flynn at their house in Parsons Green. We all then went for dinner at Aragon House. It was an excellent evening enjoyed by all.

The group has been getting together annually for 14 years, prompted after several of us went to Father Clarkson's memorial service at Princethorpe.

Those attending were Dominic and Paulo Flynn, Mark and Sue Neal, Chris and Karen Evans (residents of Barbados) Martin and Lisa Holland, Kevin Marchant (resident of Toronto) Rabi Demelo and "PJ" McCormack.

Guy Takes On A Challenge Of A Lifetime

OP and current parent, Guy Minshull is taking on a challenge of a lifetime involving a 3,000 mile charity row across the Atlantic to raise money for two charities, Meningitis Now and Get A-Head. He and his teammates set off on Wednesday 3 January to row from Lanzarote to Antigua. Their adventure should take about 50 days and their aim is to raise £250,000.

The team is progressing well and this week passed the halfway point in their row and with the trade winds kicking in - things are going the right way. 

Everyone here at Princethorpe is willing Guy and the team on.

You can find out more about Guy’s charity row and support the Brightsides here or follow them on facebook here.


OP Tom Ashley Launches Children's Cancer Awards

Old Princethorpian, Tom Ashley, who was diagnosed with cancer twice as a teenager, has been chosen to launch a national awards scheme for children and young people.

Tom has thrown his support behind Cancer Research UK's Stars Awards, which recognises the courage of children and young people who have faced cancer.

Now 24 and fully on the road to recovery, Tom has opened up about his post treatment mental health struggles because he wants to inspire others to keep going when all hope is lost.

It's why he’s thrown his support behind the Cancer Research UK Stars Awards, which recognises the courage of children and young people who have faced the challenge of cancer.

Every child nominated receives the accolade, because the charity believes that every child diagnosed with cancer deserves special recognition. The awards are open to all children under 18 who live in the UK and have been treated for the disease within the past five years.

Tom said: “The Star Awards are special. To know there are people out there who do care – you start to understand that it’s a lot more than just an award. There are people backing you who will be in your corner no matter what.”

After recovering twice, Tom began to have survivor guilt and his mental health spiralled. He realised he had to do something to help himself and started to write things down and he now records his experiences, thoughts and feelings in a blog as well as on Instagram and YouTube in the hope he can help and inspire other people struggling with mental health issues.

Everyone here at Princethorpe is hugely proud of Tom who is an inspiration to us all. He has faced serious challenges and we were delighted to hear that he is doing well. We all applaud his positive approach to managing his mental health and his support of Cancer Research's new Star Awards.

OPs Proud To Be Involved With New Hong Kong Catholic University

OPs Alan Young and Vitus Leung are very proud to have been involved in the creation of a new Catholic University in Hong Kong.

Alan Young (1978 - 1981) joined Caritas in 1984, taught at the College and was an advisor to the IT advisory committee of the College before it became the St Francis University. Vitus Leung (1979 - 1982) has been a board member of the College and involved in the government interview process for the College to become the university. 

Alan Young takes up the story:

I am excited to share some wonderful news about my long-term workplace, Caritas Hong Kong, and its affiliated institution, the Caritas Institute of Higher Education (CIHE). As a former teacher, school principal, and now Head of IT, I am proud to announce that the CIHE has achieved a significant milestone.

Following approval by the Chief Executive-in-Council on January 9, the CIHE has been granted a university title and will now be known as "Saint Francis University" and "聖方濟各大學" in English and Chinese, respectively. This recognition is a testament to the government's commitment to fostering the growth and parallel development of publicly funded and self-financing post-secondary education sectors in Hong Kong.

The university title not only signifies a major accomplishment for the CIHE but also highlights the government's dedication to providing young people in Hong Kong with quality, flexible, and diverse study pathways. The self-financing post-secondary education sector plays a vital role in nurturing talent to meet Hong Kong's evolving manpower needs and establishing itself as an international hub for post-secondary education.

The CIHE is the fourth self-financing post-secondary education institution to be granted a university title. This decision was made after careful consideration of various factors, including program breadth, research capability, size and scale, governance and management, financial sustainability, academic environment, and quality assurance. In 2022, the CIHE underwent an Institutional Review conducted by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ), which affirmed that the institution met the standards expected of a private university.

Established in 1985 as the Caritas Francis Hsu College, the CIHE gained approval to operate sub-degree programs in 2001 and was accredited to offer degree-level programs in 2010. It subsequently changed its name to the CIHE in 2011. Today, the CIHE offers 13 self-financing locally accredited post-secondary programs, including 12 bachelor's degree programs and one master's degree program. With approximately 3,000 full-time and 500 part-time students, the CIHE continues to expand its educational offerings.

As a dedicated member of the Caritas Hong Kong community since 1984, I am thrilled to witness this significant transformation. The CIHE, now known as Saint Francis University, has embraced its new identity and is poised to continue delivering outstanding education while contributing to the development of Hong Kong's educational landscape.

Vitus, member of the Board of Governors of CIHE, commented on the last stages of the process, when he attended an interview, with His Eminence Cardinal Stephen Chow, Prof Rossie Young, Dr Denis Chang SC, et al. by a panel of over 10 university deans and vice-presidents from Hong Kong and other countries, that being the final stage of assessment by the Education Bureau.

"The panel had raised many questions before the interview and went into much detail. There was nervous moment shortly before going into the interview room. Cardinal Stephen calmed us down by saying, God would lead us; that brought the whole team peace of mind before the interview."

We congratulate Alan, Vitus and the whole team on this fantastic achivement.


Molly Geehan Loves Working For England Netball

Old Princethorpian, Molly Geehan (Class of 2019) has been working for England Netball for a year now as their Digital Assistant and she is loving every minute of her interesting and varied role.

Molly has just finished covering the Vitality Netball Nations Cup that was held at Wembley Arena and the First Direct Arena in Leeds. She reported news of England's matches on their social media channels as well as creating behind the scenes content.

Next up on her agenda will be the start of the Netball Super League which gets underway in February. Molly runs the social media channels for the League and all 10 teams will be at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday 17 February to start the season.

It is clear that ex-Princethorpe Netballer and Games Captain Molly is really living the dream.

It was fantastic to hear from you Molly and we will be keping our eyes open to see if we can spot you on TV.



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Georgie Gets Dissertation Help From The Princethorpe Community

Back in January we were delighted to help Georgie Glasspool (Class of 2019) with her dissertation, by asking the Princethorpe community to complete her dissertation survey.

Georgie is in her final year at Nottingham Trent studying Product Design. Her dissertation is on Heritage Crafts and she has been researching whether they can be learnt properly online rather than more traditional in-person methods.

Georgie was delighted with the response, commenting, "Thank you so much for posting my survey, I got a great amount of responses for my dissertation! It’s fantastic that help like this is available through the OP Association."

We wish Georgie all the best with her dissertation and final year. If anyone else needs similar help, please do get in touch!!

Flora To Run The London Marathon

A huge good luck to Flora Courtney, Class of 2016, who will be running the London Marathon, this April. Flora tells us more:

On Sunday 21st April 2024 I will be running the London Marathon for Carers Trust. A charity that seeks to improve the support and services available for anyone living with the challenges of unpaid caring for a family member or friend.

I left Princethorpe in 2016 and moved to Sheffield for university, where I studied a BA Hons in Criminology followed by an MSc in Criminology and Criminal Justice Practice. I am currently still living in Sheffield and working for The Rank Group as an Analyst.

Throughout school I was a keen runner and it is something I have continued and still enjoy, despite the steep hills in Sheffield! I have completed a few half marathons in the past, but a marathon is something I have always wanted to do. Running 26.2 miles is a daunting task, but I am excited to take on this challenge for such an amazing cause.

Any donations would be greatly appreciated.