Welcome to the sixteenth issue of The Old Princethorpian, Princethorpe College's termly e-newsletter for past pupils, staff and parents, old and new.

The newsletter aims to keep OPs in touch with each other and news, developments and events at the College.

This issue includes news of the recent successful inspection of the College, the growth of OP sport and OPs contributions to the College Careers Fair, plus plenty of news and updates from OPs across the decades.

If you have any comments on the e-newsletter or news to contribute to the next issue, which is due out in October, please email us at oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk.

The next OPs event is the London Meeting at the prestigious East India Club on Friday 16 May. We'd love to see you if you can make it along!

Have a great Summer!



Admissions Update E-Newsletter Guides Parents Through Admissions Process

We're seeing more and more enquiries about admissions from Old Princethorpians as their offspring approach senior school age.

The College's Marketing and Admissions Team has just issued the second edition of the Admissions Update e-newsletter aimed at guiding parents through the admissions process as we move towards the next cycle of admissions for September 2015.

The e-newsletter which was issued on Friday 2 May is packed with news to give a feel for College life, forthcoming events which are open to prospective pupils and their families and helpful advice about the admissions process, particularly for those joining this September or looking at entry in September 2015.

Comments Loretta Curtis, Registrar, "The first Admissions e-newsletter was very well received. There are some changes to the admissions process for this coming January with the introduction of an online assessment instead of the Verbal Reasoning paper for Years 7, 8 and 9, so this gives everyone plenty of warning of those changes plus a wealth of other useful information so that candidates and their parents feel well prepared."

This newsletter will be issued twice a year to those who are on our enquiry database to coincide with key admissions periods, the next edition will be published in early November 2014.

Click here to view the Admissions Update.

Old Girls News - Archive Team Help Research Female Aviator Sicele O'Brien

Librarian Celia Scott and her assistant Karen O'Connor have been helping Michael Traynor research a former St Mary's Priory boarder for a book he is preparing to write.

Sicele's birth name was Cecilia O'Brien and she was born in Paddington, London on 1 April 1887. Her father was Sir Timothy O'Brien, a famous cricketer who captained England at the end of the 19th century.

The census for March 1901 shows Sicele as a boarder at the Priory. Her sisters Mariquita and Gundrede were also there on the same night.

On the night of the 1901 census there were 71 nuns and 31 female boarders in the school (three of them were O'Brien sisters).

The reason they attended Princethorpe is their mother was Gundrede de Trafford (1860-1952). She was the daughter of Sir Humphrey and Lady Annette de Trafford from Trafford Park, Manchester. Gundrede's sister, Mary Annette (1865-1934) was a nun at Princethorpe and her dowry funded the church that was constructed there between 1897 and 1901.

Michael's interest in Sicele is aviation related, as he is researching female pilots pre-WW2. Sicele obtained her private pilots licence on 20 October 1926 and was one of the earliest female pilots in Britain to earn such a licence. She became Britain's second female commercial pilots licence holder on 12 July 1928. Sadly she was killed in a plane crash near Hatfield in June 1931.

The following is reference to Sicele's fatal plane crash.


Celia and Karen have found various references to Sicele and her sisters in old editions of Peeps, the school magazine from the 1902 to her death in 1931. 

We wish Michael all the very best with his continuing research into Sicele and look forward to including a copy of his work in the Princethorpe archive in due course.

Dr Peaple Secures WW1 100th Anniversary Book Deal

Congratulations to Princethorpe's Head of History, Dr Simon Peaple who has recently secured a book deal with publishers Helion & Company, one of the world's leading specialist publishers and booksellers of military history.

The book, which has a working title of Mud, Blood and Determination, looks at the way in which the 46th (North Midland) Division, progressed along the 'learning curve' to become an effective fighting attacking division by late 1918.

The book will be available from bookshops and Amazon in the Autumn to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the war.

Gwilym Price Collects MBE From Palace

On Tuesday 18 March Princethorpe's much loved former Director of Sport, Gwilym Price, visited Buckingham Palace with his wife Margaret, son Daniel, daughter, Megan and grandson Patrick to collect his well deserved MBE for services to Education and Sport.

Gwil was presented with the award by the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William.

Gwil describes the event as 'immensely special albeit slightly nerve-wracking especially when briefed as to all the dos and donts of royal protocol'.

Supported by his lovely family, Gwil said that Prince William was an absolute delight, spending quite some time chatting and pleased about making the award to a fellow sportsman.

Summing up the day, Gwil dedicated the award to his family who have supported him so much over the years and thanked his dear friends and colleagues at Princethorpe for making it possible for him to do so much in the sporting arena.

If you would like to catch up with Gwilym why not come along to the OPs Summer Supper Meeting on Tuesday 10 June, when he will be our guest of honour.  Optional tour of school at 6pm, drinks at 7pm, supper at 7.30pm. RSVP oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk by Friday 30 May.

OPs Sport Set For Take Off

Having played our first fixture this season against Old Ratcliffians Old Princethorpians Sport is on the cusp of greatness.

Charged by the hard work of Peter Rollason and Jonathan Fitt the committee are excited by the prospects of future events and fixtures which will include Old Boys and also Old Girls.

“Playing for the Old Princethorpians was always one of my lifetime ambitions and now I have wet my whistle I am keen for further progress” explained Peter Rollason Chairman of the Old Princethorpians. “We have a fantastic bunch of young and enthusiastic athletes who are keen to support the progress of sport at the College but also to continue their links with the school's crest which makes the future very exciting.”

Further fixtures have been lined up for September with the Old Princethorpians hosting their Annual Sports Day on Saturday 30 August from 11.00am followed by a rugby fixture away against Kenilworth RFC on Sunday 7 September (13.00pm Kick Off) and then the return leg of our hosting of the Old Ratcliffians on Sunday 14 September where both alumni associations will aim to field rugby, mixed hockey and netball (14.00pm Kick Off for all sports).

“For many Old Princethorpians sport was an integral part of their education at the College and without that interaction and the life skills that they developed from playing with their peers many would have not achieved what they have.” Jonathan Fitt went on to conclude “Every facet of the College is continuing to achieve outstanding results which was clearly highlighted in our excellent ISI inspection report. We as a sports group want to continue to meet the aspirations which are embedded in all the pupils and form an Old Princethorpians' Sports organisation which continues to allow everyone to play the sports that they love and to continue to share the warmth and appreciation of College.”

If you are interested in playing in any of the upcoming fixtures please contact Jon Fitt.

Golden Girl Annabelle Wins England Indoor Pentathlon

Princethorpe College pupil Annabelle Pask has won her first national combined events title at the England Athletics Age Group Indoor Championships in Sheffield on Saturday 8 March. Annabelle (Coventry Godiva Harriers) took the under 17 women’s pentathlon title with a win over Naomi Harryman (Harlow AC) who took silver and J’nae Ward (Sale Harriers Manchester) taking the bronze.

Competing over 60m hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and 800m, Pask, who finished 6th at these championships in 2013, entered the final event with a 59 point lead over Harryman. The Southern champion did her best to narrow the deficit, but despite covering the four laps of the final event, the 800m, in 2:31.29 compared to Pask’s 2:34.98, the 677 points were not enough and the Coventry athlete held on to secure her first national victory with a score of 3483 points to Harryman’s 3469.

Pask had made an excellent start to her day, running a personal best of 8.95secs in the 60m hurdles to take an early lead, but it was Harryman who led after the high jump, her 1.65m jump being the best mark in the field and a full 12cm better than Pask’s. It was the shot put however, that proved decisive, as the 2013 Midland champion outdoors recorded a PB 10.32m to Harryman’s 8.19m and the 132 point difference that that represented resulted in a lead that proved unsurpassable.

With the championships incorporating the Midland Counties, Northern Athletics and Welsh U17 championships, Pask also took home Midland indoor gold. This personal best score places Annabelle 1st on the 2014 Indoor Pentathlon rankings and 12th on the All Time.

Annabelle confesses that she went into the competition without high hopes, “I wasn’t nervous. It wasn’t until I had jumped a good long jump that I really thought to myself, yes, I can win this. I knew I had to work hard on the final event, the 800m. It was a chase to the line with Naomi ahead of me but that pushed me harder to make up the distance and therefore gaining more points.”

Princethorpe College Headmaster Mr Ed Hester described Annabelle’s achievement as a “first for the College.” He went on to add, “This is a wonderful and extremely well-earned achievement from a talented athlete who tries her very best in all she does. What is so impressive is that Annabelle also contributes fully to all aspects of College life including, of course, her academic studies, but remains modest and totally down to earth about her successes.”

With eyes now firmly focused on the outdoor season, Annabelle will enjoy a week’s rest whilst she basks in the glory of this superb victory.

Inspectors Praise Princethorpe Pupils And Staff

A visit in the middle of February from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) found Princethorpe in tip-top health.  The curricular provision across the school was described as “excellent” and the extra-curricular programme was rated to be “outstanding”. The report praises rapid pace, imaginative use of resources and a wide range of effective teaching methods. The school’s innovative da Vinci programme was singled out for successfully motivating pupils to work independently. Commenting on the quality of learning they added “Most teaching is at least good and often excellent.”

The report also pays tribute to the fine personal qualities of pupils. “They learn much about the need for moral living from the ethos of the school which values truth, equality of opportunity, human rights and justice.”  The team also said that pupils recognise and respect the faith and cultures of others and that they celebrate diversity.  The huge array of charity, volunteering and fund-raising for the less fortunate are all acknowledged. The report continues: “Pupils spontaneously appreciate and celebrate the success and achievements of their peers. Pupils at all stages are emotionally mature for their age.”

Headmaster, Ed Hester, said that he was delighted with the inspectors’ findings. “They have recognised Princethorpe’s high standards of teaching and learning, our superb staff, wide-ranging extra-curricular programme and exceptional pastoral care. We are up there with the very best schools in the country in providing a first class all-round education whilst caring so well for our pupils.”

Inspectors praised the school’s firm sense of direction. “The senior management team share a clear vision for the school. They, along with staff at all levels of responsibility, are highly effective in working to continually improve all the school offers.”

Just over twelve months ago the College unveiled a ten-year capital expenditure programme to build thirteen further classrooms, two ICT suites, additional sports pitches, a new theatre, a Sixth Form study centre and upgrades to science laboratories and technology workshops. Ed Hester added “Our new classroom wing is on target to open for September and provides a new home for English, modern foreign languages, ICT and academic PE; this is perfectly timed as we build on the success of this inspection.”

Independent schools receive inspection visits at least every six years by ISI which is the body approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of inspecting schools belonging to the Independent Schools Council (ISC). Princethorpe College is a member of The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC) as well as the Independent Schools Association (ISA), both of which come under the auspices of ISC.

Click here to go to report on the ISI website.

Princethorpe Careers Fair ‘Lights Some Fires’ For Those Stepping Onto The Ladder

Headmaster Ed Hester welcomed a capacity crowd of 800 pupils, parents, staff and contributors to the College's second Careers Fair held on Saturday 29 March.

Old Princethorpians were at the heart of the action as the College campus was transformed into a buzzing platform showcasing top industries, businesses and higher educational establishments. Over 250 Year 10 to Sixth Form pupils signed up for three sessions run by professionals who gave structured presentations about their fields of work. Just about any walk of life was represented from the Armed Forces to Law and from Product Design to Journalism.

The morning began with a keynote speech from guest speaker and Princethorpe parent Phil Popham. As Global Marketing Director for Jaguar Land Rover Mr Popham spoke directly to the “leaders of the future” asking them if they had a clear goal and if so how was that goal to be realised. He drew extensively on the qualities of the Princethorpe Sixth Form Diploma likening its attributes to those sought after by canny employers who sift through hundreds of potential applicants. Phil praised the College and described having an education here as a “privilege” not to be wasted.

Thanking Mr Popham, Ed Hester summed up with the hope that the Careers Fair would succeed in “lighting some fires” for all those attending.

Princethorpe’s Sixth Form Atrium served as the hub for the morning with an Exhibition of Universities, Gap Year companies, the Armed Forces and organisations such as JLR and Rolls Royce. Renowned employers sipped coffee with pupils and parents providing excellent networking opportunities.

For many this was their first step on the proverbial career ladder enabling pupils to have a taste of real world job experience exclusively in the College setting.

Comments Peter Rollason, Chairman of the Old Princethorpians, "The Careers Fair is the very essence of what the OPs are about, giving back to the College in the most tangible way possibly through sharing experience and knowledge with today's pupils."

The College is immensely grateful to all the Old Princethorpians, parents suppliers and staff who supported the event and facilitated the day.

Image shows some of the 60+ speakers and exhibitors gathered together before the Careers Fair commenced.

Topping Out Ceremony Marks Construction Mile Stone in New Princethorpe Wing

It’s not a regular occurrence at Princethorpe to spot the Headmaster scaling vast heights wearing a hi-vis jacket and hard hat. Accompanied by members of the Sixth Form Prefect Body and invited guests, the placing of a stone at the highest point of the new £4.5 million classroom wing was celebrated at an informal ceremony on Friday 28 March.

The practice of "topping out" a new building can be traced to the ancient Scandinavian religious practice of placing a tree on the top of a new building to appease the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors who had been displaced (though you will be pleased to know that no trees were sacrificed in the construction of our building!). The practice migrated to England with Scandinavian invaders.

Invited Princethorpe trustees and teachers as well as Managing Director of contractor GF Tomlinson of Derby, Stuart Lawrence, were present at the ceremony joining in with the good humour of the occasion. An optional tour of this exciting new development revealed first-hand the fourteen new classrooms, two IT suites, offices and subject bases that will open for business at the start of the next academic year.

Stuart Lawrence went on to describe the progress of the development, “The scheme at Princethorpe College has been progressing extremely well and we’re delighted to be at a stage where the ‘topping out’ ceremony can take place.  The new building will be state-of-the-art providing a wonderful teaching and learning environment for students at the College.”

Old Princethorpians Kick Off With Fantastic Win

A beautiful day at Ratcliffe College on Sunday 16 March staged a historic day for the Old Princethorpians as they played their first competitive sports fixture against Old Ratcliffians alumni. Captained by OP's Chairman Peter Rollason, the Princethorpe team contained men from a number of year groups to have represented the College over its 49 year existence. 

The youthful look of the Princethorpe College team faced a much maturer Ratcliffians side who regularly play fixtures throughout their academic calendar. The game kicked off in very aggressive fashion with the youthful Princethorpe being put in their place by age and experience. However the first try of the game came from the flying winger Charlie Warner who capitalised on a poor kick chase defence to race under the posts. The try was easily converted by Angus Rose to take the score to 7-0. The second try was soon to follow as some excellent scrummage and line out work piled the pressure on Old Ratcliffians. With a ruck forming close to the opposition line Nick Whalley used his speed and strength to dive over in the corner. The kick was missed but it took the score to 12-0 at half time. Rolling subs were used throughout the game to protect the Old Princethorpians lungs and also to maintain the fitness of some of the players who had not played for sometime. 

The 2nd half got started and Princethorpe crashed over almost immediately with Nick Walton using his power to force himself over the line, the try was easily converted by Angus Rose to take the score to 19-0. The final parts of the game saw lots of mistakes as bodies started to get tired. The Old Princethorpians did squeeze over for another try with an outstanding passing move converted by Charlie Preston. The try again was converted by Angus Rose who brought the score to 26-0.

Rugby was the winner for the Old Princethorpians as the opportunity to play as a team and relive and remember some of the fantastic memories they had at school continued late into the night. Charlie Warner was crowned man of the match and received his award from World Cup Winner and Old Ratcliffians Rugby President Neil Back. 

After the game Captain, Peter Rollason commented, "This has to be one of the proudest days of my long but not very illustrious rugby career. I had the privilege to captain (with the considerable assistance of Harvey Broadbent - thanks Chap) the first ever Old Pricethorpians Rugby XV to represent the College against Old Ratcliffians. We won 26-0 and a better bunch of players you could not wish to meet. Thanks to Jon Fitt for organising and coaching the side and driving us there. I hope this will be the first of many such games. Well played all and especially to man of the match Charlie Warner."

Rugby Pub Meet Makes For Trip Down Memory Lane

On Friday 28 February around 30 Old Princethorpians gathered for the annual March Pub Meet at The Merchants Inn, Rugby.

The group was made most welcome by the team at The Merchants, who also laid on a great spread for the hungry OPs.

As well as stalwarts from the OP Committee and past and present members of staff, we were delighted to see some new faces joining us for the evening including, Patrick Mulligan, Bruce West, Mike Edwards and Jan Matthews.

Old Year Books were mulled over with much enthusiasm, and a home video of the College Summer Fete from the mid 80s was cause for much amusement as memories were exchanged. A lovely good-humoured evening for all. Thanks to OP Sean Kerrigan for liaising with The Merchants.

The next OPs event is the London Meet this year to be held for the first time at the East India Club, St James's Square on Friday 16 May. For more information download our calendar attached or visit the OPs part of the website.

We hope to see you there!

J1850 Old Princethorpians Postcard 2013-14 Full.pdf


Old Girls Gathering

Saturday 20 September - 11.00am

On Saturday 20 September there will be another gathering for the Old Girls of St Mary's Priory at the College.  The day will include a light lunch and tour of the school, plus plenty of opportunities to reminisce.


Old Princethorpians' Sports Day 2014

Saturday 30 August - 11.00am to 5.00pm

All is set for the Old Princethorpians' Sports Day on Saturday 30 August.

In addition to the established John Shinkwin Trophy Rugby Match between the current first XV and last year's first XV, the day will include boys' hockey and girls' hockey and netball, with current teams and past pupils vying once again for the honour of claiming the Alex Wallis Memorial Shield.

Points will be accumulated throughout the day, with the shield being awarded to the victors at the end of day in the Sixth Form Centre at 4.30pm.

Format of day: 11.00am to 12.00pm Hockey Princethorpe College 1st XI Girls vs OPs XI

12.00pm to 1.00pm Hockey Princethorpe College 1st XI Boys vs OPs XI

1.00pm to 2.00pm Netball Princethorpe College 1st VII Girls vs OPs VII

2.15 to 3.30pm Rugby - John Shinkwin Trophy Princethorpe College 1st XV Boys vs OPs XV

3.45pm to 5.00pm - After Match Awards and Meal

Refreshments will be available throughout the day and an informal after match meal will be available, courtesy of the OPs Committee, from 3.45pm to 5.00pm.

If you would be interested in playing during the day please contact Jon Fitt by Friday 4 July. If you would just like to come and cheer the teams on please RSVP to Old Princethorpians by Friday 22 August so we can cater for you.

Xplore Activity Camps - Monday 21 July - Friday 15 August

Once again Xplore Activity Camps (formerly KG Adventure) will be returning to Princethorpe this summer to run their popular day camps for children aged 6-14 years old. All welcome!

The multi activity programme at Princethorpe is brilliant because of the amazing facilities that can be used. Plus this year there will be themed sessions from falconry displays to Zumba and fancy dress.

The dates for the Summer Camp are:

Monday 21 - Friday 25 July 

Monday 28 July - Friday 1 August 

Monday 4 - Friday 8 August

Monday 11 - Friday 15 August

If you would like to make a booking or need more information please click below on the link for the Xplore Activity website:


Or contact them by phone on: 01449 742700 or email: info@xploreactivitycamps.com. A 20% discount is available to any pupils who attend the Princethorpe Foundation schools.

Summer Fete and Motoring Festival

Sunday 29 June 2014

All are welcome at the College's annual Summer Fête and 19th Motoring Festival which will be held on Sunday 29 June from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.

A highlight of the school calendar the event takes place in the Orchard, unless the weather is inclement when we will retire indoors.

There will be lots of entertainment for both children and adults alike including for the first time ever a Dog Display provided by a local Dog Club. There will also be pony rides available, a large inflatable slide for the kids, a nerf gun game, bouncy sumo suits, BBQ, refreshments, bar, pupils’ stalls, over 30 external stalls and many, many more exciting things for all the family to enjoy.

Nineteenth Annual Motoring Festival

The annual Motoring Festival is now in its nineteenth year. The Festival is open to anyone keen to bring any sort of classic, vintage, veteran or interesting vehicle along for the afternoon. There will be rally plaques for all pre-booked vehicles and awards for self-judged competitions.

The Festival is preceded by an informal morning road run of about 30 miles through the Warwickshire countryside. Vehicles taking part in the run need to arrive at Princethorpe for 11.00am. There is no charge for classic vehciles entering the festival or taking part in the road run.

Barbecued food is available for a nominal charge on return to Princethorpe at lunchtime, or feel free to bring a picnic.

Further details from the website, Alex Darkes on 01926 634207 or email alexdarkes@princethorpe.co.uk.

Summer Art, Photography and Design Show 2014

Thursday 26 June - 6.00pm to 8.30pm and Sunday 29 June - 2.00pm to 4.30pm

The Summer Art, Photography and Design Show, a celebration of our students GCSE, AS and A2 Art, Photography and Design work will take place in the College's Sixth Form Centre on Thursday 26 June from 6.00pm to 8.30pm and on Sunday 29 June from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.

This year once again we will be participating in Warwickshire Open Studios and a range of design technology projects, from resistant materials to textiles, will be showcased alongside the stunning art and photography work the College is renowned for.

Comments, Paul Hubball, Head of Art, "This is a great opportunity to share our students' fantastic creativity with a wider audience and to welcome more art and design lovers to Princethorpe."

All are welcome. If you would like to attend on Thursday evening please email Shirley Allen so we can cater for you. Drinks and nibbles will be available. On Thursday evening admission is free; on the Sunday admission will be £2 per car including entry to the Summer Fête and Motoring Festival.

Art History Lecture: Paolo Veronese And Magnificence in Renaissance Venice

Thursday 19 June 2014 at 7.30pm - Sixth Form Lecture Theatre followed by wine and light refreshments in The Atrium. 

The Arts Society is delighted once again to welcome back the former Deputy Head of the College, Margaret-Louise O’Keeffe, for another of her inspirational lectures. 

Currently the subject of an unprecedented and superb exhibition at the National Gallery (until 15 June 2014), Paolo Veronese (1528-1588) will be the subject of a slide-illustrated talk highlighting his skills as a supreme colourist and story-teller. Born in Verona, he worked much of his life in Venice and contributed altarpieces, mythologies, portraits, allegories and great feast scenes, one of which famously incurred the Inquisition's wrath. A truly fascinating artist who made a huge contribution to the period known as the Golden Age of Venetian Painting.  

Tickets £5 to include a glass of wine and light refreshments; Princethorpe and Crackley Hall pupils free of charge. Click here for a copy of the booking form. 

Tickets may also be purchased at the door; but advance notice helps catering, please. We are happy to receive provisional bookings by e-mail, please, to alexdarkes@princethorpe.co.uk.

Old Princethorpians' Summer Events

There's a whole host of OP events taking place this Summer, literally something for everyone, so we hope to see OPs and their families soon!

Summer Supper Meeting - Tuesday 10 June 2012 6.00pm for tour of school (optional), 7.00pm for drinks, followed by supper at 7.30pm.

Our guest of honour this year will be Gwilym Price, MBE.

A relaxed meeting of OPs and former and long-standing staff over supper in the College's Sixth Form Centre Dining Room. RSVP to Old Princethorpians by Monday 2 June please if you would like to come.

OPs Picnic - Sunday 29 June 2014 from 12.00pm

The OPs Picnic will take place on Sunday 29 June from 12.00pm on the lawn beside the tennis courts adjacent to the Orchard. This is an informal opportunity for OPs to picnic together before the College's annual Summer Fête and Motoring Festival from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.

Summer Open Evening and Year 5 Taster Days

Wednesday 4 June - 6.30pm to 8.30pm

An Open Evening for prospective pupils and their parents will take place on Wednesday 4 June from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. This will be an informal opportunity to look around the school and to meet pupils and staff. Children can particpate in fun activities in the different departments and the Headmaster will make presentations during the evening.

Year 5 Taster Days

Taster Days are now available for current Year 5 students (children born between 1 September 2003 and 31 August 2004), who are interested in admission to the College in September 2015. The dates are as follows: Tuesday 20 May Wednesday 18 June Thursday 19 June These days will involve a number of classroom sessions, a tour of the school, lunch and other activities. The days will run from 9.45am to 3.20pm. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. To book your child's place telephone the Registrars on 01926 634201 or emailelainewarwick@princethorpe.co.uk.

Crackley Hall and Little Crackers Summer Open Events

Wednesday 21 May - 5.00pm to 7.30pm and Tuesday 10 June - 10.00am to 3.00pm

Crackley Hall, Princethorpe's junior school and nursery in Kenilworth, is opening its doors for an Open Evening on Wednesday 21 May from 5.00pm to 7.30pm. There's fun for all the family in store including a bouncy castle.

This is an informal opportunity to look around the school and to meet staff and pupils. Children can participate in a variety of fun, subject related activities around the school. It will also be possible to see the Crackley pupils taking part in musical and sporting activities.

There will also be an Open Day on Tuesday 10 June from 10.00am to 3.00pm during which you can see the school on a 'normal working day'.

All are welcome, no need to book.

If you can't make the Open Events but would like to look around, please call on 01926 514444 and come on a day to suit you. We welcome visitors on most days or, if you have younger children, why not come to our Stay 'n' Play session for 0-4 year olds every Wednesday 10.00am - 11.30am just £2.00 per family.

For more information visit www.crackleyhall.co.uk.

OPs London Meeting - East India Club

Friday 16 May - 6.30pm

New to the OP Calendar this year is a gathering in the Canadian Room of the prestigious East India Club in St James' Square, London on Friday 16 May, pictured.

The event will include the official placing of the Princethorpe crest on the Club's school 'wall of fame', where it will sit alongside the crests of schools such as Eton, Harrow and Rugby.

A light buffet will be available.

Quite a few OPs and staff are signing up to the event including the Headmaster, Ed Hester, Peter Rollason, Alex Darkes, Eddie Tolcher and Master of Rugby, Jon Fitt.

Please let us know if you would like to join us so we can cater for you, email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk by Tuesday 13 May.

Click here for directions.

Old Princethorpian Interview

Dani Black

When were you at Princethorpe?

2002 – 2009

What did you do after leaving the College?

I studied Sports Performance for three years at The University of Bath.  I then worked at Rugby School as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for one year. I am currently a PE and Games Teacher at Princethorpe. 

What was the school like in your day?

Princethorpe is very similar now to when I was there. However, there seems to be much more available to pupils now. The same friendly environment is still there but I think that the discipline has definitely stepped up a gear.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

My time at Princethorpe has strongly influenced my character today. I had such a fun time but alongside that, developed a sturdy set of core values. The pupils and staff I met at Princethorpe have also influenced who I am today.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Don’t waste time trying to be cool or worrying about what other people think of you. Be happy with who you are.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?

My Grandparents for so many reasons.

She is going to hate me for saying this but Chris McCullough (Head of Year 10 and PE and Games Teacher) has hugely impacted me as a person. Aside from her being the reason behindme following a career in teaching she has taught me a lot of important things and is the best advice giver I know.

What keeps you awake at night? 

When I haven’t written a to-do list for the next day!

What has been your proudest moment/greatest achievement so far?

Playing hockey for my country was great. I have recently bought my first house which makes my smile every time I go home!

What’s your biggest indulgence?

Pot Noodle. Horrible but I can’t resist them.

If you had to have one last meal, what would it be? 

Sea food spaghetti and a nice red wine.

What is your favourite TV Show and why? 

Greys Anatomy. It makes me feel like I’m a doctor.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and who would be with you? 

Somewhere in South East Asia with my best friends.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

I am still best friend with my two closest friends from school so everytime we are together it feels just like school again. Memories from South Africa will stay with me forever.

Memory Bank

Jonathan Edwards' Trip Down Memory Lane

I was a pupil from 1975 to 1979. Having never been back to Princethorpe for some 35 years, (not through not wanting to but never getting round to sorting it out), my wife and I were about to celebrate our silver wedding anniversary and decided to spend it in Stratford-Upon-Avon, then thought it was a golden opportunity to visit the old school! So I got in touch and arranged a visit with Melanie Butler.

The day of reckoning was set for 30th April and with a little bit of nervousness, we arrived at the front door.

Wow, Hogwarts or what! The tower as you approach the school is the first reminder if how grand the school is and was. Into the reception area and how it has all changed, which you would expect after all that time. All I kept trying to do was remember the surroundings. Not until I got to the chapel did it all come back. The long corridors around the quadrant and the canteen just as I remembered, obviously a little bit of paint and a red theme on all the doors and frames have made it all look a little bit warmer. The study hall has now been converted to a library, oh how many hours did I spend in there with Mr. Rex (my history teacher), then the dormitories! No longer there! The school has stopped taking in boarders for the last 7 years, so all offices now. Tried to find my old room and there under the beams I could still see myself. All the old names came flashing back, Adrian Watts, Simon Yates and Philip Callan. Then outside I still remembered the old gasworks, where we would sneak out and have a crafty fag. You can see the mile run, which we had to run during PE and of course in detention!

The school now has a Sixth Form block and there are new buildings going up everywhere, it all looks very different from my day. We are just coming to the end of a wonderful memory trip when Melanie's mobile rang and we were whisked off back to the reception area to meet no other than Father O'Brien (Teddy as he is known today) Wow, I'll have some of what he's been eating, he doesn't look any older, and to cap it all, he remembered me. What a wonderful way to end a really good trip down memory lane.

To all those other old boys, if you are thinking about visiting Princethorpe and are a little nervous, don't be, it really is a must and hopefully I will meet some of you in 2016 when the school celebrates 50 years.

Richard Returns To Princethorpe For A Long Overdue Visit

OP Richard Dawtrey returned to Princethorpe for the first time in 35 years after leaving the College following his A-levels.  His tour of school with OPs Secretary Melanie Butler brought back memories of his and his brother, Philip's time at the College. His parents, farmers from Norfolk, had moved with their young family to Africa to help with agriculture initiatives, organising resettlement schemes and constructing rural roads and water supplies. The boys were eventually sent to board at Princethorpe.

Richard takes up the story...

In April 2014 I came back to Princethorpe for a visit, having not seen that front door since 1969 when I left for the last time.

The entrance and corridors look much the same, quite strange to be back again.  Finding myself and my brother Phil on the whole school photos took some doing, but I managed it after a few minutes. There were lots of faces that I remembered and I don't know how but the names popped back into my head as well, Stanaslowski, the Daniels brothers and Richard Wong to name a few.

Being a student from Africa I only went home with my brother in the long summer holidays and the school was home for much of the year, so I knew it better than most. These long journeys were nothing compared to those I had for my previous school in Tanzania. It took three days on an old service bus which was full to bursting with locals, goats, chickens and people sitting on the roof, over dirt roads, travelling from Mbeya in southern Tanzania to Arusha near Mount Kilimanjaro in the north.

There were so many areas of the school where I remembered doing this and that, including having a common room in the Tower where myself and Richard Walsh and a couple of others played as a band. Fr Clarkson had pushed us up there to reduce the noise levels near the church.

There have been many changes in the buildings, great new areas for study, art and music to name a few.  The students seemed well behaved and had a more determined look about them than I think I had at that age, perhaps the old grey cells are letting me down there.

The standard of the work on the walls reflects the great talent the students have and one feels that the education they get now must be far better than my day, much greater scope if nothing else. Having said that many of the old boys I know have achieved much success in the world, becoming directors, senior managers, company owners, professional sportsmen, artist and musicians of note.

Now I am retired I think Princethorpe did well for me,  for which I am thankful.

Onwards and upwards Princethorpe I say!

Wild Africa and a Job To Do by Brian Dawtrey, Richard's father is a true family adventure story of the family's early days in Africa, it is available at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Brian-Dawtrey/e/B0034PSX20

View Gallery

Prize Giving 1984 Mystery Man Identified

Well done to Ian Lucas whose eagle eyes identified the mystery man in OP Paul McGrath's Prize Giving pic from 1984 as Matt Audinwood, standing next to Carl Tranter on the second left.

Alex Darkes remembers Matt as coming from South Africa, but we dont know where he is now, if anyone can shed light on his whereabouts please let us know!

Missing & Found

John Cleary Looking For Charles Gordon

John Cleary was best friends with a guy called Charles Gordon who went to Princethorpe around 1971.

The pair were at St John Fisher's Primary School together and were inseparable. John went onto Cardinal Wiseman and a couple of years later his family moved over to Ireland, but that's another story!

John hasn't heard from or seen Charles since then, it would be fantastic to catch up again.

If anyone is in contact with Charles still please do let Old Princethorpians know and we will put the pair back in touch again! Thanks.

OP Updates

New Additions To The OP Database

Since the last edition of The Old Princethorpian in February, we've had a bumper number of OPs from across the decades either adding or updating their details on the database.

To check them out go to the OPs part of the website and register or logon if you have already registered.


Harry Deely – 2005 -2012

Amran Thandi – 2012 – 2013

Karin Atkins – 1976 – 1982

Helen Beechey – 2000 – 2003

Desmond Jack – 1990 – 2000

Paul Hubball – 1985 -1991

Dominic Gillespie – 1981 – 1987

Mark Conmy – 1983 – 1990

Chris Cunningham – 1967 – 1970

Paul Tickell – 1980 – 1985

John Murray – 1969 – 1974

Martin Heffron – 1972 – 1980

Michael Connor – 1977 – 1982

Matthew Bishton –1988 – 1993

And last but by no means least, Gerard Grady – 1973 – 1981

Welcome to them all and we hope to see them at some of our events in the coming months.

Fergus Preston Racing Ahead

I left Princethorpe last year and started at Nottingham Trent university studying pharmaceutical and medicinal chemistry. While at uni I have taken up rowing and have seen some great success in the last five months, so much so that my crew and I were due to take place in the Head of the River Race London at the end of March.

Our crew along with 398 others were to row on the Thames from Putney to Chiswick (the boat race in reverse). It is a 6.8km race. Fellow crews competing were the Oxbridge crews, international teams from the likes of Czech Republic, the the Olympic German team and rumours of the GB national team!

The race was scheduled to commence at 14:15 as this was the time at which the tide were the change direction and therefore the stream would be the fastest. Over 400 boats entered the race and Nottingham Trent were positioned 363; many people think that being positioned here means that you're considered "poor", however when you look at the boats that had entered i.e. Leander, German National teams and all the top rowing universities such as UCL, Durham, Newcastle, this wasn't a bad position!

When rowing up to the start line, the tide was fairly choppy but this was to be expected as the Thames is the only Head race that is a Tideway. However, once we were passed Hammersmith Bridge, the tide settled and the conditions were perfect for rowing in. The marshall instructed us to 'park' ourselves along the bank with the other countless number of boats and gently 'tap' our way up to the start line. (The race had already started by this point).

The first 100 boats went down, with Leander heading off first and Mosley shortly after. After they had all gone down, this was divisions 1 and 2 over with. We were venturing ever closer to the start line.

The bad news then arrived; "The race has been abandoned, please do not move". 4 out of the 100 boats that went down had sunk due to the choppy conditions under Hammersmith and Putney. The race was then deemed unsafe for other competitors. This was saddening news as for the last 2 weeks prior to the race we had trained endlessly, averaging around 16-18 hours a week, most of which being early morning sessions starting at 5:30am! It had also been calculated that in the run up to the race we had rowed just shy of 90km, both on and off the water.

In spite of this, having the experience to row on the Thames and go past famous landmarks such as Harrods depository and Fulham football ground was amazing. Thankfully the race is every year, so hopefully we will have the opportunity, no doubt of rowing it again.

In other news, my coach is putting me up for GB trials later this year. This has meant that my scheduled three week easter holiday was shortened to one week as I had to go back to Nottingham to train. in order to qualify for trials, my 2k time needs to be 6:17. This is a split time of 1:35/500m. My current 2k time stands just shy of 6:30. Additionally my 5km time needs to drop to 16:30. Currently my time is 16:54. The gap may be small, however this won't be easy. Upon achieving many of my PB times, I have come off the ergo and either fainted, had an asthma attack or vomitted. The extremities to which you have to push your body to achieve such goals can sometimes be dangerous. Having said that, I always get back not on the ergo to try and improve my times.

I will keep you posted as to how I do!

Jodie Chinn Focuses on Design

I was at Princethorpe for Sixth Form and left in summer 2010. I did an Art Foundation at Warwickshire College and am now doing BA Design at Goldsmiths, University of London and am in my third year of study.

I am interested in a multidisciplinary approach to design: one that is ultimately about experimentation and conceptual thinking with the freedom to create without limitations and I would ultimately like to set up my own studio. However, I am still interested in doing art on the side/spare time.

The painting in the gallery attached to this article is a commission I did for Aston (one of Princethorpe's postmen) after he saw my A-level final piece hanging in Princethorpe's front entrance. It is a piece I did based on a project looking at the use of light in painting. It has a different composition to the original painting as Aston chose a composition from a series of photographs I took. A painting of this size takes me approx 2 weeks to do and I used acrylic paint. The girl is my friend Rosemary Lambert.

I would be very happy to do commissions if anyone is interested. I would be happy to do portraits based on photographs I am given or I could take the photographs as well. I am also open to using a range of media including: acrylic, pencil and chalk and charcoal. I am basically happy to do anything the client would like!

If you would like to commission a piece of art by Jodie please email jodie_chinn@hotmail.com.

View Gallery

World First For James Godden

Any of my Mathematics teachers reading my job title will probably be slightly confused – my overriding memory of Maths was staring blankly at a triangle pressing ‘sin’, ‘cos’ and ‘tan’ on my calculator just trying to get close to the required number! But this is where my first praise for Princethorpe comes in; the staff never gave up on me, or any others in my class. It was once noted by President John Calvin Coolidge that ‘persistence and determination…are omnipotent’ and that certainly seemed to be the mantra that all of the staff at the College embodied. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

I left the College in 2010 and moved to The University of Southampton to study Law. During my time there, I was an avid member of the University Jazz Society in which I played tenor saxophone (a skill which was most definitely nurtured and encouraged to blossom by the Princethorpe music department), and presided over our Mooting (legal advocacy) Society. I got to compete in Mumbai, and wholeheartedly believe that these successes were down to the confidence instilled in me by the caring and supportive ethos of the College.

Upon graduating I was offered work at DLA Piper, one of the larger international law firms, in Australia for a couple of months. I therefore incorporated this with a bit of a gap year (in order to ‘find myself’, of course) and travelled Route 66 in America and then the East and West coasts of Australia. I really enjoyed working for the firm, but felt that law was not the overall career I wished to pursue. As a result, I returned home with a bit of an employment quandary.

This is where I include a word of warning for present pupils, which I’m sure my class will echo to an extent. The job market at the moment is tough to break. We’ve all read it and the reality of this doesn’t hit home until you’re right in the midst of it. Having taught myself the intricacies of the stock market whilst at University, and found ‘dabbling’ in it to be quite fun, I figured that this sort of route was the one I would, instead, like to pursue.

During our last few months at the College, we were given interview practice workshops. To get through to the company where I am now, I had to complete a telephone interview, a group stage interview followed by a final interview with my Directors. It was gruelling to say the least, but well worth it. The advice we were given in those workshops stuck with me through to those interviews so, again, my gratitude is extended to the College.

I now work on the Private Client Desk for one of the UK’s largest Foreign Exchange brokers, World First. It’s nothing short of an incredible company. One of the reasons why I like it so much is because it embodies a similar ethos to the College. Honest, Helpful and Client-centric (of course, Princethorpe would class that as Student-centric!). World First’s slogan is ‘People First’, the phone is always answered within three rings and we’re instructed to be completely transparent and honest with our clients. I find it incredible that an international company still holds these core values, and I know how lucky I am to work here. Simply, we broker transactions from one currency to another by taking clients’ funds from one account, internally converting them and then placing them in their other account wherever that may be. To save me taking over the whole newsletter(!), our website explains how the process works and I would urge anybody reading this who has Foreign Exchange requirements to have a look at our website – www.worldfirst.com or email me at James.Godden@worldfirst.com.

As a final note, to all present pupils I would say just one thing. Yes, grades and hard work are important in this day and age. But I genuinely believe that if you’re a fundamentally good person with a bit of panache then you will go further in life than anyone who is purely academic. That’s why I included that quote at the beginning. Princethorpe gives you the means to nurture such life skills – be sure to take advantage of this.

Charlie Preston's Winchester To Paris Run

I was at Princethorpe from 2004 to 2011. I enjoyed all my time there playing vast amounts of school sport. I am now studying at the University of Winchester doing business management, I am in my final year and play rugby and cricket for the University.

My involvement in sport at Princethorpe, along with the values of the school have made me motivated to do charitable work and driven me to do more sporting events such as the one I am about to embark on. 

On the 26th May, along with four friends I will start running from Winchester Cathedral to the Eiffel Tower, the run will take over 2 weeks, we'll be staying in hostels, and raising money and awareness for Cancer Research.  The total distance is 190 miles and we are aiming to raise £4,000, as we all know someone that has been affected by cancer and we want to help fight it!

To support Charlie and his friends in please visit:



Ryan Ives Making Movies

After taking my A-levels, I left Princethorpe Sixth Form in 2010 with no clear idea of what I wanted to do. I did know however that if I was going to University it would be for the right personal reasons and not for the sake of it. I worked in retail for a year and then worked in an office based job for about six months. Neither of which filled me with great excitement.

I have always been interested in film and video and used to regularly 'borrow' my parents video camera to video skateboarding escapades with a friend when I was at primary school. So I decided to look into and was accepted onto a two year course at Warwickshire College taking an HND in Digital Film and Video. I am now in my 2nd year and hope to go onto University this September to further my knowledge and make my qualification into a degree.

I am currently working on a five-man project for a short film which will take me through to June, as well as a solo project of the same length. You can view my completed projects by typing RYAN IVES into YouTube - my channel is at the top.

I have enjoyed working with a diverse range of people over the last 18 months, including a script editor for the BBC series Doctors and filming in a variety of locations such as Warwick Boxing Club and Shirley's Garage, Meriden. What has been nice, is as an Old Princethorpian I have been lucky enough to have help and guidance from Dawn and Adam Trotman, current Princethorpe parents who are involved in Post Production Editing. Thank you to them and to everyone who has had an input into my studies. Although hard and challenging work I have thoroughly enjoyed it......so far !!