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

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

This issue includes the latest Foundation and College news, 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 mid May, please email us at oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk.

Coming up soon is our always popular Leamington Pub Meet followed closely by the College's new Spring Open Afternoon. Then in April there is the much anticipated return of the Princethorpe Open. Please see the Events section for more details on all our events.

We hope you will be able to join us.

Have a great spring!



OP News

Engineering Professors Return To Princethorpe To Help DT Pupils Build Three 3D Printers

Nearly fifty years on from when they boarded at the College, Professors Paul and Peter Cheung returned to Princethorpe to take 11 lucky GCSE Design Technology pupils on an amazing hands-on journey into the technological advanced world of 3D printing.

The twin brothers visited Princethorpe on Friday 9 to Saturday 10 November, to share their exceptional, engineering expertise.  Both are now professors at the University of Hong Kong and Imperial College London respectively and they generously donated their time, and the printer technology, as a thank you for the opportunities, inspiration and support the College had provided them.

On the Friday afternoon Professor Peter Cheung gave a compelling presentation to pupils interested in a career in engineering.  He explained how engineers solve problems, the innovative opportunities his university students get involved in and the facilities Imperial has to offer.  He described time at University as ‘enabling’ and gave examples of where engineering careers could take you before finishing with the challenges engineers will face in the future.

On the Saturday Professor Paul Cheung hosted a full day workshop for 11 invited GCSE Design Technology pupils.  Helped by his brother Peter, cousin Patrick, and Head of Design Technology, Paul Scopes, the 11 pupils spent the day building three 3D printers completely from scratch.  After an initial briefing the pupils quickly got to work and the big build began.  Over the course of the day the new printers took shape, progress was swift, the pupils focussed and engaged and by mid-afternoon, incredibly, and thanks to a determined and tenacious effort, the first machine was already printing.   Pupils, parents and staff watched in amazement as the machine printed a perfect pair of miniature owls.

What was only recently an out of reach, expensive, industrial technique has, over the past few years, developed into accessible, new technology. Today anyone can print musical instruments, household items and, with easily available open source programmes, pretty much anything you can think of.  The new 3D printers are an amazing technological addition to Princethorpe’s Design Technology workshops that will develop new design skills and inspire the next generation of engineers.

Professor Paul Cheung was delighted with Princethorpe’s pupils’ enthusiasm, commenting, “Princethorpe’s pupils have beaten the record for the build time for the printers, beating even my university students.”  He added, “It has been really great to be back at Princethorpe College, we have been warmly welcomed and I would like to thank everyone for making our visit so enjoyable and memorable.”

Whilst visiting the school the brothers were also able to meet the former Director of Boarding, Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC.

At the end of the workshop Headmaster, Ed Hester, thanked Paul and Peter Cheung for their hugely generous donation and presented them and their cousin Patrick, who now lives locally, with a token gift, a much sought after, Old Princethorpians scarf.

A time lapse of the amazing day can be found here.

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Prize Giving Celebrates Great Achievements Of 2018

2018 proved to be another exceptional year for the College – full of achievement, progress and success on so many levels. What better way to celebrate than at the annual Prize Giving Ceremony on Friday 16 November when Princethorpe was delighted to welcome pupils, parents, staff and Old Princethorpians to a wonderful new venue, the IXL Events Centre at Dallas Burston Polo Club.

Before the ceremony the Old Princethorpians Committee hosted a special drinks reception for the returning Upper Sixth, their parents and VIP guests, providing a welcome opportunity for the class of 2018 to get together and catch up on their news since the summer.

The evening began with a screening of the College’s new film Princethorpe College – What’s It All About, before Chair of Trustees, Mrs Liz Griffin, officially opened the proceedings, warmly welcoming parents, friends of the College and Princethorpians old and new to the special occasion.

In his formal address the Headmaster, Ed Hester, gave thanks to the Princethorpe family who make Princethorpe the special place it is - the staff, the pupils, the parents and the wider Old Princethorpian community.  He talked about the many special and amazing people who are a part of that community, reflecting especially on the support and guidance of the late Mrs Mary O’Farrell.  His warm words paid tribute to all that she had done in support of the College and he announced that a new prize would be awarded in her memory.

Mr Hester congratulated last year’s Year 11 and Upper Sixth on their exceptional examination results and reflected that the results were the best in the College’s history.

The atmosphere throughout the evening was joyful and celebratory and there were superb musical interludes from the Year 7 Chorus, College Orchestra and College Jazz Band.

At the ceremony Mr Hester presented GCSE and A-level Examination Certificates and then a myriad of well-deserved trophies, cups and shields. Watching the stream of young people coming across the stage and shaking Mr Hester’s hand was truly inspiring and humbling. The talent in evidence, the grit and determination, the passion, enthusiasm and commitment were all applauded and honoured.

Some of the young people took to the stage with confidence, others more self-consciously, some made us laugh, and some brought a tear to our eye as we listened to, Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie’s citations.

The College was especially honoured to welcome on stage John O’Farrell to poignantly present the Mary O’Farrell Prize to Upper Sixth leaver, Daniel Dziurzynski.

And then it was time for the recipient of the final award, the Princethorpe Shield, the College’s oldest and most prestigious award to be revealed. The Shield is presented annually to the student who is seen to embody the spirit and ethos of the College in many facets of their school life. It was a very popular decision, as to resounding applause former Head Girl, Miriam Isaacs, was welcomed back to the stage to receive the Shield.

To close the proceedings Head Girl, Elizabeth Carr, and Head Boy, Tom Warne, gave an eloquent vote of thanks, before the evening finally came to an inspiring end with fervent singing of the College Hymn, ‘Here I Am Lord’ by the assembled throng.

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Leavers of ’98 20 Year Reunion Voted A Big Success

For some, A-level Results Day ‘98 would be the last time we would see one and other. Results Day being such a ‘happy’ occasion – it was agreed that we should mark the 20 years gone in ‘a blink of an eye’ with a reunion. A WhatsApp group was formed followed by a Facebook page to get the conversation started. We managed to ensure that over 80 students from the year group of ’91 – ’98 knew of the event. Naturally, many now live overseas or could not make it that night for one reason or another – but all very much wished they could have.

We met up at the White Horse in Leamington on the 24 November 2018. It took no time at all for us to pick up from where we had last left off 20 years prior and the Old Princethorpians' Association kindly put some money behind the bar for us all to have a drink. Instead of moving on to other bars, as intended, we were good where we were – until being moved on to Altoria for a few more into the early hours.

It really was a great night with old friends with so many shared memories. I’m sure the next one will be as good - if not better with even more old friends.

Ciaran Convey

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Class of 1994 Plan 25 Year Anniversary Reunion

Whilst it doesn’t feel anywhere near that long, according to the calendar this year it will be 25 years since the class of 1994 finished Sixth Form at Princethorpe College and went off into the big wide world.

This seems a good opportunity to arrange a reunion event for classmates to catch up and reminisce about how much has changed (fair to say that the College has changed a little since “our day”).

A Facebook group has been set up to provide an opportunity to re-connect and to share ideas and plans for the reunion event being planned for later in the year.


For any ’94 OP’s who don’t use Facebook, please contact oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk to be connected to the reunion organisers for further information about plans as they become available.

Anne and Phil

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OP Friendly Faces Gears Up To Help The Next Generation Of OPs

Following its successful launch last summer, we are looking to get more OP Friendly Faces on board to widen the support network of OPs in universities across the country for the leavers of 2019.

OP Friendly Faces 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, does, we know, make for a smoother experience in those first few weeks away from home. 

Many of our current Upper Sixth are receiving offers and will shortly be choosing their first and second choice destinations, so it would be good to know soon who is willing to give them on the ground advice and tips. We are hoping that many of those who were helped last year will be prepared to be a Friendly Face this year, and that many of those already signed up to help will also be prepared to continue.

Grace Blackhall, who is in her first year at UEA studying Physiotherapy and benefited from the initiative is keen to take up the challenge, she comments, "I look forward to hopefully becoming an OP friendly face to whomever choses my university and being there for them when they need it."

Comments OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, " We have OP Friendly Faces in around 30 university towns and cities and would like to expand on that significantly this year and get more of our leavers matched up for the new academic year."

If you are interested in becoming an OP Friendly Faces for this year's Upper Sixth leavers please email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk.



Update From The Archives - New Online Archive Coming Soon!

Cataloguing, cataloguing and then some more cataloguing has been a huge focus for the last term and I am really pleased to be able to share how the progress has gone. The Crescent School collection is now fully catalogued, including the 193 albums containing more that 19,000 photographs that had to be downloaded from Flickr, a photo sharing website, when they suddenly changed their terms and conditions at the end of Michaelmas Term! The St Mary’s and St Joseph’s collections have also been carefully checked and any recently donated items added to the catalogue. There is still some way to go before we have everything that is in the archives fully catalogued but we now have over 5,700 individual descriptions within our catalogue, an increase of 25% within the last 18 months.

All that talk of cataloguing leads nicely on to the exciting news that a new online archive catalogue is coming soon to archives.princethorpe.co.uk. Epexio, the company that created the catalogue, have done a superb job at creating a clear, easy to use site that works really well. As well as being able to search by individual school using the ‘Browse Collections’ section of the system, there is also an exciting ‘Digital Materials’ area where all the past newsletters and drama programmes that have been digitised are available to view. There is no need to register to use it, just make sure that you have a cup of tea and a few hours to spare before you start looking.

 Janette Ratcliffe - Foundation Archivist

New Foundation Website To Be Launched This Spring

Work is well underway on an exciting, new Foundation website which is due to launch this spring.

The new site has been carefully designed as five websites in one to perfectly showcase the Foundation and its four schools - Princethorpe College, Crescent School, Crackley Hall School and Little Crackers Nursery.

On the Princethorpe part of the site there will be a bespoke Old Princethorpians page. We are currently looking for OPs from across the generations to feature on the page, so if you are interested in supplying us with a photo and a short biography please get in touch with Old Princethorpians as soon as possible.

Melanie Butler, Assistant Head – Marketing and OPs Secretary, comments, “This has been a major project, which we hope will be well received by the Foundation community and Old Princethorpians. It will look better, work faster and be easier to use than our current sites. We can’t wait to share it with everybody!”

The project has been carried out in partnership with website company, e4education.

Keep an eye on the Foundation social media platforms for previews of the site and news of the launch date.

Toucan Tech To Help Build Princethorpe Community

The Development Office and Old Princethorpians are delighted to announce that we shall be unveiling a new alumni and friends of Princethorpe community database with effect from May 2019.

Toucan Tech, used by an increasing number of independent schools in the UK, will offer a wealth of benefits for all former pupils, parents, staff and friends of the College.

OPs will be able to connect with other users, link their profiles directly from LinkedIn, find friends, express preferences for communication, and all with the added security offered by a GDPR compliant, secure cloud server.

Toucan Tech will be working with the College over the next few weeks, to design a bespoke and branded set of pages for our Princethorpe community, which will include tabs such as home page, news and events, all accessed via the new Foundation website.

Our community will see a much more modern, bright and colourful community webpage, with an immediately inviting “magazine-like” feel.

As the network grows, there will be custom groups that alumni can join themselves, allowing them to see other members with similar histories or interests e.g. London Alumni, 1st XV Rugby Players or Class of 2018 etc.

Members will be able to log in with Linked-In or Facebook details, allowing a smooth and modern approach to social media which users are used to working with on other platforms.

A Pupil Connect feature will allow OPs to reconnect together in a “Facebook” type community, but within the privacy of a “members only” area that requires their log in. Also, a Linked-In profile can be imported for up to date career information. Similarly, alumni can submit news stories for the web site via a portal.

A family line will allow individuals to associate themselves with other members, showing a family tree of alumni – parents, siblings, cousins etc, all within a totally secure framework.

In time, a careers platform, will enable OPs to use a networking facility to offer careers advice, mentoring, interview skills, work experience or internship in specific fields to younger alumni or current pupils.

Not least, the administrative side of Toucan Tech, will make life so much easier for our Development and OP Team. As Toucan Tech themselves might say, ‘beautiful design – software with a smile’!

Plea to 2018 Leavers To Complete Your Duke Of Edinburgh Awards

Recent leavers are reminded that they still have the chance to complete their Duke of Edinburgh Awards.  Students will have invested significant time on the physical, skill and volunteering sections and shown strength and perseverance in completing their expeditions.  Often it is just a matter of completing the paperwork or for the Gold Award undertaking the extra element, the residential.

Head of Outdoor Education, Will Bower has prepared a handy guide for completing your edofe submission attached here.

For those who have yet to complete their Gold residential useful information and links are also attached below:

Choosing A Residential

Residential Checklist

Residential Participant Form



If you have questions or need any further help then please email willbower@princethorpe.co.uk.

We encourage you to take the time to finish your Award and finalise your submissions, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards are well recognised and will always be an achievement you can be proud of.

College News

Princethorpe - A Vision For The Future Evening

Thursday 14 March 2019 - 7.30pm

Past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the Foundation, along with current parents are all cordially invited to attend Princethorpe - A Vision For The Future, a presentation by Ed Hester, Head of the Foundation on Thursday 14 March at 7.30pm in the College's Clarkson Theatre.

The presentation will outline the Foundation's vision for the next five to ten years, and provide more detailed information on the College's new Science Building and campus improvements, including an interactive walk through of the Science facility.  Mr Hester will also feedback highlights from the College's parental questionnaire, unveil the Foundation's new website and outline plans for a new, improved Foundation parent portal. There will be the opportunity for Q&As afterwards.

Refreshments will be served after the presentation in the Sixth Form Centre.

The event is aimed at adults, although pupils are welcome to attend if accompanied by an adult.

Please click on this link to let us know if you would like to attend by Monday 4 March 2019.

The Tower Returns As A Souvenir Review

Many of you will remember that The Tower used to be the College’s magazine which provided termly updates on life at school, before the advent of our fortnightly e-newsletter The Flagpole.  A mainstay of the archives, much enjoyed by pupils and parents, past and present, the College has decided to dust off its much loved magazine and give it a new lease of life, this time as an annual souvenir review.

Charting the College’s year in words and pictures this new publication will celebrate the pupils and ethos that together make Princethorpe such a very special place. 

2017-2018 had a lot to live up to following on from the glorious celebrations of the Golden Jubilee year.  It had its own challenges, with some of the heaviest snowfall in a long while but there were many wonderful and memorable moments and plenty of achievements and rewards to record.

The Tower Review will be published shortly.  Copies will be distributed to current pupils and sent to the class of 2018.  An electronic copy will be included in the next edition of the Old Princethorpian newsletter.  If you would like to receive a hard copy of the publication please email oldprincethorpian@princethorpe.co.uk with your name and address.

French Cycling Pilgrimage #2 Over May Half Term 2019 – Few Spaces Remain!

Following the great success of the Golden Jubilee Cycling Pilgrimage in May 2017, plans are now firmly afoot for a second French Cycling Pilgrimage during May Half Term, from Saturday 25 May to Wednesday 29 May.  Several Old Princethorpians have already signed up for the trip, alongside current parents and members of staff.

Led by the Headmaster, Ed Hester, the pilgrimage will return to the beautiful Loire Valley. The 100-mile route will wend its way from Saumur to Amboise via Azay le Rideau and Chinon, taking in some wonderful countryside, stunning chateaux and vineyards.

Once again the pilgrims will be raising money for Mary’s Meals, a charity close to the College’s heart.

Comments, Ed Hester, "We have planned the five day trip to allow plenty of time for chateaux and wine tasting, we estimate the cost including travel, food and accommodation will be around the £500 per person mark. Places will be limited to 30 cyclists, though we will be able to accommodate some non-cyclists in a support capacity too. Only a few spaces remain so if you are interested in joining us we would urge you to get in touch asap."

For more information download this booklet.

Those interested are invited to email Melanie Butler for more details at  melaniebutler@princethorpe.co.uk.

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Chris McCullough To Take On New Role At The Kingsley School

Chris McCullough, Head of Fisher House, will sadly be leaving Princethorpe this summer having been appointed to the role of Deputy Headteacher at The Kingsley School in Leamington from September 2019.

Headmaster Ed Hester comments, “Chris is a much loved member of our staff and has been part of the Princethorpe family for almost 21 years.  She has been a key member of both our pastoral team and the Games Department for many years.  We congratulate her and wish her all the very best with her new role.”

Chris will be one of the members of staff attending the OPs Summer Supper on Friday 28 June, if you would like to come along and wish her well please email Old Princethorpians.

Teacher Faye Roberts And Her Amazing Sabbatical Year

Princethorpe Biology Teacher, Faye Roberts has been on a sabbatical year and shares with us here the amazing experiences she has been having.

After months of research and planning and more importantly the fantastic support of Princethorpe College to grant me a sabbatical year from work, I headed off to Heathrow as everyone else set about their September inset days. I started with four months in Nepal volunteering with the charity Street Child. They initially started their work there in response to the devastating 2015 earthquake, the aftermath of which is still very apparent in many regions of the country. The focus now is more on developing education programmes with marginalised communities including the Musahar in the south of the country and the families that come with all their children into the valleys, from the mountains to work in brick factories. I spent a lot of my time helping to develop the curriculums and plan lessons to be translated into local dialects and delivered by the social workers who were being trained in the local communities. 

Nepal is a fascinating country to visit full of culture, heritage and bustling chaotic streets and markets. I went to Lumbini the birth place of Buddha and of course the mighty Himalaya which are just breath-taking. A week-long trip across the Tibetan plateau ended with one of my highlights so far which was spending the night at base camp for Mt Chomolungma (Everest) at 5200m altitude. The skies were clear and perfect views of Everest for sunrise and sunset was really something quite special. A trip to Bhutan, where the focus is GNH (Gross National Happiness) not GDP was also a highlight and a hike up to the amazing Tiger’s Nest Monastery which is built into the mountainside on a sheer cliff.            

I am currently in rural Malawi living on the lakeside with no electricity like the majority of Malawians, but am lucky to have a little bit of solar power and a water pump on site, which is not a long walk away like most people in the village. I have no need for an alarm clock as a troop of monkeys like to come and chase each other over my roof in the morning. I am teaching Biology and Chemistry at a secondary school to classes of up to 88 pupils with just a blackboard and chalk and support the teachers at several other schools in the area, sharing ideas and planning, when I visit. I also help at a village library with adult literacy and additional Saturday classes for older students who want to get back into school, once they have saved up enough money to pay the fees. I am yet to try eating the lake flies, which you see in big swarms when they hatch over the lake, they’re quite delicious I’m told, but not sure I’m convinced, maybe I’ll go for the roasted termites first! 

My plans for the rest of the year include; travel to the Seychelles archipelago and the mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho; a month in Ethiopia, including visits to the 12th century rock churches of Lalibela and one of the lowest and hottest places on earth the Danakil Depression.  As well as two months in South Africa training to be a Safari Guide.

I truly believe that travel and opening your eyes to the rest of the world is such an important part of education and life-long learning and would encourage anyone to step out of their comfort zone and do something that challenges them whatever it may be. 

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Princethorpe Cemetery War Memorial Restored

The War Memorial in Princethorpe Cemetery was re-dedicated and blessed by Father Teddy O’Brien MSC assisted by Sean and Luke O’Kelly on Sunday 11 November 2018.

Approximately 100 parishioners, members of the Princethorpe village community, friends and visitors processed down the Princethorpe College drive after the 10.00am Mass to begin the re-dedication and blessing at 10.45am in time for the two minute national silence at 11.00am.

Fr Teddy O'Brien and the parishioners of St Anne's, Wappenbury, who are responsible for the cemetery and the upkeep of the memorial and grounds, would like to thank the War Memorials Trust for their generous donation of £3750.00 towards the £6000.00 cost of restoring the memorial.

We must also thank the many parishioners and friends who have supported our target to ensure the funding for the memorial was raised. Special thanks to Mr Rory O’Connor of Historic Buildings Restoration for his diligence and professional expertise.

The First World War memorial was erected by the Benedictine nuns of St Mary’s Priory now Princethorpe College. A dedication service was held on 18 September 1922.

The memorial was in a poor state of repair. The restoration began with the removal of the Corpus (which was discovered to be cast iron coated with an ivory coloured enamel) and the original oak cross – rotten, warped and desperately in need of replacement.

The link here shows images of the memorial prior to its restoration - thank you to parishioner John O'Kelly who supplied the images. 

If you have a few minutes please take time to enter the cemetery and view the restoration. One of our past boarders, Edward Enwonwu, is in buried in the cemetery.

Edward joined Princethorpe on the 10th September 1979 alongside his older brother, Cyril. They had previously attended Cotton College, a Roman Catholic Boarding School near Stoke on Trent. He was awarded the 1981 Junior Sports Award for Basketball.

Edward died whilst he was studying at Princethorpe in 1983. Coming to the end of a cross country run Edward collapsed in the College grounds from an undiagnosed heart defect. A requiem Mass for Edward was attended by over 700 people. As testament to his popularity at the College Edward is mentioned warmly by a couple of OPs in their Old Princethorpian Interviews for the newsletter - Robert Pesch in Lent 2011 and Simon Loasby in Michaelmas 2011 editions.

Professor and Mrs Enwonwu, Edward's parents, decided that he should remain in sight of the College as he was so happy at Princethorpe.

If you would like to find out more about the parish of St Anne's parish please click here

Fr Teddy celebrates Mass every Sunday at St Anne's, Wappenbury CV33 9DW at 8.30am and at 10.15am in the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels', Princethorpe College. All are welcome.

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Princethorpe Says Farewell To Much Loved LAMDA Teacher Mary MacDonald

At the end of November Princethorpe College said farewell to much loved peripatetic teacher, Mrs Mary MacDonald.  Mary introduced tuition for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) examinations back in September 2012 and, over the intervening years, under her expert leadership, the numbers of pupils studying the communication and performance syllabuses gradually increased.  Princethorpe College now has four LAMDA teachers and 81 pupils taking lessons in the dramatic arts.

All Mary’s pupils have thrived and with her encouragement have successfully progressed through the syllabus, some right to the very top level, a number achieving Gold Medals at Grade 8.   Keen for all her pupils to achieve their full potential Mary has always structured her teaching to bring out the best in every piece of work under study.  She actively supported school performance events and has helped LAMDA become an integral part of the performing arts offering at Princethorpe College.

Diligent to the end, a delighted Mary was surprised with flowers, gifts and cards as she supervised the latest round of LAMDA examinations.   Peripatetic and Exam Co-ordinator for Music, Felicity Coulson said, “We would like to thank Mary for all her hard work and dedication to Princethorpe’s pupils.  She has been instrumental in the success of LAMDA at the College and we will miss her.  We wish her a happy, healthy and well-deserved rest as she enters the next phase of her life.”

Mary was thrilled responding, “I do feel thoroughly spoilt” continuing, “It has been wonderful to work with so many gifted and talented children, they have taught me so much.”

David Hare And His Hearing Dog Minnie Showed Pupils How Important It Is To Listen

The College was delighted to welcome back, former Director of Ethos, David Hare, on the first day of the Lent Term.  David spoke to pupils from across the College about the important skill of listening in a series of Epiphany services in the Chapel.  David brought with him Minnie, his hearing dog, whose listening skills help him hear.

David retired from Princethorpe College in 2015 after 35 years of teaching in hearing schools, 14 spent happily at Princethorpe.  He describes himself as moderately-profoundly deaf.

In his five talks to pupils David spoke about the differences between hearing and listening and the active concentration required to understand what has been heard.  He explained how tiring listening can be especially for someone with little or no hearing and how important it is to use your eyes as well as your ears when you listen.

David demonstrated how Minnie helps him to hear.  How she alerts him to come if he is being called, if the doorbell goes, if a timer goes off, or an alarm clock and most importantly how she shows him there is danger if a fire alarm sounds.  He explained that Minnie doesn’t just hear, but listens in order to work out the correct alert to use.

The Epiphany services offered College pupils the opportunity to reflect on the coming term.  Whilst leading the services Father Alan Whelan MSC encouraged pupils as they settled back down to daily school life to reflect on the skill of listening and to “listen with their ears, but also to listen with their heads and their hearts”.

Our thanks go to David, his wife Anne and to Minnie for taking the time to come into school and for undertaking such a marathon morning of motivational mentoring and to Father Alan for leading the morning’s Epiphany services.

Princethorpe Artists Awarded Top Honours In National ISA Art Competition

Recent Upper Sixth leaver, Adam Smith, has been recognised in the Independent Schools’ Association’s prestigious National Art Competition. His entry, Ella in Blue, was judged runner-up in the Key Stage 5 2D Art Individual class.

Adam’s striking piece will be instantly recognisable to anyone connected to the College as it has featured both on the cover of the school’s Pinnacle magazine and as a scene in the College’s new film Princethorpe – What’s It All About?  Studies for the work are now also gracing the walls outside the Art department inspiring all who walk by.

Adam was not the only College prize-winner in this year’s Art competitions as a number of pupils saw success in the ISA Regional Midlands Art competition including:

KS5 Painting: Winner - Adam Smith

KS5 Sketchbooks: Winner - Selin Hassan

KS5 Photography: Runner-up - Kate Mcintyre

KS4 Painting: Winner - Hannah Richards, Highly Commended - Sebastian Lloyd-Thomas

KS4 Sketchbooks: Runner-up - Leah Dunkley

KS4 Drawing: Winner - Issy Duncan, Runner-up - Letty Gladwin

Princethorpe College Head of Art, Paul Hubball, applauded the winners, “These prizes are a reflection of the talent we have within our school. Our winners were each worthy recipients. With years of hard work behind them, they have produced exceptional work, some of the finest art in the College’s history."

This year’s bumper crop of prizes reflects the depth and range of talent in Princethorpe's Art and Photography Department.

Development News

Princethorpe Supporters Break The £100,000 Barrier!

The Development Office was thrilled to receive another regular donation last week pushing the total amount raised to date to over £100,000.

This fabulous total, is made up of regular gifts, one-off donations, and of course, the all-important Gift Aid, which can add a sizeable 25% to any gift.

Our supporters have delighted the Development Office, particularly as many of those who have been helped by the school in the past, have chosen to ‘give back’ to the College in order to assist others. Princethorpe is not a wealthy school, and unlike many others, does not have an endowment fund to rely on. Instead, Princethorpe carefully manages fee income alongside charitable gifts, to facilitate our bursaries and building programmes. We are so grateful therefore, when our friends help us to widen access to the College, to include those who would not otherwise be able to afford full school fees. Additionally, such support helps us to plan for new facilities which take teaching and learning to new heights.

Very shortly, we shall be launching an exciting capital campaign for Science, and hope that through a ‘Menu of Giving’ we will be able to offer every single member of the Old Princethorpians a chance to join our fundraising plans. More news will follow shortly, and all members of the Princethorpe community are invited to attend an information evening entitled Princethorpe – A Vision for the Future on Thursday 14 March. Click here to RSVP for the evening.

A huge thank you to all our supporters who have helped us achieve this milestone. We welcome all donations, and if you would like to join the growing number of those who already help, please contact Rachel or Alex at: makingadifference@princethorpe.co.uk


A Festive Thank You!

Just before Christmas the Development Office was delighted to host a festive evening of cheese, wine and friendship for all those who had supported the College’s fundraising efforts throughout 2018. Trustees, former and current parents, staff and friends of the college, met in the Sixth Form dining room to share stories, exchange festive wishes, and enjoy the ‘Spirit of Family’ so prevalent in our community. We recognise the importance of thanking all our donors and supporters, in particular those who give their time so freely to the college. Our friends in Hong Kong were also thanked remotely, for all their friendship, support and warmth. It seems the Princethorpe community knows no geographical bounds!

Ed Hester thanked our guests for their donations and support, and explained how the funds raised had made such a difference to the lives of pupils at Princethorpe.  We were also able to give our guests a sneak preview of the exciting plans for Princethorpe’s future, including an inspirational new Science building, planned for 2022. The two-storey building will provide contemporary, spacious and well-quipped accommodation for the three Sciences, but will also benefit many other areas of the curriculum, including the redevelopment and clustering of other departments, providing permanent homes for Economics, Business Studies, Geography and Classics and dedicated laboratory areas for Academic PE.

It was lovely to see friendly and familiar faces from across the generations, coming together to support the College. We look forward to working with the wider Princethorpe community in the coming months and years, to enable us to offer more bursaries to deserving pupils and support our school development plans.

Old Princethorpians are most welcome to attend an information evening on Thursday 14 March, where the Headmaster will outline plans for Princethorpe’s future. Anyone wishing to attend, please see the article entitled Princethorpe - A Vision For The Future Evening and RSVP using the link here.

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Old Princethorpians Events Calendar 2018-2019 - Reminder

Our 2018-19 calendar of OP Events includes details of OP and College Events that all Old Princethorpians, past parents and staff are welcome to attend.

Coming up shortly is our annual Leamington Pub Meet, followed later in March by the College's Open Afternoon and new for this year a Former Parents' Afternoon Tea in April. 

We are keen to reconnect with as many OPs and Friends of the College as possible so do encourage those you know to register on the Old Princethorpians section of the website to keep in touch with and receive information on the latest news and events.

Click here to download the calendar or visit the Old Princethorpians section of the College website.

OPs Leamington Pub Meet

Friday 1 March 2019 from 6.30pm

The OPs annual Leamington Pub Meet will take place on Friday 1 March from 6.30pm in the upstairs bar of the Royal Pug pub on Regent Street, CV32 4NX.

Traditionally this event attracts a good number of former members of staff, as well as Old Princethorpians.

The OPs Commitee will be laying on a delicious hot and cold buffet, so do let us know by emailing oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk if you are able to attend so we can cater for you.

Partners and friends are most welcome, Old Crescentians and past pupils of Crackley Hall and St Joseph's are also invited.

Crackley Hall School And Little Crackers Nursery Open Events

Crackley Hall and Little Crackers Open Morning

Saturday 9 March 2019 - 10.30am to 12.30pm

Crackley Hall, Princethorpe's junior school and nursery in Kenilworth, is holding an Open Morning on Saturday 9 March from 10.30am to 12.30pm.  This is an opportunity for parents and children to visit the school and nursery at the weekend.  Visitors will have a chance to tour the school, see the facilities and meet pupils and staff including the Headmaster, Rob Duigan. There will be performances and activities showcasing the school.

Crackley Hall School Open Evening

Tuesday 14 May 2019 - 5.00pm to 7.30pm

Another chance to look around the school and nursery and meet staff and pupils.

All are welcome to both events and there is no need to book. Light refreshments will be available.

If you can't make the Open Morning or Open Evening but would like to look around, please call our Admissions Secretary, Mrs Jenny Vaughan on 01926 514444 and come on a day to suit you, we welcome visitors on most days.

For more information please see the school website or the Admissions Update, the next edition of which will be available in early March.

Arts Society - Save The Dates 2019

Letters to Mother - Tuesday 19 March 2019

Former Princethorpe Deputy Head, Margaret Louise O’Keeffe, returns by popular demand, to present an illustrated talk Letters to Mother on Tuesday 19 March 2019 at 7.30pm.

As Mothering Sunday falls on the last day of March this year, it seemed a fitting tribute to mothers to reflect on their sacrifice during the First World War. Some mothers lost all their sons in the conflict; all mothers were affected by what their beloved sons had endured.

For many soldiers dying in hospital or on the battlefields, their last words concerned their mothers. Men relied on supportive letters from their families and found solace in memories of maternal love, warmth and protection as they faced the horrors of industrialised warfare.

In their letters home, they usually presented a positive image of life on active service to avoid causing anxiety. Poignantly, before a major battle when the chances of survival were slim, many wrote touching farewell notes expressing gratitude and love.

This illustrated talk will focus on eleven people whose letters provide a moving insight into the enduring power and comfort of love. 

Please click here for a booking form.

Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) - Tuesday 21 May 2019

On Tuesday 21 May at 7.30pm former Princethorpe Foundation Archivist, Dr Nick Baker, returns to present another illustrated talk Sir Henry Rider Haggard: Storyteller, Politician and Country Gentleman.

Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was only one of many extraordinary Victorians who straddled many different lives. Inspired by his first-hand experiences of Africa, he went on to become one of the most prolific writers of all time, specialising in ‘Lost World’ literature. Works such as King Solomon’s Mines and She communicated stories of lost civilisations in far off lands, and brought much needed escapism to a reading public. He did not limit himself to tales set in Africa, but also wrote about the Vikings in Iceland. Many of these stories have since been transformed into successful films. Who can forget Ursula Andress as ‘She who must be obeyed’ in the Hammer film of the same name? Haggard did more than simply feed the popular imagination. He was deeply concerned with the countryside, especially the farming communities in Norfolk, and argued for a more serious approach to Britain’s agriculture as the clouds of the First World War appeared on the horizon.

This illustrated talk will examine Haggard’s early life in Africa, and loves lost, to show how they shaped his literary output. We will also consider his close friendships with other notable individuals, such as Rudyard Kipling. A display of first editions and signed material will also be on display.

Please click here for booking form.

Organ Recital - Tuesday 2 July 2019 

Once again on Tuesday 2 July 2019 at 7.30pm in the Chapel Tim Campain will play a wide variety of pieces from various genres on the renowned Princethorpe Binns’ organ of 1901. This year promises a special programme to mark twenty-five years of the popular Hugh Page Memorial Organ Recitals.

Please click here for a booking form. 

If you wish to reserve seats please email Loretta Curtis, Development Assistant, at lorettacurtis@princethorpe.co.uk or Alex Darkes, Assistant Head, at alexdarkes@princethorpe.co.uk or use the booking forms at 'click here' for each of the evenings - thank you

Tickets - £5.00 for each of the events including refreshments. All Foundation pupils free of charge.



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Princethorpe College Open Events

Sunday 24 March 2019 - 2.00pm - 5.00pm

The College's Spring Open Afternoon will take place on Sunday 24 March from 2.00pm - 5.00pm.  

All are welcome to visit the College and for our younger visitors there will be many fun subject related activities organised by the departments.  The Headmaster will address visitors during the afternoon and refreshments will be available. 

Wednesday 5 June 2019 - 6.30pm - 8.30pm 

The College's Summer Open Evening will take place on Wednesday 5 June from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.

This is an informal opportunity to look around the school and to meet members of staff and pupils. There will be activities in each department for children to participate in, and the Headmaster will also address visitors in the Chapel during the evening and light refreshments will be available.

Please do spread the word amongst friends and family, all are very welcome!  

For further information on admissions to the school please call the Registrars on 01926 634201 or 01926 634262 or email the team at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk



Mary O'Farrell Memorial Service

Friday 29 March 2019 - 6.00pm

The Foundation is holding a special memorial service to celebrate the life of Mary O'Farrell, the Foundation's much loved former Chair of Trustees, on Friday 29 March 2019 at 6.00pm in the Princethorpe College Chapel.

Mary joined the Foundation’s Governing Body in 2000 and held the role of Chair of Trustees for eight years until 2016, continuing to serve as trustee until her death. A former primary Headteacher with many years’ experience, Mary played an integral part in the Foundation's growing success, overseeing the merger with Abbotsford in 2010 and with the Crescent in 2016.

Comments Ed Hester, Head of the Foundation "Mary very sadly died in September last year and is sorely missed by us all. She was a remarkable woman in so many ways and with her passing the Foundation lost a true and valued friend. She was an exceptional Chair of Trustees, known for her wise counsel, collaborative approach and sense of humour, all of which she brought to bear in her role. She had an implicit understanding of education, teaching and learning and this, combined with her unique personal touch with fellow trustees, staff and children, had an immeasurable impact on the Foundation over the years.

He continues, "We hope this Memorial Service, which we have organised with her husband John, will give the many people whose lives she touched a chance to come together and celebrate her wonderful life."

The service will be followed by refreshments in the Sixth Form Centre. All are most welcome.

If you would like to attend the Memorial Service please click here to RSVP by Friday 15 March.

Crescent School Open Events

Crescent School Open Morning

Saturday 30 March 2019 - 9.30am to 12.30pm

The Crescent School, Princethorpe's junior school in Rugby, is opening its doors to prospective and current parents and children for a Spring Open Morning on Saturday 30 March 2019 from 9.30am to 12.00pm. 

As part of the Open Morning there will be a very special performance by Reception to Year 2 pupils, along with children from Pathfinders Nursery, of "Hat's Off - An All-Weather Musical".  

This promises to be fantastic entertainment for visitors of all ages, and will really showcase the talents, confidence and stage presence of the school's youngest pupils. The show commences at 10.00am and we would urge visitors to arrive early to get a good seat!

After the half-hour performance there will be a short presentation about the Crescent and our ambitions for the school as part of the Princethorpe Foundation, and the chance to meet Headmaster, Joe Thackway. There will also be short Q&A sessions with Alan Webb, Assistant Head - 
Head of Pre-Prep and Headmaster Joe Thackway about entry to Reception and Year 3. 

Elsewhere on site there will be plenty to see and do, including guided tours by the older pupils, sporting displays, instrumental performances, plus the opportunity to visit classrooms and chat informally to current parents and staff from Pathfinderss, the Crescent and Princethorpe College. Light refreshments will be available. There is no need to book.

Crescent School Open Evening

Tuesday 7 May 2019 - 5.00pm - 7.30pm

The school will also be holding an Open Evening in May where parents will be able to tour the school and speak to the Headmaster.

There is no need to book for either event and light refreshments will be available.

If you can't make the Open Morning or Open Evening but would like to look around, please call our Registrar, Mrs Helen Morley on 01788 523851 and come on a day to suit you, we welcome visitors on most days.

For more information please see the Prospective Parents section on the school website or our Admissions Update, the next edition of which will be available in early March.

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Former Parents' Afternoon Tea

Saturday 6 April 2019 2.00pm - 4.30pm

Following on from the success of our Former Parents’ Brunches the Old Princethorpians are hosting a Former Parents' Afternoon Tea.  The event will take place on Saturday 6 April 2019 from 2.00pm - 4.30pm in the College's Sixth Form Centre. In addition to catching up over a leisurely complimentary afternoon tea visitors will be able to take an optional tour of the school campus and help our archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, puts some names to faces on some of the class photos.

Many former parents will have spent a considerable amount of time at Princethorpe over the years, supporting their children in different ways and may miss the involvement in school life. The Old Princethorpians' Association hope that the fromer parents events offer opportunities for them to reconnect with the College and each other in an informal, friendly environment.

If you would like to attend please RSVP with the name of your child/children, the number in your party and any special dietary requirements to oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk or call Melanie Butler on 01926 634284 by Friday 29 March.

Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Please help spread the word amongst former parents!!



Archive Evenings - Eat, Drink, Be Merry… and Name Photos

A catalogue is only ever as good as the information that it contains. All of the Princethorpe photographs are now sorted by subject and estimated date and are ready to be added to the catalogue. To avoid thousands of photographs named ‘Photograph showing football team’ or ‘Photograph of actors on stage’, we will be holding two archive photograph naming sessions in the upcoming months and we really need your help.

Saturday 6 April 2.00pm to 4.30pm - Class Photos
As part of the Former Parents' Afternoon Tea, there will be a number of whole class photos on display. Any help that you can give putting names to faces would be brilliant as it makes the images so much more useful.

Wednesday 8 May 6.30pm to 8.00pm - Music, Drama and Sport
Photographs focussing on ‘Music and Drama’ and ‘Sport’ will be displayed in the Sixth Form Centre. The aim is to concentrate mainly on the 1980s and 1990s as we have a lot of photographs from that period and we would love to see as many former staff, parents or pupils at the event as possible.

To let us know you are able to attend either or both of these events please email Old Princethorpians.

To help energise those brain cells, plenty of refreshments will be available.

The Princethorpe Open

Monday 15 April 2019 - 12.00pm

Monday 15 April 2019 sees the long awaited return of the Princethorpe Open.

Old Princethorpians, parents and friends of the College are all invited to come and join us at the superb facilities of Stoneleigh Deer Park Golf Club where hosted by OP, Johnny Reay, you will enjoy some great golfing.

The event will start at midday with a bacon roll, you will then enjoy a round of golf before finishing with pie and chips and a dessert.

It will be teams of four, playing Stableford format.  There are 80 places available, at £30 a head.

Please contact Neil McCollin on neilmccollin@princethorpe.co.uk to register your interest.  

An Invitation To Celebrate Easter Week Services

Fr Teddy O'Brien MSC and the parishioners of St Anne's, Wappenbury, invite you to celebrate the Easter week services with them as detailed below:

Thursday 18 April   7.00pm      Mass of the Last Supper
                                             Princethorpe College Chapel

Friday 19 April       3.00pm      Good Friday Service            
                                             Princethorpe College Chapel

Saturday 20 April   9.00pm      Easter Vigil Mass                
                                             St Anne's, Wappenbury

Sunday 21 April     8.30am      Easter Sunday Mass           
                                             St Anne's, Wappenbury
                          10.15am      Easter Sunday Mass           
                                             Princethorpe College Chapel

For further information about the parish of St Anne's please click here

The address of St Anne's is Wappenbury, Leamington Spa, CV33 9DW.


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Old Princethorpians vs Kenilworth Babas – Alex Wallis Memorial Game

Saturday 20 April 2019 - kick off at 2.30pm at Kenilworth Rugby Club, Glasshouse Lane, CV8 2AJ

The Old Princethorpians versus Kenilworth Babas match in memory of Alex Wallis will this year take place on Saturday 20 April.

The Old Princethorpians will be pitted once again against old rivals the Kenilworth Babas for a match in honour of OP Alex Wallis. If you are home for the holidays, there’s always a great atmosphere in this competitive fixture and it’s a chance to get off the sofa and work off all the easter eggs and hot cross buns!

If you are interested in playing please email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk or message Richard Sidaway or Charlie Preston on Facebook.

All are welcome, please lend your support both on and off the pitch!! The bar will be open after the match for further celebrations!


Old Princethorpians' London Pub Meet

Friday 17 May - from 6.30pm

For our next Old Princethorpians' London Meet we will be gathering at the Bull Dog Bar at The Clarence, 53 Whitehall, SW1A 2HP.  We used this popular venue for our Golden Jubilee London Pub Meet and it was so good we have decided to return. 

Centrally located just a short wander from Trafalgar Square and with the fair claim to be the Prime Minister’s local.

Partners and friends are welcome. If you would like to attend please RSVP with the number in your party and any special dietary requirements to oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk or call Melanie Butler on 01926 634284 by Friday 10 May.

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OPs Summer Supper - Calling The Leavers Of 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 And 2009

Friday 28 June 2019 - 6.00pm optional tour, 7.00pm drinks reception, 7.30pm supper

OPs who left the College in 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009 (or those who were in the same year groups) are cordially invited back to the OPs annual Summer Supper on Friday 28 June to celebrate their respective 50th, 40th, 30th, 20th and 10th anniversaries of leaving.

Comments OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, "We know many OPs are keener to come to these events if they can be sure of seeing some familiar faces.  By focusing on these year groups we hope to get a critical mass of attendees, although OPs from other years will of course be welcome too!"

The Summer Supper is an established event in the OPs calendar, attracting a large number of OPs, former and current members of staff. The supper is preceded by an optional tour and drinks in the Quad. Every year the OPs recognise long-standing members of staff and say farewell to any staff leaving the College.

Numbers are limited to around 100 guests, so if you would like to attend please email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk asap to reserve your place.

Old Princethorpian Interview

Dec Wyer

Bit of background, where you live, what you do for a living.

I currently live with my parents in Coventry but spend a fair amount of time in London attending auditions. I am an actor and work part time behind a bar.

My first professional acting role was for CBS Reality when I was 16. I was in a documentary for a series called Stalkers Who Kill.

I managed to get representation from a fantastic agent in the West End. I have since had a small role in a TV series, filmed a couple of commercials, had lots of auditions and last year got the role of Footman in The Favourite and I am now working on a movie in Paris.

Age: 19

When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to?

2010- 2015. I then went on to study Acting at Stratford-upon-Avon College for two years.

What was the school like in your day?

Princethorpe was a happy and positive place to be.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

It set me on course for my career. I hadn’t done any acting prior to being involved in the school production of Guys and Dolls (I played Big Al) when studying Drama for GCSE. I changed my original choice of Resistant Materials course to Drama half way through the first term because I hated it!

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

I am still a teenager so I don’t feel I am old enough to give my younger self advice, other than don’t be scared of what other people think.

What keeps you awake at night?

If anything would keep me awake at night it would be thinking about my future.

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

I guess my proudest moments have been getting a role in The Favourite and working with amazing actors and now recently getting a lead role in a film that I’m currently filming in Paris.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

My hobby of snowboarding, because it is very expensive.

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

It has to be my mum’s Thai Chicken Curry.

What is your favourite TV Show and why?

Friends because it makes me laugh 

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

Filming in LA.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

Hanging out with my mates at lunchtime and having a laugh.

Are you in touch with any other Old Princethorpians, if so whom?

I am still in touch with Freddie Dadson, Charlie Green and Archie Dewhurst.

To see a clip of Dec in the BAFTA award-winning film The Favourite with Olivia Coleman click here.

Births, Deaths & Marriages


Laura Hanrahan Welcomes Baby Ava

OP Laura Hanrahan (nee Crosby-Harris) and husband Phil share news of their latest family addition.

Ava Isobel May Hanrahan was born on 3rd November 2018. Words cannot describe how much love we have for her, she melts our hearts. We are so so lucky to have such a happy and content little lady!

Congratulations, Laura and Phil!


Fr Pat O'Sullivan, MSC - RIP

Fr Pat O’Sullivan, MSC passed away in September. He was a Science teacher at the College from 1972 to 1974. 

Born in Glengarriff, Co Cork, Ireland, he was the second youngest of a family of eleven siblings.  He joined the MSCs in 1961 and was ordained in 1967. 

On leaving Princethorpe he went to Liverpool to teach in a comprehensive school until 1982 when he undertook parish ministry and in 1986 was appointed as Headmaster of the MSC school in Cork.  From 1995 he served in a number of parishes in Ireland.  Fr Pat died on 18 September 2018 surrounded by his family and community.  May he rest in peace.

Carolyn Booth - RIP

Carolyn Booth, who taught English and Drama at the College from 1980 to the early 2000s, sadly passed away just before Christmas.  We thank her colleague and great friend Moira Weir for writing the following tribute to her. Carolyn is pictured front left with Alex Darkes, Pat and Moira Weir.

Carolyn Booth was, quite simply, a treasure. She joined the English Department  at Princethorpe in the mid 1980’s  and spent over 20 years here as a devoted member of staff – devoted to her pupils, her subject, her colleagues and the ethos of the College. Loyalty and integrity defined her character. She was passionate about her family and her students and brought to her teaching a warmth and generosity which encouraged even the most uncertain learners to thrive.

Carolyn’s love for Literature, and Drama in particular, was fostered by her mother who took her daughters from childhood on an annual pilgrimage from their home in Lytham St Anne’s to the Memorial Theatre at Stratford on Avon. Caroline relished the glamour of these visits and went on to specialise in English and Drama in her Education degree. Her teaching was always enriched by her love for theatre and for the power of language and it was this enthusiasm, combined with rigorous high standards for herself and every one of her pupils, which defined her success in the classroom. She was a great teacher, with a wonderful ability to spot latent talent and give students the skills to astonish themselves and their parents under her patient guidance. And she was fun. Teaching next to her for many years, I soon recognised, when I heard hoots of laughter interspersed with her own gloriously resonant (she had a beautiful voice) notes of direction, that her class was in the middle of a rumbustious rendition of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, her own reverence for language shared joyously with many who had feared its difficulties.

She was a specialist in bringing confidence in language to young people who had struggled to find their own voice and she was endlessly inventive in finding ways to unlock the secrets of words for them. She always fought for their right to be heard. Helena’s description of Hermia was never truer than when Carolyn was championing one of her pupils:

“..though she be but little, she is fierce”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream   Act 111 sc 2

This determination to support and enable those in her care made her a stunning form tutor. She was unstinting in chivvying, checking and organising her form to produce well-presented work on time, to behave appropriately, to raise funds for charities, to compete heroically and be the best they possibly could in all aspects of school life. She knew them thoroughly, faults as well as virtues, and defended them stoutly if she felt they had been misunderstood. (She could also give a ringing telling off if occasion arose, never confusing softness with fairness. They trusted her always to be fair.) She dealt with their problems with tact, tenderness and common sense.

As a colleague she was whole-hearted, generous with her time and endless good fun. She performed with gusto in staff revues, plays and pantomimes, ran the drama club for years and supported the Parents’ Association in their fund-raising endeavours (with husband, Mike, always ‘volunteered’ as essential technical support). She was simply lovely to be with and could always be trusted to enliven dreary moments in a staff meeting with some drily apposite comment that would have her co-conspirator from Priors Marston, Rosie Neal, leading the laughter. There was a lot of laughter with Carolyn, so much exuberance, so much to live for, which made the condition which struck her so particularly tragic.

But her legacy remains, not only in her own lovely and successful daughters (how proud she would be of them both). There are many men and women today who owe their confidence in public speaking, their facility with language, their ability to write reports, analyse difficult processes, perform on stage - and to introduce their own children to the delights of theatre and Shakespeare in particular – to one small teacher with one great heart. Carolyn, we salute you. 

Fr Pat Courtney, MSC - RIP

Fr Pat Courtney, MSC sadly passed away on Thursday 7 February in Killarney, Ireland.

Fr Pat was born on 30th May 1941 in Killarney, Ireland. After completing his secondary education, he joined the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart [MSC] and on completion of his philosophy and theology studies was ordinated on 21st December 1966. The first appointment of his priestly ministry was as a teacher in St Bede’s College in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. Not long thereafter he was promoted to lecturer in Church History and Assistant Novice Master in the MSC house of studies in Galway, Ireland. On completion of further studies, he was assigned as Parish Priest in St Albert’s, Liverpool where he worked tirelessly for the people both for the Church and in education in what was then a socially deprived area. While normally shy of the limelight, he appeared in the national newspapers as the person who had built the first vandal-proof school.

After his time in Liverpool, Pat became bursar in Princethorpe College where he showed his aptitude and capabilities in the finance department. Not long after stepping down from the post he was appointed as Parish Priest in St Albans & St Stephens in St Albans. After another trip back to Ireland he was appointed Deputy Provincial of the Irish Province, a post he enjoyed as he travelled the world to meetings and engaging with fellow MSC’s. In 2005 he was elected as Provincial Leader of the Irish Province and from 2011 spent his retirement days in Ireland.

Fr Pat’s contribution to Princethorpe College was immeasurable for a man who worked very much behind the scenes. His years as bursar and latterly as Chair of Governors laid the foundation for the College to be the success it is today. His dogged determination at meetings was a hallmark of his ability to focus on the essentials and while listening to other viewpoints he was always concerned as to what was best for the College community of staff, parents and students. Offering a listening ear was his way of living out in the College ethos of caring for others.         

Fr Pat was a wise priest and very much a pastoral man committed to his faith and ministry. He was never happier than in convivial company and most likely with a pint of Guinness or a glass of Jameson in his hand. 

We will remember him with great affection and we commend him to the Lord.


OP Rodothea Paphitis & Savvas - Marriage

OP Rodothea Paphitis (née Kefalas) who left Princethorpe in 2010, got married to Savvas on 21 October 2018. Rodothea contines their story below...

Savvas and I have been together for over three years. We met at a Greek wedding - I was a bridesmaid, and he was a groomsman.

We got married at the same church and venue as the wedding we met at, which was a nice full circle for us. Our wedding was a traditional Greek wedding which involved blessings at our homes and a ceremony at the Greek Orthodox Church in Birmingham. The weather was perfect, we were very lucky to have sunshine and warmth so late in October.

There were a lot of current Foundation staff in attendance and some Old Princethorpians including Lottie Jones and Jordan Casewell who were bridesmaids. Sophie Sheridan, also an Old Princthorpian, was my hair stylist and did an amazing job. Also in attendance was Harry Barnes, Andy Lawn, George Phedon, Alice and Charlie Green and Hannah Pell.

We had an amazing day and are so grateful to all our friends and family who made the day so special for us.

I’m now working at Crackley Hall School, it is lovely to still be part of the Foundation. Sav works at an accountancy firm.

OP Oly Perkins and Beth - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Oly Perkins and his Fiancé Beth Wright got engaged in May. Oly tells us more below...

I left Princethorpe in 2006. I’m now a research scientist at the University of Bath, doing exercise physiology and nutrition research. I completed my PhD there a couple of years ago, studying physiology of muscle in ageing, and did my undergraduate degree there too in Sports and Exercise Science. Beth was a ballet dancer in her youth, but is now a doctor, specialising in Dermatology at Bristol Royal Infirmary.

Our wedding will take place in September 2019 at Belvoir Castle, near to where Beth grew up, and where her late grandparents met - he was a butler and she was a girl in service for a family that used to visit for shooting.

Congratulations Oly and Beth!

OP Grace Pugh and William - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Grace Pugh and her fiancé William Hale got engaged in June, Grace takes up the story below...

William and I met while studying for our degrees at the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. Soon after, William moved to London and I gained a place on the British Horseracing Association (BHA) graduate scheme. In 2017 we both moved to Newmarket where I currently work for Marco Botti as a racing secretary and William works as a contract manager for a local Tree and Landscaping Company.

William proposed to me on a picnic in a park last June and it was made even more special as my engagement ring belonged to his grandmother.

We are getting married in a church in a small village near Newark in June and will be celebrating with family and friends. My sister Hannah (Princethorpe: 2001-2007) is bridesmaid and my brothers, Michael (Princethorpe: 2000-2006) and Tom (Princethorpe: 2005-2012) are ushers.

We are looking forward to the big day and hoping for good weather.

Wishing you lots of joy Grace and William! 

OP Alice Braithwaite and Matthew - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Alice Braithwaite and her fiancé Matthew Higson got engaged in December, she tells us how they got together.

Matthew is videographer for an outdoor company called Ellis Brighams, I am a store manager for River Island. We actually met online! Our second date was in Dublin which we booked on our first date. It is where we got engaged ,at the top of the Guinness Storehouse!

Our plans for the big day are to have a relaxed day with lots of sunflowers and a big paella! A very small affair and low key.

Enjoy your day Alice and Matthew!

OP Alice Pickin and Tom - Engagement

Old Princethorpian Alice Pickin and her fiancé Tom Affud got engaged in January, here's their story.

Tom and I bumped into each other at a police station! Tom is a Police Sergeant and I was there for work as I used to work in hygiene sales and so was surveying police headquarters. We got talking and haven't looked back since!

Now I work in dental sales in both private practices and hospitals, with a unique product called Cerezen that provides relief from facial pain. Tom is a Police Sergeant at Northamptonshire Police.

Our wedding will be held at Ladbroke Church, the village where I grew up, followed by a marquee reception in my parents' garden, in April 2020.

Congratulations Alice and Tom!

OP Jodie Fisher and Richard - Engagement

Congratulations to Jodie Fisher and her fiance Richard Kelsall who have just got engaged.  Jodies tells us more...

Richard and I met through Bilton Silver Band as this is the band I play in and his dad plays in. Richard works at JLR doing an apprenticeship which finishes in September and I work at Princethorpe and Crackley teaching Brass alongside an Open University degree.

We have some ideas of venue for the big day and we are aiming for April next year.

Memory Bank

Martin Heffron Reflects On His Time At Princethorpe

My time at Princethorpe was from 1973 until 1980. I was lucky enough to attend Princethorpe in the good old days when (as boarders) we roamed far and wide around the buildings and grounds.

The stability of boarding school was an important discipline for me, because my family moved around a lot and I had been to five different primary schools in almost as many years. I wouldn’t have described me as a wild child, but I needed to settle down. After the initial shock of being away from home, I soon settled in and discovered two passions that have lived with me for the rest of my life:

  • Birdwatching; and
  • Rugby Union

Princethorpe was ideal for both. The slightly fearsome Mr Price taught me all about the game they play in heaven and the grounds themselves were my birding tutor.

The combination of boarding school discipline, compassionate support from staff, lots of great sport and the freedom to spend time on my own doing my own thing could not have been a better environment for me at the time and I thrived.

The school was also a place to make great friends. I remember meeting my great friend Antony Jarvis for the first time on the walk out to the rugby fields. He told me about his life in Kenya and how much his mother loved birdwatching. I told him how wonderful it must be to watch birds in such an amazing country and the next thing I know I’m on a plane to Nairobi at the start of the summer holidays. My connection with Antony, his family and Africa itself have remained very strong and my eldest son is just about to start a ranger course in South Africa and Botswana as part of his gap year adventures.

Kieran Cahill was another great friend I made at school. We spent the last two years of school sharing a room in the building at the end of the drive where we had to keep the coal fired boiler working or we ran out of heat and hot water. Not so funny in the middle of winter. Unfortunately for Kieran, he is a very tidy man and……I am not. I still fold clothes the way he taught me to. Thanks for all your patience Kieran. Like me, he married an Australian and lives in Brisbane. I see him several times a year.

The teaching staff at the time were a combination of lay and clerical. There were too many great people who supported me and helped me whilst I was at the school to name them all, but I would like to mention Father McManus. Even as a very young man, I would have described him as my friend. His compassion and wit were the source of great wisdom and insight for me. I learned a great deal from him, much of which has been invaluable to me as my life has progressed.

I moved to Australia with my work many years ago, married a fantastic Australian girl (Meg) and have been living happily every after ever since.

Meg and I established a business in the Hunter Valley region of New South Wales in the pensions space and never really looked back. I have had an interesting and fulfilled life with many friends and plenty of love. I have been truly blessed.

In December last year, my family and I visited Princethorpe and Melanie Butler was kind enough to devote some time to showing us all around. Neither of my children had been there before and it was my first visit since Midnight Mass in 1993. Obviously, a lot that has changed (for the better) but also a great many things remain the same.  

The visit brought back so many wonderful memories and whilst it was only a brief visit, the atmosphere and ethos of the school feel the same as they always have – for me, and that is great news for the current students.

As for many people Princethorpe left an indelible and positive mark on my life that has continued to this day. I consider myself very lucky to have attended the school. It really changed my life.

I wish everyone working at the school and all students the very best for 2019 – you have a great legacy to sustain.

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Musical Memories For Sei Matsumura

My name is Sei Matsumura residing in Tokyo, Japan. I studied at Princethorpe College from May 1987 to March in 1988. Our family lived in Coventry for that one year because my father was accepted to the University of Warwick as a visiting fellow during his sabbatical leave. He had finished his PhD of Social History at the University of Warwick.

The deputy head Father McManus considered some conditions of mine at that time, I was 16 years old, it was the season just before GCSE (or rather O level) examinations and I was on my experiencing study period. He arranged for me to join the fourth year, the year below, and that worked well for me. As soon as I started at Princethorpe I was really into music and art, I was especially keen on playing piano under the guidance of the music teacher, Mrs Sue Francis. I challenged myself with tough piano pieces such as Chopin, Mozart, Gershwin etc - those we were not allowed to try in proper music course in Japan. It was lucky that my piano teacher was interested in me attempting pieces which I wished to play.

Everyday I spent a lot of time focusing in the music practice room which was one of the quietest places in school. I also preferred to take piano lessons in the Chapel, I could hear the sound containing rich reverberations. I can also remember the uniqueness of the art class. For example, we could select or find the motif to draw for ourselves. Someone was drawing bottles consistently or another preferred drawing statues. I was drawing photos picked up from National Geographic. In Japan, students have to draw the same object designated.

I can remember some of my friends full names such as David Banerjee, Jonathan Doxey, but most of them just their first names. There were some students from outside the UK, students from Hong Kong, Spain and Israel and we had the same English class for foreign students. Such an international atmosphere influenced me a lot. I hope all of them are well.

Last September I had the chance to visit Princethorpe College again after 20 years, because I participated in the Computer Music Conference at De Montfort University in Leicester. I stretched my legs to Coventry just the day before leaving to Japan. It was my pilgrimage.

Once I stepped into Princethorpe, I was surprised that the facilities inside are truly renovated. However, main parts like the corridors and chapel are just the same as they were. In addition, it is a mixed school for boys and girls, now. I am happy to see there is a sophisticated curriculum around Music, Art and also Computer Aided Design. Because, I am teaching Sound Design and Computer Programming for Design as one of the faculty members at School of Design, Tokyo University of Technology. 

After going back to Japan in 1988, I went up on to university as a computer music major. After I finished my BA I started my career as a video game sound designer and composer at SEGA. Then I shifted my course to academic, making interactive artwork or system based on audio, sometimes using visual and completed an MA and then a PhD.

Looking back on my path, I think that the one year experience at Princethorpe was surely one of my turning points which formed my musical and artistic basis, alongside receiving a different sort of education. I am profoundly grateful to Princethorpe College.

Sei is pictured in one of his beloved music practice rooms during his visit.

Richard Sibbick's Loft Clear Out Brings Forth A Tale Of Two Cities

It’s what you do in the spring. We sort out our homes and lives as we strive for a fresh start. Yet inevitably through sorting, memories of the past are brought to the front of our minds. So it was that when decluttering the loft I came across a bag of videos gathering dust. A quick look at the title of one video cassette (for the benefit of some readers we did have to record moving pictures on magnetic tape would you believe) invoked memories of a fine original score by Rinaldo Merlo, thoughtful lyrics by Chris James and a classic Weir/Skiffington production.

It was an easy choice then to ensure this particular plastic brick wasn’t added to the “stuff for the charity shop” or the “stuff for the burgeoning black bin bag”. Instead, I had the pleasure of converting this faithful recording onto a new media, albeit a bit shaky and noisy, for your viewing pleasure. A Tale of Two Cities can be seen by all again some 26 years later. So, put aside your marigolds, hang up that duster and grab a cuppa to look through the artistic gems on https://www.youtube.com/user/sibboinwales. You may discover a reason to sort out your own loft.

The Mystery of Lillie Rochaid

We get many enquiries into the Princethorpe archive, many from past pupils and their families who are interested in what we have from their time here. These are always a pleasure to research and I try to help whenever I can.  Occasionally we get something that is a little more unusual.

In November, we were contacted by a local landowner whose land backs onto the Crick Tunnel, near Rugby, regarding the death of a past pupil there on the 18th January 1906. Having spent Christmas with her family in France, Lillie Rochaid was travelling alone on the 2:45pm train from Euston to start a new term at St Mary’s Priory. When the train arrived Rugby, the platform inspector was surprised to spot a carriage door hanging open. Lillie’s body was found shortly after in Crick Tunnel. It appears that she fell from the train and was then dragged along the tunnel. Whilst some stories ran in the national papers suggesting that there may have been foul play involved, it was more likely simply a tragic accident.

After the inquest at the Railway Inn, Kilsby, Lillie’s body was collected by her uncle, Count Joseph Rochaid, who then accompanied her back to Dinard where she was buried. It appears her father was too unwell after receiving the news to travel. The Priory was also deeply shocked, the 1906-1907 edition of the Peeps magazine contained a 5-page article in memoriam of her. The writer states ‘Lillie had endeared herself to all by her bright, happy, unselfish ways… had always a bright smile and a kind word for everyone’. As a tribute to Lillie’s memory, her father donated an elaborately decorated gold and silver monstrance to the Priory that was more than 2½ feet tall, which he himself designed. Round the base was the inscription ‘Presented to St. Mary's Abbey by Count Rochaid in memory of his beloved daughter Lillie. Died January 18 1906. R. I. P.”

Janette Ratcliffe - Foundation Archivist

OP Updates

Lily Blunsom-Washbrook Embraces RADA Experience

After leaving Princethorpe College in 2016, I was lucky enough to gain a full scholarship at The Arts Educational School London, where I trained for two years studying under industry professionals, who have guided me through my A-levels in Theatre Studies, English Literature and Film Studies. Performing in productions such as Game by Mike Bartlett and The Truth by Florian Zeller at the Tabard Theatre in Chiswick and The GATE Theatre in Notting Hill were a couple of highlights. 

After this training the next step was Drama school. This involved a rigorous, intense and often ruthless auditioning process, which consisted of multiple rounds and recall sessions spanning several months.  I applied to 12 drama schools, many of which have over 3,000 applicants, for 28 or less places. I was lucky enough to reach the recall and final round stages to schools such as The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Lamda, Alra, Guildhall and Artsed. However, I decided to take the place I was offered on The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art foundation course, auditioning against thousands of applicants for 32 places put into perspective how competitive this industry is.

RADA is the most prestigious drama school in the UK, with alumni such as Ralph Fiennes, Tom Hiddleston, Alan Rickman and Joan Collins. To date, I have been fortunate to study practitioners such as Stanislavski and Meisner as well as collaborating with fellow students to write and perform my own work. 

I am so thankful that I was able to explore my love of acting at Princethorpe, as taking part in all the performance opportunities allowed me to develop as an actor as well as a person. Everything I learnt at Princethorpe, especially the ethos of the college, has influenced me in such a powerful way. I am having the most incredible time at RADA, although the weeks are often 45 hours plus, I would not change it for the world. Thanks to being able to discover my love of performing at Princethorpe, I now get to do what I love every day and learn from world class tutors at RADA, surrounded by like minded, talented and kind people. 

Lily has recently appeared in a TV series called Almost Never, aimed at youngsters aged 10 upwards. Lily is in episods 6 called, Middle 8, about a young pop band trying to make it. Lily’s character ‘Trinity’ tries to cause some ruffles in the process! Series 6 can be downloaded from BBC Iplayer.

She filmed the programme in Cardiff last summer with a cast that included Fleur East from X-Factor! it was a wonderful experience to work on a television set, have her own trailer space and make-up artist, and learn from directors and producers. 

Click here to view the episode.


Maddie Doherty Selected For University's Elite Rider Status

Leaver of 2018 Maddie Doherty is at Nottingham Trent studying for a BSc in Equine Sports Science. She has been selected as the University’s Elite Rider for Dressage, a prestigious position which she is very proud of achieving. Maddie was in competition with a significant number of her contemporaries. The position delivers a number of key development benefits including NTU branded kit, specialist training, funding of BHS certification, physio and opportunities to get involved in related research projects; in return Maddie will work as an ambassador for the Equine Department at Open Days and other university functions.

She has also been selected to represent Nottingham Trent in the BUCS Equine team and has taken part in a couple of competitions already.  Alongside this she has been offered a scholarship which provides her with support, including strength and conditioning, gym membership and physiotherapy amongst other things.

Well done to Maddie!

Christelle Molloy Seeks Out St Mary's Class Mates

Globe trotter Christelle Molloy got in touch with the Old Princethorpians a few weeks ago, looking to catch up with fellow classmates from her time at St Mary's Priory from 1959 to 1965. Christelle went on to study at St Godricks College in London. She takes up her story here.... 

After leaving College I worked in London for a couple of years, firstly as secretary to Sir Maurice Goldsmith, who had been head of Unesco Science Committee in Paris and in London he ran the Guinness Awards amongst other roles and was an advisor to the Labour Party. I also worked in Tin Pan Alley for a while and at the end of 1968 I went to South Africa where I initially worked in the University of the Witwatersrand as secretary to two professors, then I moved into sports promotion and worked with a company affiliated with Mark McCormack and we pre sold the tennis tournaments, mainly seats and advertising.

I left South Africa in 1973 and returned to Europe, had several jobs around Europe, London, and Paris and then worked for Global Marine Europa which was an offshore oil drilling company. I had assignments in Ireland, Holland, Turkey and Spain and Norway.

In 1976 I moved to Hong Kong and there I got into the fashion business and worked in manufacturing which involved product development, sales and production follow up. We worked all over Asia, from China to Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Philippines.

After 18 years in Hong Kong, which I truly loved and where I met so many wonderful people, I was offered the chance to transfer to New York, which was a great opportunity which I could not resist and again I worked in fashion, finally opening my own knitwear business in 2003. After I closed that business in 2012 I became involved in a passion of mine which is Micro Finance for women in the developing countries, I worked with a MF not for profit organisation and sat on various committees in the US but planned to get some paid opportunities in this field.

All that under the bridge, I have returned to Europe and am currently in Ireland living with family and pondering my future.

Which brings me to (after 40+ years abroad) seeking out old acquaintances and especially Princethorpe class mates.

If you remember Christelle and would like to get in touch please contact oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk

Fergus Preston Studies For His PhD

I left Princethorpe in 2013 to study Chemistry at University. Upon completion of my MSc in Medicinal Chemistry, I worked as a graduate chemist in Manchester for a year at a contract research and manufacturing company.

In January, I started studying at The University of Dundee for a PhD in Organic Chemistry, based within the world leading Drug Discovery Unit. The studentship is for 3.5 years which does mean that I won't be graduating until I'm nearly 27!

We wish Fergus the best of luck with his studies!

Hannah van Wyk Begins Teaching Career

In the summer of 2018 I graduated from Cardiff University with a 2:1 in English Language.

During my time at university I co-ran a women’s health charity which I am very proud of. I am currently doing my PGCE through TeachFirst, and I teach English at an academy in Coventry.

Emilie Reszka Lands Graduate Job With Siemens

Old Princethorpian Emilie Reszka tells us more about her exciting new role with Siemens PLM...

Since leaving Princethope in 2012, I graduated from The University of Nottingham with a BA Joint Honours in Spanish and International Media and Communications and landed my first graduate job as a Customer Accounts Analyst at Siemens PLM.

The team I work in focuses on looking after all queries and business transactions coming from the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) zone, but I primarily work for the French market and provide support for the Spanish & Portuguese market when required.

On a daily basis I work with the sales reps, admins and finance teams from the local countries (all in the local language!). My role requires me to be a reliable point of contact; internally I work with all the different sides of the business, ensuring that all sales transactions comply with company regulations and are processed in a timely manner. Externally, I provide support to customers, helping them with any issues or queries they may have and ensuring a swift delivery of their licenses and orders.

I’ve always been interested in languages, I grew up bilingual in French and English, studied Spanish at school and had the opportunity to pick up Portuguese whist at university. The highlight for me in my current role is that I have the opportunity to use and develop my language skills in a professional environment. I have also had the exciting chance to travel to the Paris office where I represented my team in meetings to improve our business practices.

Lottie Takes On New Coaching Franchise

Congratulations to OP Lottie Jones who has recently started a new venture, taking over the franchise for Online Coaching in East Warwickshire.

After I finished Sixth Form, I had a gap year working at Crackley Hall as I wasn’t sure about going on to university. Living in residence with the other teaching assistants and residents at Princethorpe was the best decision, ten minutes from home but I also created my own family at Princethorpe.

I am now in my fifth year at Crackley, after spending my time training to be a sports coach and achieving awards in different sports. I worked as a Teaching Assistant for three years, specialising in PE and Games. In my fourth year, I was given the role of Head of Girls Games and more responsibility teaching PE on my own.

During my fourth year I decided I needed to take a leap of faith and do something different. I approached Onside Coaching (who are based in Leamington and Warwick) for some holiday work. I timed it perfectly as they were looking for someone to take on the first of their four franchises. At the start of summer 2018 I took on my franchise and created Onside Coaching East Warwickshire. I am now the director of my own coaching company. I go in to primary schools in the week to coach PE and extra curricular activities. I also provide fun, active childcare during every school holiday and birthday parties. I’m hoping to expand in to as many schools as possible in Rugby, Daventry and the surrounding areas.

I have kept my job at Crackley two days a week and solely teach PE and games lessons. It is lovely to be still a part of the Foundation after starting in Year 7 at Princethorpe 12 years a go!

I’m also balancing this with getting used to farm life with my boyfriend Harry. I’ve lived here for nearly two years and I’m still not used to the early wake up every morning!

Dan and James Delighted With Deloitte Graduate Careers

Old Princethorpians Dan Lane and Joe Holmes coincidentally both started on the Deloitte Graduate Scheme as Associates in Birmingham back in September and their new careers are forging ahead.

Dan takes up the story....

I’m not sure what my expectations were before joining Deloitte, in all honesty there wasn’t much time for me to think about it as I only submitted my masters dissertation a week before starting my graduate role! In any case I’m not sure I could have envisaged how quickly things would take off following the induction period.

Joe and I work within the Audit and Assurance department and we are both studying towards the ACA qualification which (fingers crossed!) should see us qualify as Chartered Accountants come September 2021 after 15 exams and 450 days of ‘work experience’. By Christmas we had completed the certificate level of the qualification which comprised of the first six exams as well as settling into our respective teams.

Although we are in the same intake Joe works in the Financial Services unit whereas I work primarily within the Private Markets section of the Corporate Audit unit so we serve clients in very different markets. For Joe, this will generally be banks and insurance companies whereas I tend to work with private limited companies or smaller listed clients across various industries. There are about thirty Graduates and ‘Brightstarts’ (school leavers) within our department which makes for a very sociable working life. We often get lunch together and head out for a drink or meal at the end of a long week, our whole intake get on really well which has helped us settle in really quickly. There are also social sports events such as Thursday night football, which Joe regularly attends, as well as other social events organised by both Deloitte and the ICAEW Birmingham Student Society which have included evening socials at bars in the city centre and an annual ball at the ICC.

It’s also been great to catch up with some familiar Princethorpe faces in Birmingham too - I often get the train with Harry O’Brien who works for Hiscox on Colmore Row. Libby Williams also works close by at Barclays and Rob Carr works on the floor above us as a Tax Analyst also for Deloitte!

It's a small world!

Rosie Coulson Launches Philosophy Scheme For Schools

I left Princethorpe in 2012 and studied Philosophy and Christian Theology at Liverpool Hope University. Afterwards I completed a PGCE at the University of Warwick in 2016 and I now teach at a primary school in Coventry with subject leadership responsibility for RE, Philosophy and PSHE.

Alongside my teaching, I have been busy with my artwork. I have always enjoyed drawing and I find great joy in getting my pencils out and beginning to sketch out a quirky drawing. I particularly enjoy drawing animals but I am starting to extend my skills to drawing humans too. In the new year, I launched an Instagram page as a way of sharing my work and I have had some great responses back already!

As well as my own pursuit in drawing, in July 2018 I was approached by a colleague at work who asked me to illustrate a story he had written for children. This story became the centre for a new philosophy scheme we then developed together over the next six months. In the autumn term, we trialled our scheme of lessons with our Year 3 classes and it was a great success!

The scheme encourages children to think for themselves, develop reasoning skills and learn how to take part effectively in a debate. ‘Delphi the Philosopher’ follows the story of Delphi, a young girl in Ancient Athens, who desperately tries to free Socrates the Philosopher with her best friend, Plato. Together with the children, they explore many philosophical enquiries, such as how to make the perfect virtue potion to make a good person, and discuss whether happiness is more important than freedom when Delphi finds herself locked in the bedroom of her dreams. The children thoroughly loved the story and the lessons and at the end of scheme I gave them a masterclass in ‘How To Draw Delphi.’

In the future, our aim is for ‘Delphi the Philosopher’ to be used in school settings across the country. We have recently launched a website where schools can register their interest and sign up to our newsletter. It has been an absolute dream to combine my love of illustration with my skills of philosophy to create this with my very talented colleague and I hope anyone who may be interested can get just as much joy out of it as I have had in developing it.

For more information about Rosie's new venture visit: www.delphi-philosophy.com
Or follow Rosie on Instagram at @illustrations_by_rosie

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Megan Lewis Completes Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award

After completing four out of five sections of my Duke of Edinburgh gold award in 2016 all I had left was to organise my residential. The other sections I found relatively easy to complete; for volunteering I had been coaching netball to younger years for the majority of my time at Princethorpe so that was an easy sign off, for physical I played sport all the time therefore making this the easiest to have signed off, and finally when completing my gold award I was learning to drive therefore it coincided with my skill. Then we had the expedition in Snowdonia which we passed with flying colours after a challenging four days and four peaks including Snowdon itself.

There’s a wide range of different activities you can do for the residential including activity camps, cooking courses, being a volunteer at a kid’s camp or doing volunteering work in conservation. Since I have an interest in becoming a teacher after university and I love working with children it made sense to volunteer at a kid’s camp.

It took me a long time to choose a residential and plan it but finally I came across CHICKs, a charity for disadvantaged children. The residential was five days and four nights at the Daleside retreat in Fenny Bentley, Derbyshire. I went the week of 24th September as it was fresher’s week, so I wasn’t missing any uni. Each day consisted of getting the children up, having breakfast, leading and supervising activities in both morning and afternoon, getting involved in free time and socialising at meal times. The days were from 8.00am to 8:30pm with the kids, then till about 11.00pm after the kids went to bed, to help prepare for the upcoming day and completing activities, such as preparing the goody bags for the children to go home with, including a ‘signing’ where we wrote something similar to a school report outlining everything positive in their week.

Since completing this I have had my gold DofE award signed off and am now awaiting my invite from the palace to receive my award.

I was lucky enough to spend the last week with 16 incredible young carers aged 11-13. These kids had such a positive approach to life and are so selfless, caring and were such a delight to be around. One girl told me that she has two siblings with learning difficulties, but she wouldn't change them for the world, as then they wouldn't be her siblings. I've heard about all their dreams of travelling the world, which for some is currently impossible due to their family’s situations. They also told me about all their plans for the future and their goals in life, they are all incredibly driven young people. They all care for either parents or siblings so don't really get as much chance to be kids as much as others their age, they've had to grow up quickly. CHICKs aim to give these children a chance to be kids again and give them opportunities to take part in a range of activities such as rock climbing or surfing, something they might not get the chance to do otherwise. The experience wasn't just rewarding but I feel I got as much out of it as the children did. The charity is only funded through donations with no government funding, so publicity for them is crucial. I'd never heard of them before applying to be a volunteer but it's definitely something I'd like to get involved in again in the future. Feel free to check them out as they are always looking for volunteers!

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Kate Whitfield's Graduation Success And Award Winning Rugby Team

I have recently graduated from De Montfort University gaining a First Class Honours for Fine Art. Whilst there I also captained the women’s rugby team for two years, and played three varsity’s at Welford Road Stadium.

In my last year as captain the team was awarded the community award for our charity work including a team blood donation and work with Operation Christmas Child.

For my work with my sports team I was awarded the sports volunteer of the term. I was also awarded the volunteer of the year award and nominated again for it the following year for my work with CoppaFeel (a breast cancer awareness charity).

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OP Rebecca Garner Is An Award Winning Product Designer

After leaving Princethorpe in 2011 OP Rebecca Garner went on to study Product Design at Nottingham Trent University.  Their designer-centred creative course explored the innovative design of products and goods and helped develop her particular expertise in design sustainability.  During her placement year she worked for the global brand Walt Disney as a fashion accessories designer.  Then in 2015 she graduated with first class honours and joined the fashion retailer Marks and Spencers as a kids-wear designer.

She describes herself as ‘an experienced product designer who has specialised in the introduction of sustainable practices into product lifestyles’ and her knowledge, experience and design flair have served her well already netting her awards last year for both her Marks and Spencers Easy Dressing Collection and her Paddington Bear Christmas Collection.

Talking about the Easy Dressing collection, the first kids-wear range for children with disabilities Rebecca said, “We’ve absolutely loved working on this project and are proud that every product started from listening to mums and dads. Parents passionately told us that disabilities don’t define their children, so the adaptations shouldn’t define their clothes, it’s why all the products are inclusively designed and modelled closely on our main collection.”

During 2017 Rebecca was also the Marks and Spencers lead on a pioneering project called Collectively, a global movement that included participants such as Unilever and Google. Leading a group of 20 Marks and Spencers employees in an initiative outside of their everyday roles they focused on engaging millennials (18-30 year olds) in a new approach to consumption.  It was an initiative that fitted perfectly with her passion for sustainability and Marks and Spencers Plan A 2025 commitments.

Thanks for the career update Rebecca and many congratulations on your awards.

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Matt Parsons Gives Private Tour Of College To Leavers of 1999

OP Matt Parsons, who now works at the College as a Design Technology Teacher hosted a private tour of the school for leavers of 1999 back in November. Matt tells us more below...

It was a very chilly Saturday morning when we all met in the school playground for first time since 1999. We have been meeting up for drinks recently, but this was the first time we were all back at school together and it was like we had stepped back in time.

We had a wonderful time reminiscing whilst having a tour of the building that holds so many fond memories. Everyone was blown away with the Sixth Form Centre, as this was just a concept when we were in Year 11. One thing we all agreed on was the heart of the school remains the same. The old smells and long corridors flooded everyone with memories from 20 years ago. We found ourselves walking up to the top of the tower, which was a new experience for some. The views were superb and we were all amazed by the size of the school site. The astro was also still an idea in the minds of senior leadership and The Limes building wasn’t even on anybody’s radar during our time at the College. We finished the tour in the art room, where we relived our youth and thought about Mr Skiffington’s funny ways.

We all agreed that Princethorpe was an amazing experience for all of us and the friendships we built have lasted a lifetime.

People who attended:
Matt Parsons, Luke Clarke-Lees, Max Oxton-Morris, Laura Dougan, Rishi Ditani and Sharlene Merris

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