Welcome to the thirty-fourth issue of The Old Princethorpian, the Princethorpe Foundation'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 across the Foundation.  

This special COVID-19 issue includes the latest Foundation and College news, plus plenty of news and updates from OPs across the decades, including insights into how our community is dealing with the crisis and being in lockdown.

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

Preview

Alumni News

A New Normal For Princethorpe

Princethorpe, like the rest of the planet, has been adjusting to a 'new normal' over the last few weeks.

In the run up to lockdown parents and pupils received regular communications on the latest government advice, how to minimise the spread of COVID-19 and the importance of handwashing and hygiene generally. At break and lunchtime pupils were supervised sanitising their hands and the legendary Princethorpe cookies were individually wrapped. The usual busy school calendar was impacted, with sports fixtures gradually cancelled and events and activities postponed as the virus took hold.

Even the Chapel was forced to close, after one last wedding, and Mass conducted by Fr Teddy O'Brien had to move online.

The Foundation schools eventually closed their doors to pupils, on government orders on Monday 23 March and our home learning programmes commenced immediately. The drive and playground were empty of cars and the school was eerily quiet as it opened for only a relatively few children of key workers and the staff needed to support them. 

Our pupils in Year 11 and Upper Sixth had to come to terms swiftly with the news that after all their hard work they would have no public exams this summer, and no end of year celebrations, with their results based on predicted grades provided by school and moderated by Ofqual.

The majority of our support staff were furloughed as part of the government's job retention scheme and the campuses fell silent. Over the Easter holidays, much work went into communications with parents over home learning and discounted fees and a Hardship Fund was set up for those struggling the most. Our dedicated teaching staff, essential to providing the education for our pupils, adapted lessons, learnt new IT skills and became adept at Microsoft Teams and streaming live lessons, before the Trinity Term commenced again in earnest.

Our pupils have coped brilliantly with home learning, supported by their parents who now have a greater appreciation for the teaching profession. They follow their online timetables, producing exceptional work, participating in House challenges and Tutor Time remotely. The Prefect Inauguration, House Cup, Spring Concert and Winter Sports Awards went online. Assemblies, staff briefings and careers interviews continue, the Year 11s have started pre-courses for their A-levels and BTECs and our staff are working harder than ever to maintain continuity in these uncertain times.

A small Grounds team continue to look after the Foundation sites, tending cricket pitches, mowing lawns and keeping the campus looking beautiful for our return. The Mile Walk has been resplendent with bluebells, lambs and calves have been born and nature has continued oblivious to what has been besetting the human world.

Even the OPs termly Committee Meeting was conducted via Zoom!

We are now approaching half term, the pupils are starting online end of year assessments and following the Prime Minister's announcement about the easing of lockdown, the Senior Team are making plans for Year 10 and Year 12 and staff to safely return on Monday 1 June in line with the government's guidelines. Our Junior Schools, Crackley Hall and the Crescent, will of course be welcoming back Nursery, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 children too.

It has been an unprecedented episode in Princethorpe's rich history, we have had to rely extensively on our 'spirit of family' during these testing times and we know that it will probably be a long time before things are back to normal and we can welcome everyone back into the fold again as we would like to.

Until then, our message to all has been keep well, keep in touch and stay safe.

 

 

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First Ever OP Virtual Event Voted A Big Hit

We had a great response to our first ever OP Virtual Event - a Quiz Night held on Friday 15 May 2020 with attendees videoconferencing in from around 30 locations. The event replaced our London Meet which has had to be postponed to March 2021 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Participants from across the decades included former pupils and parents from the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s and beyond, current staff and former teachers Peter and Liz Griffin, Ed MacFetridge, Greg Hunter and Robert Startin. Dedicated Hong Kong and Asia based OPs Alan Young, Vitus Leung and Anthony Ku even stayed up until the early hours of the morning to join us.

The fun kicked off at 8.00pm, with two quiz sessions with an interval in the middle and the final quiz-goers signed off from the call at around 10.30pm.

Hosted by Headmaster Ed Hester over Zoom, the quiz tested general knowledge, vehicular, sport, film and musical know how in seven challenging rounds. The final round related to all things Princethorpe and a tie breaker of ‘your funniest memory of Princethorpe’ put an additional 20 points up for grabs.

There were several strong teams in the field - special mention should go to the Johnsons, the Rogers family, John Sage, the Campbell/Potters, Moira Rollason, Eddie and Ann Tolcher, the Dodds, the Sharpes, the Roberts and the McBride families.

When it came down to the tie-breaker however it was between the O’Gormans (Lee, Paddy and Meg), who had been very strong contenders from the outset, and the leavers of 2013 (Dan Lane, Chris Bond, Lucy Tallis and Carmen and James Simpson). The 2013 leavers’ memories of Mr Hester in the sports hall on the exploding space hopper, was judged as the ‘funniest Princethorpe moment’ and gained them the extra 20 points they needed to clinch first place with a fantastic overall score of 74 points.

Well done to all the participants, we were delighted to be able to get everyone together via the wonders of Zoom and hope that a good time was had by all.

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The Class Of 77 Stay In Touch Through Zoom

The Class of 77 have kept pretty much in touch ever since we left the school. We are spread all over the globe now but, for some reason, we have always stayed in touch. Back in those days, two thirds of the pupils were boarders and many were from overseas or with connections to the forces. Possibly the bonds built by actually living together 24/7 may have been stronger, who knows, or maybe we are just lucky.

Not particularly skilled in Maths (sorry to the Fathers Teddy O’Brien and Dan O’Connor!), we worked out that it was about 50 years ago that we all met at the age of 11 and we decided collectively to try and get together at the OPs Summer Supper Meeting in June this year. Little did we know that a pesky virus would intervene!

We started planning our anniversary meeting over a year ago and plans progressed at two or three get togethers since then (two of which were 60th birthday celebrations) and the hope was to have a whole weekend of events.

When it became clear that the planned reunion was unlikely, Robin Abeyesinhe set up a virtual Zoom reunion five weeks ago and this has become a regular weekly feature. This Friday will be our fifth 'virtual' get-together.

We have had participants from the United States, Mike Halloran, Anil Patel and Dinu Patel; Ernest Springley joins us from Germany and the rest of the usual suspects are British-based; Mike Nagaur, Mike Loughnane, Ian Brown, Marc Marot , Andy Frain , Robin (host) and myself. We even had a guest appearance from my brother; yet another Mike! The latter has mastered the art of a virtual green screen background!

Ironically, we've probably got closer using this format than we would have if the real get together had not been thwarted when, through force of circumstances, several would have been unavailable to travel.

At the moment, we don't plan to stop these meetings and it will be interesting to see how things develop. Watch this space; and perhaps some of the other Year Groups might like to try setting up similar online meetings.

Peter Rollason
OPs Chairman

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Record Numbers At OPs Rugby Pub Meet

The Old Princethorpians’ Pub Meet at Inside the 22 in Rugby on Friday 6 March, was the association's most popular pub meet ever with well over 50 OPs and Old Crescentians in attendance, including current and former members of staff.

At our last event before the lockdown, there was a lovely friendly atmosphere as OPs from across the decades socialised and caught up with each other's news over drinks and a delicious buffet. The leavers of 2014 were once again out in force including former Head Boy, Paddy Mills and Head Girl Hannah Brindley, plus strong contingents from the Cahill, Lowe, Hedderwick, Hilditch and Lea families.

Our next gathering was due to be the London Pub Meet at Balthazar in Covent Garden, this has by necessity been reformated into an OPs Virtual Quiz which takes place this evening, Friday 15 May. See the Events Section for joining details if you would like to partcipate.

To see further pictures from the Rugby evening login to Princethorpe Connect here.

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Calling all OPs Based In Hong Kong And Asia

Hong Kong based OP Alan Young (1978 -1981) who was appointed Old Princethorpians' Chairman For the Hong Kong and Asia Chapter, following the College's successful visit to Hong Kong in 2018, would like you all to get in touch with him to be part of a dedicated WhatsApp group.

Alan acts as the principle contact with the College, encouraging connections between OPs in Hong Kong and Asia, contributions to our newsletter and reaches out and engages with any OPs that we have lost touch with or who are not yet involved in the association.

The new WhatsApp group will be used to facilitate communication and future gatherings within the region.

If you would like to be included please message Old Princethorpians and we will send you his WhatsApp details!

David Jones' Creative Countryside Tribute to NHS

We absolutely loved this amazingly creative countryside tribute to the NHS by arable farmer and Old Princethorpian, David Jones.

David, who was at the College from 1986-1991, now farms near Stratford-upon Avon. He and his family have built their business up to 2,700 acres, growing, wheat, oil seed rape, spring beans and spring wheat. David recently won a Royal Society award for practice and development in agriculture.

Talking about the tribute, he commented, “I sketched the plan on paper and used the old tramlines as a base line at 32 metres apart. Then put some scratch marks in as a guide. I drove the tractor free hand as I did not have the time to programme all the GPS."

He continues, "The film was shot in one go by my good friend James Arbuckle Photography who then kindly edited it all ready for the next day. It’s already had over 55,000 views on different platforms and the most rewarding part is to hear from NHS doctors, nurses and specialists that it has given them a boost after what was a very tough week for them.”

Hats off to David and the rest of the Princethorpe farming community, who are all doing so much to put food in our supermarkets and on our tables during the crisis too.

Click here to view David's creation.

Joy For Princethorpe Connect 400th Member

Congratulations to Joy Fletcher (Joy Crosby) for being our 400th online member on Princethorpe Connect, our online alumni community.

Joy, who now lives in sunny Devon, was a pupil at St Joseph's Convent School from 1980 -1985. It's fitting that a former pupil of St Joseph's helped us reach this milestone, in March, when the school was celebrating its 75th anniversary.

Joy was delighted to hear the news when we contacted her to let her know she would be receiving a gift, commenting, "Wow, that’s great I never seem to win anything!". The Foundation organised for a lovely spring bouquet to be delivered to her home in Devon.

The Foundation is now well on its way to the next major milestone of 500 online members on Princethorpe Connect.

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

https://connect.princethorpe.co.uk/

Bilton Silver Band Entertain Us With Joyful Renditions

We just had to share this joyful video rendition of Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music by the fab Bilton Silver (Rugby) Band, put together by Princethorpe and Crackley peripatetic brass teacher and Old Princethorpian Jodie Fisher.

With social distancing putting paid to their normal rehearsals they came up with this imaginative way of bringing them all together to make their fantastic music and make everyone smile.

The video also features Jodie’s mum and fellow brass teacher Di Fisher, who teaches at Crescent School. You might be able to spot a few more familiar Foundation faces too.

We think you’ll have to agree they are brilliant and make a cracking sound!!
Click here to view the video

Also getting in on the amazing musical video act is Bilton's Silver Training Band, with their fun rendition of 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' from Mary Poppins. Lots of familiar Crescent faces here too, well done everyone for keeping spirits up. Just don't ask us to spell the tune's title!!!

Click here to view the video.

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Princethorpe Undertakes Its Largest Ever ‘Keep in Touch’ Initiative

In March our Princethorpe Connect Team embarked upon a huge 'keep in touch' exercise, attempting to track down and reconnect with as many ‘lost’ Old Princethorpians as possible.

This is the first time the College has undertaken such a huge exercise, attempting to contact thousands of former pupils, former parents and former staff. We have received hundreds of replies and have been touched by the many warm and interesting responses from people across the Princethorpe community who we haven’t heard from for many years.

So far, we've had over 800 returns and been able to update all of those records.

If you’re the parent of a former pupil, please do encourage them to update their details so we can stay in touch with them. They can do this easily themselves by going online to https://connect.princethorpe.co.uk/

Award Winning Painting Now Hangs In Reception

2019 Upper Sixth leaver, Helena Lintott’s award-winning work ‘The Gift’ has recently been hung in the College’s main reception. Her stunning painting was created for her A-level in Fine Art last summer and subsequently took the top spot in the prestigious Independent Schools’ Association's National Art Competition, in the Over 16 Paintings category.

‘The Gift’ refers to the Three Graces who in Greek mythology are the personifications of beauty, charm, and grace; they were the daughters of Zeus and were given these ‘gifts’ by him to bestow on the world. Her work is a superb, striking painting and was a well-deserving winner.

Once the College is open again, this remarkable piece of work will be on show for all visitors to the College to enjoy.

An amazing legacy to us all from an exceptionally talented young artist.

Latest Princethorpe And Me Billboard Unveiled

In March the College was delighted to see its latest advertisement unveiled on the Radford Road in Leamington Spa. The 48 sheet billboard features Old Princethorpian, Murray Wells, and is the next in the series of the College's ‘Princethorpe and Me’ advertising campaign.

Murray left Princethorpe in 2014 and went on to study Aerospace Engineering at the University of Hertfordshire. He always wanted to be an engineer, and when the opportunity arose, he jumped at the chance to work on the Bloodhound Supersonic Car project, working to set a new Land Speed record. There he was lucky enough to work with some of the UK’s very best engineers. After completing his degree Murray then went to work for McLaren Automotive as a Quality Engineer.

Since he left Princethorpe, Murray has returned to the College on several occasions to talk to Sixth Form and Design Technology pupils about his exciting career and he was delighted to feature in the latest advert and play his part in inspiring the next generation of Princethorpians.

Help OP Friendly Faces Support The Next Generation Of OPs

We are looking to get more OP Friendly Faces on board to widen the support network of OPs in universities across the country ready to help the leavers of 2020.

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. 

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.  We are particularly looking for help from the leavers of 2019.

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 by Friday 26 June 2020.
 

 

 

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College News

Giants Of The Car Industry Visit Princethorpe College

Princethorpe College was delighted to welcome world-famous British Jaguar car designer, Ian Callum CBE, owner and Director of Design at CALLUM, and former Princethorpe parent, Phil Popham, CEO of Lotus Cars, to the College on Tuesday 3 March 2020.  Mr Callum and Mr Popham visited the school to find out more about the College’s development plans for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) subjects.

On their visit Ian Callum and Phil Popham toured the school and grounds, taking in the Design and Technology workshops and the Art studios as well as the wider campus buildings and grounds. They also visited the site of the new Science building, heard about the school’s plans for improvements across the campus and the work underway to drive the Science+ fundraising campaign forward.

Ian Callum and Phil Popham were impressed by Princethorpe College’s strong design heritage commenting, “This school has got it right, the creative design and STEM subjects are hugely important for all our futures. It will be down to the young people of today to address the challenges and schools should be equipping them with the skills to do so. The design work on show here at the College is just amazing.”

During the tour Ian and Phil met with Sixth Form Product Design students and took time to answer their questions on a wide range of topics that ranged from their route into the design world and the process of design through to the challenges facing designers today.

Director of Development, Chris Lee, said, “It’s been a privilege to welcome Ian and Phil to Princethorpe and showcase all of the fantastic work our pupils and staff are doing. We’re situated right in the heart of the UK automotive industry here in the West Midlands, and it has been incredibly valuable to hear from two giants of the car industry that we are getting things right here at Princethorpe with our STEAM agenda. Our Science+ Campaign, which includes the building of a brand-new, 10 laboratory Science Centre embodies our STEAM agenda, which will not only transform our teaching and learning of Science, but also hugely upgrade our Art department.”

Sixth Form Walk 24 Miles For Mary's Meals

On Sunday 8 March, 91 walkers from Princethorpe College trudged just over 2,000 miles to raise money for the charity Mary’s Meals.  For the twelfth consecutive year Sixth Formers and staff laced up their walking boots and took on the challenge of walking 24 miles in seven hours.

The route followed a big loop around the side of Coventry from Ryton to Meridian, taking in varying terrain. This year’s relentless rain made for waterlogged conditions underfoot but thankfully the weather remained clement on the day.

Luke Brotherton, Ellis Chaplow, Louis Coleby, Thomas Crowfoot, William Crowfoot, Siôn Murphy and Tomas Wilcox crossed the finish line first completing the course in 6 hours and 41 minutes.

They were followed home by a procession of jubilant finishers with the final walker completing the challenge at 6.16pm.

Organiser of the event and Assistant Head of Sixth Form, Mr Rod Isaacs, commented, “As always there was a wonderful spirit of camaraderie along the route. Everyone was helping each other and keeping focused on the aim to raise as much money as possible for impoverished children around the world.”

Through the College’s fundraising, 622 children at Makalanga Primary School, in Malawi, are already receiving a daily meal in school for the first time.

There is still time to support our Sixth Form walkers, and through them the children of Makalanga School.

If you would like to donate, please visit:

www.marysmeals.org.uk/princethorpe-4-makalanga

 

When The BBC's Father Brown Visited Princethorpe

The BBC's Father Brown is back on iPlayer, so if you missed seeing Princethorpe featuring in this popular detective series then now is your chance.

The College's church and gardens were used in Series 1 in the sixth episode, called the Brides of Christ. The episode was filmed back in the summer of 2012 and featured some of Princethorpe's pupils as nun extras.

The series is based on G K Chesterton’s stories involving the crime-solving Catholic priest Father Brown, played by the Fast Show and Harry Potter films' Mark Williams.

In the episode two nuns die in mysterious circumstances at St Agnes convent, and Father Brown investigates with the aid of Sister Boniface, an eager young fan of detective novels.  

Why not settle down to watch - you will see the College in a whole new light!

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q8k18

 

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International Cricketer Ben Stokes Presents Prestigious Winter Sports Prizes

Princethorpe College’s Virtual Winter Sports Awards took place on Thursday 30 April. It was an opportunity to recognise the achievements of the College’s young sportsmen and sportswomen at all levels and across all sports.

Host for the event was Assistant Head Co-curricular, Neil McCollin, who led the special virtual celebration of this season’s sporting endeavours, and the event included a special guest appearance by a sporting global superstar, English international cricketer and current vice-captain of the England Test team, Ben Stokes.

Ben kindly agreed to be involved as he is a childhood friend of Head of Boys's Games, Mike Turns.

The award ceremony began with a summary of the performances of the College’s sports team. Coaches reflected on the past season and for each team awards were announced recognising endeavour, progress, coach's player and most valuable player. The wide range of sports and the sheer numbers of pupils involved, a testament to the importance of sport to life at the College.

Mr McCollin then went on to announce the teams of the season for which there were many contenders. Reflecting on the team’s success, the numbers of fixtures played and the opponents faced, the Girls Sports Team Of The Year was awarded to the U15 Hockey team. For the Boys Sports Team Of The Year, after considering the strength of the opposition and the fixture lists the award went to the U13A Rugby team.

A number of pupils were awarded prestigious full colours recognising their commitment and dedication to sport both on and off the field. They included Emelia Tubb, Maddie Glasspool, Jack Bent, Sam Armstrong, Will Basford, Issy Smith, Caitlin Parris, Lucy Gribben, Oli Thomas, Henry King, Will Cooper-Harris, Tom Crowfoot, Will Crowfoot, James Crabtree, Fionn McCormack, Thomas Parker and Oscar Phillips.

Then it was the turn of our special guest speaker, Ben Stokes, who began by reflecting on the importance of sport and the role it plays in the lives of young people. Ben was delighted to announce the individual sports prizes congratulating each of the winners, they included:

Junior Sports Girl Of The Year – Alice Whittaker
Junior Sports Boy Of The Year – Jamie Smith
Senior Sports Girl Of The Year – Lucy Gribben
Senior Sports Boy Of The Year – Freddie Draper
Sixth Form Sports Girl Of The Year – Izzy Smith
Sixth Form Sports Boy Of The Year – James Crabtree

Ben finished by saying, “Congratulations to all of the winners, a fantastic effort from everybody.”

All in all it has been another very successful season for the College with plenty to celebrate, albeit in a virtual way.

Virtual Inauguration Ceremony Welcomes New Princethorpe Prefect Body

The new Princethorpe College Prefect Body for 2020-2021 was formally inaugurated into their roles in a virtual ceremony shared with the College community and parents on Friday 17 April.

The outgoing Head Boy, Jack Bent, and Head Girl, Leah Dunkley, gave a poignant speech reflecting on their year in office and time at Princethorpe before wishing the new Prefect Body well, and handing over the keys of office. Mr Ben Collie, Head of Sixth Form introduced the 2020-2021 Prefects for the first time, before the smartly attired group spoke individually to their audience about themselves and their hopes for their new roles, before the new Head Girl, Abbie O’Carroll-Bailey and Head Boy Jack Neale concluded the ceremony with a prayer.

The roles of office for this year are:

Head Girl
Abbie O'Carroll-Bailey

Head Boy
Jack Neale

Deputy Head Girls
Lauren Mason
Grace McGrory

Deputy Head Boys
James Gallagher
Prajeet Prabakaran

Pastoral Prefects
Beth Hutcheson
Ross Low
Georgia McCallum
Olivia Rawle
Jess Scott
Elyse Hyland

House Captains
Austin: Charlotte Fitzpatrick and Luke Brotherton
Benet: Gracie Gerrard and Harvey Wells
Fisher: Aimee Llewellyn and Isaac Ryan
More: Kian Mellett and Connor Parris

Social Prefects
Isabella Wardman
Keeley Jarrett

Charity Prefect
James Walker

Chaplaincy Prefects
Elsa Isaacs
Hannah Bryer

Junior Chaplaincy Prefects
Andre Barnett – Year 7 – Austin
Sean Birtley – Year 7 – Fisher
Louis Yuen – Year 7 - Fisher
Thomas Bucknall - Year 8 – Austin
Jemima Teeton – Year 8 – Austin
Zoe Shayler – Year 9 – Benet

Academic Prefects
Zack Ahmed
Amelia Cunnington
Mia Hornett (Transition Prefect)
Daisy Walker

Marketing and Communications Prefect
Will Marshall

Games Prefects
Madeleine Glasspool and Emelia Tubb
Tom Crowfoot and Oli Thomas

The College wishes good luck to the new prefect body for the year ahead and extends warm thanks to the outgoing prefects, they have given great service and we wish them all the best for their upcoming exams and future endeavours.

Princethorpe Hosts First Ever Socially Distanced Spring Concert

Thanks to the wonders of technology and the dedication of our fantastic Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw, at the end of March Princethorpe hosted its first ever ‘Socially Distanced Spring Concert’.

Mr Cowlishaw masterminded the event which involved around 60 members of the school community, including pupils, staff and peripatetic music teachers, all performing from home.

Via Microsoft Teams he shared parts for a host of instruments, for sopranos, baritones and altos and created a ‘Virtual Conductor’ video to bring all the musicians and singers together into one harmonious whole for a special combined performance of Elbow’s hit One Day Like This.

Comments Mr Cowlishaw, “Nothing, not even a pandemic, was going to stop us having our Spring Concert. Elbow's anthemic hit, with it's main lyrical theme, seemed a fitting and uplifting choice for our finale and the times we find ourselves in." He continued, "The ‘virtual’ concert really captured everyone’s imagination and I’ve been overwhelmed by the response, it’s amazing!”

In addition to the flagship performance there was a host of other musical items including traditional and more contemporary pieces and even some improvisation.  The musicians involved ranged from Year 7 to Upper Sixth and musical grades 1 to 8. The concert took over 100 hours to piece together, not counting the time spent by the individual contributors.

It was a wonderful uplifting event and you can view the finale piece here.

 

James Crabtree Selected For England Counties U18

Upper Sixth Former, James Crabtree, fought his way through a tough selection process to be confirmed as part of the 23-man squad to represent England Counties U18 in their two-match series against Ireland.

James was amongst 160 boys who began by playing three inter-County games at Loughborough University, where he represented Warwickshire. He was one of 40 players picked to go forward to the Midlands squad, next he survived the cut to 30 after the first training session and then made it on to the final Midlands 23-man team.

James then played in a match against the North and one week later participated in an intensive residential weekend. With the Midlands team he trained at Warwick School, stayed on the Warwick University campus, and on the following day, faced London and the South East.

James was then picked by the selectors to be part of a 23-man squad to represent England Counties U18. James took part in a residential weekend where he completed team building exercises, field sessions and developed playing strategies. The team also played Worcester Warriors Academy, a great opportunity to gain game practice, and claimed a resounding 66-7 victory.

The original plan was to go on a further residential 10-day camp in April where the team were scheduled to play Ireland twice. Although sadly, due to the Coronavirus, this did not go ahead.

Head of Rugby, Peter Bucknall commented, “James is an exceptional player and should be incredibly proud of reaching the England Counties U18 team. Pulling on an England shirt is a great honour. We are all incredibly proud of him.”

Princethorpe Helps WCS Care With Essential PPE Supplies

WCS Care, who run a number of local care homes, contacted us in March with a plea for Personal Protective Equipment. Supplies of essentials such as aprons, gloves and masks were running low as demand outstriped supply. Thinking very creatively, WCS Care approached local schools and businesses to see if anyone had any spare equipment they could use.

Of course, the College was only too happy to help and quickly put together 120 or so old but still usable face masks, 4 boxes of nitrile gloves (some 600 brand new gloves) and 30 sets of old but still useable goggles.

Jo Cheshire, Head of Marketing for WCS Care and a Princethorpe parent, said “One of our team had the idea that local school science labs could have equipment we could use - hence my email to Mr Hester. We needed to ensure we had what we needed to protect our staff.”

“Whilst some of the equipment is used, it really didn't matter as goggles can be hot washed and every extra mask or set of goggles  means we can protect more staff for longer and fulfil our duty of care to our staff and to our residents. We've had a great response, it's lovely to see the best in people at times like this.”

Working together and supporting each other is what really matters and Princethorpe was delighted to help.

Latest Admissions Update Newsletter Now Available

The latest edition of the College's Admissions Update e-newsletter was published in March. It was packed with news to give prospective parents and pupils a feel for College life, information on forthcoming events and helpful advice about the admissions process, particularly for those who are looking at entry in September 2021.

The newsletter is issued twice a year to coincide with key admissions periods and the next edition will be available in autumn 2020 just prior to the Entrance Examinations.

As the COVID-19 crisis continues we have moved our summer Open Evening online.

Please click here to go to the Admissions Update newsletter.

Or for further information on admissions to the school please contact the Registrar on 01926 634201 or 01926 634262 or email the team at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk.

Foundation News

Richard Harcourt Appointed To Board Of Trustees

Richard Harcourt has been appointed to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
Mr Harcourt lives locally in Stretton on Dunsmore and has three children who all attended Princethorpe College.

After leaving school at the age of 16, Mr Harcourt started an Engineering Apprenticeship at Dunlop Aerospace in Coventry. In a career spanning some 40 years he travelled the world, including a four-year stint based in Canada, before finally retiring in 2018 as the Director of Operations at Rolls Royce. He now splits his time between non-executive work and his hobbies of golf, gardening and travelling.

Mr Harcourt, comments, “My children all attended Princethorpe College and benefitted hugely from the terrific learning environment the Foundation offers. I am therefore thrilled to be asked to join the Board of Trustees and to support the Foundation as it continues to develop and thrive.”

Eddie Tolcher, Foundation Bursar and Clerk to the Trustees said, “Richard will bring a wealth of commercial experience to the Foundation’s Governing Body. His experience, insight and advice will be very much appreciated.”

Foundation Schools: In The News

Click on the attachment below to download the latest ‘In the News’ posters featuring some of the Foundation's recent media coverage.

In the News

In the last few months we have had stories in the local press including the Leamington Courier, Kenilworth News, Rugby Advertiser, Rugby and Lutterworth Observer, and the Stratford Herald. The Foundation has also been featured in the Catholic Universe and the Independent Schools’ magazine Attain.

It is always wonderful to see our pupils featured.

Enjoy The Latest Editions Of The Pinnacle And Minnacle

The latest edition of The Pinnacle has just been published, showcasing yet more of our pupils' exceptional work. This latest edition includes plenty of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) related stories, with wonderful work on neuropsychology, a report on work experience at CERN and the Year 7 Solar System Challenge to highlight just a few. It also showcases flair across a range of subjects and year groups including Languages, Art, History and creative writing.

A double-sized Minnacle is included too, with equally impressive work by Crackley Hall pupils from Nursery to Junior 6 and Crescent pupils from Reception to Year 6. It's wonderful to see their talents too!!

To view an electronic version of The Pinnacle click here and for The Minnacle here.

Why not enjoy a few minutes browsing through the inspirational work our children do.

Events

Princethorpe College Virtual Open Evening

Wednesday 3 June 2020 – 6.30pm onwards

Prospective pupils and their parents are warmly invited to the College’s first ever Virtual Open Evening on Wednesday 3 June from 6.30pm.

The evening will consist of a link to a pre-recorded video comprising an address by our Headmaster, Ed Hester, short video clips of some of our pupils from Year 7 to Sixth Form and fun, interactive subject activities for children to participate in at home. The evening will also provide information as to the admissions process.

The pre-recorded video will be followed by a live streamed Q & A session with Mr Hester, Mrs Rooney, the Registrar, and the senior team from 7.30pm, which parents will be able to submit questions to in advance or on the evening via a chat function.

To sign up for the Virtual Open Evening, please complete the short online form here by Wednesday 27 May.

You will then be emailed the link to the Virtual Open Evening and instructions for the Live Q & A Session on Wednesday 3 June.

If you have any other questions related to the admissions process or Princethorpe generally please contact Mrs Rooney, the Registrar, at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk or call her on 07930 601877.

Please do spread the word amongst friends and family, as all are most welcome to get involved. 

 

Virtual Summer Art, Photography and Design Show 2020

Thursday 18 June from 6.00pm

This year we will be holding a virtual celebration of our pupils GCSE and A-level Art, Photography and Design work on Thursday 18 June from 6.00pm.

On the evening we will publish a link on the College website and social media to a virtual gallery, which will include a range of design technology projects, from resistant materials to textiles, will be showcased alongside the stunning art and photography work the College is renowned for.

Comments, Paul Hubball, Head of Art, "We did not want this year to pass without sharing our pupils' fantastic creativity with a wider audience and through the wonders of technology we will be able to make this happen."

Added Head of Design Technology, Paul Scopes, "Our pupils have worked so hard and it's important that collectively we should celebrate the fruit of their labours."

 

OPs Summer Supper Reunion - Calling The Leavers Of 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 And 2010

Friday 26 June 2020 

It is looking very unlikely that we will be able to hold our OPs Summer Supper Reunion as originally planned. We may however be able to do something virtually, so we would like OPs to continue to register their interest please.

In particular we are seeking OPs who left the College in 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 (or those who were in the same year groups) to celebrate their respective 50th, 40th, 30th, 20th and 10th anniversaries of leaving.

Former staff and OPs from other years are of course very welcome to participate too.

If you would like to be kept informed of our plans please go to Princethorpe Connect or email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk by Friday 19 June.

OPs vs College Sports Day 2020

Saturday 5 September 2020 - To be confirmed

The 10th annual Old Princethorpians vs College Sports Day (and 12th John Shinkwin Trophy Match) is scheduled to take place on Saturday 5 September. However the situation regarding the playing of team sports, rugby, hockey and netball, the mainstays of the event, is as yet unclear. It may sadly be the case that this year's event cannot go ahead.

If you are interested in playing, please contact Neil McCollin, and we can keep you appraised of the situation.

Many thanks.

Glow For Myton - Postponed Until October

Saturday 17 October 2020

Myton Hospice have postponed their upcoming Glow For Myton event until the start of October half term.

The fundraising walk was due to take place on Saturday 28 March but due to the uncertainty of the Coronavirus outbreak the Hospice decided that it was in the best interest of all their supporters, volunteers, suppliers and staff to postpone the event until later this year.

Myton Hospice needs to raise £9.2 million to continue providing their services free of charge to terminally ill patients and their families. Glow for Myton is their largest fundraising event and was set to raise at least £60,000 so the College readily agreed to a new date for the event and is now looking forward to hosting the Glow fundraiser on Saturday 17 October.

Rebecca Richards from Myton Hospice comments, “We are really sorry for any inconvenience caused the decision has not been an easy one for us. We are still hoping to raise £60,000 from this event and are really looking forward to holding it at Princethorpe.”

The event is sure to be great fun for a good cause so we are hoping lots of families and friends of the Foundation will get involved. 

Glow For Myton - Around The World In 5km is open to all and pupils, parents, staff, OPs, friends and neighbours can find out more information about the event on the charity’s website here.

Children of all ages are welcome but under 18s must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Reunion For Former Pupils of St Mary's Priory (VSOPs)

Saturday 11 September 2021

Our planned reunion for the former pupils of St Mary's Priory (VSOPs) this coming September has been postponed until next year.  It will now take place on Saturday 11 September 2021 and we look forward to seeing you all then. 

Old Princethorpian Interview

Old Princethorpian Interview - COVID 19 Special

This term's newsletter includes a bumper crop of three Old Princethorpian interviews, giving an insight into some of the many different ways that OPs are supporting us all, as key workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis.

They include the stories of a paramedic, an ordinand and a teacher. Each article, in its own way, makes for interesting and compelling reading.

Thank you to Ashley, Nick and David for sharing their very different experiences.  And thank you to all OPs working on the frontline wherever you are, whatever you are doing.

Ashley Dodds - Paramedic - Shares Her Frontline COVID-19 Story

Old Princethorpian Ashley Dodds left the college in 2013 to study for a degree in Paramedic Science at St.George’s, University of London. She qualified as a paramedic in 2015 and has worked in central London ever since. So far 2020 has been the most challenging time of her career.  She took time out from her very busy life to share her COVID-19 story: 

I work from St. John’s Wood Ambulance Station as a solo responder, and I generally cover the Westminster borough but can be sent anywhere across North London. I work alone in a fast response car, I carry all of the equipment and drugs that are found on an ambulance but I am only sent to Category 1 calls. These include: cardiac arrests, unconscious post trauma, stabbings, ineffective breathing, massive haemorrhage and anaphylaxis, with the intention of being first on scene to quickly assess the patient and begin treatment.

Being on the front line during the Covid-19 pandemic presented a myriad of difficulties, from the dangers of being exposed to Covid patients during and prior to the official lockdown, without sufficient PPE, as well as handling delays to patients presenting with non Covid type illnesses such as heart attacks that would normally have been seen far quicker.

It was also a personally tricky time as isolation measures were initiated, flights and trips were cancelled or postponed and friends and family were being furloughed. However, I was grateful to be able to leave the house to work and my commute across London was suddenly so much quicker and quieter! I was also looking forward to providing the medical cover for the Princethorpe trip to Malawi in June and that has sadly been postponed.

Before Covid 19 was identified as a pandemic I felt we were blindsided by the enormity of the problem and, as a pre-hospital team, we saw a huge call volume increase and personal exposure before any of the government measures were put in place. I felt the service was inundated and struggled with a daily call volume of over 8000, when our normal level would be around 4,500. This combined with high staff sickness or staff isolating meant we were on the back foot with very limited resources.

At the beginning of the pandemic, due to reduced opening hours and hoarding by individuals, it was a bit of a struggle. By the time I got to the shops on my day off there was not enough food left to buy to get me through my next stretch of four, twelve hour shifts, but having members of the public support us has made a world of difference. There has been a sense of unity across London, and throughout the emergency services, health care professionals and key workers. Restaurants and companies in London have been making and delivering us lunches, sending hand creams and providing food and drinks to our stations. This has created a positive working environment and meant we can continue to work.

Once the disease was better understood, life became less stressful. There were more consistent guidelines regarding patient assessment, and discharging on scene, guidelines for use of PPE and sufficient supplies. The service also began new partnerships with the fire brigade and The AA, pairing up a member of the fire brigade to drive the ambulance alongside an attending paramedic. This created a huge increase in cover and resources as well as an increase in fleet because of The AA fixing more of the ambulances in the workshops.

London traffic is now building back up, but we are well resourced, well fed and well staffed. Morale is high and it feels like normality will return soon.

I hope everyone in the Princethorpe community is staying safe.

Thank you Ashley for sharing your COVID-19 story with us and thank you to you and your colleagues for all that you continue to do.

Nick Baker - Ordinand - Reflects On Preparing For The Ministry Under COVID-19

I cannot believe that it has been three years since I left Princethorpe College, where I had been its Archivist. Since then, I have been training for ordained ministry in the Church of England. Unlike younger ordinands, my training path has not been a residential one, rather it has followed a ‘contextual’ pattern. Therefore, I go to college every Monday in Sheffield, attend various residential weekends at Mirfield throughout the year, and work for twenty or so hours in a parish. I describe it as a ‘youth training scheme’ for the church, except that my youth has long since departed.

I describe the time spent in my context as a ‘curacy before my curacy.’ Basically, I do all those things I can do without wearing a dog-collar, or invoking some sort of disciplinary process under canon law. So I preach sermons and arrange services, lead prayer meetings and confirmation classes, teach on some adult-education theology courses, take home communions, conduct collective worship in schools, amongst lots of other things. I assist at weddings, funerals, both in crematoria and church, and participate in burials and the interment of ashes. It has been a busy three years.

There is no typical day. If you ask most priests, they will say exactly the same thing. That is not to say that there is no routine, such as daily prayer and communion services. You have to be adaptable, though. You might for example be parading around a school hall dressed as a camel in the morning, and then help serve food at a luncheon club in the afternoon.

Mind you, this has all changed considerably since the arrival of Covid-19. Modern technology has certainly come to the aid of the church, now that buildings are shut, and so Eucharists and prayer meetings are spread far and wide via ‘Zoom’. This has meant that we are now reaching more people than we ever did before shutdown. There are of course those in the parish without the tech. In such cases, telephone calls are made to those who want a chat, and paper copies of the parish magazine are posted through letter boxes. We send out regular reflections, or ‘Thoughts for the Day’, by e-mail, along with other material. I was leading a Lent course based on the writings of C.S. Lewis until it was rudely interrupted by the pandemic, and so I wrote the course in a new format and sent it out to people to follow at home.

However, there is a difficult aspect to my role at present. As a number of clergy in the parish have to remain shielded, I am now taking many of the funerals, chiefly at the local crematorium. This is very hard because you try to do the best for the family at a difficult time. Sadly, I cannot visit the families to arrange the funeral; it has to sorted out over the phone. Then on the day itself, the family have to observe social distancing, and the number of mourners are limited. Moreover, the family are not allowed to touch the coffin or assist as pallbearers, or even sing hymns. You are bearing their grief, too.
I always make sure that I go for a brief walk after the service to clear my head and reflect upon it. You cannot but be affected by it, and I would not be human if I was not. Every funeral is an absolute privilege. I always make sure that I send a copy of the service, including the eulogy, to the family so that they can send it to those who were unable to attend.

What does the future hold? I do not think I can make a guess but things will be very different: life will not be normal, but a new normal. Church will undergo a transformation and this is suggested by the current use of digital media. However, I do not think that church buildings will go completely, nor the various meetings that take place in them. The ‘physicality’ of church is an important part of it, which is evident in the taking of bread and the drinking of wine from the communion cup. I have no idea when my ordination will take place. It is in God’s hands.

In a funny way, my time spent at Princethorpe has contributed greatly to my thinking at present. First, you must always be prepared for the unexpected. As Archivist, you never knew what was going to turn up. You could be talking to pupils at Crackley Hall in a morning, and the Bursar might nab you in the afternoon for a vital financial document! Our God is a God of surprises after all. Secondly, community takes many different forms. Princethorpe is a community, not just on the site of the Benedictine monastery, but in Kenilworth and Bilton, linked together by phone and e-mail (and the VLE!) The Princethorpe community is even wider than that: there are the St Mary Priory’s nuns in their various convents, the MSCs scattered around the world, and former pupils and staff all over the place. Just as today, my church is scattered but is united. The same thing goes for the Foundation, united by love and an ethos that is hard to beat. Community is very important at this time.

Mel asked me what message I would leave for the community. Well, I keep thinking of those disciples, huddled together in the locked room following the crucifixion, not knowing what to do or what would happen next. We are in a similar situation. We are ‘locked’ indoors, fearful perhaps and worrying about the future. The gospel teaches us not to be afraid and, through Christ’s resurrection, there will be a new and exciting time ahead. Stay positive! Keep that thought in mind as we move forward.

David Terron - Teacher - In COVID-19 Lockdown

OP David Terron (1972-1976) shares his reflections on life as a teacher in the COVID-19 lockdown.

What an interesting few weeks it has been as a teacher in lockdown here in the far North of Scotland! Although I was already regarded as an ‘innovative’ (Dundee Uni) and ‘inspiring’ (National Library of Scotland) teacher by National organisations, having been deeply involved in ICT/Teaching with the national network (Glow), and ‘a nice boy’ (my Mum!), the move online was for many students (and staff!) a culture shock, despite them supposed to be ‘digital natives’.

A week before half term we moved onto MS Teams and OneNote Class Notebooks for everything and we are now fully in the swing of weekly check-ins, resources being uploaded daily, assignments being set and feed-back given. So much so that the kids are somewhat overwhelmed. My Seniors thought they would have been on Study Leave aka four weeks off (with SOME study amongst the beach BBQs) but it was not to be. Slowly but surely we move forward towards the day when we will see faces for real rather than via webcams with exotic or weird background that imply that teachers come from other planets or live in a Hobbit house in the Maldives. Never has my classroom been so clean, so fresh and so lacking in mountainous piles of paper we never use. Weeding? I’m been exterminating those unused Units of Work, those textbooks we never open and the strange objects that we’ve forgotten we had in the darkest recesses of our storage cupboards. I open a cupboard nowadays with pleasure rather than a fear of things falling out to bury me forever.

It is worth saying that this virus IS bringing out the best of my students and their families.

At home, my wife works in a RED Ward at the local hospital and has to be tested daily. I’ve been tested a couple of times with, Praise the Lord, negative results thus far.

Overall it has been an interesting experience. I’m used to living in a small box for months on end in places such as West Belfast, Crossmaglen and the Sinai Desert during the Gulf War. At least at home we don’t have two foot Camel spiders hanging from the roof or mortars coming through the back gate from the Falls Road! My wife and I have discovered we have some really weird habits we did not realise we had, despite 40 years together. Personally, as a family we have become much closer albeit that we can’t wait to go on holiday. I said to the wife “Jamaica or Maldives?” And it’s sorted - she’s going to Jamaica, I’m off to the Maldives.

Hope all at Princethorpe are staying safe. I’ll come along one day soon and stroke the walls of the old Sixth Form Common Room where so many secrets are held and walk up to Little Switzerland just to sit and stop and reflect under the trees. It will be bliss.

Births, Deaths & Marriages

Welome To Mo Robertson

We are delighted to share news of the safe arrival of Edward Alexander Moritz Robertson - Mo who was delivered safely at 23.59pm on the 5 May 2020.  Mo weighed in at 8lb 2oz.

Many congratulations to Head of More House, Simon Robertson, his wife Kristina and the rest of the family.

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Adriano Di Maria Celebrates The Safe Arrival Of Giorgio

Adriano Di Maria, who attended the College from 2003 to 2009, and Sarah are pleased to announce the arrival of Giorgio Di Maria born at 32+4 weeks on Sunday 5 April, weighing in at just 3lb 2oz.

Adriano told us, "We are delighted that he is safe and sound and he is under the best possible care, the NHS staff have been amazing."

Conrgratulations to them both and a very warm welcome to baby Giorgio.

 
 

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A Warm Welcome To Ben Harrison

Jeremy Harrison, a pupil at the College from 2001 to 2006, and his wife Zoe welcomed Ben Kenobi Harrison on 10 August 2019.

Many congratulations and best wishes to you both.

Francesca And Andy Welcome Baby Theo

Francesca Ford, who attended the College from 2006 to 2009, and Andy Hodges are delighted to announce the arrival of Theo on 29 March at 10:54pm weighing 7lb 14oz.

Our best wishes and congratulations to them all.

Laura And Nathan Welcome Baby Jude

Laura Curtis, a pupil at the College from 1998, and Nathan Osborne are delighted to announce the arrival of a baby boy, Jude William, born 6 April weighing 9lb 3oz.

Congratulations and best wishes to you all. 

 

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Neil And Sarah Announce The Arrival Of Felix

Neil Robson, a pupil at the College from 1993, and his wife Sarah are delighted to announce the safe arrival of their son Felix Arthur Robson on 2 May 2020 weighing in at 5lb 13oz.

Congratulations and best wishes to you all.

Sam And Hannah Welcome Baby Zeke

Sam Kendell, who attended the College from 2005 to 2009, and Hannah have welcomed their second child Zeke Theodore, born on Wednesday 15 April weighing 8lbs 8oz.

We were delighted to hear your happy news.

Sam And Ruby Welcome Baby Etta

Sam Collins, a pupil at Princethorpe College from 1998 to 2005, and his partner Ruby have welcomed a daughter Etta born Friday 10 April weighing in at 6lb 13oz, a little sister for Edie.

Many congratulations to you all.

 

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Australian Wedding For James And Cleo

James Griffin (class of 2000) moved to Australia in 2012 and on 6 October 2019 he married Cleo Westermann in the Forest Chapel, New South Wales 

His brother, Chris (class of 2004) was Best Man and also present were his mum and dad, Liz Griffin (our Chair of Trustees) and former Princethorpe teacher Peter.

Their extended honeymoon took them all over South and Central America before sharing Christmas with all the family in Princethorpe.

We wish them every happiness for the future.

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David And Aldona's Wedding Is Postponed

David Kilcoyne, a Princethorpe College pupil from 2002 to 2004, and his fiance Aldona were due to get married on 5 May. Sadly, like many other couples, they have been forced to put their plans on hold. 

The good news is that they now have a new date orgnaised for 10 May 2021. 

We look forward to hearing all about your wonderful day next year. We're sure it will be worth the wait. 

 

Jodie Fisher Sets A New Date

Jodie Fisher, a College pupil from 2006 to 2013, and her fiance Richard Kelsall were due to tie the knot this year on 23 May 2020. Sadly, as we are all well aware, recent events meant that their very special day could not go ahead as planned.  The good news is that an even more special day has now been arranged for Bank Holiday Monday 31 May 2021.

The wedding will take place in Rugby School's Chapel and will be followed by a reception in the Temple Speech Rooms.

We are so very pleased you have a new date to look forward to and send our best wishes to you both.  

 

 

A Wedding Day Delay For Alice and Tom

Alice Pickin, a pupil at the College from 2005 to 2012, and her fiance Tom had been planning their special day for the last 15 months, but unfortunately their plans had to be put on hold due to the challenges faced by Covid-19.

Alice told us, "Our wedding was supposed to be on 4 May and we had had so much fun planning it for the last 15 months! I have always wanted a marquee wedding and luckily my parents' home (where I grew up) has plenty of space and is just across the lane from the church!

At the beginning of March our honeymoon was cancelled but we were still hoping our wedding could go ahead. As it got closer to the time though, we made the decision to postpone it as we didn't want to put anyone at risk and the hopes of our day being what we had dreamt of were diminishing quickly!

We plan to have a small ceremony as soon as restrictions lift on weddings, with as many, or few, people as we are allowed! Early next year we will then have a blessing in Church and our celebration as originally planned with all our family and friends present!"

Alice and Tom were able to safely visit the church on the original date of their planned wedding and were pleased to receive  many kind messages from family and friends.

We look forward to seeing the lovely photos and hearing about their celebrations what they happen next year.

 

 

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Eddie And Ann Mark Their Anniversary

Eddie and Ann Tolcher have just celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary.  They were married at Princethorpe on 1 May 1993.  

Ann sent us this wonderful photo of them on their wedding day, and we just had to share it. The view has hardly changed in the intervening years, although the trees are a little bigger now.

Congratulations to them both, we hope you had a lovely, lockdown celebration.

RIP Daniel Rollins

We are very sad to announce that Daniel Joseph Rollins, who was at Princethorpe College from 1989 to 1994, passed away peacefully at home with his family on 13 April 2020. Daniel had battled Non Hodgkin Lymphoma for two years.

Daniel fought with bravery, courage and kept his sense of humour until the end.

Daniel loved to make people happy with a joke and laughter was a big part of his life. His passion, enthusiasm and positive outlook were infectious. They were constant throughout his life and even throughout his illness.

Daniel will be missed immensely by his family, friends and colleagues.

Alex Darkes, Daniel's former teacher, recalls him well.

"Daniel came to Princethorpe, following two or three years behind and in the footsteps of his brother Jacob (Jake). They came from a delightful family and knew how to behave, but had an enormous sense of fun and fair play; they were both very much true Princethorpians.

"Daniel still lived locally and I used to see him periodically at the pool in Leamington at the weekend when he took his youngster swimming. He visited Princethorpe two or three years ago at one of the Heritage Open Days and it was great to have a long chat with him and to show him around."

We offer our sincere condolences to Daniel's family and friends.

 

 

Philip Tillman RIP

The Old Princethorpians were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of former parent, Philip Tillman, as a result of COVID-19 back in early April.

Philip, was the much loved dad of OP Luke Tillman, who left the College in 2012. Philip and his lovely wife Jacqui were welcome regulars at our Former Parents Brunches and Philip always brought his customary warmth and enthusiasm to the events.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to to all his family and friends, he will be very sorely missed indeed.

Memory Bank

75th Anniversary Of A School At Crackley Hall

75 Years At Crackley Hall

Past and present pupils and staff are this year celebrating the 75th anniversary of a school on the Crackley Hall site. For it was back in early 1945, in the final months of the Second World War, that the town of Kenilworth witnessed the establishment of St Joseph’s convent and school, at what was once the home of John Siddeley, the 1st Baron of Kenilworth, Crackley Hall.

The Foundation of St Joseph’s Convent

The history of the St Joseph’s community goes back to the nineteenth century when the Benedictine Fathers at St Osburg’s, Coventry, called on the Sisters of Mercy to help and instruct the large number of girls who worked in the Coventry silk mills. Mother Elizabeth Watkins moved up from their Bermondsey house, together with Sisters Teresa Haverty and Aloysia Murphy, to a Victorian mansion on the Walsgrave Road, overlooking Gosford Green, and established a day and boarding school. The school flourished and the pupils were able to enjoy numerous activities, including sports and drama.

The outbreak of World War Two however, meant that the nuns and pupils had to be evacuated. Thanks to Lord and Lady Leigh, they found refuge at nearby Stoneleigh Abbey. Originally a Cistercian monastic house, that had been converted into a splendid family home following the Dissolution.

Unfortunately, a bomb fell on the Coventry convent garden in October 1940 and as the air raids increased the convent buildings were destroyed. The community sought a suitable house to replace the one at Gosford Green and purchased Offchurch House, near Leamington Spa, in October 1941. In the December of that year, five of the sisters, accompanied by the senior girls, went to Offchurch and set up a boarding school; this left the junior pupils at Stoneleigh Abbey for the remainder of the war. The schools at both Stoneleigh and Offchurch flourished and grew.

The Purchase of Crackley Hall

There was a sense in 1944 that the war was coming to end so Mother Magdalen Pennington began to look for a fit place to house the sisters and pupils. In June, Lord Kenilworth’s son, Lieutenant Colonel Cyril Davenport Siddeley, offered Crackley Hall to the Order, along with forty acres of land, for the sum of £20,000. This proposal was at first refused but Siddeley said that if the sisters found the property to be suitable, an initial payment would be accepted and the remainder could be paid off over the next twenty years. The Archbishop urged Mother Magdalen to agree and, once the legal matters had been completed, the community received the keys in September 1944. It was in January 1945, that Crackley Hall became St Joseph’s Convent and School, Kenilworth.

St Joseph’s at Kenilworth

The Hall soon received the children from Stoneleigh Abbey and by September the pupil roll numbered 140. However, the boarders remained at Offchurch for another five years before they finally joined the pupils at Kenilworth. In the early years it was clear that more accommodation would be required so ‘The Gables’, a large house and garden within the grounds, was bought in March 1946 to house the Senior School pupils. In May 1949, Offchurch was detached from Crackley Hall and a separate superior appointed.

St Joseph’s thrived. By 1956, the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Magazine reported that the school had 350 pupils from Coventry, Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth and as far away as Southam. As the school continued to grow, further buildings were needed. The Junior School building was officially opened on 21st November 1962 by Archbishop Masterson and a new school hall was opened by Archbishop Dwyer in 1972.

It was a busy school and the extra-curricular activities were varied. There are records showing that the pupils saw Eric Porter in King Lear at Stratford (1968) and 37 students enjoyed a ski trip to Austria in (1969). Thirty girls even visited Rome in 1975 for Holy Year. Former students have many fond memories of their time at St Joseph’s and recollect the strict rules, school assemblies in the gymnasium, its four houses (St Thomas More, St John Fisher, Blessed John Wall and Blessed Edmund Campion) and the solid wood staircases leading to the classrooms.

The Princethorpe Foundation

As time passed, the Sisters of Mercy became more conscious of their raison d’être, to attend to the ‘cry of the poor’. The apostolate was reviewed and its Chapter issued a statement which committed the order to a mission focused on the penniless. The Order decided to withdraw from the Independent Schools Association and St Joseph’s School was transferred to a body of lay trustees in 1990, and shortly afterwards the remaining nuns dispersed to other religious houses.

By September 2001 the numbers in the senior school had declined and the decision was taken to merge with Princethorpe College, Rugby, which led to the creation of the Warwickshire Catholic Independent Schools Foundation. The older pupils moved to Princethorpe and the junior classes remained at Kenilworth. The school was renamed Crackley Hall School in 2004. Six years later in 2010, Abbotsford School, also situated in Kenilworth, merged with Crackley Hall to join the newly named Princethorpe Foundation. The Foundation was further strengthened by the joining of Crescent School, Rugby, in September 2016.

Crackley Hall Today

On the 17 March 2016, ‘The Gables’ extension was officially opened by Bishop Robert Byrne, Auxiliary Bishop for the Archdiocese of Birmingham, providing the school with much needed extra space. It included a new hall that accommodates the whole school population, purpose-built music accommodation and two new classrooms. Acknowledging the importance of the school’s history, the extension was named in honour of the old Gables building and the stained glass and ceiling boss from the former chapel were incorporated into the new design.

Crackley Hall continues to grow and flourish with some 280 pupils including those attending its own on-site nursery, Little Crackers, which takes children from two-years old. In their 2017 inspection, the Independent Schools Inspectorate rated Crackley Hall as ‘Excellent’ in every area, reflecting the school’s commitment to make learning fun with a wide and varied curriculum designed to help all pupils get the very best of starts.

The school is renowned for its strong Christian ethos and pastoral care and prides itself upon preparing children for their secondary school of choice.

75th Anniversary

The school enjoyed celebrating its 70th anniversary five years ago and planned to celebrate the 75th Anniversary in style with a St Joseph’s Day Mass, an Open House and a sell-out Diamond Anniversary Gala Ball. Sadly the events were curtailed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The school hopes very much to reschedule them for later in the year.

 

 

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April Was #Archive30 Month

Over the last month the College’s Archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, has brightened all our days with insights and reflections from the Foundation Archives. She has been taking part in #Archive30, a month-long Twitter campaign promoted by Explore Your Archive that invites archivists to showcase their collections, highlighting some of the many wonderful material that are safely stored away.

Janette preserves and promotes the collections for the Foundation’s three current schools and four legacy schools. The catalogue is online at archives.princethorpe.co.uk and new material is added regularly. Often it is donated by past pupils, just recently the College received a set of beautiful drawings from an old St Mary's Pupil, Janet Haynes (nee Campion).

Amongst Janette’s most favourite items in the archives are the school magazines. With old editions of Peeps, Peepers Pie, The Tower and the more modern-day Circular, they are such a wealth of information. Whilst her most unusual item is a nun doll, part of the St Mary's Priory collection, there is no information about how the doll ended up at Princethorpe.

Janette loves to share the information; she takes part in outreach activities and enjoys producing displays for celebrations and open days. Her work is diverse and includes accessioning, cataloguing, repackaging collections, monitoring the environment, outreach, enquiries and removing *millions* of sharp staples.

Her month of #Archive30 tweets have been fascinating. For example, we found out that the authors of a 1989 Princethorpe article 'Double O Darkes' were sure they had discovered something important about Princethorpe College legend, Alex Darkes's secret identity. He certainly does look suave and sophisticated in the accompanying photo! Then while spending more time at home, we were encouraged to try a recipe from the 1962 Peeps magazine. Felicity from Form Vb did make the ingredients flexible, something essential for the current lockdown, but there might be a link between that and her forceful warning at the end! We even found out about the Fashion 2K spectacular that both pupils and teachers, perhaps unwisely, took part in.

The #Archive30 posts using the #SomethingScary hastag were particularly prolific. Starting with a ghost story recorded by teacher Peter Rex, “During the 1970s staff were frequently besieged by nervous 'first years' because they had seen the mysterious figure of the 'Half Nun' parading the corridors." And with plenty of #SomethingScary poems from the school magazines across the years.

All in all, it has been a lot of fun and we know Janette can’t wait to get back to Princethorpe to continue her work.

If you would like to explore the archives then please visit https://archives.princethorpe.co.uk/

Or you can follow Janette’s Twitter feed @PFdn_Archives to enjoy her regular updates on the Foundation’s history.

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OP Updates

Alex Johnson Took Part In Shut Down But Scratching

We were very excited to hear that writer, Old Princethorpian and past pupil of St Joseph’s, Alex Johnson (1983-1986 and 1972-1983 respectively) was one of ten artists who took part in ‘Shut Down But Scratching’ a celebration of creative talent in Coventry and Warwickshire on Wednesday 15 April.

The event presented by the Shoot Festival in partnership with Coventry City of Culture Trust and Belgrade Theatre, and was a live digital scratch night of original work showcasing music, folk tales, theatre, spoken word, visual art and the binaural quest for loo roll!

The theme of the event was ‘imagine’ and Alex’s short but very personal piece of theatre - Bedside Manner - told the story of Sean alone and isolated at the end of his life, nursed by the one person he loves more than life itself. It was a poignant window on life as it slips away.

The piece was developed and inspired by personal experience as Alex contemplated the darkest outcome of her father's fight with coronavirus in hospital. It was a thought-provoking piece of work.

Alex has also just found out that she has been selected as one of 15 leaders on the Cultural Leadership Programme for Coventry's City of Culture programme next year.

That is great news Alex, we can't wait to see what you get up to and what a blessing that your father won the fight and is well on the way to recovery now.

 

 

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Former Head Boy Paddy Mills Is Now On The NHS Doctors Foundation Programme

I left Princethorpe back in 2014 and went to Cardiff University to study Medicine. After five years of studying I finally graduated in 2019. I absolutely loved my time there, five years sounds like a long time at University and there were times when it did feel like a bit of a slog, but it was completely worth it. The course had us training not just in Cardiff but in placements all across Wales, giving us a nice balance of busy inner-city work and quieter rural communities. Cardiff itself was a fantastic city to study in and I would highly recommend it to any Princethorpe pupils looking forward to University.

After graduation I got a job in Birmingham working for the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust. Nothing quite prepares you for starting work on your first day, when you have to take the responsibility on yourself for the care of the patients. The first few months were a steep learning curve but one that was managed well thanks to the foundation programme the NHS has in place for all doctors starting work. During these foundation years you rotate through various specialties, changing every four months, to get a variety of different experiences as you start your career.

I am currently placed in Psychiatry and therefore have not had a great deal of contact with inpatient hospitals since the outbreak of COVID-19. It is fair to say that this is not what I, or anyone would have expected in their first year as a doctor.

I will continue to rotate through various hospitals in Birmingham next year and then after that will need to think about specialising in a specific area. At the moment I am not sure what area of medicine I would like to go into, but fortunately I still have plenty of time to make a decision.

It has been nice being back in the Midlands and closer to friends who I attended Princethorpe with. We all managed to remain close through university, so it is nice to be able to see them a bit more often. I also recently attended one of the Old Princethorpian pub meets in Rugby which was enjoyable and good to catch up with fellow pupils and teachers I had not seen in several years.

Nick Bond Directs Manchester University's First Opera

We were delighted to hear from Nick Bond (Class of 2016).  Nick has just directed the University of Manchester's very first opera.  An amazing opportunity that he tells us all about here:

During my third year at the University of Manchester I was incredibly lucky to direct the Music Society’s productions of Jonathan Dove’s opera, The Enchanted Pig. It is a wonderfully silly, playful and funny opera that incorporates a whole range of musical styles, making it very accessible to modern audiences. I was fortunate to work alongside a very talented and hardworking cast and creative team, made up entirely of students at the University and the Royal Northern College of Music.

Having performed in musical theatre and theatre extensively during my time at university, as well as directing my first musical, Seussical, in March of last year, I was excited to take on my first opera. We started rehearsals in November with our cast of 20 singers and worked through until the show at the end of February. Along the way, thanks to extensive fundraising and support from the music department, we hosted several professional opera singers and musical directors in a series of workshops, masterclasses and rehearsals. Their support and advice was invaluable in fine-tuning the production and I’m immensely grateful for having such high-level professionals sharing their wise words with us!

Manchester University Music Society is the largest student-run music society in the country and their yearly opera project is a huge part of their programme. The Enchanted Pig marked their first attempt at a full-length opera and I was so privileged to have been chosen to direct this ambitious undertaking in the department’s performance space, The Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall. Logistically, it was a huge task to coordinate the cast, band, and creative team, on top of our studies and I was very grateful to have such a dedicated producer and manager to enable the smooth-running of the project.

Directing this opera was so fulfilling for me, and the perfect way to round-off my time at university. Many of the singers had done no acting before and some had never been taught to read sheet music. And yet they approached the project with such joy, talent and professionalism and I was so proud of the performances they gave. I learned invaluable lessons that I hope to take with me into a career as director of opera/musical theatre.

We were lucky to achieve a sold-out run in February prior to the lockdown, and I had the full support of old princethorpians Evie Bonsall, Lauren Whitfield and Charlotte Plant, who all made the journey up! I was also delighted that my former music teacher, Gil Cowlishaw, was able to come along and see it.

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Jamie Allenby Is Heading Stateside

Talented rugby player, Jamie Allenby (who was at Princethorpe from 2015-2018), applied to a number of American universities for a sports scholarship to play rugby.

Jamie was considered for a number of top flight teams, including Life University in Georgia and Lindenwood in Missouri, both of which are Division One Rugby League Universities. Jamie applied via the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), took the SATS (the test for College admissions), sent a show-reel via an agent to support his application and then took part in a number of Skype interviews.

Jamie was aggressively recruited by seven Division 1 colleges and eventually signed and committed to Life University in Georgia. Life (The Running Eagles) are the back to back champions for Division 1 in the NCAA and have only lost one game throughout the USA in the last three years. Jamie will be out in the USA for five years, whilst he studies for a degree in Business and Finance.

It is a very exciting time for Rugby over in the USA, as from October 2020 the sport is rolling out a draft system for talented college graduates similar to the NFL. Rugby is developing into a hugely popular sport.

Jamie left Princethorpe College after Year 11 and went on to Hartpury College. He plays on the second row and as a flanker, and as well as playing for Hartpury, he plays for Old Leamingtonians.

His pre-season training will start in early September with College starting in October.

Jamie said, "I would like to thank Princethorpe College for the huge role they have played in helping me achieve this success, both in terms of the rugby coaching I received and also the help I had to get my GCSE's."

Jamie has set up a fund raising page to help him travel to the USA and is asking that people donate the price of their favourite drink in their local pub, just as if they were buying Jamie a drink to celebrate his success. You can find the page here.

Good luck Jamie we were really pleased to hear your wonderful news and hope you have a fantastic time in the USA.

 

 

Harvey Broadbent - Supporting COVID 19 Keyworkers - Positivity Is Key

OP, Harvey Broadbent (2001 to 2008) has an ethical and sustainable clothing brand Positive Outlook based in Coventry. His company specialises in creating bespoke garments made from bamboo fabric and they encourage people to think about the sustainable impact of their clothing and the effect it can have on the environment.

Like many faced with the unexpected reality of COVID-19, Harvey wanted to do more than just take his company into lockdown. Inspired by his good friend Kelly who runs The Barn Kitchen, his company created a collection of garments that not only shows appreciation of key workers but also helps to feed them.
The collection includes a range of organic and sustainable garments designed to spread positivity, to provide a boost to all our morale's in our society’s time of need.

The clothing is great to wear or as a gift, but impressively all proceeds from the clothing collection are being donated to The Barn Kitchen who are working hard providing free meals to key workers in local hospitals and across the Midlands.

A positive example for us all.

You can find out more about Harvey’s Positive Outlook clothing and their Positivity Is Key range here.

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Mary Wheildon Is Looking Forward To 2021

One couldn’t write the script!

In 2017, having taken up Lawn Bowling, as well as still playing tennis continuously since my days at St Mary’s Priory, Princethorpe 1956–61, I won a Warwickshire County Singles competition and was immediately invited to be the 2018 Warwickshire County Junior President; with long deliberations I decided to accept.

2018 along with enjoying the President’s Tour to Sidmouth I was learning a whole ‘new world’ fast when suddenly I required a new knee – no play until towards the end of the season although I was still able to assist as an officer off the green.

Fit again and keen to really get going with the 2019 season as Senior Vice President, I first thoroughly enjoyed the President’s Tour to Exmouth and was planning for my own tour for 2020 to be up in my ‘playground’ - Kingussie, Inverness-shire. I was doing really well with the first few County competitions when, oh dear my other knee gave notice. Yet another 48 hours stint at the hospital prior to more physio sessions before I was straight back to the County side-lines assisted by the same crutches!

Learning all the time about the enormous task of running a County Association, with an incredibly busy schedule that had barely a day off between mid-April and mid-September, including friendly County games, Midland league matches and National league matches all leading up to the Nationals held at Royal Leamington Spa in August, and supporting our competitors and of course meeting up with many of the other County competitors.

November 2019 I finally became the 2020 President of Warwickshire Women’s Bowling Association (WWBA). Much of the winter was spent trying to be one step ahead of the enormous schedule dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for my tour to Kingussie where I was hoping to enjoy the Cairngorms and to play teams within Inverness-shire. Having gathered the necessary prizes for the season’s matches and for my opposing Presidents, I started to raise money for my Presidential charity: Mary’s Meals and then the pandemic arrived.

HALT. Boris spoke, Bowls England (BE) spoke, cancelling the Nationals as it was obvious that the County Competitions would not be played out. The county yearbooks had just been collected from the printers - they remain in the officer’s car boot not able to be handed out. With information coming in by the hour I wrote the missive for the WWBA website five times.

The tour had to be moved on a year as I, along with the BE President and no doubt many other County Presidents have been ‘cut and pasted’ to 2021 – unprecedented. The phone has been hot, the emails numerous, the BE guidance excellent and we officers have even moved to virtual meetings – who would have thought that possible! We have on-line exercises to keep us Bowls-fit but when will we get out there and in what format?

This week we should have been up in the Cairngorms on tour but instead I am in my happy bubble in Kineton – with life seeming more like a time warp with little visible progress except the seasons that I have had the time to really appreciate; to enjoy the sight and scents of the blossoms and enjoy the songs of the skylarks, blackbirds and the cuckoo while out on my morning hike, it is such a joy.

But I remain optimistic that we will be able to return to our clubs this season who, economically will be needing every one of we sportsmen and women.

So with luck this OP, cut and pasted WWBA President will be able to head a happy, healthy and successful 2021.

Who could have written that script?!!!

Upwards and onwards as they say and support Mary’s Meals.

Mary E Wheildon May 2020

Matt Parsons Will Always Be A Part Of The Princethorpe Family

Princethorpe College has been a part of my life since 1997. Some of the closest friends I have, I met over 20 years ago. When I think back to my time as a pupil, I have fond memories and many tales to tell. I never thought I would end up working there for almost eight years. It was extremely fortuitous how it all came to be. I kept on bumping into an old school friend who recommended me as a speaker for an OP festival back in 2012. I was delighted to be offered the opportunity so I accepted without thinking.

At the time I was looking at a career change and teaching was something I always wanted to do. A few months after my speech I received a phone call from Ed Hester who asked if I was interested in a position as a TA. Again, without thinking I accepted the position, which soon led me onto being a full time teacher of Design Technology.

Over the last eight years I have made some wonderful friends, been on incredible school trips, trained as a teacher and met my wonderful wife Kate. I was never very good at Spanish at school, so to think I'd fall in love and marry a Spanish teacher was something I never thought would happen. But as I've come to realise, the best things that have happened in my life have never been planned. Princethorpe has always felt like a family to me and through this family I have started my own.

Last October I accepted a job as a teacher of Design Technology at Bablake school in Coventry. It was an incredibly difficult decision to leave what I considered a home to me. However I believe that change is really important in your career. I have taught some wonderful pupils over the years and I will certainly miss them. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me develop in both my career and in my personal life. I truly hope that we keep in contact and hopefully I 'll see some of you very soon.

English Teacher Ralph Moore Extends Greetings To All His Former Pupils

It has already been seventeen years since I left Princethorpe College, so all the students I taught are now approaching middle age and, having retired from teaching five years ago, I am now a venerable pensioner of 65. Tempus fugit.

I retain fond memories of my time at Princethorpe College; I was a late-vocation teacher, having worked in - and been made redundant from - various marketing jobs in publishing before Fr Charlie Sweeney and the then Head of English, Pat Weir, despite seeing through my pathetic attempts to bluff my way through the interview by asserting that I actually knew something about teaching, decided to take a chance on an unqualified punter who simply had a hunch that he might be suited to the profession. Well, what had they got to lose? I had a good English degree, spoke French and was a Catholic convert, so sure enough I was thrown into the deep end and made to teach English, French and RE the moment I started in January 1990 - besides, they were pretty desperate...

Sure enough, I loved the classroom dynamic. Lots of good teachers are failed actors and exhibitionists, so armed with a burnt cork to draw moustaches on students' faces, a beret and a string of onions, I pretended to be a French teacher. The English was a bit easier and the RE had a good textbook so you made it up as you went along - it seemed to work. Six weeks into my probation, Deputy Head, Peter Griffin observed my teaching and - false modesty would normally forbid me from mentioning it but I have never forgotten it, it was so encouraging - he wrote in his feedback report that my demeanour was more that of a teacher who had been teaching six years rather than six weeks - so that was all right then, and I was allowed to stay; my appointment was eventually confirmed.

I keep up with some teaching colleagues who became good friends such as Desmond Jack, Bob Cooper and Colin Morgan and even hear from a couple of students. Hung Ming Chen, who was a boarder from Taiwan, became something of a 'third son' and I was recently back in touch with Grégoire de Vogüé, who also stayed with us to improve his English and contacted us via the OP website; I also hear from Kim Frangiades and a few others from time to time.

I moved on in 2003, to a brief spell in FE, which did not suit me, to a rather similar, sister Catholic school in Hertfordshire, St Edmund's College, where in time I became Head of English, resisting all blandishments to train and seek further promotion, as I liked what used to be called 'the chalk face' but was increasingly more about surfing the whiteboard, while resisting 'Death by PowerPoint'.

My wife Helvi and I now live in rural Thetford, on the Norfolk-Suffolk border, a beautiful place surrounded by forests and not too far from the coast. Dog-walking, cooking, and, above all, listening to and reviewing classical music fill my days; I post - some would say pose - frequently on various websites, have made music-loving friends all over the world and am invited as a guest by a conductor friend a couple of times a year to Bruckner music festivals in Germany. Trips to France - under normal circumstances - are regular and I have just returned from New Zealand, the next leg of my trip onward to Australia having been curtailed by you-know-what.

I extend my greetings to all those I taught and hope I didn't damage them too badly.

OP Emma Pearson - Anaesthetist - Is One Of Many Working On The COVID-19 Frontline

OP Emma Pearson, from the class of 2008 graduated from Keele University with First-Class Honours in Forensic Science and Biochemistry. She then studied Medicine at Warwick University Medical School.

Emma is now working on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis as an anaesthetist at a large hospital in the North-West. She is spending her days caring for COVID-19 patients in a very busy intensive care unit.

Emma we are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers and would like to thank you and all the OPs who are out there working on the pandemic frontline for all you are doing for us all.

 

OP Kevin Mull Used To Borrow Father Mannix's Motorbike

OP Kevin Mull is currently stuck in Dubai, he went to the Dubai Boat Show in early March, and got caught up in the UAE lockdown; fortunately, his wife was with him and they have a holiday home over there, but on the upside it did give him time to give us an update for this latest edition of the OP newsletter.

Kevin attended Princethorpe College from 1967 to 1973 and has many memories from his time at school. He told us that his fondest memory was of borrowing Father Mannix's motorbike to go to clubs in Birmingham at the weekends and his proudest personal achievement was getting an undated, signed card from Matron (which he still has), saying 'Please excuse Kevin from games today'.

Kevin met his wife, Susan, when he was just 17 and they married shortly afterwards; she turned out to be of the Spencer birth-line and was related to Princess Diana. They are still very happily together today!

Kevin is very much enjoying being retired but can’t wait to get back to his home on the west coast of Ireland. It was good to hear from you Kevin and hopefully it won’t be long now!

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OP Randy Smith Remembers Father Clarkson’s Pep Talks

OP Randy Smith was delighted to receive a birthday card from the Foundation this year and it prompted him to get back in touch with his old school. Randy is now 60 years old and very much enjoying life. He remembers his time at Princethorpe in the seventies and especially the inspirational lectures Father Clarkson used to give him. Although he wasn’t the best student, he always knew that Father Clarkson believed in him and knew he could do better.

Randy has run a successful Audio-Visual Business for almost 30 years, although the Covid 19 virus has put a stop to his business presently. He also has a music recording business, but that is much more of a passion than a business.

He has been composing music for much of his life although he took a break during the busiest times of his business, but he has been back in full swing creating music again for the past three years. Randy will be releasing new music later this year and shared links to his musical achievements.

https://www.allmusic.com/artist/randall-smith-mn0001688154 https://electrocd.com/en/artiste/smith_ra/Randall_Smith

Thank you for getting in touch Randy, it was great to hear from you.

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OP Tom Cross Is Entertaining

It was very good to see that OP Tom Cross, Class of 2010, is taking on the role of a present-day Vera Lynn, and entertaining folk with regular sererenades designed to help make the lockdown period more bearable for us all.

Tom who now works for the BBC as a production co-ordinator, is a natural born entertainer and is gaining quite a following, so if you fancy a little light musical entertainment, why not follow his Instagram @tomjmcross, he even takes requests! Have a look here and we promise you won’t be disappointed!!

Kellie Joins The Many Sewing For The NHS

Old Princethorpian, Kellie Sweeney (1988-1990) has been using her sewing skills to help the NHS. Kellie is a member of a Facebook group called the Warwickshire Scrubbers, one of many across the UK that were set up to create scrubs, bags, caps, and headbands for local hospitals.

Kellie has been working hard producing colourful headbands and scrubs mainly for Warwick Hospital.

The group continues to look for resources such as local sewing help and fabric and can be contacted through Facebook.

Well done Kellie!

 

Henry, George And Tom's Souvenir House Photos

Housemates Henry Weston, George Harman andTom McNevin  from the class of 2012, have started marking the passing years.

Last year they decided to sign off from their house with something a little different, a special, souvenir photo.

This year in uncertain times they took the opportunity to add another element to the 2020 house photo. They all agreed not to shave during lockdown and to include their facial hair marvels (some much better than others) in this year's souvenir photo.

They promise that in 2021 the turtle necks and facial hair marvels will be back plus whatever creative thought next comes to mind.

Just a little bit of lockdown fun!

George Harman is middle back, Tom McNevin is back right and Henry Weston is sitting down.