Welcome to the thirty-fifth 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 issue includes the latest Foundation and College news, plus plenty of news and updates from OPs across the decades.

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

Stay safe and stay in touch this autumn and we hope to see many of you at events next year.


Alumni News

Princethorpe College Applauds Old Princethorpian And England Great Ian Bell MBE As He Announces His Retirement

Old Princethorpian, Warwickshire and former England batsman Ian Bell, MBE, has announced his retirement from professional cricket. His decision brings to a close an outstanding 22-year professional career.

Over the course of his career Ian has had a wealth of achievements to his name, he helped his home county Warwickshire win six trophies and during his 11 years as an England player, he won five Ashes series, played 118 Tests and scored 22 Test centuries. He now intends to pursue a coaching career.

Ian who attended the College in the 1990s is remembered well by all at Princethorpe College and especially by former Director of Sport, Gwilym Price, MBE, who commented, "I know I speak for many others when I say that it was a true pleasure and privilege to teach and support Ian throughout his time at Princethorpe. It was a special moment when he and his family approached me about joining the College. He was already a promising sportsman but had shown a huge talent in the game of cricket having being involved with Warwickshire at the tender age of 10 and had set his sights on playing at the very highest levels.... it proved to be his destiny!"

He continued, "Like many youngsters arriving at the College he offered levels of play that enhanced our team performances, and he was always an inspiration to the aspiring players around him, setting a good example with both his work ethic and good sportsmanship. Ian proved that to reach your true potential you must show discipline, determination, dedication and an emotional maturity. He always impressed me with the way he handled success, how he encouraged those around him both on and off the field of play and how he became a respected player at all levels. It has been of no great surprise to anyone that Ian has received huge worldwide plaudits from fellow international players, coaches, managers, media and fans (even the opposition too) at the announcement of his retirement. The praise for his remarkable talents as a batsman and fielder and for his wonderful personal qualities is well deserved. Quite simply he is one of England’s ‘greats’ and a true servant and legend in the game. I know that the next chapter in his life as a coach or manager will be equally as successful and I look forward to following his contribution to the further development of the game. Thank you so much Ian, for being such a great ambassador for Princethorpe College, Warwickshire and England too! Being a true Princethorpian we are so proud of all you have achieved so far and we wish you every success in the exciting years to come."

Headmaster, Ed Hester, added, "It will be the ambition of many schoolchildren to represent their school, the county and even their country in their favourite sport. Old Princethorpian Ian Bell did this and more. A test batting average of 42.3 (anything over 40 is truly special) and a major contributor to five Ashes victories is remarkable, but for many, including myself, it will be the style and finesse with which he scored his runs which makes him a true great of the game. Ian Bell made batting look easy, but what many will not appreciate is the hard, hard work that he put in behind the scenes to achieve his successes. As a teenager, he was found in the Princethorpe College Sports Hall one Christmas Day in the nets facing a bowling machine – having wangled the key off one of the staff. One small example of the dedication and commitment that helped him to success. Ian scored the last 90 of his 20,440 first-class runs last week. He will be sorely missed by all his fans but I hope will continue to work within the game. We offer our congratulations and best wishes for the future from all of us here at Princethorpe."

Ian last visited the Foundation in June 2019 when he ran a masterclass for Crackley Hall’s young cricketers. It was a unique opportunity to be coached by the England and Warwickshire cricketing legend and we were grateful for the generosity and patience he offered the awestruck boys. His focus on the basics and attention to detail was obvious to all and will no doubt stand him in good stead in his new coaching career.

Princethorpe College applauds you Ian, we are proud of you and all your achievements and wish you the very best with your future career.

(Ian Bell is pictured here with Gwilym Price presenting him with his Ashes shirt)

The Princethorpe Connect Community Just Keeps On Growing

Since the last edition of the Old Princethorpian newsletter, Princethorpe Connect, the Foundation’s online alumni community, has continued to grow. In June the mebership topped the milestone of 500 online members and it was OP Melissa Scott who won the 500 members prize draw.

Melissa, who left Princethorpe in 2016, joined PC Connect towards the end of May and we randomly selected her from the last 100 members to join. Since leaving Princethorpe Melissa has completed a Law degree at the University of Leicester in 2019 and is now in the process of doing her Legal Practice Course (LPC) combined with an MSc in Law and Business in Birmingham.

Then in September the alumni community reached another milestone when it hit the 600 members marker. The community's 600th member was no other than Fr Teddy O’Brien MSC and we were delighted to present him with a bottle of brandy which he was very pleased to receive! 

Aimed at past pupils, past parents and former staff, Princethorpe Connect allows the Foundation's alumni to find and network with old friends and former colleagues from across the Foundation schools and to keep up with all the news and events.

The College is keen to re-engage with all former pupils, parents and staff so please do encourage those you know to register. They can do this easily themselves by going online to https://connect.princethorpe.co.uk/ and you never know they might be the lucky winners in our next membership prize draw.

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Princethorpe Offers A Virtual Heritage Open Day Tour

On Sunday 13 September Princethorpe was delighted to take part in this year's Heritage Open Day, England’s biggest heritage and culture festival.

It's a popular date in the calendar and the College always enjoys opening its doors to the local community and over the years has had hundreds of visitors attend. This year, however, because of the social distancing restrictions, Princethorpe decided to offer a virtual interactive Google 360˚ Heritage Day Tour instead.

The Heritage Open Day virtual tour included 13 different scenes of Princethorpe, with each scene combining a 360˚ photo with either narrated or written information. Visitors were able to explore the chapel and take a behind the scenes look at what was once St. Mary’s Priory. It included the quintessential Quad that has featured in BBC period productions, the stunning stained glass in what is now the Library, the nuns’ final resting place in the Roundhouse, the hidden secrets of Little Switzerland and so much more.

It was a rare opportunity to get under the skin of one of Warwickshire’s iconic landmarks. Whether you attended the school, are a history enthusiast or have just always wanted to visit, it was a fascinating insight into the history of the school.

Many thanks to the Foundation’s Archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, and to Assistant Head, Alex Darkes, for putting together the interactive tour.

The tour has been very popular with over 650 views so far and the great news is, that even if you missed Heritage Open Day this year, you can still take the tour yourself, just visit http://bit.ly/PrincethorpeHeritageTour

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Its Back To School In Style For OP Nigel Bromley

Old Princethorpian and former parent, Nigel Bromley returned to Princethorpe on Monday 7 September to reaffirm his long-standing connections to the school. Pictured here with Assistant Head, Alex Darkes, a fellow self-confessed ‘petrolhead’, and his one-time Form Tutor and Physics Teacher, Nigel brought with him a very special car.

The immaculate Voodoo Blue Lotus Evora GT410 Sport drew many admiring glances as it roared up the College drive.

Nigel, who still lives locally, landed his dream job as Head of Brand Marketing at Lotus Cars in January this year. A role that combines his love of all things ‘motor’ with over two decades of experience in the automotive and creative industries. He attended Princethorpe College back in the eighties and credits the school’s formative role in developing the skills and interests that led him to a career in the demanding world of advertising and design.

He enjoyed his time at Princethorpe so much that he chose to send his daughter, Grace, to the school and over the years has contributed to the Princethorpe community in many different ways. Whether leading sessions at the College’s Careers Fair, supporting the school's Bursary Fund activities or just taking part in the school’s annual Motoring Festival, Nigel has always kept his old school close to his heart.

Comments Nigel, “My time at Princethorpe was hugely influential, the ideas, the energy, the empathy that my teachers taught me, were the stepping stones to my career today. They are the backbone of the Princethorpe community and why I love coming back and am always delighted to be able to support the College.”

Nigel is just one of many connections the College has to the car industry, situated as it is right in the heartlands of the UK automotive industry. Earlier this year we welcomed former parent and CEO at Lotus Cars, Phil Popham, alongside world-famous British Jaguar car designer, Ian Callum CBE, to the school to meet with Design and Technology pupils.

Another Lotus connection is former Managing Director Derek Waelend whose sons, James and Mark, were pupils at Princethorpe College in the nineteen-nineties.

Other notable automotive industry names include former parent, Mike Loasby, who was Director of Product Engineering at DeLorean in Northern Ireland, his two sons, Jonathan and Simon also attended the College until the mid-nineteen-eighties. Simon has followed in his father’s automotive footsteps and is now Head of Hyundai Styling Group, based in this country.

Many current parents continue to work within the automotive industry today and the College also supports industry initiatives, including hosting the regional heat of the Jaguar Primary School Challenge, working with local schools to inspire the next generation of engineers.

Alex was delighted to welcome his former pupil and fellow ‘motor’ enthusiast back to school and even more so to have the opportunity to sit in the Lotus Evora. He commented, “Many thanks to Nigel for bringing the Lotus in today. It was a real treat and it was great to catch up and swap stories. His appointment at Lotus is well deserved, it is always inspiring for us to hear of our pupils’ successes, even though he still owes me some Physics homework from 1982!”

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An International Gathering For Virtual VSOP Reunion

On Saturday 12 September, we held the biennial (virtual) reunion for the former pupils of St Mary’s Priory, who were at school here at Princethorpe prior to 1966 and are known to us as VSOPs (Very Special Old Princethorpians). It was our first ever virtual reunion – hosted on Zoom – and we were joined by 14 former pupils who were all at school here in the 1950s and 1960s.

It was a truly international gathering, with former pupils joining the call from as far afield as Miami, Pennsylvania and Dinklage in Germany. Hosted by Assistant Head, Alex Darkes, they enjoyed two hours of reminiscing, a virtual school tour, a look into Princethorpe’s archives, a Princethorpe-themed quiz, and a special Mass led by Fr Teddy O’Brien MSC from the Princethorpe Chapel.

It was a fascinating session and as always, we enjoyed hearing stories and facts from Princethorpe’s past. The event was so well-received that we will be hosting future VSOPs reunions in a hybrid format – to allow those who can’t be there in person to join us as well.

Assistant Head, Alex Darkes, said, "Princethorpe friendships continue to be strengthened and renewed. Our Very Special Old Princethorpians (VSOPs) express enormous enthusiasm for their school days at the Priory. Their stories help us to fill in missing pieces of the jigsaw and the VSOPs are also keen to celebrate the College’s ongoing success, we have 920 pupils in 2020 compared with only 60 back in the 1960s. This is all so fascinating for me, having spent nearly 49 years of my life here, as a pupil and as a member of staff! Sadly, because of Covid, this year the reunion had to be virtual, but it’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good – four of our attendees were from overseas this year and there is no way that they could have journeyed to be with us in person at Princethorpe. With this in mind, we are already busy planning a hybrid event for next year."

We have rescheduled the in-person meet up to next year, on Saturday 11 September 2021, and we hope to see many of our wonderful VSOPs again then.

Keeping In Touch Survey Provides Fascinating Feedback

Over the summer of 2020 the Foundation conducted its largest ever keep-in-touch initiative with the schools' alumni community. The email survey circulated included a variety of questions on topics such as our alumni communications, the types of events we organise and even the choice of OP merchandise available. The survey results have made fascinating reading and will allow the Foundation to align its activities with the needs of our alumni community.

The results overwhelmingly showed that former pupils feel that Princethorpe has had a significant impact on their lives and that reunions were what people most look forward to. It also showed that the OP e-newsletter is very well read and that our alumni are fascinated by the work of the archivist in recording the schools’ long histories.

In summary:

  • Nearly 500 responses
  • 70% of responses were from former pupils, with the rest being from former parents, former staff and others
  • Most (but not all!) former pupils remembered which House they were in – 95%
  • The sector/industry in which most OPs work is surprisingly education
  • 90% of respondents have either a moderate or high level of interest in Princethorpe
  • Two thirds of respondents have been to a Princethorpe event in the last five years
  • The majority of respondents said that Princethorpe has been significantly important in their/their families lives
  • Reunions and special events (such as Balls) are amongst the most popular types of event people would like to see in the future
  • A Spirit of Family: The First Fifty Years of Princethorpe College book is the most popular item of merchandise, if you haven’t already be sure to purchase your copy online here.

All the responses to the survey were entered into a prize draw and OP Phil Thompson was the lucky winner. As his prize Phil received an Amazon voucher.

Phil was delighted when we contacted him with the news and we asked him for an update.

He said, “I was at Princethorpe a long time ago back in 1974 and have fond memories. I was more arty than academic, and more cheeky than geeky. I was very sporty though and loved cricket, hockey, football and athletics.  I now own a big hair salon in Bath called BA1 Hair. You are all very welcome to come and see us! You can find us here: https://ba1hair.co.uk/ I love my work and my family. I’m married and am lucky to have three gorgeous children, one grandchild and a fluffy dog called Harry.”

Congratulations go to Phil and huge thanks to everyone who completed the survey. It was great to hear from you all.

St Joseph's One Time Teacher Sister Felicity Retires

We were fascinated to read a Shropshire Star news report on the one time St Joseph’s teacher Sister Felicity.

It announced that Sister Felicity, the head at St Winefride's Independent School in Shrewsbury, for 36 years had taken her last register and was finally retiring.

Originally from Cork, Sister Felicity left St Joseph’s to go to Shrewsbury in 1984 having been appointed head of the school by the Sisters of Mercy. She had originally qualified as a teacher in 1964 and taught in Swansea as well as Kenilworth, before finally taking up her role as Head of St Winefride's.

Foundation Archivist, Janette Ratcliffe, told us, “Sister Felicity appears to have taught the Transition class/Juniors at St Joseph’s from at least 1978 (she may have been there earlier but I haven’t got anything to prove it) until 1984 when she went to her new role in Shrewsbury. In the Crackley Hall 70th anniversary memories Sister Felicity was mentioned specifically by Emma Hughes and noted as being very kind."

You can read the Shropshire Star report here and Janette would welcome any information or memories of Sister Felicity from our St Joseph's alumni to add to our collections. You can contact her on janetteratcliffe@princethorpe.co.uk

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OP Friendly Faces Helps The Next Generation Of OPs

Since A-level results day in August we have been busy matching the Upper Sixth leavers of 2020 with OP Friendly Faces across the UK, this year 11 freshers at universities ranging from Oxford to York and Bristol to Liverpool are benefiting from the scheme. 

OP Friendly Faces aims to link past pupils established at university with first year OP students. Providing a friendly, familiar face to (socially distant) 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. 

It has been a difficult start to the term for all students, as many institutions have cancelled freshers' week and are delivering a large proportion of their lectures and tutorials on line.

Comments OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, "We are delighted that we have been able to match up more of our leavers with OP Friendly Faces. Providing a friendly face to meet up with over a coffee (compliments of the OPs) or having someone to call in their new uni town or city will, especially in these socially distanced times, make for a smoother experience in their first few months away from home."



OP Summer Video Replaced Annual Supper Reunion

Every summer, towards the end of the Trinity Term, we host our Summer Supper Reunion, warmly welcoming Old Princethorpians back to the College. We always enjoy catching up with all their news and reminiscing over times gone by. This year we were particularly looking forward to meeting OP leavers from the Classes of 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 as they celebrated their 50th, 40th, 30th, 20th and 10th anniversaries respectively.

Sadly because of the continuing COVID-19 restrictions we had to postpone this year’s Summer Supper Reunion. Instead, we put together a special video compilation. It included, a welcome by the OP Chairman, Peter Rollason, a virtual tour of the College and its grounds, a selection of archive photography from the anniversary years and a special guest appearance by Princethorpe legend, Alex Darkes.

Commented, OP Chairman, Peter Rollason, “We hope to rearrange the event or to have a ‘Super Summer Supper Reunion’ next year including the leavers with a 0 and a 1 in their leaving year. In the meantime, I know that all OPs will enjoy the video compilation and the chance to revisit the College from the comfort of their own homes.”

You can watch the video here: https://vimeo.com/432844057

Work Experience Available For Computer Science Graduate

David Lomas, a Princethorpe parent and great friend of the College, is on the lookout for a recent Computer Science graduate who would be interested in some work experience.

Head of Computer Science, Adam Depledge, put David in touch with recent OP Sam Wycherley (Class of 2020) and Sam has been completing some short term coding projects for David before he heads off to university in January.

David explains, “Sam’s help has been great but we have a number of different pieces of work, growing in complexity from a very simple data analysis script (just reading text output from some logs and calculating summary values, etc.), through to a pretty complex application. We've also got a web development project which might need to be in PHP. Then one of our most pressing jobs is to update a 'project management simulation game' which actually runs inside a 3D VR-type environment. The simulation code is relatively complex, and it has to integrate with the 3D system (which is not built in Python, but has an API). We're very much interested in finding someone with experience to work on these sorts ofprojects. I would be happy to talk to anyone who thinks they could help.”

If you would be interested in finding out more about these opportunities please do email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk and we will put you in touch with David.

OP Merchandise - The Perfect Christmas Gift!

Stuck for Christmas present ideas for the OPs in your life? Look no further as items from the OP range of merchandise make the ideal gift for Christmas, birthdays or anniversaries!

Popular items include:

  • Socks with the distinctive Tower design on dark blue background with thin diagonal stripe - priced £9.00 + postage
  • A university style scarf (in 100% wool with navy blue, red and gold stripes) - priced  £31 + postage
  • T-bar cufflinks with a gold Tower design - priced £26 + postage
  • The Old Princethorpian tie. A classic 100% silk tie with a repetitive gold Tower design and thin red diagonal stripes on a dark blue background - priced £19 + postage and packing.
  • Tower pin badge. The 2cm high badge in nickel with recessed metal detail is based on the Tower logo - priced £11 + postage
  • A Spirit Of Family: The First Fifty Years Of Princethorpe College - produced to mark the College's Golden Jubilee this beautiful keepsake is a relflection on the first fifty years of Princethorpe College written by Nick Baker and Alex Darkes, it was published on 1 September 2016 - priced £21 + postage.

Stocks are now available to order online from Princethorpe Connect, please click here, or alternatively email Old Princethorpians.

New to our shop this autumn are fine art prints and cards of a new painting by local artist, Debbie McLaughlin - The Soaring Redbrick Tower. For more information please the separate article in this edition here.

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College News

College Clock Restoration Complete

The College clock tower has been shrouded in scaffolding for over a year now undergoing some much-needed renovation. The clock tower is a landmark at Princethorpe and has played an important role in the daily lives of all who have lived and worked here. The current clock was purchased in 1861 and was last renovated in 1959 for the then Reverend Mother, Mary Augustine’s Golden Jubilee.

The stonework of the tower was badly in need of restoration, when the structure had originally been built the builders had used metal tie bars to hold the stonework together. Over the years water had rusted the metal and the rust had eventually blown the stone. Stonemasons, Midland Conservation, have replaced every defective piece of stone.

The clock is a cast iron chair frame design movement with hour strike and ting tang quarter chimes, it drove two external dials with an anchor escapement with pendulum action. The weight driving pulley system was badly in need of restoration, particularly the top pulleys and timber support above the weights, the pulleys needed to be removed for overhaul and the top fixing timber replaced, so it was decided that converting the movement to automatic winding was the best way forward.

Cumbria Clocks, church and public clock specialists, took on the work and were amazed by the ingenuity of staff, including former Head of Chemistry, John Miller and Estatesman, Gerry Lovely, had shown in keeping the old clock going

It has all now been carefully restored, with a new auto winding mechanism fitted, the clock movement dismantled and cleaned and the clock faces returned to their original size and given a fresh coat of blue paint. The dials and numbers are all now a beautiful bright shining gold.

The weather vane had also rusted and no longer moved. Its condition was so poor that we considered replacing it. However, the stonemasons were able to rebuild it and finish it with a new paint.

It has been wonderful to see the clock and weathervane atop the tower in the lovely autumn sunshine and to hear the distinctive chimes sounding. It can now once again be a focal point for the whole community to enjoy.

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Another Year Of Excellent Results For Princethorpe’s A-level And GCSE Pupils

Princethorpe College is celebrating another year of excellent exam results.

This summer 47% of all A-level grades were A* or A and over 90% of grades were C or better; at GCSE pupils celebrated excellent GCSE results with 60% of all entries graded 9, 8 or 7 and 50 pupils achieving nine or more 9, 8 and 7 grades.

Ed Hester, Headmaster, said, "Our students have worked so hard and we are incredibly proud of their achievements."

A-level summary:

  • 97 candidates
  • 28 students achieved 3 or more A* or A grades
  • 47% A* and A
  • 91% grade C or better

Ed Hester continued, "This year’s A-level results have been arrived at in a very different way to normal. Overall, we are pleased and feel that the results are generally fair and reflect the hard work and achievements of our Upper Sixth. Special mention must go to Hannah Porter who was awarded 5A*s."

At GCSE Princethorpe pupils performed well and there were many exceptional personal achievements.

GCSE summary:  

  • 155 candidates
  • 60% of all grades 9-7 
  • 98% of grades 9-4 or better

Congratulations go to Caitlin Mason, Ciaran Smith, Ben Shipton and Ben Scares who were awarded an outstanding eleven or more grade 9s each.

Headmaster, Ed Hester, continued, “All credit goes to our pupils and staff for their commitment and hard work.  Our 2020 A-level and GCSE results are very strong indicators that the school’s academic achievements across the ability range continue to go from strength to strength."

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Princethorpe College's First Virtual Summer Art, Photography And Design Show

This year, alongside many other events, the College's Summer Art, Photography And Design Show moved online and took place virtually.

Featuring work from A-level Fine Art, Photography, Product Design and Textiles students alongside GCSE Fine Art, Resistant Materials, Electronics and Textiles pupils, and work from the College's Art Club the show was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate of our pupils’ wide-ranging creative talents.

Those who know the College will be familiar with its formidable reputation for quality Art and Design. The walls of the College are adorned with exceptional examples and the work included in this year’s virtual show was no exception, including striking portraiture and photography alongside talented and technically complex product design. 

The show was put together as a short video featuring images of all this year’s examination work and included introductions from the creative teaching staff including Head of Art and Photography, Paul Hubball, Head of Design and Technology, Paul Scopes, Art Teacher, Sue Harris and Textiles Teacher, Miranda Porter.

Our thanks go to the Art Department and to the Design and Technology Department for all their support and inspiration to pupils this and every year and for their help in putting together such an outstanding show.

You can still view the 2020 Summer Art, Photography And Design Show, just follow the link here. We hope you enjoy it!

The Countdown To Entrance Exams For 2021 Entry Has Begun

The College's Entrance Exams for admission in September 2021 will now take place on Saturday 23 January 2021 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Our friendly Admissions Team has been busy with enquiries and registrations from prospective parents. The final deadline for registrations is now Friday 4 December, to allow the College time to seek references from junior schools.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions there are only a few opportunities for prospective pupils and their parents to visit the College before the Entrance Exam session. The school is running Taster Experiences for Year 6 pupils in early November, and is hoping to run a by appointment only Open Monring on Thursday 26 November.

The Admissions Team is also planning to host a Virtual Year 6 Parents' Q & A session on Monday 16 November from 6.30pm to 7.30pm to answer any admissions and entrance examinations related questions in an informal forum.

Comments, Ed Hester, Headmaster, “We know the decision to push back the date for Entrance Exams has been welcomed by prospective parents and pupils. We are aware that many parents will be concerned about their child’s preparedness for the exams after this long period away from normal school life. By January we hope that families will have had the chance to visit the College in person and that candidates will have settled back into school life and be in a much better position to take the exams.”

More information on admissions is available from the College website here.

If you have any queries relating to admissions please feel free to email the Registrars at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk or call them on 01926 634201/262.

Take The Princethorpe Virtual Tour

Are you missing out on Princethorpe? The serenity of the Chapel, the iconic Tower and Quad, the vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows, the echoing tiled corridors, the peace of the Library, the bustle of the Refectory, the hubbub in the Sixth Form Centre, the light airy spaces of the Limes, the acres of sports pitches, the rolling green campus and even those always industrious classrooms?

If so, you might just enjoy our new Virtual Tour. Put together for this College's very first online Open Evening, it takes you on a trip around the College.

Get a bit of Princethorpe back in your life - we hope to see you back there before long!

Virtual Tour

College’s Autumn Admissions Newsletter Just Published

The latest edition of the College's Admissions Update e-newsletter has just be published and can be found here.

This edition is for those looking at entry to the school specifically in September 2021 for Years 7 to 10 and Sixth Form. Full of information and news, it gives a feel for College life, tells you about forthcoming events which are open to prospective pupils and their parents and has plenty of helpful advice about the admissions process.

This term we will be conducting our events for prospective families differently, they will be available on an appointment only basis and in a socially distanced way, to enable us to manage numbers and adhere to government guidelines.

Don't forget the deadline for registration for the 2021 Entrance Examinations is now Friday 4 December 2020, with the examinations taking place on Saturday 23 January 2021. Please register as soon as possible.

If you are looking at entry to the College post September 2021 then do put Wednesday 9 June 2021 in your diary as we will be holding our Summer Open Evening on that day. The College also hopes to run Taster Days for current Year 5 children next May and June. Do email the admissions team if you would be interested in registering for these events.

The Admissions Update newsletter is issued twice a year to coincide with key admissions periods, the next edition will be published in Spring 2021.

If you have any queries relating to admissions please feel free to contact the admissions team at admissions@princethorpe.co.uk or call 01926 634201.

The Pinnacle And Minnacle Celebrate Lockdown Learning

The latest editions of the Pinnacle and Minnacle were published in June. Showcasing exceptional work by pupils from across the Foundation they are an inspiring read.

They celebrated the extraordinary 'home learning' that took place during the coronavirus lockdown and are a testament to the dedication of pupils and staff to continue with their studies in the face of the pandemic restrictions.

From the Spring Social Distance-Sing Concert and the Princethorpe At Home Recital to superb Art and DT, English competition winners, History projects, Bridging courses, EPQ and even an Online Bake Off, they showcased flair and ingenuity across a wide range of subjects and year groups.

The Minnacle included equally impressive work by the Foundation junior schools, Crackley Hall and Crescent School. It was wonderful to showcase their pupils' talents too!!

Click here to read The Pinnacle and here if you would like to see The Minnacle.

Development News

New Fine Art Print Of Princethorpe’s Tower Goes On Sale

Fine art prints of a new painting by Debbie McLaughlin - The Soaring Redbrick Tower - are now available to buy from the Princethorpe Connect online shop.

Local artist and designer Debbie has a long association with the College having worked closely with the Marketing Department on all its design work for the past 14 years.

The new painting, completed during the lockdown, is in the artist’s favoured urban sketching style and depicts the famous Princethorpe tower and the main reception entrance to Princethorpe College.

The high-quality, fine art giclée prints have been reproduced from the original painting using 11 lightfast inks to provide a gamut of colour and printed on 285gsm, 100% cotton rag white portrait paper.

Available in A3 and A2 sizes, they are supplied rolled in an 80mm postal tube, ready for framing. Individual A5 greetings cards with the same design are also available to buy.

This first run is strictly limited numbers, so please order early to avoid disappointment. A perfect gift for birthdays or Christmas for all Old Princethorpians, all profits from sales will support Making A Difference at Princethorpe.

Chris Lee, Development Director, comments:

“It’s been nearly 20 years since Princethorpe College last commissioned a painting of the building, and we thought it was right time to commission a new artwork, which in itself could support Making A Difference at Princethorpe.

“Debbie’s painting is fabulous and really captures the spirit of Princethorpe in 2020. It’s very exciting that we’re able to offer fine art prints to the Princethorpe community.

“The prints and the cards would make perfect gifts for Christmas. The A3 print is almost identical to the original painting in size, but for those who want more of a statement piece, the A2 print really makes an impact. Scanned from the original painting in super-high resolution and reproduced using the giclée printing process, the result has been amazing. This initial run is strictly limited, so please do order early to avoid disappointment.”

The A3 and A2 giclée prints and greetings card can be ordered online here. The A3 print is priced £25 (plus P&P), the A2 print is priced £40 (plus P&P) and greetings cards are available for £3 each (plus P&P).

Views Welcomed For Formation Of Jules Chevalier Legacy Society

You are warmly invited to a virtual online workshop about legacy giving to the Princethorpe Foundation, which will be held on Zoom on Friday 30 October from 2.00pm to 3.00pm where we seek to canvass your views.

This workshop, which will be led by Princethorpe’s Assistant Head (Development), Alex Darkes and Development Director, Chris Lee, will take a closer look at leaving a legacy gift to Princethorpe College in your will.

Alex Darkes adds: “Many people have big demands on their finances during their lifetime which may make it difficult for them to give a gift. Making a donation as part of a will is a very personal way of giving which can have a hugely positive impact on the College for future generations. Additionally, it may also be very tax efficient for the donor and is very easy to set up.”

The workshop will outline our Bursary Scheme, the range of legacies which are available and the easy steps which need to be taken to set this arrangement up formally.

Anyone making a legacy pledge will be invited to join the Jules Chevalier Legacy Society – and we are keen to hear from you about what you would like from a legacy club and how we should approach this during the COVID-era. We also want to hear about your views on legacies and broadening their appeal.

There will also be time to ask questions at the end of the session. If you want to find out more about Legacy Giving at Princethorpe, please view our Legacies webpage for more information.

To sign up for the workshop please click here. Log-in details will be emailed to those who have registered.

Foundation News

Foundation News: New Film Reveals What Makes The Crescent School So Special

The Foundation’s junior school in Rugby, the Crescent School, has a new school film. It features their School Promise and is a celebration of their ethos and values.

The film cleverly combines live action with the school’s animated Crescent Promise characters to uniquely bring the different elements of the promise to life. Produced by the Foundation Marketing Team and award-winning Affixxius Films, the film was shot over the Lent Term and aims to communicate how the Crescent School Promise fosters and develops the qualities of kindness and tolerance in a safe and caring environment where staff and families work together to deliver an inspiring, challenging and varied education. ​

Comments, Headmaster, Joe Thackway, “The Crescent School Promise expresses our community’s shared values, it is a simple set of guidelines, developed and shared by all pupils and staff, that helps our pupils become Good Friends, Good Learners and Good Citizens."​

We think it is wonderful. Congratulations to Crescent School, Affixxius Films, Dam Design who created the Promise characters, and to all the pupils and staff who helped and took part in the film - what stars you are! ​

Why not roll out the red carpet, grab your popcorn, sit back and enjoy the film.

Click here to view the film.

Foundation Musicians Performed The Climb

At the end of a tumultuous academic year Director of Music, Gil Cowlishaw, and musicians from across the Foundation rose to the occasion in a third virtual concert, the Summer Sing And Play. In a fantastic finale the schools’ vocalists and musicians delivered an awe-inspiring performance of Miley Cyrus’ magical and moving ballad The Climb.

Together nearly 90 pupils and staff performed this beautiful song, the lyrics of which describe a difficult but rewarding journey, the challenge to keep the faith so appropriate for the year we all experienced.

I may not know it, but these are the moments that I'm going to remember most, just got to keep going.
And I’ve got to be strong, just keep pushing on!

There's always going be another mountain I'm always going to want to make it move,
Always going to be an uphill battle, sometimes I'm going to have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there, ain't about what's waiting on the other side
It's the climb!

We hope you agree that it just says it all. The wonder of virtually sharing music together has been an experience we will remember for years and years to come.

Gil Cowlishaw, explained, “Arranging the piece for the whole Foundation was a huge challenge, as I had to ensure that there were accessible parts for all the musicians across all three schools. The main body of the song took a lot of cobbling together, but it was definitely worth the effort, as the end result was, frankly, wonderful! There are pupils, from Reception right up to Upper Sixth, and staff representing all three schools including the Head of the Foundation, Ed Hester. The Climb will serve as a heart-warming and inspirational reminder of this singularly unusual term in the Foundation’s history.”

The Summer Sing And Play Concert included 20 items, mainly solos, with The Climb as its finale. It l also included a special staff feature, a staff lip-sync to Don’t Stop Believing as an extra treat for pupils and parents to enjoy.

Our thanks went to Gil and the wonderful Foundation vocalists and musicians. It was a wonderfully entertaining and inspirational end to the 2019-20 academic year!

You can watch their performance here:  https://vimeo.com/434676980


Old Princethorpians' Events Calendar 2020-21

The OPs' events calendar offers plenty of opportunities for past pupils, former parents, staff and friends of the College and the Foundation schools to catch up.

This year some events are being run virtually, but the popular Pub Meets and Summer Reunion, are booked to take place later in 2021 and we very much hope they will be able to go ahead.

All alumni, former staff and parents of Princethorpe College, St Bede's, St Mary's Priory, St Joseph's School, Crackley Hall, Abbotsford and Crescent School are welcome to participate in any or all of the events.

Click here to download the calendar or visit Princethorpe Connect to sign up to our new online alumni community and register your interest in our events.

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Crescent School Open Events

In line with current Government guidelines, Foundation junior school, the Crescent, will be organising individual admissions visits for parents and children, during and after the school day.

This is an opportunity to look around the school and to meet the school's Headmaster, Joe Thackway.

The school is currently accepting registrations for admission to Reception, Year 1 and Year 3 in 2021 and have a very small number of places available in other years - where year groups are full, they are operating waiting groups. 

For more information and to book an appointment please contact the Registrar, Mrs Helen Morley on 01788 523851 or by email admissions@crescentschool.co.uk.

For more information on admissions to the Crescent School you can also read our Admissions Update.

Crackley Hall School And Little Crackers Nursery Open Events

In line with current Government guidelines, Foundation junior school and nursery, Crackley Hall and Little Crackers, will be organising individual admissions visits for parents and children, during and after the school day.

This is an opportunity to look around the school and to meet the school's Headmaster, Rob Duigan. 

The school is now accepting registrations for admission to Reception, Year 1 and Year 3 in 2021 and have a very small number of places available in other years - where year groups are full, they are operating waiting groups

For more information and to book an appointment please contact Admissions Secretary, Mrs Jenny Vaughan on 01926 514410 or by email admissions@crackleyhall.co.uk.

For more information on admission to Crackley Hall you can also read our Admissions Update.

Sixth Form Open Evening

Wednesday 14 October 2020 - 6.30pm to 9.00pm

The College will be holding a Sixth Form Open Evening aimed at Year 11 pupils and their parents who do not currently attend Princethorpe on Wednesday 14 October from 6.30pm to 9.00pm.

The evening will be split into two hour-long sessions and visitors will be asked to book a specific session, so we can manage numbers and adhere to government guidelines. To book a place at the event please click here.

This event is aimed at prospective Sixth Formers who are interested in September 2021 entry to the college.  A maximum of two family members will be able to attend with the prospective Sixth Former.

Each session will comprise a presentation by the Headmaster, Ed Hester and Head of Sixth Form, Ben Collie, including key events and dates in the Sixth Form application process, A-level and BTEC subject information and general information on the Sixth Form experience at Princethorpe.  

Visitors will also be able to follow a tour route around key school locations. There will be a further virtual aspect to the evening when candidates will be able to view pre-recorded introductions to the subjects they are interested in by the Heads of Department.

Princethorpe's own Year 11s will have a Virtual Sixth Form Open Evening on the same date.

For further information please email admissions@princethorpe.co.uk or call 01926 634201/262 and talk to our friendly Admissions Team.


Virtual Hong Kong Reunion Planned For November

Following the success of our VSOP virtual reunion we are planning a similar event for our Hong Kong contingent. Details are still to be finalised, but the virtual reunion is likely to include a Mass hosted by Father Teddy MSC, the chance to delve into the archives, a virtual tour and maybe even another Princethorpe quiz. There would also be the opportunity for OPs to chat and catch up with each other. We are hoping the virtual reunion will take place in November and more information will be shared as soon as the event details are confirmed.

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Virtual Prize Giving and OPs Reception

Friday 20 November 2020 - 6.30pm to 7.00pm OPs Drinks Reception and 7.00pm to 8.00pm Prize Giving Ceremony

This year's Prize Giving Ceremony will be going virtual due to the current COVID restrictions.  Compered by Ben Collie, Head of Sixth Form and with an address by Ed Hester, the Headmaster, the evening will follow a similar format to normal with subject prizes and the awarding of the coveted Princethorpe Shield.

Upper Sixth leavers and their parents will shortly receive details of the event and how to join the Drinks Reception and Ceremony live on the evening.

Comments, Ed Hester, Headmaster, "It is of course disappointing that we can't come together as we would normally do on this wonderful occasion. We hope however that this will provide a chance to celebrate our Upper Sixth and their many achievements and be a welcome opportunity for parents and students to socialise as a year group from the comfort of their own homes."


PTA Christmas Fair

As a result of the continuing COVID-19 restrictions this year's Princethorpe College Christmas Fair has unfortunately had to be cancelled. The PTA are exploring alternative options and details of their plans will be shared on the OPs Facebook when they are confirmed.


Entrance Examinations Day For September 2021 Entry (Years 7 to 10)

Saturday 23 January 2021 - 9.30am to 3.30pm

Entrance Examinations for Year 7 to 10 entry in September 2021 will take place on Saturday 23 January 2021 from 9.30am to 3.30pm.

All candidates must be registered before sitting the entrance examinations. Registrations, bursary and scholarship applications must be received by the deadline of Friday 4 December 2020 to allow us to process the registration and contact schools for references. Registration forms are available from the Registrar, Mrs Vanessa Rooney on 01926 634201 or email admissions@princethorpe.co.uk

More information is available from the school webiste here.

OPs London Meet

Friday 5 March 2021 - 6.30pm to 10.30pm

For our next Old Princethorpians' London Meet we hope to gather in London's Covent Garden in a private room at French restaurant, Balthazar on Friday 5 March.

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

OPs And Former Parents Brunch

Saturday 24 April 2021 - 10.30am - 12.30pm

We are looking forward to offering OPs and former parents the opportunity to visit the College and catch up over a croissant or two. As well enjoying a leisurely complimentary brunch (served until 12.00 noon) visitors will be able to watch the always exciting Saturday morning sports matches and take an optional tour of the school campus.  

OPs and parents will have spent a considerable amount of time at Princethorpe over the years, and may be missing their involvement in school life. The Old Princethorpians' Association organises the brunch as an opportunity for all to reconnect with both the College and each other in an informal, friendly environment.

If you would like to attend please register on Princethorpe Connect or RSVP with the number in your party and any special dietary requirements to oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk or call the OPs Secretary, Melanie Butler, on 01926 634284.




OPs Local Meet

Friday 14 May 2021 - 6.30pm to 10.30pm 

The OPs annual Local Meet will take place on Friday 14 May 2021 at Inside The 22, on Lawrence Sheriff Street, Rugby, CV22 5EJ.  

We hosted a very successful meet here in March 2020 with well over 50 OPs and Old Crescentians in attendance, including current and former members of staff.

The OPs Commitee will of course be laying on a delicious hot and cold buffet, so do let us know if you plan to attend either by registering at Princethorpe Connect or by emailing oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk so we can cater for you.

Partners and friends are most welcome. We look forward to seeing you there!

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Princethorpe College Summer Open Evening

Wednesday 9 June 2021 - 6.30pm - 8.30pm 

The College's annual Summer Open Evening will take place on Wednesday 9 June from 6.30pm to 8.30pm.  This event will be for prospective parents and pupils who are looking at entry to the College in September 2022 and beyond.

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

Do put the date in your diary.



Old Princethorpian Interview

Richard Williams

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

I live back in Coventry now after being in London for many years. After doing a Post Grad in Broadcast Journalism, I worked for Global Radio. I have been at the BBC for nearly ten years now, I’m a Presenter and Reporter at BBC CWR which covers Coventry and Warwickshire. I’ve done a bit of TV reporting, but my passion is radio (and I have the face for it!).

I love my job and I made the decision to go back to University in my early 30s to do my Post Grad and switch careers totally to Journalism. It was a gamble which so far has luckily paid off! My job is so varied and no two days, no two hours are the same! I could be grilling an MP one minute about HS2 (High Speed Rail), then the next minute speaking to a war veteran who flew missions in the D-Day landings! You hear some amazing stories doing this job some happy, some sad, my job is to tell the story on air or ask the questions people are shouting at the radio when holding someone to account. I also get to present sport sometimes which is great for me, I was never good enough to play sport professionally, so to report on it is the next best thing. Outside work I’m a season ticket holder at Coventry City and I play golf really, really badly!


I’m 46, but as I often report into the Breakfast Show I get up at 4.00am, ask me how I old I feel on a Friday and you can switch the 4 and the 6!

When were you at Princethorpe?

1986 – 1990, I remember my very first day as I had broken my arm in the summer so had a cast on. My late cousin Alex (Bri as he was known ) Chapman had already been there a year so I settled in pretty quickly. Mr White was my first form teacher in B2.

What was the school like in your day?

It was all boys in my day apart from Sixth Form, and they had boarders, I was a 'Day Boy'! I just remember thinking how big it was, my middle school was tiny. One memory I have is all the bags that would line the main hall at lunchtimes, a long line of 'Head' bags as that was the bag to have then, we would play football every lunchtime in the Orchard. I did a lot of running, so I remember the Mile Walk well!

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

I think it taught me that you can be what you want to be, but nothing comes easy in life. I recently interviewed Gwil (Mr Price) about the retirement of Ian Bell, Mr Price always wanted you to do well, and gave great encouragement, to speak to him again after 30 years was a joy, and he remembered me! But the great thing is I think he remembers every pupil he taught and that is what is so special.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Listen to my English teacher Mr Weir, he would regularly say “Richard if talking was a job you could do it for a living!,” he was right!

I’d also say life isn’t a race – don’t compare yourselves to others in terms of what they have and you don’t have or vice versa. Just live the best you can, if it goes wrong pick yourself up and go again another day.

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

My late Dad, he always had the radio on, so I know that’s where my love comes from, he also loved his sport. Before he died we ticked the big sports events off we wanted to go to together, we saw England win the Ashes, Europe win the Ryder Cup, special moments I’ll always cherish.

What keeps you awake at night?

I have a close family member who is ill, I ask myself am I doing enough, should I be doing more, what would Dad think.

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

In 2009 I visited all 92 football league grounds in one season to watch a match, over 30,000 miles in eight months, at the time I was only one of a few people ever to do it. I did the first BBC Interview with Nigel Farage when he launched his Brexit Party, and got to put some tough questions to him. Matt Hancock the Health Secretary is everywhere at the moment in these strange times, I remember grilling him when he was Minister of State for Digital years ago. But as a reporter I meet some incredible people, there was a family where the little boy had a terminal illness, we organised for him to meet Santa, those things put your life in perspective.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

The last four seasons watching the Sky Blues, two promotions, two trips to Wembley and a win.

I brought a telescope recently, Rock and Roll! Binge watching Alan Partridge with a tin of Directors, it really is first class ;).

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

A BBQ for sure, nothing better in the summer, Surf and Turf on a barbie is the best!

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

It would be on the 18th Green at St Andrews with my Dad watching the pairings come up the final hole, with a picnic and some beers. There isn’t a day go by I don’t think about him and miss him dearly.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

Inter House football, running, always very competitive. I was in Austin.. “Come on the Greens..”

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

Yes Steve Dade (Dadey) we have remained close mates since we left school, I could ring him now for a beer, actually I might! I also got back in contact with Steve Ross ( Rossi ) a few years back, that was fun to catch up and relive old times.

Is there anyone you would like to track down? 

Anyone in my year really, I left as a fifth year in 1990 – You will find me on Twitter @RichWilliamsBBC


Births, Deaths & Marriages

A Warm Welcome For Baby Vinnie

Libbi Mead (nee Butler), Class of 2005, and her husband Craig are happy to announce the birth of their son, Vinnie David Michael Mead, who arrived on Monday 6 July weighing in at 7lb 7oz.

We were delighted to hear your news. Huge congratulations to you all.

Nick And Vicky Welcome Baby Archie

OP Nick Green, Class of 2008, and his wife Vicky are delighted to announce the birth of Archie Arthur Simon Green. Archie was born on Thursday 9 July at 6.09am weighing in at 7lb 11oz.

Best wishes and many congratulations to you all.

A New Arrival For Lucy Litwinko

On Tuesday 15 September 2020, Lucy Litwinko (nee Hayes), who was a pupil at Princethorpe College from 1994 to 2001, and her husband Jason, welcomed the arrival of their second child Zachary Gabriel Francis weighing in at 7lbs 8oz. 

Their daughter Sophia, who was baptised at Princethorpe's Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in 2014, has settled into the role of big sister really well.

Many congratulations from us all at Princethorpe, we were delighted to hear your news.

Charlotte And Luke Announce The Arrival Of Aurora-Rose

Charlotte Harris, who attended Princethorpe from 2003 to 2008, and her partner Luke are happy to announce the safe arrival of their daughter Aurora-Rose.

Congratulations to you all we were delighted to hear your wonderful news.

RIP Fr Dan O’Connor MSC

The Princethorpe Community was saddened to learn of the death, in Ireland, of former Headmaster, Fr Dan O’Connor MSC, on 22 July 2020, the day after his seventy-eighth birthday.

‘Dan’, as he was universally and affectionately known, joined the teaching staff at Princethorpe in 1968. Memories centre around his abilities as an incredibly effective Mathematics teacher, a keen sportsman, and someone with a very firm sense of faith and vocation, who also embraced exceptional people skills. He had the ability to get on with anyone, was amazingly inclusive and had a warm and engaging personality, with a quick wit and an amusing turn of phrase.

Growing up in Co. Cork, Dan O’Connor attended Sacred Heart College, Carraig na bhFear, before joining the novitiate of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in 1958, being ordained to the Priesthood at Moyne Park, Galway on 23rd July 1965, after which he completed a BA at University College, Cork in 1968.

At Princethorpe, Dan was a capable Head of Mathematics and his charges recall his willingness to spend as much time with them as they required, often well outside normal school hours. He sometimes feigned a lack of patience through great dramatic effect, by thumping the chalk on the board, often combined with a quick bark, much to the surprise and amusement of those in the classroom, as well as to the terror of those in the room next door!

His dedication to duty and selflessness continued when, on becoming Dean, with responsibility for boarders, he developed a relationship with the boarding community – numbering nearly two-hundred – based wholly on trust and mutual respect. Such was the strength of the relationship with the Spanish students, that they taught him O and A-level Spanish in their spare time. He built further on this success when he was thrust into the limelight assuming the headship of Princethorpe in 1984, a role which he willingly accepted even if he always gave the impression that he would have been happier on the back benches. He accomplished this task in a wonderfully professional way; his ability to establish trust and his motivational personality meant that everyone was willing to support and do their bit. Dan was unfailingly appreciative and wonderfully considerate. He trod a careful path which meant that, as a strong disciplinarian, everyone was somewhat frightened of him, yet the humility, fairness and kindness which shone through always triumphed.

Dan retained throughout his life a love of both football and hurling and in his time in England, he broadened his sporting interest to include rugby. Such was his power, strength and prowess that opposing teams avoided him as much as possible on the pitch! He was also able to give opponents a good run for their money on the squash courts.

Sadly, his role as Head was brought to a close almost overnight in 1986 when he found that he needed major heart surgery, handing the baton on to Fr Charles Sweeney MSC. Former staff speak of Dan’s sense of humour, when he spoke of spending time in hospital sharing a ward with the then head of Arnold Lodge School in Leamington - many wondered what their conversations might have been! And at another time when travelling to play the doctors at Binley Rugby Club, he had occasion to speak rather loudly to a certain northerner, asking him to 'remove his gum shield and I might understand you' to which the reply came, 'I do not have a gum shield in, Dan!'

Dan did not, however, confine himself to the role of educator at Princethorpe; his was a broader vision of service. Weekends and some early mornings would see him ministering in a variety of parishes within the Archdiocese where he was deeply loved and admired. Specifically, his relationship with the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association inspired and encouraged so many people, as did his presence at their many social gatherings.

Dan had an amazing ability to connect with people and was able to put anyone instantly at ease. He could break up a difficult silence with a witty retort, engage seriously when work was to be done and equally sensitively when the going was tough. He was scrupulously fair, rarely pulled rank, was amazingly level in judgement and displayed a facility of being close to people and assuring them that they alone mattered to him. This was very much revealed while he was Superior of the MSC house in Cork in the attention to detail he displayed in caring for sick and elderly members of the community and in his frequent visits to the sick of the parish; nothing was ever too much trouble for him.

Returning to further apostolates in Ireland in 1990, including Superior at Western Road and a member of the Provincial Leadership Team, Dan retired as Community Superior in Carraig na bhFear in 2015, eventually moving back to Western Road. Gradually his memory started to fail him, and his dementia got progressively worse. But he still had strong memories of events from the past and could pass very witty comments about someone from long ago, or equally on the exuberant pontificating of some member over supper! He moved to a nursing home in Ballincurrig in spring of this year, just before the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, where he was cared for wonderfully up until the time of his death.

Dan was acutely aware of how precious the important people in his own life were to him. He valued family, friends and community and was a man of deep gratitude. In all of Dan's life, ministry and activity, he lived out the fullness of the MSC spirit - willing to serve generously, energetically and caringly; to be present and give fully of himself, but without seeking the limelight. In the eulogy at Fr Dan O’Connor’s Requiem Mass, Deputy Provincial, Fr John Fitzgerald MSC, spoke of Dan’s constant companionship, his exemplary care, kindness, appreciation of others and his wonderful laugh and great smile.

We send our heartfelt condolences to Fr Dan’s family and friends and to his MSC confreres, but give thanks for the richness which he brought to Princethorpe and to all his other ministries.

Fr Daniel O’Connor MSC 21 July 1942 – 22 July 2020

A Requiem Mass, also streamed live, was held on Friday 24 July at 11:00 at Sacred Heart Church in Cork, concelebrated by Fr John Finn MSC (Superior, Cork house) and Fr Carl Tranter MSC OP (Provincial Leader), followed by a private family burial at Christ the King churchyard, Knocknagree, Co. Cork.

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RIP Paul Meston

Sad news about the death of OP Paul Meston reached us in the summer.

Paul who attended the College in the 1970s, passed away on Tuesday 28 July aged 57, a small funeral for family and close friends took place in Coventry on Friday 7 August.

Paul trained at LAMDA, performed in The Tempest at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre in 1990 before joining the National Theatre in 1992. He appeared in notable productions there including Robert Lepage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth directed by Richard Eyre, and Alan Cumming and designer-director Ultz’s adaptation of Yevgeny Shvarts’ Dragon.

Later Paul played an excellent Kreon in Kenneth McLeish’s reworking of Greek classics, Omma, and was a vivacious presence in Carol Ann Duffy’s vivid take on fairy stories, Grimm Tales at the Young Vic.

He was a spry, humane Figaro in Lee Hall’s adaptation of The Barber of Seville at Bristol Old Vic in 2006, and deftly dealt with the challenge of doubling up as Drona and Shakuni in choreographer Gauri Sharma Tripathi and director Stuart Wood’s Mahabharata at Sadler’s Wells in 2007.

Among his last performances on stage was the wonderfully debonair title role in Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s By Jeeves at the Landor Theatre in 2011.

On film, Meston’s most prominent role was Friar Francis in Joss Whedon’s glossy 2012 version of Much Ado About Nothing.

His television credits included Kavanagh QC, The Bill and Terry Pratchett’s The Colour of Magic, starring David Jason.

There will be a memorial celebration for him in London at a later date.

We send our sincere condolences to Paul's family and friends.


Toby Ties The Knot

Toby Harper-Lawrence (Class of 2014) was meant to get married on Saturday 2 May but as the country was still in lockdown the wedding had to wait. He wasn't even living with his future wife, Emma, at the time so they weren't even able to see each other very often! They were however lucky enough to get married the first day weddings were reinstated, Saturday 4 July, and they have been loving married life ever since! 

It was great to hear your news Toby and we love your lockdown hair!

Many congratulations to you both, we wish you a long and happy life together.


Alice And Tom's Brilliant Back Garden Wedding

The wedding of Alice Pickin (Class of 2012) and Tom Afford was supposed to take place back in April, but like so many due to the Covid-19 lockdown it unfortunately had to be postponed.

Alice wrote, "We didn't set a new date because the most important thing to us was that we could get married and so we planned to marry as soon as government rules allowed. As soon as we found out weddings could take place again we eagerly picked Saturday 18 July and decided to make the best of whatever we were allowed to do!"

"I have always wanted to get married in the Village Church where I grew up and then have a marquee Reception in my parents' garden. This could still go ahead, just on a smaller scale! So we were able to invite 28 of our closest friends and family, and we had an absolutely lovely and personal marriage service followed by an Afternoon Tea Reception in my parents' back garden."

"It really was the most wonderful day, and everyone put in extra effort to make it so special for us. We honestly don't feel like we missed out on a big wedding at all and we feel so lucky we were able to have such a perfect wedding day - it will certainly be memorable!"

We were delighted to hear their news and we wish them both all the very best for the future.

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Ben And Hannah Marry In Kent

Many congratulation to Ben Wilcox, a pupil at Princethorpe College from 1996 to 2001. Ben, who is now a Chartered Town Planner working in Plymouth, and his new wife Hannah got married in Kent at the end of August. The couple had originally planned the ceremony for May but, as it did for so many, the pandemic restrictions put an end to their nuptial plans.

Ben told us, "Whilst it was not the wedding we had planned, it was an amazing day spent with family and a few close friends."

We send our best wishes to Ben and Hannah for a wonderful life together.

Wedding Bells For OP Jacob Stone

We were delighted to hear that the wedding of OP Jacob Stone (Class of 2012) and his new wife, Katharine took place on Saturday 5 September.

Jacob wrote, "We had such a fantastic wedding weekend with two receptions over two days to ensure we were complying with Covid restrictions! We had our marriage ceremony at Katharine's Catholic Church on Saturday 5 September followed by a reception at a stately home and gardens in Tolpuddle, Dorset."

He continued, "Then on the Sunday we had some more guests for an Indian-themed garden party (as Katharine is half-Indian) with Indian food and decorations. We had such an amazing time and even though we could only have limited numbers of close family and friends present, we actually really enjoyed the opportunity we had to speak to each of our individual guests, rather than being overwhelmed with the 160 we had initially planned!"'

Jacob and Katharine had a brilliant honeymoon on two Greek islands, Rhodes and Symi, and are now back in Dorset ready to go back to work again.

Many congratulations to them both and we wish them every happiness for the future.

Will Harper-Lawrence Announces His Engagement

We were delighted to hear that former Head Boy, Will Harper-Lawrence, who was at Princethorpe College from 2005 to 2012, is engaged to be married.

After graduating from Edinburgh University, Will started training to be a paramedic, a job that he loves for its care of people, constant activity, and for not always knowing what to expect next! He met his future wife Becky when he was at university. She is a doctor and a great hockey player, who is as active and fun loving as he is. They got engaged in April, at a time when they were both working very much on the COVID frontline.

Their wedding plans are on hold until it becomes clearer what can be arranged in the next year but they are both very much looking forward to settling down to life together.

Many congratulations to you both, we were very pleased to hear your exciting news.

Memory Bank

Update From The Archives

I hope that everyone is keeping well in these uncertain times. I usually start this term’s edition of the OP newsletter by telling everyone how busy I have been and this year is no exception. Returning to work at the end of August has meant that I have been busy trying to catch up with the work that built up whilst I was away, as well as looking for different and dynamic ways for events to go ahead now that they have become ‘virtual’. I think the one thing that has really hit home to me since I returned to work is that there are undoubtedly some benefits to this new way of working as it allows for a wider audience to participate.

VSOP Reunion

The first event of the year to move online was the ‘Very Special Old Princethorpians’ Reunion that took place on Saturday 12 September. During the 2-hour Zoom session, it was a pleasure to be able to share information about some of the donations we have recently received (more on that later) and also to search through the Peeps to look at memories that past pupils had of their time at Princethorpe. It was also a great opportunity for the VSOPs to share some of their memories which is always a delight to listen to. The huge bonus of it being a virtual event is that some past pupils who would not normally be able to attend in person due to the distance they would have to travel were able to take part and reconnect with old friends

I have shared a poem written by Mary Margaret O’Connor from 1949 that strikes me as just as relevant today. It might spark your own memories of climbing to the top of the Tower (or even abseiling back down again). Please do email me at janetteratcliffe@princethorpe.co.uk or send me a tweet at @PFdn_Archives on Twitter if you would like to share, I’d love to hear them.

Heritage Open Day Virtual Tour

Our annual Heritage Open Day tour also moved online for the first time. Designed using Google Virtual Tour Creator, it is a self-guided tour around the college with key points of interest in each scene accompanied by a mixture of text, photographs or audio. Because we were not limited on time, Alex Darkes and I were able to include locations that would not normally be part of the tour including Switzerland, the Girls’ School (now G4) and the remains of the Gas Works for the Priory. At the point of writing this, we have had over 600 views which is very gratifying and the feedback we have had has been very positive. Plus, unlike our in-person events that are limited to a 2-hour slot on a Sunday, the tour is still available to view from the comfort of your own sofa just visit https://poly.google.com/u/0/view/a9JBrmdamFP

Archive Donations

When most people think of archives, they tend to think of paper records but, as I have mentioned before, one of the great things about being a school archivist is that we get a very diverse range of items donated.

The first item I wanted to tell you about came from Mary Wheildon during the Trinity Term. I returned to work after the summer to discover a brandy bottle in my office – it was empty I hasten to add! The bottle of Cormandon brandy from the Jarnac region was presented to the Wheildon family to thank them for hosting Beatrice Delachanel during the Christmas holidays in 1957. The bottle remained unopened for 45 years until circa. 2002 when two important events coincided. The Delachanel family returned on a visit on the occasion of Arthur Wheildon’s 90th Birthday. Not only did the name V.S.O.P (Very Special Old Princethorpians) take its inspiration in part from the label of that bottle but it was wonderful that Beatrice Delachanel was able to take part in the VSOP re-union in September from her home in Brussels.

Another significant donation came from Sister Mary Lawrence and Sister Mary Placid OSB. It was a delight to receive and the items help to give a real insight into religious life at Princethorpe. Alongside the varied books and leaflets, there were also embroidered holders for the Daily Office, certificates (including Sister Mary Lawrence’s teaching qualification from 1948), and a beautiful Postulator Cross in its original case which contains relics from Pope Pius X. The items have been catalogued at SMP.34.29 and I have already been able to share the beautiful hand-drawn illuminated manuscript (SMP.34.29.12) which details the different ceremonies an individual took part in on their path to being professed with Year 7 classes as part of their R.S. lessons. Poignantly, there was a handwritten label on the outside of the carrier bag written by Sister Mary Placid before her death in 2016 that read "Please offer these items to Princethorpe Priory. It all began there".

I hope that this update has given a reminder of just how special our Archive is here at the Princethorpe Foundation and for it to continue to grow, we are reliant upon donations. If you would like to donate anything to the Archive, please get in touch. We are very happy to receive scans of items if you do not want to part with the originals. We are looking for your memories too and would welcome old stories! To get in touch, please email me at janetteratcliffe@princethorpe.co.uk or phone me on 01926 634200 extension 334.

Finally, an apology…

It was very gratifying to return to work to an inbox full of enquiries, a number of which had been sent by past pupils and members of staff. Because of the number of other tasks that had also built up, I am still working my way through them so I apologise if you have not received a response yet. I aim to get back to you as soon as I can.



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St Mary's Priory School Hymn

Before 1940, the girls of St Mary's Priory School, Princethorpe, would have known this as their school hymn, after that date it was changed to Except the Lord Build the House.

The song was written by two of the nuns who lived at the Priory, with music by M.M. Mechtilde, O.S.B. and words by M. M. Paul, O.S.B. Unheard for almost 80 years, the song has been brought back to life. Having recently unearthed the sheet music and lyrics from the school archive, the hymn has been newly recorded by Gil Cowlishaw, Princethorpe College's Director of Music.

The song tells the story of the nuns' journey from Montargis, France in 1792 to eventually settle in Princethorpe.

Accompanied by photos from the archives you can listen to St Mary's Priory original school hymn here: https://vimeo.com/457741565

Princethorpe Motoring Festival 'On The Road Again' In 2021

This year should have seen the 25th Motoring Festival at Princethorpe, but we couldn't be there in person, so we attended in spirit with a whistle-stop tour of Motoring Festivals from the past.

The first mention of the Motoring Festival, at the time referred to as the Princethorpe Motor Show, was in an article written by Alex Darkes for the Tribune Magazine of 1995. In it, he mentioned some preliminary ideas for the event and put a call out for interested exhibitors and parents to get in touch to help organise it for the 30th June 1996. It must have garnered enough interest as the very first Motoring Festival did indeed go ahead on that date.

It was a success from the start with nearly 60 cars taking part in the first festival and the Rover P5 Owners’ Club holding their West Midlands regional rally at the event. While John Boyes won first place for Best Car for his 1931 Lagonda Tower and Steve Allan won first place for his Morgan 3-wheeler, it was the winner of second place in both categories that caught my eye whilst looking at the magazines. Mr and Mrs D.H. Saunders exhibited a ‘Docker’ Daimler Continental which had been shown at Motor Shows as a prototype but never made it to production. This particular car was used by Lady Docker herself.

Some of you might not know but there is a link between the Docker Family, Daimler, and the Foundation School, Crackley Hall. After the Sisters of Mercy purchased Crackley Hall in 1944 from John Siddeley, 1st Baron Kenilworth (another family with a strong motoring heritage), they realised that they needed more space for the school itself. The Sisters purchased the Gables in 1946 and it then formed the main school building for generations of the school’s pupils. The Gables was purchased in 1902 by Frank ‘Dudley’ Docker and the family lived there until he moved to Amersham in 1934. Dudley Docker also arranged the purchase of Daimler Motors in 1910 and his son, Bernard, who would have grown up in the Gables, was also chairman of the Daimler Company. After the Docker family sold it in 1934, The Gables was then known as the Armstrong-Siddeley Hostel presumably because it was used to house members of staff there.

The weather in 1997 was not very helpful with torrential rain making the Orchard waterlogged so that the festival had to be moved to the hardstanding on the playground. This didn’t stop the dedicated motorists though with more than 35 exhibitors taking part. Alongside the scoop of the new Skoda Octavia which wasn’t being released in the UK for another year and Coventry University displaying a range of ¼ scale styling models, Les Maybury won the prize for Best Condition Award for his Jaguar XK120 which was on the road again for the first time in 15 years after extensive restoration.

Never one to stand still, Alex Darkes and his team looked for ways to innovate and diversify the Motoring Festival. In 2002, the first Road Run was held in which cars completed a route of about 30 miles around local countryside. This has been a core component of the festival ever since. From 2007, a check point was added to the route where participants received a stamp part way through the route on their stamp card, along with the coveted commemorative plaque for taking part of course. A tradition that continues today.

After commercial vehicles joined the range of vehicles on display from 2005, the Motoring Festival finally broke the barrier of having 100 exhibitors at the event in 2006. It had come extremely close for the previous couple of years. A record 130 vehicles of all shapes and sizes were exhibited with over 60 taking part in the morning’s road run. It seems to be particularly fitting that this happened on what was the festival’s 10th anniversary.

Over the years since the Motoring Festival was founded, Princethorpe College has been proud to welcome all manner of people and vehicles to the grounds including cars, motorbikes, commercial vehicles (including a gyrocopter in 2012), dedicated enthusiasts from DAF, MG and Triumph Stag owners’ clubs, and members from the Old Lawnmower Club. None of this would be possible without the hard work and dedication from Alex Darkes and his team to whom we owe a massive thank you and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2021!

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Missing & Found

Jo Wagstaff Searching For Old St Joseph's Friend

Jo Wagstaff got in touch with the Old Princethorpians towards the end of May asking if we could help her track down former St Joseph's friend and classmate Alison Davenport.

Jo, who attended St Joseph's from 1965 to 1973, remembers that Alison's father was a publican at the Albion in Kenilworth in the 1970s. She told us that Alison left St Joseph's Convent School in the very late 70s and joined the RAF and that she went to visit her at RAF Buchan in Scotland in about 1982.  

Sadly Alison isn't on our database so if any other former classmates are in touch with her please email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk and we can put the two ladies back in touch.



OP Updates

Former Foundation Archivist, Nick Baker, Ordained As Deacon

Former Foundation Archivist, Nick Baker, was ordained Deacon into the Anglican Communion by The Rt Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough, in a ceremony held in Leicester Cathedral on Sunday 27 September.

This was something of a ceremony with a difference, as ordinations usually take place in crowded cathedrals. With current Covid precautions, the two ordinands were allowed a total of four guests each, which meant that the clergy outnumbered the congregation, making this a very focused and personal occasion.

A keen collector of antiquarian and rare books, as well as a seasoned Dr Who and James Bond aficionado, Nick joined the staff at Princethorpe in 2014, having previously spent nine years with the historic collections at Eton College and later as librarian at Hereford Cathedral, where the mediaeval Mappa Mundi is preserved. In the three years when he was at Princethorpe he was able to firmly integrate the archive into the daily life of the three schools and found himself as custodian of several additional collections relating to St Mary’s Priory, St Joseph’s School, Abbotsford School and The Crescent School. An avid researcher and capable historian, he joined forces with Alex Darkes to author the book A Spirit of Family, charting the first 50 years of Princethorpe College, which was published for the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2016. Nick has also been a lively contributor to the Arts Society lecture cycle for the past six years and on duty for some of our Heritage Open Days. One of the great hallmarks of Nick is the way in which he was able to connect so enthusiastically and warmly with all of the Princethorpe community.

Nick first felt the call to ordained ministry in his late teens, but only started to explore it a few years ago, subsequently training for the last three years at the College of St Hild’s Sheffield centre. Nick joins the Wigston Benefice in south Leicester where he will serve his curacy with a team which looks after three churches. We wish him every blessing and happiness in his ministry.

Pictured left to right: The Rt Reverend Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, Bishop of Loughborough; The Rt Reverend Martyn Snow, Bishop of Leicester and Nick Baker after the ceremony.

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OP Simon Fisher Commissioned To The Grenadier Guards

After completing his studies OP and ex-Head Boy, Simon Fisher (Class of 2015), attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned in a somewhat scaled down parade at the beginning of April this year. He immediately joined his new regiment, The Grenadier Guards. At that time the Grenadiers were responsible for all of the mobile testing sites across London and as such, alongside his team of eleven soldiers, as part of Operation Rescript, Simon was straightaway set to work setting up testing sites across London. In total, while he was there, his team managed to test well over three thousand people. His was just one of many teams from across the Army, who were engaged in doing hugely valuable work across the country supporting the efforts of the NHS and the Department of Health.

Once the lockdown began to lift and some sense of normality returned, Simon then began his Phase 2 training which consisted of 12 weeks in the Brecon Beacons completing arduous infantry specific training. 

Simon said, "I never expected to be thrown straight into leading my soldiers on such an important task so soon after commissioning. However, the training and experience I received from as far back as my time at Princethorpe certainly stood me in good stead."

Simon continued, "The Army is often portrayed as a monolith in today’s society but I would be more than willing to offer any advice or answer any questions that Princethorpians may have about joining the Armed Forces. Please do not hesitate to contact me at: Simon.9fisher@gmail.com."

Many congratulations on your commissioning Simon, we were delighted to hear of your success and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

The Army's own report on the scaled down coronavirus commissioning parade can be read here.

Simon is pictured at work at a mobile testing site. 


Bethan Part Of Lightning Squad In Rachael Heyhoe Flint Trophy

OP Bethan Ellis, Class of 2017, is currently studying at Loughborough University and this summer she was selected to play for Loughborough Lightning in their 15-man squad for the Rachel Heyhoe Flint Trophy.

Bethan gave us an update, saying, “Due to the Coronavirus pandemic this year we played in a shortened professional regional competition called the Rachael Hayhoe-Flint Trophy. It took place towards the end of August and throughout September. I was selected as part of the Lightning Cricket squad, which represented the East Midlands, and played in the North League against Central Sparks, Northern Diamonds and North West Thunder. As a team we only managed to win two out of the six games but were involved in three very close matches that we unfortunately finished on the wrong side off. Collectively we played some very good cricket throughout the competition, especially as we were quite an inexperienced side. As an all-rounder I opened the batting and bowled in the middle/end overs.”

Bethan continued, “My highlights included opening the batting with Sarah Bryce, together we managed to post some strong opening partnerships, including 148 against Central Sparks and I personally finished on 62 in that game. Then throughout the tournament, playing both with and against current England players I learned a lot about my own game and I enjoyed the challenge of testing myself against them.”

Bethan finished, “Although it was a short competition it was a great experience and I really enjoyed being part of such a professional set up, and getting to play at some of the best grounds in the country.”

It all sounds amazing Bethan, it is always wonderful to hear of your success. We understand that you have been helping Foundation pupils too with your coaching support for the Warwickshire Girls’ Development Squad so thank you for inspiring them too.

Bethan is pictured playing in her Lightning matches and back when she was a Year 7 at Princethorpe too.

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Two Familiar Faces Return To Princethorpe

Two Old Princethorpians, Sophie Rejali and Megan Lewis (both Class of 2017) have returned to work as trainee teachers at their former school. Sophie is teaching Religious Studies whilst Megan is teaching PE, they are both training with the Lion Alliance.

Sophie started at Princethorpe in Year 7 back in 2010 joining from Crackley Hall School. She went on to study Philosophy, Religion and Ethics at the University of Birmingham. Sophie said, “All through school I wanted to be a teacher, and studying for my university degree only confirmed this.” Sophie graduated (at home) this summer and is now training to be a teacher on the Lion Alliance’s Initial Teacher Training Programme. She will spend time in school and at the University of Warwick to complete her training. Sophie continued, “After living in a big city at a university with thousands of people, it’s really nice to be back at Princethorpe with so many familiar faces. I’m really excited to be joining the Religious Studies and Psychology Departments to complete my teacher training.”

Megan first came to Princethorpe in early 2011 midway through Year 7, she was always passionate about her sport enjoying all of the different disciplines of offer at the College. Megan told us, "For the last three years I have been at Nottingham Trent University doing a degree in Sport and Exercise Science. I knew before I started that I wanted to go into teaching and ideally wanted to come back to Princethorpe to train. It’s really good to be back and has definitely made the start of my teacher training easier as I know how everything works and some of the staff!"

We have been delighted to welcome both Sophie and Megan back and wish them both well in their new roles here at Princethorpe College.

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Robert Seeks Experience On Big Boats

It was great to hear from Robert Hedderwick (who was at Princethorpe College from 2013 – 2018). Robert went on to study a BTEC in Engineering and really enjoyed the diversity and practical assignments offered on the course. He successfully completed his qualification this June.

Having always wanted to pursue a nautical career, Robert has recently completed the exams and training needed to work commercially on both yachts and sail boats. This included obtaining his RYA Day Skipper Certificate (both theory and practical), his Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) Fire and Personal Survival, Fire Prevention and Firefighting qualification, his MCA medical certificate and two powerboat qualifications.

Robert told us, "I have always wanted to pursue a career working on boats and having completed my qualifications I can't wait to get started. I am keen to gain experience as a deckhand on either sailing boats or yachts anywhere in the world. I bring with me a hands on attitude, a willingness to learn and of course plenty of fresh strong coffee!"

If you have any contacts that could help Robert gain experience please do email oldprincethorpians@princethorpe.co.uk and we will put you in touch.


Olivia Graduates From Liverpool And Leaves Princethorpe Too

Olivia Pope (Class of 2017) has been studying at the University of Liverpool and completed her degree this summer. Since then we have enjoyed welcoming Olivia back to Princethorpe in the summer to work in the school shop, helping to ensure all the incoming pupils into Crackley Hall, Crescent School and Princethorpe College were fitted out in their new uniforms.

This autumn Olivia has begun her graduate career working for Leicestershire Police, she told us, "I will look back at my time at Princethorpe, both in education and employment, with very fond memories and always be grateful for the life-long friends I have made."

Olivia's graduation was sadly cancelled but she shared a picture of her celebrating with her friend in their own mini-graduation outside the red-brick building at Liverpool!

Congratulations on completing your studies Olivia and the very best of luck with your new career.

Physiotheraphy Is Just Perfect For Grace

OP Grace Blackhall (Class of 2018) is now a second year BSc Physiotherapy student from UEA. As well as studying a relatively intense degree she is also the author of the blog learningtobeaphysio 

Grace told us:

"I love my degree, I would describe it as the perfect marriage between patient interaction and hands on treatment. Originally, I dreamed of studying Medicine but life events directed me towards Physiotherapy and I have never looked back. I would recommend my degree to anyone who wishes to work with others to help them or who is considering a healthcare career. The role of the physiotherapist has expanded over the years from musculoskeletal, respiratory, neurological and paediatric management to involvement in women’s health and recently to First Contact Physios. It is a rapidly expanding profession with scope to specialise in many areas."

She continued, "If anyone would be interested in learning more about Physiotherapy or would like advice about studying it at university please email me at: grace.blackhall@gmail.com."

And finished, "Alongside my degree and blog, I participate in three societies. Although this requires great time management skills, you can always find time to do the activities you enjoy."

It was great to hear from you Grace and to hear of your passion for physiotheraphy and thank you for your offer of support for anyone interested in Physiotheraphy.

It's All About The Guitar For Georgina

In the summer we heard from OP Georgina Dadson, Class of 2014. Always a talented musician, Georgina went on to study at the Birmingham Conservatoire and graduated in the summer of 2018 taking the prestigious Doris Newton Music Club Prize. Georgina then moved into Artist Management and worked for IMG Artists for two year. But her desire to play and perform always remained strong.

At that time Georgina told us, “I am looking to concentrate more on playing and teaching guitar and, once the lockdown is over, I want to perform with my voice and guitar duo, The Georgina Duo. I am part of the NYGE (National Youth Guitar Ensemble) Fellowship which is made up of people studying or recently graduated from music college. I joined the NYGE when I was in the Sixth Form at Princethorpe and it's what inspired me to go to music college, I highly recommend it.”

The National Youth Guitar Ensemble is open to students aged 12-25 and Grade 5 to diploma level and Georgina has offered to chat to any students that are interested. More information on the NYGE can be found here: nyge.org.uk.

We have since heard that Georgina has chosen to study a Masters and is now at Cardiff University.

It was really great to hear from Georgina, we hope your studies are going well and do let us know when you are next performing. 

Ben Oliver Launches Grad Canvas

OP Ben Oliver (Class of 2016) graduated from Cardiff University this year and launched a new platform to support graduates like himself. His new Facebook page Grad Canvas is a place to share advice and information informally to help all graduates unsure of their next steps.

Ben explains, “With the employment climate the way it is, I know for a fact that many grads are struggling. That made me realise the importance of using those around you to help you learn more about yourself. We all have contacts, skills and insights that others may benefit from."

Grad Canvas is his new community area for recent graduates entering the challenging COVID career climate. It’s a place where graduates can look out for each other and support each other whether by providing content, raising questions or offering advice.

Ben continues, “I know people need support so let’s use the networks we all have to help each other out. Regardless of your career interests, there may well be others looking in the same direction.”

Wanting to get as many graduates involved as possible Ben is reaching out to the Old Princethorpian community and if you are interested in finding out more about Grad Canvas then you can get in contact with Ben here.

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