Discover OVs through our regular profiles.
Andrea Palk MBE (née Morgan)
Andrea Palk MBE (E 88-90) joined King’s in the Sixth Form, having previously been at St Mary’s Convent, Worcester. While taking her A levels of Biology, Chemistry and Geography, Andrea was also a very active member of the School, involved in both the Cross Country and Rowing squads.
Her love of rowing continued at Exeter University, where she read Geography and Biology. It is also where she became involved with the Exeter University Officer Training Corps, through which she took a Territorial Commission at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. This experience inspired a career in the military, specifically the Royal Air Force.
Andrea took some time after University to travel around India and then joined the RAF as a Training and Personnel Officer. She served for a total of 16 years, leaving with the rank of Wing Commander. Tours included Senior Personnel and Welfare Officer in Afghanistan, supporting British Forces, training of new recruits joining the RAF, Personal Staff Officer to an Air Rank Officer and post-graduate training at the Defence Academy, Shrivenham.
In 2003, Andrea was made a Member of the British Empire for her work helping to organise the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. She also represented the RAF in cross-country, triathlon, tennis and bobsleigh and travelled extensively.
After retiring from Regular RAF Service, Andrea developed a portfolio of adjudication jobs. She now sits as an independent panel member assessing applications to purchase properties affected by the construction of the High Speed 2 train line and the Heathrow runway expansion project. She is also the military specialist on appeal tribunal hearings for the War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme for service personnel injured through Military Service. After re-joining the RAF as a Reserve Officer, Andrea took on a role as the Deciding Officer for Service Complaints, dealing with a wide range of issues from harassment and bullying to pay and conditions. This is in addition to her role as a Trustee at Wycliffe College on both the Welfare Committee and the Council of Trustees.
Andrea is married with two children and lives in Gloucestershire. She still competes in triathlons and enjoys walking her dog.
Major Andrew Wright
At King’s, Andy Wright (Cr 92-03) was an active member of the School community. He enjoyed Himalayan Club treks as well as playing rugby and cricket, and being a member of the CCF. In his final year, Andy was made a Monitor, while he studied Maths, Physics and Economics for A Level.
On leaving King’s Andrew went to Imperial College London from where he graduated with an MEng in Aeronautical Engineering.
Andy Joined the Army in 2008 and deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in 2011, where he was in charge of delivery of close air and fire support for a group of 120 soldiers. He has since progressed through a number of roles and served on exercise across the world, from Canada to Australia.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Andy furthered his education at Cranfield University with a postgraduate diploma in Battlespace Technology alongside a Chartered Project Management qualification.
Last year Andy returned to Afghanistan, this time to Kabul, where he was director of a team that was training, advising and assisting Afghan Special Security Forces in the capital and surrounding areas.
2021 finds Andy seconded to the Cabinet Office, where he is a Planning Team Lead in the Civil Contingencies Secretariat; his focus is on developing and assuring winter resilience plans across government departments with a particular focus on protests, borders and transport.
Andy recently returned to King’s to address the School at the 2021 Remembrance Day Service.
Since leaving King’s, OV Emma Jarvis (Ch 07-14) has been working hard to get her accountancy career up and running and has just successfully secured her current role as Group Financial Accountant at Burberry plc, a large FTSE 100 company and global luxury fashion brand.
Emma has always been an industrious student, with a love for numbers and languages. While at King’s, in addition to her A Levels of Maths, Further Maths, French and German, Emma also won Regional Young Enterprise Managing Director of the Year, was Head of the MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) Society, captained the 2nd VII Netball team and met Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace as he presented her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Emma was also a School Monitor!
After completing her A Levels, Emma started at Bath University. However, this was short-lived as a great opportunity with global accountancy firm KPMG arose with their School Leaver Programme – a prestigious programme with only a small cohort accepted each year. As such, Emma parted ways with Bath University, taking some time out to travel the world before joining KPMG in 2016.
Emma worked with KPMG for five years on their School Leaver Programme, which meant she was simultaneously working for the firm whilst being sponsored to do her BSc in Accountancy at University of Birmingham. KPMG not only financially supported Emma to complete her degree, but also funded her chartered accountant qualification, which she achieved in July 2021.
Emma has very fond memories of King’s and believes both her confidence and her love for travel are thanks to the School and the many opportunities she received here.
Emma says, “I absolutely loved my time at King’s and look back on it very fondly. It was such a great place to build confidence, grow and take the many opportunities thrown at me over the years. I remain passionate about learning and am excited to be involved in the retail and fashion industry, working for such an exciting and prestigious company.”
A multi-talented broadcast journalist, Jenny Steel’s (Br 96-98) journey to her current, and dream, job did not take a direct route.
Jenny was a very musical pupil at King’s, putting her ‘cello skills to good use in the School orchestra, along with being a medal-winning indoor rower. The time she spent at King’s has left a lasting impression; especially the tuck shop and English classes in Edgar Tower!
Jenny continued her education at Nottingham Trent University, with a BA in English Language and Linguistics. Straight after university, Jenny briefly worked in Recruitment, did a few seasons as a chalet host, and then moved to London, where she worked in Media Sales.
Having decided that sales was not where her heart lay, Jenny moved to New York to study and become a personal trainer and boxer, during which time she had five amateur bouts. Returning to the UK, Jenny enjoyed a brief period as a substitute teacher but decided to try something completely different and set out to sea to be a children’s councillor on a cruise ship.
After leaving land for four years, Jenny settled on the Caribbean island of St Maarten, re-instigating her role as a school teacher and starting her career in radio with her own show.
Jenny’s love for radio grew so much that she returned to the UK and her alma mater, Nottingham Trent University, to complete an MA in Broadcast Journalism and properly ignite her career in radio.
Better known by her professional name ‘Shine Steel’, Jenny’s current job as a radio newsreader for Global Media (Heart and Capital Radio in Yorkshire) means she is, in her own words, “living my dream”. Jenny is also a freelance voice artist, recording commercials, explainers, podcasts, automated voicemails and even cartoon and video game characters – so if you haven’t heard Jenny’s voice yet, you will undoubtedly hear it soon!
As we celebrated the 118th OV Reunion Weekend, it was the perfect opportunity to catch up with OVs who have not returned to King’s for many years. Giorgio Subiotto (Ca 80-85) is one such OV whose international career has taken him far away from College Green but who was delighted to return and retrace his steps in School.
Currently a partner at offshore law firm – Ogier – and head of Ogier’s global Latin American practice, Giorgio lives and works in the Cayman Islands.
While at King’s, Giorgio was heavily involved in all aspects of School life: not only a School Monitor, he was also Head of a boarding house (Castle House), a member of the Boat Club and rowing squad, a violinist and played guitar, as well as playing rugby! Achieving high grades in his A Levels of French, German, Maths and Economics, Giorgio moved to London and then to Paris to complete a Joint Honours Law degree in English Law and French Law at the Universities of London, King’s College and Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne. Not one to rest on his laurels, Giorgio then went on to complete his Master of Laws at the University of Michigan Law School, USA.
Giorgio began his legal career in London, with one of the major City firms, Linklaters, where his training included a stint in Linklaters’ Paris office. After finishing his training, Giorgio was sent to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with one of the major law firms there, Pinheiro Neto – Advogados. From that point on, his centre of gravity shifted to the other side of the Atlantic, first to New York, where Giorgio worked with one of the major Wall Street firms, Sullivan & Cromwell, and then to the Cayman Islands, where Giorgio has settled since 2002.
Giorgio was fluent in English, French, German, Italian when he left King’s. He added Spanish to that list, during a gap year spent in Spain (followed by an A Level in Spanish that he took in his second term of university), and then also Portuguese, during his stint in Sao Paulo. Languages have been essential in his career past and present.
Dr Sam Keyes
OV Dr Sam Keyes (Cl 03-05) joined his father, former Headmaster Tim Keyes (Hon OV), and brother Bill Keyes (Ch 98-07) at King’s Worcester in the Sixth Form, studying Mathematics, Physics and English Literature.
A Levels aside, Sam made the most of his years at King’s, participating in the Himalayan Club, Sailing, Sub-Aqua, and Debating, and getting his eyes plucked out as the Earl of Gloucester in the School production of King Lear. Sam was also a member of the Young Enterprise, and wrote for the School’s student paper, the King’s Herald. Not only that, but Sam was also a House Prefect, living up to the adage: ‘if you want to get something done, give it to someone busy’!
After leaving King’s in 2005, Sam spent a year in Industry working on military radar at local defence contractor QinetiQ, before studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Southampton. His studies included a six-month stint in Paris at specialist engineering university ESTACA, and an internship at GE Aviation, working on next-generation carbon fibre composites for airframes and Koenigsegg and McLaren supercars.
Having graduated in 2010 with first-class honours, and with a newfound taste for research, Sam went on to pursue a PhD in Multidisciplinary Bio-engineering at the μ-Vis Centre for X-ray Computer Tomography. This work used very big particle accelerators to visualise and understand very tiny biological systems, with a particular focus on the way plant root systems absorb nutrients and anchor plants into the soil. Following his PhD, and marriage to Colette the day after submitting his final thesis, a tenure-track academic fellowship offered further opportunities for research and teaching. This work drew together insights from engineering, physics, biology, mathematics and big-data computing to understand complex biological systems, and involved experiments at national X-ray and neutron facilities across Europe, and a research residency in Tskuba, Japan.
In 2017, Sam moved away from the world of academia to pursue a career in patent law with the leading intellectual property firm D Young & Co LLP, having been tempted into the patent profession by its beguiling mix of science, wordcraft, debating and strategic thinking. Sam’s role involves working with inventors to prepare and file new patent applications, prosecuting patent applications to grant in the UK, Europe and other jurisdictions worldwide, and preparing infringement and validity opinions to assist clients with determining their freedom to operate. This work involves close contact with creative and talented inventors, and keeps Sam at the forefront of a range of exciting technical fields, with a particular focus on 5G telecommunications, artificial intelligence and medical devices. Sam’s current role includes a secondment in the patent department of a FTSE 100 technology company, handling freedom-to-operate matters for a wide portfolio of products and projects. Having been on the fence between the arts and the sciences throughout his schooldays, patent law has finally resolved the tension between the two. Away from work, first daughter Martha joined the family in the summer of 2019.
As part of his second career in patents, Sam has dedicated considerable time studying to add ‘attorney’ to his already impressive CV by completing the particularly fiendish UK and European patent exams this year. Sam and Colette have also just this month welcomed their second daughter, Mabel, into the world, and it was just minutes after Mabel arrived that Sam received news he had successfully passed the final hurdle to dual-qualify as a European and Chartered (UK) Patent Attorney.
Away from work, Sam keeps the literary fires alive by writing poetry and essays on a range of subjects, which have been published by a variety of outlets. More on Sam’s literary projects can be found at samuelkeyes.com
As OV Franny Moyle’s (Co 80-82) latest book, The King’s Painter: The Life and Times of Hans Holbein, hits our shelves, it seems a timely opportunity to look at her illustrious career.
Franny’s time at School set the scene for her future career, excelling in her studies in English.
St John’s College, Cambridge, was Franny’s next port of call, where a degree in Art History cemented her onwards path to the BBC’s Arts department as a producer and director.
It wasn’t long before Franny’s BBC career trajectory took off as she was appointed Creative Director, Arts, where she was responsible for all arts programmes from the BBC’s Specialist Factual department. Having made such a great impact in this role, it was just two short years later that Franny became the Head of Arts Commissioning for the BBC encompassing all of its UK productions across both analogue and digital channels.
Although an incredible position, Franny’s heart was leading her in a different direction and so she stepped down from her BBC role and launched into the world of freelance and non-fiction writing. Franny once again showed how hard work leads to great things with huge success with her writing.
Franny’s first book, Desperate Romantics: The Private Lives of the Pre-Raphaelites in 2009 was adapted into the BBC drama serial Desperate Romantics. Franny published her second book in 2011, to critical acclaim: Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde. Franny’s focus then turned to the man who is arguably Britain’s most famous but equally least understood artist, with her book Turner: the Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W Turner.
Now turning her attention to a different artist and era, Franny’s latest book that has just been released centres on Hans Holbein, the religious artist and painter of the court of Henry VIII – Hans was responsible for the infamous portrait of Henry VIII that we all know so well. Although it has only been on our shelves for a matter of weeks, this latest book has been similarly incredibly well received. In testament to its success, the book was serialised and read by Sir Simon Russell Beale as BBC radio 4’s ‘Book of the Week’ in May 2021.
Ensuring that she keeps her hand in with current artists, Franny is also still heavily involved with her local theatre, the Hackney Empire, in London.
Eric Mair (75-77) came to King’s School in Sept 1975 when his family moved from Wick, Caithness, feeling like ‘a fish out of water’ as King’s was his fourth school at that stage in life. He was, nevertheless, welcomed by his classmates in Lower 4A and managed to navigate his way between classes and subjects for Lower 4th and Upper 4th years.
Shortly after starting at King’s, his mother died and Eric remembers and appreciates being well supported by his classmates and teachers through his two years at King’s. His academic abilities were varied, as recently unearthed school reports and work books from his attic show. Interestingly, Eric did well in English, Latin, History, and Art and poorly in sciences, which was ironic as seen later in his schooling life and career!
The family moved from Worcester in July 1977 to Crieff, Perthshire, where he settled into school at Morrison’s Academy and completed school education there in 1982.
In that first year after leaving King’s, Eric had another go at understanding the sciences, as the Scottish schooling curriculum then was similar to what he had learned in Worcester. When he finally ‘got it’, sciences became a strong subject and he eventually completed the necessary exams and went to Edinburgh University to study Medicine in 1982.
In 1985, during his Medical studies, Eric joined the Royal Air Force as a Medical Cadet. After completing his medical degree in 1987, he worked as a RAF Medical Officer at various civilian and military locations around the UK and Europe as well as active service as an RAF MO during Gulf War 1 in 1991. During his time in the RAF Eric trained as a General Practitioner and after his military commission, returned to Edinburgh where he has been a GP partner since 1995.
Eric has medical interests in minor surgery and also teaching and training undergraduate medical students and postgraduate doctors and has been a GP trainer since 1999. There have been many developments in primary care since the mid-1990s and with recent changes in working practice during the Covid19 pandemic, Eric approaches the later years of his working life with reflections on an interesting and varied journey throughout his medical career.
Eric added, “With my King’s School experience, and subject strengths then, my life and work journey may have been quite different had my family stayed in Worcester in 1977!”
Eric is a keen golfer, enjoys gardening and watching rugby, going to the theatre and musicals and occasionally plays the piano. His one and only music exam sitting was Grade 5 piano, Worcester 1977, which he passed by 1 point!
He is married with two stepchildren and four step-grandchildren.
We were delighted to host OV Edward Wilson (Cr 05-09) as a contributor and panellist at our recent Languages Insights Evening. Ed’s journey with languages has taken him around the world and he is currently living in Sweden, working as a Creative Planner for IKEA Communications.
At school, Ed was not only Head of House, but also heavily involved in a number of school activities, providing a good grounding for his future roles in marketing and communications! He took part in the Duke of Edinburgh awards, achieving bronze level, Young Enterprise, and was on the Charity Committee.
Ed studied French at A Level alongside Art and Economics. Out of 6,235 entries in GCE Fine Art, Ed was amongst the top ten in the country who achieved the highest overall marks. He went on to the University of Bristol where he studied dual honours French and Italian, taking on Italian Ab Initio. With a year abroad working as an office assistant in Paris and a housekeeping supervisor at a luxury hotel in Rome, his attitude towards his career changed. He had always thought he would like to be in a career where he was speaking in foreign languages every day, however he quickly recognised that learning about different cultures and what motivates people around the world was most important to him.
This led to a keen interest in marketing and communications and finding a role that allowed him to work globally and, in his own words, to “scratch the travel itch”. A stint in London found Ed working on digital marketing campaigns for Hertz, Canon UK and Betty Crocker but his time there was short lived as he jumped at the opportunity through OV friend Sam Geuter (W 04-07) to apply for a role in Gothenburg.
Ed moved to Sweden in November 2015 and hasn’t looked back. His first role was Senior Strategist for digital agency AKQA, which is part of the WPP Group, representing well-known brands such as Volvo Cars, Nivea, H&M and Nike. During his time with AKQA, Ed was able to take advantage of a host of international travel opportunities to places such as Shanghai, New York and rather hair-raisingly a trip to Seoul in South Korea in February 2020, where he landed to find an email from the CEO of WPP Group banning all but essential travel to Asia due to the hit of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Now a Creative Planner for IKEA Communications, Ed is passionate about his current position. He added: “I feel very privileged to work with products that will be an essential part of people’s day to day lives”.
For Ed, languages have unlocked so many opportunities. He explained, “Studying languages and cultures instils an innate curiosity about the world and helps us to understand other people and different perspectives.”