Discover OVs through our weekly profiles.
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.”
Whilst at King’s it is true to say that Sophie Edgar-Andrews (S 03-08) embraced every moment of her time here, being Head of School House and taking part in the Himalayan Club, the Duke of Edinburgh and Young Enterprise Schemes: her YE company qualified to represent England in the European Trade Fair. She also spent time working with our archivist in the School Archives. Her A levels were Biology, Chemistry and English Literature.
After School, Sophie spent her gap year working for Natural England and then went on to study Molecular Cell Biology at the University of York where she achieved a First Class honours degree with distinction. While studying, she undertook an internship at the University of Tokyo and decided to pursue a career in research. After graduating, Sophie completed a DPhil (PhD) at the University of Oxford in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine. During her time at Oxford, Sophie researched viral immunology, primarily focussing on immune evasion in HIV-1 and HIV-2 infection. She also spent time as a Visiting Research Fellow both in China (at Capital Medical University in Beijing) and again in Japan (at Hokkaido University).
Sophie’s love of medical research and analysis led her to work as a Consultant to the World Health Organisation, where she was part of the Health Emergencies Preparedness and Response team, supporting the management and analysis of data in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. She is now the Deputy Head of Regional Analysis and Assessment at the Joint Biosecurity Centre, supporting the UK Government’s COVID-19 response. Sophie leads a team of analysts who assess COVID-19 in the UK at a sub-national level, as part of the newly formed UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
Following on from International Women’s Day, we are really pleased to feature Stella Din-Jacob (Co 85-86). Although Stella was only at King’s for a short while, she formed some lifelong friendships with some of her King’s contemporaries. Stella was a very popular, gregarious student who joined King’s from her home of Nigeria, where she returned to in 1993 when she qualified as a lawyer at the Nigerian Law School, following a three-year Law degree course at University of Kent. Not only is Stella a qualified lawyer, she is also one of the most accomplished broadcast media professionals in Nigeria.
Stella has over 20 years of senior broadcast news experience, including roles as National Head of News and Current Affairs at Silverbird Television and two years of consulting with the Nigerian Police Force. More recently, and in her current role, Stella is Director of News at TVC Communications. TVC television consistently ranks as the number two television channel in Lagos with over 4 million viewers per day. A message that Stella is keen to share with King’s students – girls and well as boys – is that although life can seem cruel, you always have options : you can choose to rise above your pain or you can allow it subjugate you; it is in your hands to ensure that even when it seems like nothing is working, your resilience and dogged determination will get you to where others believed you couldn’t reach.
She says, “My life experience has taught me to focus even when nothing is going in the way that I have planned but despite the many challenges that distract, discourage and throw me off balance, I have continued to remain dogged in my determination to get to the top. If you have to shift the goal post to attain some level of progress, all well and good, BUT never allow the distractions to deter the vision.
We live in a world and in times which are a far cry from when I was a student at King’s, and with the new thinking and all of the issues that can pose a series of complex problems for our young students today, the key to weathering the tide is knowing who you are, reinforcing your goals and aspirations and most of all owning your future – devoid of the subculture that sometimes is the result of confusion, that has inhibited meaningful progress for our young generation.
It is my hope that my story of dogged determination will inspire you all to develop a ‘can do ‘ spirit and a mindset that speaks to the challenges you seek to surmount.”
As we continue to celebrate different ways of keeping music fresh and prevalent at King’s, this week we are delighted to feature as our OV of the Week, Thomas Blunt (K 85-95). Whilst at King’s Tom was involved with Music at all levels: he was a chorister in Worcester Cathedral, a Music Scholar and a King’s Scholar; he also studied cello, organ, composition, and singing. On leaving King’s Tom spent a year as Organ Scholar at Salisbury Cathedral before taking up an Organ Scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge. He then studied conducting and singing at the Royal College of Music, and was the first ever British participant of the prestigious Allianz International Conductors’ Academy, where he worked with the London Philharmonic and Philharmonia Orchestras. He has gone on to develop an international career and enjoys conducting a wide-ranging repertoire, from Bach to contemporary music.
Tom has a close relationship with Glyndebourne, where he began his career as Chorus Master and worked closely with Music Director Vladimir Jurowski, resulting in his appointment as Assistant Conductor with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with which he has since conducted performances at venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Sala São Paulo. He has also held the position of First Kapellmeister at Konzert Theater Bern.Recent and future highlights for Tom include Rigoletto and Il barbiere di Siviglia for the Glyndebourne Tour, The Magic Flute for Welsh National Opera, La Traviata and Don Giovanni for Longborough Festival Opera, and Madam Butterfly for Iford Arts, Carlo Ciceri’s L’ultimo Sogno for Staatstheater Kassel, Idomeneo for Royal Danish Opera, as well as concerts with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Coro da Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo.
With the difficulties of live performances over the past year, Tom has had a number of important international engagements in Germany, New Zealand and Brazil with orchestras, choirs and opera houses cancelled or postponed, but is looking forward to a resurgence of live music later this year and into 2022.
It is great to feature James Debenham (W 85-95) as our OV of the Week. At King’s James played for the 3rd XV Rugby team and took part in CCF, Young Enterprise, and also played for the 1st tennis team. For his A Levels, James studied Geography, History and English.
After taking a gap year, travelling to Australia and New Zealand (with fellow OV Jono Gurney Br 89-95), James went to the University of Leeds where he completed a degree in Geography, followed by a Ph.D. in Geodemographics. After University, James worked as a Consultant for GMAP Consulting for over 6 years before working as a Business Intelligence Analyst at Virgin Media. In 2013, James started working as a Location Planning Consultant for Information Technology & Services company, CACI Ltd and in 2017 was promoted to Principal Consultant.
The field of Location Planning (or “Geo-Marketing”) involves the application of geographical analysis and models to help consumer-facing companies understand where best to locate their shops, branches or services. It requires the use of a variety of demographic and consumer data to find the best locations for a brand on the basis of their target customer types. During his time at GMAP and CACI, James has worked with a variety of companies across the world and in all sectors of the retail environment (for instance high street retail, financial services, petrol forecourts and leisure). Since 2016 he has been specialising in the automotive sector and currently works with a number of car manufacturers to help them adapt their franchised dealership networks. His academic studies and professional career were built on a deep interest in geography that was founded in the Geography Department at King’s – so he has a lot to thank them for!
At King’s we have been taking part in Wellness Week and we are delighted to feature as our OV of the Week, Charlotte Sidaway (S 07-14) who is manager of Soul Sanctuary Corporate Outreach and yoga teacher at Soul Sanctuary Studios. At King’s, Charlotte enjoyed a wide range of extra-curricular activities such as choir, flute group, musical theatre performances and was involved in the 1st team for Hockey and Netball. A highlight of her time at school was being in the U16 Netball team for the National Schools Netball Competition in which King’s placed second in the country. Charlotte studied English Literature and Language, Business Studies and Art at A level before taking a gap-year to Australia and Malawi.
Charlotte went to University of Leeds and graduated in Fashion Marketing and during her first year at University, founded her own online sportswear business.
Charlotte qualified as a yoga teacher in October 2017 and soon after graduating joined Soul Sanctuary Studios. Here she helped grow the start-up yoga studio business, taught regular classes and expanded the Soul Sanctuary Outreach business, delivering yoga classes and employee wellbeing programmes to a range of organisations in the UK.
Charlotte’s passion for health, psychology and yoga comes from her own recovery from anorexia through her teenage years and her purpose today is to share her knowledge and experience to support the health and wellbeing of others.