MBE for deserving OV
Congratulations to OV Chris Koehli (Cr 70-71) on receiving an MBE for services to Carers and Healthcare in Wales. Following a career in accountancy and finance, Chris was appointed as a Non Executive Director for two Health Boards, where over a period of 11 years, amongst other responsibilities, he worked to ensure that unpaid Carers are recognised and can access the help they need to live their lives. Chris has also been involved with and been a trustee of a number organisations representing Carers interests; he is currently a member of the Carers Trust Wales Board. Chris received the award from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in November 2018.
OV receives Legion of Honour
We were delighted to hear that OV Peter Watson (S 38-41) recently received the award of the Legion of Honour from the French Government for the contributions he made in 1943 to the Invasion of France and the expulsion of the German forces. The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802, and the French government has been awarding the Légion d’honneur to veterans as a way of honouring and thanking those who fought and risked their lives to secure France’s liberation during the Second World War
Of his achievements, Peter told us with great humility “It all happened so long ago, but I was an air gunner in an RAF Lancaster and we made many sorties over the French Invasion area helping to destroy their airfields railways and “doodle bug “ sites. Why they picked on me I will never know, but I didn’t argue!”. A huge congratulations to Peter on this well-deserved recognition. He is pictured here in 1945 and recently receiving his award with his partner Ruth.
OV star of Women in Science day
This week we celebrated Women in Science/ STEM day and we were delighted to see that one OV was featured as part of the RAF Museum’s celebrations. RAF Squadron Leader Bonnie Posselt (Cr 98-03) is a doctor specialising in aviation and space medicine and is currently based at the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, USA.
Bonnie is undertaking a PhD, investigating human performance using Helmet Mounted Displays. You can read the full article here, talking about the day to day demands of being one of Britain’s first ever ‘space doctors’.
OVs at 21st Century Careers conference
This week our Careers department ran a 21st Century Careers Conference for students exploring careers in technology and, in particular, the exciting new developments that this industry is now using including AI (Artificial Intelligence), automation and more. The programme for the day involved several guest speakers including two OVs who generously gave their time to present on their job roles and the journeys that led to them.
Benji Airdrie (Ch 06-13) spoke about ‘Working for a Tech Start Up’. After leaving King’s, Benji took a gap-year before studying Human Geography at Cardiff University. Despite not studying a ‘technology’ subject, Benji has how worked for two STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) focussed-companies. The first a precision engineering company and now The Bot Platform where he is Account Executive.
Mike Phillips (Ch 75-80) also presented with the intriguingly titled talk, ‘People don’t want technology’. Following an Art Foundation course and degree at central St Martins School of Art in Industrial Design, he has worked in industrial design in a number of different companies for over 30 years working on everything from motorbikes to medical devices. Since 2005, Mike has worked for Renfrew Group as Design Development Director.
ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY WITH OV WILL KERTON
We were thrilled to spot OV Will Kerton (Os 82-92) on Escape to the Country this week! Will’s family business Droitwich Salt was featured as part of the BBC2 programme and we were very tempted by the delicious sounding Droitwich Salted Caramel ice cream! Will’s business is thriving and their products are often seen in the local butchers and businesses in Worcestershire.
A link to the programme can be found here and Will features from 35:53 minutes into the programme.
If you’re a Saturday Kitchen fan then keep an eye out tomorrow as Droitwich salt’s ambassador, chef Brad Carter will be featuring cooking with some of the salt!
INterview with OV Alex Bevan Lyons
Liz Elliott had the pleasure of visiting OV, Alex Bevan Lyons (K 00-06) recently. Alex attended King’s with some financial assistance, via the school’s bursary programme and was keen to share with Liz her thoughts on what she had gained from her time at King’s and her journey after school leading to her current position, where she is Head of Marketing for Subaru.
From Alex’s first visit to King’s she felt welcomed; she warmed to the teachers she met and she says that the impression she gained was that King’s provided a ‘combination of a high-performing culture and a supportive environment that enabled its pupils to flourish’. In short, she could just imagine herself studying here. During her time at King’s, Alex felt that she gained certain attributes, about which she talked to Liz:
King’s taught Alex to believe in herself and to have faith in her convictions; she felt that this came through her relationship with her teachers and the support she received to ensure she achieved good grades in her exams. Mentioning Mrs Battrum in particular, Alex said that she showed a real personal commitment to the pupils, giving up her time to ensure that pupils understood tricky concepts in Chemistry. King’s provided Alex with a really positive environment in which to learn. Knowing that teachers were investing so much in her, encouraged her try her best. Alex felt that she gained in confidence knowing that others in school believed in her and were willing her to succeed.
Drive and Ambition
During her time at King’s Alex realised the extent of other’s investment in her and this provided her with the drive she needed to work hard. She found that she was surrounded by others who had a good work ethic, realising that you get out of life what you put in.
Being with other like-minded people at King’s made Alex realise that she wanted to do well herself and to achieve. Her friends had high aspirations and the supportive environment at King’s encouraged her to aim high.
Some of Alex’s closest friends come from her time at King’s and a group of her girlfriends from school were at her recent wedding. It was also good to hear that friendships amongst her wider King’s year group have re-kindled following their ten year reunion at school in 2016. Alex talked about the fact that, when she meets someone who came to King’s, either in a personal or professional capacity, it’s ‘almost like talking to an old friend or acquaintance’, and there is a real awareness that OVs feel strongly and passionately about their school.
Alex talked to Liz about why she thinks bursary support is so important and the fact that some children just need a push to get them in the right direction; King’s provides the nurturing environment which enables children to thrive.
On leaving King’s, Alex studied at Manchester University, where she gained a degree in Business. The broad nature of the course meant that she discovered her interest in Marketing and subsequently completed two internships, following which she was successful in being recruited by Sky onto their Graduate programme, where she achieved her CIM Diploma in Marketing. Alex then went to work for a Marketing agency in the West Midlands and three years ago she started as a Communications Manager at Subaru. Alex now heads up the Marketing team for Subaru and loves the challenge and variety of the job.
Alex is a wonderful and glowing example of how, with a little extra financial support, bursaries can make a real difference to a person’s life and she strongly and enthusiastically advocates the benefits and opportunities provided by a King’s education.