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5 July

Summer OV News Special

Summer musical treats

With summer finally here, it is the perfect time to relax and if you are looking for some musical inspiration then look no further than to OV Peter Holder (Br 01-08) who will be featuring in both the First Night of the Proms and in the Summer Organ Festival at Westminster Abbey!

Peter is an excellent musician, currently Sub-Organist at Westminster Abbey and is the principal organist for daily services, concerts, recordings, and state occasions. Peter also helps with training the Westminster Abbey choristers and conducting the world-famous Abbey Choir.

At the eagerly anticipated BBC Proms, which starts on 19th July, Peter will be performing as organ soloist in Leos Janáček’s powerful and dramatic Glagolitic Mass.

The annual Summer Organ festival at Westminster Abbey is a wonderful celebration of organ music and is back for 2019 following a year’s absence whilst several divisions of the Abbey’s organ were under overhaul. The Abbey organists will be joined by two international artists, Isabelle Demers and Michel Boulevard, on Tuesday evenings 16th July to 13th August.

The programme Peter will be performing on 6th August includes as its principal works Jehan Alain Trois Dances, notable for striking originality, and Franz Liszt Après une lecture de Dante – Fantasia quasi Sonata, inspired by Dante Alighieri’s epic Divine Comedy.

Congratulations Peter on your exciting summer programme and we look forward to hearing more in the future.

OV ordained at Southwark Cathedral

Many congratulations to OV and now Rev’d Hannah Gordon (K 91-98) who was ordained Deacon in the Church of England last weekend!

Hannah says, “I was ordained Deacon by the Bishop of Southwark on Saturday 29th June with 23 other women and men at Southwark Cathedral. It was an awesome and joyful day; the cathedral was packed and the sun shone very brightly. It was wonderful to have the support of my husband James, our daughters Molly and Tabitha, as well as my Dad and my sister Alice, who is also an OV. I have completed three years of training at St. Mellitus College in London, and been awarded a BA in Theology, Mission and Ministry from Durham University.

I am excited to be starting my ordained ministry by serving my curacy at The Church of the Good Shepherd in Carshalton Beeches, in the London borough of Sutton, with Rev’d Kevin Lewis as my training incumbent. We have recently moved to the area, and the girls are about to start school locally. I hope that my time here will be one of building relationships, trying things out and having some fun. I look forward to seeing where this next phase of the great adventure of faith takes me, and who knows perhaps one day I’ll preach or preside in Worcester Cathedral for the OV Eucharist!”

OVs support Question Time style debate at king’s

On Friday 28th June, the King’s School hosted a Question Time style debate with key political figures to get a greater understanding of the key issues facing British politics today.The panel included a range of high-profile guests from the local and national political scene, including:

OV Richard Bacon MP (Br 70-80)– Conservative MP for South Norfolk since 2001, Cllr Lynn Denham- Labour PPC for Worcester and Councillor in Cathedral Ward, Lord Faulkner of Worcester- Labour party peer and currently a Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and Deputy Chairman of Committees, Beverley Nielson- Chair of West Midlands Lib Dems and Lib Dem PPC for West Worcestershire and Cllr Marc Bayliss– Leader of Worcester City Council.

The debate was organised by Lower Sixth student Charlie Mackintosh to provide students, parents, and OVs with the opportunity to question key politicians on some of the recent developments in British politics.

Charlie, who runs the King’s Debating Society and hopes to study Politics at University, said: “In terms of British politics these really are extraordinary times. It is therefore more important than ever to keep the conversation alive. I hope that by bringing this debate to King’s we will be providing an opportunity for students, staff, parents, and the local community to influence the wider debate.”

Audience members quizzed the panellists on Brexit, climate change, the cost of attending university, and the Prime Ministerial leadership contest. It was great to see OVs asking some very interesting questions including, “Do you think that the Conservative Party is at all capable of winning a general election at this point in time?” asked by Edd Peckston (K 10-17) and “It’s important that a government is accountable to the British public. Leading Conservative party candidate Boris Johnson said that “It’s Gordon Brown’s apparent belief that he can just trample on the democratic will of the British people.” In calling for him to hold an election when he succeeded Tony Blair. What are the panels thoughts therefore on Boris Johnson’s announcement that “no one in parliament wants another general election” and his apparent refusal to hold one should he become prime minister?” from Aaron Daniels (K 09-16).

It was great to see so many enthusiastic OVs back at King’s and enriching the debate. In the photo from left to right are: James Simpson (K 09-16), Aaron Daniels (K 09-16), Lord Faulkner of Worcester, Lynn Denham, Tim Burgess (S 10-17), Richard Bacon MP (Br 70-80), Edd Peckston (K 10-17), Beverley Nielson and Charlie Mackintosh.

OV wins trailblazer award

Well done to OV Alex Sumner (Cl 00-05) for receiving the Trailblazer standard award! The Trailblazer Award was presented by Investment Week and forms part of their annual Fund Manager of the Year Award, an event that took place in London on 27th June.

The award aims to recognise outstanding achievements of fund managers in the UK, focusing on the next generation of fund managers who “have gone above and beyond their job remit for the benefit of their team, business and/or the wider industry”. The award looks to identify those who “stand out from the crowd for coming up with innovative initiatives that have had a positive and meaningful impact”.

Alex says, “It is a delight to be recognised in this way as a core reason for me joining Blackfinch was to develop a proposition and build a service that we feel better reflects what financial advisers and their clients want from a discretionary wealth manager. It gives me great pride to be considered amongst those who are shaping the future of the investment industry and something I am passionate about delivering through the service we have designed at Blackfinch.

For me, this is an excellent way of recognising what the upcoming generation can achieve if they’re passionate about working in financial services and truly want to stand out. I feel it gives the upcoming generation support and encouragement to continue working hard in the sector and to really push to reach their goals. It can also inspire others who might be aiming to work in the industry.

It is fair to say that some areas of financial services struggle to attract young talent and I am particularly keen to get future generations involved and engaged in this industry. I would hope winning awards like this can inspire the younger generation to consider a financial services career and highlight what can be achieved when taking a determined attitude.

It’s a privilege to be featured and great to be recognised in such a competitive and growing sector”

OV publishes first novel at 84

We were delighted to learn that OV Michael Sykes (H 42-52) has had his first novel, ‘Trader’s Road’ published at the age of 84. Michael has had a fascinating journey since leaving King’s, going to Sandhurst to make a career in the military, serving in both the Royal Engineers and Royal Signals as well as learning to fly at RAF Middle Wallop before leaving to run the family horticultural business.

Michael was inspired as a pupil at King’s by English teacher, Miss Forward and used to write for the Army magazine and later wrote articles for trade magazines. However Michael had always aspired to write fiction and after prompting from a friend, Michael finally realised his dream of publishing his own novel just before Christmas 2018. ‘Trader’s Road’ has been well-received and is inspired by Michael’s time in the army visiting Malaysia and Burma. The story follows one man’s quest to find a place of solitude but instead he finds himself in danger as he unravels the past.

Michael has plans for more fiction including a radio play and a second novel so we look forward to Michael’s next work!

OV plays Mr Wickham​

It was great to spot OV Tom Riddell (Cr 02-09) this week performing in the Worcester Rep’s new production ‘Pride and (quite a lot of) Prejudice! Set in the beautiful Commandery Gardens, this comedy version was directed by OV Ben Humphrey (Cr 93-04).

Tom said “Pride and (quite a lot of) Prejudice’ is Worcester Rep’s spoof take on Jane Austen’s classic novel. It’s a bit cheeky, it’s very silly, and it’s lots of fun!

We had a great rehearsal week workshopping the script under OV Ben Humphrey’s direction, adding in jokes and funny bits of business wherever we saw fit; the general idea was “if you think something will be funny, try it out.” If it made us laugh, we kept it; if not, we didn’t.

I play Mr Wickham, an officer in the Army who has a shared history with Mr Darcy. I only pop in and out, but I don’t go without leaving my mark… mostly on Darcy.”

(Photos by Beth Martyn Smith Photography)

OV back at king’s

Geoffrey Harper (Cl 60-63) is an OV who has had a range of interests and careers, leaving King’s to go to Cambridge University, where he studied Natural Sciences.  He considers himself to be a generalist, and he also studied at the London School of Economics, Chelsea College, London (Social History of Ideas) and Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (German and Russian).  He himself says, “I have been a teacher, author, translator, publisher, illustrator, and biologist.” For thirteen years he conducted research into the effects of weather & climate change on plant development at the botanic garden in Edinburgh and previously was an entomologist & evolutionary biologist at Edinburgh University.

Geoffrey came back to King’s recently to revisit some of the school buildings he knew from his days at school and he also attended a Politics Debate held in The John Moore Theatre, with key speakers from some of the main political parties and organised by one of the new school monitors, Charlie Mackintosh.  Geoffrey has also very kindly given King’s copies of two of his books, the most recent being Democracy & the Biosphere Crisis.  Annabel Jeffery (Hon OV), School Librarian, was delighted to take receipt of the two books and Headmaster, Matthew Armstrong was also interested that the subject matter will challenge the intellectual curiosity of students at King’s.  Geoffrey openly admits that his writing criticises the current political approach to safeguarding the biosphere (he cites climate change, overpopulation, mass migration, loss of soil and biodiversity) and talks about the influence of Christian individualism, which he feels does not care about future people. Geoffrey’s latest book is being advertised in The New Statesman and he is also hoping for a review from Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury).

During his visit to King’s Geoffrey also visited Harriet Patrick, King’s Archivist, who looked out some of Geoffrey’s writing in The Vigornian from 1962 and 1963, when, even during his schooldays Geoffrey showed an interest in social politics, in his article, entitled, ‘Oh for a new moral code’.  Geoffrey said of his visit to the archives, “The various articles and poems in the magazines brought back more memories of my friends of the time.”

Geoffrey very kindly supports King’s bursaries and Liz Elliott was able to bring him up to date with the recent Bursary Campaign and how donations to bursaries can make a real difference to children’s lives.  We are very grateful for Geoffrey’s support and it was such a pleasure to welcome him back to King’s to rekindle some memories and show him some features of the modern King’s School!

OV Artists outstanding work

Art plays a huge role at King’s and this week we were delighted to hear that OV Georgia Tucker (Br 07-14) has recently graduated from Birmingham School of Art with a first class honours degree in Fine Art.  Her work, ‘Terra Firma (2019), is an interactive virtual reality installation that explores the relationship between man-made materials and the natural environment by enabling the viewer to travel through a series of tunnels that weave through a beautiful digitally rendered forest.

Georgia, who is now considering taking a Masters Degree, was rewarded for her work by winning the prestigious Gertrude Emily Griffin Prize for Art & Nature.

We have also been delighted to have OV Cecelia Horacek (Br 10-17) back at King’s assisting with the Art department curating the GCSE and pre-U art exhibitions. The students have worked really hard and the artwork is absolutely incredible.


Andy Clee (Cl 83-88) is attempting his first triathlon in mid-July to raise money for the Gurkha Welfare Trust and Plastic Free North Devon. Now retired from the Army, he served with the Queens’s Gurkha Engineers in Hong Kong and alongside the Gurkha Commandos working with 3 Commando Brigade in Afghanistan and has maintained close family ties with his old Regiment and is keen to give something back to his Gurkha family.  Closer to home, he is a trustee of and volunteer for a local environmental charity that is doing its best to tackle plastic pollution and other environmental issues.

Now in his 50th year, and looking for new challenges, the local Croyde Triathlon seemed like a good one. The 1500m ocean swim and 40K cycling and 12K running routes see the event ranked in the world’s top 10 toughest short-course triathlons!

Andy says, ‘I’ve never attempted anything like this before.  Most of my training focus has been on the sea swim so the bike and run are definitely going to hurt!”

If you would like to know more please contact us on Good luck Andy!


It was a pleasure to catch up with OV Henry James (W 11-18) last week when he kindly came in to school to talk to the current Lower Sixth pupils who are interested in applying to study medicine. Henry had a gap-year working and gaining practical experience and will be going to Nottingham University this September to start his degree in medicine. Henry was perfectly placed to give the students some top tips and advice for the challenging process of applying for medical school and we wish him all the best for his next exciting chapter.