The latest OV News straight to your inbox

View in browser

OV Newsletter

11 February 2022


International Women and Girls in Science Day 2022

On Friday 11 February 2022, we celebrate International Women and Girls in Science. Although King's has always had a strong belief in encouraging the scientist in all of us, irrespective of gender, there is still an important conversation to be had for women in the sciences once they leave school.

We asked female OVs currently studying and working in the sciences to help us celebrate their achievements, their inspirations, and, in turn, to help to inspire our future female scientists:

OV Sqn Ldr Bonnie Posselt

Sqn Ldr Bonnie Posselt (Cr 98-03)

 “I am a medical officer in the Royal Air Force, specialising in Aviation and Space Medicine, and have recently returned from three years with the US Air Force working in the Air Force Research Lab. There I was conducting research into human performance using the latest Helmet Mounted Displays used in aircraft.


“At school I always loved the sciences because they helped explain the fascinating world 

around us. I took Maths, Physics, and Chemistry at A Level, as well as astronomy GCSE as an after-school class. Such a solid science and maths background prepared me well for medical school and for pursuing my passion for flying.

“While I was the only girl taking A Level Maths and Chemistry in my year and one of only two for Physics, I have found the STEM field to be welcoming and inclusive for women and I would highly recommend it to anyone! If you find wonder in the world and have a sense of curiosity, then I would certainly encourage you to look into the STEM subjects. Simply put, they are cool!

“A positive role model for me at King’s was Mrs Essenhigh (Hon OV). She was a staff member in the CCF section (I was a member of the RAF section) and demonstrated to me that the military was most certainly a place for women! She always supported me and my ambitions!”


Alice Evans (S 11-18 and King’s St Alban’s)

“I have always loved Biology and was so lucky to have brilliant female role models like Dr Brown (Hon OV) to look up to at School. I’m now studying for a PhD in Oncology, looking at developing a new therapeutic tool to help choose treatments for patients with pancreatic cancer.

“I have always been so grateful for the kindness of other women in my field and hope that I am able to contribute to science being a supportive environment for women in future.”

OV Alice Evans
OV Amber Morgan


Amber Morgan (W 02-09)


"I am currently a Pharmacokineticist. Pharmacokinetics is a branch of pharmacology dedicated to studying the fate of drugs (medicines) administered to living organisms. My job in particular is to analyse and interpret the data collected from human clinical trials to answer the questions such as: What dose should I take? Can I take this with food? How often do I need to take this? Can I take this with my other medication? My colleagues and I help to bring new medicines to market to help treat a variety of diseases and disorders.

"At King's, I was always interested in science, in particular Biology and Chemistry, with thanks to Mrs Essenhigh (Hon OV) and the late Mrs Battrum (Hon OV), as well as Maths and Languages helping to give me a rounded perspective. I knew I wanted to go into a job in science but I wasn’t sure which direction to take. I’ve always loved animals so I studied BSc Zoology at Aberystwyth University to give myself a good basis in science, with a focus on animal and human biology. During my degree I developed an interest in Neuroscience, so I studied further for a Masters in Neuroscience at Nottingham Trent University, which also gave me a good insight into the topic of Pharmacology.

“I got into pharmacokinetics when I completed my Masters and applied for a position at my company. After a brief stint in the clinical laboratory, I saw a position come up as a Trainee Pharmacokineticist and went for it. I strongly believe it is worth keeping your eyes open for opportunities in all areas of science and follow your heart when something comes up that piques your interest. I certainly hadn’t heard of Pharmacokinetics when I was younger and exploring options, but there are so many jobs out there that you don’t gain exposure to until you come across them. I love my job and I’d certainly not be here today if I hadn’t been open to something new and gone for it!”



Emma Smalley
(W 12-19)


“My interest in medicine was first sparked during Biology lessons at King’s. As a young student, it made such an impact to have a female role model encouraging a passion for science. For me, Mrs Beard’s (Hon OV) enthusiasm and support was particularly inspiring throughout my A Levels.

“I’m proud to now be a student doctor on placement in hospital and am able to combine my interest in science with the personal side of medicine!”

OV Emma Smalley

You can read more about the female Science teachers in King's who continue to inspire future generations of OV scientists here.

Celebrating the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

With all the celebrations this week and in the coming year to mark 70 years since Her Majesty The Queen ascended to the throne, we thought it an appropriate time to remember the many ways King’s and OVs have been involved with The Queen and to look ahead to the Platinum Jubilee year.

Her Majesty the Queen & the Duke of Edinburgh Visit Worcester and attend the Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral. Photo by the late Tom Bader (Hon OV)

We begin with this poignant and vivid memory of the day The King died, by OV Lloyd Daniels (Cr 46-56).

I was there – 6th February 1952


"I was 13 years old and lived in Worcester with my parents and younger brother. Wednesday 6th February was a school day and I rode my bicycle from our home in Lansdowne Walk to The King’s School right beside the Cathedral and the River Severn. I had been going to this school for over five years.

"It was a cold and frosty morning as I left home and it took me less than 15 minutes to cycle through the city to School. I put my bicycle in the bicycle sheds along one side of the school playground. As I walked across the playground to my classroom, I looked up at the tower of the Cathedral, which was shrouded in the freezing fog. I had no idea of the events that were taking place in our country that were to make history.

"I walked round College Green, joining others going to College Hall for morning assembly. I sat on one of the many rows of bench seats with my friends from class Upper Remove A. Promptly as the Cathedral clock began to strike 9 o’clock we were all told to stand up as the Headmaster entered the hall from his house alongside. He walked the full length of the hall, which was in complete silence, climbed the steps to the platform, and stood behind a table in front of his high backed chair. The School monitors were sat on chairs in a row either side of him. The School teachers were sat on rows of chairs behind.

"We all left College Hall and went to our classrooms for lessons. At morning break (play time), we went out into the playground but it was so cold we did not stay for long. As I returned to my classroom around 11 o’clock, one of the cathedral bells began to ring. It was a single bell, tolling about once every 30 seconds. This was a signal that something of great sadness had happened. We did not know what it was.

"Once I got back to my classroom, the word soon passed round, “the King has died”. At first, we did not know whether or not to believe it. It was true; His Majesty King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep at Sandringham House. He was found dead in bed at 0730 GMT by a servant. He was just 56 years old. The official announcement from Sandringham was given at 1045 GMT, shortly before I heard the cathedral bell begin tolling.

"I was there, the day King George VI died.”

One OV who will be heavily involved in the celebrations of the coming year is OV reporter and broadcast journalist Cameron Walker (Os 08-15). Currently at GB News, Cameron regularly reports on the Royal Family for the channel and expects to be very busy covering the Platinum Jubilee in year ahead.

Cameron tells us, "I am very grateful that GB News has given me the freedom to 

OV Cameron Walker

focus a lot of my time on producing Royal content for the channel. The British Royal Family is a big journalistic passion of mine, so I have had a lot of fun planning for The Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations later this year. I was lucky enough to hone my reporting skills when I was asked to front a series of news packages for 'Alastair Stewart: A Royal Year' over the festive period. I am hoping to do more royal reporting in the future." You can watch Cameron reporting on the programme HERE.

The Queen visiting King's in 1951

As we finish the article it seems only right to remember some of the visits The Queen has made to Worcester and the Cathedral.

Many OVs will remember seeing her in 1951, the year before her coronation, as she visited The Royal Worcester factory and opened the museum.

Other visits included attending the Maundy Thursday Service at the Cathedral in 1980, and another to the Cathedral in 2012; occasions many OVs, particularly choristers, will remember well.

If you are playing a part in the jubilee celebrations this year, we would love to hear from you, so please contact us via:   alumni@ksw.org.uk




OV's Ultra-amazing Ultramarathon

OV Alice Evans running

OV Alice Evans (S 11-18 and King’s St Alban’s) is in training for a phenomenal 100Km non-stop ultramarathon in May 2022 to raise funding for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

The Threshold Race to the Castle will take Alice along the Northumbrian coast, finishing at the stunning Bamburgh Castle.

Alice explained why she chose to take on this incredible challenge to fundraise for Pancreatic Cancer UK:“It’s a charity that has become very important to me as I study pancreatic cancer and hear the stories of those affected by it. It is one of the toughest cancers to treat, with a median survival time of just three and a half months from diagnosis. Funding is vital to continue research into the development of new therapies and diagnostic tools, which could help improve the outlook for patients. I'm hoping to make a difference to this through research but want to raise money for patients who are suffering with the disease now.”

Speaking about the ultramarathon, Alice continued, “The race will probably take over 12 hours to complete. It’ll be a huge challenge as I’ve only run just over half this distance before. Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated, and to those who have been mad enough to offer to run bits with me; I can’t wait to get started!”

This is an amazing feat, Alice, and we wish you all the best. Should any OVs want to learn more, please get in touch with us at alumni@ksw.org.uk.

Meeting in the Metaverse

OV Drew Benvie (K 85-96) is the CEO and founder of communications agency Battenhall, and is also someone who is regularly named as one of the most influential people in the communications industry. This week, Drew introduced us to working in the metaverse, in an online world of which many OVs may not yet have heard but which may also be the workplace of the future (Goodbye Zoom!). Here are his thoughts:

OV Drew Benvie

Lessons from a month working in the metaverse

From deep thinking and communities to neck ache and sprained wrists

For over 15 years now I have been exploring virtual worlds of one description or another. I worked for Second Life back in 2006; I was lucky enough to use the Oculus before it became part of Facebook, and more recently I've been building branded worlds, like Dover Castle for English Heritage in Minecraft, a campaign that my daughter dreamt up. I’ve spent a year now in Decentraland, I have an office in Roblox, but the latest innovation in the metaverse, which is a game changer, is Meta’s collaborative workspace, Horizon Workrooms, which brings together colleagues and workable computer desktops to take full VR (Virtual Reality) social media metaverse to another level.

I’ve spent a month working in the metaverse, in Meta’s Horizon Workrooms, in an attempt to see how it can breathe life into the daily video calls that now define hybrid work. Whilst nothing can replace real life, VR work adds another dimension to community-building, collaboration and presence if you have colleagues you aren’t in front of IRL (in real life).

Like many people, I have spent more time working from my home office over the last two years than in the rest of my entire professional career combined. The benefit of having a tech-first group of colleagues and clients has meant that everyone around me sprang into action for this new normal when lockdowns first started, so technological changes were the least of our worries in adapting to hybrid work. The real transition was about how best to navigate a new world of screen time.

As the months have passed, we have recruited talent from all over the world, so while we started lockdown as a UK team waiting for its London office to be able to reopen, we’re now spread far and wide, and remote work is the majority of our work. Screen time is the majority of work time.

Digital tweaks to work routines have helped make this hybrid much closer to the experience of a creative office, which has been critical to maintaining energy and productivity over the last two years. We have virtual coffee mornings for those who want to catch up before the day starts, there’s an office Discord channel to simulate background office chatter throughout the day, and, of course, every document and assignment is collaborated on in the cloud. But flat screens and phone calls only go so far when connecting communities.

The advent of the metaverse has shaken this up; “It makes Zoom feel prehistoric. I wasn't expecting the sense of presence to be so profound,” as Jim Rowe-Bot put it on my LinkedIn.

My journey through the metaverse has taken many incarnations, and, since then, I’ve been working at length in virtual reality work spaces. Meetings with colleagues and clients, deep work (writing basically), brainstorms and catch-ups in the metaverse are at first a mind-blowing experience, and then after time as more people join, communities emerge, which is where the real action will play out.

Walking around a metaverse, building an office there to walk around or play in, acquiring land, that’s all actually a very straightforward type of thing to do if you’ve ever spent time online, and it’s all very simple. Buying a plot of land or securing your brand name in the metaverse isn’t much more difficult than buying a URL on GoDaddy or an item off eBay. What’s harder is racking up the hours so that you can apply it all for work. And this is where Meta’s Oculus comes in.

First, the virtual screen.

Wen I first started working from the metaverse, I downloaded a range of virtual desktop apps, which give you a layered reality. They mix your real keyboard and laptop screen, which are beamed into the metaverse using an app for your computer; the location of your keyboard and your avatar’s virtual hands are then seen by your headset with its multiple spider eye cameras, then all this is overlaid on to a virtual world of your choosing.

My favourite of these virtual work apps is Immersed, which gives you Minority Report style hand-computer controls, and where I can choose to be working on my laptop from a virtual Caribbean beach, or from a space station. The effect beautiful 

Drew Benvie's metaverse background

scenery has on your laptop time is greater than you imagine. This app I’ve found isn’t so good for the social part of VR, which is what I’m most interested in exploring at the moment.


Next, the metaverse communities.

Once enough of my colleagues had access to the metaverse through VR headsets, we started spending time each day working together from Meta’s Horizon Workrooms app. The mix of a highly workable computer, with spatial audio, and 3D interactive colleagues (even though they’re there as cartoon avatars) creates a far more engaging community experience than you could imagine. Everyone I’ve used this application of the metaverse with has been blown away, and, as the technology develops, it will only get more advanced and easy to use.

When you’re with colleagues in the metaverse you notice how surround sound, people’s height, proximity to one another and basically just being in VR makes such a huge difference to the experience of screen time.

The downsides are the obvious ones: the headset you wear isn’t natural. It weighs you down, gives you a red face, and you can really only experience VR in 30-45 minute bursts at the most as a result. Spend much more time and you get a neck ache, and you’ll feel quite spaced out when you re-enter the real world. I even managed to sprain my wrist from the constant movement of the handset that you do when setting everything up, and I wasn’t the only one of my colleagues to do so! But limiting screen time to bursts perhaps is a good thing anyway.

Drew Benvie's team in the metaverse

The future of the metaverse for work and communities

As more people get their hands on and get used to VR, this way of community building will evolve. Oculus is generally considered the market leader, but other kinds of VR tech exist, and more brands are getting involved, too, with Apple’s rumoured glasses being the most hotly anticipated.

As the VR headsets themselves become less cumbersome, experiencing the metaverse will become easier, but it’s also the layering of reality into the metaverse that will be a game changer.

Currently many people experience the metaverse as a purely virtual world, but with Meta’s Oculus and Workrooms experience you can build reality into the metaverse too. I have a sofa in my home office, for example, as well as my chair, desk and laptop. I was able to draw the furniture into my virtual office too, so as well as being able to type and work, my surroundings are also layered into the virtual world, meaning I can move around. As this evolves, you could realistically experience the real world when in the metaverse rather than departing it, making it more like AR (augmented reality) than VR.

The evolution of social media is my focus, as was it when I first set this project up. It’s timely, then, that 2006 was also the year I first entered the metaverse, and now that’s stepping up a gear too.

The King's School Worcester Parents' Social Group

It is fantastic to share that the King’s School Worcester Parents’ Social Group (KPSG), also known as the Parents’ Association, is back! Having had a couple of quiet years thanks to the pandemic, KPSG is once again up and running and already has some events planned to help raise funds for particular School projects and local charities. You can find out more about the KPSG on the School website, here, as well as find them on Facebook (@KSWBall)

Their first official meeting took place this week, and they ask that you keep 

Marc Roberts

eyes out for more details on their first event, a Quiz Night, currently scheduled for Friday 18th March 2022 (which your Alumni Relations Team won the last time it took place, and here’s the photo to prove it!).

Your Latest Connect

We are very excited to let you know that the latest edition of Connect, your OV magazine, has this week gone to the printers! So it will be winging its way to you in the next week or so. As ever, this will arrive via post and will also be published as a digital edition, which we will make available shortly.

We hope you enjoy reading it. Remember, we would love to share your news too, so please do get in touch: alumni@ksw.org.uk

Dylan B, KSW Football Captain, and Jack H, KSW Football Vice Captain

Get in Touch

Do you have news you would like to share with the OV community? Please do get in touch with us at alumni@ksw.org.uk or on 01905 721737.