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News > Alumni Interview > Dan Farrell

Dan Farrell

Our Trinity Term 2022 OP interview was with Dan Farrell.

Bit of background, where you live, what you do for a living:

I live in South Tottenham, London with my partner Simon.

For work, I run my own business: a filmmaking workshop company called Sparks. I founded the company in 2010 with my business partner and we teach children how to make films and have a franchise network across the UK of film schools for children.

When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to?

2000-2004

What was the school like in your day?

I remember the trusting and friendly atmosphere, kind and supportive teachers, a beautiful building and grounds and making lifelong friendships. Arriving from a different school, I remember being amazed that you could put your bag down in by the West Door and nobody would steal it. There was an eccentric and warm bunch of teachers: Mr Darkes, Mr Philpott, Mrs Robinson, Mme Wood, Mr Taylor, Mrs Francis, Ms Litterick, Mr Kettering, Mrs Collinson, Dr Peaple, Fr Whelan, Mr Miller, Mr Moroney, Mrs McCullough, Mrs Minehane, Mrs Armitage and of course the formidable M L O’Keeffe. I arrived at the school in the wake of two of my brothers Adam and Matthew. We were there at the tail end of the school as a boarding school and I remember being taken on a tour of what the new building renovations would look like - it felt like we were leaving on the cusp of the school changing quite dramatically.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

I think it definitely gave me confidence. Before Princethorpe I went to a school that I found it hard to be myself at, where I had to hide away, and Princethorpe gave me room to start to be myself.

What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Be kind and be honest with yourself. I probably wouldn’t have listened though…

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?

Probably my parents. Both born to Irish farmers before moving to Coventry, they grew up in very different households to the ones they provided for me and my brothers. They worked hard every day of their working lives to provide for and build their family. Their work ethic has inspired me so much.

What keeps you awake at night?

Running a service based business in the pandemic certainly took its toll.

What has been your proudest moment/greatest achievement so far?

Having a book published (The Movie Making Book), felt great. In 2019 I was invited to Prague to watch a film festival with some films that our students had made - that felt lovely too.

What’s your biggest indulgence?

I think I’m a pretty indulgent person. I love a big gin and tonic, really enjoy going out for dinner and always have a pudding. Over lockdown I hired a hot tub.

If you had to have one last meal, what would it be?

I’d probably want a Chinese, in Chinatown. I’d want a mix of well cooked interesting things as well as all of the trashy takeaway stuff. There would be a lot of Hoisin Duck pancakes.

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and who would be with you?

My partner and friends on a sunny terrace drinking something cold.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

I’ll always remember those years very fondly. I think I’ll always remember those corridors - and trying to find the mysterious priest hole escape tunnel, with the rumours of ghosts and disappearing windows - it felt like we went to school in a magical castle. There were so many great trips and experiences - but I remember taking the keys to the tower and climbing the steps so I could get out of Wednesday games. We stood up at the top of the tower and watched everyone else playing rugby and hockey (never my thing at all) and I remember thinking what a beautiful place we all got to grow up in.

Are you in touch with any other Old Princethorpians, if so whom?

Yes - I’m pleased to say quite a few.

Siôn Williams, Chris Griffin, Chris Lee, Jo Lee, Faye Brothers, Lizzie Cullen, Kate Crowley, Jenny Weigham and Mitch Reid.

I remember on our last day Mr Hubball gave an assembly and told us that we would be fortunate to stay in touch with one person after school - so I guess I’m very lucky.

Is there anyone you would like to track down?

I’d love to catch up with anyone that remembers me and fancies a cocktail. 2024 will be twenty years since we left, so maybe it’s time for a reunion?

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