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News > Alumni Interview > Sam Higginson

Sam Higginson

Our Michaelmas 2023 Alumni Interview was with OP Sam Higginson

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

After leaving Princethorpe, I went on to study Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Nottingham. I completed a placement year with Marks and Spencer, and joined them once I graduated as a Food Technologist.

I am now Head of Food Technology for Groceries, Non-Food (think cleaning, laundry, cards and wraps etc), Hampers and Soft Drinks (they wouldn’t let me near the alcohol department - dangerous!) and without bragging, i think i have the best job in the world! I get to eat and create amazing products that people love every day. In my role, I am responsible for the safety, quality, sustainability and legality of the products in my departments. No day is ever the same, and i get to visit our wonderful suppliers most weeks. I’ve been lucky enough to travel all over the world including South Africa to see vine fruit, and last year visited Kenya, Malawi and Rwanda to visit our tea and coffee growers.

Homewise, I was in London with my husband Jose and our cat Sanook, but our London adventure came to an end when we moved back to Warwickshire in July to take on 300 year old doer upper.

2. Age:

28

3. When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to?

2005 - 2012

4. What was the school like in your day?

I do remember when looking around the college on an open day the many portacabins. By the time I joined these gradually made way for the amazing sixth form centre, which we were lucky enough to have by the time we entered sixth form. The school really grew whilst I was there, and even though it was only 10 years ago, it’s changed a lot since I left when I have been back to visit. It was also the days of Jamie Olivier, and i will never forgive him for taking away our tuck shop.

5. How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today?

Princethorpe played a key role in shaping who I am today. The moral compass and values instilled in me still guide me today. The one thing that always stays with me is the importance of community and belonging to something bigger than just yourself.

6. What advice would you give to your teenage self?

Just relax, the world is actually a pretty great place and will love you just for being you. Be yourself, shoulders back and stand tall.

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

Probably my grandad - he was an engineer by trade, and always taught me ‘if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it properly’ and that’s generally how i approach my life - all in, or nothing.

8. What keeps you awake at night?

Nowadays, not a lot. I’ve learnt to worry and stress less about work, and just enjoy the ride of life.

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

Being promoted to Head of Food Technology at M&S was definitely a big deal. I’m the youngest person ever to be promoted to the position, and i’ve felt a real sense of pride paving the way for other young people to get on through the ranks - age is just a number!

10. What’s your biggest indulgence?

100% an M&S melt in the middle pudding (or 2) - 50% more chocolate sauce than anyone else - just saying!

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

I would start with some delicious freshly baked crusty bread, with some proper butter and maybe a few super juicy anchovies. For main it would be a Chicken Katsu curry from our local japanese takeaway that comes smothered in garlic, finished off with not just any melt in the middle chocolate pudding, an M&S chocolate melt in the middle pudding. All that, washed down with a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

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

Take me right back to a beach in Antigua. We visited just before lockdown and it was pure bliss - i’d take Jose if he’s lucky

13. Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

I have so many memories, it’s hard to choose. A particular favourite has to be walking in to a Religious Studies class to find Fr Whelan stood by the window waving to the outside (this was after we had submitted a mock essay for review). We sat down and he soon followed ‘Good bye A stars, Hello F’s’. I also remember the incredible Princethorpe cookies that no doubt have taken several years off my life expectancy, but were absolutely worth it. Lastly our politics debates with Dr Peaple at A-level, and getting a lot of stick for being a right Tory at the age of 16!

What’s also wonderful is being able to build new memories through the OP events, dinners etc which are always good fun!

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

Absolutely - I still see the core gang of Lizzy Hester, Rosie Foden, Hannah Logue and Sophie Harrison-Hall regularly and back in Warwickshire I hope to meet up with more old friends to.

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