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The Founding Of The Old Princethorpians

A first reference to the Old Princethorpians has been discovered.

OP Adrian Charlton got in touch recently and shared a fascinating letter, dated October 1973, that is the first reference, as far as we are aware of, to the Old Princethorpians' Association. The letter from Rev T J Boyle MSC, states that an Old Boys’ Association has been established and, in addition to asking for members, and a £1 membership fee, announces that the first Old Boys’ reunion will be held on Saturday 22 December 1973.

Adrian was one of the founding committee members of the association along with Eddie Rogers, Michael Lee and Colin Waldron and the now sadly departed Christopher Hannon and John Wheildon.

He told us:
‘I was one of the initial intake of pupils in 1966, when Princethorpe College was for boys only, and about half the pupils were boarders. I am sure Princethorpe was unlike any other school at the time. When it opened, so much work was in hand getting everything ready, with it having been empty for years. However, the shortcomings were more than made up by the lovely attitude of the largely Irish contingent of clergy and lay brothers who were our teachers as well as guardians ‘in loco parentis’, to coin a phrase.
I think we all found ourselves moulded in a similar fashion, with the air of a huge family rather than a school. Everyone knew everybody else, and with so many boarders in residence, there was a cheerful repartee quickly established between the boys and clergy.
After we left, some of us met up most Friday evenings at one pub or another, and after a while thought it worth trying to get an Old Boys’ Association organised. At the time, there were not that many former students, with the school only having had a few years of ‘output’. Of these many were at university, or in the formative years of their careers, so the pool of Old Princethorpians was far smaller than it is now, and the number of those living locally with free time to devote was quite limited. We did hold some events, but it was some years before things became well established through the efforts of our successors.
I remember my years at Princethorpe with great nostalgia and am proud to still have some very dear friends since that time, not all pupils. I exchanged Christmas cards with Fr. Bill Clarkson and Br. Seamus O’Rourke every year until they passed.’

The letter is a fascinating insight into the origins of the OPs and is now in the archives for safekeeping. One notable fact it included was that the first annual general meeting of the association took place in the summer of 1974. So, by our reckoning, that makes the OPs Association 50 years old next year – we will certainly have to think of a suitable way to celebrate that notable milestone!

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