Meet the Development Team
Alex Darkes – Assistant Head Development
Alex Darkes is a life-long Princethorpian and since first visiting the College on 4 June 1967 as a ten-year-old (his brother’s seventh birthday) he has only spent a total of five years away from the school. A chance meeting with Father Bill Clarkson in 1979, meant that he joined the staff later the same year and has variously taught Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Photography over thirty-seven years. For two decades, until recent semi-retirement, he looked after the school’s admissions and marketing and became Foundation Assistant Head in 2001, latterly with additional responsibility for premises development. He is passionate about making a Princethorpe education more widely accessible and in 2016 he was responsible for establishing the development function, working closely with Rachel Hadley-Leonard, Loretta Curtis and Sarah Stewart. When he is not at work he enjoys playing with classic cars, is a radio ham, a keen classical concert goer and an amateur photographer.
Rachel Hadley-Leonard – Foundation Development Director
Rachel joined the Development Team at the start of its journey in June 2016. She has a background in education and marketing and is passionate about the value of excellent schooling for all. Rachel's initial focus has been to get to know and understand the wider Foundation community, including current pupils, alumni, parents, former parents, staff, former staff and our friends across the world. Keen to establish a 'culture of philanthropy' within the community, Rachel also works closely with Assistant Head (Marketing, Admissions and Communications), Melanie Butler and the Old Princethorpians Committee to keep the network informed about the work of the Development Office with the aim of bringing them closer to support its future. Rachel is a keen skier and enjoys reading and the outdoors. She is also learning to play the steel pans with a like-minded group of staff!
Loretta Curtis – Development Assistant
Loretta will be a familiar face to many Princethorpians, as the former Registrar up until 2015, when she managed the admissions process for all of those seeking entry to the school and became the key contact for hundreds of families. Her first links with the Princethorpe were through son, Michael, who joined in 1995, the year when Loretta also became a member of the Parents’ Association committee; she has been helping out at our events ever since! Loretta became Admissions Secretary two years later when Fr Alan Whelan was Head and her encyclopaedic knowledge of past pupils and their families has been instrumental as we strive in the Development Office to keep in touch with all of the extended Princethorpe community. Outside work she is enjoying newly-arrived grandson Finley, as well as the theatre, film, reading, gardening and walking excitable Welsh Terrier, Monty!
Catherine Rogers – Development Database Assistant
Catherine joined the Development Team in August 2017 in order to start the task of bringing all the 14,500 records currently on our database up to scratch. With a background in educational ICT and Computing, she has already started work, ensuring that the records held are as secure, up-to-date and reliable as possible. The data currently held involves Old Princethorpians, former pupils of St Mary's Priory, former parents, former staff and other friends of Princethorpe College. The data is used to contact our community about news and events and further development of the school. Future work will include collation of data from our other foundation schools and working with former pupils to establish an alumni and careers online platform. Catherine enjoys working at Princethorpe so much she also has a second job in our Admissions Office, where she works in the afternoons. Outside of Princethorpe, Catherine, and her husband, David, have three grown up sons. She enjoys quizzes and puzzles, travel and history.
To contact the Development Office call 01926 634265 or email
- Hong Kong Development Visit Abounds With Memories, Hospitality and FriendshipDuring the Easter holidays a contingent from Princethorpe, comprising Headmaster, Ed Hester, his wife, Tracey, Fr Teddy O’Brien MSC, Development Director, Rachel Hadley-Leonard and Old Princethorpians’ Secretary, Melanie Butler journeyed to Hong Kong to meet with past pupils who had boarded at the College from the late 1960s to the 1990s.
- Princethorpe To Host Development Reunion Dinner In Hong KongPrincethorpe College is delighted to be hosting a Development Reunion Dinner for Old Princethorpians on Saturday 14 April 2018 at The Hong Kong Club, 1 Jackson Road, Central, Hong Kong.
- Princethorpe College Regular Giving For Bursaries Raises £11,000!Princethorpe College Development Office are delighted to report that, in the 18 months since it was established, our incredibly generous regular givers have already raised £11,000 towards our Bursary Fund – a fantastic and much appreciated amount.
- Thanking You With Princethorpe Blue!The Development Office were delighted to host Trustees, former and current parents, staff and friends of the college in the Sixth Form dining room for a festive cheese and wine reception.
- Development News: Development Group Members Meet At Wright HassallThe newly formed Development focus group was kindly hosted by Princethorpe parent Robert Lee at the stunning offices of Wright Hassall solicitors in Leamington Spa.