Could you write a brief pen portrait about yourself and your career?
I joined 1A in 1987, from Devonshire Road County Primary School. I was School Captain 1993-94 and left the Upper Sixth with A-Levels in French, German, English Literature and General Studies to read Law at Birmingham University. I completed the Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law and was called to the Bar by Lincoln’s Inn in 1999. I did part of my pupillage in London before returning to the North West to complete my training in Manchester in 2000. I joined Exchange Chambers 2001 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel early in 2016. I am a lead advocacy tutor and have taught other barristers in locations as diverse as Northampton and St Lucia! I was Secretary to the Old Boltonians’ Association for a number of years before being appointed to the School’s Governing Body in 2013 where I am now Vice-Chair (Boys’ Division).
What is your connection to Bolton School? Were any other members of your family here?
I was the first of my family to attend Bolton School and was followed by my nephews Steven (2000-2007) and Matthew (2004-2011) Proudman.
What is your fondest Bolton School memory?
I have so many fond memories of Bolton School. One of my favourites was watching my friend, Richard Chant, abseil the clock tower to present Princess Diana with a box of Dairy Milk – a box that I had been sent to buy from Tesco the day before!
Did any member of teaching staff particularly inspire you while you were at School?
I am a boy of the Alan Wright era. He was an inspirational Headmaster. I will always be grateful to him for whatever it was that he saw in me that led to my appointment as School Captain – with all the experiences I had, from addressing a very full Great Hall to being part of the opening ceremony of the Arts Centre.
Ann Green taught me French at A-Level. I can still vividly remember how refreshing it was to be treated as a grown up and how my love for languages was inspired during those classes.
Colin Edmundson was my form tutor when I was in 1A and taught me Latin and Music. We are still friends now and I saw him only last week.
Trevor Pledger led on outdoor pursuits when I was at School and I built a lasting friendship with him and his family over the years spent attending and then helping to lead trips to Robin Cottage (the predecessor to Patterdale Hall).
What do you feel your experience at Bolton School has given to you personally?
I enjoyed my time at Bolton School immensely. It gave me the opportunity to meet people I would never otherwise have met, to visit places I would never otherwise have gone to and to have experiences I would never otherwise have had. I was encouraged to have a mind open to different people and ideas; to question and listen to the answers; to have the courage of my convictions; to try to make a positive difference to those around me; and to commit myself to whatever it was I chose to do. I hope I still manage to do all those things.
What is the best career advice you can give to Bolton School pupils today?
Aim high; be yourselves; look for opportunities and take every one that you can; use your very many talents for the good of everyone.
What do you think about Bolton School’s 100 Campaign aim to re-establish genuine open access through its bursary fund?
I am delighted to be part of the campaign in my role as one of the School’s Governors. It is fundamentally important that the ethos of Bolton School is not only maintained but enhanced through the broad mix of pupils who enjoy what it has to offer. Giving able pupils the opportunity to have the Bolton School experience and to go on to great things is one of the reasons it exists: long may that continue.