Michael Griffiths (1958-1965 and Chairman of the Bolton School Governing Body)

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Michael attended Bolton School from 1958 to 1965 and was School Captain in his final year. Following a gap year on VSO he studied Industrial Economics at Nottingham University. After graduating, he joined Arthur Andersen and became a chartered accountant specialising in tax. In his late 20s, Michael decided to move away from working as part of a large firm, instead opting for a more entrepreneurial career and started his own business from scratch. He built up a group that manufactured specialised industrial protective clothing and watersports equipment, and, over the years, acquired and sold several other businesses. He became Chairman of the Bolton School Governing Body in December 2007.

What is your connection to Bolton School? Were any other members of your family here?
I joined Shell A1 in 1958. We lived in Leyland and were quite unaware of Bolton School before it was suggested that I should be entered for the entrance exam. My brother is also an Old Boltonian, and all my children came here. Subsequently I was Secretary of the Old Boltonians’ Association for eight years and in 1986 I was invited to be a Governor.

What is your fondest Bolton School memory?
That is a difficult question because there were so many. The encouragement to use your initiative and participate in the many opportunities that were on offer was to me very exciting. I was particularly drawn to the opportunity for travel and participation in expeditions and I thoroughly enjoyed the Scouts and Butch Ingham trek camps. The ‘icing on the cake’ came in the summer of 1964, when I and a group of friends, with a grant from the newly established Scott Trust, were able to organise a nine-week expedition to the Azores. These are volcanically active islands on the mid-Atlantic ridge and recently there had been several earthquakes. It was an adventurous trip.

Did any member of teaching staff particularly inspire you while you were at School?
Again a difficult question because nearly all members of staff were highly inspirational and supportive in their different ways. It was part of the excitement of the place and a major part of the educational experience. I consider myself to have been very fortunate to have been exposed to these inspirational teachers, Bill Brookes, Pip Porter, Mr Poskitt, Butch Ingham and Derek Shaw to name just a few.

What do you feel your experience at Bolton School has given to you personally?
It gave me great independence and an invaluable degree of confidence.

What is the best career advice you can give to Bolton School pupils today?
Very difficult in a few words. Always maintain a healthy degree of curiosity. Follow your dreams and remember, anything is possible – just go for it.

What do you think about Bolton School’s 100 Campaign aim to re-establish genuine open access through its bursary fund?
It’s essential. I wouldn’t have had this amazing education without a free place under the Government Direct Grant Scheme. We need to try to replicate this and be able to provide bursaries in a sustainable way to ensure that future generations, irrespective of social or financial backgrounds, have the same opportunity to experience the outstanding education that we all received.