Old Cryptians

The Old Cryptians’ Club was founded in 1901 to support the historic Crypt Grammar School which began life in the heart of Gloucester in 1539. Throughout the year we organise a programme of events to attract ex-pupils of all ages.

As well as our Reunion Dinner in March and other dinners, we arrange a golf day and hope to extend our Gloucester activities in the future. The London Old Cryptians’ Club is affiliated to the main Club and their principal event is a dinner in or near the City in mid-November.

A highlight of the school year is Founders’ Day, held in Gloucester Cathedral. Old Cryptians and their families are honoured guests at the very moving service.

The day concludes with supper at which the incoming President is installed. In recent years this has been held in the historic Parliament Rooms adjacent to the Cathedral.

The Club encourages members worldwide to maintain contact with one another through this site and through social media. We provide a members’ register which contains summary contact details allowing members to look up former School friends.

Club members are very proud of the education that they received at The Crypt School and thus many choose to contribute to the Bursary Fund. This has charitable status and helps to bind the present School and Old Cryptians.

Details about the Old Cryptian club can be found on the Old Cryptians’ Club Website in addition to their and pages.

Old Cryptians’ Club Website

The Cryptian

Each year in collaboration with the school, The Cryptian Magazine is published to celebrate all of the fantastic events and achievements from current and past students! 

Queries regarding School stories, please contact Bernadette Warner ([email protected]

Queries regarding Old Cryptian stories, please contact Current President, Simon Smith ([email protected])

Take a look at previous editions:


Meet some of our Old Cryptians

Jacob Enon (2012-2019)

Jacob EnonJacob joined The Crypt School as a Year 7 in 2012, and spent his entire secondary school career there, finishing with his A Levels in 2019. His seven years at The Crypt School and the friends he made there will stay with him for the rest of his life, but Jacob's particular highlight was being part of the music community where he got to attend and even organise some of the concerts. 

At A Level Jacob studied Maths, Physics and Computer Science, achieving A*, A, A. Jacob is now doing a software engineering apprenticeship at Renishaw whilst studying for his degree at Exeter university. Jacob loves this role as he gets to experience some of the most exciting parts of the industry, such as working with laser calibration machines and even developing AI for robotics. 

As well as the above Jacob, remembers the hours spent in the music room composing and playing the piano. Jacob passed his Grade 8 with a Distinction just before leaving the Crypt and is now studying for his Diploma in performance.  

Sam Forster-Spira (2003-2010)

Sam Forster-SpiraSam went to the University of Bath after his A Levels at The Crypt School to do Natural Sciences and majored in Environmental Chemistry. His course included maths, chemistry and chemical engineering, law and business modules.

Sam currently works as the Middle East Account Director for a marketing agency in Bristol, predominantly working in women's education in Saudi Arabia, but he also works with big tech companies, airlines, and government agencies out there and around the world. Sam fell into this work, having worked in PR, marketing and outreach for RAL Space, the main lab for the UK's space research effort. He found that  he liked the design, communication and strategy part of that, so applied for lots of agencies after he graduated. This particular job combined his interest in women's rights, education, and design and communications. Sam is out in the Middle East about five times a year, managing a small team, and has really varied responsibilities and types of tasks; ranging from new business, working with the studio, doing his own writing, and helping define how the company and other companies should position themselves out in the market.

Nicola Gatfield (2017-2019)

Nicola attended The Crypt School from 2017 to 2019, where she obtained A-Levels in English Literature, History, Politics and an Extended Project Qualification. During her time at the Sixth Form, Nicola was elected as House Captain for Whitefield House, as well as Co-Captain of the Debating Society, which encouraged her to establish a Debating League for her peers within Gloucestershire. This passion progressed to an interest in advocacy, and pro bono work leading to her gaining a place at the City Law School, University of London. 

At University, Nicola has embarked on many opportunities alongside her Law Degree, including becoming a Student Ambassador and taking on internships with companies such as Bright Network to further enhance her understand of the legal world. In 2020, when Nicola enters her second year, she is becoming further interested in gaining experience in Westminster to tackle more contemporary issues which have an impact in society. Nicola throughly enjoys her course, and the experience in London so far and encourages everyone to consider Law as a degree; as the range of opportunities, and skills taught can be beneficial to a range of careers. 

Olly Hale (2012-2019)

Olly joined the Crypt School in Year 7 in 2012 and left the school in 2019 with A LevelOlly Hales in Mathematics, Business, Economics, and an AS Level in Physics. After setting up his first business in Year 11 with some school friends, Olly knew that going head-on into the world of business would be the best route for him. After leaving school Olly gained a place on the Degree Apprenticeship scheme at Turner and Townsend, a global management consultancy firm where Olly would continue for the next years to training to become a Project Manager. Throughout his apprenticeship, Olly worked on the biggest Projects in Europe working in a variety of roles. 

Still fascinated by business, Olly set up his own Tech Company called 'Buckit' in 2020. Buckit aims to revolutionise the way we invest our money by making investing fun and accessible for everyone, by combining the traditional Bucket List with retail investing. You can find out more about Buckit here (launching soon!)

Rob Holliday (1970-1977)

From Flying Instructor at Staverton Airport to over 30 years’ experience in the airline industry, including:

•    Captain Boeing 737, British Midland.
•    Captain Airbus A300/310, Emirates.

A car accident curtailed my commercial flying career:

•    UK CAA, Flight Standards Officer.
•    Head of Safety, Virgin Atlantic.
•    Safety Management System Manager, Cathay Pacific.
•    Head of Safety, Cathay Dragon (formerly Dragonair) in Hong Kong.
•    More recently Head of Operational Safety, International Air Transport Association, Montreal, Canada and now back in the U.K. as Flight Safety Manager for L3Harris Commercial Aviation.

A graduate of the Open University and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Along the way, I represented Great Britain at 3 World Championships, winning 2 Silver Medals in the Para Adaptive Single Scull. Multiple city wheelchair marathons London (7), New York (2), Dubai (3), Boston, Berlin among others. 

Jacob McKenzie (2005-2010)

After leaving Crypt Jacob did a range of courses none of which he managed to complete apart from a Level 3 counselling course. However, at the end of 2017, he started working as a songwriter and producer in London, working with a range of established artists such as Emily Sandé, rap duo Krept and Konan, MoStack and Professor Green, all of whom he has songs either released with or pending to be released.

Matt Nash (2012-2019)

Matthew joined The Crypt School as a Year 7 in 2012, and spent his entire secondary school career there, finishing with his A-Levels in 2019. His seven years at The crypt will stay with him for the rest of his life, but Matt's particular highlight was his time in the time in Sixth Form. Matt was Head Boy in his last year at Crypt and helped support the introduction of girls into the school.

At A Level, Matt studied Chemistry, Economics and Maths, achieving A* A* A in his exams. Although he applied to university, Matt decided that a Degree Apprenticeship was the best route for him following his A levels and he now works as an Economist for the Government Economic Service in Westminster. Matt thoroughly enjoys his work knowing that it has a real impact; as part of the apprenticeship, Matt is also studying for a degree.  He would encourage everyone to explore the rapidly changing world of Degree level Apprenticeships.

Jason Smith

Jason SmithJason Smith 

After working in publishing and marketing, Jason worked in the city floating companies on the London Stock Exchange.  After a sojourn raising his children in Sicily where he lectured at the university of Catania he returned to Gloucester in 2013 to take the reigns as CEO of Marketing Gloucester - the city's place-making organisation. Jason was President of the Old Cryptians (2018-19), from 2018 has been President of Gloucester Chamber of Commerce and is President-elect of the Rotary club of Gloucester.   He follows in the footsteps of his Grandfather and fellow Old Cryptian John C. Rigby.

Leigh Smith (2007-2013)

Leigh went straight to university after his A-levels (Economics, Business Studies and Media Studies) to study Management and Marketing. During my 3rd year he did a placement at BMW, where he worked in the Marketing Communications team for a year. After this, he returned to university for his final year and graduated in 2017 with a first, achieving the highest grade on his course.

After graduating, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in marketing, and joined creative agency Havas Helia as an Account Executive, working on brands such as Pets at Home and Gap. Leigh was there for about 2 years and was an Account Manager when he left.

Leigh has recently joined the marketing team at Royal Caribbean, which is a brand he has admired for many years and allows great opportunity to gain international experience. He now oversees email marketing for UK and Ireland and will be picking up the rest of EMEA in the coming months. 

James Stevens (2006-2013)

James attained 13 GCSE’s and 3 A-levels in Biology, English and Media during his time at The Crypt School. Always a keen photographer, James established the school’s photography club and was presented with the  award for Excellence in Innovation at the 2013 Speech Day.

After finishing his A-levels, James embarked on a solo challenge to walk the 102 miles of the Cotswold Way, carrying all his camping gear and camera kit to film wildlife along the way and raising over £1,000 for Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

In 2017 James graduated from the University of Cumbria with a BA(hons) in Wildlife Media.

One of the films made at university went on to win several awards including Winner of Best Amateur at the Trail Running Film Festival 2017. Official Selection in Trails in Motion Film Festival 2017, Sheffield Adventure Film Festival 2017 and Buenos Aires Running Film Festival 2018.

Upon graduating he headed north to the Cairngorms National Park where he slept in his car for over 2 months in order to be as close to wildlife as possible.  James is now established as a wildlife filmmaker, photographer, CAA approved aerial drone operator and guide based in the Scottish Highlands showcasing the natural world through media and guiding, as well as highlighting environment issues and promoting conservation.

James has credits as a cameraman, aerial operator and story developer in programs such as BBC Springwatch, Autumnwatch, Winterwatch and Countryfile. As well as working in television he operates as a one-man production crew creating films for NGO’s such as the Wildlife Trust and National Parks.

James’ latest release ‘When the Snow Melts’, a short documentary about living and working with sleddogs in Scotland whose way of life is threatened by the change in climate is currently entered into several international film festivals and has had highlights featured on Channel 4 news.

With an interest in global conservation, he also creates his own independent documentaries, the latest, currently in post-production, is ‘Conserving Sumatra’.   Journeying throughout the Indonesian island in 2018 and 2019, James filmed the incredible conservation efforts being carried out by small organisations and individual conservationists who are successfully tackling and the islands’ issues with poaching and logging giving hope to the orangutan population and many other endangered species.

You can read more about his work on his website:

​​​​​​​Ollie Webster (2004-2011)

Ollie left school with 13 GCSEs and 3 A levels in Physics, Maths and Statistics. He went on to study Electronic Engineering at University, achieving a Bachelors degree BEng(Hons). Following university, Ollie began working for Ultra Electronics, a defence company based in Cheltenham. After enjoying 4 productive and varied years at Ultra, some of which were spent travelling around the UK and Europe for work, he decided to make a significant career change and joined the Royal Air Force.

Ollie is now serving as a Flying Officer having graduated from RAF Cranwell in December last year (2018). He is thoroughly enjoying his time in the Air Force, working as an Engineering Officer (Communications and Electronics) where he is responsible for a team of highly skilled individuals that maintain and repair high-tech electronic equipment and installations situated on base. He also overlooks a section of personnel who work with the latest Cyber technology. He enjoys the variety of work that is available and loves the different challenges he faces every day. Ollie is really looking forward to what the future holds for his career in the armed forces.

Lewis Wilkins (2005-2012)

Lewis obtained 13 GCSE’s and three A-levels in Maths, Further Maths and Physics during his time at The Crypt School. He was a keen cricketer, travelling on the inaugural Barbados tour in 2011 as well as a keen skier, attending six trips. In his final year, Lewis was elected School Vice-Captain having previously been House Captain of Brown House in 2010.

After gaining his A-levels, Lewis attended the University of Bristol where he studied Physics. In 2016, he graduated with a Masters in Physics. His Masters thesis focussed on research to develop a real time verification system for radiotherapy treatment.

Upon completing his undergraduate degree in 2016, Lewis began a PhD in High Energy Particle Physics at Royal Holloway, University of London. He was part of the ATLAS collaboration, an experiment on the Large Hadron Collider based at CERN in Geneva. As part of his PhD he spent two years working at CERN in Geneva, working with researchers from around the world. His research focussed on the study of a particular fundamental particle known as the top quark.

Now, upon submitting his PhD thesis, Lewis is leaving academia and moving into industry to work as a Data Engineer for BJSS. His work will be based around developing data pipelines for businesses in the rapidly expanding field of Big Data.

Sam Durham (2009 -2016)


Sam joined The Crypt School in 2009 as a Year 7 pupil and left in 2016. After achieving A Levels in History, Government and Politics and Philosophy, Sam went on to study Politics and International Relations at the University of Bristol.


Whilst at school, Sam volunteered on a community radio station in his own time and during his studies in Bristol he continued to build up work experience at various radio outlets in the city. After graduating in 2019, Sam stayed in Bristol for another year, working as a Broadcast Assistant at BBC Radio Bristol. In this role he worked on outside broadcasts, booked guests for programmes and read on-air traffic news bulletins (and made lots of tea). During this year after graduating, he also hopped on the train to London for freelance production work on Radio 1 and Radio 2 daytime programmes.


In August 2020, Sam moved to London to begin a full-time role as a Studio Director on news output at Radio 4 and the World Service. The role involves programmes such as The World At One on Radio 4 and Newshour on the World Service, working with their editors, presenters and producers to ensure programmes run smoothly.

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