RGS: Changing Lives since 1675...

Notable Reigatians

This is a list of notable people who have studied at Reigate Grammar School. It is by no means exhaustive; corrections and suggestions for further additions are welcome.

  • Andrew Cantrill

    Organ soloist, choirmaster, singer and conductor, Andrew Cantrill directed choirs in Belfast and Grimsby before moving to Wellington Cathedral, New Zealand as Director of Music. In addition to his work with the cathedral choirs, he broadcast regularly on Radio NZ, both as organ soloist and presenter, and was a regular guest conductor with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. After five years in New Zealand, Andrew was appointed Organist-Choirmaster at St Paul’s Cathedral Buffalo, NY, USA, a position he held until his move back to the UK in 2007. He is now Director of Music at Croydon Parish Church. Left RGS in 1987.

  • Norman Cook

    Norman Cook, also known by his stage name Fatboy Slim, is a British DJ, musician, and record producer. Cook first rose to fame in the 1980s as the bassist of the indie rock band The Housemartins who scored a UK number one single with their capella cover of Isley-Jasper-Isley’s Caravan of Love. After the band split, Cook formed Beats International whose début album spawned their signature hit, Dub Be Good to Me which was another UK number one as well as going on to become the seventh best-selling single of 1990 in the UK.

  • Andrew Cooper

    Director of Political Strategy at 10 Downing Street and one of David Cameron’s special advisors. Andrew is also a founder and strategic director of the ‘Populus’ polling company.

  • Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Dalton KCB

    Joined the Royal Navy in 1949. Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic 1984-87, Secretary General of MENCAP 1987-90 and President of the Royal British Legion from 1993 to 1997. Vice Chairman of Governors of Queen Mary College, London from 1995-2002. Honorary Colonel 71st (Yeomanry) Signal Regiment from 1998-2001. Attended RGS 1943-1948.

  • Professor Peter Fookes, FREng, Hon FRGS, Hon DSC (Plym), BSc (Hons), PhD (Eng), DSc (Eng), Ceng, Cgeol, FIMM, FGS

    An international consultant engineering geologist widely regarded as the ‘father of modern engineering’ and ‘pre-eminent in the world of engineering geology’, whose principal interests are geomaterials and engineering geomorphology. Attended RGS 1944-1949.

  • Bill Frindall MBE (1939-2009)

    Dubbed ‘The Bearded Wonder’ by the late Brian Johnston, Bill Frindall was the BBC’s scorer and statistician from 1966 and was the longest-serving member of BBC Radio’s Test Match Special commentary team. He scored the first of his 246 home matches on 2 June 1966 when England played West Indies at Old Trafford. He did not miss a single Test in England thereafter. In all he covered 377 Tests, the last of which was on England’s tour of India last December. He became a full-time freelance cricket statistician in 1966 after serving in the RAF.

    Bill devised his own linear scoring system and edited and compiled many cricketing publications. As a right-handed medium fast bowler and mid-order batsman, he played cricket for Banstead and represented the MCC, Hampshire 2nd XI, the Cricket Society and The Lord’s Taverners. He was President of the BBC Cricket Club from 1998. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Technology for his contribution to the field of statistics by Staffordshire University in 1998. Appointed MBE in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours and Patron of the German Cricket Board in 2005. Attended RGS 1950–1957.

  • Sir Peter Gershon CBE FREng

    Peter’s career has spanned both the private and public sectors since he graduated in Mathematics at Cambridge University in 1969. After starting in the computer industry (1969-1986) he worked in the telecoms industry (1987-1994) and then became the main board director in GEC plc in 1994 with responsibility for its £3.5 billion international aerospace &; defence business.

    Following the sale of GEC’s defence business to BAE SYSTEMS in late 1999 he joined the Civil Service in April 2000 as the first Chief Executive of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) to lead a major programme to reform the way UK Central Civil Government handles its procurement. In August 2003 the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer invited Peter to lead a major review of UK Public Sector efficiency to identify significant resources which could be reallocated in the 2004 Spending Review to front line services over the period 05/06 – 07/08.

    After more than 4 years of public service Peter returned to the private sector in 2004 and is now Chairman of National Grid Plc and Tate & Lyle PLC. In June 2010 he was appointed as an external member of the UK Government’s Efficiency Board. He is a board member of The Sutton Trust. In 2008 he undertook an independent review for the Australian Government of its use of Information & Communications Technology. He was awarded the CBE in 2000 for services to industry and Knighted in 2004 for his work on public procurement.

  • Susan Gritton

    One of the country's leading sopranos, Susan appears in concerts, recitals and opera stagings throughout the world. Attended RGS 1981-1983.

  • Hon Mr Justice Hidden

    Judge of the High Court of Justice in 1989 - 2003. Attended RGS 1945-1954.

  • Bevis Hillier

    An English art historian, author and journalist. After attending RGS he went to Magdalen College, Oxford where he won the Gladstone Memorial Prize for History. He was employed as a journalist on The Times in 1963. Later he became editor of The Connoisseur, a columnist on the Los Angeles Times and lead reviewer for The Spectator.

    His major work, the authorised biography of Sir John Betjeman, was published in three parts in 1988, 2002 and 2004. A one volume abridgement was published in 2006 for Betjeman's centenary. In 2006 he also became infamous as the hoaxer who duped the poet’s latest biographer, A N Wilson, into publishing a spoof love letter. He is also known for his writing on Art Deco. His 1968 book Art Deco of the 20s and 30s revived interest in this period of art. In 1971 he was co-organiser of a major Art Deco show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

    He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Society of Literature. Awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University of Winchester in 2009. Attended RGS 1951-1959.

  • Sir Godfrey Ince

    Director General of Manpower during the Second World War. Attended RGS 1903-1910.

  • Trevor Kavanagh

    Political Editor of The Sun. Reporter of the Year 2005 (British Press Awards). Political Journalist of the Year 2004 (Political Studies Association). Journalist of the Year and Specialist Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards 1997. Attended RGS 1954-1960.

  • Sir Peter Lampl OBE

    Chairman of The Sutton Trust which provides educational opportunities for young people from non-privileged backgrounds. Attended RGS 1959-1964.

    Peter Lampl is acknowledged to be the UK’s leading educational philanthropist. In 1997 he founded the Sutton Trust which is dedicated to improving social mobility through education. Peter has given over £50 million to the Trust to achieve this aim.

    Peter is also chairman of the Education Endowment Foundation set up in 2011 by the Sutton Trust and funded by £135 million from Government to improve the performance of the poorest children in the most challenging schools.

    Peter’s first philanthropic venture was funding the campaign to ban handguns in the wake of the Dunblane massacre. The campaign was enormously successful and resulted in a complete ban.

    In 1983 Peter founded the Sutton Company, a Private Equity firm with offices in New York, London and Munich. The firm was highly successful and resulted in Peter becoming one of the 200 wealthiest people in the UK.

  • Ray Mears

    Survival and wilderness expert and author. Presents numerous BBC television programmes on the subject. Founded Woodlore, School of Wilderness Bushcraft, in 1983. Attended RGS 1977-1982.

  • Ben Mee

    Ben Mee studied psychology at university before becoming a DIY expert writing a column for the Guardian’s Weekend section. He published a collection of his articles in The Call of DIY: A Toolkit of Practical Wisdom. He moved to France to restore an old barn near Nimes, but in an extraordinary change of life he and his family returned to England to take over a run-down zoo on the edge of Dartmoor. His struggles to turn around the zoo were documented in the BBC television programme Ben’s Zoo. Ben has since written a book We Bought a Zoo. Attended RGS 1977–1980.

  • Professor John Murrell BSc, PhD, FRSC, FRS

    Studied for his first degree at King's College, London and for PhD at Cambridge. He became Professor of Chemistry at the University of Sussex in 1964. He was elected a Fellow of The Royal Society in 1991. In 1996 he was appointed founding Dean of the new School of Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Science at Sussex. He has an honorary DSc from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. He retired in 1999, although he retains links with the University of Sussex as Emeritus Professor of Chemistry. He has published a wide range of papers in theoretical chemistry and seven books on the subject. Attended RGS 1943-1950.

  • Alec Reeves CBE (1902-1971)

    Famous engineer who played a leading role in introducing the digital age of communications. Invented the world's first remote-controlled bombing device which had a profound effect during World War Two. Attended RGS 1914-1918.

  • Sir Keir Starmer MP

    Sir Keir Starmer QC was knighted by the Queen in the 2014 New Year’s Honours List. He is the author of European Human Rights Law (1999). Regarded as a progressive barrister he was named Human Rights Lawyer of the Year 2000. Appointed as Queen’s Counsel in 2002 and recently served as Director of the Crown Prosecution Service 2008-2013. Sir Keir was elected the Labour Member of Parliament for Holburn and St.Pancras in May 2015.

  • The Lord Sterling of Plaistow GCVO, CBE

    Executive chairman of the P&O Steam Navigation Company 1983-2005 and now Life President of P&O Princess Cruises. Joint Founder and current Chairman of Motability. Chairman of the National Maritime Museum. Chairman of the Governors of The Royal Ballet School 1983-1999. Chairman of the Young Vic Company 1975-1983. President of the General Council of British Shipping 1990-1991. President of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations 1992-1994. Knighted in 1985 for public services and services to industry. Created a life peer in December 1990. Awarded Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) in 2002. Attended RGS 1945-1949.

  • Fred Streeter MBE

    Was an “extremely promising” pupil at RGS but left school at the age of 12 determined to become a gardener. He subsequently became a famous gardening expert.

  • Andrew Sullivan

    Provocative social and political commentator. An essayist for TIME magazine, a columnist for the Sunday Times and senior editor at The New Republic (a magazine he edited from 1991 - 1996), he also is the editor of weblog andrewsullivan.com. His book, Virtually Normal: An Argument about Homosexuality was the first major publication arguing for marriage rights for gay couples. He is currently at work on a book about conservatism and lives in Washington, DC. Attended RGS 1974-1981.

  • Derek Twine

    Following RGS, Derek gained a 1st Class Honours degree at Bangor University. This was followed by post-graduate research, then an early career in university lecturing, youth work and adult education. During this period, he was also involved in the wider UK voluntary and community sector. In 1996 he was appointed as CEO of the Scout Association, the UK’s largest mixed youth organisation; during his tenure, the organisation was led to growth in youth membership, adult volunteering, financial stability and social profile and community impact. He has chaired panels for the National Youth Agency, the National Council for Youth Services and the Association of Chief Executives. He gives evidence to Parliamentary Enquiries, and represents the sector in the media. Since retiring in 2013, Derek has continued to contribute to the voluntary sector: Vice-Chair of Church Urban Fund, Chair of Bradford Cathedral, Council Member of National Trust and of Scout Association, and Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts. He is a Freeman of the City of London, and in 2007 was appointed CBE for services to young people.

  • Simon Virley

    Former Director General, Energy, Department of Energy and Climate Change. Previously Chief Executive, Office for Renewable Energy Deployment, Acting Director General at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (January to July 2009). Director, Renewable Energy, Department for Business (2008-2009); Director, Corporate Finance, KPMG (2005-08); Director, Better Regulation Executive, Cabinet Office (2003-05); Private Secretary to Prime Minister, Tony Blair (2000-03). Trained as an economist (Oxford and LSE), he spent most of his early career in the Treasury, including leading the Treasury's work on 'green' taxes, and the first ever National Minimum Wage. He has a number of published articles to his name. He now lives with his wife Kate, and two sons, Max and Leo, in Kingston. Simon currently works for KPMG as a Partner to support the firm's Energy practice in the UK. Attended RGS 1980-87.

  • David Walliams

    Actor, writer, comedian and BAFTA winner for comedy series Little Britain. David revisited the school in 2005 with his co-star Matt Lucas to talk to the pupils about his work in comedy.

  • John Westbrook

    John Westbrook worked mainly in theatre and in radio but also made film and television appearances. His most famous role was as Christopher Gough in Roger Corman's The Tomb of Ligeia. He was noted for his deep, mellifluous voice. He recorded radio plays and audio books, performed in a great many Shakespeare plays, and was involved with many works with a religious theme.

  • Chris Wise

    Engineer, university teacher and occasional broadcaster, Chris has worked closely with leading architects on award winning projects throughout the world twice winning the Construction Industry Building of the Year award, and also the RIBA Stirling Prize for Architecture. Attended RGS 1968-1976.

Testimonials...

RGS gave me the superb education my parents could not have afforded. I’ve never forgotten that... So I decided to give a bursary to a first year student and I hope it gives her some of the opportunities RGS gave to me.

Andrew Sullivan (RGS 1974–1981)

The lessons learned in those RGS years were certainly formative in terms of teamwork, resilience and lifelong learning.

Iain McLean (RGS 1971–1974)

Maybe if I had not had the opportunities and encouragement from RGS my life would have followed another path. Those days seem many miles away now but I will never forget my five happy years there.

Laurie Reed (RGS 1948–1953)

Highlights...