In the news - Tim Lowe

6th August 2010 at 01:00

Tim Lowe, 58, retired as the head of RGS The Grange in Worcester last summer. Having taught secondary and primary, state and private, Mr Lowe has spotted a niche. He spends his days exploring the history of schools all over the country, compiling a database of their sporting alumni.

Databases, eh? Hmm... exciting?

"I worked at a school with famous alumni and found the sports personalities came back to help the kids. I wondered which other schools had famous sporting ex-pupils so I created the site. As people send me information, more are discovering famous sporting heroes in their alumni."

So, best discovery then?

"St Faith's Independent Prep School in Cambridge. They had a very famous cricketer called Ranjitsinhji in the early 1900s. He was an Indian prince. Another school found Ran Laurie had attended. He won a gold medal rowing in the 1948 Olympics and his son is actor Hugh Laurie."

Isn't it all just former glories?

"I am hoping the site will help parents looking for schools of a particular sport pedigree. And it's a good way to give schools something to shout about. Some aren't proud and I find that surprising. It should be on their websites."

Spotted any trends?

"Only one footballer on the England squad went to an independent school - Frank Lampard. All the rest went to state schools. But all the premiership youngsters in my area go to independent schools so maybe in time it will change. Gwendraeth Grammar School in Wales has produced four national fly-halves. It's known as the Welsh Fly Half Factory."

Do ex-sportsmen go to the chalkface?

"Yes. Particularly rugby and cricket players - perhaps footballers earn too much. Two ex-England cricketers teach at Oakham School in Leicestershire, and Millfield Senior School in Somerset has two others."

Any good anecdotes to tell us?

"I did find out that Steve Redgrave's teacher said to him: 'You've got big hands. You should start rowing.' So he did, and he has his teacher to thank for that. I want the site to emphasise that despite the negative press, teachers still do terrific sport in school nowadays."

So who was your sporting hero?

"Dennis Viollet, a Manchester United Busby Babe striker, came to my school. He hugely influenced my passion for sport. If schools discover an alumni, they can invite them back to encourage the children and boost interest in sport."

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