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    Former Prep Pupil Returns to His Roots

    JCB apprentice Wallace Cairns returns to Kimbolton Prep to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February).

    Former Prep pupil and JCB employee Wallace Cairns returned to Kimbolton Prep School this week to revisit his roots and celebrate National Apprenticeship Week (6-12 February). He is one of 78 of the digger giant’s current apprentices who returned to their old primary school to plant a commemorative oak tree and talk to pupils about their education pathway to a prestigious apprenticeship.  

    Prep Headmaster Mr Foley led a special assembly and Q&A with Wallace, which focussed on the importance of building strong roots in childhood and making the most of opportunities. The 20-year-old shared his journey from Reception class in 2007 to joining JCB in September 2022, following A Levels in Maths, Physics and Politics. He said: “I have many happy memories of my time at the Prep. Kimbolton taught me independence from an early age, and I thoroughly enjoyed the House Games and sports, especially hockey – which I still play today.”    

    Several teachers shared their memories of Wallace, with teacher Mr Bull recalling: “I was one of the first people to give Wallace a hockey stick … we recently bumped into each other again, playing on the same team in a match for Kettering Hockey Club!” 

    Members of our Prep School Council (of which Wallace was a former member) later accompanied Wallace and Mr Foley for a short tree-planting ceremony near the cricket pavilion. The oak sapling, grown on JCB’s farming estate at Wootton, is one of 78 being planted across the UK - each marking a year in business for the Staffordshire-based company founded in 1945. The new tree and commemorative plaque were quickly spotted by some of our current Reception pupils, as they passed by on their weekly Forest School outing to Squirrel Wood! 

    Mr Foley said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Wallace to the Prep. He is a great ambassador for both Kimbolton Prep School and JCB, and an inspiration for any pupil considering a career in business, engineering, or manufacturing.”