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New Chair for the Friends of St. Mary's




The organisation for former students and staff of St. Mary’s College has a new man at the helm. Southport businessman and ex-pupil of the school, Jonathan Cunningham, has been appointed as the Chair of the Friends of St. Mary’s, succeeding Tony Bradshaw who spent more than four years in the role.

The new Chair is a well-known member of the St. Mary’s community whose own children also attend the college. Major Jonathan Cunningham (retired) enjoyed a distinguished 16-year career in the armed forces, serving in hotspots including Basra in Iraq before being honoured with an MBE for his military achievements in 2009.

On his return to civilian life in Birkdale he established what has since become a very successful health and safety, event management and emergency planning company,  STORM Consultancy.

Mr Cunningham is also the founder and Chair of Sefton business networking organisation Plan B for Business, and founder of XtremeSTORM, the UK’s toughest urban obstacle endurance event.

Commenting on his new role at St. Mary’s Mr Cunningham said, “It is a great honour to be the Chair of the alumni organisation of a great school like St. Mary’s, and my job now is to build on the success of the Friends to date. There are people throughout the UK and in many parts of the world with a connection to St. Mary’s, and we need to get the message across to as many of them as we can that the Friends organisation is available as a focus for their links with the school.”

Mr Cunningham also paid tribute to his predecessor: “Tony Bradshaw has put a lot of time and effort into making the Friends organisation what it is today, and I am looking forward to building on his achievements over the past four years."

These achievements included spearheading a fundraising campaign which resulted in the purchase of a new school minibus, and the creation of several new student bursaries.

The Friends of St. Mary’s runs regular events throughout the year, including its popular annual reunion dinner. VIP guests at previous events have included distinguished ex-pupils of the school such as former BBC Director-General Lord John Birt, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols and poet Roger McGough.


St. Mary's salutes achievements of CCF Cadets

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St. Mary’s College recently celebrated the achievements of students involved in its Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at the contingent’s annual presentation evening.

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The VIP guest at the event was former pupil, Squadron Leader Kevin O’Shaughnessy, who looked back at his own time in St. Mary’s CCF in the 1950s in an amusing and well-received speech. Focusing on the importance of discipline and self-discipline in life, Squadron Leader O’Shaughnessy recalled that, as a senior cadet, one of the young lads he marched round the school parade ground was Vinnie Nichols. The once fledgling foot soldier is now better known as the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols.


Squadron Leader O’Shaughnessy also thanked cadets for placing wreaths on the grave of his father Myles O’Shaughnessy - another former St Mary’s pupil - who was killed in action during Operation Market Garden in Arnhem during World War Two. In recent years, cadets from St. Mary’s have been regularly invited to travel to Holland to take part in commemorative events marking what remains the largest airborne operation of all time.

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Many students were honoured with awards and promotions during the presentation evening, which also featured a slideshow illustrating the wide variety of activities cadets had been involved in over the previous 12 months. These ranged from adventure training, air experience flying, gliding, parachuting and leadership courses to ceremonial roles at home and abroad including taking part in Sefton’s boroughwide Remembrance Day celebrations.


Contingent Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Niall Rothnie, commented: “ “What is clear from the photographs in the slideshow is the obvious enjoyment that the cadets have gained from their experiences during another busy but rewarding year. I would like to pay tribute to all the students and staff involved in the CCF for their effort and commitment over the past 12 months, and to congratulate those who received special recognition during the presentation ceremony.”


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