Scientist on Covid battlefront set to return to Lewes Old Grammar School
Former student has developed testing game-changer and will visit current pupils next term to talk about his love of science
23rd June 2020 — A FORMER Lewes Old Grammar School schoolboy whose biotechnology company is in the throes of producing a game-changing rapid response mobile Covid-19 test says he plans to return to the school where he developed his passion for science.
Jonathan O’Halloran is the founder and MD of biotechnology company QuantuMDx which is already producing millions of disposable Covid-19 testing kits that are being sold globally and require labs to study the results.
But he has also spent years developing a hand-held device that can diagnose a range of diseases without the need for sending off swabs to a lab. This device, called QPOC, can now test for Covid 19 in just 20 minutes, by a patient’s side, and will launch in September.
One of the most urgent needs to help the world control and eliminate the Covid-19 pandemic are tests that can diagnose the disease quickly and accurately and affordably. The device will be used anywhere from pharmacies and schools to airports and ports.
Mr O’Halloran attended Lewes Old Grammar School (LOGS) in the early 1990s and says it was there that he first fell in love with science.
The biomedical scientist said: “It was my biology teacher Dr Bishop’s classes which really inspired me Everything just clicked for me and I absolutely loved those lessons. Genetics was amazing and I actually found it quite easy to grasp, which was unusual for me. I am colour-blind, tone deaf and dyslexic, so the arts were never going to be my thing, but genetics explained my issues and I found it fascinating.”
After leaving LOGS, Mr OHalloran studied genetics, biotechnology and genomics at Sussex University and Harvard and then launched into his career in science which would eventually lead him to develop the QPOC – even meeting with philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation has been instrumental in funding vaccine research, to talk through his technology along the way.
He has always kept in touch with LOGS and so when the school’s bursar Tim Laker asked him to come in to talk to the students about his device once classes are back in the autumn, he happily agreed.
He said: “I am really looking forward to coming back to LOGS as I have so many fond memories of the school and I am still in regular contact with the teachers that taught me. We are providing technology than can have a real impact for contact tracing and testing and it will be great to talk to the students about it.”
Little Oleta finds Marvel-lous way to cope with Covid
Lewes Old Grammar School pupil draws superhero cartoons to help her manage her fears for her medic brother
11th May 2020 — SMALL children struggle to understand how their world has changed since Covid-19 stopped life as we know it but one five-year-old Lewes Old Grammar School pupil has found a solution through the Marvel super heroes.
Little Oleta Sherlock-Chappell has had to cope with the fact that her older brother James, an NHS A&E staff nurse at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, caught the coronavirus, recovered and then has gone straight back to work.
With her world turned upside down and unable to describe her fears for her brother, you might think little Oleta would feel unable to cope. But thanks to a newfound love of reading Marvel comic books, she has found a way to express herself.
Her mum Lisa explains: “Oleta has been worrying a lot about what is going on in the world and especially about her brother James. He is the first point of contact to all emergency patients at Edinburgh’s A&E, he then got the virus himself but after recovering went back to work to help colleagues fight the cause. Oleta knew all this and thinks he is very brave.
“She has always been proud of her brother’s work - when he worked with children with specialised disabilities and geriatric patients and now dealing with the virus. But this is a lot for a five-year-old to deal with.
“She started learning about the Marvel super heroes and how they always win in the end and then we saw that she was drawing what was happening around us in Marvel cartoon form. She drew a cartoon of her brother as a super hero fighting the virus and sent it to her teacher at LOGS.
“It seems it really helps her when she translates her worries into comic drawings in which the super hero always prevails against evil. Oleta always reads the stories with me, looks at the pictures and then summarises how good has beaten evil, just like her brother is beating the virus.”
Every Thursday, Oleta rushes outside at 8pm to bang pots and pans for the NHS.
Lisa adds: “When it comes to Thursday evening at 8pm, Oleta bangs her pots and pans and when she is finished she always says: ‘That’s for you, James” even though he’s hundreds of miles away.”
Lewes Old Grammar School head Carrie Whyte said: “Superheroes are a perfect way to capture children’s imagination. They can be used as great role models if emphasis is put not so much on their ability to fight evil and always come out on top but on their kindness and helpfulness, their strength and perseverance. The idea of superpowers is so appealing and can make children braver about trying new things. Pretending to be someone else helps them to empathise and there is then a natural step towards real life superheroes like firefighters, vets or policemen, and of course doctors and nurses.”
LOGS pupils put best foot forward during Covid crisis to help others
THE pupils of Lewes Old Grammar School may not be able to attend their regular classes right now but they have been putting their spare time to good use in helping their communities in these difficult months.
4th May 2020 — THE pupils of Lewes Old Grammar School may not be able to attend their regular classes right now but they have been putting their spare time to good use in helping their communities in these difficult months.
From the little ones in the junior school to pupils who’ve had their GCSEs cancelled, many pupils are finding ways to support the NHS, key workers and the vulnerable.
Year 9’s Connie Mathieson has been busy helping her mum Rachel deliver hot meals around Brighton two days a week to the young and vulnerable homeless people who have been put in temporary accommodation during the COVID 19 crisis when social distancing is so important. Connie and Rachel are doing this vital work through a joint venture with the Brighton and Hove council, the NHS and local charities.
Zain Agnihotri in Year 8 has been helping his dad Minesh, who owns Indian Cookery Club Kariclub.com, prep and cook vegan soups to NHS workers. Every Tuesday and Friday the pair create 60 pots of delicious home-made soup which is collected and delivered to front line workers. Dad Minesh says: “Zain has been helping me with the labelling and packaging of the soups. Some labels are nice and straight, others not so straight!”
Year 11’s Hurstpierpoint resident Paddy Warren have shown great initiative with a venture he has started in his home village. With GCSEs cancelled and seeking direction, Paddy set up a food delivery business for the locals. After delivering fliers, he approached local high street shops and local Facebook Covid-19 groups and provided a connection between the two for those who need to self-isolate or are vulnerable to the virus.
Mum Kerry said: “There has been an incredible amount of positive reaction and enthusiasm for his business and everyday he receives new calls from those requesting his services. Paddy is well practiced on observing the social distancing rules, is being generously tipped and even made it into the Mid Sussex Times with a mention from a local contributor. We are proud that he is becoming a great asset to our village in this important time.”
Meanwhile Year 11 trampolinist Daniel Bradford, who has won many titles across the south east, sprung into action when he heard the local club where he trains, the Sky High Trampoline Gymnastics Academy, was in danger of closing though lack of funds after Covid 19 prevented it from holding a major fundraiser. He decided to try and run 2.6 miles in 26 minutes on April 26 and to collect sponsorship to do it to pass onto the club. Having completed the circular route from home around Buxted, Pound Green and Etchingwood Lane to bring him back home, he has so far raised £293.52 through his Virgin Money Giving page.
Dan said: “I wanted to be able to show my support, the club and everyone involved in the centre are a big part of my life and they have always supported me to achieve my dream in becoming the best trampoline gymnast I can be. It’s so important to give back to the club so it will be there in the future for everyone.”
Year 7’s Nat Stephens and his sister Daisy meanwhile, took it upon themselves to go to their local supermarket and buy two rucksacks worth of healthy snacks and then walk a mile up the road to their old primary school where an NHS wellbeing centre has been set up. The staff said they were impressed how much they had managed to cram into their rucksacks!
On the last day of the spring term, little Ivy and Alfie Prior from Year 2 and 4 respectively, agreed between themselves to wear their school uniform as they did their schoolwork from home in exchange for a £1 each from mum and dad Nicki and Dan - which they wanted to give to the NHS. Their parents topped it to £10 each and the children donated it to the NHS.
Year 12 Lewes Old Grammar School pupils plays the mandolin he made in 3D Art and Design at concert
24th February 2020 — TALENTED musicians put on a showcase of tunes old and brand new, including a first outing of a mandolin handmade by its player.
Pupils from across the year groups at Lewes Old Grammar School put on a dazzling display at the school with the audience enjoying everything from Lewis Capaldi hits to Schubert and Bach classics.
17-year-old Felix St Maur Sheil chose the showcase to reveal the mandolin he has crafted himself as part of his BTEC in 3D Art and Design. The gifted instrumentalist, who plays guitar and ukulele, took just 25 hours to make it and played Hummel’s Mandolin Sonata 3rd Movement.
He said: “I started making it in December and I just researched how to do it online. I enjoyed it so much I might make a loot next!”
You could hear a pin drop when Mia Battle belted out On My Own from Les Misérables while Max Dahlberg-Hughes held captivated everyone with his own acoustic guitar composition.
Year 11 flautists Phoebe Hatch and Lily Ellis treated the room to their GCSE piece Telemann’s Dolce Duet and Joshua Reid produced a beautiful Rachmaninov’s Elegy.
Head of music Matt Casterton said: “What makes us so proud at LOGS is that there are pupils here from all across the year groups. Music really is an integral part of the LOGS experience and it’s lovely for people to be able to hear what the students work so hard on throughout the year.”
Mini tycoons' business ideas will support developing world entrepreneurs
Lewes Old Grammar School pupils take part in Wild Hearts Group enterprise scheme
24th February 2020 — A GROUP of Sussex schoolchildren are learning the art of business in a bid to raise funds to support entrepreneurs in developing countries.
Year 7 and 8 children from Lewes Old Grammar School have been given four weeks and one pound coin each as seed money with which to grow small business plans or fund money-raising ideas.
The project, called Micro-Tyco, is organised by the Wild Hearts Foundation which passes on the schoolchildren’s profits as micro-loans to poor entrepreneurs in countries as diverse India, Haiti, Malawi , Jordan, Uganda, Ghana and El Salvador.
Charlotte Robson, Jamie Peasgood, Sam Rowney and Rory Macleod, all in Year 8, came up with a basketball shooting competition at 50p a go which garnered much interest from the competitive element of the year group. Said Charlotte: “This is just the first of our ideas to really grow our seed money into a good amount. We have also heard about a place that pays for used printer cartridges that get recycled so our next idea is to collect as many as we can and sell them on.
She added: “We had an assembly and learnt about a young man in Malawi who had an idea to rent bikes out and with the help of Wild Hearts he has really expanded and developed his business. When I hear stories like that, it really makes me want to make as much money as I can to give to Wild Hearts.”
Other activities have included some feverish cookie-making, using pound coins to pay for ingredients, with 95 selling out in seven minutes flat and a beat-the-keeper competition with PE teacher Miss Ellis in goal where pupils queued up to pay 50p to score penalties against her
Lewes Old Grammar School teacher Javed Alikhan, who is organising the Micro-Tyco project, said: “Teaching children about the wider world around them is part of the LOGS education as is encouraging them to think practically about how they can change the world for the better. So Micro-Tyco, which brings all of that together, was the perfect project for us to get involved with. I just can’t wait to see all the entrepreneurial ideas that the children come up with!”
The Wild Hearts Foundation operates across the globe, helping would-be entrepreneurs get their businesses going, but also helps people here in the UK addressing social mobility by equipping young people with key development and employability skills. For more information, go to https://www.wildheartsgroup.com/
Lewes Old Grammar School pupil thinks nothing of driving at 120mph most weekends!
7th February 2020 — A 15-year old Lewes Old Grammar School pupil who is taking the motorsport world by storm is looking for partners in order to keep racing.
Aston Millar, who has worked at his dad’s garage since he was nine years old, has impressed the junior motorsport circuit after he began testing earlier this year, winning the winter rookie cup in the Ginetta Juniors Championship - the top and most prestigious next to British touring cars.
The teenager developed his driving skills as a go-karter from the age of eight and has won several titles including the Southwest Championship and the Buckmore Park Championship.
And because he was so successful, he and his dad Richard have committed to taking Aston’s racing further to see if he can fulfill his full potential.
But motor racing at this level is a serious business, requiring large sums of money to be competitive, covering testing, maintenance and race fees. So Aston is looking for sponsorship partners.
Richard, a professional engineer himself, keeps costs down by preparing and fixing the car - both between race meetings and crucially during the weekends racing.
He said: “Aston shows real talent and he could go far if he gets the right support and although we are one of the least-funded on the circuit we are not going to let that stop us.
Aston’s races will be live on ITV4 every Sunday when they air the British touring car races. The races are also broadcast in Australia, Asia and the US with around 17 million viewers tuning in to watch the races over the season. And just under half a million people are trackside across the year to see the races, so if we could get the right partners, they would get a lot of exposure.”
Aston is committed to his racing and has taken on board the advice from adult drivers and coaches that it’s not just about driving but also team work, partnerships, a good mental state and keeping the momentum going.
Richard added: “Aston has grown up around cars and has been driving them around the forecourt and on the fields since he was 8 so I suppose it is in his blood! He was delighted with his Ginetta G40 racing car even though it’s the oldest one on the grid and in this car he won the rookie championship in the winter season and even took pole position in one of the races, beating older drivers with much more experience. It was a thrilling end to the year.”
Aston added: “People think it’s amazing that I’m driving a car at 120 mph at the weekends when I’ve only just turned 15, but in fact I have been practicing my driving skills for years. My dad also thinks it will make me a safer driver when I get my regular driving licence at 17 because I will have nothing to prove. That said, my mum still worries a lot.
I would love to race for a living when I’m an adult. It is an amazing privilege to do this sport and I love every second of it.
Anyone interested in sponsorship should contact firstname.lastname@example.org