Old Elean, Oliver Thain, is the Founder and CEO of Cambscuisine – a collection of eight pub/restaurants in and around Cambridge.
“I attended King’s Ely from September 1980 to July 1985. I then went to another boarding school from 1985 to 1990. I never wanted to leave King’s as I simply loved it!
“After school, I went to Reading University to study Building Construction Management (1991-94), then to RMA Sandhurst as an Officer Cadet (1995), and then to Allied Domecq as a Graduate Trainee. I then bought a pub, The Cock in Hemingford Grey, in 2001. Today, I am CEO/Founder of Cambscuisine (www.cambscuisine.com) – a collection of eight pub/restaurants in and around Cambridge.
“Memories of my time at King’s Ely come flooding back to me. The freshly cut grass on Amherst Field and nerves surrounding Sports Day, disappointment when cricket matches were rained off, the smell of Ely Cathedral, the glare of Dr Wills, Cornie’s U10’s football and Wilks’ U11’s, running from the school pitch to the Hayward Theatre in elation having drubbed King’s College Cambridge 6-4. Scrambling around Cherry Hill on Sunday afternoons, first kisses, The College driveway, the big old tree outside The Canonry, the smell and whine of the extraction of the food hall in the big Monastic Barn, running from Amherst Field to the Cathedral for Choir practice, cross-country runs around Stuntney, a wet and windy Campus Field. I have such happy memories of my first day, walking down the sloped path to Priory House, to my last day, leaving Choir House.
“I have little recollection of the classroom though, more the Cathedral Choir, the sports teams and my old mates. I was very busy, never bored and never lacking direction. Being in the Cathedral Choir and mixing this with sport was difficult. It meant I needed discipline from a young age to get from one to the other – constantly on the move. I loved the music, especially in the later years, but never as much as the sport – the two competed for time – it was a difficult balance. Being busy, concurrent activity and managing time were my key learnings. It was a place that fulfilled young energy! But my experience of Ely gave me so much more – a love of music, enduring relationships and a real connection to a place. I have a depth of love for a period of my life which I will always return to mentally and physically.
“I believe that having to organise one’s life from a young age really does help in the day to day operation of a business. Prioritising and managing time are so important and whilst I am far from an expert, my experiences at Ely and later Sandhurst definitely help me to run a busy business.”