Peter Openshaw

P Openshaw
Peter Openshaw

What do you enjoy about being a governor of Sidcot?

Reconnecting to a place that was so important to me as a teenager. Sidcot allowed me to have a lot of fun while developing my personal approach to life. My time at Sidcot taught me the importance of experimentation, and of learning from experience and observation. A great start.

What do you do in everyday life?

I’m Professor of Experimental Medicine at Imperial College London.

What’s most important to you about being a governor?

I found being a Trustee of another charity very interesting and rewarding. My family have Sidcot connections going back four generations. 

What are you curious about?

How things work, what motivates people and how people develop and sustain fixed views despite evidence to the contrary.

What surprises you about Sidcot?

How much it has grown since my time there in the early 1970s, and how well the Quaker ethos has evolved for new generations.

Do you think you would enjoy being a student at Sidcot? And if so, why?

Yes, I would. I’d like the controlled freedom that the kids now have, the wonderful countryside and the professional teaching.

What does Quakerism mean to you?

I was born into a Somerset Quaker family and the basics were instilled into me from an early age. I don’t believe in a supernatural God, but many Quakers don’t these days. When I was appointed to champion good ethical principles at Imperial a couple of years ago I found that the qualities I was trying to promote were essentially Quaker: kindness, honesty, openness, truth, cheerfulness and life-long questioning. It’s a good set of principles for life.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Next time when things go wrong, make sure it IS your fault!

If you had one word to sum up Sidcot, what would it be?