Here we celebrate our Old Shirburnians and discover the many inspirational and diverse paths our alumni have taken. Every month we will be share a new story.

Simon Martin (d 95)

Conscious clothing company that's reshaping the industry...


Image of Old Shirburnian, Simon MartinSimon has just launched an exciting new fashion brand, Carbon Conscious Clothing, an ethical and sustainable clothing company, committed to reshaping the industry.

Since leaving Sherborne, Simon had always been involved in the fashion industry but just over 10 years ago he quit his job as director of a fashion company in London and moved to Bristol with his young family to start a new life designing and building treehouses. However, Simon had a dream of establishing a sustainable and ethical clothing label and so the seeds of Carbon Conscious Clothing - a brand that champions inclusivity and gender fluidity - were sown.

Simon aspires to make a meaningful impact on the planet, fashioning high-quality, long-lasting garments with a reduced environmental footprint. Every facet of production reflects this commitment, from responsibly sourced fabrics to partnerships with mills addressing water usage, chemical dyes, and harmful practices and eventually to recycling every garment sold. 

Beyond fashion, Simon's dedication extends to community projects and global equality initiatives. For each garment produced, Carbon Conscious Clothing invests in carbon capture or offsetting through a partnership with Ecologi, while also planting a tree for every item sold. 

He envisions expanding his network of partners, elevating standards and advocating for improved conditions within factories. His long-term goals encompass enhancing workers' welfare, promoting education, healthcare, and childcare initiatives, both locally and globally. 


Tom Kitching (d 96)

Pioneering Business...

Tom, 1st XV rugby player at Sherborne was studying Design Technology for his GCSEs when his father, Mike, had, a fortunately not serious, fall from a step ladder whilst hedge cutting.  Tom decided to design a safer garden ladder as his GCSE design project, and so, Henchman was born.

Tom and Mike had a prototype tripod ladder engineered and launched it at The Chelsea Flower Show in 1996 and, as they say, the rest is history. Today the name Henchman is synonymous with safety ladders, and Tom, who after several years of travelling and teaching English overseas, now runs the business. Based in Melksham, Tom now employs 15 people, has a turnover of £4 million and exports to Australia and New Zealand. Tom recently worked with fellow OS, David Crosthwaite-Eyre (d 96) to develop a European Development Plan.

Henchman’s adjustable tripod ladders allow users to work on uneven ground, secure in the knowledge that they are safe when working at height.  They are used by the RHS, several Royal Gardens, the National Trust, local councils, landscape gardeners and surprisingly by England Rugby.  A friend of Tom’s saw a video clip of the England forwards using a step ladder during a training session,  and Tom saw a great marketing opportunity and sent Steve Borthwick, then the Forwards Coach, a Henchman ladder.  Henchman’s 10 ft ladder is now an integral part of England’s, Wasps, Northampton’s and Gloucester Rugby’s lineout training.



Jamie Smart (c 12)

From Sherborne to Culinary Brilliance...

Old Shirburnian Jamie Smart has found his calling in the world of gastronomy as the Head Chef at Cadet, a restaurant and wine bar that's making waves in the London dining scene. The Financial Times raves about Jamie, hailing him as "one of the most intuitively brilliant chefs" they've encountered.

For Jamie, life at Sherborne was enjoyable, but he admits he didn't shine academically and fell short of his expected exam results. After much introspection, he decided to pursue a vocation rather than a profession, aspiring to master a craft over a lifetime, seeking a purpose that resonated with his soul, a life worth living.

Cooking had always held a romantic allure for Jamie, and he chose to embark on the culinary path because of his passion for food, hospitality, and the art of cooking. What started as a desire to understand the art of cooking became an all-encompassing love for the culinary world.

With no prior hospitality experience, Jamie began his journey as an apprentice chef at Coombe House in Gittisham, a luxury hotel, where he learned the basics of cooking. He also imbibed the culture and lifestyle of kitchens and hospitality from the wonderful people he worked with. He then moved to London, joining Gordon Ramsay's Pétrus, followed by a pivotal period at St. John in Farringdon, where he honed his skills and developed his signature cooking style.

Jamie continued to grow as a chef, working at renowned establishments like Lyle's in Shoreditch and Brawn, which completed his training. Just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he embarked on an exciting journey with a friend, spending a year at an Auberge in Central France. This remote experience demanded they create daily menus with limited ingredients, relying mostly on their farm's produce. They even had to prepare their charcuterie for the following season, making for an enriching and challenging adventure.

Upon returning to London, Jamie further polished his skills with a residency at P Franco, a prestigious wine bar known for nurturing emerging culinary talents. Finally, he opened Cadet in Newington Green, where he collaborates with a sous chef to create a unique style he describes as "classic British/French with a touch of creativity."

Jamie's culinary philosophy is simple but powerful: care. He believes that when you genuinely care about your suppliers, sourcing, handling, and treating both your ingredients and your team, the art of cooking almost magically unfolds.

Looking ahead, Jamie aspires to open his own restaurant, and his bright future in the culinary world seems all but assured. Tim Hayward, in his review, lauds Jamie as "one of the best chefs in London." With passion and care at the core of his craft, Jamie Smart is a rising star in the culinary galaxy, poised for even greater heights.