Disney set designer Tom Coxon is the latest addition to our governing body, in the role of ‘young governor’.
The school governors reserve a place every year for a recent former pupil, known as an Old Giggleswickian (OG). Tom, who left in 2009, graduated in architecture from Central Saint Martins in 2013, subsequently gained an MA in production design from the National Film and Television School and has worked for the BBC on hit programmes including McMafia before landing his current role with Disney. He is now working on the film Maleficent Two starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Angelina Jolie.
Tom said: “Being a young governor I can give something back to a school which gave me a strong platform and allowed me to explore who I am as a person through both academic and extra-curricular activities. The ethos and enthusiasm of Giggleswick helped me believe that I could achieve more than I thought I could.”
Tom’s journey to Disney could almost be a film script in itself. He has overcome issues which many people would consider to be problems with typical positivity, tenacity and passion, seeing things as opportunities rather than setbacks.
While in year three, Tom, who is now 28, was diagnosed with dyslexia. He said: “For me this never felt like a problem as I have always been drawn to the visual side of things anyway. Now it’s my job to take the words of a script and visualise what that world or environment would look like, so I’m using what was once my ‘weakness’ to define me as a creative.”
Then just before starting his MA, Tom suffered a stroke following a routine operation, losing most of his mobility on his left side. Sheer will and determination saw him through difficult times with relentless rounds of physiotherapy until he regained his movement.
Tom’s fellow pupils will recognise this determination from his schooldays. After all, this is the student who insisted on taking six A levels rather than the customary four: “because I wanted to keep my learning broad across as many art fields as possible”.
As Giggleswick enters a period of refurbishment and redevelopment, with the multi million pound investment in upgrading boarding accommodation and classrooms, Tom is well placed to have around.
He said: “Giggleswick is in a development stage with potential changes in its architecture, structure and ambition for the future. I hope my architectural background and experience will add significant value as the governors consider how the new physical spaces need to be developed.”