HAWKWOOD College principal Richard Brinton has left his post after 15 years at the helm.

Richard, 52, trained as a teacher in Switzerland where he and his Swiss wife lived before moving to England.

He later taught in Hertfordshire and says he was often asked why he would leave a beautiful idyllic country like Switzerland but he enjoys England.

"England and America, my home country, have a greater entrepreneurial spirit and are ready to be experiment and try new ways," he said. "That is what drew me to Hawkwood 15 years go.

"Having trained for teaching kids, moving into adult education was an exciting next step.

"Hawkwood has a tremendous creative spirit, and I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in and expanding on this."

Expansion of the college led to a new phase for Hawkwood, where footfall and turnover tripled during his 15-year tenure.

"It has been a challenge during a recession time, where people are obviously being more sparing with their cash but we have been very fortunate at Hawkwood," he added.

"There is a strong demand for courses on personal development and creativity, for which Hawkwood is known."

The college also provides a home for the School of Homeopathy and includes the National Trust as one of its regular customers for catered away days.

Alicia Carey from Dartington has been appointed as the new principal and will take up her post in September.

Richard plans to take a break with his family, do some travelling to China, Tibet and to trace family roots in County Cork, Ireland.