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Kate Crofton-Atkins talks to us about her business in Hong Kong



What does that mean for Downe House alumnae? The aim of GDPR is to offer greater protection for people and to ensure that we hold, manage and process your data in a secure and transparent way. The Foundation Office is working in unison with the DHSA to ensure that we are ready for the changes in regulations and that we continue to act in the best interests of our alumnae. Downe House is committed to protecting your personal information and being transparent about what information we hold. The School has a range of data protection policies and procedures to ensure your data is held securely and is only used to contact you in connection with the School’s or the Downe House Seniors’ Association’s (DHSA) activities. We may hold information relating to you from a number of sources. A significant proportion of the information we hold on alumnae is that which you provide to

us (for example, you may give us information by filling in forms on our website, after attending a reunion, for the DHSA magazine, or by corresponding with us by telephone, email or otherwise). If you were a pupil at Downe House from 2002 onwards, some of your personal data was transferred from your pupil record to the School’s alumnae database for the sole purpose of staying connected. You now have the option of tailoring your communication preferences via a secure website at any point. So that we may keep in touch, we will retain your current data indefinitely in support of your lifelong relationships with the School or until you request us to do otherwise.

Magazine team Editor-in-chief Content Designer

Michelle Scott Alexandra Barlow Satvinder Orton

Update your details online Have you recently moved, changed your email address or phone number? Visit the new Downe House Foundation community online network: or email us at:

As always, if you have any questions, please do contact us in the Foundation Office.

Founder’s Weekend Saturday 30 June & Sunday 1 July 2018 Saturday

Event Programme


10.30am–12.30pm Family tennis and rounders tournaments, 11.00am–12.00noon workshops and exhibitions 11.00am–2.00pm 12.00noon School lunch and family picnics 12.00noon Science workshops 1.00pm–2.30pm 2.00pm 1.00pm–4.30pm Founder’s Fair – House activities 3.30pm–4.45pm in the Cloisters 5.00pm–6.00pm 2.30pm Music event – ‘Bring the House Downe’ 6.30pm–7.30pm Founder’s Tea 3.30pm–4.45pm 6.30pm–8.30pm 5.00pm–6.00pm Music Showcase School Musical, Singing in the Rain 7.00pm

Event Programme Choral workshop Yoga and wellbeing tent School lunch and family picnics Founder’s Concert Founder’s Tea Buskers’ Corner Dance Showcase, A Night at the Movies Family BBQ with music ensemble performances

Bringing the Downe House community together 2


Focus on charity


Focus on art





Save the date

Focus on success

Happy Day






Reunion for the year of 1994

Forty members of the year of 1994 came together for a reunion on Friday 8 December 2017, hosted by Georgie Rylance (DH 1994) at her home in Chelsea.

A night of fun, laughter, giggles and reminiscing over a simpler time before jobs, relationships, kids, dogs…’ JO ALLEN (DH 1994)


NETWORKING Property, Engineering and Architecture was top of the agenda at Clearbell Upper Fifth and Sixth Form girls who are interested in pursuing careers in property, engineering and architecture had the opportunity to find out more about future study and career paths in February, when they attended a DH LINKS networking event at Clearbell Capital, property investment firm in the heart of London. The girls were able to meet and chat to alumnae and parents, all of whom currently work in the property, engineering and architecture sectors. We were delighted that four members of our alumnae were able to share their career paths with the guests and our sincere thanks go to them. Each speaker gave excellent advice and different perspectives on universities and the world of work.


Our host for the evening, Mr Rob West, a current parent and Partner at Clearbell Capital LLP commented; “I really enjoyed hosting the event. The feedback from the girls and staff was so positive and made the whole experience extremely rewarding. I hope we have managed to encourage one or two girls to look at a career in property.� Our speakers for the evening were Rob West, Mary Beeton (Robinson, DH 1993), Katherine Pelton (DH 2006), Camilla Capaldi (DH 2010) and Victoria Barbour-Smith (DH 2012).


Thank you so much for organising the thoughtprovoking event, I really enjoyed it and had some inspiring conversations with some of the alumnae. The career insight side of the event really made me think outside the box. It was a great opportunity to have a glimpse of the reality and this will definitely help me with my future plans.

DH LINKS offers careers-based networking opportunities for current pupils and alumnae – if you can offer support with providing work shadowing or internships, hosting a Cluster Group or giving a careers talk, please do get in touch.

Please contact the Foundation Office if you wish to discuss ways to support DH LINKS. Mrs Alexandra Barlow DH LINKS Coordinator Email: Tel: 01635 204740



My week in

Hong Kong

Jacqueline Wong spent a week as an intern with Cochine My five-day work experience at Cochine took place in Hong Kong during October half term in 2017. Since I was little, I have been addicted to scents around me. I am the kind of person who would sniff everything and I could distinguish different perfumes worn by random pedestrians on the street. All these are convincing signs that I have a sensitive nose! It is hard to find a work placement in the perfumery industry without any connections and I am exceptionally grateful that DH LINKS could help arrange this work shadowing for me. Cochine is a luxury fragrance brand founded by Kate Crofton-Atkins, an alumna of Downe House. The distinct and special scents of Vietnamese flowers had inspired her to create the brand Cochine. In the office everyone was in their comfortable clothes – no one was wearing heels. Most importantly, Kate and all the others were super friendly and welcoming. Kate is a very organised person. She worked out a plan before my arrival and it included a timetable and all the tasks that I could attempt during my five-day work experience. I had a taste of everything. It covered all areas of running a business including marketing, packaging design, promoting through social media and also a store opening event. Among all the tasks I have completed, I enjoyed doing the pricing and competitor’s research most. At the very beginning, I was worried that I would find the work difficult to complete because I don’t do


Business A-level, but it turned out all the tasks were achievable. I also learned a lot from Kate. She helped me when I was struggling to finish the price research project and she explained to me the backgrounds between different tax rates in different countries, leading to the variation in prices. We went through my work step by step and I couldn’t believe that it could be presented to other colleagues during Cochine’s weekly meeting. I am glad that my work was valued and appreciated. Another memorable experience was the photoshoot of pre-launched products. It was something new to me and I had enjoyed sourcing flowers and fruits for the photoshoot. Besides, it was a valuable experience to communicate with a professional photographer on placing the products at their best angle. On my last day, Kate gave everyone a tube of newlyformulated hand cream before it was launched to the public and I am truly excited about Cochine’s new product! I have gained a valuable insight in to the perfumery industry through the work experience. I used to think that perfume was all about the scent but now understand that the whole packaging of the brand and human resources involved behind each product is crucial. I would certainly recommend this work experience to others because it was extremely rewarding. Jacqueline Wong (Lower Sixth)

The story behind


Inspired by the timeless elegance of Saigon, Cochin range of luxurious candles, diffusers and fragrance

Kate Crofton-Atkins (Inglefield, DH 1996) created Cochine in 2009 after leaving her career in skincare in London and moving to Saigon. Kate was instantly struck by the city’s unique style, elegance and romance. Charmed by everyday scenes around her from hidden streets overflowing with Jasmine to the stylish backdrop of French architecture, she set about designing a range of fragrances that could capture these ABOUT unique moments and the carefree sense of escape they provided.

Created using the finest essential oils from plants u orchid, Agarwood and Water Hyacinth, each fragra

Essence & Romance of Saigon US

Partnering with a New York based fragrance house, Kate spent over Inspired by the timeless elegance of Saigon, Cochine captures the essence of romantic escapism through its a year working with essential oils harvested from Vietnamese plants in range of luxurious candles, diffusers and fragrances. order to produce the perfect combination of scents to reflect Saigon’s diverse flora and distinctive blend of oriental charm. Created using the finest essential oils from plants unique to Vietnam, such as Champa Jasmine, the Delentii Cochine is inspired by the timelessorchid, elegance of Saigon, Cochine Agarwood and Water Hyacinth, each fragrance tells its own story. captures the essence of romantic escapism through its range of luxurious candles, diffusers and fragrances. Created using the finest essential oils from plants unique to Vietnam, such as Champa Jasmine, the Delentii orchid, Agarwood and Water Hyacinth, each fragrance tells its own story.

FRAGRANCES The Essence & Romance of Saigon

Vietnamese Rose & Delentii Capturing the dewy freshness of newly cut flowers, this light and delicate fragrance combines top notes of Rose and Bergamot with hints of Violet, 7 Rosewood and the scented orchid, Delentii.

focus on charity

Isla Pullinger (DH 2010) has spent the last few years working for AfriKids, following an internship which opened the door to three years of incredible experience. A lucky break at this small but mighty development charity, has given her a brilliant introduction to working in the third sector and international development environment. As a member of the UK fundraising arm, raising vital support to fund locally-led initiatives in northern Ghana, Isla feels privileged to be part of a team that is proving that international aid really can work in Africa. The team working on the ground are from the communities which they support, which means they truly understand the issues they face and what is needed to overcome them. They have complete commitment to driving sustainable changes to ensure that more children can be happy, healthy, safe and in school, and communities in this remote corner of the world are supported to lift themselves out of poverty so they can build their own brighter future.


AfriKids believes in the rights of children everywhere and that they should be valued and protected. Isla’s role involves supporting individuals and businesses to fund AfriKids’ work in Ghana, as well as managing the charity’s communications. She has been lucky enough to spend time on the ground with the AfriKids team and has hosted trips of supporters, so they can see the difference their support has made, and to meet the people whose lives they have transformed. AfriKids exist to make this the reality for children in northern Ghana, where more than half of all families live in poverty and need support to give their children the protection, health and education they need to escape poverty for good. This work is entirely led by local staff with a simple approach to listening to their communities and empowering them to make sustainable changes themselves. These local AfriKids staff work with parents and community groups, as well as the government and the private sector, so that child protection, education and health systems work for all children, but especially those most at risk, including children without a safe home and those living with disabilities.

AfriKids goals Their strategy for 2017-2020 is “Clearer Focus, Wider Reach”. Building on what has been achieved and learned, AfriKids are honing their projects to focus on the three most critical issues: child protection, education and health and replicating proven models for change in new communities across Ghana’s three northern regions, by far the poorest in the country.

What they do Empower children by keeping them healthy, safe and in school, teaching them about their rights and giving them a voice in decisions that affect them. As the leaders of tomorrow, building their knowledge and confidence now means they can secure their own futures and be stronger change makers when they grow up. Put communities on their feet by helping poor families to grow their income, ending harmful beliefs and educating communities to value, protect and meet the rights of all children, now and in the future. Demand that government delivers by strengthening and influencing the authorities to improve child protection, education and health services in northern Ghana.

How they do it Local leadership with an award-winning team of local staff and volunteers in Ghana that have the expertise, dedication and trust of their communities to make real change happen. Unwavering principles of local leadership and complete accountability. Listening, empowering, sustaining with a simple but effective approach of always listening to local people and empowering them to make sustainable change themselves, never creating dependence on charity. To find out more about AfriKids please contact Isla Pullinger directly or visit their website


focus on travel

Wix Squared

Alexandra Wix

Inspiring experiences, interesting people, dramatic landscapes, idyllic beaches, cultural wonders, architectural marvels, unusual properties, event venues and gastronomic encounters. Alexandra Wix (Townsend, DH 2002) and her husband James at Wix Squared have it all. VIETNAM


Wix Squared are specialists in creating exceptional bespoke holidays, honeymoons and events. We focus on providing sensational experiences, expert guides and a level of personal service usually associated with an exclusive luxury concierge.



Founded by Alex and James Wix. With over 25 years combined experience in the travel and hospitality industries, we have a passion for searching for inspiring experiences, interesting people, dramatic landscapes, idyllic beaches, cultural wonders, architectural marvels, unusual properties, event venues and gastronomic encounters. Our up to date knowledge and genuine enthusiasm comes from first-hand experience and not just internet searches and press releases.


What career did you envisage for yourself when you were in the Sixth Form at Downe House? To be honest, I really had no idea what career path I would take whilst I was at Downe House. At A-level I studied Mathematics, Business Studies and Biology with a view to reading Business Management at university to prepare me for the business world and keep my options open. When did you start the business? I launched Wix Squared in January 2017. There are two sides to the company – travel and events. I specialise in arranging bespoke holidays and honeymoons, whilst my husband, James specialises in worldwide events – be it a wedding, an incentive, a birthday party or a wedding anniversary celebration.


What is your previous background?

What has been the biggest challenge with your business?

Having spent 10 years working in the travel industry at Cazenove+Loyd and heading up their Asia department, this put me in the perfect position to launch my own tour operator – Wix Squared. Whether on business or for the sheer joy of it, I have visited some 40 countries, developing invaluable first-hand knowledge and personal contacts in each destination.

The initial launch involved a lot of administration, applying for an ATOL licence, setting up accounts, insurance policies, writing content, designing a website and so balancing all this whilst prioritising my clients was a struggle to begin with – I now have this down to a fine art!

Describe a typical day for you? Every day is varied and full of little challenges which is why it is so exciting. I spend my time chatting to clients and taking new enquiries, creating tailormade itineraries to exotic destinations, sourcing unique experiences around the globe, paying invoices, networking with journalists and so much more.

Where do you hope to be in five years’ time? I would like to continue to grow Wix Squared as a business both in terms of the number of employees but also increase the revenue through planning bespoke holidays and events. Also to continue to update the company’s product knowledge with frequent research trips to the countries we cover and expand the portfolio of destinations from the 22 countries that we already specialise in.



The French Project

and Veyrines

The girls’ term in France, with total immersion in French language and culture, began in the early 1990s when Downe House was under the Headship of Miss Sue Cameron. The first cohort spend a term near Mayenne: Château des Courgés was in a rural location and the closest town was Chailland. The Downe House ‘French Project’ then settled in Veyrines-de-Domme in the Périgord Noir.


The school in Veyrines de Domme was originally L’Ecole Hampshire which had been established by Jane Box-Grainger in the late 1970s. After a considerable time searching for suitable properties in France for their school, an agent suggested the Box-Graingers visit this property – a group of buildings, which were in poor repair and overgrown. The keystone above the farmhouse door is dated 1782. With phenomenal vision and energy and the help of builders, craftsmen and the community, the BoxGraingers opened the school in 1982. Miss Cameron wrote: “The charm of the school, with its pretty buildings set round a central courtyard, in a quiet rural location, gave it a homely, secure feel – not too ‘schooly’.” Alison Gwatkin, when Deputy Head of Downe House, described the last part of the journey to the school at Veyrines: “Winding through the beautiful valley of the Dordogne, hillsides clothed in ancient chateaux, clusters of creamy yellow houses clinging to the cobbled streets, basking in glorious golden light …. In summer, the fields and hedgerows are strewn with wildflowers and the scent hangs in the air. The descent into the village square of this sleepy hamlet, overflowing with geranium laden window boxes .…” The teaching staff, under the direction of Diana Roberts, the first to head up the ‘French Project’, included Anne Guigon, Pascale Lavarello, Janine Graves and Marie Christine Nicolas. Two ‘surveillantes’, Linday and Vicki, worked on the pastoral side and Colette Mazet was the housekeeper and served in the dining room. Colette, now Colette Lombard, is currently the longest serving member of staff at Veyrines and runs the kitchen. Her pets, Roxanne the collie and Zizu the cat, were part of the team too – Roxanne liked to join in the games of rounders in the square.

HEADS OF VEYRINES Mrs Diana Roberts Mrs Jennifer Howard Mr Eric Reynolds Mrs Alison Gwatkin Mrs Deborah Scotland

1991–1995 1995–2003 2003–2007 2007–2013 2013

Louise Lameret, who started at Veyrines in 1995 wrote of her first visit to the school: I turned up in total blackness, power cuts being a frequent challenge at that time. Jenny Howard, who had by then been in charge of the project for a matter of weeks, gave me a guided tour by torchlight. It was just possible to make out a cosy set of buildings set around a small courtyard, beautifully restored in the local style. I was greeted with a cheerful ‘Bonsoir’ from the small community of girls, the atmosphere much more that of a large family home than a school. No noisy, bustling corridors, no lesson bells … bliss! An enormous amount was squeezed into the short time spent with us. In addition to the regular

timetables of lessons and ‘sorties’, they had tuition in music, orchestra and dance classes. There was tennis coaching at the club in Sarlat, and frequent visits from Madame Pommier, who tried her best to teach us to sing – sometimes in local dialect! Occasionally, there is knock at the door and a familiar face says, “Bonjour, Madame.” A girl has come back to visit, grown up and graduated, having never forgotten her term in Veyrines. Barrie Simms (and later his wife Olivia) would come in each week to teach music …. and the girls worked towards a termly soiree where local people were invited to the village hall next door for music, poetry and theatre performances which always finished with a rendition of the English national anthem. Our thanks to Louise Lameret (Directrice Adjointe) for her support with this article.

Mrs Jane Caiger-Smith (Archivist)

The charm of the school, with its pretty buildings set round a central courtyard, in a quiet rural location, gave it a homely, secure feel – not too ‘schooly’. MISS CAMERON (FORMER HEADMISTRESS)

focus on art

Carina Haslam

Listen to your instincts as they will always lead you in the right direction” CARINA HASLAM (DH 1984)

A reputation for discovering fresh and exciting talent Carina Haslam Art promotes the work of artists, some which are critically acclaimed, others new to the mainstream. All produce vibrant, original, accessible and affordable art.

What career did you envisage for yourself when you in the Sixth Form at Downe House I definitely wanted to do something creative, something I really enjoyed and felt inspired by. I also felt strongly that I wanted to be around for my children when they were growing up as I went away to board aged 7. At school, my real passion was art and I was interested in design and fashion, but had no clear idea where that would lead me. I have always been quite spontaneous which helped take me on an exciting journey to where I am now. Everything I have done workwise I have enjoyed immensely. With an Uncle like Nicky Haslam, it was hard not to get inspired… When did you start the business? My first business was a design business painting duvet covers in Edinburgh when I was 19 in 1974 – I then worked in the art department of films, later I had an interior accessories business selling handpainted accessories all around the world, which I was still doing when I had my first baby. I started Carina Haslam Art In 2001 just after our second son was born.


Describe a typical day for you Up at 7am to ensure my children, three boys, all go to school on time. I’ll have a cup of tea while answering urgent emails and then walk the dog or play tennis before heading into the Gallery for a catch-up meeting with my business partner, (and husband) Johnny. Then we do some forward planning for the next big art fair, which involves selecting and liaising with artists and lots of admin. Sometimes we meet new artists and discuss their work, or existing artists arrive with their new work. We now have several shows in London, the UK and biannually in New York and we are showing in Singapore for the first time this year. We also organise a local sculpture show each summer at Chenies Manor – which takes a lot of organising.

Once the boys get back from school, I will spend a couple of hours in the afternoon sorting out domestic issues, homework, going to parent’s evenings and tennis lessons. After cooking supper I often deal with more emails, before relaxing in front of a box-set, or go to a book club group (I am a member of 3) – or once in a while, a drink with friends or supper with a girlfriend. Sometimes I work a bit longer if we are about to do a show. What has been the biggest challenge with your business? The admin needed is much greater than you would anticipate. Being self-employed, you do not get sick benefit or holiday pay, so you have to be very selfmotivated and try and keep healthy! The harder you work,

the more rewards you have. As we have grown the business rapidly in the last few years, it takes a lot of time, patience and effort to keep up with everything – less creative than you would imagine. Working with my husband has raised up a few challenges, so we have just employed someone to help with the admin. The plus side is that I always wanted to be around for my children, and having a family supper most nights (when I am not away travelling) is very rewarding. I think I achieved what I really wanted back at school – when you are young if you do know what you want, however vague, you should listen to your instincts as they will always lead you in the right direction.


Australia Day

Upper Fifth Enrichment Day with Radley We were delighted to welcome three keynote speakers to Downe House on Tuesday 20 March, including the Australian High Commissioner, the Honourable Alexander Downer AC. Groups embarked on workshops throughout the day,


exploring and learning more about; Australian literature, indigenous animals and wildlife, Australia’s economic future, travelling in Australia, the Australian identity and the Anglo-Australian relationship and finally a bush dance.

‘An intellectually stimulating, enriching and inspiring day which has given our girls and the Radley boys a deeper cultural understanding of Australia, it’s captivating past, dynamic present and exciting future’ MRS ANNA DOUROUNTAKIS HEAD OF UPPER SCHOOL


focus on entrepreneurship

“ Amelia Bouquet

A new garden can be a daunting prospect and can leave many scratching their heads as to what to do with it. This is where I step in … AMELIA BOUQUET (DH 2012)

Taking a leap into garden design What career did you envisage for yourself when you were in the Sixth Form at Downe House? I was always unsure at School what I would eventually end up doing. I had lots of different interests and wasn’t confident about which direction I wanted to choose. I think it takes doing a few different jobs and trying new things to figure that out. Gardening was never something I thought I would be able to turn into a business but I had always been fascinated by plants from a young age and used to draw diagrams of the different parts and help my dad in the garden on the weekends during holidays whenever I could.

I did a few different jobs after university that bore no relation to my degree. The thing that languages definitely taught me is the importance of communicating ideas effectively and with enthusiasm, which is something that I always try and do. Describe a typical day for you A typical day for me is waking up at about 7am, I like getting up early. I’ll then go for a walk or a run which gives me a boost of energy for the day. With regard

to work, days can be very varied, sometimes it will be surveying a new garden for a project which involves spending most of the day dragging around a tape measure. Other days will be spent at my drawing board, developing designs and ideas and others will be mostly dedicated to admin – an important but arduous task! What has been the biggest challenge with your business? I think the biggest challenge is not so much the business itself but the decision to break away and do something a bit different. I studied at the English School of Gardening under Rosemary Alexander which was an invaluable time and I learned so much, but it was a difficult decision to make at the time, to leap into the unknown and start over. But I am so glad I did.

What is your previous background? I studied languages at university so I came from a mostly literary background but like most people,




Calling the classes of 1998 and 1993


Calling the class of 2008 10 YEAR REUNION THURSDAY 1 NOVEMBER 2018 The Atlas, London

1993 20 AND 25 YEAR REUNION THURSDAY 4 OCTOBER 2018 Hollywood Arms, London

Calling the class of 2013


5 YEAR REUNION THURSDAY 14 JUNE 2018 The Carlton Club, London 19










’ A SS O



Prize-winners celebratory supper with Sophia Bennett, UK children’s author


without the hard work of Mrs Boswell who, as well as setting up the competition itself, organised the evening splendidly and our gratitude goes out to her. It was equally generous of Miss Bennett to sign the inside cover of every book for each of us, meaning that they will always be an extremely precious and valuable reminder of what was a completely unforgettable day.” Minty Plumstead (Lower Fifth)

“On Wednesday 28 February, those who had won prizes in the annual DHSA short story competition attended a brilliant creative writing workshop with the talented author Sophia Bennett. It was a definite highlight of the week, and was something we had all very much been looking forward to. We all adjourned to the Main Library where we were met with a delicious array of tea and cakes – and Sophia herself of course! She spoke to us about the importance of character development and slick dialogue, reading out extracts from her novels on occasion. It really was quite a surreal experience, having the writer read passages from her own novel herself! We then went on to do some creative writing exercises around the notion of opposing characters, an example being the difference between the diary entries of a sly cat and a hyperactive dogmuch hilarity ensued. The whole workshop was brilliant fun, and it


was especially enjoyable hearing what everyone else had come up with! For dinner, we all had the privilege of going to Bella Italia in Newbury and spending the evening with Miss Bennett. The meal was wonderful, with choices ranging from pizza to warm cookie dough with homemade gelato ice cream. There were frequent junctures in conversation to allow photograph opportunities, and the evening was topped off with several unexpected gifts: a collection of three of Miss Bennett’s most wellknown books for each of us, as well as a beautifully customised and personalised notebook to accommodate our now burgeoning inspiration for new story ideas. It was extremely generous of the staff to provide these fantastic prizes, as well as Amazon Kindle vouchers for the winners of each year group. It is vital to say that the evening could not have run quite as smoothly and brilliantly

and Poppy Scales (Lower Fifth)

DHSA Short Story Competition 2018 Senior Winner Madison James (Upper Fifth) Middle Winner Lizzy Thistlethwayte (Lower Fifth) Senior Runners up Morgan Kandrac (Lower Fifth) Minty Plumstead (Lower Fifth) Saskia Robbiati (Lower Fifth) Poppy Scales (Lower Fifth) Junior Winner Lilias Hoare Nairne (Remove) Junior Runners up Hannah Hurd (Remove) Isabella Riley (Remove) Honore Thorne (Remove) Highly commended Coco Haefner (Lower Fourth) Winner of Clare Balding Prize for Excellent Writing Lizzy Thistlethwayte (Lower Fifth)

Change of heart Moonlight silently spattered the silken leaves of a forest as they moaned disconsolately to each other. The gnarled branches were a hostile fathomless black like the contorted mind of a mangled animal. They were the warped fingers of a witch, lacerating the shoulder of anyone passing by. Surging, burbling and bursting an inky-black river gushed through the foliage like the mind when it makes a realisation and liberates all other possibilities to cascade free. Pervading the air, the intense aroma of compressed pine needles wafted around, a directing light through the guile of the forest. Groans and sighs mingled with intermittent snaps of twigs. Furtively, bushes murmured and snickered as they skulked and sidled in the shadows.

However, the forest’s desire to be truly malicious could never happen due to its virtuous heart, and nature at no time will possess iniquitous qualities for its heart is always ethical and pure. The forest’s aspiration to be nefarious grew like hair as it gradually entwines when you cease to brush it. This yearning for degeneracy was mere envy and longing for dominion. The steadfast heart of the forest prevented it from shaking off a squirrel if its claws nipped the tree trunks, averted it from collapsing on a fox if it burrowed into the ground like a leech infesting your skin.

Registrars’ Lunch Party Unfortunately the lunch planned for Saturday 3 March, had to be cancelled due to the inclement weather and we do apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. This event will now take place on Saturday 15 September and we very much look forward to seeing as many Registrars as possible then.

An extract from the story ‘Change of Heart’ Junior Winner Lilias Hoare Nairne (Remove)

DHSA Grant Criteria and Conditions Every girl who leaves Downe House and is a member of the DHSA is entitled to receive one grant award in a lifetime; these will be awarded as long as they adhere to the following criteria: Investment must be in an individual – not a business, charity or private enterprise Can be re-training and further education Cannot be a project purely for pleasure


Amount awarded will be judged on an individual basis Minimum grant will be £250 The conditions of a grant are:

AGM Report – February 2018 The 71st Annual General Meeting of the DHSA was held on 6 February 2018 in London. The President, Lady Richards (Gillian Taylor), welcomed all those present. She thanked the Committee for their continuing efforts on behalf of the Association and particularly expressed the gratitude of all to the Administrator, Lady (Louise) Peto. Louise works tirelessly and efficiently on behalf of all the members.

The meeting ratified some changes to the constitution. The updated version may be seen on the website. The treasurer presented the audited accounts for the year. These were accepted.

An acknowledgment of receipt of cheque and a report must be sent within 3 weeks of completion Submissions will be discussed at the next meeting following receipt of application

Chairman – Mrs Bridget Wheeler (DH 1980 née Campbell)

All applications are decided on a case by case basis and given towards an individual’s professional/ education development

Secretary – Mrs Lucinda Tindley (DH 1981 née Franks)

Masters degrees expectation not more than £500

The Officers of the DHSA remain as:

Treasurer – Mrs Clare Duffield (DH 1982 née Davies)



focus on success


“ Charlotte wins

Growing up with a terminally ill parent has made me a more patient, loving and grateful person, who takes life as it comes but lives it to the fullest; who rises from lows with optimism and sees the world with the same bright blue eyes as my dad once did.”

TELEGRAPH PRIZE Congratulations to Charlotte Whitehead (DH 2015) on winning the Telegraph’s, Cassandra Jardine Memorial Prize, which is open to female writers aged between 18 and 25. An incredibly brave story on the loss of her father when she was aged 17.

focus focuson onsuccess success

Georgina Hilton Georgina sets the bar high with just four sales under her belt she has now won a top award. Georgina Hilton (DH 2009) took her first auction in January 2017 at Christie’s and in October 2017 she was awarded the UK’s Novice Auctioneer of the Year 2017 Award by NAVA Propertymark. The competition, sponsored by Clive Emerson and Antiques Trade Gazette, was held at the Oxford Belfry and involved a bidding sequence organised to demonstrate possible occurrences in the saleroom and to test the entrants skills, knowledge and presence on the rostrum. Georgina, who joined Christie’s in 2013, beat nine male colleagues to take the title.

Going, going, gone? What career did you see yourself in when you were 16?

What words of advice would you give to our girls today?

I was still trying to work it all out long after I was 16. All I knew was that it had to be fun and exciting – otherwise I would get distracted.

Find something, anything at all, that you find really interesting and explore it as much as you can. If its art, go to as many exhibitions as possible, go the Auction Houses and view the sales, keep notes of your favourite artists and their work, follow the galleries and museums you like on Instagram so you are up to date on what they are doing. Team up with a friend who has a similar interest so you can learn together. This way your will turn your interests into your passion and someone might end up paying you because of it one day!

What did you study at university? History of Art at The University of Manchester. Which element of your job do you enjoy the most? Taking the Auctions! Nothing beats the excitement of getting on the rostrum for a big sale in a room full of clients and all of your colleague’s telephone bidding. The atmosphere is incredible and I love throwing as much energy into it as I can.


Downe House

in Hong Kong and Singapore



Information Evening

Evening Reception

Monday 14 May

Thursday 17 May

6.00pm to 8.00pm The Library Grand Hyatt 1 Harbour Road Hong Kong

6.00pm to 8.00pm Bay@5 The Mandarin Oriental 5 Raffles Avenue Marina Square Singapore 039797

Drinks Reception Tuesday 15 May 6.00pm to 8.00pm The Library China Club The Old Bank of China Building Bank Street Hong Kong


Contact us if you wish to join one of these events

Katie is


We are delighted to hear in the wake of International Women’s Day that Rogue Matilda founder, Katie Harland (DH 2007) has been shortlisted for Footwear Designer of the Year at the Drapers Awards 2018 for “reinventing the brogue for women” We wish Katie every success with the award ceremony in June.


focus on success


Happy Day

‘Happy Day is a signature event for the Senior team’


‘It was wonderful to see the huge effort made by everyone and we can proudly say that we gave the film’s costumes a run for their money’ Happy Day is an annual event at Downe House, which is organised entirely by the Upper Sixth Seniors team. The theme this year was Hunger Games and it was wonderful to see how much effort was made by all the girls and staff. Each House was designated a ‘District’ with a dress up theme including Jungle Fever, Cowboys & Indians, Back from the Dead, Punk and Under the Sea. The Upper Sixth were given the privilege of dressing up as the Hunger Games ‘Capitol’, which enabled girls and staff to really go to town with their costumes.

‘The Downe House competitive spirit shone through during the House competition in the afternoon’


Centre for Learning Update


So much has been achieved in the two years since Beard Construction first broke ground and began to make the vision for a brand new state-of-the-art Centre for Learning in the heart of the Downe House campus into a reality.

Ground floor

Now that the roof is on and the walls are growing day by day, we can clearly see the structure of the building, the central staircase, the spaces where our 250-seat auditorium, our contemporary library, our new School Shop and exciting café and gallery will be. We very much hope that the Centre will be open early in the new academic year and the contractors are working hard to meet this expectation. To give a broad understanding of how that is going to happen, here is the schedule for the next seven months of the build.

April 2018 Making the most of an (almost) empty site during the Easter holidays, work started on the hard landscaping around the building as well as laying pipework to link into the mains services. Once the roof was finished, the PV solar panels were installed. These will generate a significant proportion of the building’s energy requirements and is a key element of the plan to minimise the building’s carbon footprint.

May 2018 When the roof, brickwork and curtain walling are completed, parts of the scaffolding on the south and east elevations will be taken down to allow the 350kg glass panels to be lifted into place. This will complete the envelope of the building, and at the end of May, it will undergo ‘airtightness’ testing by specially commissioned consultants.


First floor

June and July 2018 Once the building is deemed ‘watertight’, it will be full steam ahead with the first fix of mechanical and engineering services throughout, putting up the ceilings, laying the floors, erecting and plastering stud walls, installing underfloor heating followed by the second fix and then decorating throughout.

August 2018 The scheduled ‘Power On’ date is 6 August 2018 and this will mark the beginning of the 8-week commissioning period.

September 2018 Once the timber floor has been laid in the Auditorium, the way will be clear for the Bleacher retractable seating system and the audio-visual equipment to be installed.

Second floor

Supporting the future of Downe House We believe that the Centre for Learning will touch every girl’s education at Downe House because the rationale for the building is to enhance learning for all, whether it be in a lecture or performance in the Auditorium, individual learning in the well-resourced library, socialising in the café or taking part in a collaborative learning experience in the communal areas. The Centre for Learning fundraising appeal has raised £6.4million and so we are just short of our target of £6.5million. If you would like to make a donation, please visit our website or contact Michelle Scott by emailing

October 2018 Finishing touches and the all-important ‘snagging’ process leading up to the grand opening for business which is earmarked for Monday 29 October 2018. You can follow the progress of the build over the next seven months by visiting 10yearvision-latest-project-updates.asp which is updated every week with photos and the latest news.



Elizabeth Fulton DH 1942–1944 to domestic science school. This rather annoyed Liz, who would far rather have gone straight into the Wrens; however, she did join them in October 1944. After basic training at Mill Hill, Liz wanted to go to the sea and do boats’ crew, but this was very popular and instead she was sent to Bletchley Park. Initially she was accommodated at Wavendon in the stables, where she shared a room with 20-30 others, all on different shifts – not ideal for sleeping, as she said, especially when you were on night duty. After a short time, Liz’s billet was moved to Woburn, sleeping in the servant’s quarters, four to a room in two double bunks – cabins in naval terms. She enjoyed her time here though apparently the old Duke was a bit sour if any of them crossed his path, because the drivers had killed a few of his deer. The work at Bletchley she remembered as consisting almost entirely of adding up about 50 double digit numbers, which were typed on long bits of paper, and then handing them back for checking – not highly interesting, as she said. She knew nothing about what happened to her work – they were told not to talk about anything to do with their work and they didn’t. She stayed at Bletchley until after the German surrender in May 1945, when she went to London and learned to drive on buses. It is with much sadness that we announce the death in June 2017 of Elizabeth Fulton, aged 90. Liz started the British Schoolgirls’ Races (BSR) in 1958 with Soss Roe and they continued to run the together in the Gstaad Valley in Switzerland until 1976, when Fenella Lees took over and moved the event to Villars. In 2008, Liz was able to come to the 50th anniversary of the BSR in Flaine. She told the girls how in the early years she and Soss had gone into the woods to chop sticks to use as slalom poles and used cut-up bedsheets, which they dyed in three colours, for the flags! She was very impressed with the standard of skiing and professionalism of the girls in the modern era. It was also in 1958 that Liz joined Ladies Ski Club (LSC) when the subscription was five shillings and immediately became Advertisement Secretary for the Bulletin. Indeed, she was rarely off the Committee during the next twenty years, serving at least two terms as Editor of the Bulletin and in 2005, she was made an Honorary Life Member. Liz had been born in India and came to England, to school, at the age of seven. She was naturally good at sport and played at Junior Wimbledon, but after school Liz’s mother insisted that she went


She was interested in everything, and clearly made the most of her life. Her next posting was to Bath, driving people from admirals to the local postman. ‘Bath is hilly and one was always trying to start the vehicle on a hill, especially on the post round but we did get some good cars too.’ Finally, she was sent to Plymouth, so she did see the sea in the end. Demobbed in 1947, she did a secretarial course before returning home and helping out on her parents’ small farm at Prestwood in Buckinghamshire and looking after her mother, who was unwell. When Liz had signed the Official Secrets Act, she thought it would be for 25 years, but it was actually just short of 30 years. When the Bletchley Park story emerged in the 1970’s she felt sad that her parents had never known what she had been doing, but she is now commemorated on the Codebreakers Wall at Bletchley Park. She said that her life after that consisted of tennis coaching in the summer and taking ski parties in

In memorium

the winter. This statement is characteristics of Liz’s modesty – she actually organised ski parties for children for nearly 20 years, as well as for adults too. One article in the Bulletin refers to ‘Cradle to the Grave’ ski parties organised by Liz, and there is an entertaining account of a heli-ski trip to Vidamanette in 1959 when Liz was in the advance party, which climbed up on skis! In later years, Liz helped at Waddesdon Manor, her local National Trust and Rothschild house and estate. She was given recognition by the Royal British Legion for her poppy selling; she worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau and she was involved with the Elizabeth Finn team, formerly Distressed Gentlefolks. She tackled the world of computers (though needed to be sorted out at intervals, apparently). She gardened and was involved in all aspects of local life, as well as matters further afield. She was interested in everything, and clearly made the most of her life. She had a strong faith and was quietly active, helping, visiting and supporting others.

Sister Elisabeth Britz DH Former Staff It is with much sadness that we have learned that Sister Elisabeth (Liz) Britz passed away earlier this year, on 2 January 2018. Liz was a highly valued member of the medical staff in the Palmer Centre for 19 years, from 1981 to 2000.

Written by: Maud Instone, Ladies Ski Club Committee Member

Miss Jennifer Walker DH 1949 We are very grateful to the LSC for allowing us print this obituary. Rosanne Adam, a former LSC President, was able to represent the Club at Liz’s funeral and Maud is indebted to Rosanne for providing much of the information above. Rosanne tracked down the Bletchley Park oral history and transcribed it for the obituary.

Miss Margaret Spicer DH 1937 Mrs Janet Fairfax-Lucy (née Niven) DH 1953 Mrs Louise Bowers (née Rowley) DH 1949


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Dates for the diary 2018

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Celebrating 110 years Cold Ash, Thatcham, Berkshire RG18 9JJ T: 01635 204719 E:

Cloisters Spring 2018 issue 21  

Take a look at the Spring 2018 edition of the triannual Foundation e-magazine for the Downe House alumnae community.

Cloisters Spring 2018 issue 21  

Take a look at the Spring 2018 edition of the triannual Foundation e-magazine for the Downe House alumnae community.