SCHOOLTIE THE ALUMNI MAGAZINE OF ASHFORD SCHOOL
COULD SHE KEEP A SECRET? YES, SHE DID FOR OVER 60 YEARS LAUNCH OF THE ASHFORD SCHOOL FOUNDATION A ROYAL VISIT BRAKE HALL OPENED IN DECEMBER 1966
President’s letter Dear Ashfordians, It gives me great pleasure to be writing to you all and welcoming you to our own magazine, once again. I am doing this, not only as current President of the Association, but also as Editor of our old magazine, which many of you will know was very close to my heart for a great number of years. I am delighted that the decision was taken to produce another magazine exclusively for ex-pupils and ex-staff of Ashford School and Friars Prep School. We look forward to receiving your personal contributions for the next one. Please contact the Foundation & Alumni Office on email@example.com We are very lucky to have such a successful Alumni Office, and we greatly appreciate all the time and energy put into looking after our interests by David and Fiona. Fiona Stuart has given great service to the ASA over the past five years and, on behalf of the committee, I should like to thank her for all her hard work and kindness as she moves on to other responsibilities within the School. Much has changed over the past years not least, of course, the fact that Ashford is no longer an all girls’ school. Anyone who is a regular reader of the School magazine will be well aware of how well the boys have integrated and changed the face of the School, and that everyone has benefitted. In Suki Athwal we even have an Old Boy on the ASA committee! And another radical change: all school-leavers automatically become life-members of the
Ashford School Association (with no subscription ever to be paid for by the individual member). This is something that I championed for many years. I thank the Head, Mike Buchanan, for being instrumental in this decision. I should also like to commend to readers the new Ashford School Foundation, the dedicated development charity that David has been working so hard to bring to fruition this year and whose programme of fundraising for means-tested Assisted Places (which used to be called bursaries or scholarships in my day) is thoroughly worthy of our encouragement and support. I hope you will all enjoy reading the magazine; tell us your thoughts and opinions and please forward any suggestions which we can incorporate in future issues. I would like to thank the current Editor, Liz Leonard, and her team: I know how much energy is put into producing a magazine such as this. But I also know the fun one has doing it and keeping people in touch over the years – this is very rewarding and especially so for a publication dedicated to ex-pupils and staff, who make up a perpetual and ever-increasing body of readers and contributors. Yours very sincerely, Carolyn Chamberlain (Nelms) (1960 Nightingale)
9 4 ASA News Event Reports; Founders’ Day; Tom Watts travel award
9 Alumni News Graduation news; Making strides in business; Unusual jobs; Art in the family
16 School News Head’s message; University destinations; Leavers’ prizes and awards; Staff Profile: Nick Egan
25 Development News Launch of the Ashford School Foundation; Annual Fund campaign
27 Nostalgia Corner A pupil remembers;
Memories of the 1950s; Do you remember the ‘hut’; Looking back on the Liberty system; The Lilian Brake Building and a visit from Princess Margaret
33 In Memoriam
An evening with Amber Chand On 26 February this year Amber Chand (1967 Pilgrims) came back to School all the way from her home in the US to give a performance of her one-woman show Searching for the Moon: A Heroine’s Journey, Tales of Love, Despair, Faith and Forgiveness. The show is a memoir of one woman’s awakening – through the lens of an evocative story of her life: of Indian arranged marriages, boarding school, African dictators, Indian holy men, Rwandan genocide survivors and the rise and fall of her multimillion dollar company. Amber’s performance was as captivating and powerful as her life story itself. At times funny, at others stark and brutal, her story was told expertly in an intimate and inclusive style as ancient and effective as the griot in Africa and the Homeric storytellers of Greece. Her tale of exotic places, cultural difference, success and reversals in family fortunes and, ultimately, of selfactuation and the simple joy of living well was deeply affecting.
sister Neelam Chand in the audience, together with family who had flown in from Sweden especially for the event. Here Amber is pictured before the show with David from the Foundation and Alumni Office. On behalf of all of us at Ashford, thank you, Amber for such a wonderful evening’s entertainment.
It was particularly wonderful to have Amber’s mother Asha (so spry and charming at the grand old age of 94) and Amber’s
ASA London Drinks Party The annual London Drinks Party was held on 3 February at Drink, Shop & Do near King’s Cross, a great venue owned and masterminded by two Ashford alumnae, Kristie Bishop and Coralie Sleap (both 2002 Yeomen). Ashfordians young and old(er), committee members and Head Mike Buchanan came along to drink, chat and relax after a long day’s work. Our thanks to Coralie and Kristie for hosting this lovely event. Next year’s London Drinks will be held on 7 Februry at Keystone, a private members’ club which is Coralie and Kristie’s other business venture in King’s Cross. All Ashfordians are welcome to join us after the end of their working day to celebrate our membership of the School community and spend time with old and new friends.
MY FAVOURITE TEACHER:
EVENTS REPORTS Ashfordian Sports Tournament – School teams win! Following last year’s highly successful boys’ round robin Ashfordian Hockey Tournament, this year on 24 March (the last day of term!) the girls joined in and the boys’ hockey matches were interspersed with netball matches between the School, the Old Girls and the Staff with sides competing for the prestigious Ashfordian Shield. After a fierce, wholehearted competition the School ran out winners in both Hockey and Netball. Many parents, pupils and Ashfordians celebrated the end of the School Lent Term watching our young (and not so young) men and women take on the might of the current generation of Ashford sporting heroes and heroines. Refreshments and a running buffet were available in the Sports Centre and were thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to Tom Butt and Charlotte Gray from the Staff, Suki Athwal (2012 Franklins) and Lana Foyle (2014 Pilgrims) from the Ashfordians for putting in so much effort in bringing the School, staff and former pupils together for such a wonderful day’s sport. The event helped marked the retirement of Eirian Fox, a stalwart of the School’s Staff PE Department for many years. Eirian has seen many changes in her time at Ashford and has been instrumental in helping so many of our girls reach such heights in their sporting achievements. She will be much missed by pupils, staff and alumni alike.
Aegon Eastbourne Tennis Tournament Rain stopped play Our thanks to Julie Piper (1979 Knights) for arranging for Ashfordians to go along to the Aegon Trophy, ATP Challenger Tournament at Eastbourne on 31 May. Sadly (particularly for Julie as Tournament Director), the day was a washout. We’re looking forward to trying again next year.
WE ASKED ASHFORDIANS WHO FOLLOW THE ASA ON FACEBOOK TO NAME THIER FAVOURITE TEACHERS WHEN THEY WERE AT SCHOOL
Back to University BBQ By Scarlett Spicer (2016 Squires) With the hazy days of summer drawing to a close and the fresh new beginnings that September brings lingering in the air, the walk up East Hill only brings that familiar mixture of nervousness and anxiety that you feel on the first day of School. Only this time the excitement isn’t for new stationery or new timetables but indeed for the rest of our lives. We are no longer defined by our uniform, we are now individuals ready to set upon our own paths, ready to conquer the world beyond Ashford School. And what better way to start our journey with an evening filled with good food, good wine and good company – a good old fashioned British BBQ. It was a perfect way to catch up with
Revels and Revelations
joined in the general hilarity about the foibles and follies of the Ashford experience down the years.
ASA President's Luncheon 19 November, 2016
A special mention must go to Frederica Kirkpatrick (Gedge) (1975 Pilgrims U5) who, having made it all the way from her home in Guernsey was unable to join us for the celebrations. We hope that she and many other Ashfordians (particularly the ladies who attended the Quaglino's luncheons in the early days) will join us for the next luncheon in November 2017. The room at the Keeper’s House will take another 20 guests and it would be super if we could fill the entire place with similar Ashford alumni and staff madness. Please get in touch with Carolyn (firstname.lastname@example.org) or David (email@example.com) if you would like more information.
A group of 20 Ashfordians met for the annual ASA President's Luncheon at the Keeper's House at the Royal Academy for bubbly, à la carte dining and a fine demonstration of how the years can be rolled back and friendships renewed with assistance of good food and fine wine. President Carolyn Chamberlain (Nelms) (1960 Nightingale) held court and insisted that all present stand up and tell everybody about themselves and their lives after Ashford. And quite a dizzying array of talent and experience and indiscretion was revealed: around the table we had Bridge, voice and shooting coaches, wedding planners, editors, financial advisors, politicians, translators, actors and puppeteers, church wardens and HR specialists. Norma Smyth (English Teacher and Deputy Head who retired in 1998 after a 24 year Ashford School career) greeted warmly those ladies she knew so well as students and
Those that attended were as follows: Clare Davidson (1961 Somerville) Sue Davies (King) (1962 Nightingale) Sarah Dean (Constantine) (1984 Cranmer) Jane Druker (1982 Alfred) Susan Godding (Petitpierre) (1963 Nightingale) Sally Harvey (Preisig) (1984 Pilgrims) Pippa Jones (1965 Nightingale) Tania Meads (Ashurst) (1984) Henrietta Oxlade (1984 Alfred) Jill Robbinson (Williams) (1962 Brooke Place) Norma Smyth (Deputy Head 1974-98) Rae Stollard (Sasson) (1962 Brook Place) Alison Blakely (Stowers) (1962) Rachel Hardy (Cecil) (1962 Bridge/Brooke Place) Gillian Barley (Wheeler) (1961 Cranmer (U5)) Annie Downes (Ford) (1984 Somerville) Deborah Burton (Passey) (1961 Cranmer) Carolyn Chamberlain (Nelms) (1960 Nightingale) President David Young Foundation Director
Farah Dawood: Alex Palmer – he was an engaging teacher and could keep us hooked simply with his stories.
EVENTS REPORTS friends whom we hadn’t seen for weeks on end, to talk to teachers about our new adventures beyond the classroom and more interestingly talk to past pupils whom our paths never crossed but able to share mutual memories of the School and listen to their advice about university, love and life.
together, those with ambition, with good humour and a general love for life. Being able to come back to Ashford and still feel you are welcomed and treasured is something to be cherished. Perhaps there is no better way to finish than to say “Cheers” to the future and we all look forward to the next event which will be held on Friday 15 September 2017.
The Ashford School Community is one you know you will always be a part of, from your youngest days until the day you have children yourself. It is one that brings like-minded people
Founders’ Day Founders’ Day this year took place on Saturday 9 July on a glorious, blisteringly hot summer day. Many Ashfordians, in particular a large group from 2001 marking their 15th anniversary of leaving Ashford, joined us for lunch in the marquee followed by a guided tour around the School. Exhausted by the sun, we all descended to the shaded cool of the Edwards Lawn (sometimes known as the Old Girls’ Lawn) next to Old Alfred. Here we enjoyed tea and cakes, swapping stories and memories, meeting spouses and partners and cooing over some gorgeous babies and toddlers – the next Ashford generation, perhaps? Our particular thanks to Francesca Broadbent (2001 Pilgrims) for her efforts in bringing her cohort together.
Camilla Ketchen: Miss Hoad – she encouraged me to have confidence in myself as well as my academic abilities.
ASA NEWS The ASA Tom Watts Travel Award 2016/17 – Applications please! The Ashford School Association (ASA) is pleased to announce the inauguration of an annual travel award in honour of the School’s former bursar and benefactor Mr Tom Watts. Tom was an outstanding servant of the School and a true gentleman, dedicating his life to the service of others and deeply committed to the development of character in our students. The award will provide financial assistance to leavers and recent past pupils who are considering undertaking challenging and valuable journeys or expeditions during their gap year, university vacation or similar period. The planned expedition or journey should embody the spirit of Adventurous Learning. Examples of such journeys would include fundraising treks, volunteering in the developing world and charitable work with children, the vulnerable or dispossessed. Tom Watts exemplified a strongly held belief that those who receive the benefit of an excellent education should work to help others less fortunate than themselves.
Former Bursar and School benefactor Mr Tom Watts
The decision of the committee will be final. Successful applicants will be expected to submit an article for The School Tie and return to School after their travels to talk about their experiences and to encourage other pupils to apply in subsequent years.
The award has an annual value of up to £1,000 and may be given to a single or multiple applicants where their cases for support are equally meritorious. In such cases the award monies will be divided between applicants in such proportions as decided by the ASA Committee. The committee reserves the right to contact applicants and the School to satisfy itself as to any aspect of the application which is unclear or incomplete.
Applicants, who must be between the ages of 18 and 22 years on 7 July 2017, should prepare a letter of application setting out the details of their proposed travel.
The application should contain, at a minimum, the following:
• • • • • •
Proposed dates of travel and countries visited Name of expedition or charity/community to be supported Description of nature of travel and critical dates (e.g. sign-up dates, application dates, etc.) Brief analysis of costs of travel and how these will be funded A Case for Support setting out the merits of the travel to be undertaken (approx. 300 words) The contact details of the applicant and website details of any organisation involved.
Timings Applications should be addressed to the ASA Committee and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 4 January 2017. The successful applicant(s) will learn of the committee’s decision on or before 10 February 2017. The award will be formally made on Speech Day in Trinity Term 2017. Further Information If you have any queries regarding the award, please contact the ASA at email@example.com
Denise Dormedy: It has to be Mr Wordsworth, brilliant maths teacher and responsible for my career choice.
ALUMNI NEWS Shaken not stirred – invoking memories from the past Our School Captain’s speech will strike a chord with many of you as you remember your own school days and the emotions that went with them.
mourn our departure: a time to laugh at memories we have all shared but also to realize that not only are we a part of Ashford School, but Ashford School has become a part of us.
Mo Onafowokan led Ashford School for the academic year 2015-16. She made this speech at the glittering Leavers’ Ball, held this year on a glorious evening at Westenhanger Castle.
I remember as if it was just yesterday when Dr. Ifode was giving us talks about UCAS and reminding us that “an offer is not a place”. And when we were all saying goodbye to last year’s leavers. But now it’s our turn.
My initial reaction when I heard I was going to have to make this speech was “Oh gosh! Not another one!”
Though I’ve only been here for quite a short while, I recognize the bonds that lie between the different friendship groups across the year and I have been able to make some of my own.
On a serious note, I was suddenly hit with fear: not just because (unlike most girls) I had no idea what the colour of my dress should be, let alone the design, but also because it had finally dawned on me that we are now…adults. Each and everyone one of us. That this time in September, we would all be starting new lives with new challenges and priorities. We would be starting a new journey, be it a new course at university, exploring the world for a while or even going straight into the workplace. It is a new journey and, like every new thing in life, we anticipate eagerly what it will bring.
Regardless of the challenges, stress, worry, never-ending art coursework, painful psychology mocks and unfortunate biology, physics and chemistry ISAs’, we’ve all been able to pull through and make it this far. I’m proud of us all – not just us the students, but the parents as well for supporting us and motivating us to do just another day, week, or month of School. I’m proud of, and thankful to, the teachers who were relentless in giving homework and mocks but also invested their time and energy in us, willing us on to the finish line. With that I’d like to say a final “thank you” to everyone who has helped us through this journey; everyone who has stood by us and encouraged us; a “thank you” to everyone who believed in us. Your help will never be forgotten. And lastly, a “thank you” to God who has made it possible for us to see this day.
Graduation news Liza Malby (2012 Yeomen)has just finished her PGCE and MEd from Cambridge. Martin Hau (2010 Merchants) graduated in 2015 from the University of Essex with a BSc 2:1 in Management Economics. Peter Davey (2011 Brooke and Refuge) graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a 2:1 BSc in Chemistry and is currently training at the Universty of East Anglia for a PGCE.
Mo and Elona at the beautiful Westenhanger Castle
Are you due to graduate next year? Or are you a recent graduate? Do let us know so we can include your news in the next edition of The School Tie. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sadly, every new thing marks also the end of something else and today we celebrate the end of an important stage in our lives. When I was thinking of what to write, my mind went to a famous passage in the book of Ecclesiastes it reminds us that there is a “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” The passage, I believe, summarizes my feelings today. It is a time to celebrate all our hard work but also a time to
Anna Parrett: Mr Cromwell was the best physics teacher ever. He was so kind, patient and had a brilliant way of explaining everything. Mr Palmer was also one of the most entertaining teachers.
ALUMNI NEWS Making strides in business Toby Newth (2013 Squires) has had a change of course since leaving Ashford School and is now a successful entrepreneur with plans for expansion. He left Ashford School with A Levels in Business Studies, History and Psychology and won a place to study Criminology at the University of Southampton. We found out a bit more about his change of career. Shaken not stirred: Toby serving cocktails
You enjoyed some time out before starting university. What did you do?
are essential as is the ability to work long hours under pressure (the queues can be very long). You also need a good business head and leadership skills to manage your staff.
I spent an incredible 10 months in Australia, both working and travelling, followed by a five month ski season in Austria and France, working as a hotel assistant. And then I went inter-railing in Europe. In between I worked as a barman at a wedding venue in Densole. Apart from having an amazing time, it was time well spent, developing my experience in hospitality, my confidence, people skills and independence.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time? I’d like to develop Beetle Juice (Kent) over the next three years, maybe taking on an additional bar (van). Ultimately I’d like to own a cocktail bar in a busy city or possibly run a ski chalet. Here’s a link to the website: www.beetle-juice.co.uk
Why did you decide that university wasn’t the right path for you?
Elisabeth Stewart (Gregor) (1953 Somerville) contacted us with her news:
It took me a term to realise that it wasn’t the right course or career path so I left the course in December 2015, returning home to re-evaluate my future. That’s when I came across the idea of running a bar from a VW camper van and a Beetle Juice franchise soon followed in March 2016.
My cousin Gillian Watson (Mrs Saville) and I were among the guests at a lovely lunch party given by Lynette Shrubbs (Mrs Coote) to celebrate her 80th birthday and Bernadette, her daughter’s 50th birthday. Rosemary Butler was there too and I hadn’t seen her for longer than I care to remember so it was all such fun. Lynette and I were new girls together in Somerville in 1948. Unfortunately Gill has been very unwell for the past year but hopefully the treatment will benefit her eventually. I resigned from my local Parochial Church Council this year having served for well over 20 years but am still very involved with my Parish Church and with the Bridge Club too so one keeps busy. I meet fairly regularly with Judy Richards who lives in Sidmouth.
Is it working out? I’ve just completed a very busy summer season with the cocktail bar (Beetle Juice Events Ltd). Business has been very good! But because the work is quite seasonal, I’ve decided to give university another go, this time reading Business Studies at Canterbury Christchurch. I’m also managing Beetle Juice in between lectures and working at a cocktail bar / club in Canterbury to develop my skills further.
We received this note from Sally Harris (Tapp) (1976 Brooke Place and Merchants):
Was it the right decision? What do you love about it? Yes, it was the right decision to leave (Southampton). I love the concept of Beetle Juice - serving cocktails from a vintage VW camper is very cool and a real crowd pleaser. I really enjoy chatting to customers and learning real life business skills, such as marketing, negotiating and customer service. Over the summer I’ve operated the bar at weddings, parties, music festivals and food and drink festivals.
I enjoyed revisiting The School Tie from 1975 with references to my friend Mandy Carlton who acted in Dr Faustus as Faust and became Deputy Head Girl in 1976. She is now doing voice overs for Channel 4. I also enjoyed seeing a photo of Miss Earlam as I was in Brooke Place when she was House mother in 1974. Then in 1975 I became a day girl and joined Merchants. In 1976 I left and I note that it is 40 years since our year left this summer.
What skills do you need to do what you are doing?
Mrs Carr taught English to me at A Level and Mr Wordsworth taught maths. They were very young when we were at the School, probably only in their twenties.
You need a lot of confidence and you have to be a bit of showman (making cocktails is a performance!). People skills
Hannah Harrington: Mr Jones for chemistry, even though I was utterly hopeless. He was a lovely form tutor, too.
ALUMNI NEWS In this issue of The School Tie, we meet three former pupils with highly unusual jobs A closer look at… code breaking Keeping a secret is arguably one of the hardest challenges. But Lorna Fitch (Cockayne) (1942 Somerville) kept one of the most enormous secrets of the War for more than 60 years and only revealed it to her family in 2011. Now, The School Tie is honoured to be in on the secret too. We caught up with the incredible Lorna Fitch, winner of the Croix de Guerre. The interview for Lorna Fitch’s new job involved a gun on the table. The question was ‘could she keep a secret?’
Lorna’s son, Steve, says his mother is still as sharp as a pin. “When she goes back to Bletchley Park for visits, talks and reunions, Phil the Colossus rebuild engineer taps into her brain as she was one of the few Wrens left who worked the Mk1 Colossus and previously the Heath Robinson machine, its forerunner,” he said. “They have rebuilt both from scratch and with scant knowledge as all plans were destroyed on the orders of Churchill after the war. As she was close up for two years mother knows a lot about it.
It turned out she could and Lorna was duly posted in 1944 to Bletchley Park to operate one of the most important machines of all time – the Colossus Codebreaker. Anyone who worked there was sworn to secrecy of course and Lorna’s role in the Second World War only came to light in the 1980s following the release of secret information from Kew. “No-one, not even myself, knew what mum and her fellow Wrens did for her country at that time until quite recently,” said her daughter Diana Sullivan. The Colossus machine was instrumental in breaking the Nazis’ most secret codes and since the revelations there have been several reunions which have featured in the national newspapers and on television. “When we were there we all felt we could go up to the Colossus machine and still do a shift’s work,” said Lorna. “You just don’t forget.”
“She often argues with him and can still remember the first range of settings for the machine which even the engineers have to look up.” Lorna went on to marry her husband, himself in MI6, in 1950 and had a daughter and two sons. After the war she trained to be a Home Economics teacher and she now lives in Dorset. Early life and Ashford School
C Watch 1945
Lorna’s early days were traumatic and, although born in London, she was sent to board at Ashford School age 11 after the death of her mother.
© Geoff Robinson
…Mrs Watson-Bore for English, made even the most dull texts rich and interesting. Mr Fehr for music, I just adored him, bouncing around on the stage during hymn practice trying to get us not to "follow Julie".
A C Watch reunion which was filmed for The One Show
She remembers her time at Ashford clearly, even down to the details of the daily routine. “Miss Brake (the Headmistress) came round every other night and gave everyone a hug and a kiss on the cheek with a “goodnight my chick”,” she said. “I didn’t realise it at the time but this was the only affection I had.”
outdoor coats, take a blanket and pillow and go downstairs and sleep under the dining room tables.” There followed evacuation to Countess Wear and in 1942 Lorna left school aged 17. “There were not many choices as to what to do. The war was still on so I joined the Wrens. I can remember going up to London and stepping over all the people sleeping in the streets.”
Weekend boarding life involved mending clothes on Saturday morning with free time in the afternoon, with perhaps a walk. Sundays were often dedicated to dancing after attending church and there followed an evening Bible class with Miss Brake. One lasting memory of Ashford School is porridge! “It was wartime and we had to eat everything on our plates,” she said. “I was given porridge at breakfast and was told to stay there until I had eaten it. After sitting in the dining room after everyone else had gone, Cook rescued me by taking it away. I have never eaten it since!” When war was declared in 1939 the girls were all given gas masks. “They smelt horrible and fortunately we didn’t have to use them. Ashford was in the flight-path of the German bombers and so we had the sirens going quite often. When the siren went at night we had to get up, put on our
70th Colossus reunion
Es-Jay Milburn: Madame Young, French. Made me fall in love with the language. She was a strict, but fair, and wonderful teacher.
ALUMNI NEWS Flying high
where I knocked on every door until I found a job in the office of one of the airlines. From there I heard through a friend of another job in London, this time for Virgin Balloon Flights. It was a good place to work, but when they decided to relocate the office to Telford it was time to look for a new place to work. Virgin at that time also had a company that operated airships all over the world and they arranged for me to have an interview. I got the job! It seemed like a good thing to do for a couple of years, nice to have on the CV, a bit of travelling before settling down… That was 18 years ago! I did leave airships for a short time in 2007. After 10 years of living out of a suitcase and changing city once a week I thought it was time to stop. I’m not very good at settling down however, so I joined the Merchant Navy as a trainee Deck Officer and went to sea! While I was on board ship, I received an email from a new company in San Francisco; they had heard about me and wanted me to come and fly their Zeppelin. I was over the moon. The Zeppelin is the biggest and definitely coolest of all airships.
How do you go from a shy school girl to being the first woman to fly a Zeppelin? Inspirational former pupil Katharine Board (1994 Squires) tells us how…
I did my training in Friedrichshafen, Germany, and loved every minute. Airships are fun to fly anyway as you have to fly them by feel and not by numbers, but the Zeppelin was even better. It has three engines which swivel to enable it to take off and land vertically like a helicopter and is steered with a “Fly by Wire” system like an Airbus.
I joined Ashford in the third year as a very shy girl. I had been bullied in my previous school and did not have much confidence. This soon changed at Ashford.
After four years in America I decided it was time to come back to Europe. I applied to Zeppelin in Germany… and here I am doing the best job in the world.
Of course I learned all the normal subjects, but the best thing was, I also learned public speaking and assertiveness. This has stood me in very good stead for later life.
I always credit Ashford School with giving me the confidence and belief in myself to get to where I am today. Never forget, if you want something badly enough and are prepared to work for it, anything is possible. I had some twists and turns in my career, but I was always willing to take a risk and jump in with both feet. Luck is where chance and preparation meet, so prepare well and keep an eye out for that chance!
I did French, English and business studies at A Level, mostly because I thought I should even though I was very bad at writing essays. I should really have done science and maths as I liked them much better.
Now the view from my office looks like this…
For my 19th birthday my parents bought me a flying lesson. It took only about three minutes in the air before I had decided that I would become a pilot! I feel very lucky to have found my vocation so early. My father was very good at not giving me too much too soon, and told me that if I wished to learn to fly, I would have to find a way to pay for it myself. He did give me the tools however in that he paid for the car and the petrol to get me to the airport where I worked in exchange for flying hours instead of money. I did this during my gap year, and by the time I went to university I had a Private Pilot’s Licence. I was only at university for one year (studying Aerospace Engineering) before I realised that I would much rather be working towards my real goal of being a pilot. Flying is very expensive, so I wasn’t able to get my commercial licence. Instead I went to Gatwick
Anne Skilbeck: Linda Rowe in the music department in the late 50s. A truly inspiring person.
ALUMNI NEWS A more unusual career By Sara Durward-Brown (1997 Alfred) When I left school I had no idea what career path I wanted to follow; I knew only that I did not want to be sitting in an office from 9 to 5.
I loved my sport at Ashford which led me to my first job as an assistant matron and sports assistant at a boarding school in Hampshire for two years.
With the right training you can learn various skills and techniques of climbing. I have met women of all ages and physical stature that are expert climbers and excel in this career.
After that my career path changed when I began working in hospitality until five years ago when I qualified as an Arborist after completing a 12-week intensive Tree Surgery Course at Plumpton College, East Sussex. This was not without its challenges â€“ some more unexpected than others! During my first job as an Arborist/Climber, my employer advised me that I should reconsider my career as a climber due to my gender and age. He advised that the challenges and physical demands of the job would not suit a female in a male-dominated environment and my gender and age (which was 30 at this point!) would limit my responsibilities to that of ground staff. Although I know he was only trying to look out for my wellbeing, I am pleased to say that, regardless of his advice, I continued to pursue my career and now I work in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, as an indepndent arborist, having worked for some time in this capacity for the City Council. It has been tough, especially here in Darwin where it is a very male-dominated environment and the working conditions are very harsh due to the extreme weather. However, I have learnt to adapt and gained various skills which have allowed me to have great experiences such as working all down the east coast of Australia with a great selection of teams.
Sara now runs her own company. Read more about it on her website â€“ funkymonkeytrees.com
Julie Piper: Amongst others, it has to be Miss Taylor (geography) and who could forget dear old Johnny-Hogg (history).
ALUMNI NEWS Art in the family
Paperchase. She is currently a Senior Designer at Debenhams for the Homeware Department – think bedlinen to light-shades, cushions to dinnerware…
From choosing a school with a creative education, to successful London artistic careers, the story of the Lees family and its links with Ashford School spans two generations.
Her first craft book, Collage Carnival (published by Batsford and Macmillan) encourages the reader to embrace their creativity and break free from the worries of day-to-day life. Look out for number two on the way soon! You can find out more about Lizzie’s work on her website: www.lizzielees.co.uk
Former art teacher, Bay Lees, reflects on her family’s strong links with the School. Being in the arts ourselves, my husband John and I were particularly keen to choose a school for our three daughters where a creative education in art and design was considered important and the art department at Ashford School ticked the boxes: a broad curriculum of experimental drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and stained glass were all on offer.
Mary (2003 Merchants) Despite being a sport and art scholar at Ashford, Mary has also chosen to focus on her love of art and design. She studied Architecture followed by Human Science at UCL. Her career has seen her work for Le Book as a Graphic Designer, Cedar Communications as Art Editor, Wired magazine as Art Editor and the fashion brand Merchant Archive as Art Director.
My eldest sisters, Kathleen and Jane Browne, had been pupils at the Prep School in the early 1960s so there was already a family connection and in 1992 my eldest daughter Lizzie joined the Prep School.
At Cedar Communications, Mary worked on the graphics and art direction of the inflight magazines for Virgin and British Airways, as well as magazines for the Dorchester Collection and Tesco.
Just a few years later, in 1995, I became a teacher in the art department with special responsibility for developing textiles. A year later, my other two daughters, Mary and Vicky, also joined the School.
As Art Editor at Wired magazine, Mary designs and commissions the magazine, and directs the visuals which include illustration, photographs and videos. She also works as freelance Art Director for fashion shoots, working on the seasonal campaigns for Merchant Archive – and also finds time to appear as guest lecturer at UCA.
The Art Department was a close knit team of Gordon Reynolds, Alex Le Rossignol and me and, under Gordon’s leadership, it became well known for the high quality of the art work, breadth of media and excellent exam results.
Bay After Gordon Reynolds’ retirement, Bay became Head of Art at Ashford School and enjoyed a happy time working with a great team until her retirement in 2014. She is currently working on an exhibition to be held at Kent University in September 2017, as well as running regular adult workshops and courses in Life Drawing, Still Life and landscape work.
Life after School Coming from a family where both parents were involved in the art world, all three Lees girls have made successful careers in art and design, albeit in very different fields: Lizzie is an illustrator, Mary is an art editor and Vicky is a freelance set designer for fashion shoots. Lizzie (2000 Merchants) After leaving School in 1999, Lizzie did a Foundation year at KIAD in Canterbury and went on to study Surface Pattern at Staffordshire College of Art. Based in London, Lizzie has worked with a number of high-street brands creating patterns and illustrations for all kinds of From left: Vicky, Lizzie, Mary, John, Bay at Lizzie’s book launch products. Her previous clients include Designer’s Guild, Monsoon Accessorize, Marks & Spencer, John Lewis and
Liz Warburton-Smith: Mrs Smythe and Mrs Burrell inspired my love of English Literature. They were incredibly knowledgeable and supportive. I'm an English teacher now, and they are often in my thoughts.
SCHOOL NEWS Head’s Message I am delighted that the ASA alumni magazine is being resumed after a six-year hiatus, funded by the School as part of its commitment to the ASA and the alumni community. With the active support of our Development Director David Young the activity of the ASA is growing in reach and depth. This is good news for everyone in the wider Ashford School community.
The School is in fine fettle with over 1,000 children on our two sites in Ashford and Great Chart. We are planning the next stage of its physical development and hope to report on that in the next issue. The School magazine highlights many of the pupils’ achievements and is available on the website. A key initiative this year has been launch of the Ashford School Foundation in support of means-tested awards for those in need of financial support and for strategic building projects for the future of the School. Our ultimate aim, which may take many years, is to enable any child who fits the entrance criteria to attend the School irrespective of the financial means of their family. In other words, we are seeking to extend to others the excellent opportunities currently available to those at the School. Please support this cause as far as you are able; any contribution is welcome and all will make a difference. Enclosed with the ASA School Tie is a Personal Information Form. Please complete this and send it back to David Young via the Freepost address contained on the form. We’re keen to foster still greater interaction in the ASA and in our programme of alumni events and publications.
It’s always a pleasure to hear news of former pupils involved in such a wide variety of careers and pastimes: for example, arborealists working in Queensland, Zeppelin pilots based in Freidrichshaven, entrepreneurs working in the entertainment industry. This spirit of adventure is the defining feature of Ashford and continues to be reflected in the school’s ethos of Adventurous Learning. Please spread the word widely to younger alumni that the Tom Watts Travel Award has been inaugurated this year in commemoration of Tom Watts our former colleague, Bursar and long term supporter of the School.
Thanks to the ASA Committee for its hard work and to David, Elizabeth Leonard and Maddy Taylor for their work in producing this magazine. Mike Buchanan
Clare Ashley: Mr Jones (chemistry) for acting scared every time he dropped something non-reactive into water and acting pretty casual with the frothy ones!
SCHOOL NEWS University destinations 2016 School leavers of 2016 left a hard act to follow, with nearly half winning places at Russell Group universities. As well as offers for popular subjects such as Maths, Medicine and Economics, Toby Clifton and Sam Zhang took up places at Cambridge – Sam came third in the country for his performance at Maths A Level – and Jesse O’Shaughnessy win a place at the prestigious Central St Martins to pursue her love of fashion.
Euan celebrates a place at Keele to study Medicine
The Class of 2016 notched up some impressive statistics. Twenty per cent of all grades were a glittering A*; 46% were marked at A*/A; 71% at A*-B and 92% at A*-C. In addition to A Levels, six students studied for EPQs (Extended Project Qualifications) with five gaining an A* and one an A. EPQs, which are generally research projects, are a real bonus on a students’ CV and are favoured by the best universities. Congratulations to everyone on their hard work and dedication in reaching such an important moment in their educational careers.
Toby, Lizzie and Lydia
Destinations of Year 13 students September 2016 Petr Alekhin, International Business with Language, University of Greenwich Chloe Anspack, Modern Languages (French and Russian), University of Nottingham Elizabeth Aviss, Medicine, St George's, University of London Huige Bai, (Katrina), Statistics, Economics and Finance, University College London Abigail Ballard, Childhood and Youth Studies with Psychology, University of Portsmouth Jack Barham, Biological Sciences with a Year in Industry, University of East Anglia Fiona Bell, Physics, Imperial College London Olivia Boutwood, Psychology, University of Bath Scott Clements, German (with Year Abroad), King’s College London Toby Clifton, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, Fitzwilliam College Kara Costello, Sport Business Management, University of Brighton Danielle Cox, Fine Art and Art History, Kingston University Imogen Curran, Anthropology/Psychology Oxford Brookes University Maria Dulerayn, Philosophy, Politics, Ethics, University of Brighton Ellie Ellam, Business Management (Including Placement Year), University of Essex Michael Etete, Biological Sciences, University of Reading Kendra Gattiker, Geography with Business Management, Queen Mary, University of London George Henderson, Tourism Management, Bournemouth University Kim Chung Ho, (Calvin), International Foundation Year in Engineering and Physical Sciences, University of Surrey
…Mr Stockwell (physics) for standing on one leg every time he was deep in thought, both lovely kind men. Mrs Donald for secretly having a good sense of humour and being a brilliant teacher. I loved Miss Dalton too.
SCHOOL NEWS Jack Jie Yang Huang, Physics with Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London Mengyuan Huang, (Angel), Mathematics, Imperial College London Zeng Huang, Engineering (Mechanical), University College London Charlotte Humphries, Psychology, (Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at Rye Studio School for 2016), Royal Holloway, University of London, (Deferred for 2017) Bea Icke, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury Dan Johannsen, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Rye Studio School Lauren Kennedy, Biomedical Sciences, University of Southampton Mark Komlyk, Art, Otis College of Art and Design, LA, USA Anna Korobova, History, Royal Holloway, University of London Pan Chuk Lam, (Joanna), Mathematics, University of Manchester Chun Lok Phil Lau, Business and Management with Study Abroad, Durham University Sau Chung Law, (Chloe), International Business and Management, Aston University, Birmingham Elona Leskaj, Economics & Business with East European Studies (with a Year Abroad), University College London Emma Levitt, Sport and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth Tianjia Li, (Jessie), Physics with Theoretical Physics, Imperial College London Yue Li, (Zoe), Business and Management with Business Placement, Durham University Carol Yin YanLim, Management Studies and Economics, University of Leicester Alexander McCarthy, English and History, Royal Holloway, University of London Charlee McLaughlin, Media Communications, University of the Arts London Imogen Morton, Criminology, Kingston University Lydia Mullan, Mechanical Engineering, University of Brighton, (Deferred for 2017) Jess Newall, Business and Marketing Management, Oxford Brookes University Yau Ngai, (Kuso), Psychology, University of Warwick Euan Nicholls, Medicine, Keele University Matthew Nicholls, Music & Religious Studies, Cardiff University Oluwaferanmi Ogunnuga, (Lulu), Philosophy, University of Reading Motunrayo Onafowokan, (Mo), Law, GAP YEAR Jesse O'Shaughnessy, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London Peppitt, Maisie, English Literature/Drama, Oxford Brookes University Benjamin Perkins, Neuroscience, University of Sussex Nicholas Philo, Economics, University of Hull Lauren Piper, Sport and Exercise Psychology, Loughborough University Thomas Porter, Spanish (with Year Abroad), University of St Andrews Wenting Qian, Economics, University of Warwick Danika Schrader, French and Russian Studies, University of Edinburgh James Seamer, International Management with American Business Studies, University of Manchester Thomas Semadeni, Business & Management Studies with International Business Management, Cardiff Metropolitan University Daria Shumaieva, Foundation Diploma in Art and Design â€“ Curriculum Area: Fashion & Textiles, Central St Martins, University of the Arts, London Ivan Smirnov, Computer Science, University of St Andrews
Esther Planner: Was fortunate Miss Dalton made me love maths. I didn't like her nettle tea though. Miss Amor will always be the one that inspired me the most.
SCHOOL NEWS Scarlett Spicer, Drama and English Literature, University of Manchester Jonathan Stewart, Aerospace Engineering, University of Hertfordshire Georgia Stokes, English, University of York Bawan Taeeb, Mechanical Engineering, City University, London Zhwan Taeeb, Law, University of Westminster Elizabeth Threlfall, (Lizzie), Psychology, University of Kent Lok Yi Tsoi, (Kitty), Media and Communications, Goldsmiths, University of London Zidan Wu, (Ryan), Mechanical Engineering, University of Manchester Jinghui Xing, (Hilary), Materials Science and Engineering, Imperial College London Hoi Kin Jeffie Yeh, Business Studies, Lancaster University Erwanghao Yu, (Derek), Computer Science, King’s College London Tingjun Zhang, (Sam), Mathematics, University of Cambridge, Clare College Yaqian Zhou, (Iris), Economics, University College London Ziqi Zou, (Ashley), Computer Science, Swansea University
• 68% obtained their first choice institution • 42% gained a place at a Russell Group University
• 35% gained a place at a UK top 10 University • 21% gained a place at a World top 10 University
Claire Miller: Doctor Goldwin – Inspiring and never lost interest in you as a person.
SCHOOL NEWS Leavers’ prizes and awards 2016 Congratulations to all prize winners who attended the special ceremony held on Founder’s Day. Year 13 were honoured for hard work, commitment and success in many areas across the School. Art Jesse O’Shaughnessy, Lauren Piper
Achievement Prize Fiona Bell
Knights House Captain Jessica Newall
Business Studies Hoi Kin Jeffie Yeh
Upper School Sports Awards
Merchants House Captain Abigail Ballard
Chemistry Fiona Bell
Senior Boys’ Rugby Cup Thomas Porter
Pilgrims House Captain Kara Costello
Cock Prize (for Medicine) Elizabeth Aviss
Senior Boys’ Basketball Cup Matthew Yee
Design Technology Yau Kuso Ngai
Senior Boys’ Athletics Shield Euan Nicholls
Yeomen House Captain Elizabeth Threlfall
Senior Girls’ Hockey Shield Rebecca Turton
Boys’ Boarding Captain Sam Tingjun Zhang
Hooker Cup for Senior Netball Jesse O’Shaughnessy
Girls’ Boarding Captain Elona Leskaj
Economics Elona Leskaj Engineering Jinghui Hillary Xing
Senior Girls’ Tennis Cup Jessica Newall
English Literature Olivia Boutwood Further Mathematics Tingjun Sam Zhang
Senior Girls’ Sports Cup for All Round Excellence Lauren Piper
Geography Kendra Gattiker
Senior Swimming Cup Emma Levitt
Prefect Team Leader Alexander McCarthy
Biology Michael Etete, Scarlett Spicer
MFL – French Elona Leskaj MFL – German Kendra Gattiker MFL – Spanish Danika Schrader
Squires House Captain Maisie Peppitt
Prefect Team Leader Emma Levitt Prefect Team Leader Euan Nicholls Prefect Team Leader Jonathan Stewart
The Pat Earlam History Prize awarded by The Ashford School Association Motunrayo Onafowokan
Upper School Citizenship Prizes
Franklins Emma Levitt
Mathematics Mengyuan Angel Huang
Knights Charlee McLaughlin
Music Matthew Nicholls
Merchants Alexander McCarthy
PE Emma Levitt
Pilgrims Thomas Semadeni
Philosophy Daniel Johannsen
Jack Barham Fiona Bell Toby Clifton
Physics Fiona Bell
Boarding Citizenship Prizes
Psychology Olivia Boutwood
Alfred Chong Wing Savio Ng
Calvin Kim Chung Ho
Theatre Studies Maisie Peppitt
Brabourne Elona Leskaj
Sylvia Perry Memorial Prize for School Captain Motunrayo Onafowokan
Senior Prefects 2015 2016
Klopper Trophy Elizabeth Aviss
School Captain Motunrayo Onafowokan
Deputy School Captain Olivia Boutwood
Hillary Jinghui Xing
Orchestral Cup Elizabeth Aviss Hilda Scarth Prize Matthew Nicholls Wilson Cup for Drama Jessica Newall Leonardo Prize for Creative Arts Jamie Seamer Davidson Cup for Technical Theatre Matthew Nicholls Debating Cup Olivia Boutwood
Deputy School Captain Matthew Nicholls Deputy School Captain Scarlett Spicer Franklins House Captain Elizabeth Aviss
Ryan Zidan Wu
Long Service Awards Chloe Anspack Thomas Semadeni Charlee Mclaughlin
Sally Harvey: Mrs Hay in the juniors (drama) Mr Mead (geography) Mrs Field and Mrs Carabine (English) Miss Smith (needlework) and
SCHOOL NEWS Departing staff The School said goodbye to two long-serving members of staff: Christine Allum and Jane Blundell. Christine Allum was Director of Teaching and Learning and joined the school in September 2004. She retired at the end of the Trinity Term 2016 and is looking forward to spending more time with her family.
Many of you will have known Jane Blundell as the School seamstress, tirelessly mending boarders’ clothes and churning out clever sewing creations. Her last few years at Ashford were spent working in the Food Studies Department as the Technician.
Ashford School wins prestigious Independent School Award “This is about us understanding and remembering what it is like to learn; to understand how a student feels, to remember how hard work and determination are necessary for success and that success is not instantaneous,” he explained.
to learn something from scratch and to persevere. It was a challenge to be on the other side of the fence. Seeing me learn has actually encouraged my six-year-old daughter to take up guitar which is great.” Winners attended a black-tie event at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, hosted by Michael Portillo, where over 400 attendees celebrated all that is outstanding in independent schools across the UK.
At the prestigious TES Independent School Awards 2015 Ashford School was named the winner of the Strategic Education Initiative of the Year category for an opportunity the School provided to nearly 100 employees.
In awarding the prize, the judges described the School’s initiative as “highly creative and innovative”. They said the scheme was “an innovative way of showing vulnerability in staff to promote empathy in the pupils.”
The TES awards have 13 categories, including British international school of the year, special needs initiative of the year and senior leadership team of the year. The Times Educational Supplement is a leader in the world of education and its awards are highly prized.
The initiative was introduced by the Head, Mike Buchanan, who gave every employee the opportunity to learn an instrument or take drama lessons.
Head of Rugby, Mr Marc Boyd, said: “Learning to play the guitar has given me renewed determination. I now remember what it is like to be a student,
The School was also nominated in two categories for the TES Awards 2016.
…Mrs Finnucane for telling me to pursue my hobby/love of making things as a career and I have never looked back! And ALL the PE staff for keeping me occupied as I was pretty thick!!
SCHOOL NEWS Chairman of Governors steps down After years of dedicated service, Peregrine Massey, Chairman of the School Council, stepped down at the end of the School year.
An award for Robin
In a letter to parents he explained: “This is a good time to have a child at Ashford School, and therefore a time when I judge that I can hand over to my successor with great confidence in the future.” Head Mike Buchanan paid tribute. He said: “Peregrine Massey has been an active supporter of the School as a parent and Governor for decades. In the last nine years, he has been a wise counsellor and incisive questioner. I owe him a great deal for the support and guidance he has generously provided, as does the School.”
Peregrine is replaced by Will Peppitt who has been involved with the School for many years. His mother-in-law and wife both attended Ashford School and his youngest daughter, Maisie, left in the summer 2016.
Chair of the HMC The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference is a professional association of Heads of the world’s leading independent schools. The association has an important role in influencing policy and public opinion with regard to the independent sector, as well as promoting the discussion of national and international educational issues.
The School year 2015-16 has been a particularly busy one for our Head, Mike Buchanan, as he was named Chair-elect of the HMC.
Mr Buchanan took up his role as Chair in September 2016 at which point Tom Wilding became Head of the Senior School. Mr Buchanan remains as Head of Ashford School.
Our wonderful Prep School caretaker, Robin Simmons, was named Caretaker of the Year by the Kent Messenger Group. At a sparkling ceremony, the media group give out awards to teachers and support staff from across the county and Robin was singled out for dedicated service and for always going that extra mile. Robin doesn’t just take care of the Prep School and its facilities. Every year, he feeds the family of ducks that breeds in the Prep School playground before it marches off through the car park and along the road to find nearby ponds.
Head announces retirement Our much-loved Prep School Head, Richard Yeates, and his highly respected wife Sue who is Head of Nursery, have announced their retirement. After more than 10 years at Ashford School, they will be handing over the reins of Head to Penny Willetts, who is currently Deputy Head, in September 2017. Alice Dickinson (McGee): As the youngest of four I was devastated when my hockey stick broke (3rd form I think) and was reluctant to ask my folks to buy me a new one. Miss Harman Clarke must have sensed this and let
SCHOOL NEWS Staff Profile – Nick Egan, Grounds and Gardens Manager Those alumni who have visited the School recently will have noted a vast improvement to the grounds. The team of groundsmen has been busy digging, chopping and planting and we are beginning to see the impact it is having. The hard work is carefully planned and managed by our Grounds and Gardens Manager, Nick Egan, who explains why he is so passionate about his role. “The impact of well-maintained and managed grounds is felt by every member of the School. Proper care and attention reflects our love of the School and all it stands for and it encourages students and staff to take a real pride in Ashford School. They spend many hours of their week here and we are here to help them develop a sense of ownership and delight in their environment. That in turn encourages excellent behaviour and a sense of dignity and belonging.” Although born in Torbay in South Devon, Nick has lived in Kent for some time. He comes to Ashford School fresh from running his own landscape and countryside management business. His experience as a senior lecturer at Hadlow College, Head Gardener at Cobham Hall and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Wakehurst Place, mean there are exciting times ahead. He was interested in the role at Ashford because he saw it as an exciting opportunity to develop and improve the grounds and gardens, which are varied and vast. As the Grounds and Gardens Manager he manages a team of four and a typical day is varied.
“A proportion of my time is spent planning the work and creating a vision for the next few years,” he said. “On a weekly basis though I organise the range of works required and deal with requests from staff. A big project recently has been planning the new playing fields at Great Chart – a 25-acre site.” He has ambitious plans for the next few years. “My vision is to develop grounds and gardens that are inspirational to the staff and students,” he said. “I want them to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, with the Ashford School community using them as much as possible.” In five years’ time Nick wants to have created a landscape that is award-winning but his role is not without its challenges. He is working on introducing new ideas that are not so traditional and presenting his vision to staff, but he says he thrives on the positive and friendly atmosphere. And out of work, Nick is a regular on the Triathlon scene. He loves cricket, sea-fishing, food and cooking, and environmentally-friendly woodwork. In fact, if you are lucky enough at Christmas time, you can pick up one of his beautifully crafted wooden reindeer.
…me choose one of the 'spares' from the box in the office. So as not to appear greedy I didn't pick the newest shiniest one, but an older one with a black rubber handle. That stick served me faithfully until I left school and beyond. I have always been so grateful for that act of kindness.
SCHOOL NEWS Deputy School Captain manage all the duties for the prefect team and their day-to-day roles as well as special events. There was a lot of people management involved and this year has certainly improved my skills! I’ve learnt how to communicate easily with people I’ve never met before and to build relationships. I’ve also learnt how to resolve disagreements between students and how to communicate with the younger years. Is there anything you would change? The more activities and events that are led by students, the better. I have worked to encourage more interaction between the Sixth Form and the younger years and I hope this continues. What was your best moment? Definitely participating in copious musical events and the buzz and high after those; and playing the organ for school church services at St Mary’s Parish Church, Ashford. What were your favourite subjects and teachers?
Matt Nicholls, who joined Ashford School as an 11-year-old in 2009, rose through the ranks and was a determined and loyal Deputy School Captain in his last year.
Music of course was my favourite subject but my favourite teachers would have to be Mrs Powell, Mr Wilson and Ms Dawood. They go beyond being teachers and are more mentors which helps set you up for life.
His unfailing support, love of the School and organisational skills were much valued by staff who relied on him to help organise all kinds of public events.
What will you not miss? Independent Learning duty and the noise and ‘shhh-ing’ in the Learning Resource Centre!
When he wasn’t being a leader, he was usually to be found in the Music Department. Read all about his memories of School and his hopes for the future.
What are your hobbies?
You left Ashford School in the summer of 2016. What are you off to do now and what are your hopes for the future?
Music – trumpet, singing, organ, biking, squash and Ashford School! I am looking forward to coming back to visit and to seeing everyone at School events.
I am off to Cardiff University to read Music with a bit of Theology. I hope to end up doing some kind of community work, working with young people, but I’m not sure yet if it will be along the musical or theological route. I may take a gap year after university and may even look at chaplaincy. How did it feel to be made Deputy School Captain? It changed my whole outlook on the School. I wasn’t one of the most extroverted leaders but this role has helped me realise how much I enjoy working with people and it has certainly influenced what I want to do in the future. I felt very proud to be made Deputy School Captain – nervous and excited too. What has the role involved? A lot of emails! Doing the school tours with prospective pupils and parents was one of my favourite bits of being a prefect. I had to
Rachel Kuske: Mrs Metherell and Mrs Wilkes made me love classics – I looked forward to their lessons every week. Mr Jones was a lovely man and great chemistry teacher,
DEVELOPMENT NEWS Launch of the Ashford School Foundation September saw the launch of the School’s new development charity, The Ashford School Foundation, with a reception held at Brake Hall.
If you would like to learn more about the Foundation and the development goals of the School, please do contact David on 01233 619525 or email@example.com. David is keen to speak to any Ashfordian who is thinking of making a donation or leaving a legacy to the School.
The Foundation is dedicated to the twin purposes of supporting the School’s ambitions for the creation of a £4 million endowment fund for means-tested Assisted Places and the future development of the East Hill and Great Chart campuses. The evening was compèred by The Very Rev Stephen Taylor, Chairman of the Foundation Trustees, Mr Will Peppitt, Chairman of the School Council and Mr Mike Buchanan, Head who spoke about their ambitions for widening access to the School for children from the local community and for building a worldclass campus at Ashford. A video film showing the ways in which recent pupils had benefited from financial support during their time at School was shown and can be seen on the school’s YouTube site. A copy of the information brochure for the Foundation is also available on the School’s website. David Young has been named as the new Director of the Foundation and will be running the information and fundraising programmes going forward.
Annual Fund Campaign – Participation is the key The Foundation’s Annual Fund was launched in October. The Annual Fund is a request for support made to every member of the Ashford School community of parents, former pupils and other friends of the School. Its aim is to support the funding of Assisted Places and also to provide the resources to fund modest and achievable
projects that enhance and broaden the life and educational development of pupils throughout their time at Ashford School. It is hoped that the fund will be well supported by parents and alumni alike. For more details on the Annual Fund, please take a look at the Foundation pages on the School website or contact David Young.
…as was Mrs Gore as a physics teacher. Mrs Brentnall was a lovely lady and great German teacher and Mrs Jarrett was firm but fair.
DEVELOPMENT NEWS ASA Committee The ASA (formerly the Old Girls’ Association) works very closely with the School through its committee and in conjunction with the Foundation & Alumni Office which acts as the administrative hub of the ASA and co-ordinates reunions, events and communications with former pupils. Events are organised for Ashfordians at the School, locally in Kent and regionally around the country. The ASA ebulletin is produced three times a year and is sent to members worldwide by email.
In addition some 1500 former pupils follow the ASA via our Facebook at www.facebook.com/ashfordschoolassociation The Association’s President is Carolyn Chamberlain (Nelms) (1960 Nightingale) who has served the OGA and ASA faithfully for many years. The committee has increased in size during the past year and each member has responsibility for distinct areas of activity. These are as follows:
Hon. Archivist – Jo Hayes (School Librarian) Editorial Assistant for ASA School Tie Magazine – Maddy Taylor (2010 Yeomen) Networking Co-ordinator – Camilla Ketchen (Bourne) (1989 Merchants) Hon. Secretary and Event Programme Co-ordinator – Alexia Padgham (Swatland) (1987 Merchants) Liaison with Staff in Music, Drama – Hannah Pinney (2010 Squires) Liaison with Sports Staff and Friars Liaison – Suki Athwal (2012 Franklins) Tom Watts Travel Award Co-ordinators – Nicky Brightling (1986 Knights) (also Hon. Treasurer) and Julie Piper (1979 Chaucer Knights)
pupils and staff, all of whom are automatically members of the ASA without need for subscription or payment. If you are in contact with an Ashfordian who isn’t on our mailing lists and who you think would like to be put back in touch with the School and alumni community, please contact us (or have them contact us) by email or telephone.
Any member of the committee can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear any ideas from Ashfordians about events or reunions they would like to draw our attention to or have us help to organise. We’re always happy to hear news of former
Hettie Hirst: Miss Neal (Dodder) possibly an unpopular choice as she was feared, but she was consistent so you knew where you stood. Her love of botany started a lifelong love of plants and nature for me.
NOSTALGIA CORNER A pupil remembers… Q&A with a former Head Girl
The School Ski Trip to Les Deux Alps was fantastic! Bridget Thompson chasing our ski instructor down the slopes will stay with me for ever; as will the New Year’s Eve party on the street!!
We were lucky enough to catch up with former Head Girl, Louise Morgan (Wood), who left in 1992 and was in Knights, then Franklins. She joined Ashford Junior School aged eight and stayed until she finished her A Levels.
And anything else you would like to add? I really enjoyed my time at Ashford, and made some lifelong friends. There were a few downs, but mostly there were ups. Thank you Louise – many fond memories there which I’m sure many of our readers will identify with.
What did you do immediately after leaving Ashford School – and what you have done since then? I went to KIAD to do an Art Foundation Course. Then I went on to Blackpool & The Fylde College to do a BA in photography. I now run a small London-based production company with a friend. I am married, have two boys and live back in Kent after living in London for about 12 years. What did you enjoy most about the education/opportunities at Ashford School? In retrospect, I think the School offered a very rounded course. Sciences were a very high priority, but the Arts were not left out.
School reunion in Richmond Park in the year of their 40th birthdays
What did you not enjoy!
Memories of the 1950s
I wish I could have taken Spanish. But being in the third stream for French, I wasn’t allowed to take it.
By Valerie Arends (Davies) Valerie joined Nightingale House as a boarder in September 1952. She looks back on her time here and shares some often very funny memories…
What did you think of the atmosphere and ethos of the School? I enjoyed School – and as I was into hockey and netball I got a lot from it. I think you get out of School what you put in. I ended up being the day Head Girl for my year, which was a bit of a surprise not being a totally dedicated academic!
This was novelist H E Bates’s country: think of the BBC television’s The Darling Buds of May and his daughter Judy was a pupil. It was as if I had stepped into an Enid Blyton story… five boarding houses including a picturesque, ivy-clad building called Alfred House, set in acres of gardens, tennis courts, hockey pitches and with a creek running along the outer boundary. The ‘Golden Arrow’ train from London to Paris could be heard hurtling through the countryside at midnight on its way to Dover.
Did you always feel you had the support to achieve and to follow your dreams? I’m not sure I really knew what I wanted to do, other than Art; and actually I wasn’t very good at it. No one dissuaded me from doing it though, which was good at the time as I would have been devastated! Any interesting memories, events or teachers that will always stay with you? A very fond memory was climbing out of the window with Rubah Khan Lodi in a Year 1 Latin Class!! Poor Mrs Bradley; we were dreadful and she was so lovely. I was very fond of Mrs Donald our English teacher; she had me absolutely pegged and took no nonsense. It was totally down to her I did well in my English Literature A Level.
There was, in the Headmistress’s study in Alfred House, a beautiful life-size pencil drawing of an Edwardian lady, done by an unknown soldier
Katie Jade Harris: Mrs Riddell, without doubt. She instilled in me a love of English which I have to this day. I was very upset to find she had died a few years ago. I love you Mrs Riddell, & the clod-hopping shoes you so detested. xx
NOSTALGIA CORNER during the Second World War when the army was billeted at the school. Our headmistress, Miss Brake, had it protected by a glass cover and I hope it remains to this day. [Editor’s note: it does indeed and now hangs proudly at the foot of the stairs in Alfred House].
Our swimming team was good, filled with girls who had been born in the warmer outpost of the Empire. Susan Johnson (born in Libya) and Diana Howard (born in Egypt) were our star high divers. Tessa Hurst, our red-headed games captain was from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Alex Laffan (born in India) and Celia Perham were our top swimmers winning races against the girls at nearby by Benenden School.
In spite of the Spartan décor, the dormitories in Nightingale House had all been given Greek names by some romantic classics mistress. I started off in ‘Mytilene’, moved up to ‘Delphi’ and progressed to the grand height of ‘Olympia’ in the Sixth Form. Nightingale’s House Tutor was the senior Maths teacher Miss Webb and Matron, a short beetle-browed woman called Miss Marriott. She once locked my friend, Bettina Dicks, in the linen cupboard because she had “answered her back”! I loved my time at Ashford and made many friends whom I still see. Miss Brake (known as ‘Cherub’) was adored by all and knew virtually every one of us 500 girls by name. We were required to know how to speak French, serve tea to our neighbour the Archbishop of Canterbury, converse about literature and music, and be familiar with current affairs. As a result of the latter, Cherub read out the headlines from The Daily Telegraph at Prayers every morning. The Korean War was on and we were expected to know where the obscure 38th parallel was, as well as the importance of Mrs Pandit, sister of President Nehru of India, who was to present our prizes that year. Mrs Pandit later became the first woman President of the United Nations’ General Assembly. The following autumn, in the Queen’s Coronation Year 1953, our VIP guest was the Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, joint conqueror of Mount Everest, with Sir Edmund Hilary.
The highlight of the summer term, after Barnardo’s Day, was the operatic production, organised by Miss Rowe on the outdoor stage. Linda Rowe (pictured, right) was an inspiring music teacher; she was a friend of the composer Ralph VaughanWilliams and was part of Kent’s music society and, although she had never been married, she had a son Robin, and thus to us she was a daring bohemian! Once in the Lower Sixth Form, some of us were privileged to move out of our own boarding house and enjoy the freedom and fun offered by being billeted in an over-flow house called Refuge. The tall brick Georgian building fronted on to East Hill, the main London to Dover road, opposite some small houses.
As I had spent a month in France, Cherub – a passionate Francophile – optimistically promoted me to her tea table in the Dining Room on Sunday afternoons, where we were expected to speak in French. This gave me an excuse from helping out at the local hospital – something we were all expected to do.
At weekends seniors were allowed out to cycle. One of our favourite places was Saltwood Castle, then owned by the journalist William Deedes (later Lord Deedes) and his family. He was the Member of Parliament for Ashford and was a governor of the School. Saltwood Castle in those days had wonderful bluebells and
Although a magistrate and the local Justice of the Peace, Cherub drove the police to distraction by driving her ancient car straight down the middle of Ashford High Street, oblivious to the pleadings for her to drive on the left. She had taught herself to drive in 1914 and her attitude was that other drivers “should look where they were going”. The school had an outdoor swimming pool with a decorative fountain at one end and high diving boards at the other. Once the water had been 60 degrees for three days running we were expected to swim, bitterly freezing though it still was!
Lucy Briz: Mrs Simmons for English was awesome. Mr Palmer was inspirational with his stories and bizarre teaching methods!
NOSTALGIA CORNER Do you remember ‘the hut’? Jubilee Building, 1960 By former School Archivist, Sandra Noël (1961 Chaucer Pilgrims) The Hut had long played a central role in school life; not only was it centrally located, it housed three completely different departments: at the end closest to Coronation, there was a Lower Sixth classroom; in the middle was the Sports room, where we kept all our tennis rackets and hockey sticks; the end was Haffy’s domain. Miss Wilson-Haffenden had joined the staff in 1921, teaching Art and Needlework. The room was light and airy, and we certainly all learned how to sew neatly and, at the end of the summer term, her pupils paraded in the dresses they had made during the year. But Haffy was easy-going, and we discovered the excitement of reading (forbidden) comics, brought in by day girls and hidden inside the pattern books! All this came to an end with the demolition of the Hut and the construction of the Jubilee ‘building’, which was started in 1959 and opened in 1960 to commemorate the 50 years since Mrs Edwards had bought the school from Mrs Thimann and renamed it ‘The Modern High School for Girls’.
Lady Brabourne with an ‘Add your Jubilee Brick’ campaign board
Secretary, also a former pupil. Lady Brabourne signed 1,500 appeal letters in a single weekend! The Foundation Stone was laid on July 4, 1959 by Lady Brabourne, building work was completed in summer 1960 and the Jubilee Building was opened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Fisher. It was a very exciting time, especially for Science students, as there were now superb facilities in the laboratories which were particularly appropriate for Miss Nightingale, herself a Physics graduate. The Domestic Science room was hugely successful after the cramped and dreary conditions in a hut where the Brake building now stands. Haffy and her happy stitchers moved to the former Science laboratory, close to the gym.
The Jubilee Fund was led by Lady Brabourne, a great supporter of School, whose seven children had been pupils (is this a record?); she was ably supported by another parent, Mrs P.J. Baxter, a former pupil, and Miss Harland, School Bursar and
rhododendrons and Hilary Haxworth still has photos of Bettina and me with bunches of bluebells strapped to our bikes. Lazy days of warm summers passed, as did revising for O Levels under the huge cedars of Lebanon trees on Alfred lawn. One night Bettina, Lizzie Farmborough and I climbed out of the tall landing window in Nightingale to go punting on the creek. Unbeknownst to us, it had a leaky bottom and as we punted along it gradually sank beneath our weight. Panic-stricken, we waded back to the bank as it went slowly under the water. We had to wring out our clothes and creep back in darkness to the dormitory, virtually naked. I knew my mother (a war widow) could not afford to keep me at Ashford for another year to do A Levels and university entrance exams, so I had to leave in the Lower Sixth. This was not considered unusual as there were only eight universities in England at that time. When Christina Streatfeild (a cousin of the novelist Noel) won a scholarship to Oxford to study medicine and Corinna Adam (Guardian and New Statesman journalist) won a scholarship to Cambridge we were given an extra day’s holiday to celebrate!
Haffy retired in 1963 after 42 years at Ashford School; sadly Miss Brake died in January 1960 so did not live to see the opening.
Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Fisher opens the Jubilee building, 27 May 1960
Did you know?
I later went to France where I worked for the Comte de Dion, Chairman of Courvoisier Cognac and it was my French that got me the job with Pan Am when I went to New York in 1959.
In the 1950s school fees were £86 per term for boarders and £38 per term for day girls!
…I loved Mrs Millberry for her passion of drama and the way she could make each student feel valued. To be honest, there wasn't a bad teacher at the school when I was there.
NOSTALGIA CORNER Looking back on the Liberty system of the school, could also be called on for seeing the juniors across the road when requested. There was a Lib lawn alongside Cranmer which only Libs could walk on. Libs were allowed to go up to the town on Saturday mornings to shop. At the weekends they could also have bikes or go for walks by themselves either two or three together for safety. As a Lib you could become a Prefect, “Dormy” Pre or House Captain.
By Bettina Ribes-Gil (Dicks) (1954 Nightingale) I don’t know when the Probation and Liberty system was introduced, or when it ended. Its ethos was doubtlessly well intended according to the precepts of probably the early 1900s: to make us well behaved genteel young ladies. However, in my opinion, that wasn’t necessarily how it turned out. Probation meant very little except you were now in line to become a Liberty. The system as far as I can remember, but stand to be corrected on details, was that as from the Upper Fourth (13 years old?) the staff held a meeting every term to discuss the pupils who were then “up for Lib and Pro” and decide if the person merited being voted on.
I was one of the very few who never got further than being on the Pro probably because I spoke my mind too much! However, I observed that many of those voted on early were very subservient even hypocritical in the way they acted before their seniors, while happily misbehaving behind their backs. There was also the factor of who liked who.
The pupils who passed by the staff were then submitted to the girls who were already Liberties for the same process of approval. You were informed If you had “passed the staff” but this didn’t mean passing the girls automatically and often the results were quite different. All very subjective.
In retrospect it all seems unimportant now and certainly had no effect on my future career. However, at the time it meant having to go for crocodile walks with junior forms, using their common rooms and being separated from one’s friends in our free time and weekends. Fortunately, this has had no consequence on what have been the firm friendships forged then, which have persisted over 60 years, the principal reason for which I am grateful for having been a boarder at Ashford School.
When you became a Lib you had a different tie, a metal pin to go on your gymslip and a badge to sew on your blazer. There were special Liberty Common Rooms. Additionally, the Libs in Nightingale, which was the other side of East Hill from the rest
The Lilian Brake Building and a visit from Princess Margaret This year, 2016, is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Lilian Brake Building – now home to Brake Hall and the Music and Drama departments. Our new Archivist, Joanna Hayes, found a typewritten letter during a rummage through old photographs and documents and believes it was penned by Joan Harland, the Bursar, describing the visit of HRH Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, to open the Lilian Brake Building at Ashford School on 6 December, 1966. The letter is filled with incredible detail which will invoke many memories in our alumna but at six pages, there is not room to publish it all here. So we hope you enjoy the excerpts below – you can find the whole transcript in the Archive section of the Community tab on the School website: www.ashfordschool.co.uk. The detail is so rich and the letter so wonderfully written – it’s well worth a read.
(Photograph by courtesy of the Kent Messenger)
December 6th, 1966: H.R.H. Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
Melanie Scarlett: Mrs Watson-Bore; I still quote her words of wisdom, "Ladies, never trust a man with thin lips", "Ladies, small men are always aggressive". Oh, and I love her for making me love reading.
NOSTALGIA CORNER The letter begins by setting the scene – a wet day in December 1966 – when the girls waited anxiously for the arrival of HRH Princess Margaret… Then again came the murmur “she’s here” and into the wet car park turned an enormous Rolls Royce with a flag at the bonnet! I hope that the Kindergarten expected their princess with a crown on her head but I am sure that the Senior School were thrilled to see a Princess with her modern white leather hat with ear flaps and gold studs. Out stepped the Lord Lieutenant, very splendid in his uniform and then the young Lady in Waiting, Lady Juliet Smith, and the detective was also there. Lord Cornwallis presented Lady Prudence and then Lady Prudence introduced Miss Nightingale and Miss Harland. She is a tiny Princess but not so tiny as I expected and has the most lovely large eyes. She wore a light coat, rather flared from the waist and the coat had a fur collar, V shaped to the waist. Then Miss Churchill took the Lord Lieutenant, the High Sheriff, who was also in uniform and had spurs and a sword, the Chairman of Ashford Council with his chain, and Mrs Joynson and Mrs Ford down to school and the rest of us went on our short tour of the Preparatory Department. After a tour of the preparatory school and a chance to meet the children, the Princess was taken to lunch… I doubt whether again your aunt will sit down to luncheon with a Princess, the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff of the County, a Dean and a Sir just with herself, Miss Nightingale and Miss Churchill. Oh yes and a Lady, I forgot Lady Prudence. We had a wonderful lunch, Prawn Cocktail, Chicken Supreme with Brussel Sprouts, Cheese and Biscuits. A bit of a cheat that we had borrowed our silver from Lady Prudence so that it did all look so nice, Mr and Mrs Hagger lent us china too. The flowers in the Dining Room were charming, I have one of the flat, oblong, centre pieces in my office – it is only a painted bun tin for container – but the flowers are pink carnations, with freesias and heather. On the mantle piece was a Christmassy piece with white painted evergreen and green baubles. Mrs Hagger, Auntie Betty and Ann Sudlow had done all the flower arrangements which were superb everywhere and so different in different parts. The tables in the Dining Room were in a square and the lunch went off very well. After the Dean had said Grace there was a terrific amount of conversation for only about 32 grown-ups, perhaps if I had been on duty with the girls I should have slapped my hands, but it did show how everyone felt very happy and easy. Miss Nightingale sat opposite to me and in between us was the High Sheriff. Although this meant I had my back to the Dining Room I also sat with a very good view of the Princess. She talked hard to the Dean for the first part and then to Sir Kenneth who was on the other side of her. At first I was rather surprised at this but it really works out much better than trying to spread yourself over both your neighbours. We all enjoyed the lunch, you may look at the menu and think we had forgotten the sweet but the Princess
had suggested this when we sent her the Menu as she felt the day was a busy one and four courses would take too much time, very sensible I consider. Before the grand opening, the Princess had something else to ‘unveil’… On the Brabourne door steps were the workmen and out we stepped. Lady Prudence introduced Mr Harrison and Mr Epps and then Princess Margaret was invited to unveil the plaque outside the door which records her visit to Ashford School. This was covered by a blue velvet curtain and it pulled back so smoothly so yet another plan gone well. All my little notices that I had remembered to cover with cellophane were standing up bravely and had not smudged and there was the grass and the rose beds which very shortly before had been a sea of mud. The door flung open and I wish that the Princess could have seen Penny, from Bahrain, and Kathryn, from Nigeria, who had spent hours practising this since they had been chosen about two days before
Kirsa Harriet Lommerud-Olsen: There wasn't a bad teacher at Ashford, frankly. Mr Cressey, Mrs Riddell and Miss Mearlam were the best.
NOSTALGIA CORNER when we found out it would not work for the School Captains to do it and then be presented. Then there was Ann Miles from Tanzania and Bridget Miller who has three sisters in the school with their bouquet and a curtsey and the speeches that they had been practising when Auntie Joan had been the Princess – Ann was a bit fussed that she had broken a tooth so she presented the bouquet and Bridget made the speech. Then stood our two School Captains, Valerie Snaith from Manila and Ann Smith, one of three sisters to be at Ashford. The Princess said ‘are you sisters?’ and although I have not noticed it before she was very right! They did us rather proud I must say and I had to get Lord Cornwallis back into the queue as he enjoyed his chat with them. Then Mr Chittenden, Mr Willis and Mr Atkins for their word – then the other men – then Mrs Bennett who is still working for us as do her daughters and granddaughters and our other friends who have been doing so much to see that the school looked so clean that we hardly dare breathe. Down the lovely wide corridor with its windows on one side, very warm and cheery. Down the ramp and a little sigh of relief from Auntie Joan and Mr Epps and Mr Harrison that the rubber matting had arrived in time for this ramp has proved too steep and a lovely sliding place for Ashford School… And then the great event itself, described in every detail… Then into the Hall – very, very quiet and a mass of faces. Miss Brake’s portrait with the light above it looking down on us all. On to the platform where everyone seemed to be sitting in their right places and there we are for the National Anthem. The first part unaccompanied by a choir back stage and then all of us for the rest. Then a chance to look around. On the tiered seats at the back about 240 of the Senior School with a row of Prep School in front in their
red jerseys, the whole lot looking just too good to last! Right in the front again three rows of girls so that the Princess could see them. In between – the block to the left the Pink tickets – Friends in the Town and others – to the right the Blue tickets – parents lucky in the ballot. Then in the centre a nice neat row of 14 took the wives and husbands, then 2 pink rows and the rest blue. A little sigh of relief from Auntie Joan as the seats looked full so all must be going well. In the vestibule were the girls in the Senior School who were later to pop up in the Demonstration Lessons. On the Stage – the Princess sitting in the middle in the Headley Chair. In front of her the wonderful matching table Lady Prudence has given us. On this the reading desk, with the crest in front – a present from the Architect. There it all was – the Chinese Lantern lights that we had chosen in London. The check curtains from Peter Jones, the pretty clock that Miss Salmon had given us. The grand piano with Linda at it. On the stage were the Members of Council, most of the Staff and the Architect’s Party. Dr Molly Duckworth in her scarlet PhD – everyone in position in fact. Lady Prudence made an excellent speech but that you will hear about later. I am not a great feminist but I must say I do record that the speech making was all by the ladies and they sure did their stuff. Lady Prudence as Chairman, then the Princess and then Miss Nightingale. I nearly had to pinch myself to be sure that so much was coming true after the months of preparation but here we were. The eventful day finished with a tour of the Senior School and tea with the prefects… So many people to see and all very appreciative, it all went so quickly but that is the day when a Princess came to Ashford School. Much love,
Brake Hall in October 2013 when the School took delivery of our new Steinway pianos
Caroline Beatty: Mrs Harrison head of music department in the 1970s and Mr Bebby music teacher – inspired my love of music especially the piano. I am now playing bass guitar!
ALUMNI NEWS In Memoriam some of her work. Alastair and Jean enjoyed some retirement years living beside the River Nidd in Knaresborough.
Sally Brampton (1974) We were saddened to hear of the passing of former Ashford School pupil and the woman who launched the British edition of Elle magazine, Sally Brampton, who died in May, aged 60. The Guardian newspaper said she “created a new way of writing about fashion shows that put designers’ ideas in sociohistorical context instead of merely reporting on novelty.”
Jean was the enthusiast behind 1957 Gatherings, always giving her full backing and support and lively participation. Jean died in September 2016. Jenny Walker (Godden) (1957 Chaucer Merchants)
The obituary went on: “Sally will be remembered as the editor who transformed the women’s magazine market and trained a generation of confident, accomplished female journalists. She should also be remembered as the woman whose ferocious honesty about depression saved lives.”
Jenny and her two brothers were pupils at the Junior School in the 1940s and ‘50s, travelling on the bus from Hamstreet with Janet and Margaret Maylam. In 1950 Jenny transferred to the Senior School where she eventually became Chaucer Merchants House Captain, ably leading her House under the guidance of Miss Bryant-Salmon.
Ashford School Head, Mike Buchanan, paid tribute. He said: “I was saddened to hear the news of the death of Sally Brampton. I did not know her personally but am grateful to her for being open about her struggle with depression and hence raising the profile of the importance of good mental health. It is a topic of importance in schools in general and one that deserves high profile.”
Jenny won a place at University College London from where she graduated with a degree in Combined Sciences (physics, biology and chemistry) which gave her a job in Fulham Hospital. It was there that she met and later married Arthur Walker who became the Director of Pathology at The Royal Surrey Hospital in Guildford. Jenny and Arthur had two sons, Andrew and Ben.
Sally was born in Brunei and boarded at Ashford School before studying at St Martin’s School of Art. She was snapped up by Vogue as a winner of its talent competition in 1978 and moved to the Observer in 1981.
Following Arthur’s death in 2004 Jenny started to make a remarkable life on her own; she was instrumental in many charitable organisations including visiting and supporting a less fortunate family in the area which she really enjoyed. She also took up Barber Shop singing and joined various choirs becoming a skilled and knowledgeable participant. She was keen to go to other countries, notably Israel, and she was strong in her views concerning troubled regions of the world. Jenny was incessantly lively, virtually always laughing, and was a muchloved member of the 1957 gatherings. Jenny died in June 2016.
After four years as editor of Elle magazine, she left to become a full-time novelist. She published Good Grief and Love, Always – but she will also be remembered for her work on mental health, as a sufferer of depression herself. Her 2008 book, Shoot the Damn Dog, is regarded as an important work on the subject. She also worked as agony aunt for The Sunday Times Style magazine from 2006.
Lloyda Swatland (1943) Lloyda passed away peacefully on Thursday 22 September, just 11 days before her 90th birthday. Lloyda and her three sisters (Nora, Judith and Angela) were all at Ashford in the 1930s and ‘40s. Lloyda left in 1943 having been one of the pupils, along with her sisters, who were evacuated to Countess Wear.
Jean Binnie (Parry) (1957 Brooke Place) Jean and her sister, Mary, joined Ashford School in 1946 as boarders as their parents were working in India. Jean is remembered for her creative mind, regaling the other boarders with her inventive stories after lights out. In 1950 Jean joined her sister in Brooke Place and in 1957 she was the House Captain helping Miss Holroyd to look after the House.
Jenny Bain (1960s Brooke) Jenny passed away recently aged only 62. Jenny is often remembered for being one of the more entertaining members of the class, just through being herself. Her brother, the Rev Roly Bain, also died recently – you can watch his ‘talk-come-clowning’ on You Tube.
Jean went on to train as a nurse at The Middlesex Hospital and a few years later she met her doctor husband, Alistair, who was a GP in Yorkshire. Together they had four children, Sarah, Briony, Fiona and Joss. Jean had a second career as a writer even progressing to the standard of having the BBC produce
Alison Bland: I loved all my teachers but especially Miss Felicity Amor – great house tutor and head of drama. Also, Mrs Spalding and Mrs Wendy Wordsworth – the best human biology teacher ever.
ALUMNI NEWS In Memoriam Music teacher Eileen Harfield
Joan Partridge (Ashenden) (Bridge House)
People will be sorry to hear that Eileen Harfield sadly died this summer in Hampshire where she had been living near to her sister.
Joan died on 25 October 2015. She had been a pupil and a matron of Bridge House for many years. After leaving Ashford School, she spent some years looking after her mother and supporting Dr Barnardo’s as a volunteer before marrying William Partridge and settling in Eastbourne. On William’s death, Joan returned to live in Canterbury.
At Ashford she taught singing in the Junior School; ‘cello, piano and academic music in the Senior School for 38 years. She and Margaret Young, with their various cats, shared a much loved cottage and garden in Mersham and Eileen played the organ (mainly at Hinxhill Church having previously played at Benenden when she and Margaret taught at Lillesden). Unknown to most of us Eileen was a competent and keen photographer, particularly of flowers, which she loved. Eileen was a quiet, very capable and reliable teacher whose skills benefitted many people. She will be greatly missed. Joan Wall (Mighell) (1947 Brooke Place) We were sorry to hear of the death of Joan Mary Wall in February 2016. Born in 1929, Joan was at Ashford School during its evacuation to Countess Weir. She excelled at sport and wanted to become a PE teacher. She went on to become a runner-up at the Kent Junior Tennis Tournament and played at Junior Wimbledon. PE teaching having been vetoed by her father, Joan went on to secretarial college and worked at the Conservative central office for Sir Stephen Piersenne.
French teacher Thelma Halcrow Thelma was Head of French, Head of Alfred House and a charismatic teacher at Ashford School between 1961 and 1966. Upon leaving Ashford School, Thelma returned to New Zealand and taught both French and Philosophy at Waicato University. Unfortunately she discovered while still very young that she had chronic arthritis and returned to England where she taught at Moira House in Eastbourne until her disability forced her to retire. Caryl Swatland (Tuffrey) (1954) Sadly Caryl Swatland passed away on 29 September 2016 after a short but aggressive illness. Caryl joined Ashford School from North London Collegiate School as one of the few day girls (“day bugs” as they were called then) in the early ‘50s, when her father was relocated from London to Ashford. Her daughter, Alexia Padgham (Swatland) (1987) followed, and her granddaughter, Francesca Padgham, is in Year 13.
Charlotte Wright: Mrs Metherell was fab. Mrs Bee made me laugh. My favourite, though she gave me short shrift, was Mrs Riddell.
We hope you have enjoyed this Magazine and will tell your schoolfriends about the ASA. Your School is thriving and you are welcome to visit us whenever you like, or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ashfordschoolassociation Please consider supporting the School Foundationâ€™s fundraising aims for Assisted Places so that children can continue to enjoy an Ashford education, irrespective of family means. Thank you.
East Hill, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PB T: 01233 625171 www.ashfordschool.co.uk
Dates for your Diary ASA London Drinks Party 6.30pm 7 February 2017 28 Keystone Crescent Kings Cross N1 9DT ASA Annual General Meeting 25 February 2017 The Octagons Brake Hall, Ashford School Ashfordian Sports Tournament 24 March 2017 Ashford School The Annual ASA Lunch 2 July 2017 Somerville Lawn, Ashford School