Page 1

CONNECT Friends of NGHS Magazine

Issue 1 2010

Cover story: An interview with Sarah Davenport (1999) Also in this issue: Tales from abroad University Challenge Our Head Girl teams... where are they now?

WELCOME Welcome to the first edition of the Friends of NGHS magazine, Connect. The Friends of NGHS brings together alumnae, former parents, former staff and other friends of the school who make up our diverse and exciting community. We are creating new ways to keep in touch; our Facebook group, ‘the Friends of NGHS’ is a great way to share pictures, catch up on news and keep up to date. The school website also includes a Friends page which has up to date news and information regarding our events. This edition is packed with news and insight into the varied lives of our members. Features include Tales from Abroad (page 14) in which we have tracked down members of our alumnae who are living in far flung places across the globe; our Head Girl teams... if have you ever wondered what happened to your Head Girl team, flick to page 26 to find out; University Challenge... our alumnae currently enjoying university life got in touch to let us know why their university is the best. Since taking up my post I have been truly overwhelmed by the appetite for involvement from our members. We have a proud community, working in many different roles, living unique and interesting lives, and this is highlighted in this edition of Connect. It has been heart warming and encouraging to see so many old friends come together at our reunions, and witness your support for school events such as the successful NGHS careers evening. Feedback from our members shows you would like a combination of year group specific alumnae events, as well as events which can include your family members. I am working hard to create an events calendar which ticks all your boxes and appreciate all the comments and suggestions I receive.



I am excited about the year ahead. We are hosting more alumnae reunions, and will be introducing new Friends events throughout 2010/11. Our aim is to build and develop this community, to provide you with avenues to keep in touch with old friends with whom you may have lost contact, and to keep you up to date with your old school, our developments and future plans. We rely on you to continue to encourage our current girls and provide strong examples of what can be achieved. I hope you enjoy this edition of Connect as much as I enjoyed putting it together. All the best for the remainder of 2010! Malvika Johal Alumnae Relations Manager and Friends of NGHS Co-ordinator

Keeping in touch There are many ways in which you can keep in touch with us...

Email It is always lovely to hear your news and updates, email m.johal@

Facebook Share pictures, stories, keep up to date with all events. Join our facebook group: Friends of NGHS.

Write us a letter Let’s not forget the lost art of handwriting; please write to Nottingham Girls High School, 9 Arboretum Street Nottingham NG1 4JB

Via phone It is, after all, ‘good to talk’. 0115 9417 663

Friends online Visit our website at for up to date news, our full events calendar and much more.

CONTENTS Friends of NGHS Magazine - Issue 1


Letter from the Head


My Money competition winner


Friends News


Jessica Meats Interview Jessica discusses her novel ‘Child of the Hive’


Tales from Abroad Wish you were here? We caught up with alumnae living abroad to see how their life differs from their time at sunny NGHS.


Our Head Girl Teams ... Where are they now?


University Challenge


An Interview with Sarah Davenport Cover Story: Sarah speaks to us about joining the family business, the pressures of working life and the joys of being your own boss.


40 Year Reunion, Class of 1969 NGHS played host to our 1969 leavers who returned to school 40 years after they left.


5 Year Reunion, Class of 2004


NGHS Careers Evening


Alumnae Netball Tournament


Class of 2009 Farewell Party We said goodbye of the class of 2009 and launched Friends of NGHS


Class of 2009 Christmas Reunion


Sue Penfold - Farewell Netball Match After 19 years Sue Penfold is hanging up her whistle and looking forward to enjoying her well deserved retirement.


Reviews We caught up with the Staff Book Club to find out which books were worth reading this year ...


News from Former Staff Find out what your former teachers are doing post NGHS





LETTER FROM THE HEAD Dear Friends of NGHS I am delighted to welcome you to “Connect�, the first Friends of NGHS magazine. I am so pleased with the wonderful response Malvika has had to her requests for news from our members. The new Friends of NGHS organisation encompasses former parents and friends within the wider community, along with alumnae and former staff, and we see this magazine as a great way to keep in touch. Many of you like to come to reunions and school events and it is good to see the ever increasing numbers attending as our network widens and as we are able to respond to your requests for different styles of events. We are also most fortunate that so many of you are willing to offer your expertise, experiences and time to our current students in a variety of different ways. We were delighted to welcome a significant number of our alumnae and other Friends as exhibitors at the careers fair earlier this year and they enthused and inspired the participants. It was really exciting to chat about the many and varied career paths followed by our alumnae; it is a real spur to the girls when they can see what can be achieved following an education at NGHS. We are always delighted to welcome former parents, students and staff back to school either to visit or attend school events, such as plays or concerts, and I do hope that you will always feel free to contact us should you want tickets or to participate. Information about these events is posted on our website ( which is worth a visit as we have recently launched a brand new version of which we are very proud. Our new playground area and pagoda behind A block and our Upnah playground in the Junior school have been made possible thanks to the generous contributions





made to the Annual Fund, and also thanks to the comitment of our hardworking PTA. Now in its fourth year, the Annual Fund allows us to purchase additional resources for the school and help us fund bursaries for girls who would otherwise be unable to benefit from the education we offer at NGHS. I am most grateful to all our members who have donated to the Annual Fund; thanks to your generosity we have been able to move ahead with certain projects which would otherwise have been impossible and yet which really do make a difference to the educational experience of our pupils. Some of our former pupils have also asked us about legacies and we are just about to launch a legacy campaign which some of you may be interested in, further details will be available via the school website. The school itself has undergone various developments in the past year, from the expansion of the Junior school to the creation of our

fabulous new Sixth Form centre; we constantly strive to provide the best working environment possible, so watch this space for future developments. I hope that you enjoy reading this magazine as much as I have done. Please do continue to keep in touch. With best wishes to all our Friends. Susan M Gorham Headmistress

MY MONEY COMPETITION WINNER Imogen Lee, My Money national competition winner! Congratulations to Imogen Lee, Year 10, who won the regional finals with her artwork entitled Money Matters. The competition aimed to engage pupils in personal finance education in a new, original and exciting way: by combining their knowledge of personal finance with their opinions on the value and importance of money. They then produced a piece of artwork to represent their knowledge and opinions. The competition was supported by specially created lesson plans, linking art and design with financial capability and economic understanding. As one of five regional winners, Imogen will receive an iPod Touch, ÂŁ1,000 cash for the school, a visit to the school from a local artist, ÂŁ50 art shop vouchers and a framed certificate. Regional winners will also get the opportunity to visit a grand exhibition of all their artwork, held during My Money Week (28 June - 4 July 2010).



FRIENDS’ NEWS Congratulations...! 28th May 2009. To Stephanie (Nilson, 1979-1984) and Roland Meins, a son, Daniel Nils, brother to Anna and Christopher.

In Memoriam We extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends of those named below who passed away this year. Joyce Rose (Nelson, 1934) 1914-2009 Joyce Savage (1941) 1923-2009 Betty Boyden (Campbell, 1945) 1927-2010 Mary Selby (Allen, 1949) 1931-2009 Margaret Riddle (Waldemayor, 1969) 1950-2000 Margaret was married with two children, now in their twenties, and she had started up a children’s day nursery, which is still in business and thriving. Peter Riddle Lesley Turner, (Cawley, 1962) 1944-2009 Many of you will have been saddened to hear of the death of Lesley just before her 65th birthday. Lesley was born and grew up in Hucknall, where her mother was a descendent of the major farming family of the area, the Wards. Lesley spent much of her youth in the family farmhouse and stabled a horse in her teenage years on what remained of the family acres. This background gave her a great love both of riding and of growing things. She spent much of her first marriage in North East Scotland, where she lived on a croft, kept donkeys and a cow and grew the most wonderful flowers.



When her marriage broke up, she moved with her son down to Bristol. Even there, she was in heaven in her large allotment and, having met her second husband, at their cottage in the Wye Valley.

She was born in Nottingham and grew up in the house at the corner of Arboretum Street; she attended NGHS starting in the preparatory department and continuing through the Junior and Senior Schools.

Like so many of our generation, Lesley had a variety of jobs. After leaving Leeds University, she taught for some years. Later, she worked in a theatre box office, in Adult Literacy and in the Careers Service. Her school acting experiences in the Dramatic Competition and especially as Brutus in a Sixth Form review, appearing bizarrely with Lady Macbeth and Hamlet in the same sketch, gave her a life-long love of the theatre.

The eldest of four children (Judy had three younger brothers), she had a fun-filled childhood, enjoying many holidays touring with the family. These experiences were to give Judy a love of travelling, visiting new places and meeting people from different backgrounds, which was to stay with her throughout her life.

For the last few years of her life, Lesley suffered the painful and difficult complications of diabetes, undergoing many operations and much pain and disability. She bore it all with an amazing lack of complaint and was always cheerful, interested in others and, as she had always been, great company. She was a prize-winning rider in Riding for the Disabled events, even when she had lost much of her sight and worked tirelessly for the charity, Chernobyl Children Life Line. Lesley had unusual warmth and charisma, a great sense of fun and a raunchy wit. Those of us who have known her for 54 years will feel that a part of ourselves has died with Lesley. The world will be a poorer place without her. She is survived by her husband, Stephen, and her son, Nicholas. Bren Abercrombie (Patterson) Di Steeds (Kettlewell) Judith Mason (Middleton, 1962) 1944-2009 It is with great sadness that I have to report that Judy passed peacefully away on 5 March 2009 at the age of 64 years.

On leaving school, Judy went to Alnwick in Northumberland, to train as a teacher. She returned to Nottingham after qualifying before taking up a post in Pangbourne, Berkshire. It was during this period that she had to watch Christopher, the eldest of her younger brothers, lose his battle with leukaemia. Judy left the UK to teach in Columbia, South America. From there she moved to Ethiopia. On leaving Addis Ababa Judy taught for a while in Spain. Later she travelled to the Sudan and it was there that she met her husband, Peter, in 1981. She accompanied Peter to Riyadh where she taught at the English school. On returning to the UK, Judy taught in Windsor and her final teaching post was just north of Banbury in Oxfordshire. She then left teaching to work with Peter in his business. Earlier this decade Judy and Peter retired. They moved to Weymouth, Dorset, where they had a lovely flat in addition to a property in France that they had restored, and where they spent much of their time. Judy had a great sense of humour and was always full of fun - a delightful person in every respect.

Sadly she did not live to enjoy her retirement as she was diagnosed with a rare type of tumour. The last few years held many problems for Judy, but she bore her illness with immense courage and dignity sustained by her faith. She will be greatly missed. Judy is survived by her husband, Peter, and her son, Matthew. Eleanor Lockwood (Weedle)

News & Reunions Amy Wanless (1997) is out in Uganda at the moment with the organisation Calm Africa; she will be there for three months helping out with whatever is required. Tessa Pyke (Watkinson, 1962) has been busy organising reunions for her year group. She writes... Our first reunion was in 1982 when we met for lunch at the Arboretum Hotel. Afterwards, we joined the annual OGA tea in the old hall at the school. In 1987 we met again at the Arboretum Hotel and in 1992 we held the reunion at the home of one of our year who lives in Nottingham. We had an extra reunion at the school in 1994, arranged by Anne Wilson, to celebrate our 50th birthdays! We went back to the Arboretum Hotel in 1997 and 14 of us attended the 125 year celebration at the school on 16 September 2000. In 2002 we held our reunion in the new Atrium at the school and we did so again in 2007.

Former OGA Committee Reunion The former Old Girls’ Association committee met up for a chin wag and a delicious meal without the stress of organising budgets and events. Having been used to regular meetings, for the old girls association, the group of old friends needed no excuse to get together for a catch up. Pictured, from the left, Sarah White (Dunn, 1989), Maggi Dunn (Pilkington, 1968), Jenny Chambers (Newton, 1960), Lynne Morgan (Hoskins, 1973) and Charlotte Holwell (Leleux. 1984). Thanks go to the former OGA for a donation of £3,600 to the NGHS,which has gone towards funding the Senior School play area.

Out of 100 in our year I actually traced 90 odd but attendances have varied from 25 to 40+. Several people have never attended and many have attended all and, to my delight, two people who had never attended came to the last reunion in 2007. Our next reunion, 50 years after leaving school, will be in 2012!



40 YEAR REUNION, CLASS OF 1969 NGHS played host to our 1969 leavers who returned to the school 40 years after they left. 22 alumnae travelled from all across the country and from as far as the Netherlands to take the opportunity to meet with old friends. It was marvellous to see many old acquaintances catching up on old times, and reporting on current events, family updates and news. Many had not visited the school since leaving 40 years earlier but, unsurprisingly, the memories quickly came flooding back. It was also a chance for our alumnae to see the developments at the school since their time here, including the new Junior School, Sixth Form Centre, and classrooms. They continued celebrations into the evening as a local alumna hosted dinner.




Our 2004 leavers celebrated their five year reunion; a wonderful opportunity to catch up with old friends with whom they may have lost contact, and update each other on developments post NGHS. With so many of our young alumnae moving to London and other cities after university, there was much to catch up on. We pulled their video messages out of the archives, and amid whoops and laughter they were able to look back at their last day at NGHS.



NGHS CAREERS EVENING The evening of 15 October 2009 saw our Sports Hall transformed into a buzzing exhibition space as the NGHS Careers fair, “Here Come the Girls!�, began. Organised by the school, the evening was an overwhelming success, with 700 girls attending from Years 9 to 11 with their parents. The event was also open to girls of this age group from two other local schools, one within the state sector and one other independent. The evening was supported by a wide range of businesses and universities, and by alumnae and Friends who came to talk to current pupils about the different career prospects available to them. The feedback from our students was immensely positive; it was great for them to see fellow members of the NGHS community in vastly different careers, all helped there by the education they received at NGHS.



A huge thank you to those members who participated and helped to make the evening such a success: Emma Baylis (1992) - KPMG Antonia Birmingham (1990) Geldards Rebecca Cousin (1994) - Slaughter & May Sarah Davenport (1999) - Sarah Davenport Designs Helen Distel (1995) - The Language Company Jessica Meats (2004) - published author Rebecca Smith (1999) - Freeth Cartwright Jenny Farr - Childline It was great to see alumnae coming back and supporting the school; it shows the strong sense of community shared by our members and friends.

ALUMNAE NETBALL TOURNAMENT The annual alumnae versus Under 18s netball match, a long standing event in the alumnae calendar, took place on Sunday 13 September 2009, and as always it was a match to remember. The morning began with a few words from Sue Penfold from the PE department, who introduced the alumnae present; this was strange for those who left earlier in the summer: Sabea Morgan, Bex and Ruth Coxon, Kate Sedgewick, Michelle Turgoose and Sarah Smith. Other participants included Fiona Miles (1994), for whom the Fiona Miles Trophy for ability and contribution to senior school netball

is named, Katharine Flint (2006), Stef Hardy (2004), Kate Foster (2006), Frances Collingham (2007), Kate Clerkin (2003) and NiaCampbell Watson (2007). For the current Under 18 squad it was the first match of the season, so it was a great opportunity to see what they had to offer. The compulsory denial of abilities and expectation ensued; initial comments from the Alumnae squad of “I haven’t played in years”, “I can’t remember the last time I wore these trainers” and “it’s been over a year since I even touched a netball”, were counteracted by the Under 18 squad’s “we haven’t even played as

a team” and “I haven’t exercised all summer”. However, one blow of the whistle and the NGHS competitive spirit kicked in. With the Under 18s determined to show what they were made of, and the alumnae keen to

do and they returned with all guns blazing on to court. The Under 18s were in full flow, however, and began to pull away, with the score reaching 19-24, 22-33, 26-36.

show their experience, it was set to be an exciting match.

The alumnae were going to need to pull something fairly spectacular out of the hat, but with only enough time on the clock for one more throw off, Sue Penfold decided to spice things up with a “next goal wins” ruling. Team Alumnae took their chance and with a few swift, accurate passes Kate Foster stepped up to shoot, it was in the net and the alumnae had won the game!

The game was tight, with the score 12-19 to the Under 18s at half time. Team Alumnae had some work to

Many thanks go to Sue Penfold - the annual alumnae versus Under 18s netball match is a great opportunity for alumnae, parents of alumnae and current students to get together, revisit the school and keep in touch with staff.



CLASS OF 2009 FAREWELL PARTY We bade farewell to our class of 2009 with a farewell barbeque. The summer event included parents and the girls and was a wonderful opportunity for all to wish them well in their exams and for the future.



CLASS OF 2009 CHRISTMAS REUNION Our class of 2009 leavers returned to join staff for Christmas drinks. It was the perfect setting to fill each other on life at university, their gap year so far and future plans.




After 19 years Sue Penfold is hanging up her whistle and looking forward to enjoying her well deserved retirement. Having organised and coached the school netball teams for so many years, the farewell netball match was a fitting send off. Over 30 girls and their parents attended the tournament, ranging from the class of 1994 to the class of 2009. Having organised the Alumnae Netball match for many years Sue Penfold will be missed by all those she taught and we hope the baton will be passed along and alumnae can continue to enjoy these highly amusing and competitive tournaments.



JESSICA MEATS INTERVIEW 2004 alumna, Jessica Meats, has recently published her first novel, and talks to us about life post NGHS.

What did you do immediately after leaving NGHS? I went to the University of York to study maths and computer science. As well as doing my degree, I joined a lot of societies, including a creative writing group and a creative arts magazine. You have just published your first novel; how did this come about? I’ve liked writing all my life. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember and have attempted some novels before now. I started writing ‘Child of the Hive’ several years ago. The book went through several drafts and a lot of editing but then I sent it out last summer to a large number of publishers. One of them said yes.

The book is based around a secret organisation known as ‘the hive’; what was the inspiration behind the novel? I wasn’t inspired by anything in particular. I had an idea for a story around a boy in hiding from two secret organisations who were at odds, and the idea developed from there into a full plot, but it’s not based on any real organisation or situation. You have written short stories before; how did you come to write a full novel? I like novels better than short stories. My great love in writing is creating plots that contain multiple elements, interweaving threads and unexpected twists. It’s almost impossible to get all that into a short story and keep it short. Child of the Hive might be my first published novel, but it’s not the first novel I’ve written. I wrote my first attempt at a novel when I was twelve and it was about as good as a novel written by a twelve-year-old could be expected to be. Since then, I’ve written a few more attempts, each a substantial improvement on the last, until I wrote Child.

How do you go about getting a novel published? Once you’ve got the novel written, you need to get it to publishers. Some publishers only take work from people who have agents, others accept unsolicited manuscripts. I went through The Writer’s Handbook (The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook is another good one) and made a note of every publisher and agent that accepted unsolicited manuscripts of the right genre. Then I went online, checked their submission guidelines (most places ask for the first three chapters and a synopsis), figured out who was the person to address the submission to, and then I went to the Post Office with what felt like half a tonne of manuscript to send off. I got a lot of rejection letters back, but I also got two publishers saying they wanted to read the whole manuscript. Finally, what are your fondest memories of NGHS? My friends. I made a lot of good friends at school and I’m still in contact with some of them now.

For all those budding authors among our alumnae, do you have any top novel writing tips? Write, write, write, write, write. You can’t be a good writer without a lot of practice. Get feedback on your work. Then edit it. I spent more time editing Child and polishing up the text for submission than I did actually writing the novel. This stage is a lot less fun than writing the story, but just as necessary.




Wish you were here? We caught up with alumnae living abroad to see how their life differs from their time at sunny NGHS.

Nigella Snowie (Ryan, 1973) - Wisconson, USA I graduated from NGHS in 1973. I had been at the school since the age of five and so was more than ready for a change. That autumn I went to Leeds University to study Textile Design. Never being the best of students, it was a perfect course for me. I was able to study art and be creative, two things I love to this day. After graduating from Leeds I decided to do a gap year and travel and work in the States. I went with a childhood friend and we were nannies for neighbouring families in Wisconsin. We worked hard but were also able to visit many different areas. My family had 8 children, so I was kept fairly busy cooking and chauffeuring the kids around. They were a wonderful family and through them I met their nephew, Jim. We fell in love, something I was not planning on. At the end of the year I came back to England to look for a real job. I lived and worked in London for three years. First I worked at Simon Shirts and later at British Home Stores in their textile buying department. The jobs I had were great and London was a lot of fun but my heart was elsewhere. In 1979 Jim flew over and asked me to marry him. The following year we married and I moved to the States. We live in the town that I first lived in as a nanny, Janesville, Wisconsin. It is a town with a population of 60,000 and has the feel of a big small town. Everywhere you go, you run into people you know. We are lucky to be two hours from Chicago, a fantastic big city, with great theatre, arts, restaurants etc. We are also close to Madison and Milwaukee, both wonderful places. We live in the old part of town in a big, leaky, wood-sided Victorian house. The house was built in 1887, old by standards here. My husband has a huge family; he is also one of eight, so there is always a lot going on. I worked as an interior designer at a local

“We live in the town that I first lived in as a nanny: Janesville, Wisconsin. It is a town with a popoulation of 60,000 and has the feel of a big small town. Everywhere you go, you run into people you know.” furniture store when I first came over, but after our first child was born I decided to stay home. We have four children and parenting turned out to be the hardest, yet most rewarding job I have ever had. Now that our children are all grown and gone and my husband retired, my life is a lot quieter. We travel a lot and I am on the board of our local performing arts centre. I play a lot of tennis and teach English as a second language at our local Literacy Council. Every July 4th our whole extended family comes back to Janesville to celebrate. There are eight siblings and their spouses plus twenty six nieces and nephews. It takes a lot of organising, but it is very worthwhile.

volunteers teaching a monthly program about a different painting, artist and style each month. I have been lucky that I have always been able to go home at least once a year, which is enough to stop me getting homesick. I love England but this is definitely my home now. I became a US citizen, in part to counteract my husband’s vote, five years ago. I sometimes feel like a woman without a country as I get asked both sides of the Atlantic where I am from as I speak with a mixed up accent now. Really I am a woman with two countries and a truly blessed life.

One of my most proud and rewarding accomplishments was creating a comprehensive art appreciation course, now used by several local schools. I called it ‘See the Paintings’ and it involved parent




June Caldwell (1950) - South Africa The memories are already flooding through my head and I will have to stem the flow, maybe, and return to the daily routine of being a former NGHS student now living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!... Yes, Cape Town is highly acclaimed as an award winning tourist destination these days because of its attractions, natural and man-made, but here in the Western Cape we are also fortunate enough to have stunning beaches, vineyards, forests, and mountain regions all within easy reach. Upon leaving NGHS, I, along with two close friends from my school year, was fortunate to attend a top secretarial training school in London, where we even learned shorthand in French! After graduating in the spring of 1950 I decided to remain in London where my years were wonderfully happy and enjoyable. After a winter trip to Austria I became hooked on skiing, and was fortunate to get the job of resident representative for a British tour operator for the winter season. This opened up an avenue through which I was able to travel and get paid for work! I was fortunate to spend two summer seasons on the Italian Riviera, when the sea was not so polluted and the coast not so horribly built up as nowadays.

“Here in the Western Cape we are also fortunate enough to have stunning beaches, vineyards, forests, and mountain regions.” Marriage in 1963 took me to Africa, firstly Ghana in the West, known as the gold coast and, ominously, ‘the white man’s grave’! A look at the atlas will tell you why so named, it lies extremely close to the equator with desperately high temperatures, and soaring degrees of humidity. I found the teaming, vibrant markets and colourfully dressed locals fascinating; wonderful varieties of West African cooking were regularly




served. Corruption was rife and shortages in all directions increased. Weather wise on the positive side, the beaches were post card perfect, pristine white sand and lined with beautiful palm trees. I spent many a happy morning there, before the sun became too scorching. By 1965, many of the Europeans working there were leaving. Ghana, unlike East Africa, was not a good retirement option, politically unsteady, schooling a worry for the future, (there was a good International School but only up to the age of seven) and generally it was time to go. Several months were spent in Europe on leave and we enjoyed seeing family and friends who had never expressed a wish to visit West Africa whereas it’s a different matter here! It was a treat to experience artistic culture again in the shape of concerts, exhibitions etc, but my husband whose blood had run thin after so many years in the tropics, dreaded the winter and I equally was most unenthusiastic about the cramped lifestyle caused by the awful climate and was not impressed by having to use heaters in the so called ‘summers’! An exciting offer came our way, still in shipping, and it was to be Cape Town, always the most desirable posting. In a cold November 1965 I embarked (with small son now feeling an experienced traveller) at Southampton as an immigrant on a splendid Dutch passenger ship (connections, of course!) and arrived after a most enjoyable voyage on 5 December in South Africa where I have had permanent resident status ever since. Finally, what proved to be a key milestone in my life since leaving school came in 1977, when circumstances dictated that I had to return to work, at 46 - not appealing! But my mid-life crisis had to be faced so I brushed up secretarial skills at the local

Technikon, learning to use the electric typewriter for the first time. After interview I was appointed secretary to the Department of Romance Studies at UCT, being the Department of French Language and Literature, and also heading the Department of Italian Language and Literature. Thank you to NGHS for my grounding in Latin at higher level, the foundation, I always believe of, modern Romance tongues. UCT has surely one of the most beautiful locations on the southern slopes of Table Mountain and I still enjoy many social and sporting events there. South Africa, sitting at the bottom of an Africa, (so often described as a continent of conflict after European colonisation,) is well documented for its beauty, pursuit and enjoyment of sport, and outdoor living, but on the other hand also attracts much negative comment following the evil introduction of apartheid, with its brain washing and emotional scarring of forced removals and the pass system. But on the positive side, the ‘rainbow nation’ as it is now known with its many cultures and colours, is in its process of integration. We host the FIFA World Soccer Cup in the Cape Winter 2010, so you’ll be hearing more than enough about South Africa! It’s November now and the Jacaranda trees are looking glorious, spring leading into early summer and the temperature already in the late 20s and currently 31/32°. The climate really is marvellous but in the Cape particularly we can experience winter rains and gales to an alarming extent, but a glorious warm sunny day interspersed can soon make one forget.

Francis Lynd (1967) - Spain

“Life in Spain is tremendously different from Nottingham and as you can imagine, I have no desire to change.“ On leaving NGHS in 1967 at the age of 17, I was uncertain about the future and how to focus my career. A year at the People’s College taking a secretarial course gave me excellent qualifications in shorthand and typing skills. There I met Susie Ransley who was also in the same year at school and we have been friends ever since. After working in various secretarial positions, I could not envisage myself being a secretary for the rest of my working days. A timely invitation from some family friends to spend a summer in Spain caring for and teaching English to a Catalan family’s children, and a strong desire to travel, led me in the summer of 1970 to Barcelona, the first milestone in my life. After several mishaps I was fortunate enough to end up in Palamos on the Costa Brava where the Roura family spent each summer. I lived in with them, rather like a governess, talking to them in English, accompanying them to the beach, going on walks with the children and having my meals with them.

An important moment of my life came when the grandfather of the family, Sr. Roura, the owner of a large export company, employed me as his secretary. I enrolled at the University of Barcelona, where I studied a language course for foreigners, Estudios Hispánicos. After completing the 2-year course in one year, and through encouragement from the person who was later to become my husband (another turning point in my life), I took steps to validate my A levels in order to study Medicine at the Barcelona University where I was admitted, after sitting an entrance exam, in 1971. I obtained my MD in 1977 with a merit. This was followed by specialisation in Internal Medicine and, many years later, in Geriatrics (2003). I worked initially in the Intensive Care Unit of a large teaching hospital and also in a General Hospital for several years until it was converted into a Geriatric Hospital, due to major changes being made in the health system in Spain after the arrival of democracy. In 1976 I married Ramon Fontarnau, a research biologist who worked at the University of Barcelona as head of the Scanning Electron Microscopy department, and although he very sadly passed away in November 2007 we have two offspring, Robert (27) and Anna (25). 1992 was another milestone in my career. The first Catalan Congress of Palliative Care was held in Vic, the town where my husband was born, and I was curious to learn about this new field of medicine. I believe intuition led me there. I was captivated by the biological, psychological, social and spiritual facets of this field and from that time on, I have dedicated my time and energy to the care of the dying. In 1995 I set up and ran the Palliative Care Unit in our hospital, whilst the need to deepen my knowledge led me to continue my training by taking a Master’s degree

in Palliative Care in 2000. Over the last four years I have also directed courses and taught palliative medicine through on-line courses organised by the IL3 of the University of Barcelona, an area which I have also found enjoyable and enriching. Life in Spain is tremendously different from Nottingham and as you can imagine, I have no desire to change. We live in a house in a small village 18 km north of Barcelona with views of the sea to the south and the hills to the north. Initially I used to love the sunbathing and swimming, but as one becomes accustomed to the hot weather, one tends to walk in the shade, avoid the midday heat and (believe it or not) wish it would rain! Watering the garden is quite a job in the summer so logistics must be organised when holiday time comes in order not to lose all the flowers and plants through lack of water. I enjoy cooking, and the food is far more varied than in England. My cooking is invariably inspired by local recipes rather than monotonous meat, potatoes and two vegetables, with the exception of Christmas dinner. Here in Catalunya the people are more reserved than those from other parts of Spain but there is quite a large community of British people who have lived and worked here and finally decided to stay, as well as many mixed marriages. I myself have become so integrated into society here that my friends are nearly all Spanish. I attend dancing classes to keep fit and do lace making as a creative hobby. It is only of late that I have joined a group of British people to go on walks with and explore the countryside whilst at the same time getting back into touch with my roots. The Catalan lifestyle seems to suit us all very well.




Anne Crawford (Yates, 1958) - Canada better city than swinging London to start the journey? St. George’s Hospital at Hyde Park Corner was the perfect venue for a young lady with an adventurous spirit. The nursing training was a perfect leveller with long hours and strict codes of conduct - as starchy as the white aprons and as solid as the black shoes.

November 25th 1952 Dear Mrs Yates, I see from Anne’s time-table that she attends a Girl Guide meeting on Thursdays from 6.30-8.00pm. We are anxious to encourage out of school activities, but they should really take place at the weekend. Doctors who specialise in the health of children recommend that girls of Anne’s age should be in bed by 7.30 pm from Sunday to Thursday nights inclusive during term time. Do you think it would be possible for her to join a meeting at the weekend or could you make arrangements for her to leave the meeting at the right time? Yours sincerely, F.M. Milford I found the letter with my mother’s papers after her death. There was no reply for me to read but I did receive the Queen’s Guide Award in 1956 so I obviously managed with one late night a week! It would be unfair to blame the Girl Guides for my mediocre academic record or my lack of interest in A levels. I was a restless student longing to see the wider world beyond Arboretum Street and what




The plan was to become an airline hostess and see the world and it was with mixed feelings that I abandoned it to marry a medical student. For several years I worked for the Family Planning Association in Brixton with a retired missionary doctor and thanks to her connections the dream of travel was finally realised. We arrived at The Edinburgh Medical Missionary Society Hospital in Nazareth in the spring of 1968 with an eighteen month old daughter and another baby almost due. I look back with embarrassment at my naiveté and recall with great fondness the graciousness of the Christian Palestinians who staffed the hospital along with doctors and nurses from Europe and North America. They gave me the gift of sharing with their families and culture and so began a deeper journey which has come to fruition later in my life. My young son would tell people that he was born in Nazareth but didn’t get to meet Jesus! After a brief stay in London to sell our home and pack we embarked on the longer journey to Western Australia where our third child was born. By this time I had become a full time mother and any career thoughts were put on hold. Perth proved to be a wonderful city for beaches and friends and deadly for mosquitoes and extreme heat. Without air conditioning or modern window screens much needed sleep was given up in swatting the biting critters. Each day I watched the 3pm flight take off for London with

pangs of homesickness. It became clear that Australia was not for us and we decided to spend a year slowly making our way back to England. After a few months in Kalgoorlie - a dry desert town with a strangely beautiful landscape of brown earth and gum trees - we moved on to Hong Kong, which had its own problems in the gigantic blocks of apartments which had been built to relocate the Sampan population. Laundry and toilet facilities were stretched to three times the limit as families rented out space over and under their beds to eek out a living. We lived in a small apartment close halfway between the harbour and the Peak. Early morning would see the elderly doing Tai Chi in the local park whilst the working population crammed into trams. Late evening saw a profusion of shoppers in the markets buying live chickens, dried herbs and clothes amongst a myriad of wares. Next stop, the Seychelles; almost a deserted paradise, especially the small upscale beach hotel we were living in. We had two rooms and during the mornings one became a schoolroom as I taught the children the basics of the three Rs, using the Ladybird books. At lunchtime they insisted I leave the classroom first in order to become ‘Mummy’ in the adjoining room. I welcomed them home from school and heard what they had learnt from their teacher! We did this for three months and they actually learnt quite a lot considering their Mummy was a nurse. Afternoons were spent sleeping and then beachcombing for cowrie shells. Our last stop before returning to England almost became our last stop in life. We arrived in Uganda in the midst of the turmoil that marked the regime of Idi Amin. Our plans had been made earlier as my husband had agreed to cover

for one of the missionary doctors taking a vacation with his family in Rwanda - a safe place at that time. We were the only people to disembark from the plane, much to the consternation of the rest of the passengers. Now I know why! The drive from the airport was marked by checkpoints - for those leaving, not arriving. We felt very safe in the company of our medical missionary host and our reception at the Mengo Hospital was one of warmth and reassurance. Our bungalow was on the hospital compound and a stone’s throw away from our host and his family. Once the darkness fell we stayed indoors and listened to gunshots. Occasionally we would hear a commotion nearby and people running through the hospital compound. It was a relief always to see my husband arrive safely home after a night call. As things got progressively worse and once the vacationing family was back, it was decided that I should leave with our three small children. We finally managed to board a flight one humid night after having been stopped several times at the checkpoints we had seen earlier. It was a long evening of waiting on the tarmac as the flight was overbooked and the strangest moment of all to end up in one of the most luxurious hotels in Brussels on a Saturday night with three grubby kids in tow. I do remember standing in the lobby below a huge chandelier and watching elegantly dressed diners before being swept away to a room. We were definitely persona non grata. To start the day in the luscious groves of Uganda and end it in the bustling sophistication of Brussels is etched forever in my memory. We now fast-forward thirty five years which is the length of time I have lived in Canada. Half of my

present life! And all that time in the city of Burlington on the shores of Lake Ontario halfway between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Summers are hot and humid and winters are cold and snowy with autumn being the perfect time for weather and of course the beautiful leaves. Spring happens overnight most years. The heat switch gets flicked to cool and wardrobes change instantaneously. We are a people of long johns and anoraks or T shirts and shorts. We are either complaining about the heat or the cold. We nearly always look up to a clear blue sky whatever the season and to see Niagara Falls partly frozen is a wonder. I re-sat my nursing exams soon after our arrival and worked part time in my husband’s general practice. When my marriage ended I was out of a job and also ready for a change. I bought a secondhand dress shop and readjusted to life as a shop assistant. It was a lot of fun and I made a decent living surprising myself at my business acumen. Those maths classes with Miss Bickerdike were not lost on this pupil! Ten years running a shop is enough even if it’s fun; By this time I had remarried and reconnected with the Anglican Church and found it a joy to share in the worship with my new husband. We both enjoyed being involved in church activities and in supporting the nursing home Sunday service ministry as extra singers and page finders. I received the theological degree and became an ordained deacon in the church at the age of sixty four. Since then I have taken a two year course in spiritual direction, much of what I do is to listen with care to help people discern where God is in their lives.

My new journey as a widow is just beginning and I look forward to some quiet time for my own discernment. Fewer possessions and a smaller space work for me. I continue to be part of the liturgical team in our busy parish church and am presently preparing a sermon for Christmas Day. The Magi are hovering in my mind and especially the poem by TS Eliot. Being a pupil at Nottingham Girls’ High School in the 1950s was a privilege which I wasted. My mother left school at fourteen to earn money so that her brothers could attend the grammar school. Her gift to me was my education and my regret is that she died before I could catch up to her vision for her daughter. When asked about her financial sacrifice for the private schooling of a daughter who did not come to much at the time, she was fond of replying, “A good education is never wasted.” To which I add a loud Amen.

“Summers are hot and humid and winters are cold and snowy with autumn being the perfect time for weather and of course the beautiful leaves.”




Josephine Morse (1960) - Florida, USA Upon graduating from London University in 1963, I taught for one year in the East End of London, two years in Queen’s Gate, Kensington, and one year in Puerto Rico before joining the United Nations in New York in September 1967. Working for the United Nations General Assembly and meeting delegates from over 168 countries of the world was a thrilling experience. In 1981 I married Bradford Morse, a former US Congressman from Massachusetts and the senior American at the United Nations, who later became the Administrator (CEO) of the United Nations Development Programme. By this time, I had become the Chief of the Meetings Service at the United Nations and was responsible for organising the meetings of the UN General Assembly and Security Council. In addition, I travelled overseas to plan and organise UN meetings away from its New York Headquarters.

In 1983 our daughter was born and I soon learned how challenging it was to bring up a child, to organise meetings around the clock and to travel extensively outside of the United States. After my husband retired, we moved to Naples, Florida, where I definitely missed the challenges of living and working in NYC. I currently serve as director on several boards in Naples and try to find time to take my reading to the beach and photograph wildlife in the Florida Everglades. Travel is still a very important part of my life.

Lakanal in Paris and a trip to Rome with Misses Todd and Reddy also had a huge impact on my future and furthered my wanderlust. Being in the 1st XI teams for hockey and netball taught me leadership and team building, which served me well at the UN. Following NGHS I went on to pursue my dream, sparked at NGHS, of experiencing the world and its many cultures.

Looking back to my school days at NGHS, I was greatly influenced by several teachers including Miss Ferris (French), and Misses Kirkland and Tyler (Geography). I remember one homework assignment was to draw the rice planters wearing coolie hats in the paddy fields of Java. There began my over whelming desire to travel and see the world! Field trips to climb Snowdon, Lycée

Sarah Gorenstein (Saunders, 1989) - New York, USA I left NGHS in 1989 and went to Leeds University where I read Economic and Social History and graduated in 1992 with a BA. I secured a trainee chartered accountancy position with Coopers and Lybrand’s Nottingham office to start in 1994, so had a post university gap year which I spent six months working back in Nottingham and then six months backpacking around South East Asia and Australia, which was a fantastic experience and, remember, no email or cell phones back then! I spent nine months in accountancy, which I hated. Lured to London by the bright lights and big city I drifted into estate agency; my father was a chartered surveyor who had owned his own estate agency so bricks and




mortar were what I had grown up with. I worked in Central London with high net worth clients, buying and selling on their behalf. I spent a couple of years in the dotcom world in 2000-2002 during which I was Head of Lettings for a large online property site; when the bubble burst I went back to agency. By 2005 I was the assistant manager of the Paddington Basin office of a large, well known London-based estate agency. Meanwhile, on a weekend shopping trip to New York (which was definitely inspired by Sex and the City!) with a friend, I met a New Yorker. We spent two years dating “Transatlantic”-style, clocking up air miles and the phone bill. Sounds quite glamorous but it was

really quite difficult, although my wardrobe grew a lot during that time as the pound went a long, long way! In October 2005, at the age of 34, I gave up my career and my home and moved to New York to “test” out the relationship; six weeks later we became engaged and in June the following year we were married in a big, traditional Jewish wedding at the synagogue in Nottingham. Even as the spouse of a US citizen, you have to jump through a lot of hoops to obtain a Green Card. To cut a long story short I was not able to work legally in the US until November 2006 by which time I had obtained my New York real estate licence. Anyone who has read or seen The Devil Wears Prada would have a good idea of the type of

Astra Warren (Bancroft, 1952) - Australia I became part of the NGHS family in 1945, one of a group of six girls offered a privileged education under a post-war 11+ scholarship initiative.

as an au pair. Inspired by teachers who were sincerely dedicated to maximising the potential of each student, my sole ambition was to follow in their footsteps.

Coming from a background of small semi-rural schools, I was at first overwhelmed by the complexity of numbers (750 students), subjects, buildings and teachers. Under the wise leadership of Miss Merrifield, discipline was kindly but firm. There were teachers who opened “magic casements” for me: Misses Hillier (form teacher); Kennedy and Gornall (English); Temby (Geography); Ferris (French); though at one time I had the dubious honour of holding the unofficial record of detentions for Maths. (Later I became a successful tutor in this area - I could understand why the students had difficulties!)

“We came for sunshine, opportunity and freedom and have never been disappointed”

My mother was widowed shortly afterwards and money became a problem, but thanks to a generous bursary scheme, I was helped with uniform, books, and sent to France

Married in 1956, I moved to Liverpool and taught in slum schools, which added a totally different facet to my education. We came to Australia by ship in 1962, husband, small daughter and myself, part of the wave of “£10 poms” escaping England’s climate and an economic situation which appeared to stifle ambition and individuality. We came for sunshine, opportunity and freedom and have never been disappointed. I thought I would regret not being able to use my languages, but there are migrants from all corners of the world; later I added Italian and Spanish to help with the mix of students I taught. Initially we went to South Australia under a sponsored housing scheme, but we had been impressed by Perth when the ship had a stopover in Freemantle. When we came back to Western Australia, it was unheard of for a married woman to work; in fact, women teachers were compulsorily retired on marriage. However, fate had me in the right place at the right time. In an outlying area where teachers were thin on the ground, the local RC Boarding school needed a relief teacher. I went for three weeks and stayed for 17 years, becoming senior lay teacher and English coordinator; to their delight I knew how to teach grammar (thank you, NGHS). In those days there were no religious or social distinctions, as well as the Sisters, we had teachers from five different beliefs, working in total harmony.




Widowed in 1982, I retired from full-time teaching in ’94 into private tutoring. I have worked two years in an Aboriginal school, spent time governessing on outback stations, chaperoned a group to an international camp in Argentina, and travelled extensively, including a lot of camping round Australia, the only way to see this diverse and beautiful country. I took up ‘hobby’ writing, and have 200 credits in articles and short stories, with two published collections of work. At 75, I sold up in Perth and moved to Albany to be near my grandchildren. I am writing for and editing Volume 2 of local memories, and voluntary teaching a weekly language group (French for Fun, German for Geriatrics and Italian for Idiots!) So... what did NGHS teach me? The confidence of a sound education; never refuse a challenge, because “I can’t” does not exist; there is no limit, because women are by nature resourceful, resilient and reliable; and not least understanding and compassion. I hope I have in some measure passed on these values to some of the close to 2000 students I have encountered. Although the global village is closing in, here in this remote corner of a vast continent, there is still much of the free and easy-going lifestyle that brought us here so many years ago.

“Fate had me in the right place at the right time. In an outlying area where teachers were thin on the ground, the local RC Boarding school needed a relief teacher. I went for three weeks and stayed for 17 years”

Margaret Fraser (1966) - Pennsylvania, USA I’m sitting on my front porch in Pennsylvania sipping coffee and watching golden leaves fall gently. It’s good to stop and begin to relax. In the last week I have driven to Pittsburgh for a committee meeting, returning via an Ontario retreat centre for a workshop (1100 miles). I have flown twice to New Hampshire. I have spent a day in a meeting on health insurance and another day in the office excavating a couple of hundred emails and working on plans for a world conference of Friends that will take place in Kenya in three years. Next week I will spend several days at the Quaker United Nations Office in New York. QUNO is a small Quaker lobby with offices in New York and Geneva which works to get peacebuilding and other humanitarian issues onto the UN agenda. My work (and my ministry) is to connect members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in the Americas across the barriers of language, culture, economics and theology that can easily divide us. In this part of the world, Friends include (and are not limited to) indigenous Aymara people in Bolivia and Peru, Latinos in Central America, Cubans, Jamaicans, Canadians and citizens of the US, including Inupiaq people in Alaska, north of the Arctic Circle. My organisation is bilingual (English/ Spanish) but Friends have many more first languages. So how did I get into all this? When I was at school I was passionate about making the world a better place and served as Secretary of Mapperley Ward Labour Party while in Lower and Upper Sixth. In my twenties I twice stood for Parliament and later served a couple of terms

as shadow chair of the Planning committee for the District Council where I lived. I also imagined working internationally, but I thought supervising International Hospitality Management students on their internships and teaching on an MBA in European Business with partners in Germany and Spain was the extent of all that. In fact, it was after ten years in what was in many ways an ideal position - as a Senior Lecturer in Management at the University of Brighton - that I got a very clear sense that I should ask for unpaid leave of absence to nurture the spiritual roots that were at the core of my concern for social justice.

I had to close a door before another could open. Two weeks later, I was appointed Dean of Pendle Hill, a Quaker study centre near Philadelphia. All my administrative and teaching experience and my new theological education came together, and I knew quite clearly the power of radical trust in God. I served at Pendle Hill for seven years and in 2002 I began my present work. What began sixteen years ago as a year’s leave of absence turned into a new life of religious service, crossing cultures, building connections and promoting reconciliation. Margaret Fraser is Executive Secretary of The Friends World Committee for Consultation Section of the Americas.

I attended Earlham School of Religion (a Quaker theological college in Indiana) and gradually came to know that I was being called into some kind of full-time religious service. By this time I had my Master of Divinity, I had spent all my savings and was cutting lawns and waiting at tables to pay the bills.It was tempting to return to the security and familiarity of life in Brighton, but I also knew that if I did that I would be running away from my call, so I resigned my position and waited, trying each day to let faith overcome fear and anxiety. FEATURE -



OUR HEAD GIRL TEAMS... Marly Wheen (McNicoll, 1956)

America - in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil (with a couple of breaks in the UK and the States) and still miss the colour and vividness of life there not to mention the maids, drivers, gardeners and other luxuries! Our next move was to Singapore where we spent most of our leisure time at the Saddle Club, riding before 5am or after 5pm - too hot for horses in between times. In Latin America it was impossible, legally, for me to work (although I did teach English Literature (!) in a convent in Buenos Aires for a while). In Singapore, too, working was officially impossible, but I did unofficially work for Radio Singapore, writing book reviews and a crime series ‘From the Police Files’.

Like my life, my name has gone through many changes - from Margaret to Marlene to Marly and from McNicoll to Wheen (hence the change from Marlene!) I was Head Girl at NGHS from 1955 to 1956, read geography at Liverpool University and then did my Dip. Ed. at Oxford. I have only really used that geography for two years when I taught at the Manning School - the first year with my friend Daphne Pearson (who taught me at school as Daphne Ballisat ) and then as Acting Head of Department when Daphne left. I met my husband Peter at university and we married in 1962, leaving England two days later for Mexico. A total life change! What do you do with yourself in a strange country with a new husband, unable to speak the language and not allowed legally to work? Shed a few tears, learn the language, try to meet some people, have a baby! We spent eight years in Latin



From Singapore we decided to retire from the international business circuit and so came to New Zealand in 1979. We have been here ever since, although we have moved between North and South Island fairly regularly. We first bought a ten acre block outside Auckland where I learnt to raise sheep and bobby calves to sell at the local stock sales. A new lifestyle again, but this time no maids and no ex-patriot–style club living - instead space, a physically stunning country, a friendly people whose language we (largely) understood. Here I have had a couple of small businesses of my own - neither has anything to do with geography or my training. If asked what my greatest achievements in life have been, I would probably say, firstly, managing to stay married to Peter for 47 years and, secondly, having produced two splendid daughters. Lyndsae, born in Mexico, is now a consultant pathologist, working in Exeter, but promising to come home to New Zealand soon. Nicola, born on Staten Island, New York City, lives here in Dunedin, balancing life with her partner and two children


with her career as a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Otago. I do admit to having, at times, been frustrated at not having had what could be described as a ‘real’ career of my own, using my academic qualifications. But I think I have balanced that with having had the opportunity to try my hand at a variety of things denied many people brought up in the wilds of Scotland and the English Midlands. Peter and I are now at a more mature age (in our 70s) and have become a little lazy. We divide our time between our home in Dunedin and our home in Tarras in Central Otago - about three hours drive inland. In Dunedin we live on 40 acres (grazed by a more youthful farmer) overlooking the Otago Harbour in an historic home built in the very early days of New Zealand (1864) by an immigrant Scottish farmer. In Tarras we have built a modern home, which looks rather like a shed, to fit in with its site in the middle of a 600 acre paddock. There we are surrounded by mountains - so quite different from Dunedin. We do nothing with this land except gaze and watch the rabbits multiply. We consider New Zealand to be our home, although we retain dual nationality with Britain. We enjoy New Zealand’s space, lack of population and the lovely places we are lucky enough to live in. We miss the sky when we are away. We had to be pretty brave to leave ‘home’ when we married and to be willing to move so often to achieve our goals. Peter had a similar education to mine at NGHS and I think that type of education helped to provide us with the drive and the vision to see what we wanted and to ‘just go for it’ (as they say here in Enzed).

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Judith Atkinson (1958)

Amazement was my chief feeling when I was asked to become Deputy Head Girl in 1958. For five years I’d sat in the Hall in assembly and watched the starry Head Girl team take its place on the front row of the stage. It was difficult to take in that staff believed I was the right person to succeed one of them. When I discovered that the role of Deputy involved collating and counting the school’s weekly charity collection I was even more surprised. Surely everyone knew that I was innumerate! I did get used to walking onto the front row in assembly and even summoned up the courage to follow Ann as the second cheerleader at the end of Prize Giving in the Albert Hall. Was it my job to lead the cheers for the staff? I can’t remember now, but despite my nervousness the massed ranks of girls must have heard me as they all obediently cheered. The chief pleasure of the year was working with Ann Pearson and Jennifer Briggs, the other two in the Head Girl team, and with the prefects. I think we felt that we had been given real responsibilities and were trusted by the staff. And

it seemed a privilege to be called on to express opinions to teachers and to be able to talk to them as people rather than as distant and sometimes rather forbiddingseeming figures.

Now officially retired I’m still teaching English literature, but to adults, some of whom are in their eighties. I continue to enjoy the experience of teaching such keen, interested and questioning students.

Now, fifty years later, I see things from a different perspective. I feel grateful to the staff who saw potential in me that I was unaware of and I realise that the trust they showed in me by making me Deputy Head Girl formed the basis of the confidence I later developed in my own professional life.

Jenny Deeble (Richardson, 1964)

After A Levels I went on to do an English degree at Bristol University, inspired, as so many of us were, by the teaching of Miss Gornall. Although I fought against it, determined not to follow my own father into teaching, I became an English teacher, and loved it. For most of my career I chose to teach in comprehensive schools. I’d thoroughly enjoyed and valued my education at NGHS, but I’d never forgotten how passing the 11plus had separated me from friends and relatives. In the five schools I worked in I hope I was able to pass on the enthusiasm for writing and reading which NGHS had helped to foster, as well as the enjoyment of taking part in school productions. I think it was during my Deputy Head year that I’d appeared as a probably unconvincing-looking tramp in our form’s production of an Act from “Waiting for Godot” for the Drama Competition. I led English Departments in two schools and, rather reluctantly as I liked teaching rather than sitting in offices, spent a year as Deputy Head teacher. Through being involved in the National Association for the Teaching of English I developed the confidence to do a further degree, work with student teachers in training and collaborate in the writing of several books and articles.


I consider myself to be fortunate to have been born in 1946 at the beginning of the NHS and to have had the opportunity to attend NGHS on a scholarship under the Direct Grant System. My father died shortly before I left school but in 1964 no university tuition fees were payable and I was able to take up my place at the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine on a full grant which covered all my living costs. In 1967 I married a fellow medical student (and ex Nottingham High School boy) but the marriage did not survive our house officer jobs. Early in my career I decided to specialise in radiology and spent three years in Nottingham as a registrar. I moved to Stoke for a senior registrar post where I met and married a consultant haematologist and we moved to Carlisle where I lived for the next 28 years. We had three sons, but



the first died in a road accident (in Nottingham) in 1977 and my husband left me before our youngest was born in 1983. I spent many years raising my sons as a single parent and working parttime in a sub-consultant grade. Aged 50 I undertook specialised training in breast radiology and at the ripe old age of 53 achieved consultant status. I have also been a magistrate, a medical advisor to incapacity benefit appeals tribunals and an official prison visitor. I now work for Breast Test Wales in Swansea and live in the Gower peninsula in a house overlooking Caswell Bay. I swim and surf and walk on the beach every day, and have a pretty good work-life balance. I am now a grandmother and travel frequently to the north of England to see the family.

Cynthia Onions (Colton, 1971) Here I sit at the computer, looking out of the window at my daughter’s sheep, trying to remember what has happened to me over the past 38 years (is it really 38 years?) to get me to where I am now. It only seems like yesterday that I was Head Girl but now, not only am I an ‘old girl’ I am also an ‘old parent’ twice over. I don’t remember my mother giving me a lot of advice, there was the usual, don’t smoke, don’t drink and be careful driving, common to many teenagers I’m sure. The unique bit was ‘whatever you do don’t marry a farmer’. The rest, as they say, is history. Of course I married a farmer, the same farmer who met me from school after Friday night netball practice, the same farmer who was influential in my choice of university and the same farmer I am still married to!



I studied maths, physics and chemistry A level and thanks to some enlightened careers advice from Mrs Bristow, chose to study chemical engineering at Loughborough University. Why Loughborough? Well, I had no intention of moving far from husband to be, so my UCAS list was Sheffield (twice), Birmingham, Nottingham, Loughborough and Surrey (just to throw anyone who may have noticed a trend, off the scent). So I went from an all girls’ school where studying science was the norm to a practically all male university where I was the only girl in my year. The first term was a struggle and I very nearly packed it in. I was not used to the boys’ bravado and ways of working and convinced myself I understood nothing whereas they understood everything. End of term exams disproved that theory and gave me the confidence to continue. I left Loughborough as a married woman with a First Class Honours degree and as top student in my year. Within four years of leaving school I had a husband, degree, job and farm (in that order), life was moving on at a pace. I was still working in an all male environment as a research & development engineer for Blue Circle cement and had a great time. Then daughter number one (Caroline) arrived with number two (Vicki) a couple of years later. Swift returns to work were not the norm in the 70s and I was in no great hurry to do so. David and I were building up our farming business and I enjoyed being a full time mother and farmer’s wife. By the time I was ready to return to work, my engineering skills were very rusty and so my career took on a new direction. I picked up a number of part time jobs that fitted in with the way I wanted to live my life (long before the work–life balance concept). For a while I worked at Loughborough University


on a project to encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career (still not a lot of progress made on that one 30 years on) and then branched out into Further Education teaching. I taught science to printing students who would much sooner be doing practical work on a printing press, maths to some students who wanted to learn and some who didn’t and engineering to people employed in the sugar industry. Then I saw an article about a scheme being set up to train women in ‘non traditional’ skills. I went to talk to them about their plans and ended up as the electronics instructor and maths teacher for those developing skills in the building trade. The women trainees were so motivated, having missed out at school they were keen to learn, take control of their lives and provide a better future for themselves and their children. I learnt so much working there and it made me appreciate what an excellent education I had received at NGHS and how fortunate I had been. Just about every career move I have ever made has not been planned, I just took opportunities as they arose. I had to, I was not free to take up jobs anywhere in the country as my husband could hardly

move his job; farms aren’t very portable! The next step was a move into economic development. I saw a job advertised, liked the look of it, but it was full time and I didn’t want to work full time so a colleague at the training scheme and I submitted a joint application. We were ahead of our time – job share was a way off being the norm. The employer said they would interview us as a package and if we were the best ‘applicant’ we would get the job, which we did. I felt I had the best of all worlds; an interesting job, a great job share partner, time for my family and time for the farm. By this time both daughters were at NGHS and the day started with a trip over Clifton Bridge to get to school and then on to work over Trent Bridge; I felt I could do the morning traffic report by the time I finally made it to work. From there it was a more obvious step into the newly formed Regional Development Agency. I was recruited as a skills development manager, promoted to a team manager for a team with responsibility for Lincolnshire and then became Head of Enterprise Development, Head of Urban & Development, Head of Rural Development and now Head of Employment Learning & Skills. It has been a fascinating nine years and I have learned so much, met some very interesting people (and some boring ones!) and have an absolutely brilliant team. The public sector speaks a completely different language and I can talk in acronyms and abbreviations with the best of them – NINJ, BIS, LSC, SFA, YPLA, DCSF (no it’s not the department of cushions and soft furnishings) are favourites. As for the future who knows? I have never known what would crop up next in my life let alone my career. The general election will undoubtedly affect me – I do after all work for a quango and one that

is usually towards the top of the list of those heading for the bonfire. NGHS gave me the confidence to achieve, and family and farm have always provided balance to my working life. I have Caroline’s wedding to look forward to next spring and the farm/weather/ government intervention will continue to put work into perspective. In the meantime I can still look out of the window to see Vicki’s sheep, and if she has her way a couple of llamas could soon be joining them. So Head Girl to head of team with ups and downs along the way. Would I live my life like this again if I had the chance? Too true I would.

Sally Seed (Rand, 1981) I went from NGHS to Newnham College, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences, a complete shock to the system as, on a corridor of 20 or so first years in Newnham, every one of us had been Head Girl of our school and most of them had more A levels than me! I graduated in Natural Sciences with a specialism in Chemistry and spent one year working for Wellcome Pharmaceuticals in Kent as a Medical Chemist. I rapidly realised that the ceiling for non-PhD was very low and took the opportunity to move to Bedford, working in Cambridge as a Science Publicity Controller at Cambridge University Press. I enjoyed the combination of writing and science at CUP and met some fascinating people/authors including a lifetime highlight of having a face-to-face meeting with Stephen Hawking about the publicity for a conference proceedings that he was editing. My son (now ten) is impressed that his Mum has met someone who has not only featured in Horrible Science but also on The Simpsons!


I got married in 1986 and moved to Manchester three years later to take on the Publicity Manager role with Manchester University Press. I enjoyed being nearer the Lake District and Peaks as they offer plenty of walking. I also started to use alternate years’ holidays to trek in remote regions such as Karakoram of Pakistan, Peru, Tatras of Poland and, on a return trip after NGHS 1981 expedition, Iceland. I still enjoy travel and we’re planning a family holiday to Iceland in 2010. In 1990 I made a career shift into corporate communications with Ciba-Geigy (as it was then). I stayed with the company in various roles (and company names) for over 14 years, ending up as Regional Communicator for Northern Europe with experience in mergers, acquisitions and other deals plus emergency planning and (very) occasional crisis communications, after which I worked in Switzerland for 9 months (1995/1996.) My son, David, was born in 1999, and I returned to Ciba, but only on a part time basis. Two days before my 40th birthday, my husband (Vic) was offered a teaching job in Cumbria so



we decided on a life change. Since January 2004, we’ve lived in a small village in Cumbria and I’ve established my own communications and PR business, still a couple of scientific connections but also lots of rural businesses and organisations. See for details and (out of date) examples of work! I am a good example (I think) of how science A levels can evolve into all sorts of career paths and how a dream of retiring to the Lake District and spending time walking and enjoying a border collie can become a reality about 20 years sooner than expected.

Deborah Coen (Lamb, 1984) Having enjoyed seven wonderful years at NGHS, I left in 1984 to study law at St John’s College, Cambridge, graduating in 1987. After Law Society Finals in Guildford I took the now popular gap year (having first secured my training contract) and travelled to Sydney to work as a paralegal with law firm Allen Allen & Hemsley. In those days paralegals were paid by the hour and it didn’t take long, by offering to work weekends and long days, to amass enough money to enable me to travel around Australia and then on through Asia and ultimately to Hong Kong where I again worked as a paralegal for Johnson Stokes & Master.

litigation. In my working life I made two more moves, firstly to Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (now RPC) in 1994 and then in 2002 to Liberty Mutual, becoming one of four in-house legal counsel, handling international professional indemnity claims.

Sarah Smith (Neal, 1987)

Interspersed with advancing my career, I have married the man who caught my eye in my first term at Cambridge (!) and had our three children - Daniel (11), Zara (8) and Theo (3). I haven’t practised since my last child was born in 2006 but I have just started to plan my return to work once Theo is at full time school next September.

When I left NGHS I went to Birmingham University for five years to study medicine. It was a bit of a shock after NGHS but it turned out to be great fun. I then lived in various parts of the Midlands did a six month posting in Australia with two friends and then travelled back.

I can’t let the opportunity pass whilst writing this piece to reiterate what a wonderful time I had at NGHS and express my thanks for the incredible stability and foundation it provided to move on to the wider world. And in this current climate, as the debate rages about girls and women “having it all”, I would say that having a career which has enabled me to take breaks to raise my family has been invaluable and I fully intend to deploy the professional skills I have acquired to re-launch that career but in a way that is compatible with my home and family responsibilities. Ask me in a few years’ time if I’ve been successful!

Eventually the travelling came to an end and I embarked on my training contract to qualify as a solicitor with a newly formed commercial firm, SJ Berwin & Co. I am still indebted to the partners there for showing me what hard work was really all about. Upon qualifying in 1991 I moved to specialist insurance and shipping firm Clyde & Co, and at that point my career began to narrow as a specialist in Lloyd’s insurance work and professional indemnity




I am now a part-time GP in a small market town in Norfolk. I am married to Richard and we have two daughters, Madeleine (six) & Katharine (three).

I would like to add that my time at NGHS was one of my happiest times and I have fabulous memories of school and also some of my best friends are my old NGHS girlfriends. I am hoping that one day my girls may go to Norwich High School for Girls GDST as I think it is such a great starting place for girls.

Indhu Rubasingham (1988)

A highlight was when I was directing at the National, Mr Wilkinson, a teacher from the Boy’s High School was down on a school trip and I invited him and his students into my rehearsal room. It was a lovely moment as he had led the joint Drama Club when I was at school and had always been incredibly supportive and kind to me.

Paula Banbury (Wells, 1990)

After school I did a drama degree at Hull University and discovered a love of directing. I subsequently moved down to London to see if I could give it a go. I have worked in many theatres around the country including the National Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. I am currently directing a show at the Tricycle Theatre. Next year I will be doing plays at The Royal Court Theatre, The Almeida Theatre and another secret project to do with women and politics (thought this would be apt for the school!). The Great Game: Afghanistan, which I codirected this year, is returning to London and then touring the States. I love what I do and have so far had some amazing opportunities and experiences.

When I left NGHS in 1990, I went to the University of Birmingham for four years and gained a BSc (Hons) in Nursing, after which I took the opportunity to travel and work in Australia. I obtained a post at the Royal Flying Doctor base in Mount Isa, Queensland. It was a predominantly Aboriginal community; I worked in the hospital for six weeks then travelled afterwards, meeting up with some friends from NGHS along the way! I returned to Nottingham and started work at the City Hospital and was talked into doing an MSc in health policy and organisation at the University of Nottingham. It was a challenge but the confidence I had gained at NGHS gave me the determination to succeed and I completed it in 1997.

In 1999 I married Max, and Hannah was born the following year. An opportunity then arose at work to specialise in Pain Management and I now work as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner for Nottingham University Hospitals. Joseph was born in 2004 so I am kept busy with various activities and am a governor of Joseph’s school. I keep in touch with friends from NGHS who live locally and we meet up four times a year for a natter and food.

Sarah Johnson (1992) After A levels, I went to Newcastle University to read linguistics and graduated in 1995. Straight after I decided I wanted to work in Spain and so did a CTEFLA qualification at International House - one of the first Teaching English courses created. I specialised in teaching adults and, having been told it would be impossible to find work in Spain, I decided to pack my bags and buy a one-way ticket to Madrid. After three days in the city I landed a job teaching business English to adults, with Linguarama. This was my first job in a career spanning almost 10 years with them. I moved from being a teacher, to planner and seminar specialist trainer in negotiating and presentation techniques, always to non-native English speakers. After four years in Madrid I transferred back to London with them and spent a year in sales, selling what I had been teaching. In 2000 I took the job of Director of Studies in their Turin offices in Italy where I was responsible for a team of both English and other language teachers, not only continuing with the teaching but also training teachers and writing extensive course programmes. I was there for around 3 years but then I had the possibility to move to Paris for three months, I did a spot

I look very fondly back at my time at school because many of the seeds of encouragement were planted then. The school trips to Stratford upon Avon, my work experience at Nottingham Playhouse when I was sixteen, the school plays and joint drama club (joint with the boys high) and various teachers who gave me confidence and encouragement.




the country!) - specialising in selling techniques and autoguidance/ precision farming products (Tom Tom for tractors in simple speak). After 18 months in training, my department was relocating back to Italy. I was tempted to go back to Italy but was also presented with an opportunity to work in a local market. I chose the latter, Communications Manager for the UK and ROI market for New Holland Agriculture (part of CNH) from January 2008. of freelancing with LinguaramaParis before coming back to Turin and taking on business development for them in Central and Eastern Italy. A venture that I have to say was only successful in the fact that I proved it to be an unviable option for them! After 9 years with them, I left - with a good deal of sadness - to take on a more challenging role in an Italian company. This involved more course planning and organisation but for both vocational training colleges and kids! I have to say teaching kids was so much more difficult than teaching adults! The vocational training was fascinating and led me really to my major change. My boyfriend who I met in Italy (but is half Belgian/ half Welsh) relocated back to the UK so I decided to apply for work back there. To cut a long story short, I was taken on as a sales and product training specialist for CNH Europe (agricultural division) at the beginning of 2006. Not being from an agricultural background (ie degree in Engineering etc), I had to find my feet pretty quickly - the ability to be confident about something is a great step towards convincing someone you know what you’re talking about! I trained across the whole of Europe in Spanish, French, English and Italian (it’s amazing how much easier it is to learn a foreign language once you live in



So I’m responsible for advertising plans, media campaigns, product literature, merchandise, mail shots and anything else that will communicate the New Holland Brand to both our customers but also our dealer network. I organise the big agricultural and ground care shows throughout the UK and ROI, set up press events, attend press conferences, work with the BBC etc etc. I also look after the marketing budget - so I should say a quick thank you to Sally Peacock for all my maths! All hard work but great fun!

Annelli Beese (Smith, 1991) Since leaving NGHS in the summer of 1991, I have pursued my chosen career as a veterinary surgeon. My time at Liverpool was a mix of hard work and plenty of enjoyment, including skiing for the university ski team. After graduating with distinction in 1996 I travelled around Japan and Australia with friends before settling into mixed practice in Wales. Since then I have worked in Nottingham, Birmingham and Derby, and am now in Lincoln working part time in a four vet small animal hospital dealing with anything from hamsters to 12 foot pythons! I married in 1993 and have two young children, aged 3 and 1 who


keep me very busy. I still keep in touch with my closest NGHS friends, meeting up as much as possible with our children, which makes for a very chaotic day!

Sally Jennings (Brydon, 1994) After leaving NGHS in 1994 I spent my gap year as a shepherd and youth-worker in North Devon, then read geography at Girton College, Cambridge before completing a PGCE. I have taught geography at Wycombe Abbey and St Paul’s Girls’ School as well as teaching younger children at a prep school. I live in Eton, am married to Andy (also a geography teacher) and am currently enjoying life as a full-time mum to Alice, aged 18 months.

Saira Khalique (2002)

finishing my legal practice course in June 2010 and then starting with the firm in September next year.

Since leaving the Girls’ High, life has been a bit of a whirlwind! Initially, I went to the University of St Andrews, Scotland to commence my medical studies; the programme was three years pre-clinical (traditional teaching methods with dissections and practicals leading to a BSc in Medical Science) followed by three years of clinical experience. I loved the small university town and spent 3 years in University Hall, being heavily involved with the medics committee and also the hall committee, being Senior Student in my final year. The medical student cohort joins with the University of Manchester to complete the clinical part of the degree, enabling me to enjoy both a traditional university and a big city student lifestyle. I also continued my French classes, both in St Andrews and latterly joined the European Option group in Manchester. (I must thank the modern languages department at school for encouraging me to continue this passion and helping nurture it, by sending me to Villiers Park French residential course, whilst in my Lower Sixth.) During two of my summers whilst at University, I au paired in the South of France for a lovely family with whom I am still in regular contact with. In addition during my third year studies, I went to Madagascar to do a project with their Health department in conjunction with WHO (World Health Organisation) on Leprosy diagnosis and treatment in the south east of Madagascar, for a month. In my final year, I spent four months working in Lausanne, Switzerland rotating through various departments in the CHUV (Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois) which was a fabulous experiencemy first wage and also well timed to coincide with a ski season! My elective placements were based in New York and the Bahamas, which with a round the world ticket helped

I am excited about joining the elusive ‘real world,’ about routine, being a grown up, having a bit of real responsibility (and of course a salary), and hope that the novelty won’t wear off too quickly, as I have been warned it might.

address all the travelling ideas I had been dreaming of! Working life is not so glamorous; I am currently working in Manchester, completing my foundation training at the University Hospital of South Manchester. I have just passed my first postgraduate examination: MRCP part 1 (Membership of the Royal College of Physicians). Apart from having exams, I am training for the Paris Marathon 2010 and am moving up to Scotland next August as I am recently engaged!

Anne Neumann (2004)

I think about my time at NGHS a lot, especially recently as so many of my school friends are gravitating south and getting jobs in London. I still have contact with so many of the girls from school and the enthusiasm with which everybody makes time to catch up, giggle about staff pantomimes, boys on the bus lane, sewing lessons, Shine Jesus Shine, overalls and PE knickers, playing bulldog in the playground, wellingtoned trips to Bunny Woods, muck up day karaoke, Mrs Higgins’ tried and tested side-close-side dance routine, the baby chicks in biology, rolling up skirts, getting caught wearing glittery eye shadow/a nonregulation scarf/an extra earring, house plays, the Radnor buttery, the hot chocolate machine (20p!), Mr Campion’s bagpipes, Joe’s motorcycle, D of E, extracurricular mayhem, HRE in Upnah, chips, beans and turkey burgers in the old

I finished at NGHS in 2004 and went straight to university to do a BA in English Literature at UCL. I absolutely loved living in London and aside from a brief flirt with various European, American, Australasian and Asian cities during a postuni gap year, I have no intention of leaving the big smoke again! During my third year of university, I got a training contract with one of the big city law firms, Allen & Overy, and having completed my law conversion course last year, I am finally on the home stretch; I will be




dining hall, the Arboretum and all it offered etc – is, I think, a testimony to the special time we all had there.

never considered applying before) and I put the confidence I needed to get in down to the constant positive reinforcement I’d get from my Economics teachers, who told me I would achieve great things. Having teachers who engaged, supported and pushed me was really encouraging; it made me constantly raise my own bar and on leaving I’ve tried to continue to do just that.

Romana Karim (2004) After leaving NGHS I went on to study philosophy at Cambridge University. The summer immediately before starting university I went further afield and using a TEFL Qualification gained during my A-Levels had a quick stop-off in Sri Lanka to teach English in an orphanage. I figured if I could survive it alone out there, I’d be alright at Cambridge! I made sure I used every summer during university to try a new experience - something I’d definitely recommend to anyone else going to Oxbridge as your short term times there don’t really allow for much else other than work. The first summer, I went to a language school in the South of France - all in the name of learning French and not at all to do with the sunshine in the French Riviera. My second summer, I was employed by the United Nations on a Special Services Assignment working for the United Nations Development Programme over in New York. Hired on a shortterm contract by their Learning Resources Centre I assisted their Communications Team with some research for UN Learning Managers all over the globe. I was really lucky to get this experience and I’d always wanted to see if the UN was for me. I decided it wasn’t, but it was a brilliant experience to have at just 21. When I graduated from Cambridge I went on to do an MSc in political theory at the London School of Economics. It was work I did part-time during this that was to shape where I am now. I worked as a PA for a management consultant, which led to their firm offering me a part-time position as a business development co-ordinator. After my masters, and



Sarah Morgan (2005)

satisfying the feminist in me, I took six months to do some charity work and worked for a National Domestic Violence charity called Women’s Aid. It was incredible work and emotionally the most challenging thing I have ever done. It was only this year, at 24, that I finally settled into a career properly and joined Pricewaterhouse Coopers as part of a fairly new initiative to expand their Management Consultancy branch within the government and public sector. It satisfies both my wish to help the public sector but with all the ambition, hard-work and efficiency of the private sector. The project I’m currently on is laying the foundations for National IT convergence in the police - the aim being to change the future of technology in policing in England and Wales. So after all that philosophy, political theory, UN and refuge work, I’ve ended up doing business and IT. Go figure. My time at NGHS was the first stepping stone for all the above and very much shaped who I was to become, especially during my 6th form. I had never intended to study philosophy; it was a subject I was inspired to do by my RS teachers. Cambridge was a University I was told I should apply to by my English teachers (I had


I graduated with a 1st Class Hons Degree in Biochemistry at Birmingham University and am now training to be a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young (Nottingham office). This is on a three year training programme; I’m now in my second year having successfully passed the extremely tough first year Test of Competence exams and second year Test of Professional Skills exams. The final Test of Professional Expertise is in summer 2010 and if all goes well I will be admitted into the Institute as a Chartered Accountant in summer 2011. I currently live in Nottingham with my partner Adam, Diesel, the black lab, and George, the crazy moggy. In my spare time I captain the Ladies 1st Team at South Nottingham Hockey Club.

An Interview with Sarah Davenport

Cover Story: 1999 alumna Sarah Davenport, the inspiration behind Sarah Davenport Designs, talks to us about her success, her time at NGHS and what makes 36 her tick!

After leaving NGHS what did you do? I was impatient at the High School to get studying over with, grow up and get out there to the real world, and so left with my GCSEs and found a job working in a restaurant kitchen to pay for my very own flat. It was a good stop-off point for a little while, and I swiftly learnt the meaning of hard work, long hours, paying bills and living on cheese and bacon sandwiches (and began to realise that university might in fact have been the better option!), until I got my foot tangled in a pot of boiling chip-fat that had been left on the floor at work. This was - in hindsight - quite a fortunate happening as it directed me to a new office job learning sales and administration under a fearsome manager – Donna - who ensured that by the time I left a year later I was thoroughly fit for the working environment with motivation, passion and a ‘good strong work ethic’. The High School had given me the foundation to refresh my focus, and I embarked on quite peculiar study combining practical learning in the family company with outside training as needed, eventually working closely with the Nottingham Trent University, gaining one-to-one mentoring from senior lecturers, and Deans, and learning directly from world-class designers. My brain works quite bizarrely when it comes to learning, with outside inspiration creating a thirst for knowledge, and the most important education in terms of design arrived when I experienced first hand the work of my design hero – European leader of change often referred to as the world’s favourite design star - Marcel Wanders. He showed what design should mean through his work, challenged me to discover what is really possible and provoked in me the need to contribute to making today’s design environment exciting and positive.

You now work for your family business, how did this come about? I was lucky to pick up lessons in management, manufacturing and design from a young age as mum and dad, who managed the company together, were in 24/7 work-mode, frequently conducting ad-hoc board meetings over dinner or a drink in the pub. In the holidays I worked within the company on a variety of facets and spent evenings in Dad’s make-shift workshop in the garage watching him develop new concepts. Weekends were spent exhibiting at agricultural shows and mum often worked early into the hours creating the latest product catalogue or doing the figures. Whilst I loved all this, I had no interest at all in joining the firm - still without a clue as to what I wanted to do - until my dad suddenly left the company and the family in the year 2000. I went there for a short time to give mum support doing normal office jobs, cleaning the showroom and organising the accounts and as I found how much I felt at home, I realised I’d found my niche and what I really could do. What is your role within Davenport Designs? I am Communications Director which means that I design the long

term strategy of the company and implement the measures to make it happen, working closely with our design and cabinet making team, in particular owner and financial director (Mum) and managing director (Mick) who keeps the day to day operation, ship shape. My job also includes the design of signature pieces to project our values and passions to a wide audience such as Chichi, the World’s first rocking piano, writing for magazines and developing complementing products through outside collaboration. There are many perks: working closely with my mum who at the same time as being an inspiration is my favourite collaborator and best friend (look out for a new motherdaughter clock design coming soon!); developing relationships with clients and finding new solutions for them; sharing ideas with and learning from exciting designers and creatives from around the world; discovering new places; the chance to contribute to today’s design world and most essentially the opportunity and the freedom to dream an idea that can make a positive difference and then make it happen.



There aren’t any downsides. There are lots of challenges, but it’s the commitment to overcome them that allows the good bits to happen – and the best feeling in the world is to solve a problem which seemed at first impossible. It’s sometimes easy to get wrapped up in a project that I don’t make time to see friends, and when I do, I completely forget how to conduct a normal conversation but then they’re quite used to dragging me out for a good kneesup when I’ve been quiet for a while! You have recently re-branded from Davenport Designs to Sarah Davenport Design? How is the rebranding going, and how did it come about? The re-brand was recommended by a specialist we were collaborating with to show the unique personality of our brand and to create a strong platform through which we could communicate our activity. As the re-brand was so close to me I left the decision to the rest of the board, and was stunned when their unanimous vote was confirmed. It’s an honour to be given the opportunity now to balance 32 years of expertise and history with a fresh and pioneering approach and so far we’re steaming ahead. The brand is still very new and was launched as the feature of the Designersblock event at their HQ in the year they took over Earls Court 1 for the London Design Festival. As well as lots of new exciting plans afoot and amazing collaborations we have a healthy order book of beautiful projects for some fabulous local, national – and shortly international – homes. What is the ethos behind the business? The ethos is illustrated in our new logo which is a heart with two leaves together. It represents our commitment to appreciate


nature through design, respect for the past and traditional values, care for our clients, and our love of injecting passion into all we do. It’s a symbol I can fight for! What advice do you have for fellow alumnae wanting to start up their own business? The best advice I’ve been given was by Marcel Wanders: be fearless, believe in yourself and be honest to yourself at the same time. He said if you can do all these three things, then you can do anything. My advice through learning to do this (and still with a way to go) is to remember - whatever you choose to do and however tough the challenge – to keep up the passion, be positive, be yourself, make it fun, listen… and inspire. There is so much to do! Finally, what are your fondest memories of NGHS? I loved the rare moments of being completely and utterly captured by English, art, at times in chemistry and especially drama - the ‘Into the Woods’ musical (I was a tree!) with the Boys school - and the moment I presented my GCSE piece - a twenty minute monologue from ‘At the Zoo’ which I can still remember the majority of now. I was regularly rebuked for doodling in French but found Latin fascinating and still helpful for understanding other languages. Most fondly of all I remember growing up with my friends. We’ve developed into completely different niches, but catch up regularly and when we do we revert instantaneously back to the way we were at school. I definitely owe a massive thank you to Miss Peacock who as our form tutor for three years somehow kept me on the straight and narrow despite a plethora of adventures! Though I was a bit of a rebel there were a special few teachers who really encouraged and inspired me, and they made all the difference.


Always driven by traditional style and beauty

Dorothy the miniature wardrobe, exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, Milan

REVIEWS We caught up with the Staff Book Club to find out which books are worth reading this year... The Outcast by Sadie Jones Set in the 1950s, this is a novel which explores the hypocrisies of the middle classes of the time. We are shown two families who are intent on keeping up appearances while hiding terrible secrets. The story opens with the main character leaving prison and then we find out the sequence of events that put him there. Following the tragic death of his mother, he has been manipulated and betrayed by adults who should have looked after him. The novel is powerfully written, contains some violent scenes and we found it both riveting and disturbing. It is a book that stays with you. The Road Home by Rose Tremain Lev is a middle aged Polish migrant worker, who comes to London after losing both his job and his wife. This is a marvellous picture of modern Britain where foreign workers on scant wages toil away in the kitchens of posh restaurants in London and asparagus fields in Norfolk whilst, at the other end of the scale, celebrity culture rules. Lev is a

beguiling hero; in many ways brave and admirable, but also flawed. The novel could easily be read as a treatise on the plight of the immigrant worker, but it is more complex than that. The writing is full of colourful images and the author has an eye for the quirky and the absurd, which makes for an entertaining read. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer This is set in 1946 and is in the form of letters, mainly to and from the central character, Juliet Ashton, a successful writer who becomes, wholly coincidentally, involved with a group of people on Guernsey who lived through the wartime German occupation. The characters are thoroughly engaging; some of their wartime tales are of heroics, some of love, some are humorous and some are heartbreaking. Mary Ann Schaffer (although born in the USA) manages to capture the English voice of the time beautifully. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid Changez, the ‘reluctant fundamentalist’ of the title, is an apparently charming and intelligent Pakistani, educated in the USA but now living in Lahore. His narration takes the form of a rather one-sided conversation with an unnamed American whom Changez meets at a cafe and to whom he tells the story of his time

in America and explains why he decided to give up his lucrative job and return to Pakistan following the attack on the Twin Towers. The reader is never clear about the veracity of the narrator; we wonder whether Changez is the reasonable man he claims to be or if his fundamentalism has taken a more sinister turn. Likewise, the intentions of his uneasy American dining partner are unclear. The ending is purposefully ambiguous. Who is the enemy and who the wronged party? A book to make you think. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre The author is a practising doctor and medical researcher who criticises the standard of science reporting in the media. He suggests that science in the mainstream is regularly portrayed as breakthroughs, miracle cures or terrible threats. Science stories are misrepresented, dumbed down and pitched at people with the intelligence of six year olds. The book demonstrates ways of thinking like a scientist and applying logic to articles. Themes range from alternative medicine to the treatment of Aids. The style is funny, witty and irreverent and we think this book should be on everyone’s present list.



NEWS FROM FORMER STAFF Having dedicated many hours, months and years to NGHS, members of our former staff association updated us on their goings on. Storm Hume I taught in Nottingham between 1947-1951. This was the immediate war period and there were of course, many shortages and problems as we all adjusted to peacetime after a long harrowing war. However my main impression of the school was of being very determined to make the most of whatever was encountered, and being very caring.

very understanding and tolerant of my failings. Miss Milford was always calm and so easy to approach when one had problems. My favourite memory is when a parent came in looking for the head, and by mistake pressed the fire bell and stood horrified as the whole school trooped past him from the dining room to the assembly point clutching the plates containing their pudding! From 1951 until 1968 I was at Newcastle upon Tyne GDST where I was head of classics and in turn deputy head. From there I went in 1969 to Redland High School, Bristol as headmistress until I retired. It was very like a Trust school as the previous head had been at a Trust school herself. Now I am living in Surrey where I am close to my family and am enjoying my retirement with them.

Sheila Harris

I taught classics alongside Sheila Harris, who spent all her teaching career there, also with Letty Lewenz who taught history and came back later as Head. I taught under two headmistresses; Miss Merrifield and Miss Milford. They certainly had very different dispositions. Miss Merrifield was always on the go, she was everywhere. I remember her standing outside her room when the bell went and checking that everyone was on time. She was very kind to me personally, and


Hardly had I returned from a wonderful visit to the Holy Land at Easter 1986, when I was invited to teach, one morning a week, in the Theology department of the adult Education Centre of the University on Shakespeare Street. This was a delightful experience with interested and well informed students who became close friends. I taught there for about 15 years, after which I went freelance for two or three years. Recently I have committed some of my studies to booklets. I was also secretary of the Nottingham Theological Society for several years until its demise through shortage of members. Following on from the Community Service which we started at school in the 70s I joined and eventually ran a local friendly visiting service to the lonely and housebound. This has been and still is a truly rewarding


experience to brighten the lives of the aged and lonely in their failing years, as well as enabling the acquisition of considerable expertise in shopping at Sainsburys! I am also much occupied in my church sometimes by leading workshops at conferences. This also necessitates an annual visit to Greece to visit our members there and talk to them in Greek. Last year I had the privilege of guiding some friends from New Zealand in the steps of the Apostle Paul up to the Parthenon - a home coming for me. I correspond with them in modern Greek, but still enjoy a stimulating morning each week reading the New Testament in Greek with a friend. So together with classes on philosophy and sometimes art and music and theological Seminars at the university, there is never a dull moment. I also edited the Old Girls’ magazine for several years. I am thankful to be able to do these things and to share with others some of the good things with which I have been blessed.

Kathleen Redditch

Former Staff. This has been so rewarding but I had to be coopted for the year as I have completed my time limit on the committee. The AFS continues to be a pleasant contact with not only my former colleagues but also my former teachers. NGHS has been and always will be an important part of my life. The school has also been very supportive of my intergenerational work with the National Council of Women.

In the early years of retirement I enjoyed many interesting holidays in Italy, France, Spain, Portugal and also in this country. I attended WEA classes in art, architecture, and theology. I helped with Books on Wheels, choosing and delivering books for housebound readers with varying tastes and interests. Our efforts met with much appreciation which made it a very worthwhile service.

Anne Wilson (Garton, 1962) Is retirement thought of as a rest? What a joke! I retired from NGHS in 2002 and was offered a rather demanding job with OCR. Like many teachers I had started working for the examination board as a lowly assistant examiner in 1968, in order to discover how the examination system worked. I had steadily worked my way up the hierarchy over the years until I reached chief examiner status. I had always enjoyed the work and valued the insight gained as an aid to my teaching, so I was delighted when I received an email from OCR asking me if I would head up a team to write a new specification (syllabus) for them, with a biomedical slant and an innovative approach to the format of the content. I was certainly not ready to stop working so I accepted and spent the next six years either at my computer or driving to and from Cambridge, first as the team leader and chief examiner for my specification and latterly as an experienced presence required at senior level. The specification was very well received by teachers, but I felt that after five years I was too far removed from the way in which sixth formers are taught and in danger of getting past my sell by date. I was also beginning to think of all the other things I could be doing rather than

working! So, I retired completely at Christmas 2008 and was given quite a send-off, having worked for OCR for 37 years. In the mean time, Pene Messenger had asked me if I would like to accompany her to a meeting of the Nottingham and Notts Branch of The National Council of Women. I loved it! A number of ex-NGHS staff are also members and the business meetings and discussions are so interesting. NCW (started in Nottingham in the nineteenth century) has consultative status at the UN and lobbies parliament, the EU and the UN on issues affecting women world-wide. I had intended to sit quietly and simply enjoy the company but my inability to keep my mouth shut, plus the fact that I was the only resident biologist, saw me presenting a resolution on organ donation at my first national conference. Recently, the Nottingham branch has started an intergenerational group which holds regular meetings comprising our local members and sixth formers. This is clearly close to my heart and I am on the national steering committee. The intergenerational meetings have now rolled out across the country and I attend as many as possible.

Last but not least - in fact the most important feature of my life - are my five grandchildren. Melissa presented us with our first grandchild a month after I retired from NGHS – the very best retirement present. She now has Josh (7), Lucy (4) and Zac (10 weeks at writing). Melissa lives on the same road as us so we have a traditional extended family. Vicki, too, lives in Sherwood and not to be outdone by her sister, has Charlie (5) and Hattie (4). Edward lectures at UEA and lives in Norwich with his partner. He has no children but is a generous and loving uncle. All three children have good careers based on service and collectively our family brings us great joy. John and I are at last getting the hang of real retirement especially after John’s health scare last year. We take frequent holidays and I even persuaded him to cruise. He enjoyed it as much as I did so hopefully there will be more. We also have a wide circle of friends with whom we meet regularly. We are happy and healthy and so blessed with our very close and loving family. I have had two wonderful careers and remain humbled and grateful for a life that really began when I entered the School at 11 in 1955.

This year I have also been the secretary of the Association of



one of the most successful girls’ grammar schools in the country and we usually make the top 20 in the league tables. We are one of a very few schools in the country to have achieved 4/4 OFSTED inspections graded ‘outstanding’. The school is one of five grammar and two independent schools of the King Edward Foundation and we work together. I have carried on being involved in D of E expeditions and trips abroad, including skiing. My Head of ICT was in my first form at NGHS (UIV), a form full of ‘characters’, and I have clear memories of them and others I taught.

Judith Peters Since my retirement in 2002 I feel that I have been almost permanently on holiday. For the last two or three years we have spent a lot of time in Brittany where we have a house, but we try not to let that stop us having the occasional ‘proper holiday’. I have been to Tokyo twice to visit our older daughter; John came with me on the more recent visit and we had a wonderful time. Other noteworthy trips have included a cruise to St Petersburg, during which we visited the Baltic capitals, and a luxurious holiday in Venice. When we are here I love the freedom to go to the cinema, the theatre and concerts whenever I choose, not to mention going with John to Forest matches. I take care of the garden and have a number of local interests. And all the time I read. Last but not least there is Oliver, our (as yet) only grandchild. Oh the joys of being a grandma!

Elspeth Insch My job at NGHS was my second one. Prior to that I had taught in a comprehensive school in Leicestershire and I was rather nervous at taking up a post at an academically selective school and one where A Levels were taught. I had taken two degrees, the first in geography at London University, and the second at Edinburgh University, where I researched into the Ice Age, so I was well qualified. The geography department was very supportive and I still remain friends with Mrs Holland, Mrs Tranter and Mrs Loughbrough. I also made friends with the other young teachers and still count Miss Morris (History), Miss Waite (PE) and Mrs Monk (Chemistry) among my closest friends. I was very grateful


to Miss Lewenz for appointing me, encouraging me to go for promotion and supporting me when I wanted to take expeditions to Iceland (1981) and Norway with Mrs Monk and Mrs Kipping from the Junior School. Mrs Monk got me involved in D of E expeditions and also gave me the information for the prestigious Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship which I was awarded. I ran ski trips with Miss Waite, Miss Scott (History) and Miss Boyington (PE). I was very happy at NGHS and it was a real wrench to leave. My third post was as Deputy Head at Kesteven and Sleaford High School in Lincolnshire. I loved living in a small town and my post was very interesting as the three schools ran a Joint Sixth Form which was very unusual in those days. I carried on helping with D of E expeditions and also with a talking newspaper for the deaf in school and also helped out with a cub pack. Again I was happy but I wanted to run my own ship and so after five years I applied for headships and I moved a hundred miles to Birmingham. I have been Headmistress of King Edward VI Handsworth School for twenty years and will probably do another three as it is the centenary of my school in 2011. KEVIHS is


For many years I was closely involved with the Royal Geographical Society and I eventually became Vice President; I met a number of famous people including Sir Edmund Hillary and Michael Palin. I am also on the Council of Aston University and was delighted to be awarded an Honorary DSc three years ago. Last year I became deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands and so far have hosted visits to the region by the Duke of Kent and the Countess of Wessex. I now own a house in Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria which backs onto the famous Coast to Coast footpath and I will retire there with my west highland terrier, Flora. So what pearls of wisdom can I share with you? Here goes: • Make the most of any opportunities offered to you. • Offer opportunities to other people when you can. • Never under-estimate your influence on other people. • Remember that promotion comes because of the extra things you do. • Get on with the job, work constructively for change and don’t be a moaner!

Helen Percival I have done a lot of travelling since retirement. In particular I have been keen to visit some of the classical sites in mainland Greece, Crete, Sicily and Italy, and we have had some wonderful holidays and learnt a huge amount. An annual visit to France is also essential to our wellbeing! In addition, I have rediscovered the joys of choral singing, and am learning how to be a good grandmother and a better gardener than I used to be. I meet former pupils in the most surprising places, and it is always a delight to hear about their lives. The most spectacular encounter was at Cincinnati airport: Jo Creates and I had not seen each other for ten years, and we talked our way across the Atlantic!

Mary Ashworth I joined the teaching staff of NGHS in September 1952, as senior science mistress. Over the years, I had lively and hard working colleagues-Dorothy Paskell, a positive and imaginative teacher of younger girls, Joan Fisher (physics) Sheila Hewitt (now Gosden) Eileen Lee, Jill Lewis, who all shared the Biology teaching. The three rather small labs were all on different floors so there were many difficulties when apparatus had to be moved, and no lab assistant to help. The chemistry lab was on the ground floor, and often I taught to the accompaniment of dancing and singing classes in the hall, or of passers by knocking on the windows as they strolled along the pavement of Arboretum Street, talking loudly. We were a good science team, encouraging the girls, and doing plenty of practical work. We organised many expeditions (often on Saturdays). I remember going

to Boots’ large factory where we were amazed to see potassium permanganate being made in a huge cauldron stirred by masked men in the open air. We marvelled too, seeing iodine crystals being purified by sublimation. Other visits were to Calverton colliery, then new, now closed, Stanton ironworks, Dovedale, Cressbrookdale, the Celanese factory, lectures at the university and Peter Scott’s bird reserve at Peakirk. Historically the school had a reputation for classics, but science became popular, with many girls going onto university to study sciences, medicine, and pharmacy. Jill Poyner (now Kowzun) who studied chemistry at Cambridge, recently wrote to me of her experiences teaching science. Two other girls come to mind - Gillian Murray and Rosalind Pope. As little girls they were always asking questions, being very keen on drama, they asked me to help in making props for their form’s entry in the drama festival for a moon which could rise, for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. We used a yellow balloon filled with hydrogen, but pear shaped and shrivelled! Another play needed a mountain and somehow we managed that using yards of tubing, from the water tap in B block!

Gillian and Rosemary studied chemistry, maths and physics, in the Sixth Form and at Manchester University, gaining first class degrees, they continued academic research and teaching at Oxford and University College London. I feel really proud of these two outstanding former pupils. Later I became third mistress and in 1958, second mistress (no such deputy headships in those days) so I became more involved with all staff, their subjects, their foibles, their worries etc, as well as their strengths and loyalty. In 1956 we surprised the girls with our performance of “1066 and all that”(rehearsed after school, unobserved, we hoped)! All of the



staff were involved, from Mr Jones, the handyman, to Miss Milford who played George III. I was Guy Fawkes and made a large colourful chemical explosion in a mixing bowl. I left NGHS in 1960 to be the head of a new girls’ grammar school in Hatfield, Hertfordshire from where I retired in 1984. I owe a great deal to Miss Milford, both for her example and her encouragement.

Sylvia Rudd I taught French and Spanish at the High School for three years, and our two daughters, Helen and Libby, were in the Junior Department as well. We left in 1974 when my husband went as Head of Languages from High Pavement to Trinity School in Carlisle. Nottingham was about to go over to comprehensive schooling in September that year, and Trinity had successfully made the change six years previously; so we thought it would provide a more settled atmosphere for one of our children who was due to start secondary school in the September. We stayed in Carlisle for nineteen years, and then returned to Nottingham when we retired, as it was more central and also because we always found Nottingham a very friendly city. It was a good move, for our grandchildren’s families live in Yorkshire, Hertfordshire, and Tyne and Wear.

I enjoyed my eight years as part of the community of NGHS and I value the friendships made. Some former colleagues have since died, but I remember them the way we then lived, worked and supported each other.

Helen trained as a cook, but after marriage and motherhood, works part-time in John Lewis. Her hobby going to the gym! (Never an option when she was at school). Libby studied PPE at Oxford, worked at Norwich Union head office, now lives with her husband, who is rector of central Gateshead, and their family. She works part-time as vicar of Burnmoor. Dennis and I have been living in Redhill for some years; Dennis is Lay Reader at St Jude’s church, Mapperley, and we both help with study groups and enjoy the friendships we have made there. I have taken up painting (with water colours), with sporadic and very infrequent success, and we both enjoy using the library at Bromley House. I remember Nottingham Girls’ High School and the people I taught with affection; it was good to meet some of them a few years ago. I was form



teacher for three years to a group with surnames beginning with the letters OPQ(?)RST, (and memorably four girls surnamed Smith hopefully the right reports always went in the correct envelopes!) Thanks to everyone’s cooperation, and some good advice, even Book Day has happy memories. Memories also include the amazing surprise on the last day of term of seeing my desk covered with sweet-smelling flowers!

NGHS NEWS It has been a busy year at NGHS, with developments in both the junior and senior schools. We have had the official opening of our new Sixth Form Centre. This was a truly memorable occasion and was well attended by local dignitaries, Governors of the School, representatives of the GDST and representatives from education and business in Nottingham. Our centre was opened by Kavita Oberoi, East Midlands Women’s Ambassador. She spoke to all Year 10 girls about her career and then held a question and answer session for our Sixth Formers before formally opening our impressive building.



Junior School We are delighted to have opened our newly refurbished Junior School and the girls are already enjoying the benefits of the improved accommodation. They are very proud of their new buildings and relish every opportunity to talk to visitors about it. We are fortunate that we now have the space to expand and numbers for the Junior School are continuing to increase.




September 2010

December 2010

Tuesday 22 Summer Sounds Concert 7.00pm

Tuesday 28 Sixth Form Information Evening

Wednesday 1 Advent Concert 7.30pm St Peter’s Church

A musical evening with performances from girls in Year 7, 8 and 9.

An evening for girls and parents to take a closer look at the subjects available in the Sixth Form and an opportunity to talk to departmental heads.

A variety of pieces performed by the Senior orchestra, choirs and ensembles in the beautiful setting of St Peter’s Church.

Saturday 26 PTA Ritzy Glitzy Midsummer Ball 7.00pm Ticket Price £55.00 A fundraising ball to be held at Colwick Hall.

July 2010 Wednesday 7 - Friday 9 The Tempest 7.00pm Wednesday 7, Thursday 8 and Friday 9 July This famous Shakespearian play is the end of term drama production. There will be three performances during the week. Prior to the final performance on Friday evening there will also be an Annual Fund donors drinks reception.

October 2010 Saturday 16 40 Year Reunion NGHS will be hosting a 40 year reunion for all those alumnae who graduated in 1970.

November 2010 Saturday 6 Open Day 9.30am - 12.30am An opportunity to have a guided tour of the school, see various activities and listen to a talk from the Headmistress.

Friday 19 NGHS 5 A reunion at school for all those who left in 2005. Your farewell messages have been extracted from the archives, and are ready for viewing!

Wednesday 8 Mistletoe & Wine 7.00pm Enjoy mince pies and mulled wine while being entertained by a variety of instrumental and vocal items.

Thursday 16 2010 Leavers’ Christmas Drinks 1.00pm The school will welcome back its 2010 leavers for Christmas drinks and a chance to catch up with staff.

Keep up to date Throughout the year we update the school website with all Friends and School events. Visit www. for up to date information on all future events. The Friends of NGHS facebook page is also up to date with all upcoming events and contact details. Please contact Malvika Johal for further information, to register your interest in any of the above events or to send news and stories for next years magazine. Malvika Johal Tel: 0115 941 7663 9 Arboretum Street Nottingham, NG1 4JB



Connect 2010  

Friends of NGHS alumnae magazine 2010

Connect 2010  

Friends of NGHS alumnae magazine 2010