Field Notes - 120th Year Edition

Page 1

January 2022–March 2023 Old Girls’ Magazine years of Prior’s Field
Page 14
for joy
Page 5 We celebrated our 120 year anniversary
the flagship
Page 8–9
Former Head Girl, Georgie Savage, takes on a Galapagos research study
as PF achieves Green Flag Award
Page 27
Old Girl of the Year winner, Belinda Kingston, undertakes award-winning cancer research

Head’s Welcome


PF Community, Welcome to this edition of Field Notes. The School enjoyed marking its 120th Birthday last year in 2022 with celebrations of all kinds.

It was wonderful that many Old Girls were part of them. It is always a pleasure to meet you and I know that Polly was delighted to achieve her goal of meeting 120 of you within the year through visits, events or tours. I make a point of visiting the school’s second Head Mistress, Ethel Ann Burton-Brown’s grave every school birthday and this one was all the more special (pictured).

There is a theme running through this edition of Field Notes. You will notice a focus on the things that you do that give meaning to your life and value to society, whether they are through careers, hobbies and pastimes or adventures. I particularly want to draw your attention to page 7 where we extend our thanks to Robert and Lizanne Milton (Former parents 2007-2012) who made the PF Archive Project possible because of their generous donation.

Current PF girls often hear me echo the ambition of Julia Huxley, expressed in 1902. She said that she aimed to ‘send out confident young women, ready to make their mark on the modern world.’ Well done to all the alumnae featured here for making your mark.

Please do continue to support your school.

Prior’s Field, Priorsfield Road, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 2RH
GSA Girls’ Boarding & Day School 11–18

Editor’s Note

It’s a cliché, I know, but I can’t believe it has been a year since the last magazine came out. A year when we, as a school community, were able to celebrate the milestone birthday with special events, school assemblies and of course, the highly anticipated 120th Anniversary Ball.

A year of reflection both in school and outside as we said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II who died in September 2022 after 70 years on the throne. The Queen was an inspiring leader who was part of all of our lives. Who is your most inspiring leader? We welcome applications all through the year for our Old Girl of the Year Award, which was won by Belinda Kingston who has demonstrated incredible work in the medical field (page 27).

As Tracy Kirnig has said in her welcome, this edition is full of stories from our Old Girls who have found their passions at all ages and stages of their lives. We hear from Virginia Stourton who at 86 is very much still active in the radio world (page 10), Rosemary Lamaison who has done so much for so many in her role as therapist (page 11) and Julia Shingler who knows all too well the challenges and rewards of being the Head of a school where no two days are the same (page 12).

I, too, consider myself so lucky to have found the job of my dreams. I love the engagement with our alumnae, putting together this magazine, finding gems in the PF Archive, helping the Sixth Form with careers, promoting the PF Foundation and of course being able to host reunions and create events for you. Organising the 120th Anniversary Ball was definitely the highlight of my career so far and I hope it was a night to remember for you (page 8). Until next time!

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 3 8 4 School News 6 Archive Exhibition 7 Fascinating Godalming Archives 8 120th Anniversary Ball 10 A Lifetime of Experience 12 Careers in Education 14 Enchanting Galapagos 15 Combining Decorative Arts with Science 16 An Eye for Sustainability 17 Building Connections 17 Family Matters 18 120 Birthday Challenge 20 Stunt Person 21 Pastimes to be Proud of 22 Old Girl News and Achievements 24 Mary Olive 25 Stay Connected 25 Events 26 Following Careers in Science 28 Easy Summer Supper 30 PF Foundation 31 Rose Garden Restoration 32 Tying the Knot 33 Welcome to the World 34 We Remember
27 Contents Contact us Email: Phone: 01483 813461 Web: Follow us on social media by searching for our groups: Prior’s Field Alumnae @pfalumnae @pfalumnae Prior’s Field School Alumnae 15

School News

Tracy Kirnig leaves next year after nine years as Head

During Tracy’s headship since 2015, a new science, music and humanities building has been opened, the neighbouring ancient woodlands have been returned to PF’s ownership and the school’s partnership with Tinga Tinga school in Tanzania remains as strong as ever. Tracy and her husband, Paul, will be going back to their home in Devon fulltime in 2024 where they plan to settle with their two dogs and the addition of some chickens.

Prior’s Field marks the Coronation

A Virtual Tour of PF

If you’ve not been back to Prior’s Field in a while or you are abroad and it’s not as easy to visit, then why not look around using our new virtual tour feature?

The website allows you to take a 360-degree tour around the school including a peek into the boarding rooms, classrooms, dining room, common rooms, sports facilities, Recital Hall and more, all with photo galleries, prospectus information and audio narration. We hope you enjoy your tour. Look out for the tour on the main PF website, or scan the QR code.

Over the Bank Holiday weekend in May 2023, Prior’s Field celebrated King Charles’ Coronation with many events and initiatives.

The Sixth Form celebrated the Coronation in style with a street party where royal masks and crowns were worn by girls and staff with a feast fit for a king. The cake competition was won by Natalie B with her likeness of King Charles and the boarders gathered to watch the spectacular moment in history in their common rooms. Each pupil and member of staff were given a branded gold coin as a memento (to buy one, contact Polly Murray).

We were thrilled that current pupil Ellie S was a Guard of Honour and read at Guildford Cathedral for their Coronation Service. Whilst representing the cadets, she was also a marvellous ambassador for Prior’s Field.

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Best wishes to you, Tracy.

Jumping for Joy as PF achieves Green Flag Award

The Green Flag Award is in recognition of our work on the Eco Schools Programme aimed at encouraging students and schools to actively protect our planet.

This year we have focused on three themes; waste, energy and global citizenship. The Eco Committee had taken the lead on promoting sustainability and waste reduction through energy awareness campaigns, recycling adverts and a new stationery collection scheme which involves leaving boxes around school in which the community put their unwanted plastic pens to stop them going to landfill. Anything that is still in working order we collect and either donate or save up and sell for charity.

Our work towards global citizenship is well supported through all the volunteering and fundraising that we do. Here are some of the quotes from our assessor: ‘We loved the variety of activities that your Eco Committee have included in the Action Plan, We enjoyed hearing about your ideas on energy saving and recycling.’

‘We loved hearing about your involvement with the WWF’s Earth Hour, Fairtrade, The Hygiene Bank and your link school in Tanzania - Well done!’

We look forward to raising our Green Flag and continuing our environmental campaigns.

PF Challenge Awards

The PF Challenge Awards were introduced to all pupils in the Third Form at the start of the academic year.

This initiative enables students to log all of their cocurricular achievements and to receive recognition for them throughout the year. The aim of the scheme is to develop and sustain established interests and encourage curiosity in others. The five levels are Entry, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum and they are recognised in the Service, Action, Creative and Clubs categories. We were delighted to welcome Old Girl Lauren Jones (OG 2006–2013) as our guest speaker at the awards celebrations. She spoke about her career and also about her involvement in the St Albans Community Pantry where she volunteers, facilitating food rescue and redistribution. She was a real inspiration to the girls, encouraging them to contribute their time and emphasised how a small action can have a large impact.

Prior’s Field Pledge

To focus on our Action Plans for this year we must all aim to…

We live by
Hope and Love 5
Some of the Eco Committee celebrating the awarding of our Green Flag
Turn off unnecessary lights Use paper wisely and waste less Support others less fortunate

120 Years of PF in 12 Treasures Exhibition

We were thrilled to exhibit ‘120 Years of Prior’s Field in 12 Treasures’ at Godalming Museum for a month during the school’s 120th birthday year. The items from the PF Archive were wonderfully curated by Jo Halford, Archivist, and enjoyed by the PF Community, as well as the Town Mayor and the Town Mayor’s Consort on the opening night in September 2022. The twelve treasures consisted of school magazines, uniform, lacrosse sticks, a plaque depicting the Madonna and Child by a pupil of Andrea della Robbia, photograph albums and more. We hope the artefacts demonstrated the vast array of interesting items that we have acquired over the past 120 years.

Have you got something you’d like to donate?

If you would like to donate any photos or PF memorabilia, please do send it to the school marked for the attention of Polly Murray.

PF Archive Online:

6 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine
the QR code to have a look around the exhibition
Top: Lauren Jones (OG 2006–2013), Tracy Kirnig (Head) and Rachel Pepper (OG 2006–2013)

Fascinating Godalming Archives

In 2017, I was delighted to be invited to catalogue and look after the archive at Prior’s Field. What an important piece of history - a pioneering girl’s school with a foundress from a famous family of educators.

However, more interesting than celebrity for me, were the stories of individual girls and staff members, to be found amongst documents and reminiscences. Those stories, joined together since 1902, are what really make up the rich tapestry of Prior’s Field’s history.

In 2022 when the extended four year cataloguing project came to an end, it was time for me to move on from Prior’s Field. Whilst working part-time at

the school, I also spent three years cataloguing the archive of St John’s Seminary in Wonersh, a place of formation for Roman Catholic priests which sadly closed in 2022 after 130 years. The archive moved to the Diocesan archive, and the work led me to another local Catholic archive. I am now privileged to work fulltime as Archivist for an international congregation of Catholic religious sisters, the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM), whose leadership team and archive are based at Ladywell Convent in Godalming. The archive reflects more than a century of missionary work which the Sisters have been called to undertake all around the world in the fields of healthcare, education, care of the family and community.

During my first year at Ladywell Convent, I have been fortunate to work with the Sisters to create an inspirational visitor environment within their new Franciscan Centre. The resulting interactive installation presents, in a living way, the FMDM heritage and mission.

For more information about FMDM and the Franciscan Centre at Ladywell Convent, Godalming, please visit the website

Look out for opportunities to visit Ladywell in the autumn during Heritage Open Day. You will be sure to receive a warm welcome at the home of another fascinating Godalming archive.

A heart-felt thank you to Jo

Dear Jo,

Thank you very much for your extraordinary gift to Prior’s Field School, as PF’s very first professional Archivist in 120 years. That is a lot of history to piece together, preserve and bring to life, and we are immensely grateful to you. From the beginning, in May 2017, when you wrote that you would particularly welcome the opportunity to begin this task from scratch, up until you left PF in September 2022, your work as our Archivist has exceeded our highest hopes and expectations. Your passionate and infectious enthusiasm for collecting, protecting and sharing stories about individuals connected in any way to Prior’s Field, over a span of more than a century, took you to every department of the school, into the greater Godalming community, to other cities in the UK and around the world. You captured the attention and appreciation of students, Old Girls, parents, staff and teachers, who were thrilled to be able to volunteer and participate in virtually all aspects of the archive. As a professional Archivist (BA (Hons), MScEcon, Archive Administration), your commitment to the development and long-term preservation of PF’s collection involved using your analytical and artistic talents in every aspect; often seen by the whole school through enlightening Remembrance events, school assemblies, Archive Club, noticeboard displays and external exhibitions, while other skills and strengths were not viewed by many, but were as critical to the archive’s success. Your spirited dedication to developing the PF Archive also involved sorting and cataloguing, conservation and preservation, storage creation, digitisation, accessioning, networking, promotion, research, biography development, enquiries and outreach, and creating a collecting policy. You also took on the monumental task of moving the entire physical collection to the new dedicated store room, the other side of the school, as well as creating our PF Archive Online, and we are beholden to you for this fabulous resource. Thank you, Jo, for teaching, guiding and giving us the tools to carry on expanding and supporting the PF Archive. We wish you the same joy as you move on to help create another fabulous Archive for Ladywell Convent, Godalming. They are truly blessed to have you!

Most sincerely, and with the greatest appreciation,

We are forever grateful to Mr and Mrs Milton for their generous donation that made the project possible.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 7

th Anniversary

Whether it was the magician, the three-course meal or the fireworks that made the night, it certainly was an unforgettable evening.

On Saturday 22nd October 2022, Prior’s Field celebrated its milestone birthday; 120 years since our school was founded by Julia Huxley. We were thrilled that it was a full house with all members of the PF Community represented, including current and former parents, PF alumnae, governors and friends of the school. The evening started with a red carpet photo shoot, with the ‘black tie with sparkle’ dress code being wonderfully demonstrated, on the way to a drinks reception in the Sports Hall.

Guests were wowed by our in-house magician who showed us card tricks and a few disappearing acts as they enjoyed handmade canapés and a couple of glasses of fizz.

We moved through to the lavishly decorated Assembly Hall with glittery balloons, soft pink and purple lighting, and beautiful table centrepieces designed and made by DT extraordinaire, Caroline Jacques. Every detail was thought of, from handwritten name places (thank you Gill Murray), and PF-themed table names (Aldous, Covered Way, Maid’s Landing…) to a huge 3D foam ‘PF 120’ supplied by the generous Paterson family.

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Class of 1996 celebrating in style


Just when you thought that the PF catering team couldn’t outshine themselves further, Chef Ricky and his Chartwells team delivered three courses of exceptional food featuring one of the most decadent chocolate delice puddings with fresh berries and salted caramel sauce. Wow!

During the course of the evening, we were pleased to raise money for the Prior’s Field Foundation through raffle ticket sales. The star prize was a visit to Chartwells’ hospitality box at the 02 with four tickets to any show and others included a VIP afternoon tea, hampers, a photo shoot with prints, beauty treatments from local salons and lots more. We were thankful to all of our Old Girls and local businesses who donated prizes.

After a short quiz about PF (some interesting answers were submitted for the name of the first dog at school – Bruno was the answer in case you wondered!), we followed the lead singer of Soul Beat back into the Sports Hall where his six-piece band played all our favourites from Fleetwood Mac to Daft Punk.

Between the dancing and the raffle draw, we went outside in the uncharacteristically warm October weather to gaze at a sparkling firework display before going back in for more dancing, which culminated in a giant conga that made its way around the whole sports hall.

None of this could have been possible without our wonderful volunteers, suppliers and our guests. Thank you - it was a night to remember.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 9 Anniversary

The Brains Behind the Business

Virginia Stourton

(OG 1951–1954)

At 86, Virginia has her own radio programme and hosts regular interviews with local inspiring business professionals, but where does she get all her energy from? We find out who she has interviewed and why she enjoys meeting the brains behind the businesses

Having previously run my own business, I am always interested in the back stories of business owners. Seeking out why they do it and their passion for their work puts a human face on those shops and businesses we use.

To be able to share it with a wider audience, I have a programme on Cirencester Radio called Brains Behind the Business.

Everyone I meet, I sum up to see if they could be potential interviewees and I also belong to a number of groups, including the Chamber of Commerce, where I attract some of my participants.

We all have a voice and I use mine to create business awareness. However, like anything that looks easy, it

is often quite the opposite. Building my programme takes some initiative, albeit enjoyable. I must find willing participants and I need to research their websites so that I can have an engaging conversation with them, which takes time.

I have had the honour of interviewing Dame Prue Leith and Adam Henson of Countryfile (pictured) and the programme is now so popular that people come to me asking to be included. I love that my job involves talking to so many engaging business people and entrepreneurs, all dedicated to the work they do. I regularly interview professionals in all sectors including hospitality, arts, care and so many more.

Some of the people I interview can be quite nervous. What they do not know is that I am terrified, but thanks to the amazing people, every recording goes well.

If you are thinking about getting into radio, then there are many local stations with the potential for supporting what you do. They are committed to promoting local issues, so have fun and seek them out.

“Virginia’s enthusiasm, passion and dedication to enjoy every ounce of life is inspiring. I hope when I’m in my later years I have half as much energy as she does.” Recent interviewee

Catch up with Virginia’s Brains Behind the Business show:

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Bringing about Change for Future Generations

Rosemary Lamaison

Back in the day, in 1961/2, PF did not offer careers advice, in fact they didn’t even mention the word ‘university’, providing only a one-year A-Level for the few who stayed on into the Sixth Form.

I do recall a woman coming in and giving each of us a 20–30 minute chat about careers. I don’t know who she was, how she came to be offering this or what she and I talked about, but at the end she said she thought I should think about being a Probation Officer. I had no idea what that was, but now looking back over my working experience, she must have recognised something in me in those few minutes. Interesting!

I was also asked to provide Personal Social Health and Economic (PSHE) Education in a boys’ boarding school for 13–17-year-olds. It was an interesting experience in many ways and a whole story in itself! A case of learning as I went along. I recall the very limited health education we received at PF back in 1960 when we were told we should use a deodorant. Much more was needed, I think!

I trained as a Psychodynamic Therapist in 1990 and now have a flourishing private practice – retirement not yet in my thinking. I had the opportunity to specialise in working with those men and women who were sent away from home to boarding schools, and this has been an eye opener. My own knowledge of boarding from my time at PF, which many therapists do not have, makes a big difference for those needing to tell their story, share their experiences and feelings, and to be heard. The majority who seek help were boarders back in the 60s, 70s, 80s – so experienced something very different to the young boarders of today.

I am now 76 and I have just been filmed twice. Recognition in my dotage! At a Conference in November 2022 I was filmed talking about my work between 2003–2018 in a boys’ boarding school. I had devised and delivered a Peer Mentor programme for the Sixth Formers.

The second filming was a month later when I was asked to contribute to a podcast on the impact of being sent away from home. My focus was mainly on the experiences of those girls who boarded in the 1960/70/80s.

Apart from having two lovely daughters and weekly contact with grandchildren, I have worked since leaving PF and have enjoyed a varied career, switching in my late 30s to bring about change for future generations.

I was on the management for Home-Start for 20 years. They support those with under 5s, mainly mothers, who are isolated or struggling to cope. I moved onto facilitating parenting groups for those self-referring as well as for a Youth Offending Team (YOT), Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), schools, Social Services, and ADHD/autism families. I must have run about 400 groups, some with resistant parents, some with interpreters, but mostly to parents who were delighted to leave with a toolbox of communication skills and a new way of thinking they wished they had known before.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 11
“Retirement is not yet in my thinking.”
(OG 1958–1963)
Alifetimeof experience
My year group at PF didn’t stay in touch after school and I would be interested to hear from others and to reconnect and share our thoughts. Please get in touch via

Head at Causeway Green Primary School Julia Shingler

(OG 1987–1991)

I first became interested in becoming a teacher when Mrs Carter, my A-Level Geography teacher at Prior’s Field, suggested the idea to me. I liked the idea of working with children and knew that I didn’t want to have a job where I would be in an office all the time.

On Wednesday afternoons during Sixth Form, I spent my time helping at a local primary school and I absolutely loved it. At the end of Sixth Form I decided to complete a Geography degree and then I trained as a primary school teacher.

I have taught in four different schools so far and have been Headteacher at Causeway

Green Primary School, a large school in Sandwell, for six years. I have always worked in schools in very deprived urban areas in the Midlands. I have found it a challenging and rewarding career in equal measure, but I feel privileged to have made a difference to a large number of children over the years.

The teachers at PF inspired me and made me realise the power a teacher has to influence learning experiences and how they feel about a subject. I can remember many of my teachers at PF over 30 years later! Mrs Carter, Mrs Brown, Mdme Rapine and Mr Barnett to name a few! I hope at least some of my students will also remember me into their own adulthoods!

Being a Headteacher is a responsible and demanding job. As well as 462 pupils, I have their parents and 80 plus staff to keep me busy! A day in the life of a Headteacher is difficult to write down, as I can honestly say that there are no two days the sameand never a dull moment! I am involved in making staffing decisions, supporting colleagues, parents and individual pupils, managing the school’s budget and making financial decisions, writing reports to Governors, liaising with other school leaders across the local authority and beyond, safeguarding, health and safety and overseeing the school’s curriculum and standards in national assessments.

I remember a lot from my time at Prior’s Field, including the Great Storm of 1987 when all the power was cut off. As a full boarder I was unable to get home, so I went to stay with our Biology teacher, Mrs Brown and her husband for a few days. They were so hospitable and kind and I will always remember it being a really lovely experience. I was sometimes in quite a bit of trouble and Mrs Weiss and Miss Legg got me up very early to run around the field as a punishment! I also remember all the weekend trips to the theatre and Chessington World of Adventures as well as the weekly jaunts to Pizza Express in Godalming. I would love to come back and visit PF soon.

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“The teachers at PF inspired me.”

School Counsellor at Hoe Valley School

Megan Grossman

(OG 2009–2016)

I really enjoyed studying Psychology A-Level at Prior’s Field and it was during that time that my passion for helping people understand their minds and their thoughts came to light. I have always been interested in crime and wanted to merge the two together. It was through studying Criminology I was able to learn about why people do what they do and decided that I wanted to understand, specifically, what makes each child individual and to help the child better understand themselves. I am a caring person, so this really plays to my strengths.

Since coming out of university I have been a Teaching Assistant in primary and secondary schools. I am lucky enough to work at a school where they want to develop their staff, so I was really thankful when

they suggested putting me forward for a counselling qualification. I have loved studying for it and I am now the School Counsellor for Hoe Valley School in Woking.

My day to day is always varied and busy. I arrive at work at 8:00 to check my emails and talk to students waiting outside my office. I then spend the morning in and out of sessions with children talking about their mental health and well-being, making sure that I plan each session and write up notes afterwards. During lunch, I have an open-door policy where children who are feeling emotional or overwhelmed can pop in to talk to me. School usually finishes at 16:00, so it is a great chance to get all my admin done, make any phone calls to parents and make sure members of staff are aware of any safeguarding issues.

I enjoyed visiting PF in 2022 and made the most of catching up with my teachers.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 13
Below: Megan Grossman pictured with Mrs Teasdale
“It was through studying Criminology I was able to learn about why people do what they do.”

Enchanting Galapagos

Former Head Girl’s Island Research

Georgie Savage (OG 2010–2017)

Following my Biological Sciences

Undergraduate and Master’s degree, I got involved in a large, international and interdisciplinary project, Pacific Plastics: Science to Solutions.

This project is made up of over 100 individuals from university organisations, non-government organisations, social enterprises and community groups predominantly based in South America, who aim to investigate the sources, impacts and interventions of plastic pollution in the Eastern Pacific. Within this region, my PhD focuses on the enchanting Galapagos Archipelago, which is currently threatened by human activities as a result of its growing population, expanding tourism, fishing and agricultural industries. My research tries to understand the risk and adverse impacts of plastics and other chemical contaminants, generated by these human activities on the Galapagos Islands and their unique biodiversity.

I was fortunate enough to head out to the Galapagos last summer for my first field season, and it certainly did not disappoint! Despite being famous for its biodiversity, I was still amazed by the vast array of wildlife living alongside humans. The Galapagos sea lions nap on street benches and share the beaches and waves with everyone. The marine iguanas – the

only swimming lizards in the world – sunbathe on the harbour walls and pavements. The green turtles pop their heads up as if they’re snorkelling with you. Additionally, the Galapagos has a very distinctive landscape, with contrasting black lava rock, white sandy beaches and turquoise bays, making it almost prehistoric in nature.

On this expedition, we were trying to understand the role of mangroves as sinks for plastic pollution in the Galapagos. It appears that larger plastic items termed macroplastics, such as fishing nets, plastic bottles and shopping bags, are getting trapped and tangled in the dense mangrove branch and root systems. These items are then fragmenting due to the strong equatorial sun, into millions of smaller pieces of plastic, known as microplastics. Marine wildlife that live in the mangroves are consequently being exposed to high levels of microplastics, with a likely risk of ingestion. Although this is still ongoing, we hope this research will help inform plastic management and mitigation plans in the Galapagos.

If you would like to know more about this project or follow my research, you can visit our website or listen to my latest podcast.

Scan the QR code for Georgie’s podcast

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Combining Decorative Arts with Science

Since leaving PF in 1962 I have enjoyed a varied career, combining the decorative arts and Science. PF was not as academic in those days, so I went on to Davies, Land and Dick to do a couple of retakes, and was then extremely lucky to be admitted to the highly esteemed School of Photography at the then Regent St Polytechnic, obtaining my degree in Commercial/Industrial Photography in 1966 – one of only three girls to graduate then.

The following year I married and moved to Denmark where I later opened a photographic studio specialising in jewellery and gemstones.

Apart from a year in Switzerland, I spent the next 21 years in Denmark, where I trained for and attained a 1st Dan Jujitsu (black belt) in 1986 and subsequently taught self-defence and Jujitsu for several years at a school in London. (That will surprise my old school contemporaries at PF, who knew that I hated sport to the extent that I used to hide in a cupboard or under my bed to avoid it!)

On my return to England, I again opened a photographic studio specialising in jewellery, and also qualified as a gemmologist in the 1990s. My work included writing and teaching, and for sixteen

years I was an accredited lecturer for the Arts Society (formerly NADFAS), lecturing all over the UK and also doing several lecture tours in Australia and New Zealand.

From 2016 until last November, I held the position of Honorary President of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A), which is an educational charity and the world’s oldest gemmology teaching body, with centres in over twenty countries. Since stepping down I have joined their board of trustees. While my area of photography was mostly gem-set jewellery, my area of gemmology has concentrated on the gems of plant or animal origin, also known as the ‘organics or ‘biogenics’, and including such materials as pearls, corals, ivory or amber, some of which are today protected by law. This has brought me into contact with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), and I have thoroughly enjoyed working as a research assistant with animals in their own habitats during some holidays, for example elephants in Thailand and marine turtles in Barbados.

I have published three books: ‘Gem and Ornamental Materials of Organic Origin’; ‘Ivory’; and ‘Tortoiseshell’ (a copy of each of which I have donated to PF’s library), and am just starting work on a fourth book.

I would be interested to hear from others in my year group. Please get in touch via

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 15

An Eye for Sustainability Pernille Stafford

(OG 1982–1987)

I think I was about eleven years old when I knew I wanted to create spaces. I was constantly rearranging things in any space and I always loved Art at PF.

My mother was Danish and my father British, which meant I grew up in a 50% Scandinavian and 50% English environment. Summers and holidays were spent in Denmark. My mother was an antique dealer in Denmark so I was always surrounded by both modern and mid-century design classics which really influenced my appetite for beautiful objects and schemes from an early age. My father was a renowned furniture designer in the 60s and 70s and I grew up with him at the drawing board. It seems I was always destined for a creative career and interiors seemed the perfect choice!

Resonate was set up to craft and curate special spaces that align with the occupant on many levels. Although we design in the corporate space, our work is anything but. It is personal and always has the heritage of the occupier in mind.

Scandinavian design is pure, it is local, it works with nature and has clean lines. No fuss! Our work aims to replicate some of this ethos. Even in an office it will always be dressed with memorable pieces that enhance the overall appeal. Timber floors have an obvious draw to me and so feature in a lot of our projects, but manifest in very different circumstances, finishes and tones.

The pandemic has also turbo-charged collaborative and agile working which allows for some really interesting solutions - there is not a one-size-fits-

all approach to interiors anymore. There are a lot more women in the industry, which provides a good mix particularly at senior level and this can only be healthy.

My Scandinavian heritage has hugely influenced my appetite for sustainability: we call it ‘treading lightly’ and it is in every part of what we do. Our aim is to be the most sustainable interiors practice. We specify, wherever possible, that our projects are within 100 miles from site. We are always conscious of waste, and recycle or upcycle as much as possible on every project.

Sustainability is at the heart of Resonate, we live and breathe it. We specify our products on this basis and we have built up a huge library of sustainable suppliers. We are even looking at carpet tiles that clear the air and are super sustainable. We have recently employed a graduate who is our sustainability champion who spot-checks projects to ascertain if we are reaching our 100 miles from site targets. As a studio, we all have the Treekly app on our phones which plants trees for the steps we walk, which is a really lovely natural thing to do.

Be open to learning, even mundane tasks can teach you many things, always push boundaries and be creative, challenge, ask questions, be curious and above all enjoy it. This industry is a real privilege to work in, you will see interesting buildings and meet some fascinating people and no two days will be the same!

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Building Connections

business and as a mother. What a courageous and determined lady she is.

Field Notes is read in detail and it does keep the PF community alive, no matter where we all live so thank you for all your work! My very best wishes to anyone who remembers me.

Milton, Assistant to Deputy Head, Invigilator (2006–2020)

My husband Nick and I retired to the Bristol area near to where our son lives in November 2021. I am still in touch with a few Prior’s Field staff as well as some of the invigilators and I love getting my copy of Field Notes to hear about the staff and girls.

I was very interested to read about Olivia Garriock and how she’d set up her own café, Ruby Jeans, in Shirehampton (Field Notes 2020–2022 page 25). We went there for lunch and I introduced myself to Liv and she was delighted to hear about how I had worked with her late mother, Nicola who was an invigilator. I showed Liv a lovely photo of the invigilating team and she recognised a few faces. We must have chatted for about half an hour. I was amazed at her commitment to succeed both in her

Sarah Priday (OG 1971–1977)

Susan de Laszlo née Birkett and I are poised in the Bishop’s garden with Hereford Cathedral behind us.

She came to stay for a weekend of music and garden visiting. Susan taught us Spanish at PF 1973–1979, was Deputy Head at one point and also looked after the Sixth Form in the ‘6S’ building as we called it then.

Family Matters

Old Girl Tash Fanshawe and I have teamed up to organise a series of PF Community interviews.

Mother-daughter duo, Zoe Napier née Punshon (OG 1981–1986) and her daughter Lucy Napier (OG 2013–2020), and Hannah Charles née Simpson (OG 1986–1992) and her daughter Lucy Charles (2022– present), share the similarities and differences of their PF experiences.

Expect to hear about boarding in the 1980s, uniforms, houses, teachers, school trips, Head Girl duties, A-Level choices, socials, PF during the pandemic and more. We hope you enjoy them. You can watch the interviews on YouTube via the QR codes below, or find them on the PF Community website. If you’d like to be interviewed in any capacity, please email

Watch the PF Community interviews on YouTube

Tash, Lucy, Zoe, Polly
We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 17
Hannah, Lucy, Polly

120th Birthday Challenge 2022

Jill Streatfeild Holly Denham Olivia Garriock 1990s Reunion tour Tor Hunter Tash Fanshawe at Prize Giving Susan Compton Sarah McGowan Sammie Comben with Mrs Slaytor and Mrs Kimber Recent Leaver Drinks Rachael Skingle with Mr Butler Mother - daughter interview - The Napiers Mitzi Collins and Rozzi Caldwell Megan Grossman Lily Phillips and Kariella Keane Juliet Cornwall Fiona Katz Claire Goodwin Christmas Fair Stall Help Charlotte Howard-Jones, Polly, Tash Fanshawe, Abby Ballan Charlie Brown, Polly Murray, Tash Fanshawe, Venetia Glavin

In 2022, I was set a challenge to meet 120 Old Girls in the 120th birthday year and it was a pleasure to meet everyone, whether it was through trips and events, visits or tours. Here is a selection of photos from my eventful year.

Anja Cox Cunningham Tracy Kirnig with Jane Tyrrell-Evans Walking Tour of Godalming Spring Drinks Priscilla Wrightson Lucy Seager - Singapore Kiki Rusak and Beate Wehrmeyer with Jane Allen Hazel Marshall with Mrs Rice Futures Day 2022 Elly Stancliffe Dorking Reunion Penny Wallington with Diana Dudley-Williams Bircher Sisters Miss Scott, Bethan Hone and Mrs Baines Annalee Noakes Mrs Hershman with Amy Maris Delayed 2020 Leavers’ Party Battle of the Bands, Lexie Doidge ‘It’s Time to Declutter’ online class Jade Herring Bronwyn Coles Ilse Hughes with Miss Curtin

Stunt Person Amy Maris

(OG 2009–2014)

I originally wanted to pursue a career in the equine world, ideally in rug design and production.

I was determined to go to Hartpury University in Gloucestershire and I was ecstatic when I was accepted, so in 2016, I went to study Equine Business Management. I enjoyed my first year making new friends and building my knowledge, but I began to feel that I wasn’t quite enjoying the course, and that it wasn’t actually what I wanted to continue with. I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, which progressed during my time at uni, causing me to miss classes and I spent the remainder of my last year at home as I wasn’t well enough to attend lectures.

Then, along came Covid. My only escape was to play

video games after work and I realised I was struck by the motion capture behind the cut scenes of the game (the process of recording the movement of objects or people). I’ve always loved that part of the production and voice acting of characters in film and TV. The end of 2020 was a big change for me as not only had I moved out of my family home, but I was also given a new medication which saved my life. With my revitalised health and as I saw it, my second attempt at life, I decided to completely change my career and I pursued my new acting pathway. I started training in combat and weaponry and did some acting courses in and around London. I did more of what I loved, including motion capture, creature work, voice acting and I eventually joined a stunt team. I even built my own equipment such as arm extensions, a working creature head and recently a swinging tail for motion capture.

I heard about background work in film and TV, which was a great starting point to experience first-hand what working on a set is like. I was very fortunate to land my first big job after only being in the industry for three months, on Enola Holmes 2 working with Millie Bobby Brown. Since then I’ve worked on many productions doing more SPACT (Special skills performer/stunt work) such as The Witcher, Star Wars, Endeavour and recently, a massive TV show on Amazon Prime that I can’t tell you just yet (that’s nondisclosure agreements for you!)

I get asked all the time about how to get into the world of film and TV. It’s a lot of fun but it’s hard work. You need grit and determination to continue in this area, but there are so many different paths to go down. I knew I didn’t want to just act. There are so many other options, including behind the scenes, lighting, sound, costume, make-up, voiceacting, radio, motion capture etc. I have found that by joining the many background agencies, they will give you experience of being on a big set and how productions are run. Networking and making contacts is key in your journey and making friends with those who have agents, can help you to get noticed.

I want to emphasise that I never went to drama school or have any drama qualifications, except my A-Levels, so please don’t feel that in order to pursue this career you need a qualification. Instead, try different courses, there are a lot on offer for actors to better their skill set. Hard work and training goes a long way. Most of all, enjoy it!

20 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine

Pastimes to be proud of

Having looked into a number of dog sports such as heelwork to music, agility, obedience and flyball, we settled on heelwork to music to begin with, once classes could resume after the Covid lockdown.

Dog Sport

Tessa Easton

(OG 1993–1998)

My partner and I bought our 10-week-old Belgian Malinois X German Shepherd, Lacuna, in November 2020. We knew through researching the breed that we would need to fulfil her working dog needs, as they thrive in an active environment.

Like Border Collies, they need a job or purpose to stimulate them both physically and mentally.

Party Puppets

We were lucky enough to have classes with Crufts winner (2007), finalist (2023) and judge, Gina Pink. The two main styles that are shown at Crufts and that you see more of during shows/competitions are:

Heelwork to Music – your dog works closely with you in eight heelwork positions

Heelwork to Music Freestyle –your dog can work at a distance and close to you with more tricks involved. You can either do a dance or tell a story, or both.

Along with these different styles, you can work your way up from the Starters group through the various stages for each class, to Advanced. It is the Advanced group who are eligible for Crufts Qualifiers, so it is the group that everyone aspires to reach.

Since starting heelwork to music in 2021, I have met some incredible people who have been really encouraging and supportive. I have been a member of the heelwork to music Ring Party at Crufts for the past two years and in 2022 I became a committee member of the Paws and Music Association. They arrange a lot of the Premier Shows under Kennel Club rules and licences.

Dog sports of any kind are a great way of spending time and bonding with your dogs and to switch off from work and our phones and socialise with people.

Lacuna and I are working hard to compete in our first shows this year in the starters group and hope that one day we’ll reach the prestigious green carpet at Crufts.

Alix Booth née Whitson (OG 1956-1959) has worked with Mr Punch for over 45 years and is an Associate Member of the Punch and Judy Fellowship. He has taken her from cottages to stately homes, churches to cathedrals, schools to history societies and even abroad.

Alix’s interest in the history of Punch and Judy has continued throughout this time. In her Lectures on “A History of Punch and Judy” she includes traditional figures like Judy, the Baby, Toby the Dog, Mr Scaramouche, Joey the Clown, Hector the Horse, the Beadle and the Crocodile.

Alix’s Punch and Judy shows include fetes and fairs and there is now a growing demand for her talks and also for her Puppet Cabaret which includes light political satire.

During a PF lunch party in March 2023, with class friends Priscilla Wrightson, Sally Bray and Amanda Hinds, Charlotte Ellis presented Alix with a Delftware plate that had been given to her by her grandmother, decorated with Jan Klaassen, a relation of Punch from Holland. This was a special present on Alix’s 80th birthday.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 21

Old Girl News & Achievements

Natasha Cocksedge (Head Girl 2019) and Emma Konarek (OG 2013–2020) celebrated their Gold Duke of Edinburgh achievements at Buckingham Palace in 2022.

Lucy Napier (OG 2013–2020) At the end of 2022, I was at the National Theatre on a placement on the Stage Management team for Kerry Jackson, a play by April De Angelis.

Imogen Rowe (OG 2013–2020) In February 2022 I played the role of Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflote for Cambridge University Operas. I am also performing as Adina in Donizetti’s ‘L’Elisir d’Amore and have been shortlisted for the Glyndebourne Academy. I have accepted a place for a Master’s at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Lois King (OG 2008–2012)

I have been working in schools since I finished university in 2019 and felt it was time for a change. I decided to apply for the position of IT Engineer at DFDS. I love Technology and Maths so thought this was a good fit and was accepted for the position which will support collegues from around the UK and Europe.

Magda Salvesen (OG 1956–1962) I am busy preparing for re-publication of The Sound of Sleat: A Painter’s Life by Jon Schueler. Published originally in 1999, it has long been out of print. It will be extremely useful to have it available once more.

Elena Georgiakakis (OG 2009–2014) I went to the University of St Andrews for my BSc, and onto Manchester for a further three years as part of my Medical degree. I am starting a job at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where I will be for my F1 year and then onto Ealing for F2. I am hoping to specialise in orthopaedics. I am very grateful for my time at Prior’s Field and the teaching I received.

Anja Cox Cunningham (OG 2011–2018)

Textiles teacher Mrs Ritchie went to see Anja’s degree show at Manchester Metropolitan where she did a BA (Hons) Textiles in Practice degree. Her work explored sustainability and hyper-functionality.

Holly Giles (OG 2016–2018) I graduated from my Master’s in Musculoskeletal Ageing and have now started a PhD in Food and Nutritional Sciences at Reading. My project is looking at developing a protein supplement for older adults (65+) to prevent sarcopenia. I know it wouldn’t have happened without the teaching and support from PF teachers.

Tash Brookes (OG 2013–2020) I am just about to graduate from my BSc in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham and I have been offered a place at Swansea University Medical School for their graduate entry medicine programme.

Jess Manning née Tregar (OG 2009–2013)

I run The Mum Club Waverley with Lara. We met at our NCT group in January 2022 and have never looked back. We wanted to bring The Mum Club to Waverley as we noticed a lack of groups that focused on mums in the area.


22 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine

Diana Brooks née Thomas MBE

(OG 1972–1977)

My annual charity art exhibition, Art for Youth, which I founded in 1988 raised £104,000 in the week it ran in November 2022. In 2023 it will be its 35th Anniversary and we hope to reach the £2 million mark raised for the charity ‘UK Youth’ (supporting young vulnerable people) since it started.

Aggie Pinney née Howlett (OG 1975–1976) I have happy memories of PF including plenty of opportunities with an excellent games teacher and matron. I was very happy and had lots of friends. I trained as a Montessori teacher and then as a chef until 2005. l trained as a specialist carer and worked in the Cornwall community for six years and I am still working in the care world. I have two children and two grandchildren.

Alex Scott-Hayward (OG 1954–1958) I am enjoying life at 81, and still running my cleaning business, albeit at a slower pace! We have four grandchildren. I had a great time at PF in the 1950s; not great academically, but I lived life to the full probably to the despair of the staff who tried to educate me!

I travelled at the beginning and end of term on the famous Flying Scotsman, a great adventure and now a tourist attraction.

Zara Freeman (OG 2011–2016) I am a Chemical Engineer on a graduate scheme for a clean energy tech company. Very happy to talk to anyone about uni and early careers.

Nujood Zahid (OG 1987–1990)

I began my journey in the motorsport world in December 2020, since then I’ve participated in many events from cross country drives to off road rallies. In May 2022 I was appointed Lamborghini Club President in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This is a great honour for me on a personal level as driving was only allowed for women in my country in June 2018.

Claire Thomas (OG


I graduated in 2022 and received a First Class BA (Honours) in English Literature and Creative Writing at the Open University.

Steph Rapley (OG 2013–2020) I’m currently in my third year of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Surrey and am looking forward to going out on a year long industrial placement in the autumn within the nuclear defence industry as a mechanical engineer.

Abby Lebus (OG 2011–2016) I look forward to my new adventure in Nepal, where I will be volunteering in the Physiotherapy department at Chitwan Medical Teaching Hospital. I am eager to immerse myself in their culture.

Freya Ellingsen (OG 2014–2019) ‘A Lense for Life’ is a book I have written containing a variation of over thirty poems surrounding several different themes. Most are autobiographical, with essences of conversations, people and mental health embedded. I like to call it ‘my little book of complaining’. Available on Amazon.

Rosi Robinson née Stewart (OG 1960–1965) I received an email completely out of the blue from the researcher of BBC Bargain Hunt antique show, asking if they could film me when they were in Sussex. What an opportunity to be on National TV and show people my work. They filmed on a rainy day at Ardingly Antique Fair and then came to me. I was filmed for three hours for only a five minute slot in the programme!

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 23

Mary Olive

Book Club recommendations

I arrived at PF in 2015 as full-time librarian from Charterhouse where I had been for nine years. I’ve also been librarian at Cranleigh Prep, and was Library Assistant at Guildford High, so I have been around. However, Prior’s Field has been by far the best level of sociable library fun.

At break and lunchtimes on any day of the week you’ll find the library full of enthusiastic, chatty girls. Not all are reading, admittedly, but I feel strongly that the library should be a place of sanctuary and respite from the rigours of academic study, and sometimes you just need to rearrange your friend’s hairstyle!

Mrs Semitecolos recommends:

We do currently have three thriving book groups, and the staff regularly look forward to choosing books to read over the holidays from my somewhat carefully curated boxes of books delivered to the staff room in advance of holidays.

We do have some very keen readers at PF and our House Reading Competition is hotly contested every term. Girls register each book they finish, give a short review and record the number of pages (the girls requested we do it this way rather than number of books read, as being fairer. The main requester had put off starting the Count of Monte Cristo (1000+ pages) because this would only count as one.) Last term the school read an unbelievable 191,000 pages over 12 weeks! It’s a good thing reading helps every aspect of academic and pastoral life, or we’d begin to question if we’re enjoying it too much.

I have enjoyed the following books:

• 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows - Ai Weiwei

• Lolly Willowes - Sylvia Townsend Warner

• Our House is on Fire - Scenes of a family and a planet in crisis - Greta Thunberg, Svante Thunberg, Malena Ernman, Beata Ernman

I asked a few of my keenest staff readers for some recommendations from the past year’s collections:

Mrs Bickerdike recommends:

Mrs Rice recommends:

We were thrilled to see Old Girl Seni Glaister (OG 1977–1982) in the newspaper talking about her company Litalist.

With more than 15,000 books in her collection, Seni Glaister has not one, but three libraries in the converted outbuildings of her Sussex farmhouse. We were delighted that Seni was our guest speaker at Prize Giving in 2016 having been a director of The Book People and delivered an inspiring talk to the PF Community.

Old Girl Barbara Scott (1979–1980) has released her novel The Taste of Hunger.

A family saga about Ukrainian immigrants in the early 20th century, the power of desire, Baba Yaga fairytales, and a moment that changes everything.

Available on Amazon.

24 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine

Stay Connected at PF and Beyond

In July 2020 we launched the PF Community website. If you haven’t already, please do join our community of Old Girls, Former Teachers and Parents.

It’s free of charge and you can:

• Reconnect with old friends

• Read news articles from Old Girls and former teachers

• Join our PF Mentoring scheme to help you find career connections

• Post job and internship opportunities

• Promote your business in the Women in Business directory

• See how you can give back to PF

• Sign up for volunteering opportunities

• Share your stories and news

• Browse hundreds of school photos

And more!

We can facilitate work experience, university advice and professional networking.

If you’re at university now, why not join the ‘clubs’ pages? You can join your specific university club to meet other Old Girls who have either been there or are there now.

We’re friendly - we hope you will join the crowd!


All events are bookable via our PF Community website:

Heritage Open Day

Saturday 9th September, 10:00-15:00

As part of the national event, Prior’s Field will open its doors to the public for a self-guided tour around the oldest parts of the house, with artefacts and photos on display.

Huxley Lecture with Q&A

Thursday 21st September

An evening with Alison Bashford, author of An Intimate History of Evolution: The Story of the Huxley Family. Professor Bashford will share some of Julia Huxley’s delight, concerns and inspirations as she led Prior’s Field School through its earliest years.

Walking Tour of Godalming

Sunday 1st October, 11:00-13:00

Join us for a free walking tour of Godalming, hosted by former PF parent, Sara CoateKilburn. You will be guided through Godalming, learning as you go. Stay for an optional pub lunch. Dogs welcome.

Sleepover Reunion 21st-22nd October

We are delighted to be hosting a sleepover reunion for the girls who left fifth form in 1979 (Class of 1981). Instigated by Johanna Mackie née Bircher, this will be a night to remember with lots of reminiscing, tour of the school, time in the archive and a three-course, chefprepared lunch.

Recent Leaver Drinks - December

If you left PF in the last five years, you are invited to Recent Leaver Drinks in Godalming. Keep checking the events page nearer the time for full details.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 25

Following Careers in Science

Sana Hussain (OG 2016–2019)

I’m currently in my second year of Dental school at King’s College London (KCL) and I couldn’t have chosen a place better suited to me. Although the journey to Dental school was tough, I have loved my time here so far and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

The Dental application process is similar to Medicine. I first had to ensure I had the correct grades, for KCL. The entry requirements are A*, A, A (two of which must be Biology and Chemistry) so I chose those two with Psychology. After attending a conference hosted by Medic Mentors in the Lower Sixth, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in Dentistry. Due to Covid and social distancing guidelines, I attended virtual work experience hosted by The Medic Life who specialise in providing courses for those wishing to study medicine or dentistry. This work experience confirmed my desire to study dentistry, a vocation that would allow me to be creative, yet apply my scientific knowledge at the same time. Alongside work experience, I volunteered as a Teaching Assistant at a local Arabic club, teaching primary school children and I also worked at LinkAble; a charity providing exciting and stimulating experiences for children with disabilities. I then completed arguably the most difficult part of the application process, the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT), in September of Upper Sixth. All students applying for Medicine/Dentistry must complete it and your score is considered when universities are selecting students for interview. The interviewers were welcoming and easy to speak to, alleviating my anxiety immediately and confirming KCL as my firstchoice university.

Fast forward to now, I am nearing the end of my second year, with my exams around the corner. The course content is very heavy, particularly in the first year when I didn’t have many in-person classes and my exam was written solely based on my lectures. The second year is slightly different as I am in clinics

twice a week as a minimum, once for phantom head (pictured), which is an imitation head/neck allowing me to practice my practical skills, then I am in the hospital once a week where I treat patients and apply the practical knowledge. One of the biggest advantages of KCL is how soon I can see patients. I treated my first patient in second year which is very early compared to other universities.

Balancing lectures, seeing patients, and clinical time can be overwhelming, however, I schedule time for myself, to go out with my friends and just relax! I am still not completely sure what I want to do after I graduate but both Orthodontics and Cosmetic Dentistry interest me, so I am attending many conferences and seminars to help me decide. I also love being in London and enjoy all the opportunities in this lively city. If anyone is thinking of applying for dentistry, I’d say do it!

26 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine
Sana and her friend during one of their phantom head sessions

Old Girl of the Year Belinda


I am delighted and honoured to be awarded the Prior’s Field Old Girl of the Year Award 2022. Unbeknown to me, my mother and sisters nominated me for the work I undertook during my PhD. My mother, however, has been encouraging me to get back in touch with Prior’s Field for a while to talk to pupils with dyslexia, which I also have, in case I can offer any encouragement. This successful nomination has achieved her goal!

Let me explain a little about where life has taken me since leaving Prior’s Field, and how I came to be nominated. After completing an undergraduate medical degree at Bristol University I became a Junior Doctor, specialising in Medical Oncology. I am currently in training to become a consultant in this speciality, and during my training I was able to take three years out of doctoring on the front line to complete a PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research in London. I was fortunate to have an excellent project

and a supervisor with incredibly high standards who pushed me hard, throughout. Thankfully the hard work paid off.

Through my PhD I was able to discover some fascinating findings (to Oncologists, at least), which I have subsequently presented on an international stage. Firstly, I discovered that for women with advanced breast cancer, a simple blood test can be used instead of an invasive biopsy to tell us about women’s cancer. I demonstrated that this simple blood test, or ‘liquid biopsy’, can be used to decide which treatment women might subsequently respond to. Information from this liquid biopsy can also tell us lots about breast cancer in general – what drives it, and how treatment resistance develops, for example.

Secondly, I discovered and characterised a novel mechanism of treatment resistance which occurs in patients on a commonly used breast cancer therapy. I was able to demonstrate that alternative treatments for these patients may prevent the resistance occurring, potentially meaning that patients would respond to treatment for longer. We hope that knowledge of this resistance mechanism and the ways to avoid it will keep women alive for longer. I was delighted to be awarded an American Society of Clinical Oncology Conquer Cancer Merit Award for this finding.

My time at Prior’s Field was undoubtedly important in shaping my medical career. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at primary school, and struggled with reading in particular; I dare say few people held high ambitions for me in an academic sense. However, Prior’s Field, and two teachers in particular, Mrs Cook and Mrs Ingram, provided crucial encouragement, showing confidence in my abilities. I was told to “pull my socks up”, which was the proverbial boot up the backside I required. My grades steadily improved throughout my time at Prior’s Field, I grew in confidence, and by the time I left, my sights were firmly set on a career in Medicine.

It is an honour to be recognised with this Old Girl of the Year award. For one, it is a great opportunity to say thank you to the school – and to Mrs Cook and Mrs Ingram – for showing faith in me and giving me much needed encouragement. Moreover, this award is also an acknowledgement that dyslexia need not hold anyone back; while it presents challenges, these can be overcome with the right application, ambition and support.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 27
“I demonstrated that this simple blood test, can be used to decide which cancer treatment women respond to.”

Easy Summer Supper

Salmon tray bake with garlic crushed potatoes served with a pesto drizzle. This is a colourful, delicious, and relatively healthy summer supper recipe for four people. The salmon is served with crushed garlic and parsley potatoes and a fresh green salad with a simple homemade pesto drizzle that you can make in advance. To allow for the hot dishes to be served at the same time, start by preparing the potatoes and have them ready to pop in the oven when you put the traybake in for its initial bake.

Step 1 - Easy Pesto

1 basil plant (pick off all the leaves and try to avoid the stalks and reserve some basil leaves to garnish the tray bake later)

40g grated parmesan

30g pine nuts

125ml olive oil

Pinch of sea salt

1. Toast the pine nuts to release the flavour, be careful not to burn them!

2. Rinse the basil leaves.

3. Put all the ingredients into a food processor and whizz up for 30 seconds until all the ingredients have combined evenly. If you don’t have a food processor it can be made using a pestle and mortar.

Step 2 - Garlic and Parsley Crushed Potatoes

600g new potatoes with their skins on 100g butter

3 garlic cloves

Small bunch of parsley (chopped finely)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C and grease a baking sheet.

2. Rinse the new potatoes and remove any blemishes.

3. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Check that they are cooked by seeing if a sharp knife can pierce them easily.

4. Drain and return to the hot pan with the lid on (but not on the heat) to allow them to gently steam for 5 minutes.

5. Turn the potatoes onto a greased baking sheet and gently squash each one with a fork.

6. Crush the garlic and fry it in the butter taking care not to burn either the butter or the garlic by keeping the hob on a low heat. Once you can smell the garlic add the chopped parsley.

7. Carefully pour the garlic and parsley butter over the potatoes and keep the potatoes to one side whilst you prepare the salmon tray bake.

Step 3 - Salmon Tray Bake

4 salmon fillets

2 red onions

1 courgette

125g asparagus tips (or 200g tender stem broccoli if asparagus is out of season)

150g red cherry tomatoes on the vine

150g yellow cherry tomatoes on the vine

1 orange pepper

1 whole garlic bulb

2 lemons

50g grated parmesan.

100g cream cheese

A large handful of parsley (chopped finely)

Black pepper

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

A selection of your preferred salad leaves for a green salad.

1. Prepare the vegetables by washing the courgette, tomatoes (keeping them on the vines), asparagus tips and the orange pepper under cold water.

28 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine

2. Peel and quarter the red onions.

3. Top and tail and then halve the courgette lengthways and thickly slice.

4. Deseed and slice the orange pepper.

5. Place the garlic bulb on its side and slice through the middle to create two “hearts” of garlic.

6. Cut the lemons into wedges –aim to get 8 wedges from each lemon.

7. Place all the vegetables apart from the tomatoes into a large sandwich bag and add the olive

I was employed by Julie Roseblade (Head 2006–2015) as a Sixth Form Boarding Mistress and Head of Food Technology. Working in Boarding gave a wonderful sense of community, and I learned a lot about teenagers.

I have seen many changes over this time including the swimming pool refurbishment, the astroturf pitches, the purchase of the woods and then the construction of the Arnold Building. It was particularly exciting as it meant that I could help design a purpose-built Food Technology classroom overlooking the Rose Garden. Our previous food room had been a Biology lab and was complete with gas taps – fortunately they were disconnected!

Some of my most precious memories have included foodie trips to Barcelona and to Milan, taking students to learn more about the culinary world at fabulous venues such as the Ritz, Pennyhill Park, Winchester Christmas Market, Borough Market, Tante Marie and Abinger Hammer Cookery Schools amongst many others.

One of the greatest privileges I’ve had is seeing my daughter thrive from a PF education, but the most special part of being a teacher has always been teaching the girls. It is wonderful to be able to do a job that I love, and I feel very fortunate to have found such a lovely school to work in for such a long time.

Tiffany Teasdale, Head of Food Technology 2008 - present.

oil, salt, and pepper. Give the vegetables a good shake making sure they are all coated in the seasoned oil.

8. Gently tip these vegetables into a roasting pan and put them in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.

Put the tray of crushed garlic potatoes in at the same time.

9. Meanwhile mix the cream cheese with the parmesan and add the chopped parsley and black pepper to taste, with a squeeze of lemon.

10. Spread a layer of the cream cheese mixture on top of each of the salmon fillets.

11. Take the roasting vegetables out of the oven and place the salmon fillets, the tomatoes (keeping them on the vine) and

half of the lemon wedges on top. Sprinkle sea salt on top of the tomatoes.

12. Put the tray back into the oven to roast for about 12 to 15 minutes.

13. Whilst you are waiting for the dishes to cook make up a fresh green salad.

14. Decorate with the remaining lemon wedges and some fresh basil leaves.

Why not try the recipe and send pictures in for Mrs Teasdale to see?

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 29

A Foundation Award is the offer of a fully funded place (day or boarding) to study at Prior’s Field Sixth Form. These places are awarded to talented young women, whose family circumstances are a barrier to affordability, and whom we believe have the ability to reach their very best potential under the care of our expert teaching and boarding/ pastoral teams.

By providing a Foundation Award to a girl, who would otherwise never be able to consider a school like Prior’s Field, we are creating an opportunity to transform her future.

Prior’s Field provides a warm welcome to our Foundationers

Prior’s Field girls come from a wide range of backgrounds. It is this diversity that makes the school what it is: a special place that instils a strong environment of inclusivity.

Prior’s Field offers a loving, homely, stable and structured environment through the option of boarding which makes the school an ideal setting for a girl who may never have been to a boarding school but who will flourish, paving the way for a lifechanging experience.

Trustee Spotlight

I have been working at Prior’s Field for twelve years and I have been incredibly fortunate to have seen first-hand the numerous students who have benefitted from the PF Foundation. The bursaries enable us to transform the future of those students who never would normally be able to consider a school like Prior’s Field.

The Foundationers have also, in return, given so much back to our school and surrounding community. In my role as Outreach Coordinator, I have had the pleasure of working with these students in volunteering opportunities and fundraising events. I truly believe that the relationship we build with our Foundationers is mutually beneficial, they become key members of our school community and access an education that will enrich their lives and will give them the confidence to achieve their most ambitious goals.

PF Foundation’s ambition

Our aim is to transform one girl’s life each year, by providing a place in the Sixth Form. But we have the ambition, with the help of donations, to widen this opportunity and fully fund more places in all year groups for other young girls in need of help. This can only be achieved with your generous donations and we thank everyone who has given, at any level, so far.

Recruiting our Foundationers

We work in partnership with local schools as well as the Royal National Children’s Springboard Foundation, Buttle UK and the Reedham Children’s Trust, amongst others, to identify suitable candidates.

How to donate

One off donation, monthly donation or legacy donation.

Help us make a difference

Donating to the PF Foundation helps us to make a significant impact on a girl’s future, allowing them the opportunity to experience the all-round education PF girls enjoy, through 100% funding for a full boarding place throughout Sixth Form.

For more information please visit our website: Charity number: 312038/1

Donate today

Foundationer Spotlight

I would say ‘go for it’ to anyone who is given the chance to have a place at Prior’s Field. The teachers, the House Mistresses, everything about PF Sixth Form has been amazing. I would love another girl to have the opportunity that I had.

Gaining a place in a school that really prioritises you as an individual and the time they set aside for you is really rewarding.

Being a Foundationer really does change your life in the most positive way and your donation would do the same for someone else.

Veronica now studies Sociology at Durham University.

30 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine
Gemma Curtin Veronica Joaquim

Rose Garden Restoration

Did you love your time at PF?

Have you gone on to achieve great things and do you attribute that success to your education?

Perhaps you have sisters or another relation who also came to PF?

Maybe you still have a group of friends that formed at school?

Often we receive emails from you telling us how PF shaped your future, so we are offering the perfect way to mark your time at school. Put your name(s) on a leaf and we’ll add it to the tree.

The beautiful wrought iron tree, designed to depict the bird in the tree from the school’s crest, had its official unveiling during the AppArt Tea in April 2023 and since then, the leaves have been blossoming. But, we would love to see the tree completely covered in leaves, representing all of our PF Community.

We thank Jo Halford, Archivist, who before she left, spent a lot of time researching the Rose Garden from various books and school magazines. We are looking forward to starting up a working group dedicated to the restoration of the garden. If you are a keen gardener and would like to be on the committee, then please do email

Bronze – one line of text – £75

Silver – two lines of text – £200

Gold – three lines of text – £500

Support the restoration of the Rose Garden

If you are inspired to buy a leaf, to help us raise £20,000 for the restoration, please go to our Give Back page: https://community.

We live by Admiration, Hope and Love 31
36 Field Notes – Prior’s Field Old Girls’ Magazine A LEVEL RESULTS 2022: 87% A* - B “PRIOR’S FIELD IS A SCHOOL WHERE THE SPIRIT IS CREATIVE AND ENTERPRISING - IT CHAMPIONS GIRLS’ INDIVIDUAL TALENTS” GOOD SCHOOLS GUIDE 2022 the place to achieve 10% discount for Alumnae Please visit our website to book your place at our next 11+ or Sixth Form Open Event or contact our Admissions Team to discover why Prior’s Field is the place to achieve. 01483 810551 “Life at PF is all about positivity and encouragement, about learning and becoming the best version of yourself.” - Prior’s Field Sixth Form Leaver

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