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The Roedeanian

Spring 2017

Developments at Roedean 2017

International Women’s Day 2017

Panel at the Women in the Workplace event

Sheep get comfortable with girls at the farm

Sixth Form girls enjoy a Gatsby themed party at Keswick

Alumnae events 2017

Class of 1974 revist their house

ORs and current girls attend a lecture, London

‘Once in a Lifetime’ theatre preview, London

SAORA Foundation Day, Johannesburg

A term of exams – and fun! As many of you will remember, the Summer Term at Roedean is always focused on the approaching exams. For girls in U5 and 6.2 (in particular) the prospect of lots of revision and exams means this is a term of study and preparation. However, there will be time for lots of fun events, too, including the Brighton Fringe Festival Concert on 6 May, the Dance Showcase on 19 May and Annie, which will be performed in the Theatre on the evenings of 14, 15 and 16 June. This term is also when we welcome back ORs for Roedean Day on Saturday 24 June. This year we will be offering a particularly special welcome to girls from the years of 1957, 1967,1977, 1987 and 1997. But I want to stress that all Roedeanians are welcome to join us on the day and we have a great programme of tours and events arranged. If you would like to be with us for Roedean Day – or indeed to attend any of the events mentioned above – please contact Mark Taylor via or on 01273 667588. I hope you all had a lovely break over Easter and look forward to seeing many of you here at Roedean this term. I promise not to ask our visitors to sit any exams! With best wishes Mr Oliver Blond Headmaster

Contents School Highlights 




Anne Whitaker

Grace Cather

Alumnae Highlights 


Dates for your Diary 


OR News 


Your e-Roedeanian 


Remembrance & Obituaries 


Lady Anne Reynolds

Ken Thomson


School Highlights Keswick’s Final Refurbishment On 3rd January, the Sixth Form were brought into Keswick Hall to see the fantastic next stage of the creation of the Roedean Sixth Form Centre. This launch was a long-awaited, and the girls were very pleased. Keswick Hall is a clever and sophisticated mixture of the old and the new, mirroring the refurbishment in Houses 1 to 4 which combines heritage features with contemporary design: many of the original features of the old hall have remained, and they have been complemented by the addition of a large mezzanine with a laptop bar, large staircases, a state-of-the-art sound and presentation system, comfortable armchairs and sofas, and small alcoves for study. The Keswick Sixth Form Centre offers a more sophisticated, calm and inspiring space for independent study and for meeting with others in the Sixth Form. The girls have wasted little time in using the beautiful space for functions and celebrations, having organised a glittering Great Gatsby themed party and making use of the space for the annual Casino night.

Roedean is Top Girls’ School in Sussex According to the Department for Education’s new national league tables published in the Telegraph at the beginning of the year, Roedean has been placed as the highest performing girls’ school in East and West Sussex. This is due to 51.9% of girls achieving A Level grades of AAB or higher in at least two facilitating subjects last year, which gave them the best access to the very top universities in the country!

Roedean’s Electric Car Project

Vox Gala Concert

A group of Sixth Form students have been working hard on Roedean’s Greenpower F24 electric car project. Using all of their collective problem-solving skills, the girls are currently working on designing and constructing the seat, steering wheel, and the bodywork of the vehicle. Designing and building the car has involved a range of creative engineering skills, including 3D modelling, safety testing, and metal-work skills. Time is tight, but the girls hope to race the car at the Goodwood Motor circuit near Chichester on 25th June.

On 23rd and 24th of February, students, parents, and staff alike were treated to a rousing, lyrical delight in the form of the Vox Gala Concert. Ms Fewkes led proceedings that involved all the year groups, and a significant number of peripatetic staff. The evening brought together musical stylings both old and new, from pop to gospel to opera and back again, allowing the orchestra, choir, and singing and instrumental soloists to shine at various points throughout the evening. The audience left feeling as though they had crossed through centuries of art and lyricism that night. It was a wonderful concert, performed not once, but twice.


Introductions Anne Whitaker

Grace Cather

Chair of Council

Alumnae Relations and Development Administrator

Anne Whitaker became Chair of Council in September 2016. A full biography and summary report from Anne will appear in the Summer edition of The Roedeanian.

The newest member of our team, Grace, joined Roedean in January of this year. Grace studied Spatial Design at Falmouth College of Arts and is an Alumna of Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls.

Alumnae Highlights Governors’ and ORA AGMs

Honours and Accolades for Mary-Grace

The Roedean School Governors’ and ORA AGMs were held at 6 pm and 7 pm respectively on Monday 13 March at the Caledonian Club.

Mary-Grace Browning MBE has been honoured with a prestigious award by the Japanese Government.

It was a very positive Governors’ AGM. The meeting was chaired by the President of Council, Lady Lavender Patten (Thornton, House 3, 1955-61). The new Chair, Anne Whitaker, then gave an update on the many recent successes at Roedean. Two candidates had been proposed for the two vacancies on Council: both Katherine Cowell (Behrens, House 3, 1965-71) and Andrew Pianca FCA were elected unanimously by a show of hands. The ORA AGM was also very positive. Ginny Stephen, Chairman of the ORA, chaired the meeting, thanked all those Committee members who were retiring, and welcomed the present Committee to their new year in office. The start of the meeting involved an introduction to the new Alumnae Relations team at Roedean - Mark Taylor and Grace Cather. The formal ORA business of the AGM then took place with ORA members only.

Mary-Grace became a Japanese teacher at Bury’s St Edmunds County Upper School where she founded Club Gonenkai in 1970 to organise exchange visits with students in Japan. Mary-Grace also became instrumental as a volunteer coordinator of Pacific Venture, an exchange programme which sends grandchildren of former British PoWs to Japan in order to build friendships with the Japanese. Thousands of people from all over Britain and Japan have been involved and Mary-Grace’s work has now led to her receiving the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays, bestowed upon her by the Japanese Government in recognition of her remarkable contribution. In 1999 Mary-Grace was awarded the Foreign Minister’s Commendation for her achievements on promoting mutual understanding between the UK and Japan, and in 2006 she was made an MBE for her contribution to UK-Japan relations.

Roedean Rocks One Year On Roedean Rocks celebrated its 1st birthday on Friday 3rd February with a fabulous turnout of nearly 50 alumnae at ‘The Roof Gardens’ - London’s only rooftop private members club. The venue (and the group!) certainly lived up to their glamorous reputations. ORs who left in the 1950s through to those who left in the last few years gathered to catch up with old friends, make new ones and – over a glass of fizz or two – celebrate Roedean Rocks’ first year. 5

Alumnae Highlights Alumnae Highlights The Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers for Shanta Shanta Sundarason (No. 4, 1985-87) has been awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. In 2013, she founded a not-for-profit Social Justice Group ‘The Giving Tree Unionville’ after being inspired by her volunteer work with ‘Free the Children’ in the UK and Canada. The Giving Tree Unionville’s mission is to encourage local youth to make a difference through action whilst learning about social issues. The Giving Tree Unionville has run youth-led projects such as a Community Sing-Along, the Kairos Blanket Exercise to educate all on the history of Indigenous peoples, Reaching Out by reading issues aloud to the Prime Minister and an interactive initiative to share personal aspirations in a public space, the Board of Hope. Outside of The Giving Tree Unionville, Shanta has been active in her community to get the City of Markham to stop the horns of the GO train, prevent the ban on skating on the local pond (a local tradition) and to close down a brothel in Unionville in only four days. Having given up so much of her time in order to better her community, engage local youth and shed light on issues facing Indigenous peoples, Shanta is a very deserving recipient of the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Dates for your Diary Friday 16th June

Governors’ Forum

5.30 pm

Roedean Followed by the School’s production of Annie.

Saturday 24th June

Roedean Day

10.00 am – 4.00 pm

Roedean Our annual reunion day. A special welcome to those celebrating 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 years on.

Friday 15th September

Old Roedeanians’ London Lunch

12.00 pm – 3.00 pm

The Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, SW1X 7LF If any ORs would like to contribute their experience to the Careers’ Fair, please get in touch.

Thursday 21st September

Careers’ Fair

4.30 pm – 7.00 pm


Friday 29th September

Founders’ Day


Roedean Chapel

For more information and booking, please contact Grace via or by phone 01273 667398. 6

OR News Spirit de la Mare (née Pembleton-Fraser, No. 1, 1997-2002) Editor-in-chief at Brogue Magazine and Brogue Digital, Spirit has recently relaunched the magazine alongside a brand new website and social media exhibition of sorts, highlighting vibrant, exciting and emerging art.

Kirstin Duffield (née Cropper, No. 2, 1984-89) With nearly 20 years in the IT industry with her company Morning Data, Kirstin quite rightly became a finalist in the ‘Business Leader of the Year’ category at this year’s Women in IT awards. Congratulations!

Miztli Neville Alison Gardiner (No. 3, 1969-75) The second book in her Serpent of Eridor fantasy series, Alison published ‘Alchemy’ earlier this year to great reviews. ‘Alchemy’ follows fourteen year-old Alex and his hamster Skoodle on the magical island of Eridor as he searches for his parents.

(née Cadena, No. 4, 2000-07) With the express aim of putting women centre-stage, Miztli and three of her friends have created a new podcast ‘Heroine Addicts’ that discusses a different heroine every two weeks. From superstars and scientists, slayers and sportswomen, fiction and history, past and present – this podcast is a whole lot of girl power.

Noo Saro-Wiwa

Katherine Daniels

(No. 3, 1986-94)

(née Rich, No. 2, 1988-95)

Placed on a list by the New York Public Library to celebrate 365 women authors for International Women’s Day 2017, Noo’s book ‘Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria’ details her travels around her father’s native Nigeria in all of its beauty and variety.

A founding member and editor of the underground student magazine Teen Idle from her time at Roedean, Katherine set to edit her late husband Robin’s book on spiritual life for publication. She says “It was a really joyful task because it was contact with Robin’s mind. I learnt things about him and his inner life that I hadn’t known before.”

Correction: In the OR News section of The Roedeanian’s Winter 2016 edition, Gina Miller was listed as an OR. This is incorrect. Gina Miller did not attend Roedean.


OR News A Wedding with a Roedean Twist Congratulations to OR Iris Shepherd (née Kwok, No. 1, 2000-04) and Mark Shepherd on their marriage in August 2016. Iris met Mark, the son of former Careers and PE teacher Sue Epps (1986-2005), by chance in London without any knowledge of their Roedean connection! Their wedding

was a beautiful summer affair, complete with OR bridesmaids (L-R) Stephanie Ng (No. 1, 2000-05), Mary-Anne Taube (No. 3, 19972005) and Yun Wu (No. 2, 1997-2004).

Your e-Roedeanian We want to ensure that we keep in touch regularly with our community of ORs, parents, former staff and friends of the School. In addition to The Roedeanian, published in hard copy for the first time in December, Roedeanians around the globe will also receive this e-version of the magazine every April and October. In this digital age, it makes sense for the School to keep in touch via email. This is better for the environment and saves money on printing, paper and postage. Thank you to all those who have already let us know you are happy to receive School papers (for AGMs etc.) via email. If you have not already done so, please do let me know so we can add you to the e-list for Roedean correspondence. I want to take this opportunity to thank Michelle Wong (No. 3, 1996-2000) for generously sponsoring a new bench, which now has pride of place in the Quad. Her bench is ‘A place to ponder’ for the girls of Roedean (please see the picture on the back cover). There are lots of improvement and sponsorship projects we can’t currently afford to fund. If you would like to learn more about how you could help with Bursaries, the refurbishment of the sundial, repairs to the Chapel or our 8

plans to improve our sports facilities, please get in touch. Every gift – large or small – will help to make a difference for the girls at Roedean today. The Summer term began on 24 April with Chapel and handshaking. It will be a busy term, particularly for those pupils with exams approaching, but the term is also packed full of events that Roedeanians are very welcome to attend, especially Roedean Day on 24 June. Please contact me for more information about Roedean Day or the other events open to visitors this term. We are always delighted to host visitors for an informal tour. When possible please let us know in advance. With best wishes Mark Taylor Director of Alumnae Relations and Development 01273 667500

Remembrance & Obituaries Lady Anne Reynolds (Johnson, No. 3, 1938-47) Anne was my adored older sister. Her name was Barbara Anne Johnson, initials BAJ which is why I always called her Badger, and she called me Piglet. At Roedean she was always known as Johnny. As our mother was away in Nigeria so much, I came to rely on Anne for everything. She looked after me, listened to my worries, gave me her advice: she was very patient, kind and immensely wise. She was much loved by girls and staff alike, even by school matrons. It was her last term and she was a school prefect which made me very proud, for to have a sister in the upper school who was a prefect gave you a certain amount of kudos. I will never forget one Sunday. The Junior House marched in a crocodile to the Chapel and there was my big sister standing on duty in the cloisters. I was delighted to see her. “Hello Badger!” I called out. “No talking there,” she said sternly. She took her duties very seriously and her conscience would not allow her to make any exception to the rule of not talking in the cloisters. Her conscience was always a big thing with her. My father and I were apt to tell stories somewhat (or greatly)

exaggerated and then she would say, “But it wasn’t quite like that was it?” We thought, who cared if it made a better story? But her unremitting conscience always dictated her thoughts and actions: for her the truth was paramount. 

Diana Kay (Johnson, No. 3, 1945-51)

Ken Thomson (Staff, Head of Economics/Head of Government and Politics 1991-2016) Ken Thomson passed away over the Christmas period, after courageously battling an illness over the last year. It is very difficult to comprehend losing a key member of the Roedean community, who was with us teaching his classes until very recently, and all our sympathies are with his wife, Angela, and their two children, Alec and Ariana. Ken was a great teacher and colleague, and a wonderful inspiration to the many students he taught and guided over the 25 years he was at Roedean. He led two departments for the last 11 years, and was hugely generous with his time when supporting his students, as well as others who sought his advice when completing their university application forms; he made a difference to countless individuals over many years. They learnt a great deal from him, not only in his subjects, but also through his humane and patient approach, and Ken made a real difference in ways he perhaps could never know. 

Jenni Sambrook (Staff, Maths teacher 2001-2010 and 2015-2016) A full tribute to Jenni will appear in the Summer edition of The Roedeanian.

Oliver Blond

If you would like to write a tribute to fellow ORs that have recently passed away, please do get in touch with Mark via Roedeanians who pass away are always remembered at the Founders’ Day service, which is held annually in the Autumn term.

Correction: In the OR Obituaries section of The Roedeanian’s Winter 2016 edition, Ellen Carsch’s years were incorrectly listed as 1907-09. Her years were 1939-40.

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e-Roedeanian Spring 2017  
e-Roedeanian Spring 2017