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Kay Arthur PC 32-38 When I was at Penrhos we had a Head of Music who we affectionately called KA after the initials she used when she signed off notices she posted in school. Among all the other things she did, KA took us all for school singing. Every Saturday after Prayers she climbed up into that raised wooden stall in the central aisle in Chapel and got the whole school to sing for her. I never once remember KA having to raise her voice: I remember every girl willingly took part and wanted to do her best because every girl genuinely liked KA. One Saturday KA produced a pencil with a little Paddington Bear figure jammed on its end. She told the school she had found it left behind in a practice room and knew Paddington’s Aunt Lucy would want her to look after him, and that in just a few short days she had grown very attached, but knew he wasn’t hers to keep and there must be a girl in school who was missing him and would like him back, so if they came and saw her after School Singing she would return him to his rightful owner. I’m sure many other Penrhosians recognise that story about KA: perhaps not the absolute particulars of it, but recognise the kindness and gentle humour that made her such a popular member of staff. I wonder too how many of you KA played her little trick on, the trick where she would point to the stained glass window in chapel – the one with the young prince pulling the sword out of the stone – and point to the wording at the bottom: K– full stop – Arthur, and say the window was dedicated to her.

My sister Annie and I were with KA shortly before she died and when she had become very muddled. As dawn was breaking, KA suddenly decided she wanted to get out of bed and told us she was going to go to Penrhos because she had a lot of friends there. Even at the very end of her life, Penrhos meant so much to her. I have been especially lucky because KA wrote notes just for me, and when I was at Penrhos she used to reverse her trade mark KA to AK, which was short for Aunty Kay. Aunty Kay and her great friend Mary Woolcock looked after my brother David at Rydal and me at Penrhos throughout those awkward teenage years when we were away at school and our parents were overseas. The Aunts, as we called them, always came to every play, every concert and every open day we were involved in, so that we always had somebody in the audience just for us. I would often go out to them from school and even though they seemed to me then two elderly ladies I always enjoyed being in their company and I don’t remember ever feeling bored or missing school friends my own age when I was with them.

No talk about KA would be complete without speaking about her love of music and how she inspired others to share it. Even those like me who had no special talent remember how she made music accessible and fun, like the psalm she wrote explaining how to sing a psalm, with instructions on what you were supposed to do when you came across those lines and dashes and dots that punctuated the psalms in the school hymn book. KA was a wonderfully patient, wonderfully inspirational teacher and her legacy is in all the Penrhosians who track their love of music back to her. Lisa (Tomlinson) Glover

Kelly (Cooper) Elson RS 73-75 Although her actual names are Caroline Sara she has always been just Kelly. She died 5th June 2012 - the day after her 55th birthday which she celebrated, characteristically, with a house (and garden) full of family and friends. Having been diagnosed with cancer between last Christmas and New Year Kelly dealt with her situation courageously and made the most of the past 5 months.

Born in Colwyn Bay of parents Ken Cooper, Art and PE teacher at Rydal School, and Norah Cooper, teacher then Headmistress at Lyndon School, Kelly grew up in a happy home with brothers Joe, Bill and Jamie. The family took full advantage of the school holidays travelling overland exploring Europe each summer whilst enjoying the advantages of living by the sea with the woods, and later Snowdonia, as an extended playground. From a very young age Kelly had a natural ability to make friends, most of whom remained close friends, whilst continually adding to their number.

After attending Eirias High School Kelly went to Rydal, as had her brothers. Kelly took advantage of the shortage of girls at school for perusing roles in music and drama, and was also active in integrating girls into school life. Having a father in the staff room and knowing several of the teaching staff helped to make sure her proposals were heard and actioned. It was also at Rydal that Kelly met her future husband, James.

Having graduated with a Diploma in Education at York Kelly started her teaching career at a Steiner School, near Derby, then moved back to Colwyn Bay where her 3 children were born, sons Owen and Joel and daughter Robyn, all of whom attended Lyndon then Rydal. Kelly took a teaching post at Lyndon and despite the sad loss of both her parents and the break-up of her marriage, maintained a happy home for her children in Colwyn Bay. After Lyndon was consolidated into Rydal-Penrhos, Kelly became Head of Pre-Prep and was pivotal in the school attaining Forest School status.

Kelly loved the outdoors, especially walking in Snowdonia, and she also enjoyed art and crafts with a house full of hand thrown pottery, some of which she made herself with some skill. Most will remember Kelly in her kitchen, surrounded by family and friends drinking coffee, or perhaps a glass of something, and everyone who knew her will feel the loss. Bill Cooper

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Rydal Penrhos Society Newsletter Issue 20  

Issue 20 of the Rydal Penrhos Society Newsletter