ISSUE 13 | SPRING 2010
COMING SOON 125th Anniversary Year Diary Dates 2010/2011 Look out for special mailing in June
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE ST CATHERINE’S ASSOCIATION
Marathon D-ash! Summer Terms across the UK began with disruptions caused by the unpronounceable Icelandic Volcano and St Catherine's was no exception. The U14 and U15 Lacrosse tour party to the west coast of the USA was stranded in San Diego and Los Angeles for an extra six days on top of their 10 day Easter tour when the Ash Cloud descended over the UK. In true St Cat's spirit they managed to get some TV coverage of their plight, and then a series of invitations to pool parties, extra lax matches, barbecues, and free tours of Disneyland, San Diego Aquarium and Beverly Hills. Frustrated by the delay which also endangered her final London Marathon preparation, Head of PE and tour leader, Vic Alexander (inset photo below - left), was delighted by the support and encouragement
that the tour girls gave her, boosting her morale as she kept up her training schedule during the week that followed, still desperate to have a chance to run after all the months of preparation. When flights eventually resumed on Saturday 1st May, she was finally able to get home just in time for a night's sleep before joining colleague, Sophie Phillips (Housemistress of Bronte House) (inset photo below right), to run the Marathon on the Sunday morning. Together they raised £1064 for our Kenyan link school, St Catherine’s (Nairobi), and turned in their target times of just under 4 hours and 4 ½ hours respectively. Congratulations go to them both on a great achievement, and to all the U14 and U15 teams and the staff on tour for their upbeat and practical handling of the more difficult moments of a long delay.
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‘Miss Rhodes’ Returns Mrs Alice Carr (née Rhodes) taught English at St Catherine's just after the war (from Autumn 1945 until her marriage in1948). Mrs Carr was recently widowed and is now residing at the Cedar Court Care Home in Cranleigh. We were delighted to welcome her back to school and she enjoyed visiting the Chapel and a tour of Main School which she remembered from her teaching days.
Tara judges House Gym Competition Jane Cowx, Head of PE at the Prep School, writes: "The Old Girl who judged our house gymnastics was Tara Oxley (Pakenham-Walsh) (1998 Leaver). She is a Guildford High School PE teacher and well known to us. She enjoyed the afternoon and commented on the high standard of the girls and the confidence with which they performed."
Non Nobis Domine! Not unto us, O Lord, The praise or glory be... The opening of the school hymn Rudyard Kipling
Dr Janet Johnson
Chairman of Academic Committee & Member of Estate and Buildings’ Committee, Janet Johnson joined the Governing Body on 30th November 2002 I read Modern History at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in the late 1960s. I had a wonderful time, met my future husband and came down with a respectable degree and some happy memories. I had toyed with the idea of staying on to do a research degree but decided against it and went on to do a teaching qualification instead. After years spent teaching and raising a family, I was conscious that I still had an unfulfilled ambition to resume my studies. Then circumstances arose which enabled me to create an opportunity to return to Oxford. This time I seized it with both hands. Nearly 30 years after going down I found myself back at LMH working for a D Phil, which I duly completed 4years later, having enjoyed myself immensely in the process. I could not then imagine a life which did not include at least some historical research, so I did freelance work and published a number of articles. Then last year I was invited by the current Principal, Dr Frances Lannon, to work with her on a collaborative history of LMH from its foundation in 1879 to the present day. Our specific objective is to write a college history which is more than a chronicle of expansion, building projects and the fluctuating fortunes of college societies but also places such developments in their wider social, economic and political context. To facilitate my work, I was elected to a Research Fellowship to run for the duration of the project. After much discussion about our objectives and approaches, Frances and I divided up the task between us and currently we are starting at the beginning, with Frances working on the background to the decision to set up a Hall for young women in Oxford, while I am looking at the early decades of development before the First World War. The 1940s and ‘50s and then the period since the introduction of co-education in 1979 up to the present day are my subsequent tasks with their own inherent but different challenges. I try to get to Oxford as often as I can, allowing for my other commitments like St Catherine’s, so that I can work in the college archive. The archive, although by the standards of some Oxford colleges all very recent, is remarkably comprehensive and almost at the point of outgrowing the modest little office in which it is housed. There is no room to work there; instead I take the cardboard archive boxes into the college library, which had just been completed when I went up as an undergraduate and looks much
as I remember it apart from its rewiring for the computer age. I am currently working my way through the minutes of the governing body, the Council, in the early years of the last century. Handwritten in large notebooks, they also include important letters, accounts, sub- committee reports and the wonderfully spontaneous and frank termly reports of the Lady Principal, Elizabeth Wordsworth. There is a lot more to be done and the material proliferates the nearer one gets to the present day. I have also enjoyed reading a number of published autobiographies of a few of the early students and there is a substantial collection of photographs which never fails to fascinate. The picture of LMH that emerges is profoundly impressive. The venture was very brave, the beginnings very small. Demand was untested, educational opportunities for girls so limited and opposition to the whole idea so strong in many influential quarters that it is remarkable that the men and women behind its foundation remained undaunted. But start they did and within a very few years had embarked upon schemes, modest at first, for the expansion of college facilities which continue to the present. The treasurers husbanded the college’s slender resources to service the personal loans and mortgages raised to pay for the new buildings. Fund raising, for both buildings and for the scholarships needed to widen access to an Oxford education, was continuous and although always solvent, LMH was never free from a great burden of debt. It is a matter of some amazement that the Council was brave enough to embark on further projects that were only just affordable by dint of the most rigorous housekeeping, full occupancy and even vacation lets, which produced annual current account surpluses sufficient to service the debts. Without some generous benefactors prepared to waive interest payments or to make outright donations, the college’s trajectory would most likely not have been possible. LMH today, now part way through its latest ambitious building project, is unrecognisable from the small house in north Oxford, occupied by 9 students and Miss Wordsworth, the Principal, which opened its doors in 1879. Tracing and explaining this progress over more than 130 years is a challenging but fundamentally exciting and enjoyable task. I am really looking forward to the next two or three years!
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Mr Cheuk Hay Chan, Alice Phillips & Mrs Karen Chan Lai Ching (parents of Jane Chan)
Rachel Yuen, Helen Lam, Ellen Lam, Matina Chang, Elfleda Wong, Julia Shipway
Ivan & Annette Kwong (parents of Celina Kwong) Nisa Leung (1985), Bridget Rooth (1983) & Alice Phillips
Mrs Susanna Mok (Florence Ho’s mother) & Mrs Foon Yi Choy (Alison Wong’s mother)
Mamie Ko (1979) (Annemarie Ko’s mother) & Shahnaz Li (1978)
Susanna Chan (1989), Christina Foord & Susanna’s husband, Paul Davies
St Catherine’s has been proud to educate pupils from Hong Kong for over 40 years. Alice Phillips (Headmistress) and Christina Foord (Head of Boarding) were delighted to celebrate this long standing link by welcoming over 40 current parents, former parents and Old Girls to an evening Reception in Hong Kong on 28th January 2010. Guests enjoyed chatting over drinks and canapés before the Headmistress gave a presentation on life at St Catherine’s today. The idea of a St Catherine’s Association South East Asia Group was warmly received and the group now has its own Facebook page. This inaugural Hong Kong Reception was a resounding success and further events will be arranged in the region in the future. One recent leaver wrote: “I really enjoyed the reception. It was a delight to see Mrs Phillips, Mrs Foord and so many old school friends.” A current parent told us: “My daughter has newly joined St Catherine’s and it will be the first time we can meet both of them.” And a 1978
Mrs Fanny Shek & Mr Barry Shek (parents of Karen Shek)
Leaver reports: “I had a wonderful time meeting Mrs Phillips and Mrs Foord tonight. We were amongst the first to arrive and the last to leave... so this shows you how much we enjoyed the function.” Christina Foord travelled to Hong Kong from Australia where she also hosted a small alumnae Reunion in Perth. A 1956 Leaver wrote: “Thank you so very much for hosting a lovely little gettogether. It was great to meet up and it is exciting to know that other people are living in this far off land, all of whom had the same (or similar, as it seems to get better!!) schooling!”
Mrs Cordelia Chung & Mr Wai Cheong Wong (Cybil Wong’s parents) & Mrs Esther Tham (Flora Lo’s mother)
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Battlefields of the Somme The latest Association weekend tour was sold out before the closing date so a double decker was required to accommodate all of this year’s ‘battlefielders’. Unforeseen volcanic chaos saw numbers dip slightly in the week before we travelled but a party of 65 set off for France in the early hours of Saturday 1st May. Many of those who travelled to the Ypres Salient with us last year had booked again and the group was the same happy mix of current and former parents, current and former staff, Old Girls and their partners. The hotel was comfortable and we enjoyed a splendid group dinner in Amiens on the Saturday evening. The noise level in the restaurant was deafening due to the great spirit of camaraderie which prevailed throughout the weekend. We were privileged once again to be in the capable hands of Andy and Sue Thompson of Eye Witness Tours. The weekend began at Delville Wood and finished at Lutyen’s iconic Thiepval Memorial - visiting most of the major sites in between. These included Newfoundland Park, the Ulster Tower, Serre No 2 - together with some smaller cemeteries of special personal interest. Toppy Wharton (Old Girl and Head’s PA) and her mother, Lady Page, laid a wreath in memory
of their uncle/great-uncle, Hugh Mott, at Gommecourt. Many were moved to tears on hearing of the heroism and tragedy which took place at Gommecourt nearly one hundred years ago. Five volunteers gave wonderful readings of war poems at intervals throughout the weekend and a wreath was laid at Thiepval to honour all the men who died and fought in the Great War with a connection to St Catherine’s. Thanks to the painstaking research of Rosemary and Richard Christophers, we are aware of 20 such men amongst the fallen. A remarkable statistic considering St Catherine’s was a school of only around 100 girls at the time. Next year’s trip will focus on the D-Day Normandy Landings when we shall visit sites connected to the Allied invasion during WW2. Details and an application form will be enclosed with the next issue of Non Nobis.
Chris Silver (Business Manager) & Jane Griffiths-Williams (1949)
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Cambridge Reunion Dinner
Pippa Kindersley (2007) & Sarah Healy (2007)
Rachel Walden (2006), Francesca Kapfer-Gill (2008), Claudia Mair (2009), Alice Phillips, Katherine Stocks (1984), Claire Nicholas (2008) & Karen Lau (2008)
On Saturday 8th May 2010, the Headmistress and other members of staff travelled to Cambridge for a Reunion Dinner. Following the success of the Oxford Dinner in 2008, we invited Old Girls who are Cambridge graduates/ undergraduates, those living in the local area and former members of staff. Appropriately enough, our party of 30 met at St Catharine's College where we enjoyed a drinks reception in the Old Combination Room before going downstairs for a 3 course dinner in the Senior Combination Room. It was wonderful to catch up with Old Girls of all generations and the proliferation of 'wheels' at St Catharine's College made us all feel at home!
Harvard PhD Old Girl, Dr Emily Ansari (Abrams) (1990), presented her thesis for her Musicology PhD to the library at Harvard before Christmas 2009:
Annie Ward (2009), Philippa Vega (2009) & Isobel Hitchcock (Hobrow) (1953)
Rachel Walden (2006) & Catriona Stephen (2006)
Janet Oswald (Leigh) (1951) & Deirdre Clarkson-Webb (Francis) (1955)
Cathy Corrie (2009) & Eleanor Duckworth (2009)
â€œI began my PhD at Harvard back in 2003. My husband (Daniel Ansari - a neuro-scientist) and I came to the United States together he took a job at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and I, luckily, was able to get a wonderful PhD not too far away from there in Boston. I had a wonderful time at Harvard: living in Boston was a great experience and I found my professors at Harvard to be some of the most stimulating with whom I have come into contact. After three years in the United States Daniel and I decided to move to Canada, where he had obtained a new job at the University of Western Ontario. A year later I was lucky enough to obtain my own position in the Music Faculty there. I then spent three very crazy years finishing my dissertation while teaching full time at Western - not something I would recommend! But I was very lucky to have found a job at the same university as my husband, and hope to stay here in Canada for many years to come. My thesis concerned the role of American classical music composers in their government's Cold War cultural diplomacy campaigns. I hope in the next few years to publish the thesis as a book and to produce lots of exciting new research on the use of music as a political tool.â€?
Degree News Please do let us know if you have any qualifications - whether recent or historic - which could be included on Honours Boards in the new buildings. Email details to: email@example.com.
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Focus on Journalism Anne Garrels (1968) In 2002 I began going into Iraq as a journalist. It was clear the US government was eventually going to attack the country. My goal was to learn as much as possible about the state of Iraq and how Iraqis perceived the likely war. I was not sure until the very last minute that I would actually stay for the bombing campaign but I finally concluded I had a good chance of surviving, thanks in large part to a trusted Iraqi who had become my driver. I reported that Iraqis were ambivalent at best about the US-led invasion. I reported what I saw and heard. As President George Bush announced “mission accomplished” I saw a mission that was far from over. What I could not know then was that the bombing campaign was nothing compared to the madness that erupted once American troops were on the ground, Saddam was underground, and the country was wracked by revenge. I could not know then that I would stay another five years, documenting as best as possible the response of both the coalition forces and Iraqis. The last thing I ever thought I would do on leaving St Cat’s in 1968 was being a journalist, let alone a war correspondent. Women had cracked open some professional doors, but it was for my generation to knock them down. It happened bit by bit for me. First I got a secretarial job with a London publisher. After all, what else did an over-educated, inexperienced young woman do? Then in New York I got a job in television… doing research of course, another predictable job. I had one thing going for me. I had studied Russian at Harvard. I was
passionately interested in the Soviet Union. Amazingly a senior executive decided to take a risk, and send a 28 year old woman to Moscow as a correspondent. When I got there and realized I was in way over my head I sobbed in my bugged apartment. Realising the KGB could probably hear me, I went out into the frigid cold to continue to weep there. It was the beginning. I met extraordinary Soviets who were brave enough to bear witness to the reality of life there. They taught me. I left television, frustrated with its limits, and joined National Public Radio, something akin to the BBC. As the Soviet Union broke apart I ended up covering hotter and hotter wars. I believe strongly that there must continue to be reporters on the ground, watching and listening, not opining. In my late 30s I married a political cartoonist, Vint Lawrence, who was twelve years older than I. He already had two children from a prior marriage and did not want more. Though friends said, “oh don’t worry, just get pregnant, he’ll go along with another”, I knew otherwise and had to deal with that. It wasn’t what I thought my life would be but I have a wonderful marriage. I would never have continued as a foreign correspondent had I had children. It’s not a “family friendly” profession. Instead I have “adopted” many of the young translators who have worked with me, and continue to enrich my life. And what I learn is that we have many life-times … St Cat’s, university, unhappy 20s, then a great career. Now I am getting off the road, and contemplating a whole new life time.
Francine Stock (1974) The role of the journalist is always changing. It’s not hard to appreciate the value of John Reed’s despatches from revolutionary Russia (however flawed they may now seem as factual accounts) or be impressed by the impact of Times’ editor John Delane’s reports from the Crimean War which brought about the resignation of the entire British cabinet. In a time of limited, controlled, information the doubting questioner has a clear purpose to cut through propaganda and give a voice to the dispossessed or misunderstood. In a blogging, twittering age of 24-hour news and proliferating information and opinions, the journalist needs a different kind of determination and clarity. When I went into journalism (almost backed into it, in retrospect) I had a couple of things going for me – curiosity and a tendency to analysis that could be irritating to family and friends. These things help, though. What I valued in my time as a print and then television reporter was the chance to find out what was really going on: to get to places and speak to people who might not otherwise have their stories told. They might be impoverished sugarcane-cutters in Northeastern Brazil, living under the yoke of their country’s debt to international banks or victims of war in an outpost of the Soviet Union but they might equally be longterm mental patients in a hospital facing closure. The best journalism helps understanding. It’s not about the reporter, either. In that sense, the message is more important than the medium. I’m no admirer of highly personalised accounts of other people’s suffering, lacrimose accounts of the reporter’s own feelings. The best journalism from any age rarely shines because of opinions, unless they are backed up by solid evidence. Charles Wheeler, the late and truly great BBC correspondent who was so encouraging to me, hated to be too much at the front of the story. He always put the subject first; that was what made his reports so distinctive for decades. I once helped out at a careers evening at a well-known girls’ school (not the one our daughters attended). Too many of these welleducated young women thought they might make good television presenters/journalists. I was brutal. Why? To present what? ‘Presenting’ is only as good as what you present. Why would I trust what you say? They didn’t always think that mattered. It should do. In a world where the methods of persuasion get ever more sophisticated, we need journalists who don’t peddle sensation or sentiment but encourage independent thought.
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Amanda King (1994) ‘Journalist’ isn’t a job description, it’s a part of who you are, a characteristic; an instinct. If you get lucky then you can earn a wage on account of that personality trait. So how do you become one? What is the moment of qualification whereupon you can call yourself ‘Journalist’? You can do courses in how to be one, in fact, I wrote a degree on how to be one, (more precisely a broadcast ‘one’, accuracy is everything) so I should know and yet I am still puzzled and probably troubled by the whole thing. It is quite logical to question your worth if all you perceive that you are doing is talking about other people’s lives. No doubt I am puzzled and probably troubled because I am a Journalist. Whatever that is. I left St Cats 16 years ago with a great set of values, some inspiring role models, wonderful memories and the best friends you could hope for. I knew exactly what I wanted to do but, because I hadn’t been brave enough to choose the A-levels I really wanted to study, had entirely the wrong set of qualifications with which to do it, or so I thought. What I wanted to do and what I had always enjoyed doing was communicating. Sometimes that was just with friends, (not always at the right time of course) or writing the house play or taking part in the house debating competition or arguing the pros and cons of wooden versus plastic lacrosse sticks in between endless rounds of matches at tournaments in various glamorous pitch-side locations. Whilst all of my friends went off to university, I found myself two jobs and set about trying to work out what to do with my ‘wrong’ qualifications; one as an auxiliary nurse, probably in some way to honour and make some use of my scientific ‘wrongness’ and one in the local pub, probably in some way to humour and exercise my communicative ‘rightness’. I got involved with the hospital radio station and through sheer persistence, confidence (thank you St Cats) and perhaps a little talent got myself some work experience at a national commercial radio station and from there everything seemed to make sense and fall in to place; my ‘wrongness’ which had put me at the hospital, had led to my ‘rightness’. I got a job out of the work experience and then another one. Now I was co-producing radio programmes and writing gags for popular TV shows and was caught up in the world of celebrity and all that came with it. I enjoyed myself and learned my
trade for a number of years before I decided that I needed some sort of qualification to justify what I was doing and for my own development. I went to university and got a degree as a mature student and because I was genuinely passionate about my subject, and because I had real life and industry experience, I got a first and then a scholarship to the BBC. I worked in the BBC South East hub, based in Kent where I live, producing programmes and news. My life changed profoundly in 2004. I got married and I produced the radio coverage of the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings during which I was honoured and privileged to know the veterans from all sides and be able to tell their stories. I was awarded a BBC award and a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award for these programmes which was deeply humbling. This meant that I had received the highest recognition my industry could give me and that in turn meant a change in direction for me. Quite by accident via a flurry of desperate sounding emails, I ended up taking a lecture about broadcast journalism at the University for the Creative Arts in Surrey and after some discussion I agreed to take on a section of the department and in turn to rewrite the associated degree course. I taught part-time at the university for four years, gaining a post graduate degree of my own and rising to be a senior lecturer. This is something that still amuses me, my friends and my former broadcasting colleagues - and perhaps now it may amuse some of my former teachers too. It was a hugely satisfying time and allowed me to continue to write and produce. I still divide my time between teaching, writing, producing and journalism but now my students are not undergraduates or post graduates. Instead they are young people for whom mainstream education has not proved successful; the sort of people I have heard about and reported on for years. I try to make them see that it doesn’t matter if you don’t quite start out the way you meant to because you can and do change every day, because all experience turns out to be informative in some guise and every situation can become an opportunity. So perhaps I should feel that I can enjoy my ‘journalist’ credentials and on-the-side creativity guilt free, because I am doing something really useful with my communication habit. Focus on Journalism continued overleaf
End of Term Lecturers
A very welcome development in recent years has been that End of Term Lectures are now given by Old Girls. Since the last issue of Non Nobis, we have welcomed two fantastic speakers who both gave supberb presentations: Becky Price (Ragland) has followed a varied path since leaving St Catherine's in 1990 including studying languages and working in France and Italy, playing competitive netball and basketball, fencing for Great Britain, qualifying as a BSL Level 2 Signer and a Level 1 Surf Coach. She has been running the Big Blue Surf School in Bude (www.bigbluesurfschool. co.uk) with her husband Jon for the last 8 years. Allison Ingham (Savage) (1980) enjoyed being a member of the OTC whilst at Exeter University and joined the Army as an Officer cadet after graduation. Alli rose to the rank of Major and saw active service in Bosnia. She took an MBA whilst in the Army and held senior positions in the Army's Recruiting Organisation. Alli left the Army after 16 years and now works as a marketing consultant.
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Claire Coleman (1995)
Adriana Wright (1994) When I left St Catherine’s in 1994 I was one of the lucky ones because I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my career, although the path has not always been as direct as I might have imagined back then. After concentrating on my own sporting endeavours, which included representing Scotland in rowing, whilst completing a Languages degree at Edinburgh University I decided the time was right to pursue the career in sports journalism I had always dreamed of When I graduated from a one-year Masters in Journalism at Napier University, the Scottish Sports Agency offered me a full-time position and in two years there I covered everything from Six Nations rugby to Champions League football and the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final. As a young reporter I felt incredibly lucky to be given such amazing opportunities and even more so as one of the few women in the press box at these events. In 2002 I set up Final Whistle Media with a colleague and continued to report on many high profile sporting events for our clients including The Sunday Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Mirror, The Scotsman and ITV Sport. But the last five years have seen newspapers hit really hard by falling circulation and advertising revenues. For me this change presented another opportunity to use the skills that I had learned working as a journalist and I jumped the fence and work in the world of public relations.
My most recent venture has been working for two of Ford’s teams in the World Rally Championship. As press officer for the Stobart M-Sport Ford and Munchi’s Ford rally teams I have been lucky enough to work at WRC events at home and abroad. And despite the fact that I now spend a lot of time wrangling with reporters or dragging unwilling drivers from one interview to another, I still get to do a significant amount of writing; producing press releases, driver blogs and features for event programmes and coming up with creative ideas to help promote our teams. When I decided that I wanted to be a journalist I was warned that it was one of the most competitive careers out there. Tenacity and a thick skin are essential. A decade on and there are even fewer opportunities and I would advise anyone looking to embark on a career in media to be aware that very few trainee journalists end up reading the Six O’Clock news or writing their own column in a national newspaper. But there are similar careers out there that will allow you to write and be creative as long as you’re willing to be flexible. More than a decade ago when I embarked on my career I would never have seen myself doing this, but I am extraordinarily lucky to be working in a world that I know many sports fans would give their eye teeth to work in and I do love almost every minute of it.
As a freelance journalist, my working life is nothing if not varied. In the last year, all in the name of work, I’ve spent an all-expenses paid weekend skiing in Zermatt; interviewed Twiggy, the original supermodel; covered the opening of a Monte Carlo nightclub; tottered around London in thigh-length boots; quizzed an expert in genetics about his groundbreaking work; learned how to box; and bought a bike at auction. I’ve seen my work published in the Daily Mail, Sunday Times Style, London Lite, (one of the capital’s free newspapers), Director (the magazine published by the Institute of Directors) and a handful of other magazines. More prosaically, but most importantly, I’ve managed to pay my mortgage doing something I love. I always enjoyed writing, and I’m also irrepressibly nosy, so journalism was an obvious choice. I cut my teeth on the school magazine, but snubbed Mrs Ellery’s suggestion of work experience at the Surrey Ad, preferring instead to bombard my favourite magazines with letters.
and ended up juggling a one-daya-week admin role at the Daily Mail alongside temping for the Guardian and the Observer. After nearly a year, despite endless job applications, and a few published pieces, I was no nearer a permanent role. I bit the bullet and decided to go freelance. I was lucky enough to get editorial work from the Mail and worked hard to maximise my contacts there. At the same time, I pitched endless ideas to other publications. It was, and still can be, seriously hard work but, despite brief stretches as a section editor at the Mail and offers of jobs on glossy magazines, I’ve resisted the lure of a staff post. Why? My job security is non-existent, there’s no company pension, no company health insurance, no sick pay, no holiday pay. Sometimes the phone doesn’t stop ringing, I take on far more work than I should and end up working all hours. Other times, I spend days pitching ideas, hounding contacts and not seeing a single commission come rolling in. And those days, when I’m
Claire Coleman (centre) at Johnsons Beauty Awards
By the time I got to Cambridge to study French & Italian, I’d done stints at the, now defunct, music weekly, MelodyMaker, as well as at teen magazines, 19 and Sugar. Despite this, and my work as editor of The Drain, my college’s satirical gossip rag, of the 40+ job applications I made in my final year, only one bore fruit: two weeks’ work experience on a brand new website called peoplenews.com, edited by a former Tatler editor and backed by media kingpin, Andrew Neil. It was the foot in the door I needed; I made myself indispensable and they kept me on, first as an editorial assistant and then as a staff writer. I learnt, and wrote, loads, until April 2001 when, like 70% of the staff, I was made redundant. Willing to do anything to stay in the business, I contacted everyone I knew
bored of my own company, wondering how I’m going to pay the bills, when my internet connection is on the blink and there’s no IT department to call, I really do wonder, why? But, ultimately, I do it because of the freedom it gives me. I’m not tied to a desk, just because it’s a weekday between 9 and 6, and I can travel the world with a legitimate reason for asking interesting people awkward questions. Of course there are some things I do that make me cringe but there’s also enough that I’m fiercely proud of to compensate for that. If someone had told me when I was in Upper 5 that this is how I’d be making my living, doing something I love, I’d have been incredulous but delighted. And while, in many ways, I’ve grown up a lot since I was sixteen, some things haven’t changed at all.
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Katy Watson (1999)
Katie Banks (2000) By the time I reached the sixth form at St Cats, I remember becoming increasingly interested in the ever-changing media world. I found the idea of being a journalist very exciting breaking news stories, chasing leads, interviewing infamous characters and most importantly lifting the lid on salacious scandals! Even though I knew journalism was a highly-competitive field, I loved the idea of working in a dynamic, fast-paced and fun atmosphere. As a result I decided to spend my school holidays getting as much experience as possible - taking internships at Channel Four, Delta Radio station, Country Life magazine and Pinewood Studios.
I left St Catherine's after my A Levels in 1999 ready for a GAP year teaching in Chile. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do for a career but knew I wanted to use my languages (I did Spanish, French and Economics at A Level). I went to Cambridge to do Spanish and Italian and started writing for one of the newspapers, The Cambridge Student. It was then I realised I could combine my languages with telling stories so working as a journalist fitted perfectly with my plans! My third year abroad was spent in Mexico, studying International Relations and working for a paper and a radio station. After graduating, I did an internship at Business Monitor International as a Latin American analyst and six months later became a reporter for Bloomberg News. Two years working for a US news agency was hard work but it taught me the journalistic tools I now use every day. But I had always been interested in radio, so I decided to take time out and do a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism. It was a good decision – it allowed me to look at the industry from a much broader perspective, not just fast-paced Bloomberg journalism. It also allowed me to freelance for several organisations. I worked at The Sun Online - a really interesting insight into tabloid journalism and a fantastically-written paper, whether you like the political agenda or not! I also started to work at the BBC in the Business and Economics Unit as a radio producer for 5Live and Radio 4's Today Programme. Then, after 18 months in radio, I moved to television to produce BBC Breakfast, The News Channel and BBC World. Each programme has its own style, agenda and different ways of presenting its business news but they all involve night shifts. I've got used to starting
work at 7pm, writing scripts at midnight and having my 'lunch' at 3am, just before the presenters come through the door! In the past two years, I've also spent a lot of time working for the Prison Radio Association. It's a charity that runs radio stations in prison and helps set up new stations with the aim of teaching prisoners valuable new skills. I helped produce, present and edit the programmes, chaired discussions with groups of the men for special broadcasts and the most rewarding part was seeing the radio station winning several Sony awards (radio 'Oscars') for all the hard work the men at HMP Brixton put in for their interviews and programme ideas. Back at the BBC, I've more recently spent time at the World Service, producing and presenting business news. But now I'm Dubai where I work as a reporter for Middle East Business Report. The job is fantastic. There are three reporters and we each have to produce, report, film and edit our own stories. We could be in Abu Dhabi one week, doing a story on music festivals in the Gulf or we could be flying to Lebanon, finding out about reconstruction efforts in Beirut. And we also have to be on guard in case they need us to do live interviews on breaking news. I'm hardly in the office; I spend the day driving around meeting people and telling their stories, or finding a quiet moment to edit the material I've been filming– it's hard work, there are long hours and it's very rarely glamorous, but it's a fascinating job! Oh, and for those who have got this far ... no, I'm not using my Spanish at the moment, for obvious reasons, but I do hope to work in Latin America in the not-toodistant future. So, for now, it's Arabic lessons for me instead!
After completing an English and Art History degree at St Andrews University, I completed an MSc in Journalism at Napier University. This course specialised in TV, Radio and Print Journalism. It was here that I decided I wanted to pursue a career in print journalism and promptly wrote to over 100 magazines, begging them for internships. I only received two letters back in the post – one from Carpeting Monthly and the other, from Elle Magazine. After a three month paid internship at Elle and other placements at FHM, Brides, Company and Psychologies – I got my first paid job at Glamour Magazine as Features Assistant on a six month contract. I was ecstatic! After spending most of my time writing five set pages in the mag encompassing love, sex, health, work and diet, a chance opportunity came up to interview a children’s TV presenter who’d had £40,000 worth of reconstructive surgery after a horrific mugging. Working on this emotional and touching story made me realise that I wanted to specialise in one-on-one interviews, possibly with a celeb angle. When my contract was over, I spotted a job advertised for Celebrity Writer at Reveal Magazine and my initiation into celebrity interviewing really began. On one of my first jobs, I was sent to cover the Spice Girls kicking off their reunion tour in Vancouver. And to my delight, I bumped into David Beckham at one of the band’s rehearsals and I got an interview with him too. Three years on, I’ve moved to Closer Magazine as Entertainment Editor and the showbiz rollercoaster continues. I’ve been to boot camp with Kerry Katona, auditioned for a role in the West End’s Dirty Dancing, belted out karaoke with Kate Moss and holidayed in Ibiza with Katie Price! And I’m currently planning my trip to the Cannes Film Festival – which will be hugely stressful and hectic but never a dull moment. The job involves ridiculously long hours/weekends, endless patience and energy but in return, you get the satisfaction of seeing your cover stories on the news stands every week and there’s never a shortage of laughter in the office. Work experience is absolutely essential for a job in magazines so if you’re over 18 and looking for short placements, it is best to send your CV and covering letter to each individual editorial assistant at your desired publication.
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Bramley Arts Week Every other year children from the three primary schools in Bramley join forces for an Arts Week and this year’s theme was ‘Carnival’ using recycled items for carnival decorations. Pupils from St Catherine’s, Bramley First School and Gosden House spent several days working together in musical and craft workshops based in the three schools. The children all wore colourful T-shirts designed by one of the Gosden House pupils. The event ended in a carnival procession around Bramley cricket green with all the children wearing head-dresses and masks they had made, dancing the samba and blowing carnival whistles. The procession then moved into the grounds of Gosden House where they had a picnic lunch in the walled garden in the sun. The children and teachers had a wonderful time working and playing together and getting to know other pupils in the village.
Prep School News Success for Prep School Girls Pupils at the Prep School have achieved success in many areas over the past year. Haidée Sticpewich in Upper II won the Evans Schools Short Story Competition and is one of 29 talented young writers to be published out of more than 3,000 entries from schools around the country. Leading children’s author and performance poet Roger McGough provided first lines for the budding young writers to create their own short stories and poems. Haidée used Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne’s line, “That night a mysterious tapping on his bedroom window just wouldn’t stop; he had to see what it was”, as the inspiration for her eerie Halloween story, ‘Ghostly Images’. Haidée was presented with her award on World Book Day when all the Prep School girls dressed as one of their favourite book characters. On 21st March, 2010 three Prep School girls also achieved success in becoming runners up in the U10 National Biathlon Championships. They were Kate Windle, Emma Grainger and Natasha Rix who had trained hard since qualifying in November and each managed to knock seconds off their qualifying times in the swimming and running at Crystal Palace. Kate should also be congratulated on being placed 4th individually. The girls also enjoyed being interviewed about their success by Radio Solent.
Top Prep School Swimming Team St Catherine’s U10 Swimming Team won the prestigious title of IAPS National Prep School Champions on Saturday, 15th May. The team, consisting of Emma Grainger, Kate Windle, Natasha Rix, Catriona Gell and Katie du Plessis, were third in the medley relay and seventh in the freestyle relay. In the individual swimming Emma Grainger became the national champion in U10 25m
freestyle and Kate Windle national champion in the U10 25m breaststroke. Katie du Plessis (swimming a year under age) and Natasha Rix were placed 12th in the U10 25m butterfly and backstroke respectively. The girls are to be congratulated on their wonderful achievement – it is the first time St Catherine’s Prep School has won this title for 18 years.
Annabelle Laura met
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There was a double St Catherine's connection when the UK touring production of When Harry met Sally (adapted for the stage from the original screenplay by Nora Ephron) arrived at the Yvonne Arnaud in March. Laura Butler (2004 Leaver) is the Press & Marketing Officer at the Guildford theatre and one of her St Catherine's contemporaries, Annabelle Brown, is a member of the When Harry met Sally cast.
Laura's ambition on leaving Birmingham University was to train to be a journalist but, struggling to afford the conversion tuition fees, she applied for a temporary job as a marketing assistant at the Yvonne Arnaud to earn some money. Although the pay was initially less than spectacular, Laura was pleased to get the job, thinking it would be good experience and an interesting short term post (little suspecting that she had beaten a field of over 100 applicants). One thing has led to another and Laura has been promoted and is now on a permanent contract. She sees her long term future in PR but describes the Yvonne Arnaud as a very special place to work. Laura arranged all the Press interviews for When Harry met Sally, and finds that the local press love a local angle - however tenuous. Despite two very well known soap stars taking the lead in the production, Annabelle Brown was much in demand for press and radio interviews. We last saw Annabelle on Old Girls' Day 2007 when she gave a spectacular vocal performance. We had assumed her future lay in singing but Annabelle reports that she is exactly where she wants to be - acting. She has thoroughly enjoyed working with a small company and cast (six actors) and delivers the production's immortal line: "I'll have what she's having". A review in The Stage applauded: "the punchline perfectly delivered by Annabelle Brown". The four month tour has given Annabelle an opportunity to understudy one of the principal roles and she looks forward to playing 'Marie' in the Friday night performance when the production moves to the Manchester Opera House in May. Annabelle's ultimate ambition is to combine her acting and singing and she is beginning to audition for new roles to follow the tour which finishes on 26th June. Hopefully a musical is on the horizon!
Work Continues Apace! Despite the snows and very cold weather of the Spring Term, and thanks to the hard work of the construction team, the Sports Complex will be opening towards the end of next term.
of the auditorium is clearly emerging while the entrance foyer makes a striking impression at the heart of the School, next to the well loved chestnut tree.
Mrs Phillips and Mrs Jefferies have been able to view the inside of the whole of the Complex for the first time and tour the sports hall, gymnasium, dance studio, squash court and staff office as well as the extensive changing rooms. It was a tremendously exciting moment to see all these opportunities for the girls coming to reality.
One continuous construction period for both these wonderful buildings has enabled considerable savings. The fitting out of the Performance Centre will take place once further funds have been raised. The school is very grateful to all those who have already donated towards ensuring that these facilities for the Arts will also be available soon to current and future generations of girls as soon as is possible.
The outer shell of the Performance Centre will also be completed at the same time. The structure
Chris Massey Chris Massey (former Head of PE, PSHE & Ashcombe Housemistress, 1974-2000), visited St Catherine’s on a bright day in March. Chris was interested to see progress on the new sports’ facilities as well as catching up with friends and former colleagues: “ It was lovely to meet up with so many folk. As for the building, I was speechless to say the least, it is remarkable.” Chris enjoyed meeting Vic Alexander, current Head of PE, and watching an inter-school lacrosse tournament hosted by St Catherine’s. By sheer coincidence, Amanda Mansergh (1983), was working in the Guildford area that afternoon and called in on spec for a flying visit. Miss Massey was delighted to catch up with her former pupil!
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Emily Cracks the Code!
Aunty Marmalade Former Prep School teacher, Ruth Young, has published a well received childrens' book: Aunty Marmalade. Ruth writes: “I have always loved writing children's stories and have kept a little note book with me so I can jot down any ideas. I travel worldwide with my husband who is an airline pilot and many ideas for stories have come from these travels.I am working on the sequel to Aunty Marmalade and I have three shorter stories for younger children ready to be prepared and checked for publishing. My daughter Lottie (2006 Leaver) was commissioned to do the front cover illustrations which she completed once she had finished her degree at Cambridge (Newnham). Olivia (2007 Leaver) is now at Exeter and was a reader for me in the book's early stages so it is very much a family project and very exciting.” The book is available from Amazon and Waterstones.
In November 2009, The Lightbox in Woking held a Crack the Code Competition which accompanied their successful Da Vinci Inventions exhibition. St Catherine's pupil, Emily McDermott (U4), was the lucky entrant to guess the correct answer and be selected out of the prize draw to win. Emily admitted that she was surprised to have won, especially as it had been older sister Katie (L6) who had encouraged her to take part in the first place! Both girls enjoyed going around the shops in Woking town centre following the trail and working out the code to the exhibition. The challenge was to collect 10 letters from posters displayed at various locations and unscramble them to reveal a Leonardo related word. The answer was “Vitruvian Man” - well done Emily!
Novelty cakes with neighbouring school! Catering Manager, Andrew Price, shared his skills with pupils at neighbouring school, Gosden House. The children are preparing to enter the cake competition at the annual Bramley Fete and Andrew showed a class how to use a range of icings and other edible ingredients to decorate
cakes and biscuits. The budding chefs worked with enthusiasm and much enjoyed tasting their creations. Girls from St Catherine’s will be taking part in the carnival procession and organising several stalls at the fete. Gosden House pupils learn to swim in the pool at St Catherine’s.
Following the triumph of ‘Field’s Fiesta!’ in 2009, Join us to sing in the 125th Anniversary Year Association Choir
Carmina Burana Carl Orff Saturday 26th March 2011 at Holy Trinity, Guildford
The Association Choir is open to everyone with a St Catherine’s connection past or present Rehearsals commence on Wednesday 15th September 2010, 7.45pm - 9.45pm
Please see enclosed form for further information and to sign up Geoffrey Field directs the Association Choir in November 2009 in a Latin American number!
DON’T BE SHY!
St Catherine’s Association, Bramley, Guildford, Surrey, GU5 0DF Tel: +44 (0)1483 899751 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.stcatherines.info Headmistress Mrs A M Phillips MA (Cantab)
St Catherine's, Bramley Association Newsletter Spring 2010