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scoops 11 OG prestigious prize


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WGHS In Touch Magazine is published by Wakefield Grammar School Foundation. A Registered Charity and a Company Limited by Guarantee. Company No: 4258359 Registered Charity No: 1088415. Magazine designed and edited in house by the Development Team. Additional contributions from the staff, pupils and alumni of WGHS and WGSF. If you have any comments or would like to submit text for an article please contact Mr Andrew Beales, Development Director, 01924 231 642, WGHS Development Office, 1 Wentworth Street, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 2QS



2016/17 DIARY Friday 16 September, 2016 Founders’ Day Service, 11.00 Wakefield Cathedral, Free Thursday 6 October, 2016 Leeds Drinks, 18:00 - 21:00 Malmaison Leeds, Free (Joint event with Old Savilians)

As the new Head I would like to extend my warmest greetings to you from your old school. As an Old Girl myself, I hope you are as excited as I am to receive this second edition of WGHS In Touch magazine. My first year has flown and it has been a bit of a rollercoaster at times. The highs include our first ever Founders’ Day Service at the Cathedral; the outstanding Christmas and Summer Concerts showcasing our musical talents; the Senior Drama Production of Wuthering Heights and simply getting to know the girls. There have also been some lows and, as an Old Girl, the deaths of a number of our former teachers particularly stand out. Tributes are paid to them and others towards the end of the magazine. As I mentioned in my letter to Old Girls at the start of 2016, you are an important part of the High School community. As current pupils advance through the school they begin to feel the presence of our alumnae in a number of different ways. Through gifts of time, money, experience and expertise, you provide invaluable support and reassurance for our pupils. It can only be helpful for them to know that they have thousands of Old Girls behind them! I also appreciate your support enormously. If we don’t yet have your email address please do drop the Development Office a line at

That way, as well as receiving printed communications like this magazine, you can also receive more timely updates throughout the year. We have over 4,500 Old Girls on our database already but we know that others are missing out. Please do put them in touch with us if you can. One great example of how Old Girls are already inspiring current pupils is the booklet, “A Foundation in Wakefield,” extracts of which can be found later in this magazine. Copies have been given to all girls in Years 11 to 13 and also to a number prospective families. A second volume is planned for autumn 2017, so if you would like to feature in a future edition please do get in touch. Finally, there are exciting times ahead of us with the renovation of our school library this summer and the proposed redevelopment of the Clayton Hospital site as examples of how your school is moving forward to meet the challenges of the future. Over the coming months we will seek your input into a number of projects around the High School and I hope you will want to play your part in what is to come.

Thursday 10 November, 2016 Manchester Drinks, 18:30 - 21:00, Épernay Manchester, Free (Joint event with Old Savilians) Saturday 4 February, 2017 OG London Lunch, Café Below, St Mary-le-Bow Time 12.30, £45, U26s £30 Wednesday 8 February, 2017 Wakefield Drinks, 18:00 - 21:00, The Old Printworks Wakefield, Free (Joint event with Old Savilians) Wednesday 8 March, 2017 Sheffield Drinks, Time 18.30 - 21.00, All Bar One, Leopold Street, Free (Joint event with Old Savilians) Thursday 16 March, 2017 Oxford Drinks, Time 18.30 - 21.00 Randolph Hotel, Free (Joint event with Old Savilians) Saturday 6 May, 2017 OG Cambridge Dinner, Christ’s College Time 19.30 - 00.00, £35, U26s £30 Thursday 11 May, 2017 London Drinks, Time 18.00 - 21.00, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet St. Free (Joint event with Old Savilians) Saturday 10 June, 2017 Grand Reunion, Jubilee Hall, WGHS Time 12.00, £35, U26s £30

Mrs Nina Gunson Head

To book your place at any of the above events please contact the Development Office, 01924 663 733 or book online @

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NEWS FROM AROUND WGHS A Level Results Over three quarters of the Class of 2015 achieved grades A*, A or B and 76 per cent of our girls are now studying at their first choice university following our outstanding A Level Results last summer. Nineteen girls achieved A*/A grades in all of their subjects, six students successfully secured their place at Medical School and one went on to study veterinary science.

GCSE Results The Department of Education (DoE) have recently published their secondary school league tables, and placed WGHS in the Top 100 nationally for GCSE performance. Based on the summer 2015 exam results, pupils at WGHS lead the way in the Wakefield District. We are sure this success will transcend to our current Year 11’s and we look forward to reporting on their results later in the summer.


Blue Plaque For Wentworth House On Thursday 21 April 2016 Wakefield Civic Society bestowed its latest blue plaque on Wentworth House, home of Wakefield Girls’ High School. The plaque celebrates the building’s construction in 1803 and conversion into a school in 1878. It also marks the building’s use as St John’s Auxiliary Hospital during the First World War where over 3,000 wounded soldiers were treated and over 230 major operations were carried out.

Y8s Get A Taste Of The Law Year 8 pupils got to grips with Britain’s sentencing laws recently as they took part in a mock trial initiative, led by Philip Morris, Chair of Magistrates in the Community (Wakefield). To help the girls understand how a court works, the role of a magistrate and the process of sentencing Philip used a real life case study (with only the names changed), with the girls taking on the various court roles. This initiative provided a good opportunity for girls to get a taste for a future career in Law.

Piano Masterclass High School pianists enjoyed the wonderful experience of having an individual masterclass with concert pianist Clare Hammond. Each pupil got the opportunity to perform a piece to Clare, who then gave very constructive advice regarding all elements of their performance.

Trio Scoop National Ensemble Places Budding KS3 Musicians Charlotte Tyzzer-Smith, Eleanor Bowen and Zoe Meredith have all been offered places concurrently in national ensembles – another High School first! Charlotte bagged a place in the National Children’s Choir, Zoe in the National Children’s Orchestra, and Eleanor as part of the National Youth Brass band.

Charity Fashion Show An initiative launched by the Textiles Prefects, showed young designers from the KS3 Textiles Club follow the ‘Festival’ brief and create, accessorise and model their wonderful creations. Girls in Years 7 - 9 eagerly watched as some wonderful costumes brought a bright, summertime feel to the Jubilee Hall. All entrance proceeds were donated to the Forget-Me-Not Children’s Hospice, and some costumes may even make it onto the catwalk at the annual Design and Fashion Show in the autumn.

Prestigious Norland College Beckons Year 13 student Evangeline Charalambous fought off stiff competition to win a place at the prestigious Norland College where she will study for a BA (Hons) in Early Years Learning & Development. The first student from WGHS to apply to Norland, Evangeline embarked on a two stage interview process which focussed on group exercises and a presentation and secured one of only 75 places offered each year.

WGHS To Launch Extra-Curricular Afternoon Starting in September 2016, WGHS will be running a brand new, exciting initiative for extra-curricular activities called ‘EDGE’ on Thursday afternoons. ‘EDGE’ will give girls the opportunity to choose from over 80 different activities, ranging from things as differing as upcycling fashion or illustration and bookbinding to clay pigeon shooting or go-karting. There will be something for everyone to enjoy.

The Dean of York Inspires Vivienne Faull, the Dean of York Minister visited the school to speak to Year 9 students. The Dean captivated her audience as she spoke of her own educational journey from her time in school, her Oxford University days to becoming one of the most senior female figures in the Church of England. She discussed the challenges she has faced along the way and her hopes for the future of women in religious organisations across the World.

Christmas Fayre Raises Funds Once again the WGHS Christmas Charity Fayre was a very festive occasion for all the family, with plenty of opportunities for gift shopping and taking part in fun activities. The total raised of £2,396.32 was donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

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ANNUAL SPORTSWOMEN’S DINNER This year’s event celebrated more achievement on the pitch for High School girls. The evening recognised individual and team achievements across a variety of sports including - hockey, netball, cricket, cross country, badminton athletics and of course the WGHS Equestrian team. Speeches were given by team captains and coaches, with cups and colours distributed. Mrs ‘Mac’ MacGregor and Mrs Stothard - both of whom retired at the end of this school year were honoured for all they have contributed to the sporting life of WGHS. The evening was a lovely celebration for girls and their parents, with many looking ahead to the Hockey and Netball Tour to Malaysia next Summer.

and use their voices, speak up, be heard and lead. Not only was the service a warm and spirited event, but also the first major school event led by new Head Mrs Nina Gunson. Also in attendance was Mrs Rachel Edwards, new Head of the Junior School, making the service very timely to celebrate the school’s proud history as it begins a new chapter and an exciting future for girls age 4-18 years.

HERITAGE LOTTERY FUNDS WGHS & QEGS WWI PROJECT Over the course of the academic year 2015-16, QEGS and WGHS have undertaken a series of activities aimed at sharing their prestigious school archives from the First World War period with members of the Wakefield Community. Following an application by Foundation Development Director, Andrew Beales to the Heritage Lottery Fund, a grant of £8,300 was approved to digitise the archives of both QEGS and WGHS, and to hold a lecture series about Life in Wakefield 19141919. A number of lectures have already taken place - with one delivered by WGHS’ own Oliver Shaw discussing WGHS specifically during the First World War (pictured above). The project will also see the publication of a book “Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and the Great War” and the production of a mobile exhibition for use in schools - an extract from which is reprinted on the back page.

HEPWORTH LECTURE SERIES INAUGRAL WGHS FOUNDERS’ DAY SERVICE The inaugural Founders’ Day Service saw girls, staff, alumnae, Foundation colleagues and friends of the School come together to celebrate the history and commitment to girls’ education at Wakefield Girls’ High School since its foundation in 1878. Held in Wakefield Cathedral in September, the service featured musical performances by talented individuals and WGHS/ Foundation ensembles. Prayers, readings and hymns also featured, including The School Song which was sung with great gusto, nearly raising the roof off the Cathedral. One of the readings - Judges 4.4-16 - was delivered by Sarah Fozzard (OG, 1998), who was head girl in her final year. Reverend Martine Crabtree, Priest in Charge of St George’ Lupset and St James’ Thornes, gave The Address, comparing the past with the increasing prominence of female leaders in society today, and encouraging High School girls to embrace


The Barbara Hepworth Lectures have been a huge success since they were created in 2012/13. The lectures are supported by a new Extension Lesson Programme which introduces Sixth Form girls to University undergraduates study. This year’s lecture programme included Sarah Weldon, an explorer and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society discussing her aim to row around the whole of Britain, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, the CEO of charity Karma Nirvana, lecturing on how we can support the victims of forced marriages, Karen Stone, the Medial Director and Consultant Paediatrician of Mid Yorkshire Hostpitals NHS Trust, who explained how she managed to break the glass ceiling and reach the top of a male dominated profession where women only occupy a small minority of positions. 18 lectures were delivered across the first two academic terms this past year. If you would like to help by giving a Hepworth Lecture at some point in the future please contact the Development Office.


INSPIRING TALK FOR OUR MEDICS OF THE FUTURE Dr Lisa Walker (WGHS,19781987) recently came to talk to an audience of 35 students from both WGHS and QEGS wishing to study medicine at Oxford University.

Students from WGHS and QEGS performed Wuthering Heights, the iconic novel penned by Emily Bronte. The talented students gave a fantastic performance in this ambitious two hour adaption of one of English Literature’s most famous novels. Their re-enactment of the tale of intense love and revenge set in the Yorkshire Dales was captivating, and testament to their hard work in rehearsals, their energy and commitment to the play.

‘TIME TO TALK’ ‘Time to Talk’ is an initiative that is part of the ‘Time to Change’ campaign run by the leading mental health charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. The campaign aims to end the stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems by engaging in a programme of education, community activities, events and supporting networks. Hosted by Mrs Oldvale, girls across all year groups were invited to come together for a cuppa and a chat. The girls discussed what they think mental illness is, made postcards and got anything off their chest they wanted too.

Y10 DESIGN INSPIRATION Year 10 designers visited visual communications experts Kokoon to learn about the manufacturing side of display & branding . Richard Grant of Kokoon provided the students with an excellent insight into the practical elements of in-store brand promotion for big brands, such as adidas and UGG and how physical displays are developed across the world.

Lisa is a Tutorial Fellow in Medical Sciences at Baliol College Oxford. She is a leading consultant in the field of Cancer genetics and practices in the NHS as well as teaching at the University of Oxford.

SENIOR STRINGS INSPIRE The WGHS Senior Strings delivered a delightfully varied and polished performance in front of an audience of around 200 people at Wakefield Cathedral in December as part of the ‘Tuesday at 1’ concert series. It was especially nice to see a group of Old Girls who had come to share in the experience (pictured), celebrating the musical talent on show in this generation of High School girls. The Cathedral based Tuesday series welcomes performers from across the District and further afield, to provide a varied and entertaining musical experience.

HANNAH HITS THE RIGHT NOTE WITH ABRSM DIPLOMA Hannah Thomson has been awarded an ABRSM Diploma in Musical Performance (Singing). Singing since the age of 11 years, Hannah has aspirations to become an opera singer, and eventually share her love of music though teaching singing. Hannah has been readily applying to music conservatories and receiving this accolade will no doubt help her application, alongside her musical involvement in WGHS life - performing with the Foundation Chorus, Cantable and co-directing the Sixth Form Choir.

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The weather has again disrupted this tennis season with practices, matches and tournaments being played in high winds and rain!

The WGHS Equestrian Team has now been successfully competing in National Schools Dressage and Showjumping competitions in the Yorkshire region for four years. Over this time many students have achieved success on their horses and gained valuable competition experience.

However in between the showers and winds there has been some excellent play. Squad practices have been well attended and girls have made real progress. In the National Cup our U13 squad qualified for the regional round but were beaten in the first round and our U15 squad also qualified for the regional round but were unsuccessful.

Since September, three of the current team members and their horses have represented school at show jumping competitions. The first was at Bishop Burton College in September with a team consisting of Sophie Ingram Year 11 (Team Captain), Lucy Sawyer Year 8 and Lucinda Jackson - Year 10.

In the North East Invitation tournaments we entered teams in the mixed competition and in the U14 and U12 girls’ competitions.

There were over 20 schools represented on each day. All of the team members rode at least one clear round in their various classes over

the two days of competition, some just missing out on a top 10 placing. Overall The WGHS team members achieved a fantastic three top 10 placings all in the Jumping with Style competitions. WGHS competed in further competiton in November 2015 at Port Royal Showground. Three members of the Equestrian Team competed in the showjumping competition. Following this success the team are looking forward to more competitions in May and June, including the opportunity to now gain National Schools’ points at British Eventing competitions over the summer. Written by Cadence Dollive

In all the competitions the girls played well in some testing conditions, but unfortunately we did not make the finals. In the Road to Wimbledon competition the school qualified for the County Finals and went on to the Regional Finals as well. Written by Beth Cooke

SENIOR HOCKEY This year the senior squad have had a season full of ups and downs, losing two of our Wednesday matches and winning the other rather convincingly against Bradford Grammar. In the National Cup we performed very well as a team in the Yorkshire round, winning three of our first four matches. We faced Greenhead to decide who progressed to the North East round. After a closely contested match, the game ended in a goalless draw which meant that we narrowly missed out on a place in the next round. Despite this, as a team we have thoroughly enjoyed the season and had the opportunity to play in some closely fought matches against strong opposition and enjoyed our trips to away matches.


Congratulations must go to Emma Berry and Emily McGrath who were selected to play for the North of England in Futures Cup this year and Vivi Way who played in the JRPC competition. Also, congratulations to Emma Berry who has been the top goal scorer for the senior team this season. It has been an honour to play and captain the hockey team this year, we have shared many memories throughout our time at the school and being a member of such a committed and successful team gives us all great pride. Sport at WGHS is something that we will cherish forever; the opportunities the school has given us in sport have enabled us to have many unforgettable experiences. Our sports tour to South Africa in the summer of 2014 and also coming runners-up

in the National Schools’ Final as U14s were the highlights of my school sporting career. None of this would have been possible without the PE Department, who’ve been the backbone of our success. Mrs Tingle’s efforts with our team have been greatly appreciated, it can’t be easy to organise a group of 6th form girls! We have been lucky enough to have been coached by Miss Applewhite, Mrs Tingle and of course Mrs Mac. Mac’s commitment to our team has been second to none. We greatly appreciate all your hard work and passion and we have many memories that will cherish from our time with you. We wish you all the best in your retirement. Written by Emma Berry & Sarah Baker

EUROPEAN BIATHLE CHAMPION Year 12 student Kate Offord has rounded off a brilliant first season in the modern pentathlon event of biathle by being crowned European Champion in the recent U19 championship held in Turkey. Earlier in the season she won both World Series events at Weymoth and Portugal. Clearly honoured to represent the UK, Kate commented “I enter the zone when competing and it is great to be able to measure your performance against peers both in the UK and overseas. The kit (always important!) is also great and I love exchanging my swimming hat at the end of races!”

Kate Offord

Looking to the future, Kate would love to keep competing and training with the English Talent Academy”. In terms of life after WGHS, she is hoping to study Geography and Management at Leeds University.


The 2016 season of Wakefield schools competitions began in early March when the U16s competed at QEGS. A disappointing entry in all the age groups meant there was little competition for our girls. We had winners and runners up in every age group for both singles and doubles. The National Schools competition however, has been the highlight of our year. Both Key Stage teams advanced into the regional rounds where they represented both WGHS and West Yorkshire. At KS4 the team of Elspeth Lee, Lucy Baker, Izzy Sykes, Alice Fox and newcomer Emma Brightman faced some difficult competition and finished as bronze medallists. At the same time, the little ‘uns in the KS3 team swept through the competition becoming gold and regional winners without dropping a single rubber. This team had been to the ‘shed’ before, so they were well prepared for the next round at the Railway Institute in York. With great joy, the team advanced to the national finals. These were held at the National Badminton Centre in Milton Keynes a whole new experience for every one! With a lot of nerves and a fantastic effort by the girls, our team was finally placed 6th amongst the nine regional winners competing. No mean achievement considering the international pedigree of the opposition! Written by Kim Stothard


The Wakefield Cross Country league took place this year at the usual venues of Pontefract, QEGS and Silcoates, with Ackworth replacing the Outwood Grange fixture. Thirteen girls ran, hoping to be chosen to represent Wakefield in the next round of the competition.

where she finished an excellent 14th. Abbey and India qualified to represent West Yorkshire in the English Schools’ finals, held in Nottingham in March, where Abbey, despite illness, finished 97th and India finished as first West Yorkshire counter.

Suzie Brooke (Year 7), Alanis MilnerMoore (Year 8), Abbey Brooke, Alice Shelbourne (Year 9), India Elliot (Year 11), Lily Metcalfe (Year 12), Kate Offord and Ellena Smith (Year 13) all qualified and represented Wakefield in the West Yorkshire Schools’ Cross Country Championships at a very wet and muddy Northcliffe Park in Shipley in February. Suzie then qualified to represent West Yorkshire in the Year 7 English Schools’ finals, held in Leicestershire in March,

School cross country fixtures are sadly becoming a dying breed, particularly those that allow girls to be placed separately to the boys. Luckily Worksop College hold an annual competition for Years 5-8, allowing us to enter our final competition of the season where Suzie Brooke, Alanis Milner-Moore and Amy Deane finished 1st, 2nd and 18th respectively.


Ten girls took part in the Wakefield Area Championships. The team competed against five other schools producing some very good performances. They were crowned Wakefield Champions for the third year in a row, scoring 210 pts.

WGHS X-Country Team

Written by Kate Offord Tara Karim, Ella Cowan and Leah Crisp were outright winners and have been presented with their district colours. A special mention should go to Amber Mason on her national success. Written by Kate Offord

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FAREWELL TO A WGHS LEGEND The WGHS community came together in April for a ‘surprise’ assembly in honour of Mrs MacGregor (Mrs Mac!) who is retiring at the end of the Summer Term. After 32 years teaching at WGHS, there were plenty of tales to be told and anecdotes to be given, all having one thing in common Mrs Mac’s commitment to WGHS sport and her lengendary sense of humour! Tish Applewhite made a guest appearance to kick off the tributes, followed by the other members of the PE Dept and Sixth Form students. There was plenty of laughter, especially surrounding tales of snoring on tour and antics at National hockey finals. But the largest laughter came when the footage from the Sixth Form Review was shown of WGHS’s very own Miley Cyrus (aka Mrs Mac) performing ‘Wrecking Ball’ with the help of a space hopper!! Awarded with her sports colours across the board, the whole school community wishes Mrs Mac a very enjoyable (and sporty!) retirement with her family (pictured below, left).

OLD GIRL HEADING TO RIO The WGHS community is bursting with pride that Old Girl Sophie Carrigill has been selected as co captain of the GB Women’s Basketball team for 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. Sophie (OG 2013, left in picture) is a graduate of the BPA’s Paralympic Inspiration Programme, which saw her attend London 2012 as a spectator in order to soak up the atmosphere and learn about what it takes to compete at the Games. In the press announcement Sophie said: “Getting to experience London 2012 as part of the Paralympic Inspiration Programme really inspired me to reach Rio. I have trained so hard in the last few years and now I want to do my very best this summer and make my family and the nation proud.”



Holly Briggs (OG, 2004) is on the back-row, second from the right.

Holly Briggs (OG, 2004) is part of the London based collective Assemble who won the prestigious 2015 Turner Prize. Assemble, consisting of 15 people, create projects alongside the communities who use and inhabit them. They work across various fields including art, design and architecture. Particularly spectacular as Assemble are the first non-artists, in the strictest sense of the word, to win the prize. Assemble were nominated for numerous projects including one in the Granby Four Streets in Liverpool. The local residents faced a 20 year battle to try and save rows of terraced houses in the area from demolition. Sadly, some of the houses were partly demolished, or left in a state of disrepair. But, the

remaining residents wouldn’t go down without a fight. The last four residents began by cleaning up the street, including painting the houses that were left. With the help of Assemble they’ve created a real sense of community in Granby and there are hopes that the two worst affected houses remaining will be made into a Winter garden. The group won the well-deserved Turner Prize at the beginning of December at the awards in Glasgow. The £25,000 prize also brings with it a lot of media attention, which will help bring focus to all the amazing work that Assemble do, and particularly to Granby.

Holly Briggs (OG, 2004) is on the back-row, third from the right.

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A FOUNDATION IN WAKEFIELD The first phase of our Young Alumnae Project, ‘A Foundation in Wakefield’ was completed in October last year and we are delighted to report that it was very well received by alumnae, current staff, students and the wider school community. It is our intention to put together a second volumne in 2017. If you would be interested in being involved in please get in touch! All we need is:

100-150 words about yourself and what you are doing now A photo(s) of you and/or your work Any websites or other media outlets to promote your work

We also understand that for many, time is precious. If you would still like to be involved, but feel unable to write your own submission, please send some basic facts to Development Officer, Lizzie Hulme, and we would be pleased to collate a piece on your behalf.

VICTORIA MURTLAND CLASS OF 2009 Engineering Graduate Development Programme – Rolls Royce Victoria left Wakefield Girls’ High School having achieved AAB in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Alongside her A Level studies, extra-curricular activities assisted her preparation for a career in engineering. During her undergraduate Master’s degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering at Loughborough University, Victoria completed an industrial placement working as an Applications Engineer for National Instruments in Berkshire. Her placement highlight was achieved when writing an article on PXI Timing and Synchronisation which was published in the Electronics Weekly magazine. Victoria’s studies culminated in an individual project developing a system to track the movement of bottle-nosed dolphins, based upon a technique called Passive Acoustic Monitoring. In July 2014, she was pleased to discover that all of her hard work had paid off, graduating with a First Class Master’s degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. Victoria has now completed her Engineering Graduate Development Programme with Rolls-Royce, working as a Controls Engineer in the nuclear sector. This scheme enabled Victoria to perform testing on a new sensor design for a future nuclear propulsion plant and to participate in leadership strategy and safety meetings. Victoria began her first substantive role with Rolls-Royce in March 2016.


LAURA ROBERTS CLASS OF 2003 Corporate Communications and Investor Relations - Macquarie Group

ABBY BELL CLASS OF 2012 Musician in the Royal Marines Band Pictured here in August 2015 Lindsey Roberts (left in both) completed her A Levels and left WGHS in 2003. Her sister, Abby Bell (right in both), finished her A Levels in 2012. The same education, nine years apart, these sisters have taken completely different career paths. After completing a Foundation Art Course, BA in History of Art and an MA in Public Relations, Lindsey went on to forge a career in communications. Focusing on the financial services industry, she moved down to London just over a year ago to work for Macquarie, an Australian Investment Bank based in The City. Abby, who has been a keen musician since the age of eight, decided she wanted to train to be part of the Royal Marines Band Service. First undertaking 12 weeks of basic military training, she then became part of Troop 1/12, and spent the next three years perfecting her skills on chosen instruments saxophone, flute and piccolo. This picture is taken at Abby’s passing out parade in August, where she was joined by her sister Lindsey and entire family as she was assigned to Collingwood band, where she will undertake numerous musical assignments across the year, most notably the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup 2015, taking place at Twickenham.

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RESTORATION GIRL Jackie Robinson, (OG 1979) shares a tale of fish and pirate ships.


Pastel painted cottages, a heritage fishing fleet and trawler racing are just some of the attractions Brixham has to offer. This picture perfect Devon town is home to Jackie Robinson (OG, 1979) and her partner Neil. Jackie left the world of corporate HR having spent her career working in the travel industry. Her successes with brands such as First Choice and Thomson took her all over the world. Never afraid of a challenge, alongside setting up her own consultancy business in 2009 she and Neil decided to move away from the city and undertake their own restoration project, an unloved and forgotten church in Brixham. Neil describes Jackie’s best qualities as “her determination, creativity, generosity, and a focus on a successful outcome”. Skills that have seen her well both through her former life in business and in the lifestyle changes they have made since moving to Devon. Jackie feels she also has a lot to thank her WGHS education for as well. It took a year to process the paperwork to purchase St Peter’s Church. Perched on a steeply sloping pedestrian walkway, near the main harbour, the Church, which was built in 1874, served the community, including a large number of fishermen, for more than 100 years. Jackie had no previous experience in renovation, but Neil had restored an old brewery in Hertfordshire and as an architect with a background in hotel planning had a broad range of experience and a balance of creativity and practicality.

Deciding this was going to be very much a ‘hands-on’ project and realising that they worked best having their own jobs to do, they split the tasks. Jackie undertook the project management, tracking finances, the interior design look and feel, sourcing materials as well as getting involved in practical on-site activities such as demolishing walls and painting and decorating. Neil put his architectural experience to use developing plans, technical schedules, specifications and planning submissions. He also supervised the day to day activities on site and undertook as much of the physical building work as he could working closely with local tradesmen. Such was the extent of the project and their dedication to the Church’s sympathetic restoration; they were followed by Channel 4’s Restoration Man. George Clarke and his team filmed the build which began in March 2012 offering much advice, creative input and encouragement. Overalls were donned, tools sharpened, walls knocked out and the roof renovated. One of the unique (and riskier!) features of the restoration was the inclusion of glass floors. In total the church provided some 200 sq metres of space, out of which was created two open plan living areas, together with 4 en suite bedrooms. In a final special touch 750 gold stars were individually stencilled onto the ceiling by a local artist.

Jackie estimates that they brought 40 tons of materials to site including 300 sheets of plasterboard, 125 sheets of insulation, 10 tons of ceramic tiles, 1.5 tons of grout and 40 bales of insulation. The restoration was finished in June 2013. Jackie and Neil shared the final day filming whilst celebrating with family, friends and the team involved in the project. This ‘Reveal Party’ marked the completion of the newly named ‘Fisherman’s Church’. Three years on, Jackie and Neil have settled into their beautiful new home and fully embraced life by the sea, having gone on to buy the Golden Hind, a full sized replica of one of the most iconic ships from the age of exploration. They are once again using their corporate skills in a different way, this time to operate the Golden Hind in Brixham Harbour as a tourist attraction delivering a learning, living history and fun experience for the many thousands of visitors the ship welcomes each year. For more information about the project visit

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Manchester Event, March 2016

Edinburgh Event, March 2016 Our first joint alumni event took place in Leeds in September 2015.

OG Cambridge Dinner, April 2016

Regional events took place in Cambridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham

Gathered in the relaxing surroundings of The Chateau Lounge, Malmaison Hotel, over 80 Old Girls and Old Savilians met and chatted over drinks and canapes. Many old friends were re-united, stories told and email addresses exchanged. We are delighted to have made this a permanent fixture on our Events Calendar – further details on the next Leeds meet can be found at:

OG Cambridge Dinner

Birmginham Event, March 2016

Leeds Joint Event, September 2015

Leeds Event, September 2015


OG Cambridge Dinner

WWI Lecture, April 2016

ALUMNAE EVENTS It has been an incredibly successful year for our alumni and reunion events with WGHS Old Girls meeting up in almost every corner of the country - here’s the best of 2015-16.

We had an incredibly fun joint drinks event in London in May 2016! We’ll be back again in 2017 so no need to worry if you missed out this year!

London Drinks Joint Event, May 2016

London Drinks Joint Event, May 2016

On Friday 11 September the sun shone as 20 Old Girls travelled from various parts of the county to The Tate. The gallery was hosting its first major retrospective for many years of fellow OG Barbara Hepworth, entitled ‘Sculpture for a Modern World’. After tea and homemade biscuits, the group enjoyed a private lecture which gave an insight into Barbara’s work, including an in-depth analysis of key works and interesting facts about her family life. Following a buffet lunch of yet more homemade wares, the party were able to enjoy the exhibition showcasing not only Dame Barbara’s sculptures but fascinating photographs, textiles, collages and film, that have never been seen before. Among the highlights were The Infant, (1929) a wooden sculpture carved of Burmese timber, the size of a real baby modelled on her first son Paul. The exhibiton also included four large sculptures carved from beautiful African hardwood. As the day drew to a close, everybody headed home having experienced the life and works of a truly inspirational artist.

Left to Right - Susan Madel (née Smith, OG, 1960), Janet Bullas (née Hardy, OG, 1959) Mary Jackson (née Hunt OG, 1972)

Don’t forget to check out the WGHS In Touch calendar on Page 3 or visit uk/#calendar to view the The first ever WGHS In Touch London Lunch took place in February 2016

full details and book your place at them now! We already have events organised in Wakefield, Leeds, Cambridge, London and Manchester. SUMMER 16 | 17


On Saturday 11 June, 100 Old Girls, current and former staff came together to celebrate Wakefield Girls’ High School. Tours of the Junior School took place before lunch. After a sparkling reception in Wentworth House, Old Girls were treated to a fabulous three course lunch provided by the School catering team. The only hitch in the day was getting the audio system to play the school hymn. However, after a short pause to solve the technical difficulties Old Girls from seven decades joined together in rousing chorus.

In his after dinner notes, Development Director Andrew Beales, thanked Old Girls for the many and varied ways they took part in School life. He drew attention to the ‘A Foundation in Wakefield’ publication with which many younger Old Girls had been involved. In her speech, the Head, Nina Gunson, recapped on the High School’s successes this year and thanked the Development Director for the work he and Ms Lizzie Hulme had done in the past 18 months to bring the Old Girl community together.

Old Girls outside the Junior School at St. John’s House








FEB 2015










WGHS: 2700 to 4725 QEGS: 1400 to 6071













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WGHSINTOUCH.ORG.UK IS A WINNER Congratulations to Emma Greaves (OG, 2005) who has won a 48” Full HD Samsung TV via the WGHS In Touch website. Users of WGHS In Touch were able to pit their football prediction skills against alumni from other schools - Emma has beaten over 1500 entrants from over 40 different institutions worldwide and bagged herself a new telly! If you do not receive regular emails from WGHS In Touch then we do not have your email address. Please get in touch either by visiting or contact

SUMMER 16 | 19

SALLY ROE Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP London.



1994 Owner of Silverwood’s Equine Services.

Dr Alexis Barr (OG, 2001)

2001 Scientific Researcher at the Institute of Cancer Research. Postdoctoral Research Fellow, London.


1999 Partner at Thornton Jones Family Law.


1991 Section Head, Team Leader and Senior Advisor for Department for International Development, Kenya.




Jeweller Designer.

1994 Senior Curator at Yorkshire Sculpture Park.


Jennie Adams (OG, 2007)


2007 Creative Artworker at Birmingham City Football Club.


1999 Senior HR Advisor for Save the Children UK.


1987 Tutorial Fellow in Medical Sciences at Baliol College Oxford Leading consultant in Cancer Genetics for the NHS.




Lizzie White (OG, 2010)


2010 Graduate position with IMG Media in Sports Production - helping produce Premier League football for broadcast in 2016. This follows work at Wimbledon in a similar role in both 2014 and 2015.


2009 Researcher for the BBC’s ‘Later...with Jools Holland’ and Presenter on Soho Radio.


Optomotrist, Asda Opticians.

1988 The former State of Oregon Chief Environmental Geologist. Now teaching science for middle and high school students.



Changing Patterns Hypnotherapy, Clinical Hypnotherapist.


Francesca Aproskie (nee Waugh) (OG, 1991)


1991 Studied at Batley Art College before going on to the University of the Arts. Worked for high profile brands such as Aquascutum, Mulberry and Burberry and now works for Tommy Hilfiger.

Samantha Wynn (OG, 2009)

GEORGINA WHITE Geotechnical Engineer at Arup.



2012 Student at the University of Newcastle Divisional Officer for the Northumbrian Royal Navy Unit (Reserves).

Sybilla Daley (OG, 2002)

1982 Chief-Executive of leading Yorkshire based social enterprise; apsire-igen. Recently appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees at Kala Sangam, a leading South Asian Arts & Culture Organisation.


SYBILLA DALEY Events Officer at the University of Huddersfield.


1983 Director of her own Marketing Company, Insite.



KIM BOND Schedule co-ordinator at ITV.

2001 Becky Henshaw (OG, 2010)

2010 Co-commissioning Officer for NHS England, based in Leeds. Previously worked for Leeds City Council, as part of their graduate programme, focussing on Adult Social Care.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? HAZEL FULLER (OG, 1951) We are delighted to share with you that Hazel Fuller (nee Davis OG, 1951) and Colin Fuller (OS, 1951) celebrated their Diamond Wedding on August 6 2015. Hazel and Colin met at Wakefield Cathedral when Colin was a choirboy and both were students at WGHS and QEGS respectively. Colin used to carry Hazel’s books to school and they have many happy memories of their time here. Hazel remembers Mrs Waters was her first form teacher and how Miss McCroben, former headmistress, was a revered household name. After school Hazel trained to be a primary school teacher at Cheltenham, St Mary’s College, Colin graduated from Oxford. They were married in Wakefield Cathedral in 1955 and returned to Oxford in preparation for Colin joining the Colonial Service in Kenya. On leave in 1960, their first child Mark was born in Wakefield joined in 1962 by Penelope, who was born in Nairobi. Their third child, Jonathan, was born in 1970. Hazel and Colin returned to the UK in 1968, Colin becoming a lecturer at Manchester University training Senior Civil Servants from overseas.

On August 9 they were joined by their six grandchildren when they renewed their vows in St Michael’s Church Bramhall, Cheshire where they have worshiped for over 47 years. Congratulations to Hazel and Colin from everyone at WGHS!

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CLARE WALKER GORE (OG, 2007) Clare Walker Gore (OG, 2007), now a Junior Research Fellow at Cambridge, is one of the BBC’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’. She recently delivered an essay on Radio 3 about The life of Arthur Macmurrough Kavanagh and what his fascinating biography contributes to our understanding of disabled people in the 19th century. The ‘New Generation Thinkers’ are the winners of an annual scheme run by the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council to find academics at the start of their careers who can turn their research into fascinating broadcasts. The colourful life of Arthur Macmurrough Kavanagh overturns everything we think we know about disabled people’s lives in the 19th century. Born without hands and feet, he was an adventurous traveller and a Member of Parliament, a tigerhunting landowner whose attempts to resist the rising tide of Irish nationalism were ultimately defeated, and whose amazing career has been largely forgotten. But how did his first biographer meet the challenge of writing his life?

The Essay was recorded in front of an audience at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead. If you want to hear Clare answer questions about her research you can download an audio version of her essay as well as a conversation with her via the BBC’s Arts and Ideas podcast. This can be reached by searching for this link:

AMY MORTIMOR (OG, 1993) Amy Mortimer left WGHS in 1993 and now works for local literacy charity Reading Matters. Reading Matters believes young people can only have the best chances in life if they are confident, fluent readers. Their programmes help them to catch up quickly if they have fallen behind or struggle to read. They are based in Bradford and work extensively across Yorkshire. They have their own team of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer Reading Mentors who help children in primary and secondary schools. They also train school staff, older pupils, parents and carers to provide effective reading support themselves. On average, after just 10 hours of support from a Reading Mentor (two x 30 minute sessions each week for a 10 week period) a child’s reading age will improve by 15 months but often by much more. In addition, a child’s confidence

and self-esteem are also lifted. Last year 96% of the 6,417 children Reading Matters worked with showed an improved performance in reading. For more information on the charity and to find out how you can get involved visit or contact Amy Mortimer directly on on 01274 692219.

CAROLINE HARRISON (OG, 1982) PIPPA CAMPBELL (OG, 1983) Two Old Girls were hand-picked by the Chief Executive of ‘Welcome to Yorkshire’, Sir Gary Verity, to be Podium Hostesses at this year’s Tour de Yorkshire which took place over the Bank Holiday weekend. The Tour was highlighting the contribution women make to the region’s economy and Sir Gary chose business women, Caroline Harrison (OG, 1982) and Pippa Campbell (OG, 1983) (who have been friends since school) to represent ‘real women’ at this year’s event.


Caroline is the chief executive of county-wide social enterprise aspire-igen, which provides training and careers advice to people seeking work, and Philippa runs her own marketing company, Insite. Both are working mothers.

CHLOE MURRY (OG, 2012) HANNE TALBOT (OG, 2012) Written by Chloe Murray

Wakefield Girls’ High School is a place in which to dream big, where nothing is out of reach to the girl who is brave enough, passionate enough and hardworking enough to make her dreams come true. The school is known for producing a budding crop of lawyers, doctors, dentists, vets and is proud of each and every one of its girls who bloom in such demanding and competitive fields. However it is not only in these popular fields that the students of WGHS prove that big dreams can come true. Myself and Hanne Talbot arrived at WGHS from our respective South Leeds primary schools in September 2005, both excited, if not a little apprehensive about entering such a prestigious place of education. The similarity of our backgrounds and our mutual interests cemented mine and Hanne’s friendship from day one. Throughout our time at the school we worked hard in all our lessons, though naturally had our strengths, weaknesses and favourite subjects. As we made our way through the school, Hanne’s flair for textiles and design became increasingly apparent, even more so when joined by her love of theatre. Throughout her GCSE and A Level Drama and Textiles courses, Hanne was able to combine her interests by focusing on costume design and construction projects. Fuelled by her success and desire to increase her skill, Hanne began applying to some of the top London drama schools and universities, determined to make costuming her career. The competition for places on courses such as Hanne’s is fierce, but in true High School Girl style her determination to succeed paid off and she was accepted at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where she studied for 3 years for her degree in Costume Construction, graduating last summer. During this time I also attended university, studying for a degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds. I had enjoyed English at school and always been an avid reader, so

a course in which I was encouraged to submerse myself in all things literary held a great deal of appeal for me. English however was not my only passion and throughout my time at WGHS it was clear from my involvement in every dance show, cabaret evening, dance competition, and school production that my first love was performing. Having been dancing from a young age, working my way through grades and participating in competitions such as the Miss Dance of Great Britain, in which I was lucky enough to be placed 3rd and 2nd, my ultimate dream was to dance as a career. On completion of university Hanne wasted no time building a reputable CV, with accolades including ‘Sunny Afternoon’ and ‘Funny Girl’ in the West End and Matthew Bourne’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ at the Bradford Alhambra. Finally taking her rightful place backstage whilst remembering school trips seated in the audience of ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘An Inspector Calls’. As for me, graduation meant it was time to start making my way to London for auditions and castings. After a few ups and downs and a couple of occasions of making the final round of an audition only to be turned away at the last minute, I was at last successful in securing myself my first professional dance contract. I was booked as one of the Royal Cunard Dancers on the Cunard Queen Victoria for her six month World Voyage. I was absolutely elated and as soon as all was confirmed I spoke with Hanne to tell her my news. Imagine my surprise when on telling my best friend about my imminent adventure I learnt that she too had received an offer from the same company and would be sailing along with me as Wardrobe Assistant for the first three weeks of the voyage! We were thrilled and stunned by this unpredicted crossing of career paths and as we embarked upon our journey the pride in what each of us had achieved became clear. Those well known lines ‘All shall share in each ones honour’ could not have rung more true and we were proof that no matter how far off your goal may appear, with the determination to succeed instilled into us at Girls High, nothing is unreachable.

SUMMER 16 | 23

AMY HIBBINS (OG, 2012) I conducted my placement year in New York for LF Americas fulfilling two positions during my internship, the first as production intern for Target swimwear ranges. I had the chance to work directly with Targets buyers controlling the approval and rejection process whilst integrating myself within other departments to further my knowledge of the retail industry. My second placement was as a sales intern for Walmart. Through this placement I learnt the importance of a seamless supply chain whilst dealing with retail giants such as Walmart. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at LF Americas and living in Manhattan for a year.

P.D.R. LINDSAY (OG, 1966) How did I get here in New Zealand? After eight years of travelling, working in various interesting countries, and one husband then one daughter later we’d intended to return to the U.K. and settle in Durham or Northumberland. My husband’s uncle had left him quite a lot of money and we had enough to buy a house with a large garden or a couple of acres and have money left over for my husband to head back to university for some retraining. Unfortunately Mrs Thatcher, father-in-law and inflation got in the way. Mrs Thatcher’s economic ravages led to mortgage rates actually hitting 19%. Father-in-law’s Victorian attitude meant he would not buy us the house we wanted but secreted the money into a bank account until we arrived in England. Inflation over those four years meant that the £4,000 it would have cost to buy the house we wanted when we first asked had now shot up to a staggering £44,000. New Zealand, where both of us had distant relatives, called.


The government wanted teachers, which qualified both of us, and with a young family we were perfect immigrants. We’ve never looked back. New Zealand was perfect for us as a family, offering all the outdoor, environmental and sporting things we like to do. Theatre, music and ballet were also ‘big’ and the children had marvellous opportunities to learn and take part in many sporting, and arts events. They had a broad education and many opportunities to shine and reach top levels. New Zealanders are welcomed everywhere. Once the children were old enough we worked and travelled in Asia, popping home anually just to enjoy the emptiness and then to find a place to retire. Now I sit with a view of the Southern Alps out of one window and the Kakanui Ranges out of the other, and the sea is just over the hill. That’s perfection for a writer. WGHS visitors are always welcome. Contact me via my website:


how she seemed a tireless walker. She was always up for a challenge or adventure before she developed some heart problems.

Early in her time at the High School she applied for and won Former member of staff, 1966 - 1994 a prestigious scholarship through which a British teacher stayed in the home of an American teacher’s family and had to write an in-depth comparative study of the two systems: It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Miss she revelled in the visit and her critical assessment was Margaret Hardcastle on 4 April 2016, aged 80 years. An commended. Soon after this she was one of the first fearless obituary follows from her close friend and a fellow former travellers allowed into China. She loved the fact that as part of WGHS teacher Ms Ann Gray: the journey she had travelled in Madame Mau’s own jet! Miss Hardcastle came from Batley Girls’ Grammar School to join the staff of W.G.H.S. in 1966. She was taking over leadership of a very strong History department which, before she arrived and afterwards, produced a stream of scholars many of whom distinguished themselves at university and in later careers. She herself was a fine example of the product of Oxford women’s colleges at that time when the pioneering spirit was not yet forgotten. This was the period when women gained equal pay but still felt the need to keep up the idealistic struggle for professional equality in so many fields. Margaret had a powerful intellect and an amazing memory. She enjoyed learning and showing off her knowledge enthusiastically in her lessons or in staffroom discussions. Many people admired the energy she had for so many interests. To me she seemed a born competitor. She loved retelling anecdotes in which she came off best. Of course Miss Hardcastle was the obvious person to ask when we needed a history of the school. This is still a fascinating book and is available to read and download from the WGHS In Touch Online archive - visit at uk/#archivetimeline Reading or research involving Greek, Latin, German, French or Spanish was no problem to her: she loved learning pronunciations of languages like Russian or Czech for the operas and I specially remember her wonderfully distinctive voice, relishing the sounds of foreign words. Margaret had this instinct for excellence in all her activities: music, art, walking and gardening, but what she ate mattered little! The High School benefited greatly from having such a talented musician. Being blessed with a wonderfully rich, contralto voice, she became a leading member of the Huddersfield Choral Society. Their great occasions, here and abroad, were memorable experiences to her. However, Margaret also held executive jobs for the Society beside her singing. She similarly did voluntary visits for the organisation which monitors and encourages amateur groups who apply for funding. However, opera at its best was her passion. Former pupils will remember from many history expeditions

Through her Teachers Association she was appointed to work for the Government Bodies overseeing standards in the A-Level examinations. She gave a great deal of time to working at the various boards overseeing the setting of History questions and the marking standards being agreed. I enjoyed much of our working life together but I am most grateful to Margaret for introducing me to opera at its finest. Several years running I was included in one of her small groups of friends whom she took to Glyndebourne. There in a simpler way we followed all the traditions: dressing in evening clothes at two in the afternoon, picnicking In those glorious gardens (usually in the sunshine) while watching the more sophisticated connoisseurs trying to arrange a sunshade or salvage precious dishes as the breeze strengthened. In the distance you heard heavenly voices practise a phrase and then we trouped in to hear the second half performed by some of the greatest singers in the world. I also heard about her annual visits with different, expert, friends to the Chelsea Flower Show. These friends had their own prizewinning gardens in the Dales where she often stayed. Among all these pleasures, one of Margaret’s greatest preoccupations was her work for the National Trust. This organisation recognised what must have been her outstanding contribution, some through additional voluntary service, as when she inspected the state of several gardens and classified them. So, she was honoured by an invitation to a banquet at Windsor Castle. Margaret was absolutely delighted by this but ironically in the night after the event she fell in her hotel room the beginning of a long drawn-out period of decline. For years Margaret lived in their family’s house with the brother whom she loved and admired. His death was a dreadful blow. She had no relatives remaining. Later, after her retirement, her contacts gradually became limited to a few specially loyal friends in addition to a few members of the Huddersfield Methodist Mission which belonged to her family’s tradition. I am thankful that, when she died, these people together were able to provide a proper Thanksgiving for the life of a remarkable individual.

SUMMER 16 | 25

MISS KATHLEEN MALHAM Former member of staff, 1958 - 1995 It is with great sadness we announce the death of Miss Kathleen Malham aged 79. Miss Malham passed away on Friday 13 May 2016 after a short illness. Miss Malham retired from WGHS in 1995, after serving 37 years at the Junior School. During her teaching career she saw the school move from what is now Willows to St John’s House, served under three different Heads and taught many hundreds of pupils. Always helpful, hardworking, kind and discreet, she was a dedicated teacher and never lost her obvious enjoyment in the girls’ development. Her interest continued as they progressed throughout the senior school and far beyond, and she was delighted to teach the second generation of families. Her retirement was marked with both a picnic with pupils and a gathering of Old Girls, with at least one representative of each of the years she had taught. Her leaving gift, a set of

MRS MARGARET LEIGHTON Former member of staff, 1972 - 1979 Margaret Leighton died 11 July 2014, aged 85. She was Head of PE at the High School from 1972 – 1979. Margaret was a former Yorkshire and England hockey player who as a Physical Education teacher inspired a generation of sportswomen. Her entire life was devoted to playing, teaching or encouraging sport, and as Head of Physical Education at Wakefield Girls’ High School, she was closely involved in schoolgirl hockey in Yorkshire having exceptional coaching ability, enthusiasm and leadership. She was a registered coach, at county, club and schoolgirl level, and was also a County and North selector and President of West Yorkshire Schoolgirls. She kindly agreed to open the new games pavilion at Blenheim Road in 2003 and inspired the current pupils with her speech about the importance of sport and how much she had benefitted from a lifetime of playing and being involved. She has been remembered as a kind, formidable woman with an inspiringly, positive attitude and a zest for life which shone through in everything that she did.

luggage and a camera, was put into almost immediate use as Miss Malham set off for New Zealand in September 1995. In her retirement Miss Malham continued to be connected with the High School and returned in 2012 to talk to pupils about the History of St John’s House that she had recently compiled. Miss Malham is survived by her brother and his family.

THELMA BORLEY (NEE DICKINSON) Old Girl, 1932-1944 It is with sadness that we report the passing of Thelma Borley on 3 March 2016. Mrs Borley was Deputy Head Girl during her last year at school. She spoke of her school days with much fondness, although not always easy for her as her adored father died very young, whilst she was still at the High School. After leaving WGHS Mrs Borley went to Anstey College of Physical Education and was a top student there in many areas particularly Gymnastics and Dance. Mrs Borley taught part time for many years. She loved teaching Dance - National Dances in school and at her own school of Ballroom Dancing and Etiquette which was attended by many of the local boys and girls. Mrs Borley was always full of fun and laughter and many remember her for her dancing around her lounge when they visited. She had a strong Christian Faith which helped her through many of life’s ups and downs, not least when she lost her beloved husband last October. She is survived by her son and her daughter, Maureen Page.

Every attempt is made to record the details of Old Girls and former members of staff in these obituaries. We apologise for any errors or omissions from this section of the magazine and would welcome Old Girls and their relatives to contact us to place obituaries and other notices. Please email or call 01924 663 733.


PAULINE HALL Old Girl, 1933 - 1942 It is with sadness that we report the passing of Pauline Hall on 25 November 2015. Pauline was born in Guisborough but spent her first seven years in Amen Court, adjacent to St Paul’s Cathedral in London, where her father, Noel Hopkins was a Minor Canon. The family then moved north when her father was appointed as Provost of Wakefield Cathedral. Both Pauline and her younger sister Hilary attended WGHS. On leaving school, Pauline attended the Royal Academy of Music in London where she studied piano and violin. Her studies took place during the war years and she clearly remembered the disruption to her daily life. During this time she met her future husband, Tony Hall, who was studying medicine at Middlesex Hospital. Subsequently, they moved back to Wakefield where Tony became a GP and Pauline taught at a local school as well as bringing up their three children. A move to Harrogate followed in 1960, where Pauline continued to give piano lessons both privately and at local schools. Pauline was also very involved in the local music scene performing regularly in the Bach St Matthew Passion in York Minster under Dr Francis Jackson. During this time, Pauline had the idea of writing her own piano tutor book, and spent many long hours at the keyboard (sometimes with her manuscript paper spread out on the ironing board between bouts of ironing!). She was delighted – even somewhat surprised – when she received a letter in 1979 from the then Head of OUP’s Music Department, Christopher Morris, saying that they would like to publish her tutor. Thus ‘Tunes for Ten Fingers’ was born, receiving much positive comment from teachers and press alike. The book was


followed over time by a whole series – The Oxford Piano Method and these books continue to be popular worldwide. Pauline retired to Arkholme, Lancashire in 1983 where she continued to teach part-time and to develop The Oxford Piano Method. She became very much involved in the local music scene playing violin with various orchestras and becoming organist of St John the Baptist, Arkholme where she formed a small RSCM affiliated choir. Her interests included gardening, ornithology and the local WI and Mothers’ Union.

HELEN NOTTINGHAM Old Girl, 1941 - 1948 It is with sadness that we note the passing of Helen Barbara Nottingham on 17 July 2015, aged 85 years. One of three sisters to attend the High School, Helen was a talented pianist, and left her baby grand piano and all her music and books on music to the school. This kind gift has been accepted from her niece, Alison Tetley (OG, 1964-1978 )

MRS JEANETTE BELL Former member of staff 1964 - 1988 Old Girl, 1953 - 1956

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Sheila Shearon, nee Helme. (b 27.6.1942 d 4.6.2015) Sheila won a Storie scholarship to the High School from St. James’ C of E Junior School in 1953. She was a very clever and popular girl; she gained excellent O-Level results and was considered a potential candidate for Oxford. Sheila’s father was killed in an industrial accident in 1956, and Sheila was obliged to leave school to work in the family’s newsagents business. She gained A-Levels at night school, which led to a career in the Civil Service. Sheila had 4 children. She spent the last 19 years of her life in the Malvern Nursing Home in Bradford. Sheila faced cancer with great courage; she died in the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford just before her 73rd birthday.

Mrs Jeannette Bell died peacefully on 23 October 2015 aged 91. She taught mathematics for a number of years at the High School through the 1970s and 1980s. Mrs Bell previously taught at Bradford Girls’ Grammar School before the birth of her children. She worked mostly parttime at WGHS to fit in with the lives of her children. Jeanette continued to learn all her life. In retirement she took up playing cello at Leeds College of Music. She went on to play with the College Symphony Orchestra. She kept herself active and engaged by tutoring her neighbours who struggle with maths. She was an avid reader and enjoyed completing fiendish sudoku puzzles and listener crosswords. She would even complete the Cambridge Entrance Exam in Maths if she could get her hands on it - just for fun! Her daughter, Julia Leatham, said of her: “We were in awe of mum’s brain, even to then end!”

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HILARY PEPPER Old Girl, 1944 - 1953 It is with sadness that we report the death of Hilary Pepper, aged 80 years. Ms Pepper was born in Wakefield and attended the High School until she went to Gypsy Hill Training College in Kingston to train as a primary age teacher. She always spoke with great enthusiasm of her time at the School and was good friends with the late Miss Knott, her former headmistress. After her training at Gypsy Hill, Ms Pepper went to the Royal Academy of Music to earn her qualification to teach music. She returned to West Yorkshire to teach in secondary education and lived with her father after the sudden death of her mother.

SHEILA HAMILTON (NEE RHODES) Old Girl, 1928 - 1939 It is with sadness that we report the death of Sheila Rhodes on August 2 2015, at the age of 92. Sheila was born in Harrogate on the 31 December 1922. She was brought up in Wakefield where her father was a director of the family laundry business. She attended Wakefield Girls High School where her favourite subjects were music and art. She was a pretty good piano player and not bad at drawing either. Her ambition was to be a kennel maid. On leaving school she joined an engineering company in Wakefield, working in the costing office. When she became eligible she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce (WAAF) and spent the war years at RAF stations in Norfolk. She subsequently met her late husband David when they were both serving at RAF Downham Market and they were married on July 13th 1945 in Wakefield. After the war they ended up in Malta where Paul was born in 1947. On returning to the UK David was posted to the Met Office at Renfrew airport where they remained until 1960. During this time Sheila was active in the local parish church, and became a successful breeder of Siamese cats. She was secretary of the Scottish Cat Club for a time, and brought home many a rosette from cat club shows. She was the proud owner/servant of one of the first Russian Blues in the UK. During her time in Scotland, Sheila made many lifelong friends. In 1960 she was on the move again when David was posted to head up the Met Office at Liverpool airport. They set up home on the Wirral where Sheila was able to indulge her passion for gardening, restoring the very large overgrown garden. Although only there for a year, she again integrated herself into the community, joining the local church, enjoying Scottish Country dancing, and making even more friends. It was a short stay on the Wirral however. In 1961 David was posted to Germany to work with NATO. She greatly enjoyed her time in Germany, again seeking out the local church, joining clubs, societies, attending social events with David, travelling, and of course accumulating more friends. Germany was followed by a year in Liege where she met Wim and his parents at the local church, obviously.


After 10 years in West Yorkshire, Hilary applied for jobs in the South – in both Brighton and Sydenham. Incredibly, after being interviewed for both she was offered both positions! She chose to accept the offer at Sydenham High School, a choice which allowed her to enjoy the greater number of opportunities for musical experiences London has to offer. She settled in a flat between Beckenham and Bromley for several years – accompanied by her cat! Her friendship with an acquaintance from Sydenham High School – Diana Raine - saw her sell her flat and move to Addington, Surrey and purchase a house with Ms Raine. They lived very happily in Addington until 2014 where they moved to Cranmer Court near Warlingham where Ms Pepper remained until her death. The next and last posting was to the Met Office at London Heathrow and 6 Kingfisher Drive, where she lived happily for nearly 51 years. Her passion for gardening blossomed into a small business when David retired, and together they set up a garden maintenance company. During this time she was a founder member of St Richard’s Church, a member of the choir for the best part of 40 years, and a long-time member of the Kingston Orpheus Choir. Sheila was devoted to her grandchildren and completed many a school run when Alex and Rob were small. She took a keen interest in their activities and was particularly helpful with Roberts music. She was very proud when they both completed university and found jobs. Her later years were spent looking after David as his health slowly deteriorated. She suffered a serious setback when she fell on the kerb getting off a bus and broke her left femur. After spending some eight weeks in hospital, she fought her way back to full mobility with true Yorkshire grit and determination, and continued to care for David. Her full time caring, however, took a toll on her own health and after David passed away she reduced the frantic pace of her life to something a little more normal. She enjoyed family visits to Scotland and made several visits to friends from the time when she lived there. She continued to communicate with her many friends around the world by email but sadly her failing eyesight brought her emailing and piano playing days to an end, although she continued to sing in the choir at St Richards for some time after. She could still write surprisingly well though and envelopes with her distinctive handwriting popped through many front doors around the world. It was only last Christmas after her first illness that she was unable to write and send her own cards.

MRS BARBARA LILEY Former member of staff, 1978 - 2002 It is with great sadness that we report the death of Barbara Liley. Barbara was a Teaching Assistant at WGHS JS from 1978 to 2002. She died in October last year, aged 78, in Wakefield Hospice after a short illness. She was well loved by all the girls and staff she helped in the school and especially staff as she never minded being on playground duty.

MEMORIES MISS HARDCASTLE Written by former pupil Clare Kirton (nee Foster), 1982 - 1989 You would think that I would be writing now from some lofty heights, from a position as some eminent historian, perhaps having written books on the subject or at the very least having gone on to study history at university. No, that is absolutely not the case (though I do recall in my dim and distant memory that I did have a V Upper history medal pinned to my chest at some point in my WGHS career). I didn’t even apply for Oxbridge (the applications and exams at that time were overseen by Miss Hardcastle) and I read Law at Uni. I just did O Level and then A Level history and I was only taught by Miss Hardcastle for my last two years at the High School. I was of course aware of her presence during me early years. People talked about her lessons, she was head of history and her joyous, exuberant (and very professional- I know that she was committed to Huddersfield Choral Society) singing in prayers was legendary. Miss Hardcastle was an academic, an educationalist and possibly had the most enthusiastic teaching style of anyone at that time. I remember her calling us to attention by saying “ladies, ladies, ladies”. She was so charismatic. In the 1980s before smart boards, IPads and when WGHS’s I.T. (supervised by Mr Oldroyd, the only male teacher when I joined WGHS!) was a very small room in Willows with a few enormous computers …and believe me that was way ahead of other schools, we were taught very effectively and traditionally. As everywhere did, we had a lot of what is now popularly referred to as “chalk and talk”. In contrast, Miss Hardcastle did things a little differently (she did write stuff down too). It is only now, looking back, that I realise she was ahead of her time- her lessons were packed full of interactive learning activities; we all participated, we got up, moved around and came to the front and wow did we do a lot of role play. She told history as stories. Somehow she made us all willing to join in with her scenarios, even the most reluctant among us. One lesson you might be required to be “Perkin Warbeck”, “Lambert Simnel”, “Sir Thomas Moore”, a young “Henry” or “Elizabeth” speaking to her troops at Tilbury. Now what is impressive about these teaching methods is that what I learnt has stayed with me. I have not had to look up these names or facts, I just know them! Testament indeed to good teaching. History was Miss Hardcastle’s stage- she threw herself into every character with aplomb- voices, actions… I have thought about all the trips we went on - The Borthwick Institute (archives and sources which she was passionate about). We went on a trip to Hardwick Hall where we were regaled with stories of Bess of Hardwick trying to marry her granddaughter into the royal family- a potentially very dull trip around a Tudor House which I can still remember nearly 30 years later and think of when I pass it on the M1. A trip to the Armada Exhibition in Greenwich and a visit to Riveaux Abbey to reflect on the dissolution of monasteries. The then history department of Miss Hardcastle, Mrs Kent and Mrs Armitage put in so much hard work to bring the subject alive. I think those were the days before pages of risk assessments-

In her capacity as Head of History, Margaret Hardcastle produced this book in 1978 to mark the centenary of WGHS’ opening.. This is viewable on the WGHS digital archive on uk/#archivetimeline

we were all safe and had a great time. (I recently attended an open day and was transported back to those days when I stepped into Room 24 and I was impressed with the teachers I met in History in 2015) It is only now when I reflect on the past that I realise how I benefited from Ms Hardcastle’s passion for her subject and her invaluable examination experience (she worked closely with the JMB Examination Board). She told us about effective revision, exam technique and timing. She was firm but fair and she made you work hard, expecting you to read lots. This guidance helped me to secure an A grade in my A level history and that A grade was “the” grade that got me into my chosen University (where I met my future husband- who did actually study History) and on to my Law and French degree. Latin had not gone quite so well for me (my fault - any girls reading this and embarking on their linear A levels- listen and learn - don’t waste year 12- its important and don’t favour some subjects over others- you need all 3 for your University entry )!!! I have to say that a very large proportion of our A level history set secured A (and B) grades- no mean feat in 1989!!! Teachers like Miss Hardcastle, Mrs Kent, Mrs Larner and Mrs Mirfield (and my Latin teachers) were inspirational and their lasting effect (plus a pep talk and advice from Mrs Langham), led me to retrain as a teacher in my late 30s. I now teach 1618 year olds and am in awe of how ably my gifted teachers kept us all interested and on task without the wonders of youtube and the internet. My creaky knees (at 45) and dodgy hip from diving in indoor hockey remind me of all the time Miss Applewhite and Miss Frazer dedicated to our enjoyment of and participation in sport (did they ever manage to get home?). All that Miss Hardcastle taught me was put into practice at short notice a couple of months ago. With a history teacher unwell, I was called upon in an emergency to deliver a “taster session” on Early Modern History to potential A-Level students. Armed with only a few images of Henry VIII and some sources, I was able to recall content and apply Miss Hardcastle’s interactive techniques. I think despite my initial trepidation I succeeded in delivering a lively session where every member of the group took part. Thanks Miss Hardcastle and Mrs Kent.

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I do recall being quite grateful to Miss Hardcastle when I got my results in 1989. I wrote her a letter of thanks- not bad for the archetypal teenager (“no one understands”, “it’s just not fair” and “it’s not my fault”) completely focused on “self” and the next life step- going away to Uni! Almost always smiley and ready to laugh out “loud”, oooh but you did not want to make Miss Hardcastle cross- in history she meant business. Firm, fair (I was definitely going off the boil and being a bit teenage but the History Dept. kept me firmly on track), passionate about teaching & her subject, exam focused (an experienced examiner) and charismatic -Miss Hardcastle was a teacher who will undoubtedly be remembered with affection by a great many girls who were at the High School between the 1960’s to the mid 1990’s. Great characters are vitally important in education as they are the ones we all remember. These are the people who inspire you to learn, to work hard, and to be aspirational to stick at things and that effect stays with you throughout life’s journey. We were very lucky to have been taught by them and it is important to give them the thanks that they are due. Those of us who were pupils during the Miss Hardcastle years will recall being taught by a memorable and exceptional band of ladies (and it was largely ladies at that time- I had only one male teacher during my time at the High School- and he was great too- thanks Dr Utley!). They loved their subjects,were highly intelligent,had a wide range of interests and talents away from school but they had also given a large part of their lives to the service of education, largely at WGHS. It is therefore important that we

too remember them at sad times like this. So, Miss Hardcastle didn’t know it but she would actually have been an OFSTED inspector’s dream, active learning, role play, discussion, “light bulb moments” abounding and whole class participation. With focus on our “product objectives” (exam results)- (way before we could ever check out past papers and mark schemes on the exam board’s website) and instilling “process” objectives too- getting us all involved, giving us the confidence to have a go and participate (whether we really wanted to, or not!). Art and craft too- do you all remember making jewellery in IV lower (year 7) from the Sutton Hoo find? I wonder if things might have been different if Mr Alan Bennett had met Miss Hardcastle. Alan Bennett chose to write “the History Boys” about a group of sixth form students working on their Oxbridge applications… with inspirational and charismatic teachers somewhere in Bradford/Leeds in the 1980s. Perhaps if he had met Miss Hardcastle and her colleagues it would have been called “This History Girls” and be set in Wakefield. I had a great time at WGHS but as a full time teacher and mother of two , I don’t often have time to just sit and reflect on the past. The alumni newsletter, albeit the bringer of sad news, was the catalyst which has made me do this.This is longer than I anticipated but I just wanted to pay my respects. To Miss Hardcastle (and her fabulous colleagues) - all the “ladies” in the WGHS house, we salute you.

WGHS WORLD WAR I HUTS Written by former pupil Anne Grimshaw, 1951 - 1965 I remember the wooden ‘huts’ along Newstead Road. They were painted or stained black. The roof was pitched and the whole building stood about 18 inches or so off the ground. There were five and they housed form rooms for the three IV Lower forms and two of the three IV Middle forms. (The other one was in the main house.) These supplemented the rooms in the main house as wards when it was taken over as a hospital in WWI. There was no corridor so access was through each hut. The first one had steps down from the old gymnasium. The floors were wooden planks. They had central heating - large radiators and thick pipes but they weren’t very warm. The windows overlooking Newstead Road were high up with no view but the windows overlooking the lawn and Jubilee Hall were normal height so there was something to look at during lessons which were chalk-and-talk and often boring. The huts were demolished in 1960 or so and a new two-storey block was built. It had coloured panels - light blue and dark blue - WHGS colours. They had corridors on the lawn side and windows only on the Newstead Road side. They also had clocks - which I watched a lot!


WWI huts similar to those at WGHS

In the main house on the first floor, Room 20, first on the left at the top of the ‘up’ stairs (to the left of the entrance hall/ front door), was a room used as a ward. If you stood on the corridor with that room on your right and ahead of you and got the light right you could see under the layers of paint the word ‘Towneley’ which had been the name of that ward. It has probably been totally obscured now. I also made am 8mm film about WGHS which I gave to Wakefield Museum in 1998. If I remember rightly, it started in 1961 - the huts had gone by then. Editor’s note: We are working with Wakefield Museum to see if any of this footage still exists.

PATRICIA (PADDY) TREVELYAN Writtten by former pupil Patricia (Paddy) Trevelyan (nee Moore), 1941 - 1947 My name is Patricia Trevelyan (nee Moore) and I was always known as Paddy as there were 5 Pats in my form! The Prudential Assurance Co. had taken Sandal Grange for the duration of the War and there were several offspring of the those working there such as Angela James, Joyce Pulsford, Pat Stevenson, Brenda and Pat Clarke and my older sister Annette and me. When I started in 1V Lower 3 in the Huts my teacher was Miss Kennaugh. I am wondering whether anyone else remembers a visit we had in Lower 6th from a man from New Zealand House. He had redish hair and wore a black coat and striped trousers

and he brought a zither with him. He gave a talk and showed films and then taught us to sing “Now is the Hour” long before Gracie Fields. Another song was “Ply the paddle, swing the poy” From then on I wanted to go to New Zealand and I did apply to be a £10 Pom but then I met my husband and we eventually went to live in Rhodesia for 21 years. However the wish must have gone down through the genes as my eldest son and family emigrated to New Zealand in January 2004. I have just booked a trip there early in 2016.

ARE YOU A CONTEMPORARY OF... In our new feature, we try to re-connect Old Girls who have lost touch with their peers.

LESLEY ASPINALL Lesley came to WGHS in the early 1950s. She was born on February 8 1937, started at the school when she was nine and and left before her A-Levels at around the age of 17. She would dearly like to get in contact with any of her old friends who she has lost touch with.

If you are looking to get back in contact with friends from your school days then sign up now to the WGHS In Touch website where you can join a database of thousands of Old Girls, alternatively contact developmentoffice@ and we will try our best to find your contemporaries.

If you knew Lesley or came to WGHS during that time, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lesley’s daughter Lisa Astbury who can put you back in contact with her. Lisa can be reached via email at

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WAKEFIELD GIRLS’ HIGH SCHOOL AND THE WAR YEARS For more detailed information visit The first in a series of articles about school life in WWI.

At Wakefield Girls’ High School the war years were dominated by Gertrude McCroben. During her headship pupil numbers rose from 139 to 542, making W.G.H.S. one of the largest girls’ schools in the country. It was also one of the best and Miss McCroben earned a national reputation as an educationalist. By the time of the 1911 census Miss McCroben was living at 5 St. John’s Square with her mother, sister, a group of W.G.H.S. boarders (five teachers and 18 students) and the house’s domestic staff. Barbara Hepworth, who attended W.G.H.S. during the First World War, remembered Gertrude McCroben and the school with affection. Barbara figures prominently in school records, appearing for example in the list of prize winners at speech day in 1917. When the guest speaker, Miss Clarkson, presented one of her watercolours to the school Barbara was chosen to accept it ‘as a High School girl who shows great promise in art’. Miss McCroben understood the opportunities, frustrations and anxieties the war brought for women. At Commemoration Day on November 12 1914 she stressed the challenges to be faced and the values needed for the task: A typical W.G.H.S. classroom just before the war. The emphasis on pictures, books and other stimulus material was a key part of Miss McCroben’s educational philosophy

At first all was excitement with a sense of unreality. Now all realise the significance of events, and life has a new meaning. Our sense of proportion is changed. We are possessed by a growing desire to live more worthily and to link past and present in mutual service and help, in self-denial and self-control. Thus and thus only will our schools be a safeguard of our nation.

British shock at the invasion of Belgium and Northern France in 1914 was genuine and led to a commitment to their support, liberation and reconstruction. The Wakefield High School Review, the school magazine, reflects this. Belgian refugee children joined the Foundation’s schools and relief programmes for refugees were supported. Staff and girls were also engaged in a range of other wartime activities, including working on the land. Old Girls joined the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps and Women’s Royal Naval Service, worked in canteens in Britain and France, and served as doctors, nurses and Voluntary Aid Detachment members in hospitals at home and abroad. They took over the roles of men serving in the forces, toured with concert parties in France and Belgium and worked in munitions factories. A very significant High School effort raised £40 for an ambulance which was presented to the Belgian Army in 1915. This ambulance was presented to the Belgian Army by W.G.H.S. in 1915

W.G.H.S. students working on the land in the summer of 1917

Lucy Burkitt (W.G.H.S. 1897-1900), who had been a Voluntary Aid Detachment member, became a Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths, and Vaccination Officer:

Gertrude McCroben (1863-1933; Headmistress 1894-1920)

I have just registered the eight hundredth baby, so you may imagine that I know more about babies than I did when I began this work. And Oh! The epidemic of war names - Louvains, Verduns, Lilles, and so forth; one feels inclined to smile until the mother quietly adds, ‘That is where my man was wounded,’ or ‘My only brother was killed at Verdun’.

One of many W.G.H.S. charitable initiatives is reflected in this 1915 advertisement for a demonstration of the Jaques-Dalcroze method. This aimed to develop musical understanding by a system which made extensive use of gymnastics and had attracted growing interest from 1906 onwards

WGHS In Touch Magazine - Vol. 2  

The second edition of In Touch, the alumnae magazine of Wakefield Girls' High School.