ST MARY’S HALL
The life of a school, like the life of a soul,
Is spirit; in flesh; it can die and survive.
When pupils are scattered and buildings destroyed,
It still can recover, it yet can revive.
Its character lives in the lives it has trained.
Their love is not lost in the passing of time.
Unbroken by war, and its glory retained,
The life of this school is a record sublime.
(F Keeling Scott “late Vicar of St Marks” contributed this poem to the 1949 newsletter.)
For additional linked details please click on the names where underlined below.
Celia Cook (“Kim” Kimmins) died in April 2021 after a long period of very poor health which she dealt with with her customary humour, acceptance and positivity.
Kim, as she was known to her many friends and fellow Old Girls, contributed a huge amount to our Association during the years she served on the committee and afterwards, assisting the Team from 2009 until only a month or so before her death with her encyclopaedic knowledge about the School and everything connected with it. Her career as a Genealogist was also of assistance to us and she gave unstintingly of her time even when having to type with her right hand (she was left-handed) after her left arm fractured as part of her health problems.....(please click on Celia's name above to continue.)
Mrs Marna (Valerie) Boyes (SMH 1962-1980) Passed away peacefully, of old age, on 4th January 2021, age 91.
Her funeral was held on 23rd January followed by burial at Bosham Cemetery.
Mrs Boyes taught Geography at SMH and both her daughters (Jemma and Nicola)
attended the school. Following the closure of SMH Jemma and Nicola kept her abreast of
the Association’s events and news and we marked her 90th birthday with a card, including
messages from many of ‘her girls’.
Among those marking her passing and sending condolences to her family were colleagues
Carole Baker, Catherine Hicks (Barnard) and Cynthia Palmer (Fabian) and former students
Lis Eastham (Ferguson), who commented “I loved Geography. Mrs Boyes and Miss Farmer
were my teachers. It was one of my best grades at O level. Condolences to the family.”
Adding their condolences were Sian Spencer (Williams), Susan McDonagh, Benice Deann
Gross (Rents), Tracey van Putten (Campbell), Lalida Richardson, Miriam Luke (Batten),
Gill Smith (Walsh), Lynn Tulip ( Benjamin), Alison Stoecker (Enwezoh). Trish ffrench (Williams)
recalled that she and her sister Nikki often got lifts to school from Valerie, who lived near
them in Patcham at the time.
Also Gaynor Fitzgerald (Webb), Sue Duncan (Hennings), who added “She helped me love Geography so much, I went on to do a degree in Environmental Science.”; Jane Andrews (Goacher), Angie Risley (Charles) Jennifer Tsang, Carolanne Fazakerly (Vokins), Rosemary Fox, Mariam Verjee, Heather Goddard and Penny Wade who said “Mrs Boyes was one of my favourite teachers and always great fun. I really enjoyed geography and wish I’d carried on.” Anna Tinner added “Mrs Boyes was a fabulous teach plus so beautiful too. I can still see her in class. I got a Geography CSE grade 1 because of her.”
Shelley Lüer (Hayes) has “Very fond memories of Mrs Boyes.” Terry Damm said “Mrs Boyes was such a fun teacher. One of my favorite classes and teachers at SMH. Opening up the globe and instilling my love for travel and learning about other cultures!” “One of my favourite teachers, too,” said Judith Scott (Savery), “with a great sense of humour and understanding of teenage girls. I remember her coming to class one day and telling us that it wasn’t only teenagers that get spots as old people like her had them too (she would have been all of 40 at the time!). I was horrified of that possibility but needless to say I have thought of her often over the years!” Jane Fowlie (Badger) said "I remember Mrs Boyes, she was a great teacher and had a sparkling personality. My condolences to her daughters. I remember Nicola who was a few years ahead of me."
Lucinda Morrison wrote: “I'm so sorry to hear this. I arranged to have tea with her a couple of years ago but she contacted me on the day to say she wasn't feeling up to it. Shortly afterwards she moved into a nursing home so much to my regret, we never did meet up. She was inimitable - her teaching methods were so enthusiastic, if not always 100% reliable but all the more memorable for it! RIP Mrs Boyes and much sympathy to her family.” To which Melanie Morrison added: "So sad to hear this - I was very fond of Mrs Boyes. My sympathy to her family."
Francesca Sutton (Edgar) was in the same class as Jemma and said "I remember Mrs Boyes well. She was always a popular teacher with us all. I am sorry to hear of her passing. My condolences to Nicola & Jemma. I remember you all fondly.”
Mrs Boyes clearly loved teaching at SMH since she ‘left’ twice, being coaxed back after her first ‘retirement’ to cover for Dr Dixon when he was unwell. School records of the time tell of how welcome was her return. My own (few) Geography lessons were with Miss Farmer but friends who were taught by Mrs Boyes all spoke of her enthusiastic approach to the subject – confirmed all these years on by the many comments sent with prayers and condolences, and I clearly remember that encounters with her always left me with the impression that she was a kind and fair person. It is wonderful that she had many years in retirement to see her daughters do so well and to enjoy the arrival and progress of her grandchildren.
June Marigold Mack (SMH 1947- 1949) Passed away 11th December 2020
Carolyn Mack contacted us on New Year’s Eve 2020 to inform us that her aunt who was a boarder at St Mary’s Hall from 1947 to 1949 passed away on 11th December 2020 after a short illness.
June was born and brought up in North London and in 1974 bought a flat on Grove End Road, St John’s Wood, just round the corner from Lords Cricket ground (where she eventually became a member!). She lived there until 2012 when she moved to a flat in a retirement complex in Oxford.
Between 1952 and 1964 she held various secretarial positions working for the Royal College of Physicians, Foyles Bookshop and the CCPR (Central Council of Physical Recreation). In 1964 she was promoted to Office Manager at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre. She held various posts within the Sports Council eventually becoming Head of Centres Services at their Headquarters. She retired from the Sports Council in 1993.
In 1989 June achieved a BA First Class Honours degree from the Open University and was recruited as a tutor for the OU. She supported OU students for many years, running tutorials and teaching at Summer Schools, which she really enjoyed.
She had many friends and led a full and active life. Her many interests include a love of sport, especially cricket, theatre, walking, music, singing and travel. She shared and passed on her passions with her students, friends, her nieces, nephews and their families.
June’s sister in law (Carolyn’s mother) Hilary June Mack neé Gardner and her sister Valerie Mary Gardner also attended St Mary’s Hall. Hilary was a pupil between 1933 and 1940. Valerie was 6 years younger born in May 1930. June contacted us after Hilary’s death in 2008 and an obituary was published in the magazine. Valerie died in 2009.
Rowan Fookes (Cawkell 1954-56) Passed away 17th October 2020.
We were told of her death by her very close friend Shirley Read-Jahn. We know that Rowan's contemporaries at SMH would join Shirley and sister, Pamela Bailey (Read-Jahn), in sending our condolences to Rowan’s family. These photographs show Rowan at the Reform Club in 2009 and sporting her recent new short blonde haircut, with which she was most pleased.
Emma Barry (Fontes (1973- 1978) Passed away October 2020.
Having spent many years living in Colorado with her family, Emma spent much of the last year in Sussex caring for her mother during her final months before she succumbed to cancer in April 2020. It was a dreadful blow that Emma herself then discovered she had the disease and she died in Sussex at the beginning of October 2020. Many members sent condolences and messages to her family, which includes her younger sister Tamzin, who is also an Old Girl. Maria Waring remembered her "as a very kind caring SMH girl" Elizabeth (Libby) Ager expressed shock, adding, "I have recently been looking at photos of Emma as she & James went out for a while & I had her pony Blue on loan. Such happy times. Huge condolences to the family." Caroline White said "So sad to read this. Emma was always so kind and lovely, so many happy memories of horses and pony club days. Sending my condolences to her family xx" Lesley Clifford: "I am so saddened hearing this. Emma was a lovely girl and though we haven't kept in touch since leaving school, I have some very happy memories of spending some weekends in 4 / 5th form with her. Sending my condolences to all her family. Xx" Shana Duthie also remembers Emma and James. "We all went to a few discos together. They were happy days. I also remember Blue. It's very sad news. x" Lucinda added that she "too was totally shocked by it, especially having been for a walk with her and James in early September, and she seemed so much better. But she deteriorated very rapidly I believe." Amy Taylor and Henrietta Nesbitt said "What sad news, sorry to hear x" Alison Alpha Law concurred, saying she would tell her sister Kat, who would also remember her. The funeral was on Tuesday 13 October in Ditchling but under Covid-19 restrictions. Several Old Girls hoped to stand outside or on the green, during the service to remember her quietly.
Julie Cowley - PE Teacher ~1954-57 - Passed away July 2020
Susan Boyle (Harrison, 1974-81) reported the sad loss of her Godfather's wife, who was at SMH as a very young PE teacher. Susan's Godfather told her that Julie was that proverbial all-rounder when it came to sports: she played lacrosse for Wales, and for the Brighton Seagulls and at some point also played on the Kent Ladies Cricket team. She was also an excellent tennis player. She later went on to teach at another school in Hove, and later was deputy head of St. Mary's Ascot. Shirley Read-Jahn (1954-61) was among those Old Girls who recalled Miss Cowley and sent us this photograph of Mrs. Eggleton and Miss Cowley (dark hair, on the right) on a school skiing trip in 1957.
For additional details please click the name where underlined above.
Marie Downes (Levene, 1982-90) - Passed away 22nd December 2019
Emma Butterwick (Terrot, 1988-92) shared the news, on Christmas Eve, of the sad passing of Marie, who died after a long fight with cancer. Emma wrote:
“Marie leaves four delightful children, James, Olivia, Juliet and Clara who have shown incredible strength in supporting Marie. Marie was very proud to celebrate James’s wedding this summer in Scotland.
Marie was a professional musician who used her talent and brilliant organisational skills to raise funds for the Maggie Centre in Scotland; this was documented in You Magazine in 2017.
Marie loved her years at SMH and will always be remembered for her excellent tennis skills and beautiful music.” Emma and her daughter, Jessica, spent a wonderful day with Marie, Juliet and Clara in June 2019 reminiscing about the SMH years and many happy memories!
Sandra Russell (Hayes 1964-70) - Passed away May 14, 2019.
Her husband James wrote: “She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2017 and she fought bravely and throughout her challenge, Sandra maintained her self- respect, humour, her love of life and most of all, she continued to put her family first and never stopped loving them.”
Sarina Jane Lane “Snooky” Saunders (1954-60) - Passed away April 2019.
Her sister Marylou Greenaway (Saunders 1950-54) sent this information for friends to see. Their father and brother ran the family prep school, St. Christopher's, in Hove, where both she and her younger sister Vicky (not an Old Girl) worked. When Sarina left school she became a secretary to a local estate agent. She married and had two sons. Sarina volunteered for “Riding for the Disabled” alongside much other charitable work. She had been unwell for many years but remained very stoic until her death. She was very proud of her only grandchild, Henry.
Amanda Nicholas - Passed away March 2019, age 62.
“Horse-mad and boarded in Elliott House” She left two children, Nick and Juliette. Mary Panter kindly passed on our condolences to Amanda’s children and her sister Sarah.
Caroline Bradley (Edgcumbe Rendle, 1969-75) wrote that she remembered Amanda very well. “We both rode horses and spent hours talking all things horsey. I’m so sorry to hear this and my thoughts go out to her family. Fond memories.”
Susanna (Sooty) Pearn - Passed away 16th February 2019, age 52.
“I’m very shocked about Sooty. Hadn’t seen her since SMH but we were good friends back then. We were the naughty lot. Sooty was great fun, best swimmer in our Year especially at Butterfly. Her sister Pippa was very good too. Sooty also used to always suck her thumb and play with her ear at the same time.”
Arabella Van der Merwe (Driscoll, 1984-91) - Passed away 30th January 2019. Bella died at home in Plettenberg Bay. She had her appendix removed in December and they discovered a cancerous tumour on her colon which was removed. The prognosis sounded hopeful and that, coupled with her characteristic tenacity and classic ‘Driscoll humour’, meant family and friends thought they had many more years with her yet, but it appears she may have had a reaction to chemotherapy and she died very suddenly in her sleep leaving her husband, Werner and two children, Lilyella and Sofia.
Margaret McCall (Jones 1934-40) - Passed away Tuesday 20th November 2018. Her son told us "She had said her farewells to her numerous family and died quite peacefully. The evening before she had talked by Skype to her grandson Matthew in Gabon and to my brother in Mexico. I hope you are aware how much she valued her contact with the Association. At the end of September she had a long chat on the phone with fellow Old Girl Marigold (Dancey) Durrant whose own 94th birthday it was. She has lived all over the United States as her two husbands were both in the US Air Force, and moved about two years back to West Virginia to be near one of her daughters. They are evidently a long lived family as her brother John, who is a retired Headmaster of Marlborough College, in his late nineties was recently at the school to inaugurate a new boarding house named after him.
Thank you for getting my mother her newsletter, and for your friendship."
Laura Eaton - Passed away 5th November 2018 - Singing teacher at SMH for 17 years from the late 1970s to the early 1990s. Alison Platt (Schuller) had previously shared a lovely photo of her conducting the Chamber Choir in 1985. Chris Ellison recalled her "making us imagine that we had an orange in our sinus cavity that we had to stretch upwards to lift our soft palate. Very odd imagery really, but it really helped me develop my tone!" Kate Lowe added that "she was a fantastic singing teacher, lots of fond memories" and her colleague Anne Corris commented that she was a wonderful colleague who very sadly lost her son, Robert, in the twin towers disaster.
Anna Campbell - Passed away March 2018.
Anna was killed whilst fighting with an all-female Kurdish armed unit in Syria. Anna travelled to Syria in May 2017 to join the YPJ after being inspired by their goals to establish a democratic society for women following the invasion of the Islamic State. Anna’s death was widely publicised in the national and local papers as well as on television. Her home town of Lewes held a candlelight vigil following the news of her death and a small memorial has been left on Cliffe Bridge in the town. To read the article in The Guardian, follow this link: Guardian memorial about Anna Campbell
Isobel Chanin (Rowland) 1951-55.- Passed away December 20, 2015, age 76.
The date of birth mentioned on the website where Jeanette Cureton found this — 13 February 1939 — is corroborated in our SMH Register.
Sue Hill (late 1960's) - Passed away February 3rd 2001.
A photo of our school on the Facebook Group “Brighton Past” generated lots of interest. It included a comment from a lady called Gillian Bliss who subsequently emailed us to say “My niece Sue Hill went to SMH at the end of the 1960s. Unfortunately, Sue was killed in a glider accident in Australia. My sister Ann (now Mrs Hayes) was her step mother and is also Clare Purkis’ Godmother. We lived very close to St. Mary’s Hall and many, many years ago, Miss Hemsley (I think she taught French) ‘boarded’ in our house. Miss Hemsley subsequently moved along Eastern Road, very close to the school in 1949.” We contacted Sue’s stepmother, Ann Hayes, who told her that Sue had helped set up the much loved Mouse House (Noddy’s inspired idea) and when the girls used to come out on 'croc' they would pop in to Ann’s house and clear her out of bread and cheese! Sue was apparently always 2nd or third in class, only beaten by (Ann thought) a girl who was the daughter of the then Vicar of St Mary's Church. A back copy of the Argus provided a full and moving Obituary, extracts from which follow:
Susan Hill, 46, was an experienced glider pilot and spent several months a year in Australia flying a machine she had shipped out from Sussex. She died in an accident in Benalla, a remote area of Victoria.
A former pupil of St Mary's Hall, Brighton, she was one of the top pupils of her year and went straight into accountancy with the London firm Deloitte after leaving St Mary's Hall. Her former housemistress Margaret Payne, paid tribute to her former pupil. She said: "She was a very determined girl who was very good at her work. I was shocked when I heard of the accident. She loved flying and the only consolation is that she died doing something she loved."
Susan, a chartered accountant, was membership secretary of the Horsham Samaritans and a spokeswoman said: "Susan was an invaluable member of our branch. She played an enormous part in its running. She also set up our web site and was even updating it from Australia."
Heather Ford - Head of P.E. - Passed away 1994.
(also reference to Mr Williamson, who passed away c 1996)
For additional details please click the name where underlined above.