Gwen Gale (Knight, 1941-47)– It was sad to lose Pamela Knowltonsee (“In Memoriam” below). She was such a well-known character and a loyal supporter of the Old Pals for many years. June Ginger (Hunt, 1941-47)in the USA has had to move to a nursing home near to her daughter Silvia after the death of her husband John. Annette Chant (Pountain, 1944-48)has also moved to a nursing home, which happens to be next door to her home, so that her husband Deryck is able to walk across to see her twice a day. I have carried out my usual pre-Reunion ring-round and have spoken to Audrey Walden (1940-46),Yvonne Wagstaff (Hutchins, 1940-46), Betty Wess (Cohen, 1941-46)and Ruth Edgar (Oates, 1941-46). I could not get a reply from Jean Jones (Lunn, 1941-46), so I hope that she is all right. I will send her a letter later. I’m looking forward to the Reunion.
Peggy Handcock (Bigg, 1941-48)– I regret I am unable to attend this year, although I should have liked to come along. I send my good wishes. I kept fairly fit until Christmas, walking my two labradors for about an hour every day. At Christmas I was struck down by an ear infection but I hope to be fit again soon to resume an active life. We celebrated our Diamond Wedding in 2016. My sister Beryl celebrated her 90th birthday last year; she still lives near Cambridge but is not very mobile. I would be delighted to hear from anyone in my year who is still around!
Margaret Paine (1943-48)– During this last year I have lost a few good friends, including Kathy Clark (Jamieson), ex-chairman of our committee; also Jean Porter (Currie), Edna Parrett (Heath)and just recently Anne Letchford (Reeves– see “In Memoriam” either above or below for all these alumni). I attended the funerals of the last three at Slough Crematorium. It’s inevitable as you get older to lose friends but we remember the good times we had with them all. I am keeping reasonably well for my age, barring aches and pains; legs not good for walking but fortunately I still drive, play Scrabble and do puzzles/crosswords to keep the brain working. Family are nearing retirement now – I must be old! Grandchildren are all doing well, none married yet. My niece Emily McLean has recently graduated with a B.A in Geography at the University of South Queensland – she emigrated with her family and sister Kirsty four years ago.
Shirley Jones (Stainer, 1948-53)– I’m sorry that I shall again miss the reunion – the choir I sing with have a concert that day. 2017 was a tough year – my husband was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer in June and died peacefully in August. Some of you who attended SGS 1948-55 may remember him – Tony Jones(see “In Memoriam below”). I send my good wishes to all who were at SHS and SGS with us.
Michael Taylor (1946-51)– Thank you for your kind invitation to the reunion, but I live in NZ and am too old and decrepit to travel to the UK any more, much as I would like to; also for your Christmas card, a snowy view of the school which I still have on display in my den. I don’t think I ever saw it covered in so much snow and of course, no pupil would ever have considered using the front door to gain access to the place. Mr Clarke had his office just inside to the right and the only time I ever went down to it was for punishment, e.g. four strokes of the cane for being late, the same for being sent out of class. Mr Clarke would conduct regular patrols along the corridor and any boy found standing outside a classroom door was ordered down to his office. Many was the time I stood there hoping time would go faster so that the period would be over and I could escape back into my next class. Down at his office he would ask his secretary, Mrs Hazlewood, to leave the office for a moment while we got our regular four strokes of the cane across the posterior. PS. When I wake up in the morning I have a look at the Obituary column in the paper first and if my name isn’t on it, I get up!
Barbara Keast (Bucknell, 1940-45) – Barbara’s sister Hazel Strange (Bucknell, 1940-45)advised that she had passed away in 2017. Hazel did not wish to supply any additional information.
Dawn Bennett (1941-46) – Christine Tipper (Gibbs, SHS 1967-74)wrote in February to let us know that her godmother, Miss Edith Dawn Bennett, had died in January 2018. Apparently Dawn received the Newsletter regularly and read it with relish. She also attended some of the Old Pals reunions. Christine writes: “At SHS Dawn made lifelong friends with my mother Doreen Gibbs (neé Richardson)and Evelyn Greenwood (neé Gibbons). Subsequently she became godmother to Doreen’s daughter, Christine, and an honorary aunt to the rest of the family. Dawn never married and lived all her life in Burnham. She was well-known in the village, where she was an active member of the local church, W.I. and the Trefoil Guild. She enjoyed reading the Old Pals Newsletter and sharing the news with Christine who, along with her three sisters Pamela, Margaret and Lynne (all Gibbs), also attended Slough High School. Dawn will be sadly missed.”
Pamela Knowlton (Maisey, 1941-46)– Pamela died on October 15th 2017, aged 87. At the time of her death she was living in Clewer, though earlier she had lived in Eton Wick (I remember her mother, who used to give piano lessons – Ed.) A tall figure, Pamela was noted in the village for her smart dress sense and colourful appearance. Her father worked at the Eton Boathouse by Windsor Bridge and there were several other people in Eton, possibly related, with the surname Maisey. Pamela’s husband passed away some years ago, she had no children and her best friend is not in a position to help. It has therefore not been possible to obtain more complete information for an obituary.
Kathy Clark (Jamieson, 1942-48)– Kathy, a former Old Pals chairman, died in 2017 in her 86th year. We all owe Kathy a debt of gratitude, as she was one of those instrumental in rescuing the Old Pals when the association threatened to fold in the early 1990s. Her son Relf Clark has kindly provided the following obituary:
“Kathleen Clark was born in Stockport on 30 October 1931, her Mancunian parents having moved there that year. In 1937, after some four years in Monkseaton, Tyne and Wear, they settled in Slough; Kathleen’s father, an engineer’s draughtsman, having obtained a post on the Trading Estate. After attending Montem School, she entered SHS in 1942. A bright, energetic all-rounder, she did well both in the classroom and on the games field and gained distinction as a Girl Guide. Kathleen left school in 1948 and worked for Sun Life, initially in London and then at the company’s Slough office, where she met Frank Clark. They were married at Bray Church in 1953 and had two children: Relf (b. 1954), now a retired solicitor, and Sally (b. 1957), a personal assistant. Frank’s retirement in 1982 initiated a sequence of foreign holidays, many of them in Tenerife. In 1998 Kathleen and Frank left Bray, having lived there since their marriage, and moved to Hailsham in East Sussex. When Frank died in 2007 Kathleen remained there. Her last few years were clouded by illness and she died at her home on 17 March 2017. Kathleen inspired love and affection in a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. She was a devoted wife and mother, a brilliant domestic manager and a generous hostess. As a singer she will be remembered for her many leading roles in operatic and Old Time Music Hall productions in the Windsor and Maidenhead area, as well as for her work in the choir at Bray. She was an accomplished pianist and her water-colours testify to considerable skill as an artist. Above all, she will be remembered for her sense of humour and joie de vivre.”
Anne Letchford (Reeves, 1943-50)– Margaret Paine(see 1940s above) writes: “Anne was born in Slough in 1933, an only child. She grew up in Langley, then went to SHS. According to her funeral service, Anne was a very well-behaved young lady (weren’t we all?) and always immaculately dressed. At the local youth club she met John Rule, whom she married – the couple had two boys, Stephen and Philip. Anne worked as a solicitor’s secretary and subsequently, a school secretary. Sadly, John passed away in 1973 when the boys were 17 and 18. Later, she met Bill Letchford and they married in 1975. They moved to Cookham and both worked in a bank. Both developed a passion for travel and visited Australia, Cyprus, Europe, America, Canada and many other countries. Anne was a member of the WI (Cookham and Taplow, I think). When Bill died she moved into Penn House in Burnham. When her health deteriorated, she moved to Staffordshire to be near her son; she passed away there on 11th January 2018. There was a lovely remembrance service where we all sang Vera Lynn’s ‘We’ll Meet Again’.”
Jean Porter (Currie, 1943-49)– Jean passed away on August 14th 2017. She was in the Oxford House Nursing Home, where she had lived since the beginning of that year. The ever-cheerful Jean was on the Old Girls Committee for many years and a regular supporter at our reunions, where she ran the Bring and Buy stall. She appears in the Ad Astra book. Her nephew Mark and contemporary Mavis Admans (Westbrook, 1942-49)have kindly provided the following account of her life:
“Jean was born in Slough and attended first Montem School, then SHS. She spent all her working life as a Scientific Civil Servant at The Pest Infestation Laboratory in London Road, Slough. In 45 years of service she published many papers of scientific note. Away from work, however, she was more interested in the arts, demonstrating her talent in a number of areas such as music, dramatic art and verse speaking. Jean loved sport, taking up badminton, tennis, judo, squash, riding and mixed hockey (though in the latter she disliked the excessively rough play by some of the men!). Her most enduring love, however, was fencing: she performed at county level and shared this interest with husband Harry, who fenced for Britain in the World Professional Masters Championships. Travel was another of Jean’s passions – she travelled to all corners of the globe and also enjoyed walking holidays. The societies to which she belonged are too numerous to mention, covering subjects such as Scottish dancing, archaeology, history, horticulture and photography, and in these groups she often held positions of responsibility. She was a volunteer steward at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle; a chaplaincy team visitor at Wexham Park Hospital; a founder member of Stoke Poges Society; and a Brownie Guider for 41 years. She also used to record talking books for the blind. She was a proud member of the congregations at St Giles (Stoke Poges) and St John’s (Farnham Common) churches and at the former performed a number of roles such as lesson reader, sidesman, flower arranger and chalice assistant. She also loved animals, especially her two cats – one called Harris (after the vicar of Stoke Poges), the other Parsley.” (Did I hear someone mention the words “full life?” Ed.)
Mary Esling (Testar, 1946-52)– a short letter was received in January from Ron Esling (1944-52)saying that his wife Mary had passed away on December 20th 2017, as a result of bronchopneumonia and dementia. They had been married for 61 years. Ron notes that Mary played tennis for SHS and was in a group comprising Sue Cooper (1944-52), Shirley Barratt and Anne Forster. He added that he would be unable to attend the reunion due to age and mobility issues.
Tony Jones (1948-55)– Tony’s wife Shirley Jones (see above) wrote: “Tony passed to go to SGS from the National School in Slough. After SGS he gained an economics degree at LSE. He worked for British European Airways before moving to Perkins Diesel Engines in Peterborough. From there he was moved to Massey Ferguson (Perkins being a part of that company), working in the London office, and eventually became UK Treasurer. He was also a director of several smaller companies. He married Shirley in 1960; they had 3 daughters, 3 grandsons and 4 great-grandchildren.”
John Alder (1949-54)– John passed away in Southampton on August 15th last year. His widow Pia kindly supplied a copy of the funeral eulogy, on which the following paragraph is based:
“John was born in Slough in 1938, the eldest of four brothers. After attending SGS he joined the Royal Marines and carried out his basic training in Lympstone, Devon. He was then posted to Cyprus, where British forces were engaged fighting the EOKA terrorists. John served 2 years in the Marines, after which he held a series of posts in banking, first with Barclays in London, working as a foreign exchange trader, then with a Swiss bank also in London. In 1970 he emigrated to Canada and joined the Bank of Nova Scotia, with whom he travelled to many parts of the world as an auditor. While working in Beirut in 1980 he met his future wife Pia, whom he married in 1981. There followed postings to Toronto, Panama, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Providenciales and finally to Haiti as senior vice-president of the bank. John took early retirement and the couple settled in Florida but in 1999 they decided to return to Europe, first to Pia’s home country of Finland, then to an apartment in Marbella, where they spent 17 happy years. After John experienced health problems they returned to England and settled in Southampton. In 2017 John’s condition deteriorated rather quickly as a result of liver cancer and he passed away in August with Pia at his side. John was a staunch Chelsea supporter all his life and a keen sportsman himself, playing cricket, football and golf. He was a man with a great sense of humour, loyal, trustworthy, disciplined and honest. His only real dislike was doing domestic chores!”