We are always interested to receive news of births, deaths and marriages so please email Dawn Pilkington (Association Director) information to include in this section with a high resolution picture.
Janet Oswald (née Leigh) (1951) 27th December 2019
Janet was a boarder at St Catherine’s, Bramley, where she thrived, becoming Head Girl and Lacrosse Captain. She sang in the ripieno choir for Bach’s St Matthew Passion in the Albert Hall and took part in a group visit to West Germany soon after the end of World War II, making long-lasting friendships with three German girls, one of whom shared a birth date with her.After school Janet trained as a Froebel teacher and in 1956 obtained a post in the junior school of Victoria College, Maadi, Cairo where she met her husband Philip, a fellow teacher. They married in August 1957 and moved to Cyprus to teach at the English School, Nicosia. After having three children they moved to Cambridge in 1976 and Janet returned to her first love of teaching small boys at the Perse Prep.Janet and Philip loved travelling and camping sleeping on lilos in a tent until their 80’s. Janet wrote detailed diaries about all their trips copiously illustrated with photos.After retiring in 1993 Janet took an A-level in Art and then embarked on an Open University B.A. honours degree, followed by an M.A. in History. Next she was accepted for a Ph.D., her subject being ‘Girls of the Spinning House – a Social Study of Young Cambridge Streetwalkers, 1823–1894’. Janet submitted her thesis on 30 September 2008 and subsequently had a paper published in the journal Urban History in August 2012. She also volunteered to become a Samaritan.
Pat Ellenden (Former Staff) 20th February 2020
Pat graduated in Maths from Reading University in 1959 and went on to Bristol University for her Dip.Ed. After 2 posts teaching in Stanmore and Didcot, she went to London Bible College to study for a BD with a view to teaching RE also. It was there that she met and married David who was on the same course. For 6 years (interrupted by the births of her first two children) she taught in the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, coaching in Maths and RE children who were in as long stay patients. On moving to Farnham in 1975, she had a variety of supply and temporary jobs and also produced a third child before settling into a part-time job at her local High School. She joined the staff of St Catherine's in 1983 and retired in 1998, going back briefly soon after for a maternity cover. She enjoyed early years of retirement, having holidays in Israel, South Africa and China among less exotic places, but at the end of 2013 she had a bleed on the brain from which she was initially not expected to recover. She did in fact recover to a remarkable extent but was never quite the same again. Soon after her 80th birthday in 2017, her health took a turn for the worse and finally pulmonary embolisms (blood clots on the lungs) were diagnosed. ,Blood thinners were prescribed but after a year or so led to another less severe bleed on the brain. She rallied to enjoy a family holiday to celebrate (prematurely) her Golden Wedding in the Easter holidays last year, and the actual anniversary in July with a tea party. Another family holiday was booked in February this year and although her health had been noticably declining since Christmas, the children insisted that she went as David also had health issues and needed a holiday. On the Thursday evening as her son and daughter-in-law were getting her ready for bed she collapsed and went deeply unconscious and within an hour passed away.
Katharine Lippiett (nee Langston-Jones) (1934) 8th November 2019
She died peacefully at the age of 103. Widow of Vernon and mother to Peter and John.
Margaret Wilson 21st September 2019 Former Head of Science and Merriman House Mistress 1965 – 1985
Melissa Van Der Klugt (2003) 30th August 2019
Melissa was a passionate freelance journalist and broadcaster who covered south Asia and Africa for The Times, The Sunday Times and the BBC. As a foreign correspondent she lived in Dehli before moving to Kenya with her partner. At the time of her death her journalistic output was prolific, her writing could be found in the literary and travel sections of newspapers as well as in the features and foreign pages and her voice was heard on radio, podcasts and at literary festivals. When commissioned to write an article about what she had learnt from the obituaries of inspiring women she wrote” Be brave in everything. A life well lived means being brave.” She was very sadly killed in a traffic accident in London.
Carol Ayton (nee Hooper) (1954) 26th July 2019
Her husband Antony writes” We were married at St Andrews Church, Ferring, West Sussex in August 1959, had four children - 2 boys and 2 girls in that order - all happily married they have produced 11 grandchildren - all present in the attached photograph taken last summer. Carol was very proud to have gone to St Catherine’s and kept up with several of her old school friends - in particular Judy Willis, Brenda Croysdill and Mary Brown. After school Carol went to Brighton Tech where she studied Pharmacy and became a member of the pharmaceutical society (MPS) She was a practicing pharmacist until our first child was born, when she gave up paid work and concentrated on being a mother. After the last of the children left home she set up her own pharmacy in the adjoining village which was very successful. When we decided to retire to a smaller house in another village she sold the pharmacy to Lloyds. She was a wonderful mother and her family was the most important thing in her life. Our village church on the day of her funeral was absolutely packed. She was given a wonderful send off!
Irene Harris 10th May 2019
Former PE Teacher 1955-1961 Irene was a pupil at Guildford High School in the 1940s. Having trained at the Chelsea College of Physical Education in Eastbourne she taught at Petersfield before coming to St Catherine’s for six years. In 1961 she took up a post at the Henrietta Barnett Girls’ Grammar School in North London, becoming Head of the P.E. Department and, later, Deputy Headmistress. She retired in 1990 and moved back to Guildford, becoming an active member of the local branch of the Conservative Party and an enthusiastic participant with friends on cruises to many parts of Europe. She was disabled by a stroke in 2015, and died peacefully on 10th May at Farnham Mill Nursing Home, aged 89. She never married.
Gillian Wright (nee Hancock) (1948) 23rd March 2019
Margaret Parry (nee Umpleby) (1956) 6th March 2019
Joy Jardine (1970) March 2019
Joan Davison (nee Higham) (1938) 22nd February 2019
Jane Haviland (nee Irving) (1948) 8th February 2019
Shirley Gadd - Former Housemistress of Bronte 1980-1986 - 17th August 2018
Shirley was born in Stoke Newington London to Frederick a naval officer and Evelyn Gadd. Shirley had a younger brother Brian who sadly passed away ten years ago. On the outbreak of the Second World War she was evacuated along with her mother to Haslemere. She attended St.Bartholomews Infant School,Haslemere Junior School followed by Farnham Girl’s Grammer School. From here Shirley went to teacher training college in Liverpool.Shirley was very involved with the local Brownies and Guides in Haslemere. Shirley taught History in Chichester followed by six years teaching in Hong Kong. On returning she joined the staff at St Catherine’s Bramley ,and greatly enjoyed her time there. This was followed by several years at Godalming Sixth Form College. After retiring Shirley led a very busy life. She obtained a MA in History through the open university, went on many coach holidays, visited friends and family all over the country, and there was great demand for her needlework skills. Shirley enjoyed her 80th Birthday in May and will be greatly missed by her family and many friends.
Patricia James (nee Tannock) (1953) - August 2018
Patricia enjoyed her time at school and was Merriman House Captain. She went on to Roehampton and gained a NFF Dip Ed before becoming a teacher. She married her husband in 1957 and had two daughters and a son. She was also a Justice for the Peace for 27 years - Deputy Chairman and Chairman of Family Panel. Her other passion in life was dogs and she bred, shown and judged Bull Mastiffs for about 25 years. Patricia sadly died following a battle with cancer and will be missed by her family and friends.
Sarah Palmer (2005) - July 2018
Sarah joined the school with her twin sister Kathryn, her older sister Victoria is also an alumnae. During her time at school she was a keen lacrosse player, Russell Baker House Games Captain and Careers Mentor. She went to Brighton and did a degree in Physiotherapy. Sarah sadly died from a malignant tumour.
Jean (Pippy) McCall (nee Rellie) (1938) - 11th June 2018
Jean was an all-rounder at school, she won a number of academic prizes over the years, performed in many of the school plays and played on the netball and lacrosse teams. She was Red House Captain. In 1941 she married Dennis McCall and had three children, two boys and a girl. Her daughter, Sheena, also attended St Catherine’s and was a noted artist and breeder of deerhounds. Sheena sadly died in 2010. Grandmother of Davina McCall, resident of Bramley until relatively recently she will be sadly missed by family and friends.
Joanna Redfern (1952) - 3rd May 2018
Joanna (Jo) Redfern passed away unexpectedly at her home in New Malden aged 83. She arrived at St. Catherine’s in 1946, and left in Summer 1952. Jo was academically very successful, particularly in Maths and Music, passing her Grade VIII Piano exam shortly before her 15th birthday and obtaining Advanced Level in Pure Maths in her final year. She was a prefect in Midleton House. Faced with a choice of Maths or Music when leaving St Catherine’s, Jo chose to study for a Chartered Accountant qualification. She won a national prize in passing the intermediate exam, but shortly afterwards gave up her career aspirations in favour of marriage and family life, marrying Brian Ward in 1957. Jo and Brian had six children, and subsequently Jo had eight grandchildren, and a first great grandchild was born not long before she died. She was for many years the focal point of her large and much-loved family and there were many large family gatherings at her house in New Malden. When the children were older she reactivated her interest in music, teaching herself the clarinet, flute and finally the bassoon, with many musical get togethers with like-minded musician friends. Walking with friends was also a favourite activity, and many of the country’s long distance walking paths were ‘conquered’ by the group.
As well as this Jo found the time to keep in touch with many of her old St Catherine’s school friends, and frequently travelled around the South East to meet up with them. Jo will be deeply missed by her family and her many friends.
Ula Oakley (nee Brett) (1948) - 2nd May 2018
Ula joined the school 1942 and whilst at school she won a number of prizes -senior music prize, senior piano prize, Alice Fortune Memorial Scholarship and the Pearce Memorial Piano Prize. On leaving school she became a member of the OGA committee from 1955-1967, married David in 1958 and moved to Elstead. She remained a staunch supporter of the school throughout her life attending numerous events and reunions. Her love of music stayed with her, both she and her husband were founder members of the Association Choir and sang with the choir for a number of years. In 2005 Ula wrote “Life has revolved around family - sons and grandsons - (Oakleys only produce boys!), the church, in many ways (22 years full-time organist here in Eistead, now both here and in neighbouring parishes) and music, as a piano teacher, choirmaster and for 40 years directing my own chamber group of singers, and giving several concerts a year in aid of charities. We've lived in Burford Lodge all our married life (over 47 years: Eistead can be recommended!” She was in hospital for three weeks with a chest infection which turned to pneumonia. She will be sadly missed by her family and the St Catherine’s community.
Zena Skinner (1944) - 6th March 2018
Zena, a television chef and prolific author & editor of numerous cookery books, has died at the age of 91. During World War Two she served in the Women's Royal Naval Service and then went on to study at the London School of Domestic Science. She went on to travel extensively throughout Jamaica and East Africa giving cookery demonstrations, whilst continuing to write books In 1962 Zena joined BBC television to co-present a programme called Town and Around alongside other presenters such as Michael Aspel and Richard Baker. She was a more homely rival to Fanny Craddock, producing good, English family fare in a kindly and sensible manner. Zena worked regularly on numerous BBC programmes for many years, including Ask Zena Skinner, South East, Look East, South Today, Indoors Outdoors and Bon Appétit. She also founded the Keech Hospice Care in Luton and raised £100,000 for the charity over 26 years. She regularly wrote in the Radio Times, and published several recipe books, including 100 More Town & Around Recipes, Zena Skinner's Cookbook, Recipes for Every Occasion, Take Stock and was an author of the Reader's Digest publication The Cookery Year. In 1969 she appeared on Desert Island Discs and her favourite song as Climb Every Mountain by Peggy Wood. Zena was an absolute stalwart of the reunions for her decade. Intellectually very quick, modest to a fault about her television and publishing career, but always interested to hear what the girls were studying today in what we now call Food and Nutrition. She was never aloof and always ready to chat and reminisce.
Margaret Bowen (nee Chalklin) (1943) - 10th January 2018
She was born on 19th May 1925 and attended St Catherine’s from 1936-43. She loved playing lacrosse at school and was Head Girl. On leaving St Catherine’s she went to LSE gaining a degree in Sociology before becoming a social worker. She married Collin Bowen in 1949 and lived in Salisbury for 60 years from 1957. She suffered a major stroke on 8th January and died on 10th January 2018. She loved playing lacrosse - as I did many years later - so we talked about that a lot. She was a lovely mum and we miss her a lot. Teresa, Eleanor and David Bowen
Gaie Cousins (nee Higgins) 1964 - 9th July 2017
Gaie had a very varied career. After leaving St Catherine’s she went to finishing school at Winkfield Place before studying at the Guildford School of Acting for a drama teaching degree. Gaie first went into the Army and taught the Army Educational Corps in Germany before becoming PA to a scientist. She then moved into the careers sector for 11 years and moved to Menorca to help start a scuba diving school. She lived in Menorca now for 33 years.
Ann Thompson (1948) - 10th November 2017
Ann was a piano teacher and lived in Australia. She had many fond memories of her friends, the school and the concerts she performed.
Jane Hancock (nee Warren) (1948) – November 2017
Jenny Bristow (nee Newman) (1953) – 7th October 2017
Jenny was such a lovely girl, rosy cheeks, good at sports, ended up as a domestic science teacher, but her dream was to live in NZ, which she achieved. She married Sam who came with a ready-made family, and Jenny was in her element, and was very obviously loved by them all. At the end Sam was with her the whole time, holding her hand so she knew she was never alone. Dementia is so cruel.
Shirley Byrd (nee McClare) (1953) – July 2017
Carol Milano (nee Blad) (1953) – 2017 sister of Elizabeth Stone (1945) and sadly missed.
Jenny Benoy (nee Blad) (1944) – 2017 sister of Elizabeth Stone (1945) and sadly missed.
Patricia Whales - 23rd December 2017 Former Prep School Teacher, Keller & Symes Housemistress 1981-1995
It feels wrong to have ended one year and started another without our mum/granny, Patricia Whales but she is now at peace and will forever be alive in the hearts and thoughts of her children and grandchildren as well as their spouses. 2018 will see two more of her great-grandchildren born and two more of her grandchildren married. Her lineage continues! She loved her time at St Catherine’s as housemistress of Symes as well as teaching in the primary school and formed some long lasting friendships while she was there. These endured until the end and we know these friends will miss her too.
Diane Burt - 11th October 2017 - Former Physics Technician 1976 - 2001
We were married in our local church St Martin's in Blackheath in June 1959 and where our three children were baptised. I met Diane while I was in the Royal Air Force and she was an Experimental Officer at the Royal Aircraft Establishment and I was posted there also in a technical experimental role. For the first time in my life Diane gave me somewhere to belong and a clear purpose. During our marriage and her life she consistently taught me and our children how to behave, how to achieve our own objectives, how to be fulfilled and to help others. I think she tried to do that while working as a Physics Laboratory assistant at St Catherine's school where she clearly enjoyed her work and made some good friends.
Lottie Fullerton (2013) – 10th August 2017
Member of Musgrave House and a Keller boarder, Lottie died in a tragic trekking accident in Nepal. We After GCSE at St. Catherine's, Lottie spent her sixth form at Canford and was reading medicine at Jesus College, Oxford. In her short life, she had made a significant impact on friends and student peers and had hopes of a medicine career ahead of her with great success in her studies already under her belt. Lottie was an exemplary student, bright, fun, warm, humble in success and invariably polite
Joy Attwell (nee Weller) (1936) - April 2017
Joy was born in Ewhurst and lived all her life in Cranleigh. She was a potter and a member of the Cranleigh Arts and Crafts Society, as well as being involved in Cranleigh Cricket Club. She had her 100 birthday in January with her family including two grandchildren and five great- grandchildren. Right up until the end she was “as fit as a fiddle and as sharp as a pin.”
Mr Alan Vint - 27th April 2017. Former staff who was part of grounds and maintenance from 1997 – 2011.
Leigh Markopoulos (1986) – 24th February 2017
A prominent San Francisco art critic, curator and teacher, Leigh sadly died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident in Los Angeles. She was the chairwoman of the graduate program in curatorial practice at California College of the Arts and a regular contributor to the online journal Art Practical and other publications. Ms. Markopoulos was director of the Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco from 2005 to 2007 and had organized exhibitions in London for the Serpentine Gallery and the Hayward Gallery. At the College of the Arts, Ms. Markopoulos was adjunct professor in the graduate program beginning in 2003 and appointed chair of her program in 2008. She was promoted to associate professor in 2010. In 2016 the book “Great Expectations: Prospects for the Future of Curatorial Education” was published, with Ms. Markopoulos as editor. College of the Arts President Stephen Beal called Ms. Markopoulos “a brilliant scholar, writer, and curator who was dearly loved by her students and colleagues.” He credited her with “helping to launch the careers of many young curators.”
Elizabeth Dixon – 20th February 2017. Former Music Teacher from 1972-1996. Elizabeth died peacefully in her sleep.
Sue Wood (nee Berry) (1976) – 12th November 2016
My wonderful sister, Sue, died on 12th November, very peacefully, with her husband Mike, son Adam, and immediate family around her bed. Sue thrived at St Catherine's: becoming Merriman House Captain, playing school and house lacrosse, but more importantly making a large gang of friends who she remained very close to. Several visited Sue in hospital which cheered her immensely in her final days; laughter echoed down the corridors! Sue was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and that was the start of the long and often tough series of battles that she fought over the next seven years. Sue was, as ever, resilient – she never complained, had such a zest for life, and made sure that time with family, friends and travel and fun always took priority.
Philippa Berry (1978)
Joan Audry Lever (nee Armytage) (1943) – 19th July 2016
From 1999 -2005 I was privileged to live next door to Joan and Oliver Lever, an active couple who had retired to Malvern from Nottingham. When I first met them they were well into their seventies. I soon learnt that Joan and I shared the same school albeit in different eras. She regularly kept up with St Catherine’s through reunions. Therefore I would like to share this with you. At the time Joan still enjoyed her weekly tennis and bell ringing. She was a keen gardener and a gifted watercolourist . Her painting of Malvern Priory is still a bestselling card in local shops. She was determined to work the computer to write her biography and to keep in touch by email with her extensive circle of friends and family around the world. She gave our young family time and little wisdoms. When we outgrew our house in Malvern (four boys under 6) and moved away, we saw the Levers less regularly, but kept in touch; her recycled Christmas cards were a delightful Christmas feature. Last year Joan gave a lovely party for her 90th, she was surrounded at home by friends and family. Still very astute, though she was gradually becoming more frail and deaf. She died in July of this year. I think Joan was inspiring on how to live your life to the full, I will miss my friend. Oliver predeceased her in 2009 and she is survived by her four daughters, Rachel, Catherine, Nicola and Madeline and their families.
Feya Recordon nee Durksz (1986)
Jennifer Lewin (nee Freeston) (1973) – November 2016 with inoperable lung cancer. She was 61 and lived in Frome, Wiltshire. She married one of the few boys who attended the Prep School back in the Dark Ages! She had a wonderful career as a Speech & Language therapist, eventually being in charge of all the NHS services for Somerset Wiltshire and surrounding area and managing an enormous staff and budget.
Denise Househam (nee Leicester) (1942) – 1st November 2016
Denise died peacefully in hospital after a short illness. She retained a great interest in the school until the very end, and had very fond memories of her time there. She will be sadly missed by her many family and friends, and will live on through her 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 14 great- grandchildren.
Jill Lye (nee Melrose) (1975) – 7th May 2016
Jill was a very talented sports woman at school and in her final years was on the 1st team for Netball and Lacrosse as well as being Head Girl and Vice-Captain of Austen. On graduating from Exeter she worked in HR for Cadbury Schweppes plc for a number of years before setting up her own successful recruitment consultancy. On moving back to Bramley to look after her Mum, Jean, she put her amazing organising skills to use as a very active member of the village. Always a loyal supporter of the School she joined the Association Committee on which she served for many years. She will be sadly missed.
Dr Libby Wilson (nee Bell Nicoll) (1944) – 3rd April 2016
Former Head Girl Libby died aged 89 following a short illness. She was a family planning doctor and right-to-die campaigner. She founded one of the first family planning services for single women in the UK and later campaigned on the Assisted Suicide Bill. In her 2004 autobiographical account of her family planning work, Sex on the Rates, she said she could not remember a time when she did not want to be a doctor and, inspired by her father, followed the path into medicine training at King’s College Hospital London. She married Dr Graham Wilson and they raised 6 children together. Whilst living in Sheffield Libby’s interest in family planning began as she became aware of the difficulties in obtaining contraceptive advice, especially if you were unmarried. In 1967 when the family moved to Glasgow she focused her full attention on family planning and sexual health eventually becoming the full time clinical coordinator of the Glasgow Family Planning Service. During this time she refused to let societal conformities stop her in her own mission of giving women of all ages, colours and classes choice over childbearing and sexual health. Following her retirement, she became a member of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society of Scotland and later she set up Friends of the End (FATE). In 2007 she was honoured by the Scottish Academy of Merit with the George Bell Award for services to Medicine. In 2009, at the age of 83, she was arrested by Surrey Police on suspicion of aiding and abetting a suicide. The charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence. She was a great traveller and loved to visit family all over the world. A keen reader with a house full of books she enjoyed crosswords at which she excelled. She was a much loved sister, mother, grandmother and great grandmother and will be greatly missed.
Jill Ferguson (1966) – 12th March 2016
After a long illness and brave battle against cancer. After studying Geography at Durham she had a very successful career at the Ministry of Defence for 30 years. A staunch Liberal Democrat, on retirement she was elected to represent the Farnham Castle ward and was leader of Waverley Council from 2003 to 2007. With her gentle and approachable style, she gained respect for her competence and commitment. A keen artist Jill was chairman of the Farnham Art Society giving them the benefit of her vast experience in all aspects of legal, governmental and personal knowledge of Farnham. As a member of the Old Girls Association she was very supportive of Alice Phillips and her vision to introduce The Association in 2004. She remained a valuable member of the committee until her death. She was a remarkable person who had so many friends from different walks of life. She never complained about her lot and her sense of humour shone through at all times. She will be hugely missed.
Vivien Scott (former staff) - March 2016
Housemistress of Symes in the 1960’s. She was a lovely person and Mum
Leslie Glen-Campbell (former staff 1967-1988) – March 2016
Spanish Teacher and Housemistress of Symes Leslie was a brilliant play writer and wrote a play every Christmas that included every boarder. Pupils at the time will recall her doing a can-can with Chris Massey and Gillian Soper.
Jane Hampshire (nee Griffith) (1959) – 1st February 2016
Jane was a key part of School life as Merriman House Captain, Vice-Captain of Lacrosse and Tennis Captain. She worked as a Dress Designer after qualifying with a Certificate in Fashion and in later life worked as a Dental Nurse and Doctor Receptionist.
- BRUINVELS Alexandra (now Fraser) (2004) and Russell Fraser. Baby Girl – Emily Charlotte Fraser born on February 4th 2019, weighing 6.13oz.
- AUSTIN Nicola (current staff) – daughter Sophie Charlotte 7th January 2019
- HAWTIN Kate (current staff) – son Matthew Arvey 24th November 2018
- VICKERS Gayle (current staff) – son Finlay 24th November 2018