Loughton County High School for Girls
Stories and Memories of
Former Pupils of LHS
Copyright © 2013 Susan Capes ·  All Rights reserved  ·  E-Mail: sue@loughtonchs.co.uk
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June Harbott (nee Farrell) MBE     LHS 1944 - 1949

June married Colin Harbott, who attended Buckhurst Hill County High School, after they met, not at school but at South West Essex Technical College. Married in 1954 they will be celebrating their Diamond Wedding Anniversary next year. June is 80 and Colin is 85. I know they are not the oldest surviving pupils but are they the oldest surviving couple from the two schools?

June received formal notice of the honour of receiving the MBE on 31st December 2008. The rest of this story is in her own words:

“ It was a complete surprise and quite honestly it literally took my breath away and I had to sit down!  It was for voluntary service to the community (of Stroud and district).  The trustees and staff of what is now Voluntary and Community Action put me forward to the Cabinet Office  I have been closely involved with them since volunteering from 1987.  Last month I was elected to be the first Honorary Life Member.  All of this is a bit embarrassing as so many people across the UK are doing amazing service and my efforts pale into insignificance.
(Though at the age of 80, June also still works full time with the Teckels Animal Sanctuary so she is being modest - Sue)

In April 2009 we travelled to Windsor Castle where we were briefed as to what to do and not to do when approaching and meeting The Queen. I managed the curtsey and approached her. The Queen affixed the MBE and said “so you do voluntary work?”.  This allowed me a few moments to give a quick resume to which she listened attentively and then the royal hand was extended which is the signal to take it gently, shake it, walk back about 6 steps, curtsey, turn and leave the Waterloo Chamber.   The Queen was standing for an hour and about 80 people on that day received awards.  At the end we all stood up and she walked briskly down the aisle with two ghurkas and RAF personnel.  She did not appear to be tired or bored but appeared to be enjoying herself.  Meanwhile I was indeed exhausted with the very early start, the journey to Windsor and the general overwhelming experience.  Obviously I am not as tough as those of royal lineage!

Back to Loughton High School.  My sister, Felicity Farrell (now Pazda) was a pupil from 1948 - 1953. Her memories of Loughton High are not quite as jolly as mine because Felicity worked so much harder than me.  In fact Miss Heald expected her to go to University but Felicity was very firm that she just did not want to be constantly studying as she found it too much of an effort to achieve academic standards.

I, on the other hand, thought Loughton High was the very best place to be in spite of V2s and other war time problems, such as always being so cold in the winter one had chilblains and hardly ever felt warm. The school lunches were not that wonderful.  Whale meat stew!  I still remember the taste.  And dried apple rings with thin custard for pudding.

The staff were excellent.  I especially remember Miss Morrell, English teacher, who inspired both me and Ruth Rendell, who was at LHS at the same time though not in the same year as me.  Miss Mather brought history alive - an interest is still with me.  Miss James, music teacher, often playing the RAF march past as we filed into assembly.
(A tradition that continued for over 40 years - Sue)  A record of classical music was always played at the start of assembly.  Again an interest that is still with me.  But I was not the most well behaved pupil I do admit.  For some reason I became form captain, apparently voted for by my class mates.  I have always suspected the vote was rigged by the staff thinking that if I was form captain my behaviour would have to change.  And they were right!   Through all this I had tremendous respect for Miss Heald and I was delighted to learn she lived to a good age and received the OBE for services to education.  Very well deserved.

Colin says you may be interested to know his cousin, Eileen Martin (now Doney) was at the school in 1936.  Eileen is now 95, very bright and cheerful, and living now in Devon having moved from Cornwall.  For many years she was a steward at Cotehele House which she loved and was very much part of the community.  Eileen trained as a Norland nanny before marrying and having two sons.”

June, thank you so much for allowing me to share this story with other readers - Sue.

Jill Barklem (née Gaze)
Barbara Martin (née Dunlop)
Sue Dyson
Priscilla Ellingford
Dame Celia Hoyles (née French)
June Harbott MBE (née Farrell)
Deborah Howard
Debbie Jevans
Linda Newbery
J. Nicola Nicholls (née Kemp)
Jane Malyon (née Norris)
Ruth Rendell (née Graseman)
Gay Shingleton
Christine Still (née Ashton)
Jane Malyon (nee Norris) and her Guinness World Record Tea Party
Click to enlarge the photo into a new window
Jane is at the front in the red apron

Annette Wildes and Wendy Smith were at the tea party too
I met Gay when I was in the lower 6th at Buckhurst Hill, so the year would have been 1964.  She was born in January 1945, (I think the 25th, or thereabouts), I was born in June ’47, so she was a couple of years older than me.  She had already left school by the time we met, but she told me many stories of her rebellious nature at school, and her sister also remembers it with some embarrassment.  On leaving school Gay started work in an insurance office.  However her first love was showbiz, and by the time I met her she had landed the role as a Commere on ITV’s “Ready Steady Win” (RSW), an amateur talent show for rock bands, and a spin-off from Ready Steady Go.  The show ran throughout 1964 and was eventually won by the Bo Street Runners.  Keith Fordyce was the Compere and Cathy McGowan the other Commere.  Gay did also appear a couple of times on Ready Steady Go, in trailers for RSW.  I met her when BCB took part in  RSW  - I think Gay had ‘pulled strings’ to get us onto the show,  although she never admitted it.   (For the record, we came third in our heat - the judges on that show were Dick Rowe  - known as the man who turned the Beatles down for Decca Records -  Kenny Lynch, and Elkie Brooks.)

When Ready Steady Win finished, Gay started auditioning for acting roles, and entered E15 Acting School.  I think that must have been 1965.  Soon after finishing at E15 she landed the female lead role in the West End show “There’s a Girl in my Soup” with Leslie Philips as the male lead.  I think that would have been when the show opened in 1966.  When she left that show (following a disagreement with the director), she struggled to find more work, although I remember accompanying her to an audition for Coronation Street at Granada’s studios in Manchester, and I think there were several other ‘near misses’.

As time went on she began to lose interest in showbiz, and turned her hand to gardening, and voluntary work as an  Epping Forest conservator.  Towards the end of her life - she died of bone cancer in 2001 - she was working as a gardener.  After she moved out of her parents’ house in Loughton,  she lived for a short time in Waltham Abbey, and then in High Beach until her death.  She never married.
Gabrielle Shingleton, LHS 1956 - 63, stage name: Gay Singleton

These are the memories of her friend, Geoff Blyth.
Gay and Geoff were part of a band called The Black Cat Bones
                               (referred to as BCB below)
Many thanks to Geoff Blyth for sharing his memories of Gay with us all.
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Professor Dame Celia Hoyles (nee French)     LHS 1957 - 64
At school, Celia and her two older sisters, Judith and Jane, were keen tennis players. Judith and Jane are in the 1959 Wimbledon tennis photo here, and Celia and Jane went on to compete in, and win, the Aberdare Cup which was a schools competition.
Celia has had an eminent career with many awards and accolades, being made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 2014.

Her list of interests and achievements can be found on UCL's website here
(opens in a new window), but I have listed the main points below:

Interests: policy, research, students' conceptions of proof, mathematical skills in modern workplaces, computational environments for learning and sharing mathematics and systemic change in teaching mathematics.

Appointments & Awards:
• 2004-2007 Government Chief Adviser for Mathematics
• 2007-13 Director of the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics
• 2004 International Commission of Mathematics Instruction (ICMI) Hans Freudenthal medal
• 2004 Made Officer of the British Empire
• 2011 Royal Society Kavli Education Medal
• Hon Doctorates awarded by the Open University 2006, Loughborough University 2008, and Sheffield Hallam University, 2011
• 2014-2015 President of the Institute of the Mathematics and its Applications
• 2014 Made Dame Commander of the British Empire.

Masters and PhD teaching in Mathematics Education
Deborah Howard  - won the County Major Scholarship and Exhibition to Newnham College, Cambridge in 1964
Deborah, and her sister Susannah, took part in the BBC's Top of the Form

The following information was sent by Andrea Douglas
Venice in Peril


If you scroll to page 4 you will see that they have a new trustee called Deborah Howard. She was about 4 years
above (me) at Loughton High and she went to Cambridge (to read Architecture and Fine Art and was the first woman to get a first in that subject.
(See the 1968 degrees honours board her sister Susannah's degree is on the same board)
If you Google Deborah you will find she spent all her career in Cambridge and is married to a professor of astronomy.
My story begins at Staples Road School, during the war years.  

I mentioned Betty Amsden in my emails (to Sue).   During air raids, when we went to the brick built air raid shelter in the playground at Staples Road, the first thing the children did was to ask if Betty could tell us a story.  This she did, making it up as she went along. The teachers could relax and the children were quiet as mice.   The ‘all clear’ siren seemed to go far too soon.   

Our form teacher for the last 2 years at Staples Road was Mrs Larkan (I am fairly sure that is the right spelling).  White haired, popular and excellent at getting the best out of her class.   (In our first maths lessons at LHS we had to wait for the girls who had come up from Prep to tackle decimals and fractions, which we had already done.) Mrs Larkan had a sense of humour.   After taking a turn down an icy slide in the playground she came into the classroom, skirt dripping, and wrote on the blackboard ‘Hail, the conquering hero comes’.

When the time came to leave Staples Road, to the girls’ delight Mrs Larkan said she was coming too, and for one year ( I think my second) she was our form mistress.

We started in the 3rd form, where the preparatory girls joined us.  I think Miss Lilian Batchelor was our form mistress ( I believe she left the following year).   We had to cover all our reading books with brown paper to keep them in good condition (“don’t lick the sticky tape girls, use water”).

Miss Morell taught us poetry “I will arise and go-o-o-o-o now, and go-o-o-o to Innisfree…”  Miss Barr ruled the biology lab.   Miss Cowmeadow took us for geography and (I think it is the right name) Miss Bishell for science upstairs.
Miss Ayres and Miss Martin taught PE.  I remember Miss Martin (young and attractive, in her PE kit) talking to us in our classroom on a rainy day trying to ignore a pair of appreciative builders looking through the window.

To the right of the school’s main door, at the far end of the corridor, were the sixth form stairs.   I believe the teachers’ common room was on the left, halfway up.   Only the sixth formers were allowed to use the stairs.

Before our class arrived at the school a swimming pool was built (parallel to the building, the other side of the netball and hard tennis court).   We were told that the first few pence saved towards the pool were buried underneath.   Sadly a crack appeared and the pool could no longer be used.   I believe they were saving for repairs.  I don’t know the outcome.

We played rounders in the field opposite the school, by the station, and played (or tried to) tennis on the grass courts there.

We played, or rather were just learning, hockey on the field over the little stream, behind the biology lab, which is now a car park.    (I went to look at the school with my husband a few years back.  What changes.)

You mention the Christmas service on the website.   I can see it now in my memory.  The younger ones sitting cross legged on the floor, the older girls on chairs at the back.   I had to sing one verse of ‘The Holly and the Ivy’.   It was completely dark and my heart was thudding with apprehension as I waited for my turn.   It was soon over and I loved doing it.

I certainly remember ‘Past 3 o’clock and a cold frosty morning ….’ and listening intently until we could no longer hear the singing.

I had auditioned for the choir (LHS and Bancroft Boys) and was about to join when my father (RAF) was posted and we had to move to Bedford.   I  was so disappointed.

My favourite lessons were, and still are, art and music.   I loved being in the art room (I can’t recall the teacher’s name) and of course music meant the wonderful Miss James.

I remember four things in particular about morning assembly.   Standing in the vestibule waiting to march in and looking at the boards up on the walls with the names of previous girls and their prowess.   Miss James playing rousing marches as we went in.  Trying to walk tall and straight in order to earn a posture badge (I nearly made it but didn’t sit straight enough in my desk, I tended to curl up).  And, fourth, was the sixth form girl who sat at the side of the stage, going up at one stage to put the needle on the gramophone, sitting while the piece of classical music played, then switching off and going back to her seat.   A lovely idea.

Miss James brought a recording machine to school and recorded each of us speaking. We could hardly recognize our own voices.

One particular exercise Miss James would have us do is that she would clap a short rhythm while we listened.   We then had to clap the rhythm and, at the same time, listen to the next rhythm, then clap that while listening to the next, and so on.   We managed it!

I wish I could have stayed at LHS (although I have been so fortunate to have a good marriage and a wonderful family so perhaps not!).   There was so much that was interesting.  Peter Pears and Sidonie Goossens came, and there were lectures by well known authors, especially one whose subject was spies!   We were taken to London to hear Dame Myra Hess play and off by coach to a Shakespeare play, Macbeth.

NB  A few years ago I was at an art class in Dorset with friends when I heard someone mention Bancroft School.  We began talking about the choir and the couple mentioned ‘Aunt Flo’ James. ( I had never heard her called that!)  An amazing coincidence!
Barbara Martin, nee Dunlop LHS 1945 - 1948
Barbara has very kindly supplied me with the 1948 panorama photo together with a good start to the ID list. She has also sent the following story of her school years which makes very interesting reading for those of us who were at LHS in later years
Perhaps the most famous pupil to emerge from LHS is

Ruth Rendell, (née Graseman - LHS 1937 - 1948 - Ruth began school in the Preparatory department aged 7)  Baroness Rendell of Babergh (born 17th Feb 1930, died 2nd May 2015), who lived in Shelley Grove, Loughton, was educated at Loughton County High School for Girls and subsequently worked as a journalist in Loughton at the West Essex Gazette
                                                                                                                      source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loughton
Ruth Rendell visited the school
and signed copies of her books for the girls

Late 1980s
Ruth's Wikipedia page is here
These images are of an article she wrote for the school magazine in 1977
and an early example of her writing from the 1939 magazine. I'm not sure if this one indicated a future career as a writer....
You can enlarge the pop up images by clicking the full screen icon in the top right-hand corner then scroll up and down to read
In 1947 Ruth Graseman was in the school tennis team
click image to enlarge
Jane Malyon (nee Norris) - LHS 1968 - 75 - managed to get into the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records with her Guinness World Record for the largest tea party ever held in one location. 
Jane runs The English Cream Tea Company  supplying afternoon tea and picnic hampers and gifts UK-wide - as well as providing food and etiquette training for events.
Priscilla Mary Ellingford born 1902, married Rev. Keith Warner 1934.  She died in 1994.
She was a pupil at LCHS and won the Essex County Art Scholarship. She went  to the Royal
College of Art and is known to be an illustrator of 14 books (according to the British Library Catalogue)
3 of them are - Stories of Missionary Saints 1926,
High Days and Holidays - stories, legends and customs(1931) 
Welcome Christmas - legends,carols, stories and  riddles  (1932).
Priscilla designed this school magazine cover for 1923.
As you can see, she included the school motto - "The Utmost for the Highest" in the design.
She also drew some pictures that are included on the Christmas page
sources:  http://www.theydon.org.uk/lhs/Downloads/LHS%20News%20189.pdf
and Christine Spencer
Linda Newbery was educated at Epping Junior School and Loughton County High School (1963-1970). She has won many awards for her children's books, including the Costa Children's Book of the Year prize for her young adult novel Set In Stone.
She also writes for younger children - her Cat Tales are favourites with younger readers.                                Her website is here  


Christine Still (nee Ashton) is a gymnastics coach and BBC sports commentator. She attended LHS from 1964 to 1969

The following is from the Gymsmarts website (linked from Christine's name, above)
Christine Still is recognized as a very successful coach, many of her gymnasts have been British National champions on beam. For over 40 years Christine has produced many British national team members for Olympic, World and European championships. She and her husband, Colin Still are highly regarded by coaches across the UK, and Christine is part of the gymnastics commentary team for the BBC.
Back in the late sixties a young coach was brought along to the London & Southeast Regional training. A few years later Christine Ashton as she was then known, took over the running of Loughton Gymnastic Club. Even from this young age Christine knew exactly what she wanted from her gymnasts; perfection and still more perfection was demanded.With her husband, Colin Still she went on to produce many national team members for Olympic, World and European championships. One such gymnast was Amanda Harrison, later to become Amanda Kirby and coach to Beth Tweddle.

This would have been enough for anyone’s record, but in 1984 Colin was made National Coach and they had to move from London to Shropshire. Christine joined the Park Gym Club and became head coach, producing with Colin, British Champion Laura Timmins along with other world championship team members. The club has now become the Park Wrekin College Gymnastics Club. Christine is recognized as a very successful beam coach, many of her gymnasts have been National champions on this apparatus. She is highly regarded by coaches across the UK. Christine manages to combine her work with the BBC commentary team and still be a very successful coach at the highest level now producing a new young breed of gymnasts.

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On February 24th, 2016, Loughton Town Council unveiled a blue plaque on the house where Ruth lived in Millsmead Way during the 50s and 60s. Her son, Simon, and grandson, Phillip, were present
This picture is from an online source - I will try to get a better one on my next visit to Loughton
J. Nicola Kemp,  LHS 1969 - 1976
This is from the 1983 magazine (OGA page):

“J. Nicola Nicholls (née Kemp) has become the first Lady Fellow in the six hundred-odd years’ history of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. She was a pupil at Loughton from 1969 to 1976 and left to study Chemistry at Bristol University.”

And the following from her Linked-In profile:

Non-executive Director at Buro Happold Engineering Ltd

The Woodland Trust, Chairman,  June 2010 - June 2016
The Law Society, Consultant leading Governance Review,  January 2016 - May 2016
BPP University, Non-Executive Director, 
Charterhouse Capital Partners, Director
Cambridge Judge Business School, Advisory Board Member
Cambridge Enterprise, Non-Executive Director
GreenWorks, Chairman
The Landmark Trust, Trustee
Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, Research Fellow

She gained a First Class BSc in Chemistry at the University of Bristol
and PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at Cambridge
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Jill Barklem (nee Gaze), author and illustrator of the Brambly Hedge series of childrens books was a pupil at LHS from 1962
Brambly Hedge
Jill died on 15th November 2017. She was only 66. 
The cutting from the Daily Telegraph on 21.11.2017 was kindly sent to me
by my excellent researcher, Christine - thanks again
Sue Dyson,  MA, Vet MB, PhD, DEO, Dip ECVSMR, FRCVS                   LHS 1967 - 1974
I don't know whether Sue found it an advantage or disadvantage to attend the school where her Mother was one of it's most popular teachers but it certainly didn't harm her prospects.

Sue left LHS to study Veterinary Science at Cambridge
She qualified from the University of Cambridge in 1980 and following award of a Thouron Scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, she completed an Internship in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery at New Bolton Centre. Sue then spent a year in private equine practice in Pennsylvania, before returning to Great Britain to take a position in clinical orthopaedics in the Centre for Equine Studies of the Animal Health Trust, Newmarket. She is currently Head of Equine Clinical Orthopaedics.

Sue was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) for a thesis entitled ‘The Differential Diagnosis of Shoulder Lameness in the Horse’ and the RCVS Diploma in Equine Orthopaedics by examination. She was awarded a PhD by the University of Helsinki and is recognised as a ‘Specialist in Equine Orthopaedics’ by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. She is a Founding Diplomate of the European College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Sue has lectured internationally and published widely on equine orthopaedics and diagnostic imaging. She has published more than 270 refereed papers in scientific journals, relating to lameness and diagnostic imaging in the horse. Sue is co-Editor and contributory author of ‘Diagnosis and Management of Lameness in the Horse’.  She is co-Editor and contributory author of ‘Equine Scintigraphy’. She is also co-author of ‘Clinical Radiology of the Horse’ and Editor of 2 volumes of Veterinary Clinics of North America, entitled ‘Tendon and Ligament Injuries’. Sue has edited & co-authored an issue of Clinical Techniques in Equine Practice entitled ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’. She has contributed chapters to ‘Current Therapy in Equine Medicine’, ‘Equine MRI’, ‘Equine Diagnostic Ultrasonography’, ‘Current Techniques in Equine Surgery and Lameness’ and ‘Equine Medicine and Surgery’. Sue is also author of several chapters relating to evaluation of the musculoskeletal system in the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) Manual, ‘The Pre-Purchase Examination’ and edited and contributed to the BEVA manual ‘A Guide to the Management of Emergencies at Equine Competitions’.

Sue is an examiner for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Diploma in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics) and for the Royal College Fellowship by Thesis. She acts as an advisor for candidates for the RCVS Certificates and Diplomas in equine surgery (orthopaedics) and is a cosuperviser of PhD students. Sue is a previous member of the Equine Board of the RCVS.

Sue is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Equine Veterinary Journal, Equine Veterinary Education. The Veterinary Journal, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science  and  Clinical Techniques in Equine Practice and acts as a regular peer reviewer for the Equine Veterinary Journal, Equine Veterinary Education, The Veterinary Record, The Veterinary Journal, The New Zealand Veterinary Journal, The Australian Veterinary Journal, Equine Comparative Exercise Physiology, Bio Med Central Vet, Research in Veterinary Science, South African Veterinary Journal, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, American Journal of Veterinary Research, Canadian Veterinary Journal and Veterinary Radiology and Ultrasound.

Sue has been a long-standing member of Council of the British Equine Veterinary Association and is a past President. She has also been a long-standing member of the Board of the World Equine Veterinary Association and Vice-President.

In 1986 Sue was awarded the Richard Hartley Clinical Prize by the Equine Veterinary Journal. In 2000 she was awarded the British Equine Veterinary Association John Hickman Orthopaedic Award for outstanding contributions to equine orthopaedics. In 2005 Sue was made an Honorary Member of the British Equine Veterinary Association. She also received, together with Mike Ross, the American Publishers award for excellence in professional and scholarly publishing for ‘Diagnosis and management of lameness in the horse’ in the Nursing and Allied Health Division. In 2006 Sue was a co-recipient of the Home of Rest Clinical Evidence Literary Prize awarded by the Equine Veterinary Journal. In 2007 she was awarded the Tierklinik Hochmoor award for outstanding, innovative and lasting contributions to equine veterinary medicine world wide. In 2010 Sue was made an Associate of the European College of Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging. In 2012 Sue was co-recipient of the BEVA Congress  Voorjaarsdagen Award for the  best clinical research presentation.     In 2012 Sue received the International Veterinary Radiology Association J Kevin Kealy Award for scientific contributions to veterinary radiology. In 2013 she was elected to the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame. Also in 2013 Sue was awarded the American Association of Equine Practitioners Frank J. Milne State-of-the-Art Lecture and the Animal Health Trust Veterinary Achievement Award. In 2014 Sue was made an honorary member of Societa Italiana Veterinari Per Equini (SIVE), Italy. In 2016 Sue was inducted into the University of Kentucky Equine Research Hall of Fame.

Sue also holds the Instructors and Stable Managers Certificates of the British Horse Society (BHSI) and has competed at advanced level in both horse trials and show jumping, producing horses that have subsequently competed successfully at the Olympic Games and World Equestrian Games. She is a former veterinary advisor to British Eventing. Sue is veterinary advisor to the Saddle Research Trust.
This links to her entry on the website of the American College of Veterinary Radiology http://www.acvr.org/page/2012-dr-sue-dyson