notes from Anne's former pupils
in the garden at 5 Rife Way May
Richard surprised several of us by remarking that Mif succeeded in
three careers. The last of them, as a teacher lasted for twenty-five
years. A network of former pupils spontaneously sent these messages
of condolence, co-ordinated by Josie Boulter.
You asked me to collect some words about your mum from some of us
Sion girls and below are just a few..
Contributions to these comments and to the flowers have come from
Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the USA and of course much closer
I hope this gives you a sense of what she meant to us
From Valerie Scott.
Oh Jo, that’s such sad news... I have to
confess to shedding a tear or two as I write this. Mrs Whitehead was
one of those lovely, inspiring teachers of whom we probably all have
From Nicola Rogles.
What very sad news but so lovely we can share
this - she was a wonderfully kind, patient and understanding person
[had to be with me in English class as I was useless
From Fiona Tyrie..
Oh Jo. That is so so sad. She was my
favourite teacher at school. She gave me such confidence in myself
From Susan Hornsby..
Such sad news
I have very early memories of Mrs Whitehead when she taught me at
Sandhurst school even before Sion. I was rubbish at English even
back then, but she was a lovely, patient teacher.
From Jane Burniston..
Thank you Jo for passing on the sad news.
She was a very kind lady. Horn [Susan Hornsby] I always thought you
had a good command of the English language and now I know why xx
From Sian Fisher..
Please say.. ‘to the most caring teacher that
has ever taught me, with love, Sian’.
I would really appreciate
Plus my own words that I posted on Facebook.. which I know you have
I received some really sad news late last night that even though it
was not entirely unexpected knocked me for six to a degree which I
My first year English teacher [and
form mistress] Mrs Whitehead passed away as the day dawned on
Friday.. and even though I hadn't seen her in more than 10 years the
news left me crying my eyes out.
Not just teary, not just sniffy,
I mention this not because I want
sympathy or to showcase my 'feelings' but to demonstrate what a huge
impact some teachers and Mrs Whitehead in particular had on my life.
On all our lives.
Mrs Whitehead was absolutely the most wonderful lady.
In a profession notoriously known to split kids into lovers and
haters she was universally loved.
People often refer to close
colleagues as their 'work wife' well she was our school 'mum', who I
remember distinctly could not or [I suspect] would not pronounce my
Josie Boulter [Jo-C Bowl-Ter] always came out
Juicy Boolter…much to the amusement of the class and her.
She was laughing at herself, not me.
But that gentle teasing helped a scared 11 year old girl, in a much
posher environment than she was used to, surrounded by girls she
thought were better than her, to be just a little less prickly and
better able to let people in…rather than push them away, which was
her natural inclination.
I've never forgotten that kindness..
and looking back now I so admire the innate empathy that led her to
understand what I needed and to help me in what seems like a small
way, but which in fact changed my entire school experience.. for so
much the better.
[Yes Mrs W.. I know that's not grammatical
Fortunately for me a school summer trip to France on which Mrs
Whitehead chaperoned led me to establish a lifelong friendship with
her son.. and so, I maintained a relationship with her throughout my
She never changed, she was endlessly kind, and funny and
had a subversive streak that was constantly surprising.
is a poorer place without Mrs W in it.
I will always be
grateful, and I will never forget her.
RIP Mrs Whitehead…my renewed apologies for the terrible spelling