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We were delighted to see a record turnout of over 60 at the Old Roedeanian Association (ORA) AGM at the Lansdowne Club in Mayfair recently.
Once the ORA AGM was complete, and the statutory business in the Governors’ AGM was complete, the Chair of Governors, Lady Patten, gave the floor to Mrs Frances King, Headmistress.
Mrs King’s speech took the theme ‘Past, present and future’. She started by updating the audience on last year’s merger with St Mary’s Hall, and the benefits it has brought (and continues to bring) to Roedean. In order to cement the merger the school had invited Dr Heather McGregor, “Mrs Moneypenny” from the Financial Times and an old girl of SMH to speak at last year’s Speech Day. Her presentation urged the girls to remember that, “There is no such thing as I can’t do it, but that you can’t do it on your own; you need the support of others”. To this end she advised Roedean girls past and present to do all they could to work for the benefit of the Roedean brand as all would gain from promoting its excellence.
She also reported on a lunch she had attended at the Gloucester home of the four Tanner sisters, nieces of former Roedean Headmistress, Dame Emmeline Tanner.
For the present, she drew attention to the four current upper sixth girls invited to attend the evening by the ORA as typical of our Roedean girls today: Harriet from Lowestoft, Irene from Vienna, Tianyi from Beijing and Lucy from Ningbo. Each has a different talent; each is being nurtured individually to achieve the best they can with that talent.
Mrs King ended by challenging the audience to consider, ‘How can you help the Roedean community to thrive for future generations? Could you give time to mentor talented young women such as these? Could you offer some financial support to ensure we are continuing to offer a student experience second to none?’
Following drinks and a delicious dinner in the stunning 18th century ballroom, ORA President Sasha Glynn introduced guest speaker Tatiana Macaire (nee Miller, House 3).
Tatiana was born in 1933 to a White Russian mother who, aged 19, had walked the length of Finland to flee Russia at the time of the Revolution. Her mother, sleeping in trees and surviving on roots, was the sole survivor of the escaping group.
Schooled at Roedean from 1944-51, Tatiana experienced at first hand two defining moments in Roedean history. Firstly, she was in the group of 260 girls evacuated to Keswick during the war years. She recalled climbing the great peaks of Helvellyn and Skiddaw, swimming and skating on Derwentwater and having regular campfires on the lakeshores. Then, having returned to Brighton, the second moment: the handover, after 22 years as Headmistress, from ‘the iconic Miss Tanner to the pragmatic Miss Horobin.’
After reading Classics at Oxford, Tatiana taught in various schools before meeting her husband, James. Together they travelled to Nigeria, Germany and Denmark, finally settling in England. In due course Tatiana became Headmistress of Channing School, Highgate, and then Ashford School, Kent, where she served as President of the Girls' Schools Association (GSA).
She is also the author of the books Unexpected Rewards of Authorship and My Entertaining Book – a collection of favourite recipes and memories from over 40 years of entertaining.
She ended, ‘I am really, truly grateful for my time at Roedean. Of all the unexpected rewards of authorship, this evening among Old Roedeanians is the very best’, and took her seat to rapturous applause.