I hope this finds you all keeping well and safe in these bizarre and difficult times.
I am well aware, that an update on all things OA committee related is way overdue, and for that you have my apologies. Things have been a tad hectic on the NHS work front, so I claim that as my excuse!
Our AGM was held in September as a Zoom meeting. Many thanks to all who attended. The minutes from the AGM will be available on the website.
A key event in our OA committee life, has been the stepping down, in September, of Jenny Richardson as our Chair and Nick Cassidy as Treasure & IT officer,and all things Website! Both Jenny and Nick have been instrumental in the successful running of the club over many years and their contributions have been huge.
Jenny joined Abbotsholme in September 1976 aged 28. She taught English, was a deputy head and was a much-loved houseparent to Cederholme (a girls boarding house at the time). Passionate about drama, Jenny was an inspirational force for a generation of lucky students. She retired in 2004 after 28yrs in full-time teaching and has continued her association with Abbotsholme with a further 16 yrs. at the OA coalface! Jenny’s encyclopaedic knowledge of past pupils is a testament to the esteem and affection in which she is held as so many have kept in touch with her.
Nick was a pupil at Abbotsholme from 1968-72 and his support and enthusiasm for the school and the impact he feels his time there had on him, is a joy to listen to. Nick’s knowledge and management of all things financial has been invaluable, and his tremendous effort, time, dedication and foresight in developing the OA website has allowed us to be able to engage more easily with all of our membership, and reconnect to many of those who had lost touch with the club.
We extend sincere thanks to Jenny and Nick, on behalf of all OAs, for their dedication, enthusiasm, and hard work over so many years.
More recently, Wendy Franklin has stepped down as Communications Officer. Wendy was at Abbotshome from 1987 -92 and now lives and works in Australia. Wendy has been responsible for communications on both the Club website and social media. Again, we extend our sincere thanks to Wendy for all her hard work in maintaining such an important part of the club.
Clearly, there have been some changes! In view of no updates to share regarding events held/to be held, It seems a good time to introduce you to your new OA committee and give you a little insight into who we are. Be assured we are all enthusiastic and dedicated to ensuring the OA Club continues to be successful in serving our membership and meeting our aims in doing the best for our school and it’s pupils, both past and present.
We are always keen for people to get involved with the running of the club and would welcome any of you if you feel you can contribute in any way. Whilst the current pandemic has certainly brought us many challenges, and has prevented us holding any of the planned events this year (we will keep you informed of when we are able to re-schedule things), it has also given us the opportunity to focus on improving the way we use IT in both communicating with our members and holding committee meetings.
We are currently holding meetings via Zoom (never the same as seeing the whites of each other’s eyes, but a fair alternative!), and we also have the capacity to use video conferencing when we are finally able to meet face to face again. All of this had made it easier for ANYONE, ANYWHERE, to join the committee or participate in things more easily.
If any of you are interested, or just wish to throw suggestions at us for future events; what you would like from us; update us about your life and adventures or just to say hi, please use the contact form on the Members Website or feel free to contact me directly, my details are below.
Please find below a short Bio – and of course a lovely picture – of a few of our committee. The second instalment of the rest of the motley crew will follow in the next newsletter.
Ruth Ostrovskis-Wilkes (nee’ Wilkes)
Abbotsholme Pupil 1975-1980
OA Committee Chairperson.
After leaving school, I moved to London to do my nurse training at Kings’ College Hospital. I worked in London & Sheffield, before spending a few years nursing in Melbourne Australia. I have specialised in cardiothoracic nursing, with a bit of Intensive care thrown in for good measure!
After a bit of ‘toing and frowing’ between Aus and the UK, I finally settled back in the beautiful Peak District. Never one to let the grass grow, I had a break from nursing to work for a pharmaceutical company for a few years. When my 2 boys were young (now 26 & 23…where did that time go!), my husband (now ex) and I set up a private physiotherapy clinic in Sheffield.
In 2004 I decided to return to nursing and have worked in the cardiothoracic unit in Sheffield ever since. Some part of my addled brain decided it would be a good idea to do a MSc in Healthcare Education & Practice, & concurrently, a MSc in advanced Clinical practice, whilst working full time! This led to my registration as a Nurse teacher and an Advanced Clinical Practitioner in 2012. I am currently the Senior Sister & ACP in the Thoracic Surgery and Trauma Unit, and for all its’ challenges, I love it!
The beautiful surroundings I’m lucky enough to call home, offer me all the stress therapy I need and the love of walking, inspired by those school hikes!, keeps me healthy. I still love riding (although I now get little chance) and if there is a game of rugby being played you are likely to find me either on the side-lines or shouting at the TV!
I feel very honoured to be Chair of the OA Club and to have the chance to give a little bit back to the place and people that gave me so much.
Gina Embleton-Sonneville (nee’ Embleton)
Abbotsholme Pupil 1981-1985
OA Committee Deputy Chairperson
My daughters have both attended Abbotsholme, with my youngest still here.
I was in orchard house and went on to university to study philosophy.
I married a Dutch man and lived in holland until 10 years ago. I love swimming and I coached the swimming team whilst at school.
Abbotsholme gave me a lifelong sense of adventure and the confidence to follow my dreams. Within the OA club I manage the new and current membership administrationand this year am honoured to be the Deputy Chairperson.
Shelley Grimshaw (nee’ Johnson)
Abbotsholme Pupil 1984-1990
OA Committee Secretary and Treasurer.
Since leaving school I have married and had 3 children, Chris has been my husband for 27 years. Jack, my eldest, is now 25, Rachel is 22 and Charlie is 12.
After attending Reaseheath Agricultural College I spent a couple of years working on 2 dairy farms in Knutsford, after I got married, I moved to Leicester and had my first two children before moving back to Cheshire and deciding on a career in Nursing.
I qualified as a nurse in 2003, working nights on Surgical Admissions at Leighton Hospital in Crewe then moving to Medical Admissions for a couple of years before movingon to the Healthcare Dept of HMP Shrewsbury.
I purchased a Residential Care Home for the Elderly in 2007, based in Blythe Bridge, S-O-T, and this remains my current career. I have spent the last 13 years building up the reputation of this home and increasing the available beds from 15 to 21. I have a staff of 24, who are some of the most loyal and hardworking people I have ever met.
I enjoy watching my youngest play football for Nantwich Town FC and have recently taken up walking with the hope of an attempt on Mt Kilimanjaro as soon as we can safely travel again.
Fiona Harbot-Beadman (nee’ Harbot)
Abbotsholme Pupil 1976-1980
OA Committee Communications Officer
Hi wonderful OA’s!
Like the majority of us I had a wonderful time at school, and keeping the OA club going is something I’m very passionate about.....Jennny’s “call to arms” email about a year ago, with the threat of the club folding unless we got involved, prompted me to put myself forward to the committee.
I live in Rutland, a wonderfully rural community, with fabulous walks from my doorstep. However, I love visiting The Peaks for walking, and climbing (something I took up a few years ago - I’m useless btw). So if any of you are experienced climbers and wouldn’t mind an extra person going with you please get it touch!
I hope to see you once we’re at the other end of this dreadful pandemic.