The enduring friendships of Paddock Wood Finishing School students

It gives me a warm buzzy feeling every time a new past student of Lightwater’s Paddock Wood Finishing School connects to past friends through this blog. I’ll not explain why here, as I’ve already done so in A happy ending to my Paddock Wood Girls Finishing School project, which contains links to all my blog posts on the subject.

One thing I haven’t reported on was the splendid reunion in June this year. Over 40 past students attended the reunion, with some travelling from Mexico, Columbia, Chile, Venezuela, Holland, Madeira, and all over the UK. I thought it would make the day a bit special to visit our Council chamber, and for me as Mayor to offer a short eulogy to the school. You can see photos of the event on the fstopstills website.

You might be wondering why people travelled so far for a reunion. Well, in talking to some of the past students, it was the ethos of the school, school founder Mrs Rosette Savill’s strength of character, and most importantly the fact that girls from different countries roomed together, and struck up enduring friendships.

The wonderful Pippa Anderson, a past student herself, organised this first reunion, has created the past students association, the Facebook group, and the Friends Reunited page. Pippa’s ever-expanding database of past students has, I think, over 120 names.

I continue to be delighted to receive posts on this blog from past students, which helps Pippa grow her database. However, it’s the student association, Facebook and Friends Reunited that will bring greater rewards of contact with past students, than this little blog can hope to do.

15 thoughts on “The enduring friendships of Paddock Wood Finishing School students

  1. Tim, you are too kind; all the Reunion-ees felt honoured to have been guests in your Council Chamber.

    Our Reunion simply wouldn’t have been the same without you as after all, you were the instigator of our former student association. Without your help, neither the Alumna nor Reunion would have happened. For this, all 188 girls I’m currently in touch with, will be forever grateful to you. Thank you for gracing our day with your and the Mayoress’s presence; it is a day we’ll remember for ever and go down in Paddock Wood’s history.

    The school may have closed but the former students – some going back to 1950 – are keeping Mrs Savill’s spirit and ethos going strongly.

    We feel we have a new lease of life thanks to you, and vow to make full use of it, now we are all in touch.

    Thank you – very much indeed.


  2. The reunion was a wonderful and memorable day. Thank you Tim for your vision of putting us all in touch and carrying it through via Pippa. It was a pleasure to meet you and your wife and thank you for your hospitality.

    Rosemary Sharp


  3. The reunion sounded wonderful sorry i wasnt able to be there. I was at PW longbefore most of you – 1952 aged 16!!! Mr. Savill was still around then, as well as Val andDick. Dick died many years ago. Val I understand is still with us and living in the S of France?

    My year at PW was a lot of fun and I met lots of people from all parts of the globe. 2 of my best friends are from PW

    I hope to get there before too long and have a walk downmemory lane!!!

    Best wishes, Jennifer Ratcliff


  4. dear tim,

    it was nice to meet you and your wife and thank you for put all of in touch again after all these years and again thank you to you and pippa and also for your great hospitality.

    yasaman amirparviz


  5. Being at the Paddock Wood reunion reminded me of how privileged we all were to attend a school whose pupils came from all corners of the world. It was the similarities and interesting differences that helped make us such good friends and added to the wonderful experience that was Paddock Wood. It seems to have lived on in all of us as some of the happiest times of our lives, even after 30 years or more!

    The reunion recreated that atmosphere again. Thank you for helping to make it all happen.

    Mel Haffner


  6. Thank you Tim, for orchastrating with Pippa, such a beautiful day (with sunshine!), in beautiful surroundings, amongst beautiful people (including the lovely gentleman, who so kindly let us tramp around my bedroom, sorry, his beautiful flat!) The reunion was truly both wonderfully reminiscent of our time spent at the school all those years ago and a sealing memory, which I’m sure all of us who were priviliged to be there, will remember for the next 30 years!

    Michele Baum (nee Milman)


  7. Hello Tim, It was lovely to meet you, I am so glad you shared our very special day. It was like stepping back in time. I still smile when I think of our reunion. Pippa was fantastic and I must say she has hardly changed, lucky her!!!


  8. TIM
    I had an incredible opportunity to attend the fantastic PW Reunion 2011… It was a dream come true to be able to come back to the UK and meet a wonderful people with whom I share very special moments…. Thanks God, we really were privileged girls to be at Paddokc Wood …Thanks to you and Pippa and everybody who make this possible and please keep in touch !!!
    MARIA LUCIA (COLOMBIA) south america.


  9. And for this who are wondering, Mrs Savill’s husband was Stewart Savill; he died in 1953.

    Dick was Val’s younger brother. He worked in the City and had a stroke sadly, sometime around 1974/5. When I was there, Mrs Savill had taken him in and altho he was paralysed somewhat, did manage to get around with a walking stick. He married the art teacher Patricia Brown in the mid/late 1970’s and managed to get Dick – or Richard – to paint in the grounds. Many girls remember him sitting painting by the ornamental pond. Val tells me Richard exhibited his paintings in London. I’ll try to find out more on this and let you know.

    Thanks for this Jennifer – I for one would love to hear more of your stories from the early days of PW and I know I’m not alone in saying this :o)


  10. I am one, also, who was not able to attend this momenteous reunion event, however, as I’ve mentioned to Pippa many times, I was right there in spirit, and I’d like to think I was all along the way somewhat over those last few months beforehand. Many times over the years since 1970, actually perhaps closer to 1985 or so…when I had some time to actually reflect, I had tried to “search” for Paddock Wood Finishing School, to learn what became of it, and really couldn’t find much at all, except maybe a historical fact or two, and that the buildings themselves had become flats, etc. I acted upon a dream one day earlier this year, and “clicked on” to Paddock Wood on a whim,and linked right onto Pippa’s page…and so it began, a beginning of a wonderful friendship…Here we are, all of us girls, “worlds apart,” yet so close in our established friendships that we had while at PW, making new friends through the connections of attending this school, and still keeping whatever Mrs. Savill’s dreams ahe may have had alive…and I still say, this is something I really think went well beyond those dreams. I lost track of one of the dearest friends one could have, and then to actually see on the screen, “is that really you???” Incredible!!! I so cried!!! And to also have connected with a couple of other close friends as well…I’m sure you all felt the same, and indeed some of you who attended the reunion to see each other face to face after so long…tears, smiles, laughter…and perhaps with a wrinkle or two now!!! Alas, that spirit we all had, lives on, and I truly feel so blessed to be a part of this circle of friendship, love, and harmony. Mere thanks to you, Tim Dodds, Pippa, and the few that brought this all to fruition…just are not enough, but thank you very much indeed! And to all of you…do keep in touch!!!


  11. I am one that could not make it for the reunion, and have to Thank Pippa and all the others who helped her to make the reunion happen, I was there 1966, and I had a wonderful time in Paddock Wood.
    Annemarie Schwab


  12. Hi there! I’m glad you got together, I hope I could find at least one of my roomies at that time, they were Amanda, Elizabeth, a model then, and Bettina Lohner….I hope they see my message and communicate with me! Cheers to everyone!
    Alicia Villarreal


  13. Dear Paddock woodians,
    Hello to every one of you,
    It was only last week i thought Googling PW +was informed of the re_union and other news by Pipa and her tremendous effort.
    Well,for the next re_union,I love to come over.
    Love+God bless
    Saville house
    Room mates;Beatrice ,Vera,Caroline


  14. I have only just discovered the Paddock Wood page and was so excited. I shared a room in 1975/76 with Yoshiko Sakuma and several others. Love to hear from anyone who remembers me – Claire Williams (nee Rudd).


  15. Hello everyone, i was 1968 at P.W. and had a great time there. All my memories come back and i remember a lot of people and events. Maybe somebody was in the same year there. all the best for you all, Gaby, Switzerland


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