Members Bulletin

We enjoy hearing from our members. Please feel free to send us a brief update of your news and we will post it on this page.

Harriet Lester (DAHS 2003)

Harriet has won the Rising Star of the Year prize at the 2017 Women in IT Awards. She currently works for the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), the UK's leading agency to monitor and remove indecent content relating to children. 

Harriet studied Computer Science at university and went on to work in video gaming. Desiring a new challenge, Harriet heard of a job as a content analyst at the IWF – finding and assessing illegal photos and videos of children – she saw a chance to make a difference.

Mollie Foster (née Stratford, BHSg 1960) and Glynda Easterbrook (née Lewis, BHSg 1972)

Fellow Guild committee members bumped into each other by chance in the South Pacific aboard the high seas, and enjoyed catching up over cocktails. Mollie as a cruise passenger and Glynda as a visiting Geology lecturer where she was delivering a talk on Easter Island.

Nicola Harris (née Weeks, BHSg 2000)

Nicola is the Proprietor of the successful George James Bridal in Bedford and winner of three Bedfordshire Business Awards 2016 achieving the overall
County title, Service Excellence and Business Person of the Year.

Nicola continues with her acting career and recently starred in East Enders, playing nurse Laura Barnes.

Sally Whitney (DAHS 2003)

We were delighted to be joined by Sally Whitney and her black Labrador cross Golden Retriever dog Ethan at the Year 9 & 10 assembly (20th January 2017). Sally talked about her personal experience with the charity, Canine Partners.

Aged 17 Sally was struck with a mystery illness and was eventually diagnosed with Lupus, a severe autoimmune condition, and later Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects
her connective tissues and causes mobility problems. Sally’s health worsened and since 2013 the previously fit and active young woman has been confined to a wheelchair and unable to be left alone in a room in case she has a seizure or a medical emergency.

In 2015 Sally was partnered with Ethan through the Canine Partners. Ethan is Sally’s constant companion and has given her a new independence - he can fetch water, pick up anything she drops, open doors and call for help if she needs it. Amazingly he has also learnt how to use Sally's contactless credit card – but so far he has managed to hold back from taking it on a spending spree and stocking up on treats and toys. But most of all Ethan has given Sally freedom and given her a positive future to look forward to.

The Canine Partners ( are a UK charity formed in 1990, with the mission to transform the lives of physically disabled people through partnership with specially trained assistance dogs. Sally helps with local fundraising events for the charity and she and Ethan are one of the poster couples of the charity.

The girls found Sally’s story very moving but also very inspirational. They really enjoyed meeting Ethan too.


Liza Nicholson (née Zwetsloot, 1982)

Liza’s German penfriend from her school days contacted The Alumnae Office trying to trace her. We are delighted that a reunion ensued last summer and after 37 years the ladies met up. Here is Liza’s account of the reunion with Regina:

We have been writing to each other for the last year, and we chose to follow the same pattern from School days, half the letter in German, and half in English (all
hand written too!)

As this was quite a challenge for me, I quickly signed up for a German night class. When Regina and I eventually met in August this year I managed some conversation

We spent 3 days together, we did some walking in Buckinghamshire, visited my Mother and Auntie, both of whom she remembered, and then we spent a couple of days at our home in Glatton.

We had a really super time, and my husband Mark and I hope to go over to Germany next year and stay with Regina and her husband, Peter.

Heather Lane (née Scott, BHSg 1998)

Heather graduated from Cambridge in 2002 having studied Natural Sciences. She is now a Senior Associate Attorney at Gill Jennings & Every in London,  After nearly 14 years working, Heather decided she wants to see some more of the world and has embarked on a year of travelling, whilst continuing to work through the global programme Remote Year (  Starting in Kuala Lumpur in August 2016 Heather will be living and working in 12 different cities, one month each, working alongside 75 other professionals from all over the world. To follow Heather’s exciting year, please follow her blog and Instagram feed as she travels around the world, and @expat.and.tea.

Ellie Piggott (BHSg 2009) - Old Girls Wins Rowing Gold - September 2016

Alumna Ellie Piggott currently has her eyes set on rowing for GB at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, after a successful season. After leaving Bedford High School in 2009, Ellie studied at Oxford University and won the Women’s Boat Race twice, and then went on to become the first GB World U23 champion in the lightweight double in 2013.

Ellie has since trained with the senior GB rowing team at the national centre in Caversham, winning a sliver medal at the 2015 World Championships.

Ellie went one better at this year’s World Championships – an event for non-Olympic boat crews.

Competing in the lightweight quadruple sculls, Ellie’s crew exacted revenge on Germany, who beat GB to gold in 2015. Ellie said: “The conditions on the day were challenging because it was a strong headwind, but we dealt with them well. “My parents and my grandparents had come out to watch, so it was very special to be on the top of the podium again with them cheering.” 

Laura Branagan and Harriet Cough (BGS 2015)

In May 2016 Laura and Harriet joined Headmistress Miss Jo MacKenzie and BGS’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme Manager, Phil Ellis at Buckingham Palace to receive
their gold awards.

Phoebe Dolan (2015)

Phoebe is currently studying at Sheffield Hallam University, where she continues to enjoy her love of Lacrosse playing for the Lacrosse First squad, where she was also voted most outstanding Fresher by her fellow Lacrosse players.  

Emma Banks (BHSg 1986)

Congratulations to Emma for once again appearing on the Debrett’s 500 List, recognising her work in the music industry. Emma works for global entertainment and sports agency, Creative Artists Agency, based in their London office. As a music agent she looks after many high profile names including Bruno Mars and Florence and The Machine to name a few.

Sarah Raven (née Fisher BHSg 2004) - Swim for Fish - An Amazing Achievement

Many of you will know Sarah Raven (née Fisher), either as a former Bedford High School pupil (2004), or as a PE teacher at Bedford High School, Dame Alice Harpur School and Bedford Girls' School.

Sarah was diagnosed first with cancer in 2011 and in January 2015 her diagnosis changed from a Neuroendocrine Tumour to a Gastrointestinal Neuroectodermal Tumour (GNET). GNETs are so rare that in fact only 60 people across the world have ever been diagnosed with them.

Sadly, for Sarah, the cancer came back for a fifth time in September 2015 and has returned to her liver, internal mammary lymph nodes and coeliac lymph node. Sarah received chemotherapy from November 2015-July 2016 to try and control the growth of the tumours, but unfortunately this did not happen. She is now participating in a phase one clinical trial to see if this will have any impact. GNETs are a very rare type of sarcoma so information and research is scarce. It is currently not viewed as a profitable illness for the large pharmaceutical companies.

On 29th August 2016, Sarah’s husband (JJ Raven), sister Laura Fisher (BHSg 2006) and four other
friends (Charlotte Culley, BHSg 2004, Jenny Laing, BHSg 2004, Will Hardy, BMS 2003 and Jon Wheater) embarked on a swim across the English Channel to raise money for Cancer Research UK (who will direct its money towards rare sarcomas) and a local cancer support charity, Above and Beyond.

The group all trained very hard around their full time jobs and managed the challenge in an amazing 10 hours and 29 minutes!

To date nearly £25,000 including gift aid has been raised. Donations can still be made and will be gratefully received via the fundraising page.

Sarah Raven and group

Elizabeth Bullivant (BGS 2013)

In July Elizabeth achieved a first class honours degree in Mathematics from King’s College London. She is currently enjoying her second summer internship in risk management/investment banking with Barclays Bank in Canary Wharf. In September, she will embark upon her Masters Degree at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Anna Beattie (BHSg 1986) - Wins Third Bafta

Creator of The Great British Bake Off and Bedford High School alumna, Anna Beattie, saw the popular cooking show win a BAFTA TV award on Sunday 8th May 2016. The Bake Off - set for its seventh series this year - scooped the Features award, with judge Mary Berry and 2015 winner Nadiya Hussain, who hails from Luton, collecting the prize. The show fended off competition from Back in Time for Dinner, Kevin McCloud: Escape to the Wild and Travel Man.

Anna, executive producer of The Bake Off and co-owner of Love Productions, the company behind the hit series, left the High School in 1986 and went on to work for the likes of BBC Manchester and Channel 4. Anna now runs Love productions with her husband Richard McKerrow. With particular responsibilities for ideas, Anna, in addition to The Bake off, has devised and developed many of the company's stand out programmes including The Baby Borrowers, Filthy Rich and Homeless and Young Mums' Mansion.

Emily Myrtle (2013) and Emma Brown (2013) - Home Internationals Lacrosse 2016

Emily represented Scotland and Emma represented Wales in the Home Internationals Lacrosse 2016 held in April at the Surrey Sports Park.

Emily was one of Scotland B’s strongest players scoring 6 against Wales B, although Wales B finally won 19-15,  with Emma scoring goal no.6 and making a crucial tackle back and goal assist to halt Scotland’s momentum.

Emma scored the first goal in Wales B win against Ireland, 13-4. The Wales B team, mostly Uni students, were out-performed by a mature England B team made up of all but 2 club players and some dropped A players, eventually losing 21-5 and overall coming 2nd to England B in the tournament.


Charlotte Thomson-Edgar (BHSg 1993)

Bedford High School alumna and military nurse, Squadron Leader Charlotte Thomson-Edgar spoke at a thanksgiving service marking the official 450th anniversary of the founding of The Harpur Trust.

Dubbed the 'Angel of Afghanistan', Charlotte rescued over 600 wounded troops by helicopter in Helmand Province, and last year was awarded the Royal Red Cross Second Class for exceptional services and devotion to duty.

At St. Paul's Church In Bedford, Charlotte spoke with passion about the values she gained at Bedford High School, and how BGS continues to instil these qualities in girls today. Attended by pupils and staff from all four of The Harpur Trust schools, and local dignitaries, the service also included reading and prayers, a child from each of the schools laying a wreath on the tomb of Sir William Harpur, who is buried in the Trinity Chapel of the church, and tributes made to the former Lord Mayor of London. Following the service, the celebrations continued with a reception at the Corn Exchange, complete with a 450th cake.

Dora Carrington (BHSg 1910)
Bedford High School alumna, Dora Carrington, will be one of the artists featured in a new exhibition at Bedford gallery, The Higgins, called Beautiful Bodies (23rd April-2nd October 2016). It is the first time Carrington's drawings of her brothers Noel and Teddy have been on display at the Higgins. The works, Noel Carrington c.1912 and Teddy Carrington c1915 were acquired by the art gallery in 2012 from the artist's family. Carrington would often persuade her brothers to sit for her on visits home to Bedford from the Slade School of Art, and the two drawings are remarkable examples of her talent for figure drawing.

The class of 1984 on their bikes - Saturday 28th May 2016

A group of 14 ladies from the Bedford High School class of 1984, who all turned 50 this year, took part part in the Women v Cancer Ride the Night in to central London on Saturday 28th May 2016, and raised a staggering £7820.98.

Congratulations to Sarah McLeod (née Farr), Amanda Parrish (née Hall), Sara Dixon (née Pears), Sally Roche (née Pears), Amanda Lomas-Farley (née Parnis), Kim Robinson (née Ballinger), Jenine Rees (née Hemmings), Lucy Brodie, Liz Kemsley (née Barker), Sarah Addison (née Fuller), Nicky Deans (née Easby), Alison Steyn (née Gilbert), Nicola Wolf-Donitz (née Sturgess) and Judith Wright (née Sharp). The group were encouraged by sisters Sara Dixon and Sally Roche (née Pears) who had taken part the year previously. 

Women v Cancer Ride the Night is a women-only night cycle ride starting from the Royal Windsor Racecourse, following a 100km route into London and back to the Racecourse. The ride benefits three UK cancer charities: Breast Cancer Care, Ovarian Cancer Action and Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust.

Here is a report of their experience:

Why did we do it?

Because we wanted to do something that would bring us together – which it did! We wanted to do something just to prove that we could do something amazing at the age of 50 – which we did! And we wanted to celebrate reaching 50 – which we have now, almost, all done!  And of course we wanted to do something to raise money - we have lost friends along the way to cancer. And many of our friends are living with it with amazing zest and courage. 

There is something about a bunch of middle aged (not that we feel that we are!) women getting together every week for practice cycles.  We can talk and laugh and be open about things in a way that only girls (for we do actually feel we are girls still) with a shared background of fun and naughtiness from the age of 7 upwards can. Many of us have known each other since Form 1 (1973).  And newer friendships or those that have been interrupted over the passage of time have been rekindled. Day girls and boarders together catching up on life and putting the world to rights.  What more could we ask for as we turn 50?

Who did it?

13 of us from BHS and one friend not from BHS but who became an honourary BHSer!  So 14 of us cycled.  And then there was the ‘Team Cake and Babycham’ – Lyndsay hosted us for cake on one of our practice rides and set the bar for future ‘training nutrition’. And Sam and Helen drove round the route meeting us at the various official food stops to top us up with Babycham (well, just really Sara needed topping up)!  And some of our husbands and partners were stewards and volunteers on the night. In other words it was a massive team effort.  We also had the ‘virtual presence’ on our Facebook Group page of so many ex BHSers who couldn’t join us but who kept us to our goals as we went along. So far more than 14 of us did it.

How did we do it?

We ‘met’ every week for a practice cycle on a Sunday.  Wherever we were based, we met either in person with others, or ‘virtually’ checked in on our Facebook page to report
how far we had cycled on our own.  And then on the night, we felt ready….  Some of us had 3 or 6 geared bikes, others had super duper speedy trillion geared bikes.  Some of us had baskets (Sara lost hers at the end of the ride and has been distraught ever since…) in which we carried far too much (including Babycham…) and others had
bikes that were light as a feather with the minimal of clutter on them.  Some of us dressed up as pink as could be (Nicky and Jenine were most elegant in their bobbly pink head gear); others were sleek and fashionable in their very trendy gear.  We cycled in small groups to take into account our various ‘ranges of ability’. And we checked in with each other on our Whatsapp group so we knew where everybody was at every stage. Thank goodness for technology and social media! 
We all crossed the line at the end feeling great.  What a journey we had been on.

What surprised us?

We surprised us – we surprised ourselves, our families and our friends.

We had set ourselves a goal of riding 60 miles overnight from Windsor Race Course into central London and back again. Through traffic, and whatever the weather could throw at us. And we did it, surprisingly.

And as riders we were so surprised and grateful for the support of those who supported us through training cycles, fundraising, keeping us going via Social Media, and on the night – we barely had to ask for help and it was there. 

But our biggest, and possibly best, surprise was to be sponsored by Mrs Kaye!  Who clearly had forgiven us the ‘awful teenage years’ that she saw us through at BHS.  That was an endorsement indeed.  And we were proud that, despite knowing most of us through the tricky times, she still had faith in us.

What next?

We shall be doing something each year.  Not always to raise money. To keep active, to keep feeling young!  To keep challenging ourselves.  Whatever we do, we shall do it together. 

And we challenge all those of you who want to feel alive, to feel challenged, to feel proud, and to feel that together ex High School girls can do amazing things.  We challenge
you.  Do something similar. You will NEVER regret it.

A separate congratulations to Liz Kemsley (née Barker), who also completed the London Marathon in aid of the Epiliepsy Society.

Rhiannon Mills (BHS 1998)

Bedford High School alumnae and Sky News Royal Correspondant Rhiannon Mills recently reported on the arrival of Princess Charlotte. Rhiannon joined Sky News in 2010.

Dr Lucie Green (Dame Alice 1993)

On Tuesday (10th March), as part of International Women’s Day, the Royal Society will be hosting an event Women writing science from 6.30 – 8 pm.   At the end of the event they will be unveiling a bust of Dr Lucie Green, which has been gifted by sculptor Marcus Cornish.

Lucie will also be presenting the news of the eclipse on the Stargazing show, showing on the BBC between 18th-20th March. Details to follow.

Rebecca Murray (BGS 2013) - Bedford Cross Country Runner Scoops National Crown

Bedford Girls’ School alumna Rebecca Murray won the Junior Women’s English Cross Country Championships last Saturday (21st February). Rebecca, who was racing in Bedford & County AC colours, led from start to finish, coming home in a time of 22.48mins on London’s Parliament Hill. Facing a 130-strong field, Rebecca beat her nearest challenger, Kingston AC and Poly Harrier’s Phoebe Law, by three seconds.

“It's a great feeling to have won the National Championships, and hopefully I can take the confidence it has given me into the final races of the season,” said Rebecca,
who studies Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham. “I found myself towards the front of the group early on and felt good, so I pushed the pace on. The group were always close but I managed to hold them off.”

The 20-year-old’s success in the capital follows on from her appearance for Great Britain & Northern Ireland U23 Women’s team in the SPAR European Cross
Country Championships in Bulgaria in December, where they won team silver.

Young Person of the Year Event (YOPEY), The Ritz London - Monday 16th February 2015

Former Dame Alice alumnae, Alice Lisle-Denny (Dame Alice 2009), came second in the Bedfordshire Young Person of the Year Awards in 2014, following work she carried out in Tanzania. Each year an evening ceremony is held to recognise the work that young people have achieved. Alice is now an ambassador for the organisation in Hampshire and helped organise this year's event. This year's ceremony took place at The Ritz, and as part of the evening there was an auction of Experiences Money Can't Buy, which raised £5500. Thank you to all the Alumnae who helped support this event.

Gillman and Soame Photography Archive

Our official school photographers Gillman and Soame have just announced a digital archive service available on their website for our alumnae as well as our current pupils to use. It is now possible to view online year group and sporting photographs for Bedford High School and Dame Alice from 1970 onwards.

The archive site provides a wonderful chance to reminisce over your school days with friends and familiarise yourself with old faces.

Photographs can also be purchased directly from Gillman and Soame. Additionally, individual portrait photos are also available from 2007 but are not catalogued on the site.

To view, please click  Please enter your email address and use the following token code ‘bedfordgirlsschool2014’.

Baby Announcement

Frankie Brunker (née Mochan, 2001) is thrilled and relieved beyond belief to announce that she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Jago Toby, on Monday 27th October 2014.  He is a very special brother to her daughter Esme, who was sadly stillborn at full term last September.


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