Alumnae News

Work The Room Networking Event, BGS - Monday 10th June 2019 

A big thank you to parents, alumnae, governors and the wider community who braved the downpour on Monday night and helped make the Work the Room networking workshop a huge success.

The Lower Sixth Form students, dressed appropriately for the occasion, practiced their networking skills with guests from a diverse range of professional backgrounds ranging from the Civil Service to law, accountancy to engineering and the arts to marketing. The girls truly embraced the experience and as the evening progressed, they built in their confidence and the thoughtfulness of their questions.

Once again, we are thankful to parent and The Alumna Chair, Kate Whitlock (1993), for facilitating the networking workshop that the girls attended prior to the reception. Kate is a professional coach and we are very grateful for the guidance the girls received under her expertise.

Our alumnae network is a diverse and inspiring collection of women and we encourage them to take an active interest in the life of the school whether in time, expertise or support in order to benefit our current girls through networking, work experience and opportunities for career progression. In recent weeks we have been able to help facilitate work experience in varied areas including Law, Hospitality and Biomedicine, as well advice given about a career in the army and careers using Psychology.

With thanks to the following alumni:

Zoë Beech (BHS 1991) - Founder, Director and Clinical Lead of Grainger Healthcare

Dr Jill Berry (DAHS 2000-2010) – Educational and Training Consultant, Former Headmistress, Dame Alice Harpur School.

Clare Blampied OBE (DAHS 1981) – Managing Director, Sacla UK Ltd

Julia Bond (DAHS 1968) – Former Head Teacher / Educational Advisor

Lindsey Cebula (BHS 1991 – 2008) – Former Teacher of German, Bedford High School

Emma Cummins (BHS 1988)  – Head of Roadshows, NatWest Markets

Heather Cunliffe (BHS 1981)  – Education / PhD Student

Fiyin Fayeye (BHS 2002)  – Higher Education Lead - Penna & HR Executive Interim at Penna

Emma Forbes-Laird (BHS 1994)  – Processor Systems Engineer at Airbus Defence and Space & Financial Director of FLAC Ltd

Anne Harnan (DAHS 1995) – Freelance chef, cookery writer, demonstrations, workshops, food stylist, back stage and event work

Ruth Hogan (BHS 1979)  – Author

Emily Hudson (DAHS 1994) – Tetley’s Brand Manager, Carlsberg Group

Anne Kaye (BHS 1976-1987) – Former Headmistress, Bedford High School

Shuna Mitchell (BHS 1978) – Artist

Joanne O’Neill (DAHS 1992) – Business Development & Environmental Efficiency, Bedford Borough Council

Carol Perla (DAHS 1961)  – Former Primary Teacher / Teacher of Italian

Katy Pilling (DAHS 2005) – Pharmacist, Napp Pharmaceuticals

Subrinah Rana (DAHS 2004) – Admissions Manager, Bedford Girls’ School

Rachael Robson-Green (BHS 1992) – Head of Wholesale, Arran Aromatics Ltd

Sasha Samuels (BGS 2013) – Enterprise Account Executive,

Ashley Somerville (DAHS 1988) – Deputy Group Chief Information Officer, Jardine Lloyd Thompson

Daisy Somerville (DAHS 2008) – Chief Information Officer Advisory, KPMG

Charlotte Strickley (BGS 2015) – Graduate Trainee, Marks and Spencer plc

Betty Sturgeon (DAHS 1978) – Civil Servant, Head of Financial Reporting, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

Dawn Tamayo-Bullivant (BHS 1989) – Author and Virtual PA

Kate Whitlock (DAHS 1993) - Coach-mentoring, Maple Blue

Clare Wilkie (BHS 2012) – Trainee Solicitor, Family Law, Woodfines


Old Girls' Lacrosse - Wednesday 4th September 2019


The first day of term started with the usual tradition of the First Lacrosse Team v the Old Girls’ at Cople Fields, where we invite the whole community to come and along and enjoy this start to the new academic year. 

As usual competiton was high and it was a closely fought match, with the final score 10-7 to the First Team. The rules of the game have recently changed and a side is now reduced to ten players.

Kirstie Moffat (2016) was awarded Player of the Match for her impressive position as Goalkeeper. Director of Sport Mrs Mason-McLeod commented: ‘Kirstie was dynamic and made some incredible saves to keep the score as close as it was. She played completely without fear, moving quickly and with great precision to save the ball! A top quality goalkeeping performance from a much missed old girl’.

Some other stand out performances came from old girls Katie Parrish (2017) and Annie Marks (2018) in attack. They both gave the BGS defence a tough time and at times had them turned inside out! Year 12  player Maddie Axford was particularly impressive and made the more demanding new 10 a-side game look a breeze, covering most of the pitch and scoring some impressive goals.

OG Team – Emily Allen (2019), Cecilia Castell (2019), Isabella Devile (2019), Ellie Hind (2019), Mel Houghton (2019), Ellie Lawton (2018), Fleur Leech (2019), Annie Marks (2018), Kirstie Moffat (2016), Katie Parrish (2017), Alex Sadler (2016), Annabel Sadler (2014) and Judith Tarrant (2019).


London Networking Event - 2nd May 2019

Back in May we hosted our annual London Alumnae Drinks event in the impressive surroundings of the German Gymnasium, ideally located for both our city dwellers and those travelling to and from St. Pancras. A lovely evening was enjoyed by all as we welcomed alumnae and former staff from DAHSA, BHS and BGS. Many new connections were made between members, school stories swapped and business links made, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up on all their latest news.

Alumna Honoured at STEM Awards - Friday 14th December 2018


Many congratulations to BGS Alumna Alexis Monks who was ‘Highly Commended’ at the recent STEM Inspiration Awards.

The awards celebrate the fantastic work done by individuals and organisations who inspire young people in STEM subjects. Awards were presented in eight categories that recognise everything from STEM Ambassadors and employers to outstanding STEM technicians and clubs.

Alexis was nominated for the Joan Sjovoll Award for STEM Leadership, which recognises anyone employed in a STEM leadership role who has worked to foster an understanding of STEM subjects within their organisation, inspiring and leading others to actively promote STEM education and careers.

Alexis, who left BGS in 2014, completed a Computer Science degree at the University of Bristol and has previously worked for the university and the technology giant PA Consulting as a Digital Expert.

View the full list of winners here.

A Career in the Military - Friday 16th November 2018

The BGS Careers Department were delighted to welcome back Dame Alice Harpur School alumna, Annelise Milton for an informative Lunchbox Lecture on Wednesday.

A Captain in the British Army, Corps of Royal Engineers, Annelise left Dame Alice Harpur School in 2009 and went on to study Pharmacy at the University of Reading graduating with a Masters in Pharmacy in 2013.   

Realising that a career in Pharmacy was not her desired career pathway, Annelise decided to swap life in the pharmaceutical industry for the army and has never looked back since completing her officer training at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

For the past two years, Captain Milton has been deployed in The Falklands helping construct military accommodation. Now based in Chatham, Kent, she has recently been involved in officer recruiting for her Corps.

Captain Milton delivered an excellent presentation highlighting the various roles in the army, but most importantly the fantastic careers opportunities for females ranging from combat roles to intelligence and communication.

Alumna Receives Music Award - Friday 9th November 2018

Many congratulations to Bedford High School alumna Emma Banks (1986), who was awarded the 2018 Music Industry Trusts Award (Monday 5th November) in recognition of her contributions to the music industry in a career spanning over 25 years.

Now in its 27th year, the Music Industry Trusts Award is recognised as one of the true benchmarks of achievement in the UK music business.

Emma, who is Co-Head of the Creative Artists Agency (CAA) in London, is one of the most successful and respected talent agents in the music business. Her current roster includes Katy Perry, Arcade Fire, Florence + The Machine, Kylie Minogue, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lorde and many others. Recent signings include Green Day, Muse, HAIM and Paramore, while she is also chair of the Nordoff Robbins Silver Clef committee.

As quoted in Music Week online, Emma said: “I’ve realised since being announced as the recipient of this award back in May how important today is for so many women. So I stand up here, I hope, as a representative of the many women in the industry who may not have had the opportunity or frankly the inclination to make their voice heard, as I have."

Dame Alice Class of 1980 - Friday 19th October 2018

On Saturday 13th October 2018, we welcomed 30 former students from Dame Alice Harpur School Class of 1980 for a tour of the Senior School.

Excitement levels were immense, as many of the former students had not seen each other since leaving school. The group enjoyed their tour and revisiting old haunts. They were impressed by the modern and light feel of the school, with many compliments about the uniforms.

The visit concluded with a group photo in autumnal setting of the school gardens. Memories were made and there were vows to return again as a group in two years’ time.

If you are an Alumna of the heritage schools and would like to arrange a reunion visit to the school please email Emma MacKenzie,

Technology and Innovation: Alexis Monks - Friday 12th October 2018

On Thursday 4th October, BGS Alumna Alexis Monks (2014) dropped into the Computer Science Department to talk to the girls about careers in technology. Alexis completed a Computer Science degree at the University of Bristol and now works for technology giant PA Consulting as a Digital Expert.

She spoke about the different avenues you can go down in a career in technology, and also how it is as much about innovative ideas and the ability to sharpen your problem solving skills when solving code. Alexis also talked about the launch of the PA Consulting Raspberry Pi competition, where the theme this year is 'Travel and Transport'.

Alexis is a passionate advocate for getting more women into the tech industry and it is hugely helpful for us to be able to tap into her knowledge and expertise.

A Career in Music Therapy - Friday 5th October 2018

Our ever-popular Lunchbox Lectures returned on Monday with a visit from Dame Alice Harpur School alumna (1990), Anna Jacobs, who now works as a self-employed Music Therapist.

The Lunchbox Lectures programme sees a number of visiting speakers, ranging from alumnae to business professionals, passing on their pearls of wisdom to Senior School girls during a weekly lunchtime session.

Anna gained a BMus (Hons) degree from the University of Lancaster in 1993 and following this qualified as a Music Therapist in 1995. She was awarded an MA in Music Therapy in 2000 following research in the field of Music Therapy with Adults with Learning Disabilities and has undertaken additional training in counselling. She has many years’ experience in working with both children and adults in the fields of Learning Disabilities and Mental Health.

Most recently, Anna worked for the local authority specialising in providing therapy for children with severe emotional and behavioural difficulties. Anna is also a British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) approved clinical supervisor.

During the session, Anna discussed what a role in Music Therapy entails. She explained that the fundamental role of music therapy is not to teach a client how to play an instrument; it helps find a way in which to express their emotions in a safe and supported environment.

Lunchbox Lectures coming up in the next few weeks include Public Relations (Wednesday 17th October) and Sports Management (Date to be confirmed) and are open to all girls from Year 9 upwards.

Alumna Represents Team GB -  Friday 21st September 2018

Congratulations to Bedford High School alumna Ellie Piggott, who was placed fifth in the lightweight double sculls World Championship Final (Saturday 15th September) with Emily Craig. The British duo gave an incredible performance in Plovdiv, Buglaria.

Ellie said: “We’re really pleased with our execution given the season we’ve had. We’ve not had much racing, so there was very much an internal focus on that race. “Next year is [Olympic] qualification year, which is really important looking ahead to Tokyo.

“There are seven boats that qualify (at the 2019 World Championships) so to be in a qualifying position this year, given the season we’ve had, is awesome. That said, each year the race and the speed moves on.”

Ellie, a former Head Girl, left Bedford High School in 2009 and went on to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford, achieving a first class honours degree. Well established in the competitive GB lightweight women’s squad, Ellie has represented the GB rowing team at every age level and is a former World University Champion. In 2016, she won gold at the World Championships in Rotterdam.

DAHSA Reunion -  Friday 21st September 2018

On Saturday 15th September 2018, the annual DAHSA reunion took place for alumnae of all eras. It was a particularly special occasion this year as a lunch for the Class of 1958 preceded the general reunion and 25 of the year group returned to celebrate 60 years since leaving school. There was a lot of catching up and many had not been back in to school since they had left.

The general union was well attended with quite a few from Classes of 1964, 1973, 1993 and 1998, some former teachers as well as lots of new faces. Guests were able to enjoy a delicious afternoon tea in the Assembly Hall as well as browsing the archives in the Learning Resource Centre.

We were lucky to have a beautiful autumnal day and guests were taken on tours of the Senior School and garden, led by a group of enthusiastic Sixth Formers.

First XII Lacrosse Team Claim Victory -  Friday 14th September 2018

The BGS umbrellas were out in full force last Thursday (6th September) evening at Cople Fields!

It was wonderful catching up with our alumnae at the annual Lacrosse match; the steady rain and soaked turf were not ideal conditions but this did not stop the fast-paced game. Thank you to our spectators who braved the elements to cheer on the players.

Congratulations to the First XII who triumphed 15-10 against the Old Girls'. Also a big cheer for alumnae Emily Myrtle (BHS, 2011) and Anna Monk (BHS and BGS, 2013), who were awarded joint Player of the Match.

View a gallery of photos here.

Lower Sixth Work the Room - Friday 15th June 2018 

A big thank you to parents, alumnae, governors and the wider community who helped make the Work the Room workshop a huge success on Monday evening (Monday 11th June).

The Sixth Form students, dressed appropriately for the occasion, practised their networking skills with guests from a diverse range of professional backgrounds ranging from medicine to law, accountancy to academia and the arts to marketing. The girls truly embraced the experience and as the evening progressed they built in their confidence and the thoughtfulness of their questions.

Once again, we are thankful to parent and alumna, Kate Whitlock (1993), for facilitating the networking workshop that the girls attended prior to the reception. Kate is a professional coach and we are very grateful for the guidance the girls received under her expertise.

The Summer Term is a busy time for events involving alumnae. Last Thursday (7th June) we held our annual alumnae drinks in London. As always, it is great to welcome our alumnae and catch up on their latest news, as well as welcoming new faces and making introductions. We were also delighted to welcome some of our most recent leavers who are still at university and will shortly be embarking into the working world.

Read Miss Mackenzie’s (Headmistress) experience of the evening in her most recent blog here.

A Career in Biology and Genetics - Friday 8th June 2018

The ever-popular Lunchbox Lectures have been a huge success this year; the initiative has seen a number of visiting speakers, ranging from a magazine Editor to an alumna working in cyber security. One of many highlights was a visit from Dame Alice Harpur School alumna (1989) Dr Claire Kotecki. Rebadged, as ‘What is a career in academic science’; Dr Kotecki gave an informative and entertaining insight into her life to date.

The session not only made our girls aware of the rewarding career in this area of science, but also provided an example of an unorthodox way to get there. Now an Open University Biology lecturer, life-long learning tutor and researcher, Dr Kotecki has a multi-faceted job that includes enabling laboratory simulations for students, her research into outreach to schools and interfacing with social media.

As she put it, “it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!” Want a PhD, then you need a very good Bachelor’s degree, or indeed a Masters, enthusiasm and evidence you have an interest in the project, together with perseverance, commitment, adaptability and confidence in your own ability. Last but not least, resilience; a word on everyone’s lips! Having a PhD opens up the world for careers prospects…

Alumna Earns GB Rowing Call-up - Friday 25th May 2018 

Ellie pictured on the left, bow seat.

Congratulations to Bedford High School alumna Ellie Piggott, who is among the 54 athletes selected to race for Great Britain at the first World Rowing Cup regatta of the 2018 season, to be held in Belgrade, Serbia from Friday 1st – 3 Sunday June. She will be competing in the lightweight double scull with trials winner and European bronze medallist from 2017, Emily Craig.

Ellie left Bedford High School in 2009 and went on to study Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) at the University of Oxford, achieving a first class honours degree. Well established in the competitive GB lightweight women’s squad, Ellie has represented the GB rowing team at every age level and is a former World University Champion. In 2016, she won gold at the World Championships in Rotterdam.

Photo credit – WE ROW Life

The 64th Guild Biennial - Saturday 19th May 2018   


Lower Sixth student Millie Hoar with Kettering Ladies (1964)

The Bedford High School Guild celebrated its 64th Biennial with alumnae from all eras joining the day to celebrate the occasion. This year’s Biennial celebrated the rich heritage of Art at Bedford High School and the guest of honour was Ann Gardner (1982), who shared her experience of life as an artist.

The occasion also included an art display featuring the following artists - Chrissy Thirlaway (1967), Jacky Gooding (née Wilson 1965 and Former Head of Art), Gaynor Maher (née Rodwell 1982), Wendy Norris (Former Head of Art), Felicity De Vries (née Andrew 1979) and Shuna Mitchell (1978). There was also an archive display celebrating the work of Dora Carrington, Edward Nightingale, Ulrika Pehrson, Margaret Lanaway, Kate Parbury and Theresa Sylvester Stannard.

Those attending enjoyed a morning service, led by Guild Chaplain, Mr Paul Fricker, followed by a delicious lunch. In the afternoon the visitors enjoyed coffee in the Sixth Form Common Room and Gardens, as well as tours of the Senior School led by the GLG.

The Guild kindly sponsored the recent Junior School Art Competition, which focused on the theme of Strong, Empowered Women. The calibre of the work was very high and Guild Chair, Jane Leech (née McKendrick, 1982), was tasked with choosing the winning entry for each group. The winners are as follows: Caitlin Gill (Year 3), Neva Grimshaw (Year 4), Amy McKenzie (Year 5) and Anaiya Thakrar (Year 6). This past week the work of the girls has been displayed in the Randle Hall Foyer, alongside those that exhibited on Saturday, for the wider school community to view.

View the Junior School Art here.

Prize Giving 2018 - Friday 4th May 2018

We are delighted to announce that the annual Prize Giving ceremony will be taking place at BGS on Wednesday 11th July, 6:45pm – 10:00pm.

The event celebrates the success of our girls in Years 7-Upper Sixth, who have gone above and beyond this year, prizes range from Academic Excellence to the most prestigious accolade, the School Dux.

This year our special guest will be BGS Alumna Dr Anna Ploszajski, who is an award-winning materials scientist, engineer and communicator. Anna, who left Dame Alice Harpur School in 2009, went on to study Materials Science at Oxford University (2009-2013) and has recently completed her engineering doctorate at University College London in hydrogen storage materials. In 2017 she was honoured as Young Engineer of the Year by the Royal Academy of Engineering.

In her spare time, Anna plays the trumpet, performs stand-up comedy and is currently training to swim the English Channel in July 2018.

Blue Plaque Honours - Friday 4th May 2018

A blue plaque recognising the work of Bedford High School alumna, Theresa Sylvester Stannard (1898-1947), was unveiled in Spenser Road, Bedford on Monday 30th April, following a drive by local historians in the town.

Theresa was a successful watercolour artist, specialising in garden scenes and country cottages. Successful in her field Theresa had already exhibited at the Royal Academy by the age of 16.  Examples of Theresa’s work can currently be admired in The Higgin’s, Bedford.

Theresa’s father, Henry John Sylvester Stannard, with whom she shared a studio, was also commemorated with a blue plaque at a neighbouring property.

Impressive Marathon Feat - Friday 27th April 2018

Congratulations to BGS alumna Rebecca Murray), who was part of the 40,255 runners crossing the finishing line in the biggest and hottest London Marathon (22nd April 2018) to date.

At only 23 years old and the youngest woman to toe the elite start line, Rebecca placed an incredible 12th (29th Overall – joint male and female elite athletes) in her London Marathon debut, with a time of 02:39:37.

We spoke to Rebecca about her debut, she said: “The marathon was definitely the hardest and most mentally taxing race I’ve ever done, but I was really happy to turn all the training into a good performance and soak up the incredible atmosphere out there on the streets!

“It was really nice that Mrs Howlett (Deputy Head of PE) was out on the course too, as she was the one who packed me along to Bedford AC as a kid in the first place!”

Rebecca left BGS in 2013 and went on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, achieving a first class honours degree.

BGS and the wider community are very proud of Rebecca's achievements and wish her the very best in future competitions.

Opportunities for Young Creatives - Friday 2nd March 2018

On Monday, girls across the school were lucky enough to receive insights from Bedford High School alumna Helena Prettyman (2012), a training professional actor and National Youth Theatre (NYT) representative as part of the school's Lunchbox Lecture series.

The opportunity to have an informal chat and presentation with someone with industry experience generated some great conversations not only about the benefits of working with NYT, which offers incredibly diverse opportunities to young actors interested in becoming professional, but about the industry as a whole.

Learning about the huge range of opportunities and companies offered by the NYT was immensely inspiring, as we were able to see the many different ways we could develop our passions. From workshops and shows, to screen technique and Shakespeare, it was certainly comforting to see that there truly are opportunities for every person to 'find their niche' in the world of performance.

A Career in Cyber Security - Friday 2nd February 2018

Our ever-popular Lunchbox Lectures returned on Monday with a visit from Dame Alice Harpur School alumna (2011), Lizzie Martin, who gave our Year 9 to Upper Sixth students an insight about studying Physics and her subsequent career in cyber security.

Whilst studying her A Levels, Lizzie had no knowledge of the cyber security industry. She stressed that it was the skills she had learned during her time at university, which led her into this fascinating career. Physics does not feature in her current role and she made it clear that her colleagues came from all diverse disciplines, with the sales team being almost exclusively History & Politics graduates.

Cyber security is a rapidly growing industry with a distinct lack of female employees. Of her 23 colleagues, only three are women. This imbalance needs to be addressed and hopefully Lizzie’s enthusiasm and clear enjoyment of her work will have inspired at least one of her audience to consider a career in this area at some point in the future.

A Welcome Alumnae Visit - Friday 19th January 2018

Pictured - Alice Frost and former Head Girl Anna Hunt.

We were delighted to welcome back BGS alumnae Alice Frost and former Head Girl Anna Hunt last week (Thursday 11th January).

Since leaving BGS in 2017, Alice has gone on to study Medicine at the University of East Anglia and Anna is studying Biological Sciences at Durham University.

The girls enjoyed reminiscing about the good times with staff and students and discussed with Dr Walters, Director of Sixth Form, about how the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) has helped them become lifelong learners.

Alice reflected about her first week of Sixth Form and said: “I remember the first week of Sixth Form, I was nervous about all the presentations I would have to give over the next two years. However, by the time the course was over I was volunteering to address the guests at the IB celebration dinner.

“I do not believe I would have established confidence in this skill if it were not for the regular structured and supported opportunities in the programme to learn how to give presentations".

Anna further adds: “I believe I am a more rounded person because of the IB Diploma. I read the newspaper in a different way, I feel myself to be highly organised and though learning these skills it was hard but definitely worth it.

Dr Walters, adds: “It is always wonderful to hear from our alumnae and in this case how studying the IB Diploma has encouraged Alice and Anna to think critically and drive their own learning at university. They have flourished intellectually and have a wider awareness of our connected global community”.

Both girls concluded that you need to be focused on the type of person you will become, be organised and pour your love into your Higher Level subjects, enjoy your Standard Level subjects, learn from them but don’t fret.  

Alumna Honoured Sports Award - Friday 12th January 2018

Congratulations to Bedford Girls’ School alumna Rebecca Murray who has won the coveted Adult Sports Personality of the Year Award at the annual Bedford Sports Awards on Tuesday 11th December 2017.

Rebecca, who left BGS in 2013, went on to study Natural Sciences at the University of Birmingham, achieving a first class honours degree. She is currently studying a Masters degree in Financial Mathematics at Brunel University, London.

Specialising in Cross Country and long distance running, and committing to training 12/13 times a week running 75-85 miles, Rebecca’s ability has been recognised by British Athletics calling her up for international duty, and an invitation to altitude training in Kenya. She also competes at club, county, university and national levels, and was winner of B&C AC’s Best Senior Cross Country Performance award. Other successes include 1st place at British Universities X Country and 3000m events, and 3rd place in the UK Cross Country trials.

BGS and the wider community are extremely proud of Rebecca's achievements and wish her the very best in future competitions.

Alumna Receives High Accolade - Wednesday 27th September 

Psychologist and radio presenter Claudia Hammond has received the prestigious British Academy President’s Medal for her work in improving public understanding of psychology through broadcasting and writing for wider audiences.

Claudia, who left Dame Alice Harpur School in 1989, went on to study Applied Psychology at the University of Sussex followed by a Masters in Health Psychology at the University of Surrey. She then began lecturing in Psychology alongside working as a journalist at the start of BBC Radio 5 Live. A year later, she became the presenter of All in Mind and Mind Changers on BBC Radio 4.

The 2017 Prizes and Medals ceremony was held on Wednesday 27th September in Central London. Claudia’s insightful journalism and instrumental research has given people a better understanding of the role Psychology plays in society.

Miss Jo MacKenzie, Headmistress of Bedford Girls' School, commented: “We are extremely proud of Claudia, this is another example of a broad and varied alumnae and the fantastic work they do."

DAHSA Enjoy Reunion - Saturday 23rd September 2017  

On Saturday 23rd September 2017, the annual DAHSA reunion took place for alumnae of many eras, It was lovely to welcome alumnae spanning 74 years, from 1938 through to 2012.

There was a great turnout from years of 1969, 1987, 1997 and 2001. There was also a special happy birthday rendition to Diana Smith (née Resse, 1956), who was celebrating her 80th birthday.

Guests enjoyed afternoon tea in the Assembly Hall whilst listening to Amy Lammin (Upper Sixth) perform on the piano.

We were lucky to have a crisp autumn day and guests enjoyed tours of the Senior School and garden, led by Sixth Formers Lily Talbot and Nakita Kaur Rai. A selection of archive material was also on display in the Library for guests to browse.

Smart Materials with Anna Ploszajski - Friday 22nd September 2017

Anna plosz stand up

Congratulations to Dame Alice Alumna Anna Ploszajski (2009) whose work has been published in a book called What’s Next? Curated and edited by world renowned Physicist Jim Al-Khalili; he has collected world experts in many different fields to write a chapter each about the future. Anna’s chapter is on Smart Materials. 

After leaving Dame Alice, Anna studied Material Science at the University of Oxford and is now completing her PhD at University College London. The Royal Academy of Engineering recently made her a young engineer of the year.

Order What’s Next here

Photo credit - Steve Cross

A Fitting Tribute to Joan Gibson - Thursday 7th September

Our annual lacrosse match between the First XII and Old Girls’ team on Thursday 7th September was once again a huge success.

The match held at Cople Fields, paid a special tribute to Miss Joan Gibson (Gibby) who sadly passed away on 27th March 2017, aged 97. Joan was a hugely respected Head of PE at Bedford High School from 1951-1972, where she instilled a love of lacrosse in so many. Miss Gibson was a successful lacrosse player herself. She played goalkeeper for Wales and later captained the Welsh side.

We were delighted to have many friends and family from BGS and the wider community in attendance including Joan’s niece Mrs Sarah Brown. Mrs Bullerwell opened the lacrosse match with a special speech, paying tribute to Joan and the BGS community.

The Old Girls’ team included former Head Girl Anna Hunt, sisters Aimee Oakley and Elena Salmon, as well as Kate Axford and Katie Parrish both of whom hold international caps in Lacrosse for England and Wales respectively. The match was enjoyed by all with the Old Girls’ claiming victory 15-8. Mrs Sarah Brown presented the Player of the Match trophy to Georgia Staroscik (Lower Sixth), who gave an excellent goalkeeping performance for the First XII.

Dame Alice Harpur School Reunion - Saturday 17th September 2016


The annual Dame Alice Harpur School reunion was held in the Senior School.

A record turnout of over 130   old girls, from all eras, enjoyed an afternoon of reminiscing, including a large group of 1984 leavers (pictured) who were catching up over the weekend together.

The alumnae were greeted by a  warm welcome from Bedford Girls' School's Marketing and Development Officer, Emma MacKenzie, who gave an update on all the latest school news.

Tours of the School ensued, led by a group of Sixth Formers. The celebrations finished with a delicious afternoon tea and a browse of archive material in the library.


Old Girls' Lacrosse - Wednesday 7th September 2016

The annual Bedford Girls’ School lacrosse match between the 1st XII and Alumnae team marked the opening of the state-of-the-art Cople Fields sporting facility.

Cople Fields boasts six full size lacrosse pitches, which will also be used for rounders, and a modern pavilion, offering large changing rooms and an impressive viewing gallery.

As one of the UK’s premier girls’ schools for sports, BGS is looking forward to hosting regional and national lacrosse tournaments at Cople Fields.

“Cople Fields is a wonderful new addition to the School’s estate, and will help cement our reputation as a leading school for sport,” said BGS Headmistress Miss MacKenzie, who witnessed a 10-4 win for the 1st XII in the company of more than 200 members of the School’s community.

“We play lacrosse at a high level nationally and it is important that we have the room to host regional competitions and tournaments. Cople is a stunning site and there is a real sense of excitement within the Bedford Girls’ School community about the facility.”

Granted planning permission in the summer of 2014, the School enlisted the services of Northamptonshire-based S.A.C. Construction Ltd to construct the new sporting facility on the 30-acre site, sitting on the outskirts of the village.

In addition to laying new pitches and building the pavilion, the two-year project has included undertaking an archaeological survey, managing the migration of Greater Crested Newts to a newly created pond, planting a community orchard and installing swift boxes. The site will also be used as an outdoor learning space, providing pupils with an alternative environment to study in.

Miss MacKenzie added: “Cople Fields is much more than just lacrosse pitches; in the summer it will provide us with a wonderful venue for holding rounders tournaments, and all year round the girls and teachers will be able to make full use of the area.

“We are very thankful to Cople village for their support and we look forward to inviting the village school to use the resources at Cople Fields.”

To see a range of images of the opening of Cople Fields, click here.

Playing for Pitches - Tuesday 21st June 2016

Bedford Girls’ School Sixth Former, Izzy Gurney, was joined by England cricket greats, Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch, in her efforts to raise money for charity.

As part of her Playing For Pitches fundraising campaign for Afghan Connection, a charity which supports refugees returning to Afghanistan, and its programme to promote gender equality for girls through cricket, Izzy hosted an evening of cricket on Bedford School’s pristine cricket pitches.

England’s finest cricket captains, Old Bedfordian Cook, and Gooch, held masterclasses for Bedford School and BGS students, and signed shirts, ahead of mini games between the two schools’ teachers and students. Bedford School provided a wonderful barbecue and Izzy organised a raffle of cricket related prizes to raise further funds. Dame Alice Old Girl Anna Edwards, a producer for Sky Sports News HQ, was also kindly on hand to provide her support and hand out prizes.

Having received donations totaling £205 via her JustGiving page, Izzy, who keeps wicket for Buckinghamshire U17 Girls, raised a further £1,000 on the night.

Miss MacKenzie, Bedford Girls’ School Headmistress, said: “It is part of the School’s ethos to engage in community and charity work. “Our girls are passionate about the rights of girls and women across the world, and choose to support causes which address these issues.” She added: “Izzy has worked tirelessly in raising money for Afghan Connection. The support shown on Tuesday night at Bedford School by Alastair Cook and Graham Gooch, staff, students and parents proves just what an important issue gender equality for girls is. “For the boys and girls to work collaboratively on important issues such as Playing For Pitches is very rewarding for them, and helps them grow as individuals.”

Alumnae Leavers Drinks 2011-2015 - Friday 17th June 2016

Leavers from 2011-2015 were welcomed back to Bedford Girls’ School for an early evening reception in the Sixth Form Common Room and Gardens. It was a beautiful summer evening and a chance to catch up on all the news of our former students, and those of the heritage schools. The evening was a lovely occasion and everyone was brimming with news!

There have been several changes to the interior at Bedford Girls’ School over the past few years and the former students had the opportunity to view the new sports facilities and tour the newly refurbished Sixth Form House.

The Leavers Drinks will be an annual event in the alumnae calendar, inviting back the previous five years of leavers.  

Work The Room - Wednesday 15th June 2016

Our annual Work The Room event was held on recently and once again we were able to welcome parents, alumnae, governors and other friends of the school community to join us for the event.

Earlier in the afternoon the Lower Sixth girls took part in a workshop which covered the importance of networking and how you present yourself in a business environment. The girls covered lots of scenarios and advised how they should apply themselves. The event was facilitated again by parent and Chair of The Alumnae, Mrs Kate Whitlock, herself a professional coach and mentor.

Following the workshop the girls’ had to practice their newly found skills with the visitors over a drinks reception. The girls embraced the evening and used the opportunity to truly ‘work the room’, impressing the guests with their thoughtful questions and overall confidence.

Dame Alice 1985 Reunion - Saturday 11th June 2016

The Dame Alice Harpur School 1985 Reunion took place on Saturday 11th June 2016. The event was held in the newly refurbished Sixth Form Common Room and adjoining gardens.

The group were welcomed by Headmistress, Miss MacKenzie, before enjoying tours of the school. For the majority of those attending it was the first time that they had been back to their former school.

The afternoon finished with a delicious afternoon tea and a chance to look at lots of old photographs from their time at school which involved lots of laughter and the recounting of happy memories.

Guild Biennial - Saturday 14th May 2016

The Bedford High School Guild celebrated its 63rd Biennial with alumnae of all eras, along with several past heads, gathering together to mark the occasion. This was the second time this event was held at Bedford Girls’ school and particularly poignant as it was Dorothy Chandler’s last time as Guild Chair, before stepping down. 

The day followed its traditional format and began with morning service in the Assembly Hall led by Guild Chaplain, Paul Fricker. The theme of the service was Reflecting on the past and looking forward. The speaker for the service was Sarah Miller (née Rainbow), a former Head Girl of 1992. Sarah gave a very moving speech of her time at Bedford High School and the personal difficulties she faced in her senior school years.

The Guild were treated to both Acting Director of Music, Jo Turner, accompanying the hymns and to Maria Lee (Year 13) for her solo. Maria’s interpretation of Summertime by Gershwin was simply beautiful. We were fortunate that the rain kept clear and the song choice was in keeping with the time of year.

The service was followed by the Annual General Meeting, where Miss MacKenzie was able to personally thank The Guild for their generous contribution towards the Sixth Form refurbishment and explain in detail the work that had been carried out over the summer holiday. A delicious buffet lunch followed, which gave the alumnae plenty more opportunity to catch up. 

The afternoon concluded with coffee in the Sixth Form Common Room and an enjoyable few hours perusing a selection from the archives. The archive team, led by Kathy Fricker, have done a super job in collating the history of the High school and the Guild Members were able to pour at their leisure over old photographs and memorabilia. We were delighted that Sue Claremont from the archive team was able to join us for the afternoon and to elaborate on some of the material on show.

Lion King - Thursday 12th May 2016

Alumnae enjoyed a special performance of The Lion King Jr by the BGS Spotlight Youth Theatre.

This family favourite has been in the pipeline for a number of years, after Mrs Perren, Head of Drama, was wowed by seeing former Youth Theatre member, Gloria Onitiri, perform in the production in the West End in 2002. With a junior version released for school performances in America, The Lion King Jr eventually became available in the UK in 2015.

The show was immensely popular amongst the girls, with over 40 enthusiastic actors, singers and dancers wanting to be part of the cast list. Mrs Perren said: “We are certainly very proud of our young cast and dedicated team of older girls who took on the responsibility of stage managing this production. Organising such a large cast required them to demonstrate their resourcefulness, initiative and patience. “It was a pleasure putting on the show and it was great to hear so many people enjoying it.

Bedford Regatta - Saturday 7th May 2016

The Bedford Girls’ School Rowing squad recorded their biggest ever medal haul at the Bedford Regatta. With supporters from across the School’s community cheering on the crews from the BGS enclosure throughout the day, the girls rose to the occasion.

Years 9-11 crews and the seniors all represented the School at the Regatta, with four finals reached and three golds won. The Year 11 crew of
Katie McDonagh, Emily Baker, Lily Hudson, Molly Garrigue and
Imogen Fereday were racing novice, but still managed to reach the final and beat an adult crew from Auriol Kensington, by a length, to win their category.

The Year 10 quad also reached the final, winning their semi-final comfortably, but a strong crew from King’s Ely proved too much.

The Year 9 second crew of Megan Harris, Alice Cooke, Alana Pillai, Hannah Tollman and cox Olivia Kemp marked their first ever regatta with a win. The girls beat Great Marlow School on the line in the semi-final, and then stood their ground in the final to beat Kingston.

The Year 9 first crew of Ellie Simester, Erin Knight, Anna Lewis, Grace Batten and cox Sophie Parry had a very tight semi-final. The girls were a length behind at the halfway stage but stuck to their race plan and rowed through their opposition to earn their place in the final.

In the final they came up against a strong crew from Kingston, but they kept cool heads to claim BGS' third win of the day.

Miss Round, Head of Rowing, said: “The support at the Regatta was amazing from staff, parents, relatives and girls. The roar from the BGS tent was incredible and really helped our rowers give that extra bit of fight coming into the finish line.”

London Alumnae Drinks - Friday 22nd April 2016

On Friday 22nd April The Alumnae held a London reception for all eras at the modern Rotunda Restaurant and Bar, King’s Cross. The evening was well attended, with many London-based alumnae, young and old, making an appearance, notably a large group of 1986-1988 Bedford High School leavers.

Alumnae were keen to share their stories of school and work life, with many eager to revisit school and share their experiences with the current crop of BGS girls. It was also an opportunity for Headmistress, Miss MacKenzie, to introduce herself to alumnae and share her vision for the School.

Jane Austen: At Home - Thursday 14th April 2016

Girls, staff, parents and alumnae enjoyed a one-woman play about the life and times of English novelist Jane Austen. Devised and directed by Jane Austen expert Stephen Siddall, the play used only Jane Austen’s words; it was a celebration of the wit and liveliness of her mind, and drew on material from her memoirs, letters, juvenilia, poetry and novels.

Performed in the Drama Studio by Emerald O’Hanrahan, who is the current voice of Emma Grundy on the Archers, Jane Austen: At Home has been performed across the country, in stately homes, theatres and schools.

History  Conference - Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Alumnae were invited to join girls studying IB and A Level History to listen to a day of lectures, given by some of the UK’s best university professors and experts.

The day comprised four different talks. Firstly, Professor Paul Lewis from the Open University gave an informative talk on Poland and the Soviet Union, which was particularly useful for the Lower Sixth girls' study. Secondly, Professor James Chapman told the story of the Cold War through James Bond films, and gave an interesting insight into Ian Fleming's own influences.

Dr Vivien Miller gave a fascinating session on the US case of the Rosenbergs; and their convictions as spies, including recent developments. Additionally, Dr Simon Sleight ended the day with a memorable lesson on Australian youth culture during the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Lecture on the Suffragette Movement - Monday 23rd November 2015

The alumnae enjoyed hearing Professor Krista Cowman, Professor of  History / Director of Research at the University of Lincoln. Professor Cowman is a specialist in Women's History and historical advisor for the recently released film, The Suffragette. Professor Cowman will be giving a presentation on the suffragette movement and her recent involvement with the film.

Dame Alice Reunion - Saturday 26th September 2015

On Saturday 26th September the annual Dame Alice reunion was held at Bedford Girls’ School. It was a gloriously sunny afternoon and we had a record turnout of old girls’, from all eras, in attendance.

The old girls’ were greeted to a selection of beautiful music played by Isobel Stearn and Amy Lammin, accompanied by Deputy Director of Music, Jo Turner, followed by a warm welcome from Headmistress, Miss Mackenzie, who updated everyone on all the latest school news. Tours of the school followed, led by Amber Joe, Chelsea Spanoudakis, Emily and Leila Duchenne. The celebrations finished with a delicious afternoon tea. A selection of archive material was available for guests to peruse in the Library.

This year we were delighted to be joined by alumna, Laura Gibbs, who was selling her gorgeous collection of oilcloth bags, gifts and homewares, which are all handcrafted by Laura and her team in Amersham, Buckinghamshire

To view the photos from the event please click the enclosed link

Old Girls' Lacrosse - Thursday 3rd September 2015

To mark the beginning of the new school term, there was a friendly lacrosse match held at the School on Thursday 3rd September 2015 between the current First Team and our Alumnae. In an evenly contested match, played in glorious sunshine, the First Team ran out 11-9 winners. Bringing the afternoon to a close, players, friends, teachers and parents discussed the match over some light refreshments, with many already looking to rematch next year.

To view the photos please click

London Business Networking Forum , Tuesday 5th May 2015

Working in partnership with Bedford School's Old Bedfordians’s Club a joint networking event was organised for London based alumnae. The evening was held in the beautiful surroundings of Trinity House with spectacular views of Tower Bridge. It was a super evening and a great opportunity to both catch up with former school friends and make further business contacts.

Miss Morse Memorial Service

The Memorial Service for former Headmistress Miss Morse took place on Thursday 21st March 2013 at 3.30 pm at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford, followed by Afternoon Tea at Bedford Girls’ School. It was a fitting occassion to commemorate the life of a much loved and inspirational headmistress. The event was well attended and provided a wonderful opportunity for shared recollections and a stroll along our Heritage corridor. Thank you to all who came along.


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