Mrs Barbara Clark joined the school 1961 and during all those hard-working years was House Matron to both Middlemist and Chudleigh, and has seen eight Housemasters and four Headmasters. Quite a record!
‘Her’ housemasters – bachelors to a man! – have had reason to be enormously grateful to her for her valuable and selfless support, not only in the efficient day-to-day running of dormitories (later bed-sits), organising bedclothes, laundry, the cleaners – mending, sewing on buttons and all the humdrum chores that fall to the lot of a House Matron (with some 60-odd boys to look after), but also in the care and concern for every one of her charges.
New boys – and not always ‘new’ or ‘boys’ – who needed some mothering and a little comfort, found her always ready to drop everything to lend a sympathetic ear to a tale of woe, or just to have a friendly chat in the cosy surroundings of her sitting room. Mothers – and fathers! – could unburden themselves of their worries about their youngsters, and she had a happy knack of sending them away reassured, sometimes with a few salutary home truths.
Barbara had boundless energy which seldom flagged. She was a keen tennis player; bridge player, choral singer, and she played a full part in the life of the school. On top of all her other tasks, for years she was a most efficient and inventive wardrobe-mistress in many and varied school productions, always willing to run up a costume at all too short notice. Once she trod the boards herself, as Mrs Bedwyn in the monster production of Oliver!
In short, Barbara was what every member of the staff or a boarding school should be: totally dedicated to the life of the school. She deserves the heartfelt thanks of all those many souls who came within her wide orbit.