The St Swithun’s Old Girls’ Association supports lifelong friendships and opportunities for its members worldwide through events, reunions and professional networks. If you are a former student you are already a member of the Old Girls’ Association, of which there are over 5,000 based all around the globe.
St Swithun’s Community Hub
The St Swithun’s Community Hub started life as a networking tool for our alumnae, but it has now evolved into an exciting web hub for our whole school community. All alumnae, students, parents and staff (current and former) are encouraged to join to gain full access to all the site has to offer.
Join the St Swithun's Community Hub.
Meet our Alumnae
We invite you to read a number of really interesting Old Girl profiles. Just click on a picture to find out more. Meet our alumnae here
Take a fascinating journey through our school timeline.
Click here to watch a historical video tour of St Swithun’s presented by our school archivist.
Life After St Swithun’s
Many Old Girls generously offer their time and professional expertise to help guide our current students and recent leavers on the first steps of their higher education and career pathways.
If you could like to help support our professional guidance programme of activities, there are many different ways you can get involved:
- Talk to students about what you read at University and what life was like on campus
- Help with student interview practice
- Talk to students about what you did on your gap year
- Offer professional guidance and advice to groups of students who might like to follow in your footsteps
- Offer advice about how to stand out from the crowd in a competitive job market
- Act as a mentor to an individual student
- Become an official Career Champion
- Open up possible work experience opportunities at your company
- Address a large audience of our school community about your life journey
Please contact Head of Student Guidance, Tim Dixon on [email protected] to find out more, thank you.
Every year we welcome Old Girls and former members of staff back to St Swithun’s for an annual reunion. There are also many other opportunities to meet up with old friends and to network.
Events include university reunions, professional sector events, informal social gatherings and a whole host of school concerts, plays and lectures at St Swithun’s that you are welcome to attend.
Click to see What’s On.
There are many ways in which Old Girls and former staff can stay in touch and remain part of the St Swithun’s supportive community.
You can choose to receive the annual printed publication: OGA Chain and our monthly e-bulletin: OGA e-news. Read online versions of OGA Chain here.
For a whole host of regularly updated news items and event information, please visit the St Swithun’s Community Hub.
If you want to find an old school friend, you can use the Hub’s search engine and direct messaging facility. Or, you can email [email protected] and we will try to put you in touch.
Supporting of St Swithun’s Business Community
Our St Swithun’s Community Hub Business Directory provides a free platform to promote your business within our St Swithun's community of current and former parents, Old Girls, staff and friends of the school.
There is no obligation, but if you wish to offer discounted services/products to members of our community and/or a donation to the Bramston Bursary Foundation - your support would be deeply appreciated.
We invite you to upload content, which will become live once approved.
St Swithun’s School cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, does not endorse any products or services and reserves the right to reject business listing requests.
It is a common misconception that St Swithun’s is a wealthy school. In reality, it does not have a large endowment and relies on fee income for its annual running costs.
It is only through a combination of the school’s financial resources and philanthropic support therefore, that it will be able to continue providing its girls with the top-class teaching facilities in which they can excel in traditional subjects and also keep up with the pace of innovation.
In addition, voluntary contributions are essential in enabling the school to offer life changing bursary places.
Old Girls who wish to give another girl the chance to benefit from all St Swithun’s has to offer are invited to support our Bramston Bursary Foundation.
The Bramston Bursary Foundation is dedicated to helping young girls who are at risk of going into care, who may already be trying to cope with the instability of a life in care, or who are dealing with other multiple challenging issues in their critically under-resourced communities.
With your help, we can provide fully funded boarding places at St Swithun’s School: stability, security, opportunity, and a family of inspiring positive role models - simply life changing.
Members of the 1884 CLUB all donate £18.84 every month, every quarter or just once a year - the frequency is up to you.
We are also pleased to announce the launch of the 1884 GOLD CLUB, for members who donate a one-off gift of £1,884 or through their regular gifts to the 1884 CLUB, reach a cumulative total of £1,884.
All members of the 1884 CLUB and 1884 GOLD CLUB receive a membership badge and are invited to the Bramston Bursary Foundation's annual Thank You Drinks Party (COVID permitting).
St Swithun's was founded in 1884 by Anna Bramston.
If you would like to help future generations of St Swithun’s girls, you may like to consider leaving a legacy to the school.
As a charitable legacy, it will be deducted from your estate before the amount of inheritance tax is calculated.
If you decide you would like to leave a legacy, we would be very grateful if you would let us know.
You do not need to provide the details of the legacy if you do not wish to, nor is the pledge in any way binding. It is simply a statement of your present intention - and we would just like to say thank you.
All those who decide to make a legacy pledge, will be invited to join our new St Swithun’s Legacy Society and will be invited for an annual social gathering, which will provide an opportunity for guests to hear from the headmistress, Jane Gandee about the school’s progress.
If you would like to discuss further, please email [email protected], thank you.
Remembered with Affection
Welcome to our ‘Remembered with Affection’ memorial page.
Although we publish Old Girls’ obituaries in our OGA Chain annual printed publication, we felt we also wanted an online lasting tribute to those we have lost from our school community.
This also provides us with an opportunity to remember parents or students we have also tragically lost.
If you are a family member who would like to discuss this with us, please do get in touch: [email protected]
Stay in touch
Twitter: @StSwithunsOGA, @StSwithunsGirls, @StSwithunsBBF
Post: Development and Alumnae Office, St Swithun's School, Alresford Road, Winchester, Hampshire, SO21 1HA
Telephone: 01962 835734
Meet some of our Old Girls
A part of my mind woke up in St Swithuns and it hasn't gone to sleep since. I read Thing's Fall Apart in St Swithun's. It was also in St Swithun's that I began my first published novel, 'The Spider King's Daughter,' which went on to win a Betty Trask Award and be nominated for the Commonwealth Prize. I had wonderful teachers who opened my mind to new ideas. They believed in me and I will always be grateful.
Chibundu Onuzo (PhD) was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and her life so far spans two military dictatorships, one internet revolution, two boarding schools, five grandmothers and a first book deal signed at 19. Onuzo's first novel, The Spider King's Daughter, was published by Faber in 2012 and won the Betty Trask Award, and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize. Her second novel, Welcome to Lagos, was published by Faber in 2017 and shortlisted for the RSL Encore Award. In 2018 Onuzo was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, as part of its 40 Under 40 initiative. This year, "Dolapo is Fine", a short film which Onuzo co-wrote and co-produced, won the 2020 American Black Film Festival’s Annual HBO Short Film Competition and was an official selection for the London Film Festival.
Rosanna (Zanna) Baker is a captain in the Royal Artillery and was one of six women, all serving members of the British Army or Army Reserves, known as the Ice Maidens who made history in January 2018. The six-strong team broke an Antarctic record by becoming the first all-female group to ski across the continent using only muscle-power, travelling more than 1,000 miles in 62 days. They travelled unsupported, carrying all the equipment and supplies they needed. The Ice Maidens used their expedition to raise funds for Breast Cancer Care and the Army Cadet Forces Association.
When she was 18, Zana was inspired by a two-month mountaineering and scientific expedition. From that moment, walking to the South Pole became her life ambition. It was this and a love of the outdoors that set her on the path of a military career. However, she studied art and geography, then specialised in music and languages before finally being commissioned from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. She is currently working in the Defence Cultural Specialist Unit.
On her return from Antarctica, Zanna said
There is a small part of me that wishes I could just pause time and freeze the moment, so I can truly appreciate where I am and what I have been doing. I am actually quite excited to get back to work and see what could be around the corner.
Zanna was a pupil at St Swithun’s prep and senior school, and she regularly lends her time and talent inspiring students and teaching them about working in the British forces.
Vivienne Parry OBE (Mills) HA 1974 has had a diverse career to say the least. ‘I broke so much equipment during my science degree that I was begged not to do any more practicals, so despite my passion for science, a career as a scientist was out.’
Her first job was running a mother and baby research charity, then called Birthright. Shortly after joining, the Princess of Wales became its patron and for the next 12 years, Vivienne worked closely with her.
In her mid 30s, now with two boys, she decided to leave the charity and go into TV. ‘I had no job to go to. I just knew it was what I wanted to do’. She answered an advert in the paper asking for ‘experience in communicating science’ and landed the job as a presenter of Britain’s iconic science show, Tomorrow’s World.
In parallel she began a career in journalism. She contributed features on medicine and science to almost every magazine and paper you can think of and was a columnist successively for the Guardian, News of the World (then Britain’s biggest selling tabloid) and Times. She’s written a number of books too. There were also stints as an agony aunt for Good Housekeeping and as a consumer columnist for Woman.
The death of the Princess of Wales saw her become a Trustee of the Diana Memorial Fund and by the late nineties, she had also established a career in radio, presenting many programmes for Radio 4 including 8 series of Am I Normal.
But there was another side of her life; public service. She became a Council member of the Medical Research Council and of UCL (yes, the very same place that had told her not to do practicals) where she became Vice Chair.
She received an OBE in 2011 for services to the public understanding of science.
Today she has a part time role as Head of Engagement at Genomics England, which is delivering the 100,000 Genomes Project.
She whizzes around the world hosting major scientific and medical events such as the G8 Dementia Summit as well as continuing to make films. She is chair of the Cheltenham Science Festival and has recently joined the board of UKRI, the body that oversees the strategic spend of Britain’s £7billion research and innovation budget.
She lives in the Cotswolds and is a super keen gardener, with a particular penchant for late flowering salvias, peonies and irises.
When I was at St Swithun’s, I took every possible opportunity that was offered. Drama, sport, singing, debating - if it was there I did it. Saying yes to every opportunity, no matter how scary, has been the hallmark of my career too, so thank you for showing me what was possible.
Baroness Thomas of Winchester has been a Liberal Democrat member of the House of Lords since 2006. She is the Lib Dem Lords Spokesperson for Disability and she currently sits on the House of Lords Procedure Committee and the Consolidation Bills Joint Committee. She is a former member and initiator of the Equality Act 2010 and Disability Committee, was Chairman of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and a member of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee.
A founding member of the Winchester Liberal Party in the 1960s, Celia Thomas worked in the Commons for the then Liberal Party Leader Jeremy Thorpe from 1975- 76. From 1977 to 2005 she headed up the Liberal (Democrat) Whips’ Office in the House of Lords, becoming an expert in Lords’ procedure.
Baroness Thomas was awarded an MBE in the 1985 Birthday Honours list. She is a trustee of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, and Patron of: Winchester Churches Nightshelter; of Thrive, an organisation that uses gardening to bring positive change to the lives of people living with disabilities; of the Pinotage Youth Development Academy in South Africa, and of the MCC Access Committee.
An active member of the St Swithun’s community, Baroness Thomas supports the school’s career-mentoring programme, providing work experience to whet the appetite of U5 (year 11) pupils for the world of Parliament.
Celia Fisher runs a school in rural India which she and her husband established in 2009. The school stands as a model for making a positive impact at the local community level in a country where students learn only by heart and are not taught to critically assess their learning or form their own opinion.
Celia moved to Australia in 1973, where she and her Australian husband brought up their five children. The whole family first travelled to India in 1995, and Mark and Celia have lived there on and off for the past 23 years.
Celia’s husband built the classrooms and the playground area of the school in the state of Megahalaya in the north east of the country. It now educates 60 students up to year 5. In addition to integrating the local curriculum with phonic-based reading and writing tuition, art, craft, song and dance, Celia also mentors former pupils in their ongoing studies and trains her local teachers.
Although now officially past retirement age and with six grandsons, Celia still finds reward and fulfilment in imparting learning with understanding. Of her pupils, she says: Their homes are very basic – they don’t have running water, an inside bathroom or the finances for proper nutrition – but their warmth and enthusiasm captures your heart.
In the 1960s, Celia found at St Swithun’s a rewarding and enriching environment. She says of that time: I met so many wonderful girls and formed lasting friendships and good memories that have never faded despite the years. An important lesson I learned at school was to keep going whatever, to always aim to do your best and to stay true to yourself. You learn and grow by your mistakes but no-one should ever feel like a failure. As a Christian, these have proved to be the best principles for me to live by.
Despite only travelling back to the UK twice since 1973, Celia is an active member of the St Swithun’s community, sharing her experience with other old girls and offering current students the opportunity to visit Megahalaya and work at the school.
Eva Eisenschimmel is Chief of Staff at Lowell Group and a non-executive director of Virgin Money. She is a talented business leader with an impressive track record in organisational transformation, marketing and customer experience at Lloyds Banking Group, EDF Energy, British Airways, Häagen-Daz, United Distillers and Allied Domecq amongst others.
Having completed A levels at St Swithun’s School, Eva went on to study business administration and French at Aston University. During a diverse career, she has lived and worked abroad in five countries. She says, of her career: There are three common threads that bind my experience. Great brands, customer focus and great people.
Eva is a volunteer special advisor to Business Disability International, a consortium which aims to use the power of global organisations to build an inclusive and successful future for disabled people and business.
An active member of the St Swithun’s community, Eva is frequently generous with her time and expertise.
Martha Clokie is Professor of microbiology at the University of Leicester. She heads a team of scientists focused on understanding how bacterial viruses function; work that she hopes will become part of a global international effort to solve the crisis of antibiotic resistance.
Martha’s love of biology was keenly nurtured at St Swithun’s School where she conducted her first microbiology project and was introduced to cutting-edge science equipment during a school trip. She studied biology at the University of Dundee before embarking on an MSc in Edinburgh, where she became fascinated with identifying genetic markers that showed how plants are related to each other. Her PhD at the University of Leicester enabled Martha to further develop her ideas in molecular ecology, using genetics to reveal unseen relationships.
A diversion into the study of cyanobacteria under the guidance of Professor Nick Mann at the University of Warwick took Martha all over the world and led her to the realisation that viruses could be used to treat bacterial infections in humans. This became the springboard for her career. She became a Professor at the University of Leicester in 2015. The work that she and her PhD and post-doctoral research team undertake encompasses ecology and evolution, DNA, RNA, protein, structural biology, drug development and the applied applications of viruses.
I didn’t leave school wanting to be a microbiologist but I did love biology. Becoming a scientist is not a quick journey or an easy one. But it is incredibly interesting, fun and rewarding. I recommend that pupils who have enquiring minds and a sense of adventure consider becoming a scientist.
Attending Oxford and LSE, Rosser became one of the first women called to the Bar of England and Wales by Lincoln’s Inn in 1927. She was one of the first women called to the Bar of England and Wales by Lincoln’s Inn in 1927. In 1928, she was the first woman barrister to be instructed (as a pupil) in a murder trial. She described the press interest this generated as ‘overwhelming’. In 1933 she was appointed the first legal adviser to John Lewis Partnership.
Harris was the first woman to become a senior partner in a leading London law firm, becoming one of the great copywright lawyers of her time and spearheading the commercial sector for women across the United Kingdom.
After leaving Swithuns in 1902, Dennett worked as a secretary at the Lyceum Club, a club for women in London who worked in literature, journalism, art, science and medicine. She left her job as a secretary to take up Suffrage work and marched in the Great Suffragette procession to the Albert Hall on 7th June in 1911, the largest women’s suffrage march ever held in Britain.
Maud Tindal Atkinson
Artist Maud Tindal Atkinson exhibited 15 paintings at the Royal Academy from 1906-1937, including her watercolour The Red Shoes. Her painting Ariel was widely printed in several books in 1915 and Atkinson went on to illustrate several children’s books.
(pictured: The Bird in a Cage, a portrait of Maud Tindal Atkinson by Byram Shaw and Ariel by Maud Tindal Atkinson)
Professional tennis player Joan Austin played both singles and doubles at Wimbledon, competing 9 times between 1923-32. Sister of fellow tennis professional Bunny Austin, she won the singles title at the Junior Championships of Great Britain in 1920 and 1921. Partnering with Evelyn Colyer, she played doubles at Wimbledon in the 1923 tournament reaching the final against Suzanne Lenglen and Elizabeth Ryan and in June 1925, Austin and her husband Randolph Lycett teamed up in the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon and reached the semifinal which they lost in three sets to Suzanne Lenglen and Jean Borotra.
Sheila Scotter, M.B.E
Scotter was an Editor-In-Chief of Vogue magazine Australia (1962-71) as well as founder of Vogue Living magazine. Known as the ‘Silver Duchess’ (because of her style and wit), Scotter was awarded an MBE for services to journalism and commerce in 1970.
Professor Joyce Toynbee
Professor Toynbee was an archaeologist and leading scholar in Roman epigraphy. In the 1950s, she drove an all-female archaeological expedition through Egypt, Syria and Turkey. She explored countries like Libya, Syria, Romania and Turkey in search of new discoveries, often the only woman on a dig. She taught at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, Reading University and Newnham College, Cambridge. She is reader Emerita at the University of Cambridge and an Honorary Fellow of Newnham. She is an Honorary Fellow of Somerville, the Oxford College where she took her undergraduate degree.
Robb was one of the founding members of the Black Sash movement in Cape town in August 1955, an organisation instrumental in protesting against Apartheid and providing marginalised groups, specifically women, with basic necessities such as food and clothes, as well as support. Robb ran the Black Sash Advice Office in Cape Town which helped black women deal with legal issues created by Apartheid. In 1989, she was elected as honorary life Vice President of the Black Sash in honour of her leadership and dedication to the organisation.