It is a year since S.M.Francis, my head mistress while I was at New Hall, and head for 23 years, died, September 18th last year. The years work collecting memories into the basket, working with Margaret and the Community and Tessa (TL), and formulating the booklet to her, is complete. The book is published. It is a fine and fitting tribute to her, a mosaic of memories, which is what we all are. I learned much and am grateful for once again being linked to the Community.
Arriving at Colchester with Tessa, we all (including dogs) received a warm welcome. A balmy September day and evening, we sat outside.
We gathered at New Hall, her home for over 50 years, to celebrate a mass in her honor. This was a rounding. A gathering of SMFrancis family, Antonia, Victor and Bunny, and SMMarks family, Sarah Carroll and her brother Jim, the Community and some of her friends, notably, Christopher Walker. Sarah, Antonia, Tessa and I were the only pupils, and Tessa and I only because of our involvement in the booklet. Katherine Jeffery, current head of New Hall, and marking her 20 years here, joined us, later reflecting on the greatness of SMFrancis footsteps she followed in. It was a modest, moving and intimate reflection on an extraordinary woman who touched us all.
After mass we repaired to the Chelmsford home of Margaret and Moira, where in their hydrangea filled garden, they had laid out tables under the shade of a gazibo for us to enjoy our conversation and lunch.
Earlier that day, I’d arrived early – to drink in the old school. Here some photographs