Patron, Headmistress Glenesk School
I have always been interested in education and qualified as a teacher over forty years ago. On becoming the mother of three children I found myself on the other side of the teacher's desk for a change, which has proved invaluable over the years in understanding parents' aspirations and anxieties regarding their children's education. Most of my career has been at Glenesk based in East Horsley, Surrey which is an independent Pre-Preparatory School with a Nursery attached. I started as a form teacher, Senior Mistress and, since 2004, as the Headmistress.
As Headmistress, I was always conscious of the need to broaden children's horizons and to make them aware that life can sometimes offer difficult challenges, which we must all be prepared to face; these skills are essential if we are to maintain a caring society, which is prepared to nurture and value those who have faced trauma, neglect and hardship in their lives so, when Ray received his MBE it seemed an appropriate time to show support and raise funds for Limbcare.
My husband, Derek, introduced me to Ray Edwards over fifteen years ago and I have always admired his positive attitude to life despite coping with disabilities which most of us would have found totally overwhelming. Charitable Giving has always played a large part at Glenesk and each year the school picks a charity in which the children can be actively involved. Ray came along and gave an inspirational talk about Limbcare in an Assembly explaining in age appropriate terms how an amputee manages everyday living, how they enjoy life to the full and how, in broader terms, tragedy can always be faced with bravery, stamina and a sense of humour. The children were fascinated when Ray removed his artificial limbs and asked pertinent and insightful questions. This was a valuable lesson for staff members and children alike - a timely reminder that a positive attitude to life can help overcome adversity. Ray and his team visited us regularly and supported our Olympians as they raised funds for Limbcare during Year 2's 'Enterprise Week'. A great lesson for the children in team work combined with learning to help those less fortunate – what could be better!
I was very proud, in 2011, to have been invited to become a Patron of a charity with such an inspiring leader, whose invaluable work reaches everyone regardless of class, colour and creed and which gives inspiration to so many.
After much deliberation, and not without a degree of sadness, I decided to retire at the end of the 2016 academic year. The call of a new home in the countryside and the need for time to spend with my husband, children and grandchildren could no longer be ignored. However, my commitment to supporting Ray and the work he does will continue and I feel sure that, after the recognition he has received, Limbcare can only go from strength to strength.