History of the Old Godhelmian Association
The Old Godhelmian Association (OGA) is the official organisation for the former pupils of Godalming County Grammar School and has been running as far as we know since the first pupils left the school in the early 1930s. It has been supported and managed by the voluntary efforts of a chain of ‘old boys and girls’ ever since. The latest group to pick up this challenge has been in harness since the Summer of 2018.
The current committee comprises:
Chairperson – Shirley Coleman 65 – 72
Shirley had seven nice years at GGS enjoying grass tennis courts, sun-filled classrooms and some great teaching. Currently Technical Director of the Industrial Statistics Research Unit at Newcastle University and relishing living by the North Sea and the Northumberland countryside, whilst being a frequent traveller to the South and beyond visiting family and friends.
Treasurer – Peter Cousins 65 – 72
On leaving school I shunned university (much to Mr Dewar’s disgust), and qualified as an accountant. A glittering career in finance followed with firms in construction, IT and The National Health Service. I ended up as Finance Director of a large property company from which I retired in 2021. I am now retained as a consultant for two days a week. I am still a season ticket holder at Watford FC to ensure that the emotional roller coaster goes on!
Secretary – Eleanor Andrews (née Whitcombe) 65 – 72
At GGS Eleanor met life-long friends and received inspirational teaching. She taught French, Italian and European cinema until her retirement in 2018. She lives with her husband in peaceful, rural Shropshire, where her sons and their partners visit from London. Music, in particular the flute, plays an important part in her life.
Susan Hindle (née Potts) 65 – 72
Now an enthusiastic grandmother, spending time each year, as such, in Melbourne Australia, Sue practiced as a litigation solicitor in the NW and south of England for some 32 years, retiring 10 years ago to lead silent meditation retreats for an Indian organisation all over the world. A bit of a change! Home is on the border with mid-Wales.
Marta Riddle (née Grabiec) 65 – 72
Marta had seven enjoyable years at GGS. She went to Hull University and then taught in Hull for two years before returning to live in Farncombe and to teach in Cranleigh. She retired in 2013 and now looks after her granddaughter three days a week and cares for her mother.
David Hayes 66 – 71
Summer athletics, sports day and school dinners are among my happiest memories of GGS, along with performing in a school play and making a bookshelf in woodwork, which I still use in my study!
After graduating I taught English for two years in Thailand, and while there began a career as a roving freelance journalist covering Southeast Asia, the Far East and elsewhere. Still travelling researching reports, my other interests include Morris dancing and being a governor and trustee at one of London’s large secondary schools.
Hazel Freeston (née White) 47 – 54
I started GGS in 1947 with my twin sister Cherry. In our class there were 3 pairs of twins! We played in many school teams and were joint head girls in 1954. In 1962 I married Peter a fellow OG and we had 2 sons. I worked as a teacher mainly in the Godalming area, retiring in 1994. In 1997 I organised a Reunion of our GGS 1947 entrants tracking down about 80 of our 100.
Attended 1970-77 before heading to Birmingham Uni. A mathematician before specialising in computer science and working in many IT roles for 20 years. Started online finance business in 2000 which grew to biggest in its field before credit crunch. Semi-retired in Headley now with wife, two children and grandson.
Judy Stoker (née Bennett)
School 55-61/62, Farnham Art School, Goldsmith’s college, later Oxford Brookes. Teacher/ lecturer from pre-school to adult; in private, public and state systems. Worked in textile conservation and as a chiropractor. Married Phil a vintage car enthusiast; one daughter three grandchildren. Phil and I live in Grayshott.
Caroline Brooks (née Bailey) 66 – 71
Caroline enjoyed her time at GGS especially the school trip to Italy, and later lived there for a time. Subsequently returned to UK and worked as an accountant before early retiring to live in France. Now back, living on Hayling Island caring for father and loving life by the beach.
Mary Pugh (née Pout) 65 – 72
GGS was a big change from a very small primary school. I enjoyed my years there and the opportunity for all the team sports. After 3 language A levels and following a combined business studies/languages course I surprisingly followed a career in IT. Recently retired, enjoying family time, and being involved in the OGA and local Ramblers group.
Jane Jopson (née Harris) 67 – 74
Annette Ettorre (née Pickford) 65 – 72
Judith Baker (née Tribe) 65 – 72
The committee meets periodically online to move forward the current activities of the OGA which include: revitalizing the website to include further materials and functionality, arranging reunions, updating the membership and contact lists, enlarging the archive and tracing missing materials, as well as collecting and managing the funds to achieve this.