Emma Argent


Headingtonian 1971

Written by friends and fellow Headingtonians, Ann Gate (1972) and Clare Maudsley (1971).

I met Emma on my first day at Headington, Autumn term 1965, because we were put into the same dormitory in Napier House. She was in the Lower Fourth, I was in the Upper Third, so we didn't know each other "over at school" but socialised between years in the boarding house for the next six years until she left in 1971, having been Head of House in her A Level year. I respected her as a calm and wise influence, which was informed by her deep Christian faith and her experience of having to cope with her father's death from cancer when she was in the Upper Fourth. We then lost touch until 2012 when we met again at the funeral of Peggy Dunn (Headmistress when we were at Headington) in Portsmouth. Thereafter we exchanged Christmas cards but did not meet again before she died, sadly young, on 24th December 2021.

Ann Gate (1972)

Emma and I were in the same form at Headington and although we were ‘boarder’ and ‘day girl’, we became wonderful friends in about 1966 until, very sadly, Emma left us in December 2021. During her last year at Headington, she left Napier and lived with my family in North Oxford which was lovely. I also enjoyed several, very cold, winter visits to her family farm in Lancashire. We kept in touch after leaving school and shared a flat together in London for a couple of years which was tremendous fun. Although I have lived in the US for many years, we kept in touch and I was honoured to be asked to be a godmother of Emma’s eldest daughter Annabelle. Emma has two other wonderful daughters, Kate, in Manchester and Nicola, in Portsmouth. Having lived in West Sussex for many years. Emma moved to Dorset in 2018. I was so lucky to spend several months last summer with Emma in Dorset - where we laughed over old Headingtonian stories and visited family and friends. I shall miss Emma’s laughter, her sense of fun and her deep love of family and friends.

Clare Maudsley (1971)

Anne Barlow Ramsay


Headingtonian 1942

We would like to acknowledge the passing of Anne Barlow Ramsay, on 6th May 2021. Anne was a pupil at Headington from 1937-1942 and she maintained a close relationship with the School throughout her life. Anne had fond memories of Headington from her time here in the late 1930s and early ‘40s and this photograph was taken during one of her visits to School. We are very grateful to Anne for her generous support over the years and as a member of the Peggy Dunn Society, the legacy she left to Headington in her will.

Esther Dingley


Headingtonian 2001

Headington School was deeply saddened by the passing of Esther Dingley, following her disappearance in the Pyrenees in November 2020.

Esther joined Headington as a pupil in 1990 and left in 2001. She was a valued member of the School community and as well as being very able academically, she was a member of Headington School Boat Club (HSOBC) and part of the First Eight that was Headington’s first crew to win the National Schools Championship in 2001.

After leaving Headington, Esther went to Oxford University, gaining a first-class degree, before completing her Masters at Durham and securing research scholarships at Durham and Cambridge. She continued rowing - National Rowing Championship Gold (Lwt2x); course record at Henley Women's; Home Countries representation; before switching and competing in university cycling championships. She started an online 20,000 strong postgraduate network, winning young entrepreneur awards, securing venture-capital funding, private consultancy work and still made time to volunteer at animal rescues.

In 2014, Esther and her partner Dan embarked upon a lifestyle change and took off in a motorhome to tour Europe. They experienced many different cultures, exploring European countries and cities, working on organic farms, house-sitting, visiting ancient Egyptian Temples, trekking around Mont Blanc, cycling Tour de France climbs and raising stray puppies.

As well as keeping a blog, Esther and Dan published many books and were committed to raising awareness of the importance of good nutrition and self-care practices such as yoga, writing many articles on this subject.

Esther remained in regular contact with Headington after leaving school and was passionate about sharing her experiences to inspire others. Below is an extract from the news update Esther submitted for the Headingtonian magazine in 2019:

“I'm incredibly grateful for all the opportunities and people who've helped shape and inspire me, including all those at Headington; teaching me to approach life with an open-mind, become more comfortable with uncertainty, learn to trust and follow dreams whilst trying not to take anything for granted”.

During the summer of 2020, Esther took part in the Headington Futures programme to encourage our U6 students whose A level exams were abruptly cancelled due to Covid. Esther recorded a heartfelt and insightful video Oxford Graduate to Nomadic Adventure Life and her recording was shared with all our U6 and staff at the time.

Esther was a key member of our Headington School Oxford Boat Club (HSOBC) and at Henley Royal Regatta in August ’21, our crew wore black ribbons in Esther’s memory as requested by the crew and her rowing contemporaries.

Esther will be sadly missed by all in the Headington community. After notifying our Headington community of the tragic news of Esther’s passing, we received many messages from friends, parents and staff who remember her so fondly. We have shared these messages with Esther’s family who have been greatly comforted by them.

Lisa Drummond

(née Miller, 1963-2021)

Headingtonian 1982

We would like to acknowledge the passing of Lisa Drummond (née Miller) in 2021. Lisa attended Headington School from 1973 to 1982 and will be greatly missed by those who knew her.

Ruth Graham


Former staff 1999

Written by friend and colleague, Linda Goodhead (2004) with memories from Ruth’s students.

It is with great sadness we report the untimely death in November 2021 of Ruth Graham at the age of 52 years.

Ruth joined the Physics department at Headington in 1993. At the time, Ruth was still a student at Merton College where she was in the process of completing her D. Phil. She had been planning a teaching career and it began a little sooner than she had anticipated. She was excessively busy, preparing and teaching the syllabus throughout the school as well as writing her thesis. She had an in-depth knowledge of her subject, about which she was passionate, and as an excellent communicator, she was able to inspire the girls she taught.

Ruth also possessed all the IT skills needed and she helped the Science Department and the rest of the staff come to terms with the electronic revolution which was rapidly transforming our lives.

Ruth devoted much time to the Christian community in school as well as working with parishioners from her church.

In 1999, we were sorry to lose Ruth when she moved with her husband to his parish near Bristol. She subsequently moved on to Cheltenham Ladies College where she continued to work with her usual enthusiasm. Here, she was described as ‘a skilled and committed teacher and a dynamic member of the staff body’. Ruth had obviously not changed.

It was a great shock to the school when, mid –term, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and she died shortly afterwards.

Ruth’s husband died in a car accident in 2009. Ruth is survived by her father, three brothers and her two children, Andrew and Skye. Linda Goodhead

Dr Graham’s wonderful physics lessons were undoubtedly a huge part in my decision to study physics at university (including going on to do a PhD), but she was also a kind, accepting and discerning Christian woman who was a huge blessing to me as an awkward teenager. Her joy at singing Tom Lehrer’s “Elements Song” from memory in an evening-gowned ensemble at Miss Tucker’s leaving do was glorious. Liz Tunnicliffe (née Stubbings)

As a teacher myself now, I hope I inspire my pupils half as much as Dr Graham; she encouraged me in my faith for which I am eternally grateful. Jo Castro (née Gardner)

Always generous with her time and skills, I remember Dr Graham staying on after school for various activities including Christian Union, and providing quality control with sound / lighting for The Doll’s House and other plays. I vividly remember both of us climbing up the rickety scaffolding to sort the lights for various productions. Greater love has no woman than to risk life and limb for her art. Sharon Chan

Memories of Dr G include her brilliant and frank advice: "Know your limitations. If you don't know how to wire a plug, then don't wire a plug". Every time a rainbow came out during physics lessons, she would interrupt herself to explain refraction of light - and allude to a rainbow as a symbol of hope, that after the rain, the light will shine again. Now every time I see a rainbow I think of Dr Graham (although admittedly I’ve still never managed to wire a plug)! Emma Zvesper (née Rowlands)

Louise Jarvis

(née Croall, 1951-2021)

Headingtonian 1960

Written by her sister, Margaret Halliday (née Croall, 1963).

Louise died suddenly as the result of a tragic accident on 29th April 2021. A loving mother to Simon, Greg and Olivia and very proud of her four grandsons, she never met her granddaughter born on 5th October 2021.

She is remembered for her sense of humour, generosity, thoughtfulness and kindness to others and was a true and loyal friend to many. She loved to entertain and her hospitality was legendary. Louise lost her husband suddenly in 1994 shortly after they moved from Scotland to Glastonbury in Somerset and from then brought up her family on her own. She loved photography, music, reading and poetry. Sadly missed by her friends and all her family including her sisters Maggie, Gill and Morven who were at Headington over the years 1959 to 1978.

Elizabeth Miller

(née Hall, 1945-2021)

Headingtonian 1963

Written by her twin sister, Mary Stelmach (née Hall, 1963).

I write to advise you with sorrow that my twin sister, Elizabeth died recently after a courageous battle with cancer. She was 76.

We were enrolled in Napier House at the end of 1949 when we were four years old and we remained as day-girls at Headington School until we were 18.

Elizabeth was popular at school, a natural leader, and excelled at sports, becoming captain of the hockey first eleven, captain of the netball team, and winning school championships in tennis and swimming.

Teaching was natural to her, and she went on to train at Bedford College of Physical Education, before taking up her first post at Rickmansworth Grammar School. She moved on to teach at Hammersmith County School, a much more challenging task.

After she married David Miller she joined the London Ambulance Service – a job she loved, but sadly had to give up when the family came along.

Elizabeth maintained her sporting enthusiasm, playing hockey for Bedford County and then taking up cross country running. She ran the London Marathon in her sixties and was still winning veteran races in her early seventies. Elizabeth was a member of Leighton Buzzard Athletics Club where she still holds many records and will be greatly missed; "Liz leaves a wonderful legacy to the club of inspiring so many people and most especially our female members. She was strong, determined, competitive, compassionate, independent and full of fun and will be greatly missed for years to come."

Elizabeth was a passionate nature lover with a wealth of knowledge of plants, bugs, birds and trees, and her enthusiasm inspired those around her to support and volunteer for many local environmental charities, to protect what we have and to try to restore that which has been destroyed. She also travelled abroad with Earthwatch as a volunteer to Mexico, Iceland and Belize.

Her legacy to the charity Plantlife has already seen donations amounting to many thousands of pounds.

She is survived by her husband David, her two sons and a daughter, and seven grandchildren.

Clare Peirce

(née Afford, 1951-2021)

Headingtonian 1967

We would like to acknowledge the passing of Elizabeth Peirce (née Afford), known as Clare, in July 2021. Clare attended Headington School from 1961 to 1967.

Rachel Perrott

(née Woodeson, 1972-2022)

Headingtonian 1990

Written by her sister Beth Taylor (née Woodeson, 1997)

Rachel started at Headington School at just 3 years old and she continued her entire school education there from 1976 until 1990.

Having successfully won a sponsorship to Headington Senior School (shared with her life-long best friend Alice Pennell, née Shergold), Rachel excelled in all academia and was also part of the inaugural rowing crew.

She was a Prefect in the Sixth Form and following her outstanding academic achievements at Headington, went on to study Law at Lincoln College, Oxford University leaving with a 2:1 degree which later led her onto a successful legal career in the film industry.

Rachel travelled extensively after university and visited and worked in many countries including Romania, South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia and France. She enjoyed many ski holidays in the resort of Morzine in the French Alps which is where she met her husband, Phil who she married in 2004.

They have three wonderful children: Tom, Amy and William who all share Rachel’s incredible zest for life and passion for knowledge and travel.

After university, Rachel lived in London but when the children began to arrive she and Phil moved to Woodcote in South Oxfordshire where they bought an unimproved farmhouse which they then went on to renovate and convert into a wonderful family home with land and outbuildings suitable for Rachel’s other great love – horses.

Throughout her life Rachel kept in close contact with her many school friends whom she had made whilst at Headington.

Rachel died peacefully at home on 13 January 2022 amongst her close family following an illness.

Louise Thomas


Former staff 2000

Written by former fellow member of staff, Sheila Hallas (2007), with the help of Louise's daughter, Helen Roberts

Louise Thomas joined the staff of Headington School in 1991 as its very first Head of I.T., also teaching other subjects including Business Studies. She was a patient and enthusiastic teacher, enlightening not only pupils, but teachers, too, about the mysteries of the World Wide Web, which really was a new and even frightening concept to staff and (most) girls at that time, improbable as this may seem now! She ran beginners' evening classes for staff in basic I.T. skills, which I attended one year along with most of the Bursary staff amongst others. Louise was untiring and generous with her time. She came with me not only to choose a computer for the Careers Library (one of the first in the school), but also to choose a home computer for me, which she then set up for me, lying on the floor of our spare room! After retiring in 2000, Louise, who loved teaching, did not relax, but filled her time travelling far and wide to teach I.T. skills to the staff of many other schools, as well as doing a great deal of voluntary work.

In addition to all of this, Louise was a remarkable woman in many other ways, as her life story before and after her time at Headington proves. After her birth in London in November, 1940, (probably a war baby, as her father was unknown), she was swiftly evacuated and adopted by a couple near Swansea, where she was brought up.

Her foster mother was illiterate and her foster father took little interest in her or her education, and yet by the age of five, against all the odds, Louise could actually read quite fluently, probably taught by an aunt. She showed quiet determination, and after grammar school, studied Chemistry and Metallurgy at Swansea College of Technology. She then had various jobs in an aluminium company, rising to the role of Deputy Chief Inspector. Later, she decided she wanted to teach, so did an Open University scientific degree, followed by a degree course at Swansea University, ending up with a BSc in Biochemistry. She taught at various schools, and in her second teaching post in Newbury, Louise taught Physics and I.T., a new subject in which she had to "wing it" in her own words, to keep one step ahead of her pupils!

The last six years of Louise's life were very different. She fell headlong down a flight of stairs and broke her neck. She then spent more than a year in hospital, starting at the John Radcliffe, then at the specialist Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where she had to learn very painfully to walk and to function as best she could once again. Louise showed typical dedication, courage and determination throughout this process. Afterwards, she lived with her daughter, Helen, and her family for a while, where she loved having the company of her two grandchildren, and then she decided to move into a care home nearby. Through thick and thin, Louise remained cheerful and positive. I shall always remember her with a smile on her face.

June Veevers


Former staff 1991

Miss June Veevers joined Headington School in 1962 as the Bursar, a role she held until leaving in 1991. June was the first female Bursar in Oxford and during her time at Headington, she helped to develop and improve the facilities across the site, opening Boarding houses, the outdoor Swimming pool, Science Laboratories and the Library on the West Wing, as well as the Sanatorium and the Bursary.

June guided the school through the difficult financial climate of the mid-1970s and during her 29 years at Headington, the School doubled in numbers. Headington was an important part of June’s life and alongside the Headmistress Miss Peggy Dunn, June was instrumental in helping to shape the School as it is known today.

June was always immaculately dressed and drove an MG sports car. She grew up in Scotland and during the war years, went to school in the Lake District. She had a love of nature and a strong Christian belief.

June passed away on 18th December 2021 at the age of 92. June was a member of The Peggy Dunn Society and will be greatly missed by those who knew her.