Sidcot School old girl celebrates 100th birthday
By Prue_Reid | Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 10:36
Former Sidcot School pupil Nancy Woodhead, whose father drowned on the Titanic, celebrated her 100th birthday on December 3.
From left Nancy's mother and wife of Frank who died on the Titanic, Ella Maybury; Nancy Maybery and her sister and brother-in-law Ruth and Japhet Fox - all former pupils at Sidcot School
Nancy and her sisters Joyce and Ruth Maybery all at Sidcot School
Nancy Woodhead with her daughter Alison Clayton
To mark the milestone Sidcot School headmaster, Iain Kilpatrick, is to offer a £50 book voucher to the Sidcot Action Group Environment for a Greener Environment (SAGE).
He said: "So many of Nancy's family have attended Sidcot School, we wanted to mark her birthday with a prize that will benefit the school's environment action group."
Nancy's was born eight months after her father, Frank Maybery, died on April 15, 1912 when the Titanic sank after being torn apart by an iceberg.
Of the 2,223 passengers, 1,517 died.
Nancy, who lives at Quaker-run Sewell House in Winscombe had two parties to celebrate her 100th birthday.
She said: "I was overwhelmed to see so many people including my 95 year old cousin Douglas and one year old great grand-daughter, Kitty Nancy Baxter.
"It was a wonderful."
Her daughter, Alison Clayton, of Weston-super-Mare, said "I was delighted when I visited Sidcot and found two school year photographs, one with my mother as a pupil and the other of me when I was there in the 1960s."
Nancy's father was on the Titanic to tie up business interests in Moose Jaw, Canada, where he and his wife Ella had once emigrated, together with his brother and two sisters.
He and Ella returned to England then Frank, 36, bought a second class ticket for the so called unsinkable ocean liner – 90 per cent of men in second class died due to a lack of lifeboats.
After Frank's death Ella, with daughters Nancy, Joyce and Ruth moved to Edinburgh, and then returned to Winscombe so Nancy and Ruth could attend Sidcot School.
Sidcot opened in 1699. It is the only independent day and boarding Quaker school in the South West and one of only nine in the UK. Sidcot welcomes pupils of all faiths or none.
Quakers share a way of life and believe in faith into action through peace, equality, simplicity and truth.
Nancy said: "My mother rarely talked about the Titanic and its aftermath when families had to fight for compensation.
"She told Ruth and I that she had had a premonition on the night of the sinking.
"She dreamed she was drowning and was holding the two girls up to be saved.
"When she woke she thought she saw Frank at the foot of her bed."
After leaving Sidcot at 18 Nancy spent time as a helper at a Swiss school, to improve her French, before training as a physiotherapist.
During World War II Nancy worked in London hospitals, and met Stanley Pimley, when he was home on leave from the army.
They married in 1947 and Alison was born in 1949.
The family moved to Crewkerne, to take on the Red Lion Hotel and son Roger was born in 1950.
Stan died suddenly in 1956 when the children were just six and seven.
Nancy moved back to Winscombe to live with Ella, and returned to work as physiotherapist in Weston.
Alison, a retired art and design lecturer, said "Looking back I realise how lucky I was to go to Sidcot.
"I owe my career to a very charismatic art teacher. Sidcot treated everyone equally with a gentle Quaker ethos and very personal care."
Nancy re-married Irwin Woodhead when she was 63.
They were both longstanding members of Sidcot Friends Meeting.
Irwin died in 2003.
For more information on Sidcot school go to www.sidcot.org.uk
Sidcot opened in 1699 as an independent day and boarding school and one of only nine in the UK.
It now has 500 pupils aged three to eighteen.
Sixth formers achieved outstanding results in A-level and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations with 100 per cent pass rates in August 2012.
Former Sidcot pupils include award-winning documentary maker Nick Broomfield whose best known work is probably Kurt And Courtney about Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love; actress Zoe Wanamaker; film producer Tim Bevan who made Moonlight and Valentino, Fargo, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Love Actually, Notting Hill, Elizabeth, Bridget Jones's Diary, Atonement, and Frost/Nixon; film director Anthony Walker of American Werewolf in Paris fame; Douglas Macmillan, founder of Macmillan Cancer Support and BBC Journalist and novelist Justin Webb.