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News > Old Girls' Association > A Lifetime's Commitment

A Lifetime's Commitment

Penelope's connection with St Swithun's for over 70 years...
Interviewed for OGA Chain magazine 2019
Interviewed for OGA Chain magazine 2019

Penelope Lake (Saunders) HH 1953 has been closely connected with St Swithun’s for over 70 years now.

Penelope remembers petrol rationing was still in place during her school years, so the students didn’t get to travel much. 

After completing her studies at St Swithun’s in 1953, she went on to secretarial college and then her first job with Strutt & Parker, in the estate office at Laverstoke House.

Next she journeyed to Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) where her sister and brother-in-law were living, and worked in the City Hall and High Court in Bulawayo as a shorthand typist. 

After two years, she felt like taking on more of a challenge and returned to the UK to work for Strutt & Parker again, this time in the London office in Berkeley Square. This was interesting work as she helped to manage the requirements of estates across the whole country. One of her favourites was Uppark in West Sussex, a National Trust (NT) property in which the owning family still lived. 

Penelope recalls a time when the lady of the house ran swiftly into the salon to hide her sewing under the cushions as the doors opened to the public.

Penelope’s husband Patrick was working in personal finance. Together they took the brave decision to set up their own business, with Penelope working as an Independent Financial Advisor - something she continued to do until just five years ago. 

During this time her daughter Henrietta Garrety, née Lake (ED 1989) attended St Swithun’s and Penelope ran the second hand uniform shop for seven years. She had previously been a member of the OG committee but rejoined them taking on the role of secretary in 1992, a position she undertook with extraordinary professionalism before stepping down on Old Girls’ Day 2019 (pictured above).

Nowadays, Penelope supports her local NT and is secretary of a local supporters’ group, organising day trips, socials and lectures. Any profits the group makes on trips is donated to the NT helping keep properties such as Winchester City Mill, Mottisfont and The Vyne open for future generations to enjoy. 

Thank you Penelope, for all your dedication and support through the years.

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