Old Girls’ General News

Merchant Taylors: Life outside the Bubble

23rd June, 2014. 3 days after my final exam at MTGS and I was on a plane to Cambodia. My parents were beside themselves!

I had never been abroad without adult supervision before and 6 weeks of teaching in the remote village of Bakod lay ahead. The days at the school flew by and before I knew it I was travelling the coast of Vietnam! I reluctantly returned home later that summer and began to look for a job for the next year whilst applying to University. I started working at MerseyCare Julie Ann, a domiciliary care agency, and frequently came back to Merchants’ where Mrs. Copley and Mrs. Doyle were my saviours in helping with my UCAS application. Once the invitations to interviews started coming through, I was once again back at Merchants’ to get interview practice with Mrs. Custard. Really, these women are the reason I am in medical school today!

I worked until the following summer and before I knew it I was in Thailand. I did 3 weeks of teaching there with the same company that placed me in Cambodia. I travelled around Thailand for a while, returned to Cambodia and finished the trip up in Laos. I then started at Hull York Medical School in September 2015. We started on the wards from the 3rd week of placement, which is great clinical exposure for seeing real patients. Fast forward to present day and I’ve just started my 3rd year (our holidays get shorter each year… but it’s worth it). The workload is plentiful but definitely manageable.

As I enter phase 2 of medical school, I will be based at the hospitals now for all of my teaching. This means daily ward rounds and lots of practical skills being learned! I am currently being immersed into clinical life, and will be learning lots of new skills within the next few weeks.

And I suppose that concludes my time since I left MTGS. In just three short years I would say I’ve done a fair bit! Where I am now all stems back from the skills and confidence I got from being at MTGS, as well as the tremendous support I received from the Old Girls’ Association. Not only did they support me throughout sixth form, they made it possible for me to attend events like Medsin which enhanced my UCAS application. They even assisted me when it came to my interviews, helping me with trains, flights and accommodation.

The OGA have played a huge role in shaping my life both at and after MTGS. I have so much gratitude for them and hope that others in my position know that they are always there to help students. They are an integral part of the Merchant’s family and I am honoured to be able to call myself an Old Girl.

Rowing Success

Congratulations to Sophie Gillbanks of MTGS and her partner Georgia Shirley (St Mary’s School, Northwich RC) for their outstanding achievement upon winning their seventh national rowing title together last month in Nottingham, at the British Rowing Junior Championships 2017.

Sophie and Georgia once again achieved the fastest time in the Time Trial on the Saturday, comfortably winning their Semi-Final on the Sunday morning with a time of 08:19.19. They then went on to win the Final to gain another gold medal for their third consecutive year, with a time of 08:14.24 in the Women’s Junior 16 Double Sculls.

Sophie’s sister Lucy (an Old Girl of MTGS), also represented GB Universities at the European Championships, held in Serbia, the same weekend Sophie was competing in Nottingham. Lucy brought home two silver medals, one in the Women’s Lightweight Quad and another in the Women’s Lightweight Double.

The girls have thrived due to their outstanding levels of commitment, hard work and focus and have all performed incredibly well. We hope to see more great successes in the years to come.



British Rowing Championships. (2017). 2017 British Rowing Junior Championships.

OGA Summer Luncheon 2017

Saturday, 24th June, saw the annual OGA Summer Luncheon as our Old Girls returned to MTGS for the chief social event of their calendar.

Over 60 Old Girls, current pupils and staff attended the Luncheon, which will unfortunately be Louise Robinson’s last as Headmistress following her decision to leave the School this coming Spring. Guests were treated to a three course meal, after which there was a short speech from OGA President, Anna Gervasoni, about School News and changes to the association. Following a recent committee meeting, it was decided to update the OGA’s constitution and increase the term Presidents of the Association serve from one to two years. Anna will therefore now hold this role for two years, as will all subsequent incumbents.

Among those present were Anna’s sister and Vice-President, Marie-Claire, along with her mother Dorothy who came as a guest. The event was also attended by OBA President Jeremy Myers and Chair of Governors/Old Girl, Beverley Bell CBE. This year there were three large cohort group reunions from the years 1957, 1967 and 1982, with the 1967 reunion in particular being very well supported.

Our thanks to all of those who attended and helped to make the event such a wonderful afternoon, in particular OGA Secretary, Sheila Duncan, for handling all the bookings and organisation of the event.

Chair of Governors awarded CBE

The Schools were delighted to receive news that the Chair of the Governors, Beverley Bell, has been awarded a CBE for her services to Road Safety and the Freight Industry.

Beverley is an Old Girl of MTS (1971 – 1978) and has served as the Chair of the Governors since July 2016. Her award comes in recognition of her years of service in the transport industry, having been an independent regulator of the commercial vehicle industry for 17 years. Having graduated from the University of Liverpool in Law, she qualified as a solicitor in 1985 and opened her own practice in 1990 specialising in criminal and transport law. She was appointed as North-West Traffic Commissioner in 2000 at that time being the youngest the first female to hold the role. She was later appointed as Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain in 2011, and she retired from both roles on 31st May 2017.

Speaking about receiving the award, Beverley said:

“I am surprised and delighted in equal measure. But this award is not just about my contribution but about the Traffic Commissioners and all they do to promote and champion the transport industry. The industry sometimes has a poor reputation which it doesn’t deserve and I have always been keen to promote the industry which literally keeps Great Britain moving”.

The Department for Transport also released the following statement, acknowledging Beverley’s commitment and dedication to the industry she has made her profession:

“We want to add our congratulations to Beverley Bell on this award following her retirement as Traffic Commissioner for the North West of England and latterly as Senior Traffic Commissioner for Great Britain. She continues to champion the transport industries and will see this as a reflection of their importance to Great Britain. HGV and PSV operators make a major contribution to our economy, provide significant employment opportunities and strive to ensure the safety of our roads. It is right that this is recognised. We are delighted for all those working in the field of transport who have been recognised by the Queen this year and in particular to Beverley after 17 years of public service”.

MTGS Welcomes Back Recent Leavers for Returnees Day

The Girls’ School was pleased to welcome back recent leavers for its annual Returnees Day.
Returnees Day is an important date in the School calendar and serves a dual purpose. It allows recent leavers to return to the School following their first year of University and share their experiences with staff and friends, but also offers vital advice and guidance to the current Lower Sixth, as they begin their final year of study and start to make decisions about their own University choices.

Our returning girls were extremely generous in giving their time, and answered any questions the pupils had. Following this they assembled in the quad for refreshments and to meet with staff. During this service, they received a humorous and insightful speech from Marie-Clare Gervasoni about the benefits of the Old Girls Association, and how it can be a vital resource for them following the completion of their own studies and entry into the workplace.

Our thanks to the girls for returning and to Head of Sixth Form Mr Lawell for organising the day.

OBA Cambridge Dinner 2017

With faint whiff of final exams looming over the University, thirty Old Crosbeians and their guests gathered in the Upper Hall of Peterhouse. Our number included those from East Anglia plus some who had extricated themselves from the demands of London to meet with school friends and a contingent from Merseyside, including our newly induced OBA President, Jeremy Myers. There was a hearty cluster from the more recent years, particularly 2008 and 2011.

After a fizzy reception, there followed good food and wine. Cries of “Most delicious – the best yet” and “The Chef has out done himself” were heard afterwards – and indeed he had. The School Song was rendered with some tuneful singing. Our former President, Dave Holroyd, Director of Music, would have been proud of the legacy that he has left behind in Cambridge or perhaps it was the high proportion of youthful attendees?

The speeches gave an update on the School and its good health. Simon Sutcliffe, History teacher and Head of Cricket, representing the Boys’ School, gave a fascinating history of the School, dwelling on the dark ages of the early Victorian period. At one point, there were only 4 pupils, all of them children of the headmaster and three of them girls! Who knew that one of Headmasters from that period had a wife aged 17 years old? Fascinating – it certainly piqued my interest in reading Luft’s history of the School!

Arthur Meadows, Cambridge Dinner Organiser, 1988 Leaver

Old Crosbeians Wessex Lunch 2017

Two Bank Holiday weekends left just two other Saturdays in May’s calendar this year. The usual competitive bids from family occasions and holidays for those two dates meant that recruiting attendees for this year’s Wessex Luncheon proved to be rather more difficult than usual. Fortunately it all worked out very well in the end with those Old Crosbeians returning from previous absence more than compensating for those members who were unable to join the party. The May weather proved rather less reliable although it didn’t rain and the Hampshire countryside was, as ever, at its freshest and greenest best.

This year we were especially delighted to welcome Jeremy Myers in his office as the Association’s President since we have had his company on two previous occasions as the guest who has travelled the farthest. A man who certainly deserves some recognition as ever willing to brave the uncertainties of the British national railway network on a weekend.

Others present were Richard & Shirley Cropper (fortunately managing to miss any traffic jams this year !), Norman Dixon, Steve & Gisela Duckworth, Michael & Barbara Durham, Keith & Ann Evans, John, Robert & Mary Goble, Bill & Lynne Hacking, Michael Purse, Michael & Maureen Sharp and Alfred & Isabel Witham. Unfortunately, Sylvia Scott had the distinction of being the sole representative of the Girls’ School this year but we continue to attempt to raise awareness of this OC event with their local alumni.

Jeremy Myers took advantage of the occasion to repeat the salient points of the recent decisions made by the Schools’ Governors and to remind us that the quatercentenary of the School’s foundation was already the subject of extensive planning ahead of 2020. He also took the opportunity to affirm that his successor as President, David Cairns, would be looking forward to attending the Wessex Lunch in 2018. Finally, after both the Loyal Toast and that to ‘The School’ he led the customary choral finale to a reasonably competent rendition of ‘Crescat Crosbeia’ before the company departed on their homeward journeys after yet another thoroughly enjoyable OC Occasion.

Always a good sign, a table of empty plates! Our President, Jeremy Myers is talking to Shirley Cropper and Michael Purse, a Past President, seems well contented with his lunch.

Hugh Parkman and Sylvia Scott take a break from recalling some breaches in the ‘Berlin Wall’ social restrictions that existed between the two Crosby Schools during the 1950’s.

Four more satisfied lunchers : Michael & Barbara Durham (right), Keith & Ann Evans (left).

Liverpool City Drinks 2017

This year’s annual Liverpool City Drinks took place at the historic Racquet Club Hotel in Chapel Street.  Over 60 former pupils (of all ages), former staff, parents as well as current school staff attended throughout the evening.  The event was organised by the Schools’ Alumni Relations department and sponsored by the Old Girls’ Association.  It was great opportunity for those working in the Liverpool area to network with people from the Merchants’ community and to catch up with old friends.

London City Drinks 2016

10th November 2016

On a crisp autumn evening, over 120 people called in at this year’s London City Drinks event held at The Merchant Taylors’ Company Hall.  For some, it has become a regular, informal meeting point with school friends, for others it was a first visit and a chance to not only appreciate the beautiful venue but also reconnect with the Merchants’ family.  Alumni, staff, parents and the recently appointed Chair of Governors, Beverley Bell, mingled to catch up on careers, school news and views.

If you live in the London area or visit the capital through your work, look out for the date of next year’s event and consider joining us.