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Head Girl: Kathryn Knight née Harker OW 1966

19th December 2023

When did you come to King Edward's Witley?

My school life at King Edward’s began in 1959. With my twin sister, Bryony, we followed an older sister, Alison, to the school. It was therefore an easier transition to a  boarding school than it might have been. Alison had given us the heads up on what might have otherwise been a somewhat daunting experience. I turned out to be the most rebellious of the three Harker girls. I think older sister was often called in to have a quiet word in my ear.

What subjects did you like most?

I soon found that I had a liking for sport and, in particular, hockey. Just what I needed to channel that lively streak. Being in sports teams also meant that we were allowed out to other schools and treated to their teas after the games.
Music was my other love. I continued to have piano lessons and got the opportunity to play the timpani in the school orchestra. Another way of letting off steam. I then started to learn the organ and sing in the choir.

How did you become Head Girl?

The surprise of my life came when I received a letter from the Headmaster of the time, Gordon Humphreys, inviting me to become Head Girl (not actually sure whether you have a choice but I accepted the invitation). The highlight of my year was the opening of The Warburg Science School which was opened by the late Queen Mother who was our school President.

What did life after school hold?

After leaving King Edward’s I went to Westminster Teacher’s Training College, Oxford, to study Music and Physical Education. I then got a job at the primary school on Mersea Island, Essex. I married a farmer on the island, and we raised two children. Pretty idyllic really.

We’re still in the same farmhouse though, sadly, the fields have found another use!
I’m no longer able to work. After teaching I downsized to do some invigilating at the local Institute and with the Open University but my husband has now developed dementia so I’m now his full time carer. That’s not to say I can’t escape to play tennis, sail or play the organ every week!

What did you take away from your time at school?

Two things from school life have seen me in good stead. I played hockey to county level which was fun. I became the organist at East Mersea church; a post which I still hold forty years later. I keep fit playing tennis and sailing in the idyllic creeks of the River Blackwater in my 12 foot dinghy.
Having had a Christian upbringing, I always enjoyed the chapel life at King Edward’s. I found the pattern of worship and the familiarity of the rubric suited my somewhat restless nature. Fortunately, for me, these patterns have not altered greatly to where I am organist. I wouldn’t say I am particularly ‘holy’ but the fellowship gained from a strong and caring community is worth so much. As at King Edward’s, it taught me tolerance and a sense of fair play. For that, I will be forever grateful.
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