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Teresa Lavender (nee Lanzisera)


I started school at Cardinal Newman when I was 9 years old, in 1973  it was by then a Middle School and I left when I was 13 years old, I spent 4 years there and then I went on to Salesian School, Chertsey.

My memories are varied and here are few.  Mr. Ryan was the Headmaster and I remember some of the teachers names, there  was Mrs. Smethurst, Mrs. Owen  and  Miss Pepper who was the music teacher who made us sing individually out loud during music lessons, which was quite frightening but we had to do it !

I also remember the annual school plays one of which was Toad of Toad Hall.  The week the play was being performed to parents the school hall was out of bounds and the scenery was permanently in place and in those days the dining room was a smaller hall behind the main hall which over the years got incorporated into the main hall as you know it today.  Dinner time was also quite memorable especially the dinners! To name a few that we had;  chicken pilaf (which contained peanuts)  not allowed today, spam fritters with mash potato, liver and bacon “yuk” I can hear you say !  The puddings were a bit better we had jelly and what we called “shaving foam”  a type of whipped cream, but I don’t think it was real cream, sponge with chocolate sauce and many puddings with custard. 

I was in the 3rd Year in 1977 during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and I recall the school giving each pupil a commemorative coin as a souvenir and we dressed in red, white & blue for a day.  I wore a ‘ra-ra’ skirt that had the Union Jack printed all over it, seemed appropriate at the time! 

When I was in the 4th Year our last year at Cardinal Newman I recall in the summer term we put on a display of Country Dancing in the playground in the evening for all our parents and had to wear appropriate clothing, luckily the fashion that summer was peasant – tiered skirts and blouses with puffy sleeves “Yuk” I hear you say again !  Also whilst in our last year we were privileged to go ice skating at Richmond Ice Rink, once a term, again during the evening.  It was one of those sports that you either could do well or not – I could not and spent most of my time on my bottom on the ice or clinging onto the side!

Another memory is at the end of most of the terms the whole school were treated to a film in the school hall and I remember one time watching Richard III, on a colour television which was on wheels and placed at the front of the hall as we sat crossed legged on the floor watching this historical drama, which compared to today’s films that you watch on DVD or even on the over head projector must seem quite boring!

I left Cardinal Newman School in 1978 but I returned 23 years later in 2001 when my daughter (Alexia) started in Reception and l left for the last time in 2013 when my son (Dominic) left Cardinal Newman.  It is good to see that the school is still thriving and long may it continue.