Caroline Mills, President, 2013-2014


Isn’t it remarkable how colour  can influence a child’s decisions? Edd Frost (current SOSA President) wrote of  his horror at the prospect of wearing a green blazer upon his arrival at  Sibford. I, by contrast, was delighted to wear bottle-green in preference to  the alternative – a shocking striped green and brown number. With loathing  for the mint-choc ice cream design of the local grammar school and, likewise,  the ice-blue walls of the First Year dormitories – with an infinite double row  of beds – that chilled my thoughts of attending The Mount in York (a  Quaker-led, girls-only school), I entered Sibford in September 1982 enthralled  with the colour of my new uniform … bottle-green gym knickers excepted!

Music and Drama   For five  years, I threw myself into everything, making life-long friendships with both  fellow pupils and staff.   Like Edd, I  was a part of the Sibford 80’s era of unique musical productions. Music and  drama at Sibford became a major part of my life and influenced much of the  following years.   I overcame my  aversion to The Mount dormitories and spent Sixth Form in York. Wrapped in the  relative peace of Sibford life, I struggled with this new-fangled urban world  of noisy night trains and rush-hour traffic and it took me a while to settle.  But, just as I had at Sibford, I threw myself into the drama of York and became  involved in the celebrated Mystery Plays, set against the stunning backdrop of  St Mary’s Abbey ruins. The York Mystery Plays had been the career introduction  to former Mount School pupil Dame Judi Dench and, so it appeared, it was to be  for me.   Following a  gap year studying drama in Stratford-upon-Avon, with work experience at the  RSC, I ventured to London to train in stage management at the Royal Academy of  Dramatic Art (RADA). But the strain of seedy London bedsits and late-night  Tubes got too much. I cut short the course and became a ‘mature’ student in  Oxford studying part time for an Honours degree in English and Music while I  began my career in publishing.   Life has never  been void of things to do but in the last 15 years it has been intensely  engaging.   Following  marriage to my husband Paul, we set up a farm producing organic free-range eggs  just a few miles from Sibford while I continue to work freelance as a travel  writer, penning books and articles for magazines. Meanwhile, we began to  self-build our own house. With virtually every last detail built or made by us,  it has taken more than 10 years to complete, and we are on the final stages. I’m  also Chairman of a local swimming club, inspired to develop swimming  opportunities for children in the area following our own children’s love of the  sport.   I’ve been  involved with SOSA intermittently since leaving Sibford but I feel incredibly  honoured to be asked to become Vice President and look forward to rekindling  lost friendships with old school friends and making new acquaintances.

Generation game   I am proud to  be one of five generations – and one of 21 members of my family – to attend  Sibford School.   The first was  Ernest Quinton not long after the school was founded; our three children,  currently at the school, make up the fifth generation. I think you could say,  that we have our feet firmly under the table.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.