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.