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Wendy Smith
Wendy Smith

Wendy took over as AOSA Chairman in 1989, serving until 1998, quickly emerging as an excellent Chairman with much thought and preparation for business discussed at AOSA Committee meetings. I joined the Committee in the early 90s and, not having worked with Wendy before, asked her after my first meeting: "Are you a school teacher Wendy"? "Yes", she replied, "I have been. Why do you ask"? Her handling of the meeting had the trademark of one who is used to keeping a class firmly under control.

Wendy had a most difficult dual role during the latter part of her Chairmanship, being involved with the painful matter of closing the School. But had events been different she would have always been remembered for one of her initiatives above all: Membership For All, whereby scholars became life members at the point they left Ayton School, school fees having covered the cost of life membership. Wendy had been concerned that the majority of leavers never joined AOSA and lost touch, most for ever. Membership For Life would have kept all leavers within AOSA, in touch via the Magazine, and waiting for the time when they wished to come back, participate at reunions and renew friendships.

During her term as Chairman Wendy was always a tower of strength to all her Committee, helping them with their various tasks. She was always deeply involved with production of the Magazine, e-mailing copy from Stokesley to the Isle of Man, and keeping an eye on the final stages of printing, followed by gathering Committee volunteers to stuff envelopes and then cart almost 1,000 Magazines to the post each year.

However, back to Ayton School closure. Wendy was always conscious of the impact of closure news or worse, of rumour. In April 97 she sent a letter to all AOSA members breaking the news officially and giving as much information as to the reasons for closure as possible on a sheet of A4 paper, but at the same time assuring Old Scholars that AOSA would continue as before, and hopefully flourish, albeit differently now, without the School at its centre.

Wendy's husband Nat retired in 1997. I know they have begun to enjoy the freedom of retirement, which now applies equally to them both. On behalf of the AOSA my thanks to you Wendy for your years in office, your hard work and for your achievements.

Dick Dennis


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