|9 Jun 2022|
Pat was the first of three generations to attend LEH. Having enjoyed her time here so much, she sent all three of her daughters - Annabel, Juliet and Susie – to the school, and then her granddaughter Charlotte Harris (daughter of Juliet), followed in their footsteps. Charlotte left in 2013 and went on to graduate from Edinburgh University having read Physics.
Aged just nine, Pat started at Burlington House, during the war, in September 1942. She always claimed that her father had written to the then Head, Miss Nora Nickalls, requesting a place at LEH but saying she was unable to travel in to sit the entrance exam. Instead, he explained he had no doubts about her ability “as she is always number one in the class, and I know from my own small tests that she is equally bright at arithmetic and reading. Incidentally, she just took first place in a competition for the largest collection of correctly named wildflowers”.
Pat faithfully kept all school documents and correspondence from her time at LEH, including 24 school reports, and they make for interesting reading. School regulations at the time required pupils to wear a white frock for school functions and stated that 'no pupil may attend school without a pocket for a purse and handkerchief'. The fees when Pat started at the school were £7 7s 0d per term with £1 1s 0d less per term for a second family member attending the school at the same time.
Gardening, Botany and Zoology were all on the school curriculum when Pat first joined LEH. While French was one of her least favourite subjects at school, she seemed to excel at PE. Pat's report for the Autumn Term 1949 states that "Patricia is a reliable and efficient Games Secretary".
Pat did well and was a popular pupil, however she did find some school rules baffling. She wondered for example, why, when there were three doors into the school hall, that the girls were made to queue to use one door because the two other doors were out of bounds. Also, why the girls were only allowed on some parts of the lawn and not others.
When pupils were asked by the teachers to write an essay about what they wanted to do when they grew up, Pat thought this objectionable and felt it was no business of the teachers to know her future plans, so she wrote that she wanted to be a 'sky policeman'.
Her House Report, written by her house mistress in summer 1950 states: "She has been very kind to the younger boarders, and if she takes up massage as a career should be particularly successful with children". Interestingly Pat did eventually go on to become a physiotherapist and spend some time working with children.
Towards the end of her time at LEH Pat had a National 12 sailing dingy which she sailed at Tamesis Sailing Club in Teddington. Pat's love of sport continued throughout her life, sailing, playing tennis and skiing well into her 70's and still swimming in her 80's.
After she left LEH Pat wanted to study medicine and become a doctor. However, her father felt it was an unsuitable career for a lady and sent her to a secretarial college instead. However, she did then go onto study physiotherapy at Guy's Hospital in London. It was here that she met Donald Longmore, who was a medical student at the time.
Patricia Spindler and Donald Longmore fell in love and were married at St Margaret's Church, in the grounds of Westminster Abbey, on 2nd April 1956. In 1968 he was on the team that performed the first British heart transplant. They remained devoted to one another until the end and were married in total for a happy 66 years.
They shared a passion for sailing and spent many a joyful time at their local club in Staines after moving into the area in the late 1950's. They later went on to become members of the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes. It was here Pat met Prince Phillip, who she had always had a soft spot for!
The couple also got to know Princess Anne, who is President of the Royal Yachting Association, as they were both keen supporters of a RYA initiative to help to teach blind people to sail.
When Pat was at LEH she enjoyed finding out about animals and wildlife and developed a lifelong interest in penguins. She and Donald went on holiday to the Falkland Islands to see the penguins, and in the freezing cold they joined a crowd waiting to see Princess Anne, who happened to be visiting the Island, Princess Anne spotted them in the crowd and came over asking them "What are you two doing here?".
“One of my memories of Mom is her determination in everything she did,” says Juliet. “Whether this came from LEH I don't know, but I know that an ability to always do your very best is something Holles would have, and still would, encourage. As a family we will all miss her deeply.”
To view this News Article
Many congratulations to Olympian swimmer Alys Thomas, Class of 2009, who has been selected once again to represent Team … More...