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NEWS > Alumnae News > Falklands Veteran Returns to LEH after 46 Years

Falklands Veteran Returns to LEH after 46 Years

Help for Heroes Ambassador Susan Warner (Chandler), Class of 1977, who travelled the world with an incredible career as a nurse in the Royal Navy, returned to LEH to remind herself where it all began.

Susan writes: "Last month I was privileged to return to Lady Eleanor Holles School, after nearly 46 years, visiting from my home in Belfast, Northern Ireland, accompanied by my husband, Dr Julian Warner.  My life at LEH had begun as a junior pupil and I had progressed through to the Sixth Form, before leaving to join Queen Alexandra's Royal Naval Nursing Service (QARNNS), to train as a nurse. 

I went on to serve in the Falklands conflict on the Hospital Ship Uganda, in 1982, in the South Atlantic, and then continued in nursing, moving between the QARNNS and the National Health Service (NHS), and studying to MSc level.  Sadly, I was injured during a tour of duty in Afghanistan and have since competed in the Warrior Games and the Invictus Games, winning gold, silver, and bronze in swimming, and am now Soprano buddy for the Help for Heroes Choir and an Ambassador for Help for Heroes.

LEH was so important in helping me take a positive and optimistic approach to life.  Its motto, Spes Audacem Adjuvat, or Hope Favours the Bold, recalls the Invictus poem: 'I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul'.  It also informs two of my passions: swimming and singing. Swimming demands perseverance, courage, and training, and can be very healing.  Singing can also heal the soul and the Help for Heroes Choir gives companionship and encouragement. 

I was enabled to return to nursing, in Belfast, during Covid, while my dear husband continued to lecture and help students, during the Covid period.  And, now, having begun as a pupil, I am a mentor for LEH.

Kindly received at the school’s reception, we met Lisa, our guide, and were conducted around the school.  The grounds and school buildings were extensive, with the school buildings generally rising to just two storeys, but extensively horizontally distributed.

Within the buildings, there was a  subtle use of space to allow natural light to permeate – a theatre, currently adapted into a room for public examinations, an assembly hall, also useable as a theatre, with a proscenium arch stage, and an atrium, serving as a sixth form common room.  School walls were decorated with posters illustrating current work going on in art, science, linguistics, and other subjects.  Our impression was of a full, lively, and intellectually current curriculum and educational practice.

The girls we witnessed were happy and at ease.  We saw the neighbouring boys’ school, Hampton School – closer access was now allowed than in my time as a pupil. 

Leaving the secondary school after an extensive route, we proceeded to the junior school.  More compact and conveying hospitality and conviviality, in its etymological sense of living together, a judo class was just finishing.   We crossed, and then on our return, recrossed, the water – the Longford River a canal which runs between the junior and secondary school.

Thanking our guide and exchanging gifts of books, we re-emerged, energised and reflective, moved forward, seeing again the exterior of my childhood home, released again into renewed adulthood.

A big thank you to LEH, Lisa, and Susanna, for their kind and informative reception."

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