Tributes by Others


Letter from Phoebe Devenish to Carolyn, written 12th November 2000

"Dear, dear Carolyn,

The example you have set for us of love, compassion, humour, focus, determination, vocabulary ("toe rag" and "gob-smacked" to name but two), generosity, letter writing, unequivocally unparalleled thoughtfulness, tolerance (and even sometimes intolerance), patience, perseverance - these have all set a standard which we would, any of us, be lucky to achieve.  Through all of this and so much more, you have indeed made an indelible and unforgettable mark on our lives and contributed immeasurably to them.  So thank you dear girl, and big, big hugs to you and Geoffrey."

Fallan ashes scattering party at the Wasdale Head, 29th September 2001

(Phoebe is in front row, second from left)

Jeremy Allan sent Carolyn a wonderful card which we read to her shortly before she died.  This is an extract from it:

"So much of the joy I have experienced in my life so far has directly or indirectly been because of you.  I can close my eyes and think of the tarn on Haystacks and pulling you into the water and I laugh out loud.  I can taste your apple pie with Dad's lumpy custard. ...  You bought my first pair of walking boots and for that I will always be grateful.  Without them I could never have gone tearing off up hill and down valley at stupid speeds.  You have had a profound effect on my life and I will always cherish that.  ...  Next time I stand on Bowness Knott, I will scree down and you will be with me.  I'll hear you telling Jo F that her leg is fine even though it has a 10 inch gash in it, and it will be beautiful.  Close your eyes and picture it as I do and I hope it brings as much happiness to you as it does me.  Love always and for ever.  Jeremy."

"Friends Remembered" - An extract from the Friends of Camden School Newsletter, Summer 2001 (by Jeanne Strickland)

Easter Day champagne 1989

"In her long association with Camden School, Carolyn hardly ever missed a school concert.  At her last visit to the school for the concert in honour of Geoffrey's retirement, she heard the chamber orchestra play the first movement of Mendlesson's Octet.  The same piece was played by the same musicians at the service of thanksgiving for her life and work in Barnet Church on 1st December.

Carolyn, with a busy life and career of her own, still had boundless energy and an interest for the school, especially during the eleven years of Geoffrey's headship.  She was to be found helping at summer fetes, or winter book fairs, rolling up her sleeves at jumble sales and, on the great cleaning day in 1999, scrubbing Camden's walls and windows perilously balanced on the high handrail.  So it was with memories of a loved friend that Camden staff and ex-staff, pupils, governors and parents thronged Barnet Church on 1st December.  They joined Carolyn's family and friends from all over the world in celebrating a life lived joyously and, in the last painful year, with exemplary courage, humour and selflessness.

A wonderful service of music, poetry and reminiscences recalled that life.  There were memories of her childhood, her nursing career, her family life, her brilliant letter-writing, her skills as hostess and cook.  There were her many enthusiasms for work, 

music, theatre, sport and travel - especially the walking holidays in the Lake District with Geoffrey, Kate, Joanna and the same family friends, every Easter for 23 years.  It was characteristic of Carolyn that their regular Easter Sunday climbs always ended with champagne on a mountain top.

Everything in her life was an enthusiasm, no matter whether it was ironing, reading, sunbathing, swimming, theatre, art, pottery, cycling, camping... a reminder of how much we at Camden School owe to Carolyn, and how many lives she touched."

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