Old Burfordian Profiles
Bill & Mandy Williams
(1983-2019 & 1991-2019)
‘Off the cricket square!’ ‘If you can touch it, you can catch it!’ Familiar words to current students, generations before them and many of their parents too.
It truly is the end of an era, as Burford says a fond farewell to Bill and Mandy Williams, PE teachers at the school since 1983 and 1991 respectively. Their enthusiasm, knowledge and expertise is second to none.
Being a product of The Valleys, Bill’s passion for rugby is legendary – as is Mandy’s for netball. As many current, past and present students who have benefitted from their expertise will testify, they have always been first onto the field, come rain or shine, Bill in shorts, Mandy in a skirt – no matter that the pitches are frozen and it is minus 5 degrees C – neither has ever been spotted wearing tracksuit bottoms!
Bill and Mandy’s dedication and commitment has extended way beyond the classroom (or gym) and encompassed sports tours to Australia, New Zealand and Canada, Musicals, Star for a Night performances, ski trips – the list is endless.
Since mentioning briefly on Facebook the clapping of Mr Williams off the field by the Year 7 boys after his last football match at Burford, news has been spreading fast of the couple’s retirement. ‘ To paraphrase one ex-student: “Brilliant teachers who have led young minds and inspired many to achieve great things. True Burfordians.”
Bill and Mandy will be sorely missed. No doubt we will see them at reunions. May they enjoy a fun-packed and adventurous retirement.
(Boarding Student: 1983-1988)
Philip is a very proud Old Burfordian! He boarded from 1983 -88 . In May he was awarded the Geoffrey Cross by the Queen for special recognition of hard-work and service to her majesty and the Royal Windsor horse show , an incredibly proud moment .
Philip Judge International has been established for over 20 years, and has built a well respected reputation for providing top quality hay, straw and wood shavings across Great Britain and Europe, supplying leading farmers, Equestrian establishments, pet product processors and top event organisers.
( 2012 – 2017)
Old Burfordians Secretary
I left Burford School in 2017 after taking my GCSEs. On results day I was away competing with my horse and had to hack the show-ground WiFi to receive my results! After an indecisive summer I decided to study Level 3 Business Management and Communications at Abingdon and Witney College. Not having studied Business at school, this was all brand new to me. I managed to complete all the units at Distinction level. I studied for two years, finally graduating with my BTEC qualification; (the equivalent of three A’s at A-Level) in July 2019. I will be starting my degree in Business Management at Oxford Brookes University this September.
I have also been competing with my horse H. He took the TopSpec National Junior Preliminary Dressage to Music Champion 2017, which is not only amazing, but also made me the first rider to win the title back on a different horse! We also took a couple of National Arena wins at the British Dressage Sheepgate U’25s’ Dressage Championships, and British Riders Clubs Lincoln. 2018 did not go so well, but with amazing support around us we managed to end the year with some good National results and a smile on our face.
I have also had the opportunity to take part in the ‘Walk the Thames 2018’ as support crew for the Tim Stockdale Foundation. The Tim Stockdale Foundation was set up in memory of British show jumping star Tim Stockdale, who died in November 2018 aged 54, a month after being diagnosed with cancer.
Stuart Norridge (Student 1961- 1968 & Staff Member 1975 – 2014)
Old Burfordians Chairman
Stuart Norridge has been associated with Burford School since 1961 when he started his secondary education at Burford Grammar School. In those days the First Years were based at the bottom of the hill and, although they did have some lessons there, they had the majority at ‘Top School’. He had seven happy years at Burford and in 1975 he achieved his long standing ambition to teach at the school. In July of 2014 Stuart retired after teaching at Burford for 39 years. Since then, along with his wife Jane he has been working his way through old school records, reports, photos and items and putting together an archive of the history of the school. The task is still ongoing.
Jane Norridge (Staff Member 1983 – 2014)
Old Burfordians Vice-Chairman
Jane started teaching History and Politics at Burford in 1983 along with Boarding duties.
She taught in Room 19 for all of her teaching career. Many of you may remember Room 19?
Jane was both Head of History and Head of Year– having a year group that had 242 students – the biggest up until the present Year 7 that Burford had ever seen and being Head of History for the last 19 years of her teaching career.
Jane still loves working on the archives of the history of the school with Stuart, and is doing a tremendous job.
Eleanor Martin (Burford 1999 – 2005)
Old Burfordians Treasurer
Eleanor was a member of Burford School from 1999 to 2005 before heading off to Nottingham University to study Animal Science. You’ll find her, these days at the Witney Blanket Hall where sheas gone ito business with her father and his partner, Trish Poole.
If any of you still in the area have wandered down Witney High Street and come across the fabulous Witney Blanket Hall you will not have been disappointed. Eleanor, Richard, and Trish have reclaimed the Hall and restored it to its former glory, finally opening in September 2015. The restoration has been a mission requiring careful conservation and mindfulness of the history of the building. It’s a delight to explore, but rather a surprise to then stumble across a delicious pie shop and café at the back of the building.
So. if you’re passing the Blanket Hall do pop in for a present, a pie or just to say ‘Hello!’ (Closed Mondays).
Luke Jackson-Ross (Burford 2003- 2010)
Old Burfordians Secretary
My name is Luke Jackson-Ross, and I am currently the Secretary to the Old Burfordians. This role involves preparing agendas for committee meetings, taking minutes, and maintaining an action log to keep everything on track. I very much enjoy working alongside my fellow committee members, and hope that by sharing a little of my story I might encourage others in the wider body of Burford Alumni to get involved.
I completed my A Levels at Burford in 2010 and, when the time came to decide on university courses, I had a difficult choice to make between Music and Philosophy. In the end my local commitments and abiding subject interest lead me to take up an undergraduate place to read Religion, Philosophy and Ethics at the University of Gloucestershire. I really enjoyed studying in Cheltenham, and was able to make the most of my experience working in the school library when it came to applying for library jobs at the University. This went so well that, when I finished my undergraduate studies, I won a place on the Bodleian Libraries Graduate Trainee programme at the University of Oxford.
It became clear fairly quickly that, while I had enjoyed working in libraries as a student, they were not for me in the longer term. This lead me to seek a role which would make better use of my skills. In 2014 I took up the role of Administrative Officer at St Hugh’s College in the University of Oxford. Several years (and a part-time MA in Philosophy) later, I have recently moved from Admissions & Outreach Officer (2015-2018) to Admissions Coordinator at St Hugh’s. Now I coordinate the admissions process for undergraduate and graduate applications to Oxford at the College, in addition to my role as Link Office and LGBT+ Role Model for the University’s LGBT+ Advisory Group.
I am really keen to see some younger alumni get involved with the Old Burfordians, and look forward to catching up with some of you (and others!) at future reunions and other events.
Sally Scott (Smith) (Head Girl 1998-9)
From Burford to Broadway
What are the chances that, when joining the cast of King Charles III in the West End, I would be joined by another ex-pupil, Barnaby Kay? A strange twist of fate. And yet I remember returning to school for a visit, years after I had left, and finding Mr & Mrs Norridge in the upstairs History rooms. We chatted and I told them I had become an actor. They asked me if I knew Barney, and though I didn’t, I remembered the name. Establishing our unlikely connection during rehearsals, we discussed Burford sport socks and stories of Mr Weir’s disciplinary measures in the Green Room between scenes.
I studied English at University followed by an MA in Seventeenth Century Art and was then part of the cast in New York, doing King Charles III on Broadway, after it was dubbed best play at the Olivier Awards. Being an actor can be a trial but is also an enormous adventure and ultimately a privilege. I love the people, I love the feeling of community but more importantly the sense of tolerance and liberal values. Though it’s easy to forget when you are uncertainly waiting for your next role, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Georgina Purdy (Burford 2003-2010)
More people have travelled to space or climbed Everest then have rowed the Atlantic, and Georgina Purdy – Gee – is part of the youngest female team of four ever to undertake the crossing.
Gee left Burford in 2011 and after a gap year went to Manchester to read History and Archaeology. It was during her last year at University that she joined a rowing club – the result of which has been to find a shared enthusiasm with other girls to take on the Atlantic challenge and raise funds for PLAN International ‘Because I am a girl’ campaign. The campaign tackles the rights of girls threatened by poverty, gender inequality and violence.
Gee and her fellow team members were one of only two female crews taking on the Talisker Challenge in the winter of 2015-16. At school we spent the Christmas holidays tracking her progress and reading her blog posts and, once recovered, were delighted to welcome her back to school to tell us all about it -from the amazing creatures who tracked their boat to the raging seasickness and excruciating blisters in awkward places!