They Made a Difference – Miss Welsh

Newlands Valley, the Lake District. With Catbells to the left and out of sight in this image.

Thanks to my walking companion (one of them) for this photograph.

I have been remembering people who have had a positive impact on my life. Miss Welsh, the deputy head of my secondary school, was such a one.

Miss Welsh left our school when I was a vulnerable twelve-year-old, to live ‘under Catbells’ in the Lake District, (perhaps on the Newlands Valley side). My one ally had gone and I was bereft,  I felt supported by her, in the jungle that was school for me at that time.

She taught needlework and I can still remember the round and hefty, stuffed with sawdust, pincushion I made as my first ‘piece’.  A somewhat tricky sewing project in that it required sewing a circle of fabric, without puckering, onto the straight edge of the ‘wall’ of the cushion. I got a house point for it. A Gingham apron followed. Small successes and recognition of them at that age, are profound and have a lasting impact. I’ve been confident at sewing ever since.

Ah! how many people have entered our lives briefly and left a long-lasting impression. I’d forgotten this woman’s name, she was just ‘there’, gently saying without words, ‘you’re all right, you will do fine’.  And I did! There are other people now coming to mind.

Thanks to Tim, the son of my Head Master who remembered the name of his father’s deputy. The wonders of the internet that I could find this information with such ease this afternoon. One can drown in nostalgia or one can take flight – with gratitude.




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2 thoughts on “They Made a Difference – Miss Welsh”

  1. Just read your piece about memorable teachers and for you your needlework teacher, this immediately brought up not such happy memories for me. I didn’t like, was hopeless at needlework, I don’t really remember my teacher but do remember having to complete certain things before you were able/allowed to move on. One of the things was to knit a pair of socks, not too bad until it came to turning the heel with the four needles, many lessons and blood sweat and tears before I finally ended up with something that resembled a sock. But what I found out later was that most of my classmates had got their Mum, Granny, Sister to actually do this for them which enabled them to gallop ahead with other projects. I remember being very put out about this as a) I hadn’t thought to do this and b) my Mum was just as hopeless as me for knitting! Still I guess it taught me to just carry on and eventually you can achieve something, if not a perfect outcome, and also that other people are not always to be trusted!

    1. Dear Adrienne, How our early years inform our whole lives. I’ve a huge amount to be grateful for in that regard. Even the struggles I encountered in my formal education path. Which you are aware of.

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