Wendy Cardell (Mrs Phillips)

Mrs Phillips on retirement lived in Seaford and, sadly, died on 16th March 2013. She came to King's Mead as a matron in about 1962 and remained there until its end in 1968.

She had been able to attend the opening of the KM Memorial Garden some 10 years earlier. I recall meeting her again a few years ago when she was an inpatient at Eastbourne DGH, where I work, and being very impressed by her recall of those days.

Warm memories of her were held by a number of boys/men whose contact details I still have and I have set these out below.

Erick Curzon: She had a very good innings, but it is sad to lose that link with KM. She and I exchanged Christmas cards for many years until quite recently, and she always took an interest in what I was doing.

Rupert Bravery: She seemed quite old to me at the time but would have only been 43.
I always remember the matrons being very kind to us and very caring when we were ill.

Robert Gibbs: I'm sure others will remember the sound of her approaching footsteps, accompanied by a cry of 'Up get' as she drew curtains. A call I still use in the morning to my dog. A firm but kind lady.

Mark O’Neill: I remember her as kind and caring.

John James: I remember Wendy - quite a bouncy character who always wore thick pullovers even in the Summer!!

Stephen Kerruish: I remember her well. I left KM in Dec 63. She was very kind and, of cou"old then! I cannot believe that she has only just passed away.

Jonathan Lassen: I think of Miss Phillips every time I squeeze the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube by pressing it on the wash hand basin. It was a lesson I learnt from her when I turned up at the sick wing door looking for a new tube of Signal. I still have the kind letter she wrote to my mother and father, reassuring them about me when I was a new boy too.

Piers Robinson: I well remember Miss Phillips (as we used to call her). She frightened the living day lights out of us. Strict, but no doubt an excellent head matron!

James Birdwood: I remember Wendy Phillips very well. She was wonderful when I had appendicitis and had to be carried down the fire escape from the sick wing to the ambulance. It was on a scholarship half day (Michael Shellim’s?). I also remember her being less sympathetic when she thought I was skiving (I probably was!)

Justin Urquhart-Stewart: The best provider of Gees Linctus we could ever have had. Also allowing me to sneak in to watch Wimbledon on very special occasions. What a lovely lady and will always be remembered by me very fondly.

Julian Hill: I am pretty sure that Wendy arrived at King’s Mead exactly the same time as me as I have a vague memory of her re-assuring me on the first day that she was just as nervous as I was ! I do remember that she was an immensely kind and caring lady. She also had a fine “waking up voice” as she clip clopped her way down the corridor in the morning.

Michael McInnes-Skinner: Having visited the school dentist in Seaford my 1st term 62, and developed blood poisoning, and been carted off to a nursing home in Eastbourne, not returning to school until 3 weeks into the Easter term,and been on penicillin for 2 years. I must have got to know her as well as most. We all had the utmost respect for her, and knew that we received the best possible care. She had a cape that she wore occasionally with commendations, and nursing awards, she had received during the war. She enjoyed Wimbledon fortnight. And I too can remember the curtains being drawn in the mornings hearing her march down the passage to get us all up !

Robin Jacobson: Wendy Phillips succeeded the glamorous Miss McAlpine and combined firmness and kindness in equal measure.

Ronald Maxwell: I recall her well. Although 'no nonsense' & very strict, she was also very kind to me, particularly my first year when I was the youngest by a considerable margin; not that I was necessarily ever homesick (I don't ever recall being so at Kings Mead) but there were obviously a few others that were (but the fact that there were far fewer cases at KM rather than SH&B probably says a lot about how well our welfare was looked after at the school). She also had a soft spot for Charlie sometimes commenting about how he seemed to get into scrapes and how like him I was whenever I seemed to be in some sort of trouble.

David Maxwell 30/3/2013

(The Times: 25/3/12)

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