|13 Jan 2022
|Life After Hymers
Jackie Lefton (née Sprinz) was in the third intake of girls at Hymers College in 1975, along with Véronique Bouchet. The previous girls who had attended Hymers had left, so in her first year, there were only 2 girls at Hymers College, before another two girls joined a year later.
Previously she was at boarding school and was very keen to leave. Her father said that if she could find a good local school, she could study for her A-Levels locally. She wrote to the Head, John Ashurst, and asked if the school had considered taking girls as she wished to study science A-Levels and knew that his school had a first-class record. She had an interview with the Head, who told her father that she was tenacious!
Her career path was not so straightforward. She studied A-Levels at Hymers, but due to an undiagnosed illness, she didn't achieve as well as she had hoped. After an operation and a short period of recuperation, she was ready to start studying again.
She read law and ended up as a legal publisher for Butterworths, a major UK legal publishing firm. She stayed there for several years, married, had a family, and then when her father became very unwell, took a short career break.
During that break, she did some voluntary work at a local mental health unit and discovered a real interest in the law relating to mental illness.
In 2001, she became a tribunal judge in mental health tribunals and 20 years on, is still working in this field. She currently works part-time, which fits around family life and commitments. She is also co-chair of her local parish council.
Jackie has fond memories of her time at Hymers and kept in touch with some of the boys she studied with:
At school I remember Andy Raspin, who I know retired after many years of service. When I knew him his hair was often tinged green as he was a very keen swimmer and went training most mornings. The boys in my year were very friendly and welcoming to the novelty of having girls around. They helped us paint the girls only common room - a big room for just 2 people! Several of the boys came to my wedding in 1984, including Steve Meanwell, Dan Roper (who became a local GP and wrote a very lovely letter to my mum when my father died), and Andy Raspin.
I enjoyed my 2 years at Hymers very much. It was a privilege to be able to go.
Former Senior Master and Head of Mathematics, Geoff Underwood took part in a Teacher Feature in 2001 More...