Priory Website Archive

This Site Was Last Updated on Sunday, 21 May 2006

Site Owner - Stephen Smith


Remember Val Browne?


    Val in 1949


Val today


When did you attend Priory?



Who was your most unforgettable teacher?

Greta Burke. She filled us with passion for great literature and had us performing plays on the Priory lawn.


Who were your best friends at school?

Margie Newbold, Sandra Lindo, Ruth Huggins, Norma Harris, Christopher Jacobs, Geoffrey Hanna, Brian Melville



Who are you in touch with now?

Margie Newbold, Sarah Foot (who attended Priory in the 50s)

Sarah Foot


 Who would you like to trace if we could?

Sandra Lindo, Norma Harris, Christopher Jacobs



What's the wildest thing you ever did at Priory?

One day while we were having a lesson from Greta Burke, a small plane crash-landed in the field beside our outdoor classroom. We all ran out to see what had happened, but Greta stopped us in our tracks and ordered us back to our desks.



Who was the craziest person during your time at Priory?

Paul Verity. He was brilliant with the rubber-band slingshot. One day he spied a scorpion on the ceiling of our classroom. He folded a pellet and took aim. A direct hit!! The scorpion fell to the ground just in front of Mrs. Burke. Without dropping a beat, she stepped forward, crunched it underfoot, and continued teaching.



Where do you live and what do you do now?

I live in Annapolis, Maryland, USA. I am a writer and I run writing workshops at the U.S. Naval Academy. I have two published books: FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS: HISTORY AND HEROISM IN THE PAN AM CABIN (1995) and PHIZ, THE MAN WHO DREW DICKENS (2004). I write aviation articles for AIRWAYS magazine, and am a regular contributor to BAY WEEKLY.



Tell us about any significant others

I am married to Jim Lester, a psychologist/musician, whom I met on a Pan Am flight between New Delhi and Tehran in 1963. I was a flight attendant, and he was returning to the US, having been a participant in the first American Mt. Everest expedition. We have two children, Toby and Alison, and four grandchildren.

Gilbert Roberts (L) assists Will Siri (R) carry out an experiment on Red Blood cells on James Lester - Mount Everest at 17,300 ft - 1963

What do you think of the Priory site?

I think the website is terrific.



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Stephen Smith 2006