Having finished school in the summer of 1968 Mary stayed with a school friend and work as a helper at Carshalton Hospital. Her work day started at 8.30 a.m. with scrubbing floors, washing cups, helping the nurses to wash patients and turning them in their beds. the beds were taken out onto the veranda. They also talked to the patients. On the ward Mary worked on were women and children. Some had experiences strokes and could not walk about. It was important for these patients in particular that they were regularly turned in their bed to avoid bed sores. Sometimes Mary worked a morning shift and other times it was an afternoon shift.
After the experience of working at the hospital she decided to apply for teacher training in Lincoln. Mary felt the training had quite a political slant to it. Her teaching Practice was in a Lincolnshire rural school which had 1.5 teachers ie. one teacher was part-time and worked on a half timetable. When she started her training the fulltime teacher went on a course which left Mary with a qualified teacher with her in the small school half the time and by herself for the other half of the time. The school was typical of a small rural school of its time with large high windows in a single room. She was left with no guidance re: the lessons to teach/the curriculum so the class studied Maths, Reading and went on lots of walks. She continued the training course until Christmas and then decided to leave.
Mary arranged to do a bilingual (French/English) secretarial course from September 1969- Easter 1970 and before that she au-paired in Paris from March to September, staying with a Doctor’s wife. The Miss Sprules Secretarial Course was based in Winchester (later bought out by St.James). The other teacher was called Miss Glyka. Mary learnt typing, shorthand and bookkeeping with the idea of going to work in London as a Personal Assistant. After completing the course Mary had to go home as she needed to have her wisdom teeth out. She stayed at home and worked as a personal assistant for a buyer at Kenwood Mixers in Havant. It was interesting to see how an office worked.
Mary’s family were deeply involved with sailing. Her Father was in the Navy and the parents were involved with the organisation of sailing camps. In the summer of 1970 they hosted the International Children’s Regatta on the Solent. Mary’s parents’ garden was filled of tents. They made numerous blackcurrant pies. Teams came from 12-14 countries. It was held every year in a different country by the International Optomist Dinghy Association. It was set up in the 1960s and the UK organisation based itslef on that at a chub level. They had a stand at the boat show. Mary’s family got involved in 1962.
In September 1970 aged 20, she started her new job as Personal Assistant to the Sailing Secretary of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and the International Racing Union (IRYU). Mary had been sailing since she was a young child so she understood the sailing world. Her Boss was in charge of the organisation of the RYA stand on the Boat Show.
Although she liked her job Mary decided she wanted to do more sailing so she returned to temping in London fitting her work life around her sailing activities. One was working as P.A. for the Financial Director of an American Company (August 1972-Easter 1973) which dealt with bathroom and kitchen equipment. He had a big budget and she got it sorted out for him. She had her 22nd birthday in Vienna.
Mary also worked for the International Atomic Energy Association typing up official information in English. All the information had to be produced in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese. Her last job before joining the Navy was for the Treasury in London.
Memory contributed by Mary Stanning from Lossiemouth
Information on Lincoln Teacher Training College
More information about Miss Sprules Secretarial Course in Winchester . It includes a photo and memory sharing about the teachers, Miss Sprule and Miss Glyka. Numerous people (some famous) cite this school on their Linked In profiles as part of their education.
International Optomist Dinghy Assocation
An article about the change from multi-design to one design boats to cut costs for young sailors.
Mary and Tim‘s children have followed the family tradition of joining the Armed Forces. Martin is serving with the Black Watch and Alistair is a Navy Doctor. Their daughter, Heather is currently serving as an Army Officer and in 2012 achieved a rowing gold for the UK team with her rowing partner, Helen Glover. She was awarded an MBE in the New Years Honours List.