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Lockdown Pen Pals

As the country moved into another lockdown in January, our pen pal schemes have been helping to connect current and former pupils.

Our Year 11 wellness reps set up an ‘old-fashioned’ letter writing programme to engage with younger pupils, while Sixth Form students took to email to correspond with alumnae from all generations. Together with former pupils, now as far afield as Cornwall, Canada and California, students have been reflecting on life in the pandemic and their shared experiences of South Hampstead.

Rosemary Emanuel (née Nabarro) left South Hampstead in 1956:

“My pen pal Layal is taking Maths (my subject) as one of her 4 A Levels, although she is far more literate and well-read than I am. I am so impressed by her wide reading. We are both enjoying discovering, little by little, about our families, our lives and our taste in films. It is over 70 years since I joined South Hampstead and I have enjoyed a wonderfully rich life. South Hampstead gave me a great start. Layal is just at the beginning.”

Another alumna Linda Carter (née Goldridge) from the class of 1966 told us:

“What an assured young lady my pen pal is. I wish I had had that much confidence when I was 16 and 17. Life in the Senior School was so different when I was at South Hampstead. I think she cannot believe the freedom we had in the 1960s!”

Sixth Former Amy has been inspired hearing about her pen pal’s life:

“It’s been especially nice to have the opportunity to talk to someone new during lockdown and compare experiences.  I have absolutely loved corresponding with my pen pal and hearing about her incredible career path, chatting about our hobbies and sharing how we have been spending our time recently.”

It has been wonderful to hear how these new acquaintances are helping to brighten each others’ days, and we hope their correspondence will continue long beyond lockdown.

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